View Full Version : 20 ga ammo, cleaning questions (newbie)

March 27, 2006, 09:51 AM
Hello, all -- for my birthday a few weeks ago, my in-laws got me a 20 ga 870 Express, with which I've been having a great time at the trap range. My wife and I go and shoot a couple times a week, and have enjoyed seeing our scores creep up into the double digits. I have a few questions, though, that I'd love to get some help with:

1. Do any of you guys buy your ammo online? If so, where? I'd really like to buy a case or two of shells at a time -- the local WalMart seems to sell by box only, not by case -- especially if it would save me a few bucks.

2. When I've bought ammo at the range, they only have 2 3/4 shells -- and I don't know if I've ever seen a 3" 20 ga target shell. Why is that? Are 3" shells available? Considering I'm working with a 20 ga, I'd love to have the extra pellets to compensate a bit...

3. Other than cleaning the externals and a bit in the chamber with RemOil after each day at the range, I don't do much cleaning -- every 200 shells or so, I'll bring out the solvent and the snake and do the barrel, but not every time. Is there anything more that I should be doing?

Thanks for the help!

March 27, 2006, 10:15 PM
1. I don’t buy ammo on-line. I believe the cost of shipping would overcome any savings. I buy Winchester AA’s (because I reload) at my local Dicks, Bass Pro Shop or where ever it’s on sale. The sale price used to be about $4.29-$4.49/box. Now it seems to be around $4.79. (The price of shot is up.) Look for Game Clubs for $2.99-$3.49/box. (Make sure you get a 25 shell box. Sometimes the shells on sales are 20 shell boxes.) To get these prices you often need to purchase by the case.

2. Is your 870 chambered for 3” shells? IF NOT DON’T GO TRYIN TO SHOVE A 3” SHELL IN A 2 ¾” CHAMBER!!!!! Reminton makes an 870 Express with a 3” chamber. http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/shotguns/model_870/model_870_express_specs.asp I’m a little narrow minded on this subject but to me, extra pellets = 12 gauge. This one will draw some comments.

3. You need to swab the barrel each time you bring it home. I recommend Hoppes #9 and a cloth patch. Replace the patch and swab again until it comes out clean. I do not oil the barrel unless I’m storing the gun for an extended time. (I do oil rifled bbl’s.) Take the barrel off so you don’t swab Hoppes into the action. Wipe all hand oil and moisture off any metal parts each and every time you handle the gun. Pay extra attention to this step if you shoot in the rain. Disassemble and clean the action ever six months or 1,000 shells…. The timing on this one is up to you. An 870 is one of the most forgiving guns made. I’d suggest that you follow the manufacturer’s directions. Take care of it. Treat it like a baby. It will last you at least you the rest of your life.

March 27, 2006, 10:15 PM
Welcome to the addictive world of scattergunning! :D

1) If you can find good prices on ammo on-line, buy it! Be aware, though, of the shipping and hazmat costs that will be included. Try your local sporting goods chain (Cabela's, Bass Pro, Sportsman's Warehouse, Academy, etc.) as they have the buying power to give you really good prices on larger amounts of ammunition.

2) Yes, there are 3" Magnum 20-ga. shells. They are for hunting as they are more powerful and will recoil much harder than target loads. 3" loadings won't bust clays any better than lighter target loads, but they will beat you up more on the range! Stay with 2 3/4" shells on the range and use the 3" in the field.

3) Your cleaning regiment is a good one - and better than most people practice. As for your barrel, I would clean it after every range session with a solvent made for shotguns that specifys it removes plastic wad fouling. Always remove the choke tube and completely clean it and the treads (tube and barrel), apply oil or anti-sieze compound to the threads then replace the choke. Most of the rest is good, but I would add removing the bolt and trigger assembly and cleaning and lubing them at the end of every season before storage.

Have fun!!! :D

March 27, 2006, 10:52 PM
Always leave your choke tube in while using a Wire brush to help clean the plastic fouling. If you let the wire brush foul your choke tube threads, you'll be in big trouble. Take your choke tube out after everthing else is clean and clean it last. Check the choke tube to be sure you get all the plastic out of it. To much of plastic buildup could change your pattern.

Death from Afar
March 28, 2006, 02:53 AM
+1 on the plastic fouling.

Remember to clean the gun before you fire it- that is as important as after you fire it. Dont forget to pay attention the chamber, and use a tight bore brush to swab that out. With a brass washed steel shell head you will get rust in their. Lastly, dont forget to go heavy on the oil under the vent rib- thats where rust gets in. Nice gun by the way.

March 28, 2006, 09:17 AM
Thanks to all for the responses - much appreciated!

@ mswestfall - yes, my 870 accepts 3" shells...or at least that's what the stamp near the receiver says. :-)