View Full Version : 870 Express or Police?

December 8, 2000, 05:58 PM
I want to thank all of you in advance for indulging me as I ask all these questions. I'm trying to find an 870, and have sort of settled on a Police magnum. Why? Because I like the looks of it (synthetic stock, extended magazine, etc). The parkerized finish, though, isn't always the greatest. I plan on putting a Speedfeed stock on it, so there's some $$$ that I'll be adding. An alternative would be to build from an Express magnum if I can find one with an 18" slug barrel. Since I'm going to be changing stocks, who cares if the wood is cheap? And the extended tube would be the same price for either, as would any fancy sights like GR's. Now, Dave McC mentioned something about the Express needing some "polishing," although I'm not entirely sure what he meant. But, anyway, which option to all of you makes the most sense?

Thanks for any opinions.

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December 8, 2000, 09:30 PM
Off the top of my head (which ain't sayin' very much tonight), the PM should get you no dimples in the mag tube (but these are easily removed with a drill), a phosphate finish (but the Express finish ain't bad), and a metal triggerguard.

Maybe you get better workmanship inside? But I'm not sure; that might cost more to set up than it was worth to the company.

Maybe (someone can report?) you will also avoid the PC locking (un)safety (but that is easily replaced for about $10).

The PM is a fine shotgun, but if $ are a little tight the Express could well be the better choice. Or, to beat Dave McC to the punch (hah! :-) ) you might do even better and get better quality to boot with a used 870. Can't really go wrong, over the long haul, with any of these, though.

Dave McC
December 9, 2000, 05:19 AM
What I said was that the Express MIGHT need a longer break in period to work polish all the parts. A minor matter.

December 9, 2000, 11:33 PM
According to Remington the Police model has tighter tolerances on the internals and the police model comes with the desirable flex tab kit on it. I'm not sure if the express model has the flex kit. Myself, I would go with the police modle if available. Good Shooting-John K

old hawk
December 10, 2000, 08:49 AM
yes the express has the flexitab in it,got one, as for break in,what i did and do anyhow to all mine is to chase the flash off the sharp corners and buff and polish internals, remington sukked at being sloppy with the black matte finish,took an hour to clean the bore out, also polish the inside of the chamber out, the damn thing is stikky unless ya dont.other than that ,its as accurate and smooth as all he other 870's i have owned over the years. i like the nylon stocks as im hard on a gun at times.about all i did other than that was to chase out the groove for the ejector of gunk and polish and polish the area in the reciever for the top of the bolt,im fussy about my shotguns and like em MY WAY! too bad rem couldnt have discovered a way to block the reciever off to keep that stuff on the outside where it belonged.

December 10, 2000, 03:57 PM
i know it doesn't look great, but I wouldn't trade my 870 for anything.

December 10, 2000, 10:59 PM
I just returned from Remington Armorer school this week and here is what I was told. 870 Police action and chamber has been honed and polished, Express has not. All new 870's with the exception of Police will have plastic trigger guard, they claim it is just as strong and cheaper to produce, and locking safety and yes that can be changed out to old style. Police has heavier sear spring which equals heavier trigger pull (approx. 2lbs. more), heavier Carrier Dog Follower spring= more reliable loading/cycling and a 22" magazine spring compared to a 16" mag. spring in all sporting models= Police spring can stand to be left fully loaded for long periods and still function reliably.
Express does have mag. tube dimples that can be ironed out by gunsmith or insert large dowel rod for support and drill out if you feel the need for ext. mag..
If I was using Express for tactical applications I would make sure I did not have a locking safety, did upgrade to 22" mag. spring with a high visabilty follower (which the new ones have) and do a fair amount of shooting and dry firing to smooth up the action. ( All the Express's I have handled worked fine) If you already own an Express or can't find a Police upgrade it, if buying new spend a little more for the Police

December 11, 2000, 08:00 AM
BTM, thanks for the info from the horse's mouth. I'm surprised that they take the time to hone the action -- I was cynically assuming that the extra $ was mostly for the label on the box and the rollmarking on the side of the receiver. Glad to be wrong!

December 11, 2000, 06:18 PM
JNewell, that's what I was thinking, that the price was for the "tactical" look and nothing else. But BTM's reply has answered my question. For a hundred or so dollars more I'd rather have better quality.

Now to find that one private seller at this weekend's gun show who has one... :)


December 11, 2000, 06:57 PM
Is the 870 advertised as a 870 Magnum with 18" bbl. and bead sights (Parkerized) a Police package type (metal trigger guard and all)? Assuming it is, is this gun available in left-handed version? I get no help from Remington's Law Enforcement sales folks and the web site just kind of says "if we make it, we probably make it left handed." The guy I spoke to on the phone had no idea, the lady he referred me to didn't answer my voice mail. Thanks.

Dave McC
December 12, 2000, 07:00 AM
(Mounting the bully pulpit)....

BTM, I'm sure what they told you is what you reported but, I've a problem with Remington's ideas on these shotguns.

A citizen has the same expectation of reliability when purchasing a firearm as an LEO with an issued one. The idea of different parts, different trigger pulls, and a polished action for SOME customers kinda pulls my chain.

Admittedly, the action honing I did on the Youth Express 20 ga I got for the kids consisted of placing a drop of oil on each action bar right where it contacts the receiver when the action is shut, and pumping the thing while watching TV until my arms got tired. Then, a few boxes of shells to check function, and it's,uhm, honed...

As for mag springs, some of the ones in use here have been compressed for decades, and still work perfectly. And would anyone like to explain why a cop needs a more reliable feed than a private citizen?

As for plastic parts, Gaston Glock proved the possibility of making plastic guns with good lifespans, but he wasn't trying to cut costs, he was trying to build a better handgun. Remington's cutting costs.

OTOH, I've no input on the plastic parts breaking.

The more I hear about this stuff, the gladder I am that I have my old style, non PC 870s.

Rant mode off....

December 12, 2000, 11:24 AM
I'm not sure from your description if that is a Police Mag.. If it is Parkerized I would say it is as opposed to Black Oxide (Express). Yes they can Left hand safety any 870, I as an Armorer would not do it, but a Factory Auth. Repair center can do it, they would probably just order a left hand trigger group from the factory rather than modify the one in the gun (but it can be done).

I would say what you did was good for Polishing (slicking up) the action. More on the different parts: The 22" mag. spring does ensure more reliable feeding due to the shells lurching forward in the mag. tube under recoil and if you could work the action fast enough when the shell was forward a shell would not drop down on the carrier (unlikely but possible) also factory rep. said that mag. left loaded for decades come out shorter but still have enough psi. to function (just keep the spring from rusting).

-I am currently carring a Sportsman 12 (Prior to Express made in 1986 only, cheaper finish same parts) I upgraded my carrier dog spring, firing pin retractor spring (newer ones on all 870's have five tight wrap coils in the middle of the spring, which if the spring would break it would wrap on itself but stop at the tight wraps and continue to work even broken, old style would not), I have an 3-shot extended mag. tube with correct spring ( same spring w/ 2 or 3 shot ext. mag.) 20" (rifle night sights) with Mod. Rem choke in place, Orange Hi- Vis follower (old followers with a small nipple against the shells can cause the crimp to open and then have loose buffer material and worse shot in the mag. tube likey to cause a failure to feed, new ones or flat where it touches the shells) mine already had Flexitab on it (Flexitab is "3" different parts- Carrier Assembly, Slde Assembly and Breech bolt Assembly that were all modified slightly to allow it to be easier to clear a Double feed)(Double feed occurs when your right Shell stop latch is broken or worn) (Misfeed occurs when left feed latch is broken or worn). I DID NOT change to heavier sear spring (I don't want heavier trigger pull especially when using as rifle with slugs).

If I had an Old 870 I would upgade at min. Mag. Spring and Hi-Vis Follower, Firing Pin Retractor spring and Flexitab System.

If I had new 870 Non-Police I would at min. replace with heavier Mag. Spring and have changed to old style safety.
-I know this is a long post, but I thought you guys are wanting this kind of info.. I would price upgrading an old 870 it might be worth spending a little more money and getting a new 870 Police and use the old gun for hunting.
-To upgrade a new non-Police 870 would not cost that much.

Let me know if you have more questions, if I can't answer it I have contacts that can.
870 is a classic Pump gun! Ser# 10 is owned by an Older Remington Worker who continues to hunt and shoot Trap with that gun. Enough Said.

Dave McC
December 12, 2000, 03:42 PM
Thanks,BTM. I've done some fast shucking but never, ever had it not pick up,even with old springs. Maybe I've been lucky.

Hi Viz followers are plastic, right? Being the curmudgeon I am, I'll stick with steel and do my safety checks the old fashioned way too.

We had trouble with Tower 870s that would have the shells leak that white buffering stuff all over the insides of the tube and action. A real pain to clean up. We fixed by rotating the ammo monthly and writing up folks that had bad shells and ignored the leakage.

Got an idea that new springs every 20 years or so might be a good idea, even in an 870. And, have heard of firing pins breaking, but not the springs. Must be happening tho, I don't see Remington changing the springs unless they got sued or something.

Your 870 seems well set up. I'd opt for a 4 lb trigger and a lengthened forcing cone myself, but they're minor compared to what you've done....

December 12, 2000, 07:46 PM
No, Brownells is offering a red aluminum follower -- indestructible!