Saturday, January 11, 2014

Project 870P Soliciting Input

I got a little bit of money so it's time to dust off the 870P and finally finish this project. Leaning heavily on TEOTWAWKI Blog's Project 590A1 here is what I am looking at:
Paint- DIY flat black. The finish on this gun is terrible so I'm going to rattle can it flat black. Honestly I don't care what it looks like but need a reasonably (more than exposed metal) corrosion resistant finish to be able to use the gun. Will keep the wood, well wood colored for aesthetic as well as social/ legal reasons. I want the gun to look as much like the same pump shotgun every Louisiana resident seems to own 5 of if I have to go to court.
Sling- Single point as of right now till I get a better plan though I may just stick with it. For a house gun honestly a sling isn't THAT important other than that I want one.
Light Mount- Elzetta ZMS
Light- Either a Streamlight or a Surefire G2. A good basic pretty bright light
Ammo carrying (on gun)
Sidesaddle- Essetac shotgun cards.
Buttstock- shot shell carrier generic type
Total this will be something like 21 rounds on the gun.
Ammo carrying (off gun)
2 more essetac cards in my Costa Leg Rig along with 2 pistol reloads and a hand held light. This will probably go on a duty belt with a holster, an IFAK and some zip ties to become the "bump in the night belt".
This will bring the round count to 35 shotgun shells and 3x pistol mags. Plenty for an HD setup in my mind.

A bag with about 35 rounds of loose OOB and 3x 5 rd boxes of slugs. I would like to replace this with a claymore bag (they have 2 pouches and would be perfect for this. If anybody has one to spare I'd love to trade something for it. I would grab this if I was going outside which admittedly is a point where I would think hard about switching back to my AR but who knows, this would be a nice hurricane setup. My shotgun has ghost ring sights so after I confirm zero for slugs it could reach as far as I can see myself shooting anyway.

To the ammo discussion. There are lots of options but as I've discussed before keep the birdshot for little birds.  I favor #4 BUCK because it gives a whole lot of sufficiently sized projectiles. More holes= more blood loss and more chances to hit the vital die right now body parts. If carrying this gun in the wild I tend to throw in some #4 or #6 shot just in case I need to do a Wilderness Walk Out.

Anyway before I pull the trigger I wanted to get your input. Maybe I'm missing something.



Aesop said...

This is a gun that needs minimal futzing with.

My suggestion would be to either get Brownell's big book or specific Rem870 mini-catalog, and see if there are any "just-gotta-have" items within.

My personal favorite is no longer made, but it was the Pachmayr Vindicator kit, not because of the pistol grip, but because it gave one a gripier rubber-encased forend, which can tame moist environments or unexpectedly sweaty palms.(Of course, now that I want one of the pistol grips for a truck gun, they're no longer made.)

FWIW, instead of the Claymore bag, I just got ahold of a VN-era vintage ALICE canvas (not nylon) butt pack, and snapped a GP carry strap to it. Half an hour with needle, thread, and a piece of scrap material gets you an internal divider, and a little work with a sewing machine, or better yet, entry-level Tandy leatherworking skillz and some barge cement or ShoeGoo gets you a slit in the top for reaching inside, covered with overlapping leather for protection, yet easily able to be pushed or pulled through with a mittfull of shells. If done right, the buttpack easily holds 4x25 round boxes, or the equivalent loose.(If you load it that full, it works better mounted on a military cartridge belt on the off hand side, and keeping the sling for a homemade Sam Browne kinda deal, but gives you the rest of the belt for any other holsters and other misc doodads.)

My on-gun round storage is a two-point sling with 20+ slots, because it keeps that stack of spare rounds from recoiling into one's face or anything on the butt getting in the way esp. if I have to shoot left-handed, but different strokes for different folks.

Getting a long (12") Craftsman screwdriver or spinning bit driver and flat-tip extended bit for rapid stock removals and replacements is a must, esp. if you're going to be putting a single point holder between buttstock and receiver junction, oir anything else with the deeply-buried stock screw. I would also recommend replacing the usually crappy cheap plastic shell follower with a non-rusting jam-proof (heavy-duty plastic or anodized aluminum) shell follower in a high viz color like day-glo orange if it didn't come with one, and a spare magazine forend cap, mag spring holder, and spare mag spring all kept oiled in a sealed plastic tube are never a bad idea. Possibly replacing the (OEM plastic) trigger guard with a sturdier metal one may be your cup of tea, or not, along with an enlarged safety button, or not, until such time as Remington revisits the 870, does the right thing, and puts the safety on the tang like Mossberg does, where it properly belongs. I'm not holding my breath there.

My Express was a factory-five arrangement, so it has a spare 28" Rem-choke barrel and assorted chokes, and I added an aftermarket 2+ mag extender, and kept the original shorter mag spring. If the OEM 2-round extender on yours doesn't permit that quick-change option, my condolences.

Consider a plain-Jane Express as a someday-spare down the road. They're still cheap and plentiful, and a second gun is a lot easier to get than a spare gunsmith. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

In lieu of regular rattle-can paint, Alumahyde II from Brownell's (and maybe other places, not sure) in dark parkerizing grey. Very durable, not terribly expensive.

I changed out the factory birch stock on my 11-87 Express hunting gun for the plastic/fiberglass camo stock set Remington makes for retrofit and been very happy with it. They also make a similar stock set for 870 and if you get tired of the birch you might take a look. It's not necessary but is weather resistant.


riverrider said...

rack the slide back and turn the gun over to see if your forend extends over the loading shute. most do, cut it off in front of the shute. more than one 870 has been put out of action by a round getting under the follower and when racked there is no access to the fedd shute unless you cut the forearm or put a shorty one on it. most shotty guys put a strap on the bottom of the forearm as well because stress can make your hand slip off when you jack it back too hard. check n make sure you have a metal trigger group. replace if not. where'd you get the ghost rings?

Peter said...

A few suggestions:

1. #4 buck is fine on normal-size people, but it's proven to be iffy on large (i.e. obese or heavily-muscled) individuals. (I'm retired LE. I read reports.) #1 buck or 00 buck are better from that perspective. Federal's LE buckshot with the Flite-Control wad offers very tight groups out to 30-40 yards, far more so than other brands. Highly recommended. (I agree on the birdshot recommendations - #6 is a good all-round choice.)

2. Foster slugs mushroom in flesh, but that means they slow down fast too, which can limit penetration. Consider Brenneke slugs. I use their KO lightweight slug for general defense, but I have their Classic Magnum and Heavy Field ammo on hand in case I have to head for Alaska again - it's standard anti-bear issue for Alaska Fish & Game and for rangers in national parks up there. It penetrates like the dickens, and at almost ¾" wide, it doesn't need to expand.

3. If you're going to shoot lots of heavy-recoil buckshot or slugs in training, consider a recoil-absorbing stock. I have this one on my 12ga. Mossbergs. It works as advertised. Recommended. (It also comes with an ammo carrier to supplement those you've already mentioned.) If you don't want a recoil-absorbing stock, I highly recommend the Magpul 870 stock and associated fore-end. They make heavy loads much more tolerable.

Have fun!

Theother Ryan said...

H, I'll look into that finish.

All the trigger guard is metal.

As far as I can tell the ghost ring sites were probably courtesy of the Kentucky state Police.

Riverrider, The slide comes back over part of the chute. Why exactly is that a problem? If I wanted to load I wouldn't have it back. What am I missing?

Peter, I'll look into getting some of the LE buck shot. Decent groups at 30-40 yards are nothing to shear at.

I keep some #6 around for general survival type use. As to slugs my firm belief is that if you hit somebody in the torso their race is run. Baring significant evidence I will continue to believe that.

My buttstock has a fat recoil pad. As a healthy young guy I can do a fair amount of shotgun shooting before uncomfort is an issue.

I like the Magpul 870 stock but since I have a functional buttstock that is a hard sell for me.

TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...

Ryan -

Thanks for the reminder that I need an update on Project 590A1.

Honestly, for weapons lights on an 870P, I would probably 'do it right' the first time and go with the Surefire foreend. They have an updated, 600 lumen version. You run into some disadvantages when you try to mount a light off of the slide.

I would skip the butt stock ammo sleeve, especially if you are going to run a side saddle. Though the cheap-o Allen's one runs all of about $5-$6, so it doesn't hurt to have one around.

I personally have been meaning to try the HSGI shotgun cards. The Esstac cards work, but the elastic is VERY tight on them, which means you will not lose any shells, but it also slows down retrieving shells for combat loading/reloading from the sidesaddle. A mixed bag...I'm hoping the HSGI cards are 'just right' in terms of retention.

R.E. a bag. Reloading loose rounds from a bag sounds like a sub-optimal plan. There are lots of inexpensive shotgun molle pouches that will hold 10-25 shells. Look up Condor shotgun shell pouch on Amazon.

The 'best' way to reload a pump or conventional semi auto is either the Load 4 method or the Load 2 method - both from 3-gun shooting. Those require caddies/special carriers, and I don't know if anyone makes 'em in designs that will stand up to dropping prone, crawling, etc.

Theother Ryan said...

Alexander Wolfe, I'll read up on the HSGI cards. A buttstock sleeve is more of a 'there is space so why not' as well as an item that is on inventory.

I'm not 100% on this light solution but at the price of the mount I'll give it a shot. The reason I am leaning this way is that 1) for social/ legal reasons I want to keep the wood forend and 2) Surefire forends are really expensive. Figure worst case it works till I save up for a dedicated forend.

I agree a bag o shotgun shells is a sub optimal option. It's an item that is already on inventory. Honestly it's more of an afterthought. I figure the gun, what's on it and 2 more reloads in the Costa rig are plenty for a house gun. Now that you mention it I think I have a pouch that holds a 25 rd box of shotgun shells nicely. That may be a better option.

I don't think there is much 3 gun gear out there that will withstand a drop to prone with a5 meter high crawl. We can still learn from their gun handling though.

Thanks for the input.

Chris said...

Every time I think about setting up a tactical shotgun I realize that for the same amount of money I could have a beater AR-15 (bottom of the line, but a functional truck gun nonetheless), or a nice bolt gun, or a pistol caliber carbine.

If someone could produce a $400 shotgun with ghost ring sights, side saddle for ammo, sling swivels, adjustable stock, and mount for light I'd be interested.

Even the Mossberg 500 Persuader types MSRP for almost $600.

riverrider said...

the 870 can jam under certain stressful circumstances by the next-in-line round coming loose from the feed tube. the only way to clear it is thru the bottom of the lifter. thats why they come with slots or are completely open on some guns now. either way you need access to the bottom of the receiver with the slide back to clear it. i've personally never had this jam but i only used the 870 under stress a couple of times. ask the old timers, i don't know all the details, but what will it hurt to do it? i put the strap on all of mine because in one of those stressful times my bloody hand slipped of the forearm apon racking it back for another much needed round. lucky my backup arrived seconds earlier.

Theother Ryan said...

Chris, You can certainly spend Ferrari money on a Fiat and drop 2k on a super fancy pump gun.

As to the cost comparison we would need to be equitable comparing MSRP to MSRP (or street price to street price) and roughly similar quality makers so not Remington to Bob's Basement AR factory.

If we're going Bobs Basement you can get an H&R Pardner for $200 or less brand new or this Interarms Defender for a bit less Odds are both will work fine.

FWIW pretty good deals are out there on used pump guns. I paid $360 for the shotgun in the picture with a cheesy bandoleer and about a hundred misc shotgun shells. Figure it'll cost me $20 to fix the finish and $40 for a basic light mount and I'm not too far from your figure. That doesn't include a light or ancillary stuff but I'd be buying that for a new gun anyway.

As to function n such. We could debate that but a pump gun is amply sufficient for defending home and hearth. The reasons I am doing this project are 1) legal considerations. If I have to use it I'd rather use the same pump shotgun that sits in every household down here that some fancy ninja assault rifle. 2) Cost I'd rather risk my $500 (all said and done including accessories) shotgun being seized by the cops for a long period or stolen out of my vehicle someplace than my $1,500+ AR.

Riverrider, I'll take a look at that.

Anonymous said...

The Elzetta light mount is the best option save for a forend mounted integral light. And they are pricey. The Elzetta has parts that allow different lights of differing diameters to mount securely. My 870 has a bargain LED light I got from an internet sale powered by 2 123 batteries that throws a nice beam. Also has a remote switch mounted on the barrel that instantly activates the light with my thumb, or can be turned on constant by pressing a button on the light. Works for me. I also have nite sights (Rifle type Trijicon). Their main benefit has been finding the gun in the dark so far.

I am no fan of side saddles. I have a three shot extension mag tube (The Elzetta acts as a brace holding the extension in place, more secure that the brace supplied by the tube mfgr) and will carry extra ammo in a skeet shooters bag on my hip. Used them shooting Sporting Clays and they work as fast as anything else. Side saddles just add extra bulk to the gun and hang up on stuff. Easier for me to grab from the bag than try to pull off the side saddle.

Single point sling is good, especially if you need to let go of the gun to do something else. The gun is right there ready to go.

I am used to pointing not aiming a shotgun, that is the way they are designed for use. Unless you are using slugs for long shots. A seasoned shotgunner never sees his sights, shoots instinctively. Go shoot some skeet (Not Trap) and get a lesson. It will teach you to shoot instinctively and lead different angles without thinking.

IMHO too many folks try to make shotguns into uber tactical ninja cool stuff and will never learn how to shoot. Simple is better.

Chris said...


Fair enough! I personally use the most effective personal defense weapon in my safe for home defense, i.e., AR-15 carbine with red dot, standard cap mag, and shorter barrel. If the cops take it for months I can buy/build another, because as you point out, cash is king, and I've got a few lowers stashed away.

I was just surfing and the Mossberg 500 special purpose models have come down somewhat. The "Persuader" with ghost ring sights, side saddle, adjustable stock, heat shield and 8 shot tube sells for $476 new at Bud's; standard fixed stock for <$400. Plus S&H and FFL fee of course, but still we're talking $425 for a fixed stock ready to go Mossy 500. Would it be possible to just sell your 870 and buy a new, off the shelf ready to go shotgun? You might even save money that way.

I do think the project has more of a role in the trunk gun niche. I use an AK for that now because I got it cheap but today four bills wouldn't necessarily get you an SKS. I also like the idea of swapping bbls to go from birds to tactical (or big game, with the ghost ring sights).

Theother Ryan said...

&Anon, I believe shotguns do need to be aimed. That being said given the inherent aiming of multiple points of contact and a really long site radius one can rapidly take accurate shots at CQB ranges and hit targets. The longest distance in my home is probably 7-8 yards, think I would be hard pressed to miss with a long gun at that range. My background is CQB with carbines not shotgun trap/ skeet but I think we end up at a similar place.

Chris, I sold a ready to go Mossy 500 about a year go. Have standardized to the Remington 870 which I have mumble mumble extra's of in the safe. Plus I am happily average enough sized that a standard stock works great for me, sold another gun with a Blackhawk furniture set to keep the wood I have now.

Only way I'll end up with another Mossy/ Maverick is if somebody has a gun for sale for $150 private party. At that point I'll put it away for a rainy day.

If we really wanted to look at money I'm putting $20 into finish, $40 into a lite mount, $40ish into a lite and $15 to buy 1x essetac shotgun card. Total expenditure is not high. Granted I'll buy 3-4 more cards but those are for reloads. Also the 870P is hell for stout. Mine has ghost ring sites and a metal trigger guard, plus all metal (vs IMI junk) parts. Some time grab one of them and hold an 870 express in the other hand, there is a definite difference.

I can't fault you for choosing the best option of your arsenal. Honestly my worry is more about the jury than the gun being seized, though I really like Project AR.

As to a trunk gun, the AK is a great choice. It was my go to for a long time. Realistically if a pump shotgun with a variety of ammo including slugs can't get me out of a situation I'm probably not getting out of it anyway. Also a couple boxes of #4-6 shot for survival contingencies is a handy option to have.

idahosean said...

Sherwin Williams GBP 988 self etching primer. Used it as base coat on my m500 and it has held up excellently with being thrown around in my vehicles and roaming the woods. So far the only paint to come of is the shoddily done camo I did as practice, but the primer and flat black is still holding strong.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy with the cheap ALLEN brand shell belts. They are $6 bucks, they're much more trim and low-pro than bandoleers, you can wear like three at once if you want.... Just treat it as semi-disposable, full of shells and ready to go. Then you don't need a bag. If you have a small shoulder bag, it can have a tourniquet, israeli bandage, and some adhesive wrap along with a couple boxes of shells. Chuck a water bottle, gloves, hat, cheap light, cheap knife, ear & eye protection in the bag and you're good to go, and it's cheap. Along with the elastic butt cuff, together you've got 30 spare shells immediately available, and more in the bag. Then you're ready all the time, the gun isn't weighed down, and reloading from the belt is always going to be faster than blindly reaching into a sack and grabbing shells (although that system definitely does work).

from: Reno

Anonymous said...

Check out the Streamlight mag tube mount, amazon and optics planet both have it. It lets you mount TR series lights, on the side or bottom of the mag tube. 'bout $120 for light and mount together.

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