Years ago I had an 870P police-turn-in shotgun. I bought it, and had it re-parkerized, for $250 in the last '90s. It had wood furniture and an 18" barrel with bead front sight. I added a one-shot extension to it and rarely shot it but at $250 invested it was the gun that didn't live in the safe. Eventually this bit me in the ass as it got stolen (and in hindsight teaching me a valuable lesson about leaving guns out that could be used against you). I never really had much use for a shotgun but have always felt like I should have one, and have wanted to take a couple-three shotgun classes so I might as well own one rather than borrow one.
Why the shotgun? I think it's worth learning. there is a lot of shotgun-hate of late and it seems to be trendy to hate on it in certain circles. Kind of the way art school kids think they are supposed to be atheists so they are. Rather than just hate on something I know nothing about, why not learn to use it and then decide if I think there's an application for it or not?
On the whole I think we (meaning civilian defensive shooters) are getting a little carried away with military applications for things and then trying to force that into our own TTPs. I'm willing to spend the time and money to learn the shotgun and make up my own mind if I see a use for it or not.
I don't want to be in your first group, but I'm not sure if I'll fall into your second or third group ultimately.
And if I want to do 3-gun or shotgun matches, I need a shotgun of some sort. I'd rather not go down the semi-auto path for a variety of reasons, primarily cost.
I put feelers out to a few dealers earlier this year and finally got a hit from one down in Miami with some police trade-in guns. I went down, cherry picked my favorite, and when they came up for sale I went and bought it. I *think* it's an 18" barrel with rifle sights and polymer furniture, but the picture below seems to be playing an optical delusion making it look like a 20". I ordered a NIB 18" rifle sighted barrel and a new firing pin from Remington direct just to be safe, so we'll know soon enough (package arrives here tomorrow). If the barrel on the gun is a 20" I already have a buyer for it, if it's an 18" I may just go ahead and install the new barrel anyway along with the firing pin just to be overly cautious. Haven't decided yet.
Along with the gun I picked up a set of used wood furniture. I will readily admit that this is, to some extent, an exercise in aesthetics. There's just something right about an 870 with wood furniture. Plus, it's easier to cut down to length than the polymer so that's a win/win IMO.
I intend to get the gun refinished, just like the last one, but this time with Cerakote in a parkerized-grey type of color. Depending on if I stick with the current barrel or the new barrel I may or may not have that part refinished as well.
Modifications to start with will be extremely limited. I'll add another 1-shot extension like the old one to start with, probably a sling (simply because it seems like it should have one), cut down the wood stocks, get it refinished, and try to get signed up for a Randy Cain shotgun class. Ultimately I'd like to take Cain, Awerbuck, and Haught shotgun classes, probably in that order. I also plan to try to shoot some shotgun and/or 3-gun matches just to get some trigger time with the thing.
Before my last 870 I had a Winchester 1300 with fixed, extended, tube. When shooting that gun I always felt like it was nose-heavy. Like it just had too much weight out at the muzzle. It wasn't a balance issue but it did affect the way the gun swung, and I would constantly over-swing past where I intended to stop when running the gun in little scenarios we'd run. One such scenario was that we'd set up a series of barrels on each side of a path, with a target on top of each barrel. You'd walk through and your buddy would call out "left" or "right" and that was the target you were supposed to engage. That meant that your muzzle was low ready, down the center of the path, until you got the command. I was CONSTANTLY over-swinging past the targets.
With the +1 it actually adds very little material to the end of the tube, and it limits you to only one shot added which also reduces weight at the muzzle. Look at the size of the +1 relative to the +2. (one of the members on m4carbine.net had a spare +1 extension that he was nice enough to send me).
so, this is the "new" gun. pretty beat in a lot of areas, but I test fired it for two tubes worth of low-brass birdshot on Saturday and it went bang all 8 times so at least it appears to be functional.
I will update this page as progress continues, to include snapping a picture tomorrow of the current barrel next to the incoming NIB barrel.
I was considering these sights from Trijicon but I'm resisting the urge to change things too much until I get familiar with the gun as it comes for the most part. I'm trying to take the small lessons learned about what I liked on the old gun (the +1 extension for example) and what I didn't (bead front sight on the old gun led me to the rifle sights on the new one) but not going too much further than that.
I would actually prefer that they weren't tritium, or at least, I don't care that they are. I just find the rifle sights on the gun now to offer a weird sight picture with that bead on top of the post. I am planning on sticking with the rifle sights for now and am not looking to get in to ghost ring sights.
I arrived at my sight choice two ways.
The first is through my own, limited, use. My previous 870 had a bead sight which just never seemed *right* to me. I can't say I ever really shot the gun enough to have a specific list of shortcomings, but I always thought it should have something more precise. The Benelli M3 that I owned for awhile had ghost rings. It seemed *right* but mostly because that's what I thought I was supposed to think. In hind sight it seemed slower. My hope is that the rifle sights, probably in part due to the fact that the rear sight is barrel-mounted, will split the difference between the two. I'm not certain, however, that the factory version will accomplish this. The white triangle/dot setup seems hard to get a good sight picture with.
The second is that an instructor I trust and respect, who knows way more about these things than I do, prefers the rifle sights. Generally I'm not so quick to take something like that as gospel, but given the person, and my complete lack of experience, I'm willing to chance it.
For those that haven't used/seen them, this is the sight picture with the factory sights. I find it very hard to focus on the front sight as I think the rear is too busy. This is why I would like to get a set of the Trijicons (I think) if they offered a rear that was plain black.
The barrel on the gun is definitely an 18.5"
Compared to the known, NIB, 18.5" barrel that came in yesterday.
I know it's counter to most of the trends, but I'm going to try my best to strictly stick to the path of learning with the basic gun first and then go from there. Right now it needs a refinish just because it's an old, used gun, it needs the wood stock because I need a shorter LOP and the wood is easier to work with, and t needs a +1 based on my previous gun. For a class I'll also need a sling. I really want to try and stop there and go out and use the gun, even if it means carrying ammo in a dump pouch for now just to get some training on it.
Eventually, yes, I think I may wind up with a +4 sidesaddle, and I'll probably want to put some kind of light on it, and I do have ideas about both, but for now, and for the first class I want to take, I think the basic mods I outlined above are all I'll "need".
Doing a little research to kill the time while I look for a local parkerizer and try to find a class...
I found 3-dot night sights that "drop in" to the Remington rifle sights from three manufacturers:
I emailed all three and asked the width of the front post and rear notch. I didn't really expect a reply from Trijicon, which seems to be their norm. I did, however, get replies from the other two.
Meprolight Front - 0.113"
Meprolight Rear - 0.95"
Ameriglo Front - 0.250"
Ameriglo Rear - 0.250"
This of course begs the question of what the factory Remington parts are, but I have to dig out my gun tools post-move and measure them.
I shot a shotgun/pistol match today. You can read more about it at the AAR. The short version is that the stock front sight is definitely too small to see, the stock is most definitely too long, and I need to find a way to carry spare ammunition at least for matches.
Got the wood butt-stock cut down today and installed the wood forend as well. Decided to go with a 13” length of pull, and used a Pachmayr Sporting Clays 1” Decelerator pad mostly because it was what my friend who helped me out had on hand. We Chopped it on a chop saw after laying it out and marking it with tape, and then I scribed the shape of the wood onto the plate on the pad and used a belt sander with sanding disc to shape it down. I was not able to taper the pad but I’m not sure it matters for now.
Remington 870P with wood furniture, cut down to 13” LOP, and Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad
I ordered a replacement pad for my friend to replace the one he gave me, and also ordered the Trijicon night sight set from Brownells. I am also considering having the gun refinished with Cerakote but am mulling over whether or not I think the price is worth it given that the shotgun is used and I’m hoping to keep it cheap overall. I am having trouble finding someone to parkerize the gun for me and would not only prefer that finish but am also hoping it will be cheaper since, as I understand it, the process is pretty simple. I will hold onto the sights and not install them until I get the finishing issue figured out, but the balance between the cost and the desire to abate some of the rust issues is something I need to continue to cosider.