View Full Version : Upgraded 870 Express 20 Gauge for SD

October 21, 2011, 12:43 AM
Well, with a bit of online assistance, I've put a few enhancements into my Remington 870 Tactical Express in 20 Gauge:

Supercell recoil pad
A pain finding the screw head in the pad, but other than that went OK
Forged extractor
Easy install
Oversized Vang safety
Not sure I like this one - I can definitely feel the safety when on, and I like the click when I turn it off. When I engage the safety back on though I don't feel that definite "click"; it works, but I miss that feel. Putting the safety back on is not typically something done under stress, so I'm not sure I should put a lot of weight to that.
Elzetta 3 cell light and mount
Solid mount, easy access to the switch (particularly with the 3 cell light) - very pleased the bead is very visible when the light is on - given that, I don't see a big need for a fancy front sight.

It has a Remington +2 extension, but I have a Wilson Magazine extension on back order to replace it (mostly for the stronger spring, and lack of a need for the brace). That and a carrier dog follower spring from an 1187 will be the last changes to the gun for a while. The only other thing I plan to do to it, once the stock finish starts to wear, is to send it to Robar for a NP3+ treatment.

The only stupid thing I did was open the trigger group back up to look at the safety a second time; in the process, after I removed the spring I moved the safety and popped out the small ball bearing (safety switch detent ball), which immediately shot off to parts unknown. I have another two on the way from Numrich (I have faith I can repeat stupidity, hence the spare); once it arrives, I'll put the trigger group back in and try it out. Se la vie; at least I kept the spring.

Next week my wife and I are taking some basic shotgun instruction at a local skeet range; we are not new to shooting, but both of us are shotgun newbs, and we don't want to start practicing without at least some foundation from someone who is experienced. I was hoping I could bring the SD 20 gauge with me, but I don't think the new part will be in on time; we will see. I've got a 20 gauge Wingmaster I can bring along instead.

As soon as I have the proper part in place, my wife and I will shoot the living hell out of the SD shotgun. Who knows, if after basic instructions she tries out skeet or trap and likes it, she may have a new shooting hobby! I'll let you all know how it goes.

October 21, 2011, 06:07 AM
I've got a 20ga 870 as well for home defense, it's the compact jr with the 18" barrel and 12" LOP stock. It's a fantastic gun and it see's lots of use every weekend at the range. I've got a modified choke installed and I do fairly well at shooting clay targets and anything else for that matter. All I've done to it is add a remington 2 shot mag extension and add some weight to the stock. It shoots slugs excellent and is very accurate. I like the fact that I can get back on target very quickly campared to my 12ga which has more felt recoil. I've come to the conclusion that a nice 20ga is a pretty much do everything gun, and is really all I need. It gets the job done quite nicely.

Dave McC
October 21, 2011, 01:18 PM
Sounds good over all, a couple minor points.....

"...Wife and I will shoot the living Hell out of it...".

Shoulda done that first,before thumbing through the catalogs.

A extension clamp is a very good idea. An unclamped extension gets bumped, it can bend the mag tube and mess up the threads. Replacement is a factory job.

Also, clamping the thing acts to stiffen up the barrel harmonics. Sometimes, group size with slugs is halved.

FYI, the 20 gauge former YE 870 here is a snake fast, hard hitting and kicking shotgun. I handle even the Rottweil Brenekke slugs OK, but I recommend starting off with light loads. With heavy ones, this little pony has a Clydesdale kick.

And also for the record, a 20 gauge repeater,in trained hands, is an awesome CQB weapon.

October 27, 2011, 11:05 PM
My wife and I had our first shotgun lesson at a local skeet range (Montlake Classic Clays (http://www.montlakeclays.com/)) Tuesday. Well worth the time and expense - Craig Sheaffer was our instructor, and gave us an excellent overview of shotgun fundamentals for stance, hold, and general technique - both for moving targets as in skeet, and also for a home defense situation (sit tight, call 911, and blast intruders entering the room - don't try to clear the house).

My wife was very pleased with the new shotgun, and had lots of fun - we used target loads, and the recoil didn't bother her at all. She was even able to hit a moving clay target on her first try :) She just bought a small weight to help strengthen her support arm, so I suspect she's starting to think seriously about skeet or trap.

The only thing on the new shotgun I had to change was the position of the light (my fault); it was protruding a bit too far back toward the shooter, and racking the shotgun risked a finger hitting the flashlight butt. It's now positioned properly.

Dave McC
October 28, 2011, 09:54 PM
Great start. The thing about the light illustrates perfectly why we need to shoot our shotguns lots.

That weight will help your spouse, but some dry mounts with a shotgun KNOWN TO BE EMPTY a few times a week will help tremendously.

Now go shoot some more.....