View Full Version : Ghost Ring Sights on 870 Express Receiver/Barrel

November 26, 2012, 09:52 AM
So I just picked up the Rem 870 Express with the factory XS Ghost Ring Sights.

I'm sure most of you have seen this before, but the rear sight is on the receiver with the front dot on the barrel, of course.

Given that the barrel is removable, will I need to re-sight the shotgun any time the barrel is removed?

I'm a new firearm owner and haven't yet taken this to the range, but after purchasing the firearm, the placement of the sights now doesn't make sense to me.


November 26, 2012, 10:31 AM
Unless it's a rifled barrel and you're launching sabot slugs 150+ yards, no. Actually, it should lock up just about the same place when you reinstall. Now, vibration and barrel play have more of a role in accuracy than taking the barrel off and reinstalling it. Those guys who want a super-accurate slug gun usually fix the barrel to the receiver and don't remove the barrel anymore. It makes for more complicated cleaning, but it works. Your best bet, though, is to enjoy some range time and try it out. Slugs will show you the POI shift the best, so get a couple boxes, go to the range, and experiment. I'd bet that at the ranges you're probably going to shoot, you're going to be fine.

November 26, 2012, 11:24 AM
As you're new to firearms/870s/ect... I suggest you polish your chamber. Recently produced 870 express guns are notorious for having extraction issues due to a rough chamber. To do it, get a dowel and put some steel wool around it, put it in a drill and polish away. Polish not grind ;)

November 29, 2012, 03:17 AM
I know that when I remove and reinstall the barrel on my 870 Express it can be off a very small amount. Have you thought about marking a scribe line fom barrel to receiver that would allow you to line them up? Either that or always apply counter clockwise or clockwise rotational pressure to the barrel when tightening down the magazine cap.

Lee Lapin
November 29, 2012, 04:27 PM
will I need to re-sight the shotgun any time the barrel is removed?

It shouldn't make much if any difference in POI (point of impact), as long as you are consistent with the amount of torque placed on the magazine cap when you reinstall the barrel. I usually snug it up, then go one more 'click' on the detent - always by hand, no tools.

the placement of the sights now doesn't make sense to me

Ghost rings work BECAUSE the rear sight is near your eye, and your eye (if you let it) will ignore the rear aperture and automatically center up the front sight. Once you learn not to deliberately look at the rear sight, but look through it and focus on the front sight, the GRs will get to be very fast for you to use.

November 29, 2012, 07:12 PM
FWIW, Slugs guns aren't generally noted for shooting one-hole groups, even on the internet. :p

Just shoot/zero it, and go hunting, it's a good venison-getter.


November 29, 2012, 10:51 PM
Thanks for the guys. Much appreciated.

Lee, I should have been clearer. I totally get the concept of GRS, I was asking why the rear sight was on the receiver instead of the rear of the barrel (close to the receiver) given the removable barrel.

In other words, wouldn't you want the front and rear sights "fixed" to each other.

Klawman, I like your suggestion. Thanks.

November 30, 2012, 01:18 PM
While it's ideal to have both front/rear sight fixed, it's contra-indicated on a gun with a removeable barrel, especially since the best use of ANY peep sight, ghost ring included, is that they be located as close to the eye as possible (why tang sights are favored on some rifles).

When any peep sight is positioned too far away from the shooter's eye, as on the barrel, there's a decided tendency to look at the peep/aperture instead of thorugh it w/o actually seeing it, as is the case when it's closer to the eye.


Lee Lapin
November 30, 2012, 08:34 PM

Ghost rings won't work properly with the rear sight that far from the eye. That's why they're set up with the rear sight on the receiver. Shotguns with ghost ring sights are considered by most folks to be single purpose guns, or at best defensive and large game hunting shotguns.

For removable sights on the barrel, just pick a combo with a rifle sight short barrel, or build a DIY combo by getting whichever barrels you like that include an 18 - 20" rifle sight barrel. That's the way I prefer to set up a 'do it all' shotgun - a 26 - 28" VR barrel with RemChokes, and a rifle sight 18.5 - 20" smoothbore barrel.

Like this one -


18.5", fixed MOD choke, parkerized finish, tritium sights