View Full Version : Need advise - convert a fixed tube barrel to interchangeable choke tubes.

Major Dave (retired)
March 17, 2009, 03:31 PM
I bought my Rem 870 in 1973, before interchangeable choke tubes were invented. It came with a 28 inch (fixed) modified choke barrel.

In addition, I bought a second barrel - 20 inch cylinder bore, smooth bore, to shoot rifled slugs in. (Sabot slugs had not been invented, either.)

Now, I would like to have that 20" barrel shoot "turkey full" (the short barrel would be handy in the thick East Texas forests hunting Easterns). I would also like to shoot "sabot slugs" (which require a rifled choke tube for better accuracy, compared to a smooth bore/choke).

The 20" barrel would also make a good HD weapon, especially with an open choke - IC.

So, can I get a fixed choke barrel modified to take choke tubes?

If you have done this, what vendor? Also, what price?

March 17, 2009, 03:39 PM
Sure - Briley Mfg in Houston can do it for about $ 300 by the time you buy the chokes. They have a good internet site.

On an 870 - it might be cheaper for you to buy another gun - just to get a barrel with screw in chokes in it.

March 17, 2009, 03:42 PM
For the price briley is the best they make excellent american standard trap chokes I have a Mod that ink balls everything i shoot and a Briley titanium XF that i bought that does the same thing as the mod. I think it really doesn't matter what choke you have in its just your mind set and what you are confident with.

March 17, 2009, 05:30 PM
A lot of local smiths have the tools available to cut the barrel to the lenght you want it and will thread it to take Remington tubes. It has been a few years but the last one I had threaded cost me $50. But that has been at least 10 years and may cost a bit more now.

March 17, 2009, 05:40 PM

You can buy a barrel on the used market ^.

I just got a wingmaster rifle sight remchoke barrel in the thread linked above for 90.00, but I felt like that was a pretty good score.

I've got an express finished RS/RC barrel on another gun that I paid 179.00 for new, IIRC.

March 17, 2009, 05:52 PM
I'm not saying a "local gunsmith" can't cut the threads for a screw in choke tube - but if its off-line just a little - what's it going to do to your point of impact downrange at 40 or 50 feet ?

I think you take a big risk having barrel work like that done without some fairly sophisticated setup equipment.

Briley or Kolar - are the only 2 companies I would trust one of my barrels to.

But like ratingredneck told you - there are a lot of used 870's out there / and used barrels too. Besides, what is wrong with having a new shotgun ....?

March 17, 2009, 09:20 PM
You can buy a replacement barrel to fit your gun, with a set of remchokes. I think they are around 200 bucks. That might be on the low end last one I bought was about 5 years ago. Or look on the used rack at the gunshop, just picked up a used 3" wingmaster with screw in chokes for 315. flyboy

March 17, 2009, 09:38 PM
Briley is the place, but you will come out cheaper buying a new barrel with Rem-chokes.

March 17, 2009, 10:11 PM
For the difference in price I would definitely get a new barrel with Rem Chokes. These fixed choke barrels will generally pattern much better that a screw in choke barrel in the same choke. Most especially on the older guns as you describe.

The difference is that the choke on these barrels has a slow taper down to the choke restriction. The screw in chokes do not. If your gunsmith bores and threads the existing barrel for screw in chokes, this taper will be compromised and the pattern will likely not be as good as it was before.

Modified choke is a pretty good compromise for just about anything anyway with the possible exception of your Turkey scenario. It is a good option for HD as well with both 00 buck and slugs. Take a look on Midway's website for Remington 870 barrels. This one (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=617790) might work for you. Comes with the xtra full turkey choke. You won't get the work done at Briley for $200.00.

If you are anywhere near Cabela's, they keep a selection of new Remington 870 barrels in stock.

March 17, 2009, 10:36 PM
www.choketubes.com for another source.

March 18, 2009, 02:41 AM
I have a problem with your initial concept:
I would also like to shoot 'sabot slugs' (which require a rifled choke tube for better accuracy, compared to a smooth bore/choke).
A rifled screw-in choke will give you only marginal improvement at best. If you are going to spend the big bucks for the increased accuracy of sabots, get a fully rifled sabot barrel.

If you are going to go with screw-ins, go with Briley. I've had "a highly qualified local gunsmith" mess up a screw-in installation, it not worth the so called savings -- go with choke tube specialist. I have O/Us with full Skeet tube sets and screw-ins and auto-loader barrels with screw-in chokes -- all Briley.

March 18, 2009, 04:03 AM
With what you are getting ready to outlay, it might be more cost efficient to trade your gun in keeping one of the barrels, for an 870 that is setup with the other barrel.

Major Dave (retired)
March 18, 2009, 09:30 AM
Thanks for your suggestions, guys, but I forgot to tell you a few things.

First, the 20" open cylinder barrel I want threaded for Rem Choke tubes came with open iron sights. I removed the rear sight and had a gunsmith install a Bushnell Phantom Magnum 1.3X pistol (long eye relief) scope on the rear sight base. This was before the days of cantilever scope mounts, so I think he just welded that scope on. It is a special model designed to take the recoil of .44 Mag pistol rounds.

That scope is ideal for slug hunting, and turkey hunting. So, I have too much tied up in that barrel/scope combination to just scrap it.

Secondly, I already (several years ago) bought a Hastings aftermarket 26" barrel with choke tube capabilities. (Does anyone know if Hastings uses Rem
Choke specs on barrels for Remington actions, or do I have to buy only Hastings choke tubes (proprietary) for it?

The second point is that I want a 20" barrel, with scope, for turkey, hog, deer, HD, etc. The shorty barrel is so much more convenient/useful in tight quarters than the 26" Hastings barrel.

Thirdly, I am averse to having Briley do the work of threading the shorty, scoped, barrel for me, due to their pricing. Using the internet, I have now found half a dozen vendors who will do the work for $70 to $90 dollars. But I don't know if any of them can be trusted to do a good job. Has anybody on this forum had any experiences with such "reasonably priced" shops?

Thanks for your input....I really appreciate it.

March 18, 2009, 12:26 PM
Briley's fees are in line - with the quality of work they do, in my opinion / but if it isn't worth that much to you, I understand. I've never risked an expensive barrel / or even a cheap one - to anyone other than Briley or Kolar, so I can't help you with another option ( but there are lots of horror stories out there about amateur gunsmiths butchering stocks, barrels, etc.. ) - just be careful - and remember, if the do bad work, their insurance doesn't cover it either...its not negligence (from an insurance standpoint) if they do crummy work. If they screw it up / your only option is to hopefully let them make it good. Bigger companies like Briley and Kolar stand behind their work .....most of the little guys don't or can't.

The last I knew, Hastings barrels were only compatible with their proprietary chokes ( but that's true with most companies barrels ).

Lee Lapin
March 19, 2009, 11:47 AM
Major Dave,

It'll depend on how much metal there is in the barrel walls as to what kind of choke tubes (if any) can be installed. There are some 'thin wall' tubes that might work OK.

I've had all my barrel work done for years by Colonial Arms- they used to be in my hometown of Selma, AL but are now operating in Bay Minette, AL- see their web site at http://www.colonialarms.com/ . They make a large line of choke tubes as well as the tooling to install them for gunsmiths. That's one more option to think about, along with Briley, NuLine, etc.



June 22, 2010, 07:31 PM
I have had many of them converted for shotguns. Gander Mountain in Kenosha Wisconsin did it for me. However there are Gander Outlets all over the country. They charge $100.00 plus the cost of the choke tube which runs around $35.00 to $50.00 extra. The results look factory and I can tell you that the way they shoot compared to before is awesome. Just keep in mind that should you want to shoot smoothbore again, unless you want to try a bunch of different ammo again you will need a Cylinder choke. Even using a IMPCYL will change the way the barrel reacts to ammo. The rifled choke tubes will get you on target out to around 70 yards at most. And you will be limited when using sabots to slower ones such as the Remington managed recoils or the lightfield lights. Both of these loads say they are for rifled slug barrels and rifled chokes. Also remember to loosen the choke every three to four shots because as the slug slams into the rifiling it tightens the choke up quick. I learned the hard way shot a couple of boxes and then had to have a gunsmith get it off for me. It was expensive to have removed and I had to sign a waver that if they messed it up they were not to be held accountable. Here is a link to Ganders Shotgun service. http://www.gandermountain.com/assets/pdf/Price%20Guide.pdf

June 22, 2010, 07:50 PM
Major Dave - your location seems to say TX as your locale - you might just want to venture downstate to Houston and visit Briley and have them show you around.....they're the best, they make most of the OEM chokes for a LOT of folks - in short, they have it down and do it right.

Your other option is to buy another barrel already threaded......I can tell you that my 1100 in 28 gauge came with OEM chokes from Briley - Remington does NOT make their choke tubes

June 22, 2010, 08:11 PM
In the 15 months since this thread was posted I hope Major Dave has got his barrel issue resolved.

But maybe he'll chime in to give us an update :D