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Old October 26, 2009, 10:34 AM   #1
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Looking for some noobie info on the Rem 870 and shotguns in general

I've been accidentally informed that a shotgun is in my near future (Christmas) and asked if I can tell the offending party what I want, so she can guide my wife. With so many shotguns out there, she's bound to get it wrong, right?

Anyway, I've pretty well decided that an 870 would be ideal as I don't want to ask for something too expensive, and they're infinitely supportable. If I do some hunting, target shooting, and teach the wife how to use it, it will have served its purpose. If I want something nicer, I'm sure she'll be happy to keep the 870.

I've got a few questions, though. I like the 870 Express Synthetics (I'll tell her friend that any black 12ga 870 will do, for the sake of keeping it simple on them at the gun show) but I think I want a Supermag. Do they have any trouble cycling through 2 3/4 shells or are they just as reliable? I've seen barrels with the long raised sight running the length of the barrel, but can't make heads or tails of it. I imagine that the barrel will neck down right after the chamber, but is that rail on a decline, or does the barrel get wider again as you run down the length of it? I know that chokes are interchangable, but what does that achieve, and do you need an assortment of them (are they like having a bag of jets on a carburetor)?

It also seems like the combo 870s give you a hell of a deal on the second barrel, as they're nearly as expensive as the rest of the shotgun when you buy separate. Is there a good place to go to buy barrels without getting ripped off?

I'm sure I'm missing other nuances, but I'm not supposed to know about my Christmas present so I can't just go running down to the gun shop without blowing my cover. If there's a good site or FAQ as an intro to shotguns and another as an intro to the 870, I haven't found it.

Thanks guys,
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Old October 26, 2009, 06:33 PM   #2
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870's are great shotguns, something about steel receivers and made in USA.

Isn't the Supermag the 3.5" gun? If so, I've got to ask the question "why"?
That's a bunch of shotgun for learning to shoot and target shooting. Sure, you can shoot 2.75 shells, but why pay for it if your not. I'm thinking the receiver is longer and heavier too! (could be wrong) Also heard stories of guys short stroking 3.5 guns when in a hurry or awkward body position.

The 3.5 seems the proverbial answer w/o a question to me. The ones I've shot w/ mag loads kick like the devil too.
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Old October 26, 2009, 06:54 PM   #3
Lee Lapin
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I don't care for the 3.5" 12 gauge concept, but then I don't hunt geese with steel shot either.

And I like wood furniture on shotguns better than synthetics- it's easier to adjust the fit to the shooter with wood, as a rule.

Definitely have no arguments about the 870 idea, though if you really are figuring on your wife using it, you might want to think about a Youth Model in 20 gauge.

Vent ribs (ventilated ribs) are what I think you're talking about. They serve to provide a line of sight along the top of barrel and help the shooter track a moving target.

Choke tubes, mostly just the basics will do- ImpCyl, Mod and Full pretty well cover the needs of most folks. But like anything else, there are lots of choices. Chokes influence the pattern size and therefore the ranges at which the shotgun is most effective in saturating a target with shot. See , , etc for more info.

Remington's website covers available 870 models pretty well-


Youth models-

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Old October 26, 2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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Isn't the Supermag the 3.5" gun? If so, I've got to ask the question "why"?
Some good points to consider here and the only use I see, is for water fowl. If you go with the Express, you will be able to shoot 3" shells. Also get the synthetic stock as the finish on the new laminated wood, is no more that a stain on the wood. Might also note that the trigger guard, is made of plastic. Another point is that the Express, only comes with one choke tube and that is the modified one. You will definitely want to buy the others and they go for about $25.00 each. Even though these are not Wingmasters, you are still getting a very servicable shotgun. I think that there is still a $30.00 rebate on them that you will get back in a timely manner.

Be Safe !!!
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Old October 27, 2009, 06:28 AM   #5
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Why oh why did you have to post a link to the Remington web site! I went there, now I have a catalog on the way, I have signed up for a news letter and entered the contest to win an 870 Express combo! When that catalog comes in the mail and my wife sees it (and she will cause she get the mail) I will have to blame you!!!! That 870 is a nice gun for sure!
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Old October 27, 2009, 01:02 PM   #6
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Lee, thanks so much for the good links. For those that asked, I was interested in the Supermag because of versatility. The 870 seems to be the cheapest and easiest way to enter the shotgun world with a lot of versatility. If the price were similar at a gun show between a Supermag and Express, then I'd expect the Supermag to be the better choice. Perhaps I was wrong there.

Regarding chokes, that Cabella's link had everything I needed to know.

My only remaining question, then, is regarding the vent ribs. It looks like they meet the base of the barrel near the chamber, get a little gap between them and the barrel along the way, then meet again at the end. Does this mean that the barrel is flared at the end, that the vent ribs are not parallel with the bore, or that they're not straight and just get pulled down toward the end of the barrel? It just strikes me as odd, so I'm curious why the vent rib is the way it is. Thanks again for the help, guys.

I think the guidance for the friend of the Dear Wife will be to find a black Remington 870 Express for the best reasonable price. Depending on what's on the table at the gun show, I'll tell her that Supermag is good, two barrels is better, let price be the deciding factor.

I'm actually proud of the wife that she'd do this for me, so I don't need her to break the bank doing it!
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