View Full Version : 870 express minimal add ons

June 17, 2012, 09:49 PM
Want to keep it simple.

Looking to keep the 4 shot mag.
Looking to keep the bead sight.

I do plan to add a Mesa Tactical recoil reducing stock kit (yes it's expensive, but if I sell gun, I'll keep it)

I would like a small capacity shell holder. 4-6 shots is plenty. Which ones are recommended?

I would like a light on it. Either a mounted type or one that is part of the forearm. Suggestions for a mount/forearm/light? Doesn't need to be the best, just good quality.

Finally, I know it's a lowly express model. Any parts I should change out?

Any other necessities I'm missing?

Or should I scrap the whole thing and just get the police model and add the same accessories?

June 17, 2012, 10:20 PM
Any other necessities I'm missing?

It depends on what to you is a "necessity" and that should depend on the gun's use. For many purposes, many would deem the standard stock a necessity and all the stuff you are adding to be anything but necessary.

June 17, 2012, 10:26 PM
Why not just get some 00 buck and call it good?

June 17, 2012, 10:55 PM
I'd like the recoil reduced for faster follow up shots.

Can't hold a flash light in one hand and run a shotgun with the other.

Would like to carry a few extra shells externally.

So on the needs vs wants spectrum...as I can rationally justify these additions, they are needs for my purpose, not wants.

Looking at Mesa Tactical shell carrier but don't know much about forearm lights/mounts.

June 18, 2012, 01:30 AM
Get the flashlight, buy some reduced recoil ammuniton, keep the standard stock, replace these parts; Mag spring and follower with same from Wolf. Heavier dog carrier spring which is used in police models. Skip the shell holder. If concerned about ammo capacity get a magazine extension. Unless you are going to war, spend your money on trigger time and skip that other stuff.

June 18, 2012, 11:18 AM
Want to keep it simple… I do plan to add a Mesa Tactical recoil reducing stock…
The Mesa Tactical stock makes sense if you're Mil or LE and your primary training was with an AR platform. The AR-type posture of the Mesa unit may make for easier transition between an AR and 870. It might be great for a returning war fighter, but not a mall ninja.

I love my black rifle, but the majority of my trigger time has been with conventionally stocked rifles and shotguns. So, I wouldn't want a Mesa unit on my shotgun. Your experience may differ.

June 18, 2012, 01:58 PM
It might be great for a returning war fighter, but not a mall ninja.

I'm neither of those.

I'm looking at the recoil reducing unit. I like a pump action but desire the lower recoil of a semi-auto. So to me, this stock/buffer makes sense.

Dave McC
June 18, 2012, 02:55 PM



Range time.

Wear marks....

June 18, 2012, 03:43 PM



Range time.

Wear marks....

Most definitely.

I have an amazing range near me and get out often.

June 19, 2012, 10:19 PM
I have an 870 Express Mag w/21" rem-choked bbl and bead sights. I had installed a sidesaddle and sling and magnetic fiber optic sight in front of the bead and that was my "tactical 12" for many years. Eventually I took off the sidesaddle because I liked a slimmer, more natural look and the lighter weight (not having the extra 6 rounds and steel mounting plate on the side). Not to mention I don't like having to dig out a hex key to remove my trigger assembly.

I patterned my barrel (this 21" vented rib barrel seems to shoot everything great though) and I shot it A LOT. That configuration has given me yeoman's service over the years, I always sleep well at night with it close at hand and I've always said that if I can't handle the problem with that shotgun then I probably need a squad of US Marines!

Well, I was offered a good deal on some Trijicon ghost ring sites, but due to the vented rib bbl I was worried it would be a hassle to get them installed and that it would never look right to me and might cost me some elevation adjustment range. I decided I'd buy a new 18.5" police barrel and then drill and tap the receiver.

I got to looking around and had trouble finding that bbl in stock anywhere. Also, the ones I was seeing were polished black and wouldn't match my matte Express receiver/mag tube.

I found a Remington replacement bbl that was 18.5" with tritium rifle sights and a fixed modified choke. I always keep the modified rem-choke in my current bbl and it works super for both shot and foster's slugs. Since I don't have to drill the receiver and mount the rear ghost ring sight with this new bbl I can easily swap on a dedicated cantilever slug bbl with a scope if I want to shoot sabots. This bbl is $183 at Midwayusa.com.

Since I was adding the new bbl I went ahead and picked up a Scattergun Technologies 2 rd mag extension with the right hand side sling mount, a VTAC padded sling and stock adapter, a Streamlight weapon mount for my Streamlight M3, a Scattergun Tech oversized head safety and 50 rounds of that nice mil-grade winchester 00 buckshot.

That gives me rifle-style night sights (still bummed I don't have the ghost rings I've always wanted but it's okay), a great tactical sling that I can use in many situations from hunting to home defense to recreational shooting (a sling to a long-gun is what a holster is to a pistol), a shorter/handier bbl, 2 extra rounds (or one extra round and a one round free space per Lewis Awerbuck's recommendation in "The Defensive Shotgun"), a weapon-mounted light, hi-viz follower and upgraded mag spring and a faster-off safety that's easier to index under stress.

I'm pretty happy with that set-up. I was thinking about going with a collapsible stock with the recoil reduction, but I think I'm just going to trim an inch off the factory stock and see how that feels.

I know this is a lengthy response, but that is pretty much what I consider a minimalistic approach to enhancing a regular old 870. Not to mention I picked up AGI's "Building the Fighting 870" and "Remington 870 Armorer's Course" dvds. I will watch them over again and see if there's any internal parts I need to replace, but this shotgun has been ridiculously reliable for almost 20 years and it hasn't let me down yet. But like someone posted previously there might be a better dog carrier spring that I will think about replacing. There is also a feature that newer 870's have called a "flex tab" that will help prevent some kinds of jams that older models were susceptible to. I'd get that if I didn't already have it.

The original finish is holding up on this gun great, but I'm kicking around the idea of doing some nice kind of home camo pattern with dura-coat and some local native leaves for the patterning. But I'm not sure about that yet.

Mostly, I just want to put this thing together, take a grip of ammo and get up to my uncle's farm for some major trigger time! If anything, I'll devote any future spending towards getting setup to reload so I can afford to shoot more high-quality ammo. I'm even planning to check the feasibility of casting my own buckshot pellets. After I put a LOT more ammo through this gun and get some good training I might think about other alterations, but until then I think I'm standing pat after this round of upgrades!

Hope this all helps, I was searching these forums myself today for the same kind of thing. What a tremendous resource TFL is! Thanks to all the long-time members who have contributed so much to this community!

Oh, on a side-note I am trying to think of some kind of secure storage strategy for this weapon. I would like a hidden kick panel or something like that where I could keep it stashed when I'm not home but it seems like that would be tough to implement as a DIY project and since I rent I doubt my landlord would let me cut up the drywall. So now I am thinking about some kind of vertical vehicle mounted rack that I might be able to install in the house by affixing to the wall studs. I don't know, I'm a ways away from figuring that out, but I want to keep it secure (we have a few kids including a toddler) and ready for action.

June 21, 2012, 10:24 PM
I got her put together today. I gotta say, Midwayusa.com is amazing. They had this whole order put together and on the UPS truck in a mere 5 hours. I received it at my door (only paid for the regular shipping) roughly 40 hours after I placed the order. That's amazing to me, I didn't even expect it to ship until today at the earliest. I will ALWAYS buy from Midwayusa.com first if they have what I want.

That all said, I wanted to also update this post to let everyone know that this barrel (Remington 18.5" fixed modified choke with tritium rifle sights) came parkerized and with green lamps. I was very happy about that as it wasn't advertised anywhere what color the sights were. I even emailed the company but they didn't know and I wanted to get the order placed.

I'm really happy about how she looks. I was kind of going for a look that would match my HRA M1 Garand...wood, olive drab and parkerized steel.

I've shot and carried this old girl so much I wore the pump and grip down to a lighter color. Overall it looks like a dirty blond to me, so I decided that I'd dub her "Lucille" now. After the car washing girl in "Cool Hand Luke": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kliy32YWFcU

Here she is as she stands now:


June 22, 2012, 08:17 AM
Looks good!

June 22, 2012, 08:34 AM
Nice, I much prefer the look of wood. IMHO, a sling is great in the field but can get tangled in a HS situation. YMMV.

June 22, 2012, 09:40 AM
Yeah, I hear ya Zippy. I had mixed emotions about the sling, I really like this one but it has so many loops and dangling straps when you aren't actually wearing it. I almost didn't put it on, but then a friend suggested you can double it back on the stock and put a strong rubber band on it. Then it's out of the way until you need it and you can just give it a good pull and the rubber band pops right off.

With the short barrel and the VTAC sling it's very handy and easy to sling in a number of different ways so I'm giving it a chance for now. I went with the padded version because I wasn't familiar with this kind of sling. The non-padded one would be a little lighter I think.

10 Beers
June 22, 2012, 10:07 AM
I like shotguns clean, skinny and black.


June 22, 2012, 10:13 AM



Range time.

Wear marks....

I'll disagree on the sling- not for HD - just one more thing to snag at the wrong moment, adds nothing to the utility inside the home, and if it one with shells attached to it just made the control of the muzzle that much more difficult, especially under stress

Dave McC
June 22, 2012, 02:11 PM
Inside, a sling is jsut a detriment, somehting to snag with at a terribly bad time.

Outside, however, it's essential. ALL fighting shotguns should be sling capable....