View Full Version : What makes a HD gun?

October 12, 2001, 01:16 PM
Other than barrel size, what should a person look for in a good HD gun?

I am personally leaning toward a sxs due to its simplicity and less probability for jamming. I have been trying to search out a Stoeger Coach gun, but am not having much luck.

However, are there any other things I should be looking for in a good HD gun?


Will Beararms
October 12, 2001, 01:41 PM
As stated in your previous post, a pump, 870 more specifically you dependability and firepower----------------5 to 8 rounds depending on the model you choose will make an excellent HD SG.

Any competent gunsmith can work on an 870. Parts are in abundance for the 870 and the sound of you racking a shell into the pump is enough to scare the heck out of the average or not so average person.

How many police officers or soldiers carry sxs's or o/u's? None. How many carry pumps? Probably 90%.

My criteria:

12 Gauge 3" Magnum (Will shoot 2 3/4")
Pump Action
18" - 20" Barrel
Full length butt stock. DO NOT GET A PISTOL GRIP. IT IS HARD TO

October 12, 2001, 03:53 PM
I feel that any good, name brand shotgun will perform in a HD role. Pump or semi auto is not as important as length of barrel (short) and practice -heck a O/U, double or singleshot would probably do the job.

A good HD shotgun should include some form of white light projector. Optimally, it should be attached to the forestock so that you have free hands for operation of the shotgun.

Dave McC
October 13, 2001, 08:55 AM
ANY reasonably short, reliable shotgun of at least 20 ga and of two or more shot capacity will serve admirably as a HD shotgun, but....

Often HD shotguns go years in between firings or cleaning. They are still expected to function perfectly after lots of time and inattention. Of course, WE do not do that, do we?

And there's where thr reliability factor really comes in.

NO other shotgun comes close to the durability, reliability and tenacity of the 870. This is a matter of public record. Even the Brit "Best" guns, built by perfection freaks and costing more than my house in some cases need more attention than an 870.

T'were it to hit the fan here right now, I have every expectation that the HD 870 would do its job very well, not bad for a heavily fired, 50 year old gun dragged in and out of salt marshes, goose blinds, deer stands, bramble thickets, in all kinds of weather.It's never needed repair.

Most doubles would've required the expensive ministrations of a good smith several times with a history like that.

There's other good shotguns, many of them. But, a case can be made that any shotgun battery that lacks an 870 is not as versatile, trustworthy and effective as one with....

October 13, 2001, 02:12 PM
In my experience (since the early 60's) I've seen more problems in inexpensive doubles and OU's than ANY pump gun. A friend of mine used to be a large Police dept gunsmith. He said his spare parts supply for the Remington 870 fit into a shoe box, with enough room left for a burger and frys.
For sheer reliability the pump can't be beaten, and the 870 leads the pack.

Like the Colt Single Action Army, the double has just been bypassed by technology, and although they can still do the job, they are really no longer viable defence weapons.

Hammerless doubles, if left loaded, are COCKED at all times. This is hard on the springs, and risky safety-wise. They also have a bad habit of "doubling", firing both barrels at once.

Hammer guns also can double, and are often prone to "fouled" actions.
The only real advantage of the double is shorter overall length, and a fast second shot. In every other department the pump is King. Also, as you noted, finding a good pump is a lot easyier than finding a double.

October 13, 2001, 06:43 PM
(best typed approximation of an 870 pump being racked)

'bout all there is to say.

October 13, 2001, 08:02 PM
For what it's worth ,here's a quote by Col Cooper from G&A.
"If house defense is your primary purpose, do not overlook the Lupara a short-barreled double 12-gauge shotgun with exposed hammers.If your object is to defend your hearth and home,you can almost certainly do it better with that than with an Uzi or an M16" can everybody say AMEN ;) :) :D

October 14, 2001, 11:30 AM
Thanks for the input guys.

Being very new at this and never really having any experience handling guns of any type. I still feel a bit intimidated by a pump, especially when it comes to making sure that it is unloaded.

The simplicity of a SxS puts me a bit more at ease. But based on everyones comments, it really seems that the Remi 870 is the way to go.

So basically how quickly can a person like me get over the initial anxiety over the more complicated pump, and what is an approximate price of a Remi 870 with a sawed off barrel to 20"?

Thanks again.

Oh, also, based on what I just said, is the consensus still that the pump is the way to go?

October 14, 2001, 11:43 AM
The simplicity of a SxS puts me a bit more at ease. But based on everyones comments, it really seems that the Remi 870 is the way to go

Get something that you are comfortable with - it will do you no good if you can't use it well under stress, or if you are unwilling to shoot it much in practice.

Approx price for a new 870 - $250 @ X-Mart, ~$40 @ smith's or machine shop to crop the barrel.

Or go to local shops and look for a good used one, particularly police trade in models.

October 14, 2001, 06:12 PM
Any gun shop can order a Remington 870 Home Defense model. This may not be listed as such, but it is listed under the Express models as the 18 inch barreled Express model. This is a synthetic stocked, black finished, cylinder bore gun. Perfect for HD.
If you want the BEST get a dealer to order a Police model. Price above $400.00.

To look at the current offerings go to:
www.remington.com or www.remingtonle.com for the police guns.
Some people have been reporting buying Remington Express models with factory magazine extensions at Wal-Mart.

Dave McC
October 14, 2001, 07:10 PM
J, you should get what you're comfortable with, tho I bet a few hours of range time would get you comfortable with an 870.

All that aside, get a reliable shotgun in the configuration of your choice and a case of cheap field loads. Get a lesson or two from a qualified instructor. Shoot up the ammo, repeat.

October 14, 2001, 09:28 PM
The regular express synthetic with 18" cylinder bore barrel on their webpage says:
"Note: The Model 870™ Express® is intended for personal use and will not accept law enforcement accessories."

Is this what everyone talks about when they say the new models have the dimpled magazine tube and will not accept the 7 shot extension without modification?

My dealer has an all synthetic/black/7 shot 18" that says express magnum for $329 - it's not a police model from what I can tell - what model would that one be? a few years old?

October 14, 2001, 11:13 PM
Wildboarz - I think that they have just recently released the 870 Express with 18" tube, 3" chamber, synthetic furniture and factory extension.

The MSRP is $329 - I believe that is what you are looking at. It is a very decent piece, and I intend to purchase one for my next 870. They tend to accumulate, if you're living correctly.

Oleg Volk
October 15, 2001, 01:19 AM
Try to borrow and fire several shotguns.

Personally, I like 1187 and Winchester 12 and 1300.
Guns like Ithaca 37 and Mossberg 500 and 590A1, though great in theory, are not my personal favorites. Neither is the 870 though it works well enough.
I seriously dislike Franchi/benelli/Beretta autoloaders though they have great specs and many folks love them.

All that means: test for yourself. Minor points might decide you one way or another.

Once you have the gun, practice with it: trap shooting, walk-through with pop cans for targets, test of penetration. Buy good ammo and fire it (I've had one gun that wouldn't feed premium ammo but was flawless with cheap junk!) to make sure it works. Shotgun in general is such an overkill at close range that anything you can aim and fire would do. Don't overlook 20ga if that means you'll practice more.

Jeff Thomas
October 15, 2001, 01:27 AM
If you can use a computer, you won't be confused by a pump shotgun like an 870.

Buy it, and then either take a tactical shotgun course, or buy a video from Gunsite or another source.

I can't imagine any conditions under which I would choose a SxS over an 870. Really. Unless I only had two shotgun shells to my name ... ;)

Good luck. Regards from AZ

October 15, 2001, 08:20 PM
What do you guys think of the Mossberg 590, 9 shot?

Dave McC
October 16, 2001, 07:53 AM
Doug, the archives here have some stuff on the 590. By and large, the reviews have been good..

October 16, 2001, 09:46 AM
So far I have been happy with my 590A1. This gun is definately a heavy duty piece with its all metal components, heavy duty barrel, ghost rings, and parkerized finish.

October 16, 2001, 03:37 PM
I prefer my Beretta 1201fp over my Rem 870 Marine Mag. because it is much lighter, has tritium rifle sights, has much less perceived recoil, and it is FAST. Although I would not hesitate to use my 870, or any other decent shotgun.

J. Parker
October 19, 2001, 12:29 AM
Got an old Mossberg at a pawn shop for $135.00, sawed the barrel off myself (I ain't no gunsmith) to 181/2" and presto, a home defense shotgun. A little filing, some sanding with #600 emery, and a Cold Blue touch up and you're good to go.
Get some PMC Low Recoil OO Buck, put up a silhouette at 4 or 5 yards and practice rapid double taps at the central chest area. Practice, practice and practice so you don't "short stroke" that puppy. Good Luck, J. Parker

Dave McC
October 19, 2001, 06:38 AM
J Parker, I agree with everything you just posted, but....

Double taps are great with handguns, and virtually unneeded with shotguns. When faced with an AS scenario,just shoot each perp once, center mass. Repeat if needed, but probably you will not have to.

J. Parker
October 19, 2001, 12:14 PM
Roger that Dave, you're right. I was just concerned about a person "short stroking his piece" :). Best, J. Parker

Dave R
October 19, 2001, 12:16 PM
"So basically how quickly can a person like me get over the initial anxiety over the more complicated pump?"

In one afternoon of shooting. I recommend the following training exercise. Buy a box of clay pigeons (under $10). Buy 2-3 boxes of shells (light target loads). Buy one of those red plastic throwers. Take a buddy. Shoot some clays. Train yourself to work the action after each shot. Be sure and take a 2nd shot at the ones you miss. You're not trying to get a perfect score. You're trying to train yourself to work the action after each shot.

Then, just for fun, set up 4-5 clays on a hillside about 15 yards away. With a full magazine, shoot them all as fast as you can. You will be impressed.

"What is an approximate price of a Remi 870 with a sawed off barrel to 20"?

I'm guessing $300-$350? Anybody got better info?

BTW, I would not talk you out of a double-barrel. The only advantage the pump has is magazine capacity.

October 19, 2001, 02:08 PM
Thanks, all great info.

I have convinced myself that a pump is the way to go. The more I handle them, the more comfortable I am getting with them. My local guy has a Remi 870 express with an 18" barrel as well as the Norinco #98 with the 18" barrel. I was comparing the two for some time and the only differences I noted was that the forend of the Remi is a bit fatter. The Remi is also a bit heavier.

Believe it or not, the Norinco felt a bit more comfortable. It was lighter, had a bigger pad on the end and also came with ghostring sights vs the single bead on the Remi.

If my eyes were closed, I probably couldn't tell them apart, except for the additional weight of the Remi.

I still haven't made up my mind yet, but the Norinco is $100 less.

I will go back and pick one this weekend and hopefully get some practice in.

October 19, 2001, 02:28 PM
Keep in mind that unless you're humping that SG around the country, weight is your friend. A heavier SG will have less felt recoil. That 100.00 savings is hard to argue with though.

Dave McC
October 19, 2001, 03:10 PM
J Parker, it takes but little practice for most folks to get past any short stroking malfs. Really small people may be an exception.

JGIORD, get the 870. Besides any ethical conflicts,in these times of wildly changing alliances and trade agreements, it makes sense to not have to depend on foreign sources for warranty work and parts. Get the 870, your great grandchildren will thank you for it.

And, I see more folks add weight to a "Serious" shotgun than try to shave it off. Mine run up to 9 1/2 lbs loaded.