View Full Version : Opinions on the Remington 870 Express Youth?

August 5, 2008, 07:27 PM
I'm looking for a gun for my 12-year old son, he just finished Hunter Safety and is all hot to hunt everything he can (so am I). We live in lower Michigan, can't use rifles here during firearm deer season and anyway he wants to try small game and waterfowl as well. So I'm looking for something that can do a lot of different things passably well and (of course) I'm on a budget.

I've noticed the 870 Youth, it's reasonably priced and with the removable choke it might be what I'm loking for, especially if I added a good recoil pad and started him off with soft loads.

Anyone have any experience with this one? How well does the rifled choke stabilize the sabots? - which means, how far out could one ethically take a shot at a deer?

I sure would like to get out my Model 11 and break some clay with him...

Thanks in advance.

August 5, 2008, 08:04 PM
I have one. Kicks like a mule with #3 buck. Terrible recoil pad. If I could get an aftermarket pad (read: afford :o) and an aftermarket stock to increase the length of pull, it would be great. I like it.

Brad Clodfelter
August 5, 2008, 08:13 PM
I bought one for my son when he was your son's age. It's a pretty good shotgun for youths. It does kick pretty darn hard with turkey loads. It shoots extremely well though.

August 5, 2008, 08:26 PM
I got a nice Mossberg 500 Bantam in 20 gauge for my son. It dont kick much and its as good as the rest. Plus it wont break the piggy bank. He also shoots an 870 12ga. now for deer so my daughter can have it when she feels that she can deal with the recoil but its gonna be hard to pry her .410 out of her hands. She loves it and can shoot with the best of em.:D
PS- The best thing about the Mossberg is that you can add a full size stock when their ready. And a rifle tube is great with a scope out to 150-200 yds with the rite conditions and alot of practice. Get out your old model 11 and have a blast! Good luck and its great to hear another kid got involved in hunting. Its alot better for them than sitting around playing video games.

August 5, 2008, 08:49 PM
The 870 is an excellent choice. Recoil is a product of the weight of the discharge and the powder charge. Laws of physics. The weight is a factor, but the Mossberg and the Remington being approximately the same weight, there will be little or no perceived difference in recoil.

There is nothing wrong with the Mossberg, I just happen to prefer the Remington. Some like the tang safety of the Mossberg better, some don't. It makes little difference to me, since I seldom use the safety anyway. If I want the gun to be safe, I open the action.

There are lots of full size after market stocks available for the Remington, so it will be no problem to change it to a full length of pull when the time comes.

I really don't think that there is anything you can do with one that you can't do with the other.

So, bottom line, take your son to the gun store and let him handle both. Then get him the one he likes best.

I have no experience with the rifled choke and sabots. With that said, I have a Remington 870 with a 20" rifle sighted barrel and I would not hesitate to take a deer at 60 to 75 yards. While I hunt deer with rifles, I have shot a lot of slugs at 100 yards and better, and am confident in my ability to put it where it needs to go at 60 to 75 yards. I will be hunting hogs with it next month.

August 5, 2008, 10:49 PM
Roscoe, I beg to differ because their is a difference with felt recoil between the two. Its a matter of design and not physics when it comes to recoil in a gun. You could shoot 2 different guns shooting the same loads and the one will kick like a mule and the other is just a shove. And they are different weights also. I have shot both and the Remington kicks harder due to the stock design. Also, You should always have the safety on when the gun is loaded because its just an accident waiting to happen when a twig catches your trigger and your gun goes off. I dont think thats a good thing to mention to a guy looking for a gun for his son that may be reading this reply with the boy rite next to him. I understand that you think its safe when its open but what about when its closed and the safety is off?

August 5, 2008, 11:01 PM
I hunted for several years with the youth 870 20ga. Loved it. Many deer and uplands fell to that gun.

August 5, 2008, 11:57 PM
I understand that you think its safe when its open but what about when its closed and the safety is off?

It IS safe when the action is open. With that said, you are correct, and I'm speaking primarily of tactical range work. If it is closed, you are at the ready, and the safety should not be engaged.

Hunting is a different situation, and you are correct. The young man just finished a hunter safety class, and I hope he follows what they taught him, and not what some putz wrote on the Internet.

I have shot a lot of shotguns a lot of times with a lot of different loads over the years. The tremendous difference in recoil between similar shotguns is something that either isn't that significant, or I am just too big a clod to perceive it.

If you are talking about the difference between a pump and a gas operated automatic, then there is a perceived difference. Perceived. The recoil is still the same, but it is spread out as a series of smaller pulses rather than a single pulse, and thus it feels softer.

If we are talking about the same ammo in a Mossberg 500 and an Remington 870, then I maintain that the recoil will be pretty much the same. It certainly seems so to me.

Its a matter of design and not physics when it comes to recoil in a gun.:eek:

Let's just agree to disagree on this one.

Dave McC
August 6, 2008, 07:43 AM
I got a 20 gauge YE for the kids early in the 90s. I added a slug barrel to the 21" Remchoked barrel and shot it some myself.

Overall, a great gun. However....

With a weight just over 6 lbs, slugs, buck and heavy field loads were vicious kickers. Light target loads were much easier on the kids starting out.

The pad's not the best. Were I doing it over again, it would have gotten a Decellerator.

The kids are now grown, so the stock got swapped for a full length one and I keep it for quail, etc.

August 6, 2008, 08:34 AM
Roscoe, I agree with the range at ready stance with the safety off. I also feel the recoil is close between the two but to a kid starting out shooting, An extra 1/2lb. of recoil is alot to them due to their smaller frame and size but to us it dont feel any different. I have taught around 20 kids hunter safety and the safe handling of firearms in the last couple years and just went thru it with my daughter and a few other youths in the group. She tried 4 different 20 gauges and none of them were good for her but fell in love with the .410 bore so we got her one. While watching them shoot the different ones in 20ga., I noticed the way the recoil would affect them and it was amazing how much different it was between models. The 2 softer kicking ones were a Mossberg 500 Bantam and a Winchester 1300 youth model. The 870 and Browning youth models kicked the most. Its great if you are able to pay the extra money for a gas operated semi-auto but if not, I agree with you that they have to try a few different models to find the one that they can handle in size and recoil. The most important step in getting a youth a gun is not to force anything on them because you think its what the need or can handle. They have to shoot a few different ones and tell you what their able to shoot comfortably. If not, Then they tend to not want to shoot or flinch when they fire a round because they know its going to hurt them and their scared of it.

August 6, 2008, 09:08 AM
I appreciate the feedback. I'll take a good look at the Mossberg.

As for recoil, yeah, it can be an emotional issue. Total recoil is purely a factor of the charge, the total mass of the gun/projectile and the percentage difference between them. But I also know that perceived recoil is heavily influenced by the time over which the force is spread, the geometry of the stock, and the presence of porting (which I see some of the Mossbergs have).

More research is required....oh, and don't worry about the boy reading any of this. I'm keeping it a secret as long as possible.

August 6, 2008, 09:15 AM
So, bottom line, take your son to the gun store and let him handle both. Then get him the one he likes best.

Good advice.

Just acquired the 870 youth for my 12 yo. So far we have only used ultra-light recoil Winchester ammo ($$ but 950fps) and dove/quail loads and recoil is light indeed. My kid is recoil sensitive but I can't afford a supply of shells sufficient to keep him happy with this combo.

As others have said Remington has a fully rifled barrel and I was under the impression Remington sells a 2 barrel pack with the youth 870. Might explore whether or not the rifle barrel can be acquired as a package deal. It's $175 by itself if not.

If you think your son will be shooting lots of low recoil rounds the 870 will work with the pad that comes with it. If shooting a lot of slugs is part of the game plan you may want to explore a better pad on the firearm, one on the kid (Past) or both if safe handling isn't compromised, but some pretty substancial kick comes with the territory when you're firing slugs.

Haven't tried'em yet but accuracy claims of 2-3" at 100 yds and more are common with the fully rifled barrels and the saboted slugs the gun prefers.

Let us know what you get.

August 6, 2008, 09:54 AM
I bought this youth model for my Grandson, two years ago and he has taken turkey as well as deer, ever since. It would be a good choice as well as the Mossberg. I do not care for the rough finish on these 870 Express models as it allows for rust to start in the deep grooves, so you really have to watch them. A 200 yd. shot might be a bit of a stretch but most of what you will see in your areas, is well under 100 yds. Recoil is going to be sharp as they don't make light load slugs. This particular Grandson will soon step up to my Rem. 1100 and his little brother will step up to this 870. Again, good choice and price.

Be Safe !!!

August 6, 2008, 12:20 PM
How about buying the 12ga 870 Express and adding the factory 12ga Youth stock---comes with a sling stud and R3 pad.

Then you can go back to the full stock as he gets bigger--and the R3 pads go on easily.

Plus you'll already have a full power gun for ducks and geese if he decides to go for those.

August 6, 2008, 12:56 PM
Put my vote in for the 870 youth 20ga.

If you're worried about the recoil, which can kick pretty hard on the short gun, the 20ga makes up for it. The 20 is perfect for the smaller guys and great for small to heavy fowl hunting. If you're hunting buck you're probably gonna want a full size 12ga anyway - start em off with the 20, then get him something full size when he's ready. I'd keep him on fowl for a while. Buck hunting is a whole different game.

A note to hunting safety though, if you're gonna take junior hunting buck with shotguns, and your state doesn't allow rifles, make sure you bring a handgun with you as well. A poorly placed shot by junior could mean some intense suffering of that animal and you'll want to remedy the situation as quick and clean as possible.

August 6, 2008, 06:48 PM
Waco, If the state dont allow rifles they sure wont allow handguns either as many shoot rifle calibers. And Deer hunting is fine for kids as long as they can consistently shoot a good group and keep their shots inside the range their good at.
Chilehed, A ported barrel for hunting isnt a good idea because the muzzle blast will make his hearing suffer in the long run(along with everyone around him). I know theirs hearing protection for this but its something that you dont wear while hunting unless its the electronic type. As far as slugs go, A rifled tube is fine but you have to check your state game laws in regards to what type of sighting system you have to use with slugs. Alot require either rifle sights or scopes and you cannot use a bead sight except for buckshot.

August 6, 2008, 09:18 PM
It looks like the Mossberg 500 Bantam and Remington 870 Youth combos are very similar, except the Bantam's slug barrel is ported, it's got a 1" spacer for LOP adjustment, the pad is softer and it's about $120 cheaper. Hmmm....

mikenbarb, I'm thinking that not using hearing protection will make his hearing suffer with or without the porting. He knows good and well that hearing protection is NOT optional no matter where he is, and that if he shoots without it he loses the gun for the season. And since I'll be there every time he shoots...;)

You're allowed to use rifles in Michigan but in the lower half of the Lower Peninsula you're restricted to shotguns, handguns and muzzleloaders during firearm deer seasons. There aren't any sighting systems specified....but thanks for mentioning it. I'll call the DNR to make sure.

Omaha-BeenGlockin, I'm sure he'd like a 12 because he's always up for a challenge, but he's not very big and I don't want him to get beaten up doing something that's supposed to be fun. Maybe if I can figure out a way to get the .308 700 SPS Tactical I've been wanting he can get a couple of bruises on that if he wants. :D

Hey, I know - I'll tell my wife that I need the .308 to get access to private farmlands by offering to shoot groundhogs in the spring... think she'll buy it?

September 24, 2008, 07:09 PM
I ended up getting him a Mossberg 500 Bantam Synthetic Combo. Had intended to get the wood stocked version, but it had too much LOP and I figured that modifying the stock would cost as much in time and aggravation as getting the higer priced combo with the LOP spacer. And in the end I got it for less anyway because the dealer screwed up a couple of times (it started when I was sold the gun even though the feds had put a hold on me!) and gave me a good discount for the trouble.

Took him out to the range the other day, and he likes it. The weight's good, and the recoil pad works well with regular target loads. Says it gives him a satisfying shove, and after 50 rounds he felt fine (he weighs only about 80 lbs). He broke about 25% of his targets, and was happy. Didn't manage to shoot any slugs.

The finish sure isn't as good as what I've seen on the Remington's I've shot, but it shoots fine, was a heck of a lot cheaper and should last him quite a while.

Thanks again for the help.

September 24, 2008, 07:24 PM
Another vote for the Mossberg Bantam.
I hear complaints that the Rem Express doesn't have a good bluing and it rusts real easy... For the same $$$ you get the good stuff in a 500.
My 500 is 19 years old, lived 10 years in a police evidence room and after that went thru several periods with no A/C in the house following hurricanes and the only rust is a spot I caused. Good luck with your decision and best of luck to your child! Let us know what you get and pics of the kid and the gun shooting would be cool too!


September 24, 2008, 07:55 PM
Not a big fan of the Express (as opposed to the Wingmaster, of which I have 5 at the moment), but it's a good gun nonetheless. Remington's answer to the Mossberg 500. I think I'd lean toward the Mossberg because I like the finish better, but really, they are pretty much a toss-up.

.300 Weatherby Mag
September 24, 2008, 08:58 PM
My first gun was an .870 youth express... I started hunting with it at age 11.... I killed a lot of birds with it... Great gun.... It kicks though... Only time it really bothered me was with the 3" waterfowl loads... Only thing they really need is a recoil pad... No rust issues with mine.... I was taught from the beginning how to clean and care for it.. When I was done shooting it always got a wipe down with Break Free CLP.... That gun did everything from ducks to doves, pheasants, quail and chukars....

September 24, 2008, 11:10 PM
My 870 youth express was bought for me by my dad when I was about 11. Loved the gun then and is still a good gun now. Never really had a problem with recoil even using 3 in loads but everyone is different. 11 years later its held up great and still my choice for a bird gun. Liked it so much I bought another 870.

September 24, 2008, 11:31 PM
If we are talking about the same ammo in a Mossberg 500 and an Remington 870, then I maintain that the recoil will be pretty much the same. It certainly seems so to me.
Its a matter of design and not physics when it comes to recoil in a gun.
Let's just agree to disagree on this one.
When I first saw RoscoeC's quote, of Mike B, an alarm went off. Mike had it all wrong... then I went back and read both postings. The only problem I see in Mike's posting was in his semantics. It's ALL physics, and design is just the way the physics are managed. But, Mike B's interpretation is understandable -- depending upon the specific discipline, engineering and design are synonymous and and in others considered mutually exclusive.
Yes, RoscoC, the recoil between similar guns with similar loads is the same. But, the simple recoil, as defined by the Newtonian physics of action and equal reaction, is not the same as perceived recoil or kick.
We register kick as the maximum unit stress over a minimum period of time. The design of the gun and the load have a lot to do with kick. Various design elements act to minimize the unit stress and lengthen the even duration. There are additional human factors that make up the remaining elements that determine kick.
As in almost everything, the design of a gun is a compromise. The heaver the gun the less the kick, but the harder it is to tote around all day. The designer strikes a balance (or compromise) when determining a gun's weight. The Remington designer may come up with a different number than the guy at Mossberg. I'm always amused when I read a gun review: "It had a very light kick, but it was too heavy to carry around all day." Duhh... You can't have your cake and eat it, too.
Buffering (lengthening the event time) is another way to reduce kick. Gas operated auto-loaders are great at doing it with their actions. With a pump, your biggest buffer has typically been a recoil pad. Some newer guns use resilient inserts in the comb and grip to add additional buffering. There are mechanical buffering devices you can add -- the bolt hole in the stock and the mag tube are common locations. There are some low-kick inertia auto-loaders with elaborate buffering mechanisms.
Increasing the reaction area is another way to reduce kick. It's where the shooter comes in contact with the gun: face, hands and shoulder. The design of the stock greatly affects the contact area. Two different stocks on the same gun can give a shooter two different kicks.
So, what can you do to reduce kick? First, and easiest, shoot reduced loads; but, this isn't always the best way to bag game or break targets. For a given load, select the one using the slowest burning powder. Make your gun as heavy as you can within your comfort range (this is why target guns are typically heaver than field guns). Add buffering devices to taste. Get a gun with a robust stock, not a fence board.
Now comes the most important part of reducing kick: Your stock must fit properly and you must mount it correctly. When it comes to stock fit, I'll ask, "You wouldn't go hunting in boots that are two sizes too small, would you?" The same goes for stock fit. Many of us have seen Youtube videos of some newbie getting a whopping from a gun because he doesn't have a clue about stock fit and gun mount. Don't be that guy!
When getting a youth gun, it must fit them properly and they must be instructed how to correctly mount/handle the gun. Else, because of unnecessary kick, they are likely to become rapidly disenchanted with shooting.