The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 5, 2009, 04:02 PM   #1
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: MI, U.S.A.
Posts: 28
Remington 870 - Just a Combat Shotgun?

I've heard a lot about the Remington 870 12 gauge and that it is a great combat shotgun. I've shot one a few times and also a Mossberg 500 and I prefer the Remington.

I'm looking to expand my hunting to game bird and I was wondering if this would make a good hunting shotgun as well as combat/home defense?

I'm also looking to get into skeet shooting to practice for when I hunt birds.

Any opinions? I'm sure there are.
gungho is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 04:06 PM   #2
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
There is no American made combat only shotgun with the exception of the AA12. there are variants of many leaning more towards the needs of combat. The standard 870 wingmaster or Mossberg 500 are great hunting guns when set up according to your hunting needs.
hogdogs is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 05:56 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: October 31, 2008
Posts: 312
I shoot skeet with my 870 no problem. It is also the gun I'll be using for bird hunting this season.

It is also the only shotgun I own. I'm not sure if I'd use a different shotgun if I had the option. Don't have the experience to decide yet.
doh_312 is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 06:05 PM   #4
trigger happy
Senior Member
Join Date: January 6, 2006
Location: Pensacola
Posts: 759
the 870 Wingmaster is considered one of America's premier hunting shotguns, did I miss another meeting? has something superceded it in my absense?
"You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass" Admiral Yamamoto
"You have enemies ? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life" Winston Churchill
trigger happy is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 06:53 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: June 19, 2009
Location: Loadbenchville, Bolt 02770
Posts: 544
I've got an 870 12 gauge... All Advantage Camo, double bead sight, Super Full choke. Taylor Your loads to the game, and that 870 is a Do-All....

Like most Shotguns can be....
Christchild is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 07:06 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: April 14, 2008
Location: Family ranch - Central TX.
Posts: 467
Based on numbers sold (10 million +), the 870 is the premier hunting shotgun in the U.S. There are other, excellent shotguns for that purpose that many knowledgable hunters prefer, but the marketplace has basically voted for the 870 as our best hunting shotgun for 5-6 decades now.
TxGun is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 07:06 PM   #7
XD Gunner
Senior Member
Join Date: October 18, 2006
Location: Central Kentucky
Posts: 636
Any opinions? I'm sure there are.
Yes. I have taken birds, squirrels, turkey, and rabbit with my old 870. Not too mention thousands of skeet. The 870, in my opinion, is the smoothest operating shotgun out there. My old (think early 70's) 870 made my Nova look, feel, and pump like a cheap toy.

There are two types of Pump Shotguns, the Remington 870, and everything else.
I've had 1911s and carry a mutant CCO-sized 1911-ish thing. -Jart

If handguns cause crimes, mine's defective.- Eric Shelton
XD Gunner is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 09:32 PM   #8
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
I've hunted with 870s since 1959. Everything from dove to deer has fallen to them.

In fact, my guess is that with ten million 870s out there, more game has fallen to the 870 than any other shotgun.
Dave McC is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 10:07 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: April 20, 2009
Location: Helena, AL
Posts: 3,547
I've had a LH 870 since the 70's.
GeauxTide is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 10:59 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: April 28, 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 690
The only real difference is not the fire control part of the gun. The problem with a combat shotgun is it generally has too open a choke to be a good general purpose bird gun. It will work for close range shooting, but you really will need a second barrel preferably with screw in chokes or old take off full or modified barrel to make the most of the gun for hunting. rc
rc is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 12:02 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: October 23, 2009
Posts: 195
The 870 - an american hunting legend.
javven is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 03:23 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 5,986
870 v. 500

Both are classics, USA made, durable, and can be tweaked to hunt, fight, or shoot claybirds.

The 870 is a steel receiver and is heavier than a 500, all things equal. The steel rec gives great strength, I have a brother in law whose 870 has digested skazillion trap loads and keeps ticking. The weight absorbs recoil some too.

The 500 has an alloy receicver (alum?) and is a bit lighter, again all other things equal. The 500 has become popular w/ turkey hunters here for that very reason, cause you tend to walk alot, and there's no need for weight for a smooth swing and follow through, gobbler hunting is about one well aimed (not pointed) shot. Same for the polymer framed Nova. But I have never seen a 500 in the hands of a serious clay shooter. And in the magnum 3.5 versions, the 500's kick HARD. I know several guys who shoot 3" shell in their Mossy's, saying that's all they need to kill a gobbler in range anyhow.
bamaranger is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 03:41 AM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: October 21, 2006
Location: Western US
Posts: 1,957
I have an 870 and two barrels for it. It can be either.
RockyMtnTactical is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 08:58 AM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: June 30, 2008
Location: Northern Va
Posts: 501
I just picked up an 870 Express with 28" barrel for mostly shooting trap with the kids. I also looked at the Mossy 500, but didnt like the alum receiver, the slide forearm was a LOT looser than the 870, the looks and feel just didnt appeal to me.

I know the 870 is not optimal for trap, but I didnt want to sink a lot of money into something I might not wind up using very much (a dedicated o/u trap gun). Plus the 870 is flexable to also serve as a HD gun with simply a barrel change. We have a friend that shoots trap and skeet with an 870 and a short barrel, and kicks butt with it.

gregjc9 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 10:42 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,442
R-870 confusion

When you mention the Remington 870, you're talking about a family of shotguns, not a specific model. To the gray beards, like me, we think of the venerable 870 Wingmaster with it's shiny wood and deep polished blue steel when an 870 is mentioned. The military and LE communities think of the Special Purpose and Tactical 870 models. Those looking for a budget first shotgun have probably compared the Mossberg 500 against an 870 Express model. When espousing the virtues of the 870, especially to potential shooters, please remember to mention which 870 you have in mind.

Members' reports of the 870 being a wonderful old sporting and hunting gun are mostly based on the classic Wingmaster models not the modern "cheapened-down" Express models with plastic parts and dull metal finishes. With the cheapest Wingmaster's MSRP ($785) more than twice that of the basic Express ($385), it's easy to understand why the former has a dwindling market share. It's hard for the new shooter to justify a Wingmaster when he can get an Express with a few extra barrels and have some cash left over.

There was a time when the Winchester Model of 1912 (M12) ruled the roost as the pump shotgun of choice (it still does for many). Then, in 1951, Remington's cheaper 870 was introduced, and it eventually drove the old W-M12s out of business. Since 1987, the Expresses has been doing the same thing to the original 870s. Remington presently lists 28 different Express models and the Wingmasters are down to just 4 models. Who knows if there will be any Wingmasters available next year. If you want a piece of history, this may be your last opportunity to get new "real" 870. Of course, you can always go looking for a sweet shooting W-M12.
zippy13 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 12:56 PM   #16
Senior Member
Join Date: April 14, 2008
Location: Family ranch - Central TX.
Posts: 467
^ agree.
TxGun is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 01:03 PM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: May 15, 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 701
I have only one shotgun it the 870 Mag. Express. I use it for hunting, trap, skeet, clays. With choke tubes theres not alot the gun can't do.
Dustin0 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 01:58 PM   #18
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: MI, U.S.A.
Posts: 28
Thanks for the info Zippy. Very enlightening.

The specific 870 I was looking at is;

It's the Express. I'll keep my eye out for the Wingmaster, however, I'm not planning this purchase until next year. So if your theory on them being gone, at least a "new" one, then I might be S.O.L.
gungho is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 02:58 PM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,442
Gungho, the link you have is for a left-handed 870. Are you looking for a left handed shotgun? If yes, it will put a new perspective on your shotgun search. Sadly, Remington no longer lists a Wingmaster LH model. For the south-paws they list only one Express model. And, spare barrels (and some other parts) for the LH action may be difficult to obtain. Because of this, many left-handers shy away from LH specific shotguns and opt for the ambidextrous bottom load/eject models like the Browning BPS. The Brownings are well respected and very handsome and there are about a dozen model variations cheaper than a Wingmaster.
zippy13 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 03:05 PM   #20
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: MI, U.S.A.
Posts: 28
I am indeed looking for a left handed shotgun, which is part of the reason I settled on the 870 as the Mossberg did not list one.

I'll look into the Brownings as well. Thanks again for the input.

P.S. - According to Gallery of Guns, they've got two Browning BPS;

A little more expensive, but that might or might not be deterrent right now. It ejects out the bottom? I'll have to watch some videos of being shot as I know no one that owns one.
gungho is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 05:43 PM   #21
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
A couple things....

With 5 870s here, there's a range of options.

Mission specific "Serious" shotguns are the two with short barrels, mag extensions, peep sights and wear marks up the wazoo. They are kept ready with 00.

A wingshooting tool is the one made in 1955 with the newer 30" Remchoked LC barrel and the extended stock. It may fit me as well as any shotgun ever has and has a good record on flying stuff.

T'other two can go either way.

Frankenstein has the 21" barrel on,is currently stuffed with 4 buck, and is stashed nearby, just in case.

The 20 gauge has a 21" barrel also, and handles like the quail gun it is, but there's some 2 buck loads here in case I need them.

And a 20" RS barrel that likes Rottweil Brenekkes, though kick is emphatic even by my standards.

However, these mainly get used as hunting tools. With a longer barrel on, Frank redefines the term "Goose Gun".

SO, out of my five I have only two that are dedicated defensive arms, and two more that can go that way at need.

And that's one big reason to get an 870 or 500. You can set it up as you want it, but it's as versatile as a SAK.

In fact, the "Turkey" Express models with 21-23" barrel is a very versatile tool and a lot of gun for the money.

So's the equivalent 500 version.

And while I'm on the subject.....

IMO, the 500 will not hold up to heavy use nearly as long as the 870.

But, in all these years of shotgunning, I've yet to see a worn out 500.

I doubt they'll wear down past usefulness inside 50K rounds, and possibly not within 75K.

I care not a whit which one you shoot, just whether you're shooting......
Dave McC is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 06:41 PM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 12,897
Like Zippy mentioned - the Rem 870 Wingmaster, the Browning BPS and the model 12 Winchester are probably considered the better pump guns on the market for clays and birds ( tactical is a different issue ).

Personally, I prefer the Browning BPS Hunter model with a 28" barrel / and I've had a 12 and 20ga for many years. I also like them as a training or as a first gun, for grandkids etc, because they are cast neutral (so a leftie has no disadvantage shooting them ), they eject out of the bottom so hulls land at your feet, the safety is on top of the tang and easy to get to ... They're easy to strip down / remove the bolt assembly, trigger group, etc ...

For the money, I don't think you'll find a better pump gun than the BPS Hunter models. In my area they're selling new for around $ 500 - and I see they list new on Browning's site for $ 599 / and they maintain their value extremely well. Although my primary guns are mostly O/U's - I still enjoy bringing the pump guns out once in a while for some Skeet or even Sporting Clays.
BigJimP is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 07:20 PM   #23
Junior member
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
My 870 Wingmaster fills both roles. 28" barrel Mod. choke, and the 18.25" police trade in barrel for HD. I had the whole thing powdercoated black chrome so it is all weather and matches all accessories, extended mag tube and original barrel nut for hunting barrel, etc..

Yes Just buy the accessories and it will head to the game fields too.
Edward429451 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:11 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10532 seconds with 7 queries