Question on upgrades

Discuss all accessories and upgrades available for the Remington 870 shotgun: stocks, forends, barrels, chokes, magazine extensions, followers, safeties, sights etc.
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KMBrown
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Question on upgrades

Post by KMBrown » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:53 am

I'm new to shotguns and recently purchased my first one a Remington 870 Express Tactical Magpul. What I'm asking for is some advise on whether or not the follower needs to be upgraded (I've heard the factory ones jam) and also what type of side saddle to buy for it. As far as the side saddle goes I am left handed so the GG&G one is out because it is angled for a right handed user. This has the MOE forend so I beleive that a 6 round holder will fit on it since the forend does not cover up the receiver at all. I prefer to buy quality parts so if you have recomendations please don't go off of price.
Thank you for your advice and if you can please add links to the products that would be great, my local gun shops don't carry much so I will be looking to puchase online.

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Synchronizor
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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by Synchronizor » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:14 am

You won't have issues with the follower jamming in that gun, since the Tactical Magpul model uses a one-piece magazine tube. The issue people have with the stock follower is more about its durability. It's a thin plastic, which isn't very impact-resistant.

Personally, I think the best followers on the market are the high-visibility Delrin followers from S&J Hardware. They're made of a very cool acetal resin which is very tough, slippery, and chemically stable. Shipping from Canada is a little spendy if you're in the US, but you can often find them in "buy it now" postings on Ebay with less expensive (or free) shipping. Other followers tend to be made from lower-quality plastics, or from metal, which has more friction and can corrode. There are a ton of metal follower options if you're the type who flat-out hates synthetics, though.

There's a lengthy thread on followers here.

For sidesaddles, you have quite a few options, so it'll probably come down to personal taste. A lot of people like fabric sidesaddles that attach to the receiver with velcro. I prefer the solid ones that bolt on, since I can take them on and off for different builds without messing with stick-on velcro. The Mesa Tactical sidesaddles are widely considered to be the highest-quality, but they're spendy. I like the ergonomics of the TacStar design best, but it's rather cheaply made, and requires some custom work before it'll stand up to hard use.

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rythomas0704
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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by rythomas0704 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:13 pm

Synchronizor wrote: I like the ergonomics of the TacStar design best, but it's rather cheaply made, and requires some custom work before it'll stand up to hard use.
What custom work are you referring to? I am probably going to be getting the Tacstar saddle next week as the mesa ones are just a little to expensive for my taste, as is all Mesa Tactical stuff, and was kind of wondering what you did to make yours better. Thanks.
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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by DaveC » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:50 pm

I'm not the person up post, but if I might add some of my experiences as a Tac-Star side-saddle user:

The very first time I took a defensive shotgun class the tiny allen screws that hold the plastic carrier to the base plate did not survive repeated recoil. I was able to retrieve all but one after the line went cold, but those tiny screws have to be torqued down tight. On my 4-shot side-saddle, I went ahead and put some lock-tite on them before I cinched 'em down. The screws that replace the receiver pins, on the other hand, must never be over-tightened or they'll compress the receiver to the degree that you'll get binding or a jam. I've not had a Tac-Star break on me, but I'm told it can happen in rough use. The Mesa is nice, but as you say, it is prohibitively expensive. I like the full loops, but not enough that I'm going to replace my Tac-Star. I did just get the S&J Hardware velcro panel with shotshell loops to build a side-saddle on my Smith and Wesson/Howa Japan 3000 riot gun and like the product very much. My sense is that shells can be replaced in the Tac-Star much more easily than in the S&J, but they both work good.
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rythomas0704
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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by rythomas0704 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:00 pm

Thanks. Yeah I have heard the same about the screws. Now I know to do that BEFORE I test it out. Yeah to me $25 is a lot better than $75 for a saddle.

I actually have an SJ velcro on my HD gun and I rather like it but I am looking for something a little different on my 870. Plus I dont want to mess with Velcro or adhesives on my 870.
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Synchronizor
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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by Synchronizor » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:56 am

rythomas0704 wrote:What custom work are you referring to? I am probably going to be getting the Tacstar saddle next week as the mesa ones are just a little to expensive for my taste, as is all Mesa Tactical stuff, and was kind of wondering what you did to make yours better. Thanks.
The biggest issue is the mounting screws. The fasteners that come in the package are cheap screws, with poor thread fit and crappy length tolerances. They thread into simple tapped holes in the aluminum baseplate, which are not very durable. My first TacStar had its front hole completely stripped out because the screw could only be threaded in for about 1.75 turns.

With my second unit, I got longer screws, and cut them down so I could thread them completely through the baseplate, engaging all the thread at once. I also use a thread lubricant to help preserve those fragile aluminum threads. This is the budget fix, but it works pretty well. The best solution would be to mill out some of the baseplate and replace it with a tapped steel piece, but unless you have access to a machine shop, this is expensive.
DaveC wrote:The very first time I took a defensive shotgun class the tiny allen screws that hold the plastic carrier to the base plate did not survive repeated recoil. I was able to retrieve all but one after the line went cold, but those tiny screws have to be torqued down tight. On my 4-shot side-saddle, I went ahead and put some lock-tite on them before I cinched 'em down.
That's the way to do it. Before ever using it, pull out all the little screws and put them back in with a drop of blue lock-tite. Tighten them down snugly, but do not over-tighten those tiny screws in the soft aluminum threads. The lock-tite will keep them in place.

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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by Bastard File » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:15 am

Not a big fan of the side saddle as I've seen and heard them fail at the most inopportune time. The concept is a good one however and used by many knowledgeable combat shotgun instructor , but being of the old school, I prefer a leather stock mounted shell carrier, but that's just me. I also have several of the Blackhawk shell bandolier's stashed about, but agree not everyone will be comfortable with 50 12-gauge shot shells around their neck. These are primarily used if leaving the confines of my home may be required in a hurried fashion. I also have and use tactical shell belts with the shells worn in front as they are easy to load from and should provide more than an ample supply of ammunition in a combat situation.

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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by Synchronizor » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:48 pm

The nice thing with having shells on the gun itself is that they're right there, always with the gun, ready to go. A belt or other device has to be picked up and donned separately, and if you toss the gun to someone else, they won't have access to it. The shell cuffs that go on the gun's stock are effective, and a great bang for the buck, but don't always stay put, and can get in the way on a pool weapon that will be used by both right-and left-handed shooters. Shells are faster and more ergonomic to load from a receiver-mounted carrier. The majority of the sidesaddle failures I've heard of can be attributed to improper installation.

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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by Bastard File » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:52 am

I also prefer full length forends & they aren't sidesaddle compatible. I've attended several shotgun schools, Gunsite, Thunder Ranch & Mid South. I used the same basically stock blue worn Wingmaster with 20" rifle sight cyl. bore barrel & a Milt Sparks Cold Comfort leather buttstock shell carrier. Never moved around on the stock as I used two upholstery tacks & nailed it in place! Howzat' for redneck ingenuity:-) I'm 49 years old and retired last year from local law enforcement with 25 years. As a rookie deputy sheriff I was issued a brand spanking new 18" Police Model Wingmaster. I carried it as a patrol deputy, SWAT Member, and undercover Narcotics detective. I retired a Captain and held the title of Director of Training for the then 750 employee department. During that time I was granted permission to add sights to the issued shotgun at my expense. I may have been the first kid on the block to use the then Scattergun Technology Trak-Lok sights! I also had a Sparks ammo cuff on it as well. That shotgun accompanied me on many a search warrant...stake out & thousands of calls for service. It saved my bacon on more than one occasion as well. I was shot in the line of duty & a veteran of more than one gunfight where by the grace of God was the victor. Upon my retirement I was given a gold (plated that is) watch and that old Wingmaster! My wife could probably tell you where the watch is as that kinda stuff means something to her! I can dang sure tell you where that 870 is...behind the door in our bedroom! Hope I never have to bring it out of retirement however!:-)

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Re: Question on upgrades

Post by Synchronizor » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:59 am

Bastard File wrote:I also prefer full length forends & they aren't sidesaddle compatible. I've attended several shotgun schools, Gunsite, Thunder Ranch & Mid South. I used the same basically stock blue worn Wingmaster with 20" rifle sight cyl. bore barrel & a Milt Sparks Cold Comfort leather buttstock shell carrier. Never moved around on the stock as I used two upholstery tacks & nailed it in place! Howzat' for redneck ingenuity:-)
There are ways to get a sporting fore-end to work with a sidesaddle. I've seen people notch out a fore-end to fit around the sidesaddle, and there are 4-round options that will fit without modifications. The fabric carriers that mount to the receiver with stick-on Velcro are more flexible when it comes to placement than the bolt-on units, and I would imagine they could also be trimmed so that they will not interfere.

This is just for the benefit of the larger discussion, of course. What you have seems to be working great for you, and comfort & familiarity are worth far more than most of the details people quibble over on the internet. I love the carpet tacks too; I considered using screws myself, but I tend to shy away from more permanent modifications, as my one 870 is a multipurpose shotgun that gets reconfigured often for different roles (one of the reasons I love the design so much).
Bastard File wrote:I'm 49 years old and retired last year from local law enforcement with 25 years. As a rookie deputy sheriff I was issued a brand spanking new 18" Police Model Wingmaster. I carried it as a patrol deputy, SWAT Member, and undercover Narcotics detective. I retired a Captain and held the title of Director of Training for the then 750 employee department. During that time I was granted permission to add sights to the issued shotgun at my expense. I may have been the first kid on the block to use the then Scattergun Technology Trak-Lok sights! I also had a Sparks ammo cuff on it as well. That shotgun accompanied me on many a search warrant...stake out & thousands of calls for service. It saved my bacon on more than one occasion as well. I was shot in the line of duty & a veteran of more than one gunfight where by the grace of God was the victor. Upon my retirement I was given a gold (plated that is) watch and that old Wingmaster! My wife could probably tell you where the watch is as that kinda stuff means something to her! I can dang sure tell you where that 870 is...behind the door in our bedroom! Hope I never have to bring it out of retirement however!:-)
That is extremely cool, I'd love to see pictures of your veteran 870.

My favorite furniture for my 870 is an old Police hardwood set with all kinds of nicks, dings, and other battle scars from its years of duty (somewhere over on the east cost, I was told by the seller). I have no intention of refinishing it, and I've even kept its old armory inventory number on it. Something about the shape of the older-style Police furniture just makes it fit me perfectly, and all that mileage gives it so much more character than some mass-produced piece of plastic (not that the plastic furniture is any less functional; I still use it occasionally in really wet conditions). In your case, those marks of use must mean so much more, since it was your personal weapon.

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