870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Tactical, combat, military, law enforcement and home defense use of a Remington 870 shotgun.
gd2a
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870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by gd2a » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:34 pm

Hello & Happy New Year Everybody!

I just picked up my first shotgun this morning; 870 Express, 18 inch. The store was completely sold out of all 00 Buck, save a few boxes of Remington and that might have been a good thing. I picked up two boxes so I have something but was wondering what folks prefer and suggest for this gun. I'm new to shotguns so no idea is too rudimentary for this rookie!

What has been brought to my attention thus far is high v low brass shells, 2 3/4 v 3 inch and 00 buck v slug for a general purpose defensive weapon. If this question has already been "asked to death" here, forgive me, but I didn't find it when I did a search.

Best,

Matt

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Synchronizor
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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Synchronizor » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:58 pm

For HD, my shotgun stays loaded with buckshot, either 00 or #4. I like Estate shells, and Winchesters are alright if you avoid the really cheap stuff. Remington is probably some of the best, and the sealed primers & crimps are nice for hunting, but other options work just as well inside the home for less money.

I usually keep Foster-type slugs handy, in case I need to make a distance shot. They pack a punch, but won't spread out like shot, and will stay lethal over long distances. If you're going to employ slugs, think about what's behind your target and where that slug could go if you miss. Sabot slugs are meant to be used in rifled barrel; they'll shoot out of a smoothbore barrel without any trouble, but won't be accurate.

Save the 3" and magnum 2.75" shotshells for hunting, that's what they were designed for. At ranges inside a house, 12 or 15 00B pellets won't realistically get the job done any better than 9 pellets; and the extra kick and blast make it slower to get a second shot off if your first one misses.

Some will recommend birdshot for HD, to reduce the chances of over-penetration. I don't. To paraphrase from the wise words of Massad Ayoob; there's no magic ammunition that will penetrate deep into flesh and bone but not pass through few sheets of drywall. Birdshot pellets need to be bunched up in order to be effective against a large target, which severely limits their effective range (especially with no choke). If you do feel the need to go with birdshot, pick the largest pellet size you're comfortable with, and test how it patterns out of your gun (you should actually be doing this with any ammo your life might depend on).

There are plenty of novelty rounds marketed for HD; strung buck, duplex loads of mixed birdshot & buckshot or shot & a slug, rock salt, flamethrower rounds, tacks, etc. I don't see a point to most of it, aside from creative ways to destroy cans or plastic jugs.

Less-lethal loads like bean-bags or rubber buckshot might have some applicability in certain scenarios, but they're designed for massed police against unarmed (or lesser-armed) mobs. If I'm defending my life against an armed attacker, and it's come to the point where I'm shooting back, I'll be shooting to kill. As the name implies, less-lethal rounds can still kill a person anyway. If I'm not justified in shooting to kill, I'm not justified in shooting and hoping for a wound.

Anyway, those are my thoughts & opinions. Whatever you choose, test it yourself for reliable function, performance, and control-ability.
Last edited by Synchronizor on Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Kentactic » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:48 pm

9 pellet 00 Buck and make sure you pattern it. Standard full power 2.75'' shells are all you want. With all that said i run Low Recoil 2.75'' 00 Buck ONLY because i can buy cheaper ammo and still maintain an acceptable pattern. Id prefer full power but for the ammo in my price range the patterns unacceptable. The low recoil reduces deformation of the pellets and that keeps the pattern tighter. Now i use one load for all self defense purposes so that is why im concerned more with pattern. If its in HD ranges more or less any full power 00 Buck will pattern well enough. But again. make sure for yourself.

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Jamie » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:27 pm

I'm real early in this 'search' myself, what I've found so far is inexpensive, low-recoil 00 buck for inside the house distances. Low recoil will allow faster follow up shots, (if needed, :) ). I've found that with MY gun, 18.5" barrel I can put about half the pellets on a silhouette at 25 yards, all of 'em on the target paper, 2'X3'. I want to test some of the Federal LE ammo with the 'Flite Control' wadding. Seems like from what I've found researching that at 25 yards I could put ALL the pellets into the sihouette. From that range out, I guess it's slug time.

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by gd2a » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:27 pm

Thank you very much for the replies! Looks like 2 3/4 is hands down the way to go and its good to have that starting point. Do you give up much "oomph" when choosing low recoil ammo?

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Synchronizor » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:10 pm

gd2a wrote:Do you give up much "oomph" when choosing low recoil ammo?
It depends on the specific load, but a lot of the time it's a simple velocity downgrade from ~1325 fps to ~1100 or so. Remington (and probably others too) has some low-recoil 00B loads that shoot 8 pellets instead of 9. If I was after a low-recoil round, I'd probably go that way, but that's just me.

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Kentactic » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:03 pm

gd2a wrote:Thank you very much for the replies! Looks like 2 3/4 is hands down the way to go and its good to have that starting point. Do you give up much "oomph" when choosing low recoil ammo?
Ive done penetration tests in books with low recoil 1175fps vs. Full power 1345fps. Honestly i didnt see much difference.

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Kentactic » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:06 pm

Jamie wrote:I'm real early in this 'search' myself, what I've found so far is inexpensive, low-recoil 00 buck for inside the house distances. Low recoil will allow faster follow up shots, (if needed, :) ). I've found that with MY gun, 18.5" barrel I can put about half the pellets on a silhouette at 25 yards, all of 'em on the target paper, 2'X3'. I want to test some of the Federal LE ammo with the 'Flite Control' wadding. Seems like from what I've found researching that at 25 yards I could put ALL the pellets into the sihouette. From that range out, I guess it's slug time.
If you havent tried winchester ranger low recoil i recommend it. Same setup at 25 yards all pellets on the bad guy. 7 pellets give or take land in around a 14" pattern. Most importantly its not very expensive. Before the ammo run it was $165 for a 250 rnd case. Its went up a bit.

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Synchronizor » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:30 pm

Kentactic wrote:Ive done penetration tests in books with low recoil 1175fps vs. Full power 1345fps. Honestly i didnt see much difference.
Given the same shot mass, going from 1175 fps to 1345 fps gives you about 31% more energy at the muzzle.

That said, this is a 12ga; I've seen the plastic wad alone put someone in the hospital. The more important consideration is how well you can control the shotgun, so low-recoil loads are a very viable option for HD.

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Re: 870 Express HD Ammo Suggestions Please...

Post by Kentactic » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:50 pm

Synchronizor wrote:
Kentactic wrote:Ive done penetration tests in books with low recoil 1175fps vs. Full power 1345fps. Honestly i didnt see much difference.
Given the same shot mass, going from 1175 fps to 1345 fps gives you about 31% more energy at the muzzle.

That said, this is a 12ga; I've seen the plastic wad alone put someone in the hospital. The more important consideration is how well you can control the shotgun, so low-recoil loads are a very viable option for HD.
30% difference seems very high not saying your wrong but its only 170fps difference. But as far as recoil ya if its a smaller framed shooter the low recoil may be beneficial. But proper stance helps a lot. I have a friend whos about 175lbs whos bird hunted and trap shot his whole life. That sideways stance is garbage for recoil management and it shows. I can pump out all 7 rounds of full power 00 as fast as i can work the action. Recoil is not a factor. And im not saying thats anything special. Im about 6'1'' 245lbs so im able to slack on technique and get by. But even a smaller shooter can manage full recoil loads with proper technique.

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