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Old October 7, 2009, 05:57 PM   #1
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870 vs. 870 Super Mag

I have been kicking around the idea of buying a used 870 Express Super Mag synthetic to use for a knockaround waterfowl gun, and also to put a cantilevered deer barrel on it. I own a Wingmaster now, but would like to reserve that for the field and for clays.

I have heard on many occasions that the Super Mag jams a lot and is not anywhere near as smooth as a 3" 870. I've also been told and have read that I really don't need a 3 1/2" shell for ducks and geese. Would the Mag shells give me enough advantage to offset the jamming issues I've read about? Thought I'd ask the experts...
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Old October 7, 2009, 06:08 PM   #2
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I'm no expert but I've never encountered a situation where a 3" shell was not enougth. I don't claim there is no use for a 3 1/2 shell exept maybe for skybusting geese with steelshot.
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Old October 7, 2009, 06:18 PM   #3
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I have heard complaints with ruff chambers on both express models as well as super ugly finish. Heck the Maverick 88 looks like a "WingMaster" compared to the express models...
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Old October 7, 2009, 07:37 PM   #4
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The Super Magnum is no less reliable or smooth than any other Remington shotgun.

The Express guns are Remington's "budget" guns made to sell at as low a price as possible to compete with cheaper brands like Mossberg.
In order to lower the price, the Express guns are not as smoothly finished inside or out.
As they're used, the Express guns get smoother.
I haven't heard anything about the Super Magnum having any special reliability problems, but a lot of people are reporting extraction problems with all guns when using cheap ammo.
If the Super Magnum had some special issue with reliability, Remington would have fixed the design years ago.
In fact, the Super Magnum is simply the standard 870 with an action lengthened enough to handle the longer shells. The design is the same as the 3" guns, which is the same as the old 2 3/4" guns.

Where the Super Magnum "fits" is for use with steel shot on waterfowl.
Since steel isn't was effective as lead shot, the more shot put up, the better. The 3 1/2" shell simply contains more shot.
One work around, is to use the heavy shot high density non-lead ammo.
This is made from various heavy-metal alloys that don't have toxic issues like lead and are heavy enough to reach up for high flyer's.
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Old October 7, 2009, 07:58 PM   #5
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I don't know. I haven't found any need for anything that shot 3.5" 12 gauge shells so far...

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Old October 7, 2009, 08:17 PM   #6
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I bought one for a waterfowl gun, and it handles just as smoothly as any 870. I've carried it into quail fields and it doesn't seem any heavier or bulkier than any other 870. I like the option of 3 1/2 inches for ducks and turkeys, every pellet counts. I have the express magnum and one thing I'll say is the finish is not up to par. The barrel started spotting with rust after a few days in the blind, and the finish on the stock is wearing off quickly. But hey, its a 870 and never jams no matter what I feed it.
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Old October 8, 2009, 08:12 AM   #7
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I'm with the, " I've never needed a 3.5" crowd. Spent last week in Canada (goose, upland, duck) and made the longest shot of the group with my 3" BB's. Three were shooting 3.5 and two 3. The two 3's were as I quote, "dial 911 there in a murder in progress by the Beretta boys". The thought of a 3.5" pump makes my should hurt.

I am looking for a pump to use as a knock around/bu gun. I typically don't like pumps, but the price for a beater draws me.
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Old October 8, 2009, 08:50 AM   #8
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Luck of the draw

My buddy and I both own 870s in their Express trim. Mine is just the garden variety 870, his is the Super Mag. Neither of us mind the cost cutting measures (el cheapo wood, matte finish, etc) but reliability is luck of the draw on these guns. In the hundreds of rounds I've run thru mine, I've only had real difficulty extracting once. His, however, would have constant issues with crappy ammo. We'd have to bash the buttstock into the ground while holding the fore end to get the shell to come out of the chamber (careful doing this or you could rip the extractor claw right off the rim of the shell). All that being said, when he bought an 18" barrel to convert it to HD mode, it cycled like a champ. Go figure. After he polished the chamber of the other barrel it cycled well too.

Moral of this story: you might get lucky like me, or you might have to do some polishing to get yours to work right. I don't think regular 870 vs SuperMag has anything to do with it. The SuperMag felt just as smooth and swung the same as the regular 870, BTW.
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Old October 8, 2009, 09:03 AM   #9
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As far as new guns go, rarely have I not had to do some polishing or touching up to get them to function perfectly. I'd expect a little work on an 870 as I would any other...just strip it down, give it a good cleaning, smooth out any rough patchs and then take it shooting. The 3.5 "should" work just as well as the 3.0 model.

As for the utility of the longer chamber, I can't imagine living without it. As a guy who hunts in situations where close shots are rare I feel I absolutely Must have the 3.5 chamber for waterfowl. But that is because I use steel shot and it is a truely pathetic substance to use as a projectile.
If I were still firing lead, or if I had the inclination to buy shells for $4 each and use the new "heavy as lead" (or heavier) metals, then I doubt there would be many situations where a 3" chamber would not be plenty.
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Old October 8, 2009, 04:24 PM   #10
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I have had some issues with extracting on my 870 supermag with
28" barrel. It was after the gun heated up a bit after shooting though. I just followed the advice given and detailed it, and then just racked the forend a good bit while just around the house and of course shooting it.

The gun just keeps getting better and better.
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