What is the difference?

Tactical, combat, military, law enforcement and home defense use of a Remington 870 shotgun.
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Zebra62
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What is the difference?

Post by Zebra62 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:59 am

Hello Everyone. Zebra here, asking what might seem to be a silly question.

What is the difference?

I recently purchased an 870 Express Youth 20 ga. for my wife for home defence while I am away on business. I was talked into the Remington by a freind of mine who bought one for his wife. I was actually looking at purchasing a Mossberg for her, but since NO ONE in my area had a single Mossberg in stock, I took the option of the Remington.

OK, so now we have a Remington in the house. We have taken it out to our local range and put some rounds through it and we are satisfied it will perform flawlessly should Gypsy ever need to defend the home against a home invasion. It has a very smooth action, very little kick and is easy to move around having a 20 inch barrel. Very nice weapon.

Since the purchase, I have been searching around for things to upgrade with and frankly I am a little confussed. While searching for a tactical stock, I have come across literally hundreds of listings for "870 Express". Less than half of those listings, however, make mention of gauge. Am I to assume (dangerous word, I know) the basic frame of the 870 Express is the same between 12 and 20 gauge and all 870 stocks will fit, or is this an incorrect assumption? Inquiring minds want to know.

I have made one upgrade purchase for "Pinky" as Gypsy calls her shotgun, but only after pestering my friends over at The Great Texas Gun Store and a few calls to MidwayUSA. With everyone assuring me it would fit, I purchased a Choate 5 round magazine extension. I would have settled for a two or three round extension, but those were out of stock at the time of purchase. It should arrive Friday with UPS and Saturday, I should have a much more useful firearm.

On a side note, I have been doing a little bit of math concerning this extension. If I use 2 3/4 shells, I should be able to get ten rounds into the magazine. With one in the chamber and another as a ghost load, I should, in theory, have a twelve round capacity shot gun. Zombies - BEWARE. The math is there anyway, but I am not certain it will hold water in practical use. Has anyone ever installed the Choate 5 round extension on an 870 Express Youth 20 gauge before? If so, what are your thoughts? Is it worth the effort or did I just waste my money?

Thank you for you audience. I'll shut up now.
The REAL definition of GUN CONTROL - The ability to keep your sights on your target.

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Thomas Jefferson

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Synchronizor
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Re: What is the difference?

Post by Synchronizor » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:38 am

First off, I read through your other posts, and I think you and your wife are doing very well in equipping her to defend the house. A 20ga is an often-overlooked choice that makes things much easier for smaller shooters, and still packs a lot of power. Your strategy of using it as "artillery" to protect the family once they're all rounded up in one place is also very smart.
Zebra62 wrote:Since the purchase, I have been searching around for things to upgrade with and frankly I am a little confussed. While searching for a tactical stock, I have come across literally hundreds of listings for "870 Express". Less than half of those listings, however, make mention of gauge. Am I to assume (dangerous word, I know) the basic frame of the 870 Express is the same between 12 and 20 gauge and all 870 stocks will fit, or is this an incorrect assumption? Inquiring minds want to know.
There are two types of 20ga 870s. The ones built on the large frame will be able to use any 12ga or 16ga furniture. I think that if your serial number ends in "X", you have a large-frame 20ga, but don't quote me on that. There's another thread on the subject here.
Zebra62 wrote:I have made one upgrade purchase for "Pinky" as Gypsy calls her shotgun, but only after pestering my friends over at The Great Texas Gun Store and a few calls to MidwayUSA. With everyone assuring me it would fit, I purchased a Choate 5 round magazine extension. I would have settled for a two or three round extension, but those were out of stock at the time of purchase. It should arrive Friday with UPS and Saturday, I should have a much more useful firearm.
An issue with that 5-round extension is that it has a 14.25" tube intended for guns with barrel lengths 26" and longer. It'll work on your 20" barrel, but it'll stick out about 6" past the muzzle. You probably won't have a problem with shot hitting the magazine (though 6" is kind of pushing it), but this will make the gun more awkward to use indoors, and a solid hit on a doorframe or wall could damage it enough to disable the magazine entirely.

I know the Choate magazine extensions use a plastic cap on the end of the tube. I'm not familiar with the details, but if the end of the tube isn't specially machined to accept it, you may be able to cut the tube down to a more practical length yourself.
Zebra62 wrote:On a side note, I have been doing a little bit of math concerning this extension. If I use 2 3/4 shells, I should be able to get ten rounds into the magazine. With one in the chamber and another as a ghost load, I should, in theory, have a twelve round capacity shot gun. Zombies - BEWARE. The math is there anyway, but I am not certain it will hold water in practical use. Has anyone ever installed the Choate 5 round extension on an 870 Express Youth 20 gauge before? If so, what are your thoughts? Is it worth the effort or did I just waste my money?
With that extension (if you want to keep the +5), you should have a capacity of 9+1. With the right shells, you may be able to stretch that to 10+1 if you fiddle with the spring and follower. You can decide whether or not you want to keep it loaded with a round in the chamber (I personally don't like to), but I would strongly recommend against ghost-loading a shotgun in any critical role. It's fine for playing around at the range, but it'll always have a chance to bind up the action at a very bad moment.

A shotgun means limited ammo capacity; there's really no getting around that. If you want to help out, your best bet would probably be to install a sidesaddle, and have your wife (and any kids you would also trust with access to the gun) practice topping off and reloading the magazine from that using snap caps or dummy shells. Don't risk the weapon's functioning on marginal techniques like ghost-loading just to stuff one more shot in.

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Zebra62
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Re: What is the difference?

Post by Zebra62 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:42 pm

Thanks for the advice, Synchronizor.

The actual length of the extension was not thought of in my initial inquiries for some reason. I was more concerned with it actually screwing onto my existing magazine. Having the extension hanging out past the end of the barrel is an issue I may not want to live with. I would rather sacrifice a couple of extra rounds than have the the tube hanging out waiting to get knocked against a wall or something. Plus it would look kind of wrong.

The extension should be in tomorrow and I will have time on Saturday to play with it. I'll let you know how it turns out.
The REAL definition of GUN CONTROL - The ability to keep your sights on your target.

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Thomas Jefferson

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Zebra62
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Re: What is the difference?

Post by Zebra62 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:21 am

OK, I recieved the magazine extension today and was lucky enough to be able to install it after dinner. Gypsy had one of her 'chick flicks' to watch, so that freed up my evening considerably.

I have been doing research on how to install the extension over the last week or so and was confident I could do it without much problem. I have an extesive background in mechanical and aerospace engineering, so I know my way around a fairly wide variety of tools. Confidence was very high to be able to complete the task without much difficulty, and for the most part, things went very smooth.

I chose to utilize the drilling out of the dimples instead of the genuine Remington magazine tube fixing tool because I simply do not have one. YET. I do have a drill press, though, and had the dimples drilled out in no time at all. It took me longer to set the work rest up than it do to do the drilling. After that, I pulled out my trusty Dremel and ground off the sharp edges around the holes, then polished everything smooth. I used the original spring follower to ensure there were no burrs remaining. I ran a blue towel down the inside of the magazine to remove any debris and began to reassemble.

Here is where the bump in the road came to play. Using one hand, I carefully slid the bolt/carrier/forend tube assembly back over the magazine, guiding it back into the receiver to correctly align with the shell latches. Using my other two hands (??????) I pressed the shell latches away and slid the tube assembly in. The problem is that I don't have three hands and the fingers I have on my two hands are too large to work in the confined space of a 20 gauge receiver. After several failed attempts, I did manage to get it back together by placing the forend agaist my work bench and using only my middle fingers to squeeze the shell latches apart. I'm sure with practice it will become much easier. I replaced the barrel and continued with the installation of the extension tube with the supplied spring unaltered.

I did a quick check of the action to ensure everything was moving as required, then proceeded to load the weapon. As I do not have any dummy loads, I used live ammo. With the safety on, finger off the trigger and the weapon pointed in a direction to only blow a hole in the side of my shop and consequently my old truck outside, I loaded 10 rounds into the magazine. As the spring compressed, the tension increased, but not so much I had to force the last couple of rounds in. I was still easy enough for my wife to be able to load. 10 + 1 using 2 3/4 shells.

See the file below for the finished product.
IMG_20130301_230717.jpg
remington 870 Express youth 20 gauge with Choate 5 round extension
IMG_20130301_230717.jpg (179.69 KiB) Viewed 2664 times
Tha magazine hangs out past the muzzle 5 inches. Looks kinda morphydite, I know, and I am not certain I wish to keep it this way. A three round extension would be better, but there is something about an 11 round shotgun I find appealing. Gypsy has viewed it with less than favorable comments, most notably the fact that it will no longer fit in her 44 inch Bulldog gun case. But she does like the thought of having 11 shots, so her feelings are mixed also.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for a future custom build more to my wants/needs. Another 870 20 gauge in an adult size which can handle all the standard 12 gauge furniture. Get it with a 26 inch barrel so it looks cleaner with the extension, then adapt either a folding stock or a pistol grip to keep the overall length down.

BUT...thats another day.

Let me know what you think.
The REAL definition of GUN CONTROL - The ability to keep your sights on your target.

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Thomas Jefferson

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Synchronizor
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Re: What is the difference?

Post by Synchronizor » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:52 am

Zebra62 wrote:I chose to utilize the drilling out of the dimples instead of the genuine Remington magazine tube fixing tool because I simply do not have one. YET. I do have a drill press, though, and had the dimples drilled out in no time at all. It took me longer to set the work rest up than it do to do the drilling. After that, I pulled out my trusty Dremel and ground off the sharp edges around the holes, then polished everything smooth. I used the original spring follower to ensure there were no burrs remaining. I ran a blue towel down the inside of the magazine to remove any debris and began to reassemble.
That's a good way to do it, and I believe it's the method taught to Remington-instructed armorers. There are tools sold that take care of the detents by pressing them out, but it's very easy to damage the magazine at the point where it's brazed to the reciever if you use them wrong (which, not encouragingly, is how the product advertisement videos show them being used...).

If you didn't already, you should use some bluing acid or other finishing product to touch up the bare metal where you did the drilling and grinding.
Zebra62 wrote:Here is where the bump in the road came to play. Using one hand, I carefully slid the bolt/carrier/forend tube assembly back over the magazine, guiding it back into the receiver to correctly align with the shell latches. Using my other two hands (??????) I pressed the shell latches away and slid the tube assembly in. The problem is that I don't have three hands and the fingers I have on my two hands are too large to work in the confined space of a 20 gauge receiver. After several failed attempts, I did manage to get it back together by placing the forend agaist my work bench and using only my middle fingers to squeeze the shell latches apart. I'm sure with practice it will become much easier. I replaced the barrel and continued with the installation of the extension tube with the supplied spring unaltered.
When you insert the fore-end tube, bolt, and slide assemblies back into the receiver, they will only contact one shell latch at a time. Press in one, slip the fore-end back a fraction of an inch, then press in the other, and slide everything the rest of the way in.
Zebra62 wrote:Tha magazine hangs out past the muzzle 5 inches. Looks kinda morphydite, I know, and I am not certain I wish to keep it this way. A three round extension would be better, but there is something about an 11 round shotgun I find appealing. Gypsy has viewed it with less than favorable comments, most notably the fact that it will no longer fit in her 44 inch Bulldog gun case. But she does like the thought of having 11 shots, so her feelings are mixed also.
You should have her try quickly pulling it out of the closet/gun safe and moving around the bedroom with it. There's a reason HD and CQC shotgun builds tend to favor compactness over magazine capacity. A sidesaddle or even a $5 shell loop cuff on the stock would still let her keep the same amount of ammo handy.
Zebra62 wrote:Perhaps this is an opportunity for a future custom build more to my wants/needs. Another 870 20 gauge in an adult size which can handle all the standard 12 gauge furniture. Get it with a 26 inch barrel so it looks cleaner with the extension, then adapt either a folding stock or a pistol grip to keep the overall length down.
A shotgun with a pistol-grip only is difficult to aim consistently. I have one for just playing around, but there are few practical roles where I'd want to have it instead of my traditional police stocks.

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Zebra62
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Re: What is the difference?

Post by Zebra62 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:25 am

Thanks for the tips.
If you didn't already, you should use some bluing acid or other finishing product to touch up the bare metal where you did the drilling and grinding.
We have an outting planned for the morning with the bluing acid on the list. I saw it one of the videos I previewed earlier this week. I need to pick up a real cleaning kit for it also. I have been using blue shop towels and a wooden dowel to swab out the barrel on our trips to the range. Not the suggested method, but it works.
When you insert the fore-end tube, bolt, and slide assemblies back into the receiver, they will only contact one shell latch at a time. Press in one, slip the fore-end back a fraction of an inch, then press in the other, and slide everything the rest of the way in.
Figured that out after my fourth or fifth attempt, then slapped myself in the forehead. DOH!!! Felt like Homer Simpson. Went together like it was supposed to after that.
You should have her try quickly pulling it out of the closet/gun safe and moving around the bedroom with it. There's a reason HD and CQC shotgun builds tend to favor compactness over magazine capacity. A sidesaddle or even a $5 shell loop cuff on the stock would still let her keep the same amount of ammo handy.
Gypsy has actually been doing this already on her own. Not with the extension, yet, as it is newly installed. But she will. She likes the extra rounds and has already negated a side saddle. Seeing how well she does with the extra length will be the deciding factor of either leaving it on until I can get a shorter extrension or going back to the original load capacity. That and how many pings it gets when we are at the range tomorrow.
A shotgun with a pistol-grip only is difficult to aim consistently. I have one for just playing around, but there are few practical roles where I'd want to have it instead of my traditional police stocks.
True that. My Mossberg Cruiser that I carry when I am out in the field is mostly for deterant purposes. Oil field hands are a strange bunch and can get pretty uptight when thier rigs aren't running and I am the guy who goes out to fix them. I haven't had to shoot anyone with it, but I have pulled it to keep from getting my butt kicked. I have a range bag full of bird shot and a bandolier full of 00. Its a bit awkward to try slugs. Need a full stock for those.
The REAL definition of GUN CONTROL - The ability to keep your sights on your target.

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Thomas Jefferson

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