Showing posts with label remington 870. Show all posts
Showing posts with label remington 870. Show all posts

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Project 870 is Complete!!!

Initially I planned to just do the gloss clear coat over the newly cut wood. So I covered up the rest and of course the metal parts that would inevitably get some over spray.

Then I decided what the heck, might as well do the whole thing. Maybe bring some new shine to that tired old wood.

 After spraying down the forend I went ahead and did the stock as well.
Project 870 reassembled and complete. It's loaded with 6 rounds of buckshot. Additionally there are 7 more rounds of buckshot on the sidesaddle and 7 slugs on the butt. There is a lot of hearty debate about types of buckshot. Honestly any load of 2 3/4in BUCKSHOT is just fine. Some folks will argue for bird shot as a self defense load but they are either using overly narrow almost canned scenarios or are fools. Sure birdshot will work at 2 feet but so will a machete. The point of firearms is to be able to send projectiles at people some distance from us in order to harm them before they could go all stabby with a knife or whatever.

00 buck is the gold standard of penetration but it doesn't have as many pellets as some might like. #4 buck has plenty of pellets but might not consistently penetrate enough. #1 buck is probably the best overall option. Honestly in my mind any of those options are perfectly valid. In particular I think Federal's new Flight Control Buckshot shows a lot of promise really pushing the scatter gun's realistic range out another 10 yards or so into the 40 meter range. When funds are available I will get some of that stuff, ideally the #1 if I can find it. 

Got fighting shotgun?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Project 870 Forend Trimming Part 1

So it was time to finally close out Project 870. To recap I need to trim up the express forend so it does not overlap the receiver in order to allow a shotshell card to go there.
 I unloaded, cleared then disassembled the shotgun and took off the part in question. Minor issue, the original wood forend is stuck. Given that any way I might force it off could well break said forend I figured if I try cutting it while in place worse case it ends up broken anyway. Make sense?
 If you look carefully just forward of the curve on the top of the forend you will see the pencil mark I made where it needs to get cut. That is my highly scientific method of marking it.

Did the cutting with a handheld finish saw I had lying around from some DIY home improvement projects. After cutting it I carefully used a belt sander to get it even and sort of smooth out the outside edge. Aside from a minor nick on the wood on each side (saw slipps, bring it back down in the wrong spot, viola nasty mark on the wood.) After the belt sander I smoothed it out a little bit with some 220 by hand.

The end result isn't perfect but it is good enough for an all go no show shotgun I refinished with spray paint.
Next comes stain, gloss and reassembly.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Project 870 Almost Complete!!!

This is where it all started. A Remington 870 Police Magnum wearing express furniture. Best I can tell this gun pulled Cruiser duty for the Kentucky state Police, was sold probably through Bud K then ended up in the Desert. That is where it ended up being saved from a life of neglect and generally not being owned by yours truly.

I was pretty annoyed with the guy that day. Drive for a ways to meet him and it turns out he was not entirely honest about the guns condition. Ended up leaving with the gun and a couple more 20's than I planned. A combination of cruiser duty and lack of maintenance in that guys care left the finish in terrible shape. It looks just fine at 15 feet but up close you can see significant discoloration and oxidization. The gun will almost surely rust if not slathered in oil. So after test firing it I kept the gun slathered in oil for awhile.

I thought about getting it professionally Keracoted or something. However the cost of that PLUS what I wanted to do to the gun was slightly prohibitive. Just more than I wanted to spend.

Once I got down here I wanted to get this project done so it could be our home defense long gun. The reason for that is largely legal in nature. Guns are common all over the South and non hippie parts of the West. However in particular shotguns are very common in Louisiana. The combination of duck hunting as well as short engagement ranges due to line of site for all game make them particularly handy guns down here. If I have to shoot somebody I would prefer to do it with a gun that is the same or very similar to ones in the prosecutor, judge and juries safe/ cabinet/ closet.

While I prefer an AR of the M4 flavor for close up work this advantage to the shotgun is considerable. Also while I like the M4 better a short barreled pump shotgun is amply capable of any home defense long gun task. There is the added benefit that if something happens I am, at least temporarily, losing a shotgun package worth $500 not an AR that all said and done I probably have 2k into.

Another consideration is that I am far more willing to carry said $500 shotgun as a "truck gun" than a semi automatic rifle. Even if it's an AR/ AK/ FAL you got a great deal on back when those were available it is still important to consider replacement cost. The pump gun is about the bar of value I am willing to risk potential theft of on a trip during normal times.

So my philosophy of use for this project is a home defense shotgun that can also serve as a 'truck gun'. I want to use quality components and do it right but budget is a consideration. First as Alexander Wolfe noted if you get much above the $600 range you are pushing hard on decent entry level AR-15's. Of course those would need ancillary gear like a sling, mags and lights too so upping it to $800 is probably more realistic.

Depending on your budget it is entirely possible to make a $2,500+ fighting shotgun. We are a consumerist society and there is nothing wrong with that. However as American Mercenary noted you can pay Ferrari money for a Fiat in projects or gun builds.

In my mind one of the biggest benefits of the pump shotgun is that they are realistically affordable for anybody but homeless drug addicts. I'm not saying everybody can afford to spend $300ish on a used Remington 870/ Mossberg 500 today but with a little planning and some saving they can afford one in a reasonable amount of time.

We could have a hearty discussion about the benefits of both Rem and Moss platforms. Both are very rugged. The plane Jane Mossberg 500's and their off brand Maverick 88's are cheaper than Remingtons so they offer more value. Then again you have a lot more parts and accessory support with the Remington. I'll close this phase of the discussion by saying they are both fine. Pick one type and buy 10 of them.

As I got to dreaming/ window shopping for this project TEOTWAWKI Blog's excellent Project 590A1. Alexander Wolfe does a great job on research and testing to find the best gear and setup for a particular gun.

So anyway I wanted to get this done in 2014. Running the math if I did the finish myself it wouldn't really cost that much money. Thankfully 'H' recommended Alumahyde II vs plain old spray paint. So I figured out my plan. Some money came in and I ordered the stuff. It showed up in a few days.
The biggest piece of this project was the refinishing for sure. Thankfully Brownells has a series of videos 1, 2, 3, etc. After some reading it seems that preparation is at least as important as the spraying.

First I disassembled the gun. Since I was putting on a sling mount I had to take the stock off anyway so I just did it then instead of covering up the stock with tape and a plastic bag or something.
I cleaned the gun and degreased it. Since I'd been using the 'wetter the better' theory of gun maintenance that took some doing.

Next I used masking tape to cover up the parts I didn't want to paint. No pics of this but I covered the trigger guard and the front sight as well as both ends of the barrel. Filled the receiver with used paper towels from the cleaning then taped them into place.
It was too cold to paint in the garage but since I had the place to myself there were options. It was also a happy accident that I had a bunch of scrap carpet lying around. Laid 2 big pieces down on the kitchen floor (the easiest to clean worst case) as a ground cloth. Brought in a lawn/ patio chair that already had a bit of paint on it from another project to lean the pieces on.

I did the sling mount so it would match.

Then I painted. Overall it went pretty well. The only real sad face was a run on the barrel I foolishly tried to wipe off with a paper towel. It smeared and was really unattractive.
I tried painting over it but that didn't work. Ended up just sanding that part down and repainting. That time went better. At least enough so that I decided not to try my luck messing with it anymore.

This brings us to a point of discussion. I simply was not in a hurry to put the amount of cash into this gun to get it professionally refinished. That meant doing it myself. Do it yourself projects well, have do it yourself results. I'd say the shotgun looks fine but you will not mistake it for being professionally finished. Honestly I am OK with this. After some deliberation on the matter I figured worst case if I hate the paint job I can get it redone professionally later or try again myself. The advantage of destroying a gun's original finish (or getting one that is rough anyway) is that you can't do it twice. Sort of like murder after the first one the rest are free. 

I let the parts dry overnight then put it back together. In doing so I installed the GG&G sling mount and Elzetta light mount with a streamlight light I was using as my handheld tactical type light. Got to replace that now I guess.

After some consideration I decided to replace the old generic 5 shot neoprene shotshell holder with an Essetac card. Just pulled it off, slapped some velcro tape on and then a card on top. Not 100% how durable the velcro I got from the hardware store will be. Worst case I'll order a bigger heavier duty piece later if needed.
When I went to put a card on the side of the receiver I noticed the standard 870 Express forend goes too far back onto the receiver for a card to fit. That led to a Bleg on where to find another oneCommander Zero, the great American survivalist he is had a spare black plastic one lying around. He sent it my way along with a few other goodies gratis. So sometime in the near future I'll be swapping that out and hopefully getting the sidesaddle card put on. I really want both because there is a decent chance if I grab this gun it'll be 3am and I'll be wearing running shorts so all the rounds I'll have will be on the gun. Sure it sits by my cobbled together shotgun fighting load, which I will discuss in a future post but I might not have time for that so more rounds on the gun the better.

I took it out for a quick test fire to make sure it still goes bang. It still does. So now it is loaded up and in the Sentry Safe Home Defender with the Glock.

Pleased to say that Project 870 is finally done or at least within spitting distance of done after the forend swap and sidesaddle card installation. Total expenditure was roughly $500. Would like to get an SOE shotgun micro rig to go with it but am not in any particular hurry to do so. As I get a bit more experience with the different new pieces I may write about them individually.


Edited to include: I went to swap out the forend this afternoon. Before taking off the Essetac light mount, the extension and barrel I decided on a lark to lay the new plastic forend Zero sent me on top of the old one. They look identical in size. So now I'm looking at just taking a finish saw to the wood forend to cut it down. Worst case on that the 870 Express wood furniture is dirt cheap so if I ruin it that is fine. Thanks to Zero I'd have a functional forend for the duration. It's either that or just buy a shorty plastic forend like the Magpul, Hogue or whatever. Do have a couple ebay auctions pending for dirty cheap 870P furniture but I'm not too optimistic about any of them. Going to sleep on it before doing anything I cannot take back. So finishing this project is slightly stalled. Story of my life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. I ordered the stuff to move forward with Project 870 which is long overdue. Also picked up a castle nut wrench and a wool blanket. Repacked the Bug Out Bag which is good. While not explicitly blog related I worked to knock off eating out. Right now I'm home alone so it's easy and very tempting to just grab something. Last week I ate out once on Friday night so that was good. Got a chef salad for lunch today because I was craving something fresh and green like crazy. Only halfway went shopping last week so fresh and green haven't been on the menu for awhile. This week I'm going to dial it up a notch and try to keep cooking but work in more veggies n fresh fruits. Suppose this means I do need to go shopping pretty quick here, like tomorrow. Between that stuff, finishing Point of Impact and some projects at home I've been a pretty busy beaver.

This coming week I am going to finish the project at home. Hopefully the stuff for Project 870 arrives this week so I can get going on that over the coming weekend. Other than that it's just sustained excellence on all fronts.

What did you do to prepare this week?

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.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gun Time Warp: Skills and Strategy Matter Not Hardware

Lets just say that tomorrow I woke up and my firearms battery was very different. Instead of the more modern guns in our current battery I had a Remington 870 Wingmaster with an 18.5inch cylinder bore barrel and a 28" modified choke, a Marlin model 60, a J frame .38, a 1911 or maybe a K frame .357 and a 30-30 Winchester. All of these guns were available a half century ago in the 1960's.

I could hunt anything in the Continental US, have a solid CCW pistol as well as a house gun a shotgun that will do anything plus a good rifle and a .22. I would be down a lot in capacity but honestly that is rarely the issue which decides the day for Joe Six Pack civilian. Realistically this setup could handle all manner of sporting, home defense and a pretty nasty Katrina like SHTF scenario. I won't lie and say it is equal to a Glock 19 and AR or AK but assuming the operator does their job in anything short of a full on war the difference in capacity is rarely needed.

What I am getting at is that skills and strategy matter a lot more than hardware. If you are on a basic guns type budget it might be worth putting money into training before looking at upgrading your guns.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wilderness Walk Out Guns

I saw this video from Iraqvet888 then thought about it off and on all day.The basic scenario is that you find yourself stuck in the woods somewhere then have to walk out. I believe they mentioned Alaska but I would keep it more generic.

For parameters to me the "walk" portion means you are limited to 1 long gun and 1 pistol.

Long gun- My immediate thought was between a .22 rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun. After a few minute's of consideration the shotgun won hands down. A 12 gauge shotgun with a variety of shells can take anything from little squirrels to (obviously at fairly close range) the biggest bears. I'm not worried about taking tiny game (let alone a right fight with people) past 40-50 meters so I'd rather have the versatility of the shotgun. Also since this is a limited time scenario (vs batman in the boondocks) the weight of shotgun ammo is not a huge issue.

A pump shotgun is ample for self defense against animals and people in anything but a crazy SHTF situation.

I would take a Remington 870 with a 28" barrel and a mix of shotgun shells all the way from #6 shot to slugs. Another pump shotgun like a Mossberg would be fine also.

Pistol- If I was gaming the scenario for the ultimate wilderness survival handgun it would be a .22 of some sort. This would be to save shotgun ammo by taking closer, easier shots on smaller game with the pistol. A .22 mag revolver of some sort would probably be ideal, given that ammo is limited to what I'm carrying anyway might as well have the extra power over the more common .22lr.

That being said realistically if I was getting stuck in an accident or whatever I would be carrying a centerfire pistol for defensive purposes, probably a .357 mag revolver so that is what I would have on my waist by default. If I move to Alaska I'll buy a .44 magnum revolver so I would be carrying that.

What are your ideal wilderness walkout guns? Do you actually take them to the woods with you?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Busy Day

I was a busy beaver today. Spent part of the day chasing down some local maps to finish up out navigation kits. Will talk more about that later. Still cleaning up the new shotgun. It's about as good as it will get in terms of finish. I am going to end up painting it or getting it parkerized. Probably parked, however the situation is not desperate so I can wait a bit.

Put together a few more food bags for our BOBs. Wifey and Walker's food has been put together which is good. Wifey's BOB is pretty much done. Might need a couple little things but it's a 90% solution. Got to do an inventory then dig out of storage or order the missing stuff.

Finished Pastor Joe Fox's book Survivalist Family today. A review will come but the book rocks. Just buy a copy or maybe five. You will not regret it.

Cleaned my Glock 19 also. It was pretty dirty from a few range trips and plenty of dust from getting hauled around. Of course being a Glock it still functioned 100%. Honestly it just got cleaned because I was bored.

Since I was doing all that stuff all of a sudden it was 11 at night with no post done. Can't say I regret the productivity but I probably could have written something earlier before I lost focus for the day, Oops.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Project 870 Furniture Update

Sometimes in life things just work out. I listed the other 870 tonight. Mentioned I'd sell it with the Blackhawk furniture instead of the wood for the same price. Turns out a guy wants the other gun with the Blackhawk furniture. That deal may or may not happen (it ain't over till it's over) but switching furniture was a hassle so it's all staying where it is. 

I like the 870P with the wood. Classic and functional.

Project 870 V2 Police Magnum!!!

For awhile I have been on the fence about this project. Part of me knew that it might just make sense to get a purpose build defensive shotgun. Once I figured in the cost of a tube extension and such economically it would be about even. So I've been sort of watching for the right gun. Around here the trend in shotguns is to bolt on a bunch of stupid cheap accessories then believe your shotgun is now worth $700. Anyway I said something might happen on this project today and it did.

Enter Project 870 V2 Remington Police Magnum
Dog had to get in on the action. As you can see this gun has Ghost Ring sights and an M4 style adjustable stock. The sights are from Iron Sights Gun Works.
The stock and forend are Blackhawk SPEC Ops. The stock is adjustable in the M4 style I hate (except on M4's) but that's what it came with. I'm either going to swap the furniture for standard furniture (or the Hogue equivalent) or buy standard furniture and put this stuff away as a backup set.

The finish on this gun is not great. It was probably a police cruiser gun at some point. The guy wasn't entirely honest about that but it gave me a point to negotiate some cash off the price so that was OK. I was on the fence about going all Hoss USMC and painting it anyway so the finish doesn't really matter, just makes that decision easier. However again along the police cruiser gun theme it doesn't seem to have been fired much and the inner workings are very nice, dusty but nice.

Was able to get it out to the range for a little bit today.  The gun is noticeably heavier than a standard 870. These things are built like beasts, which is why I wanted one. It holds 6+1 which is nice. It shoots well though I might need to adjust the sights a little bit. The pistol grip gave a good angle to support the gun but put my hand in the wrong place for the controls. Overall the stock was OK I guess but it's just not for me. Got to handle an 870 with the Magpul furniture and that was really nice. It looks weird but the angles give you a lot of control and the cheek to stock is just right. Darn expensive though so it will be awhile, if ever, before I get one.

The needs for a tube extension and sights are covered as the gun already has them. Aside from replacing the furniture it needs a sling, a light and a way to hold ammo. A sling is easy, spare ammo is easy (velcro and cards), a light is simple but expensive (and I have some decision making to do there).

So that is where Project 870 stands today. The gun that was Project 870 (V1) will be sold to pay for this purchase. I borrowed money from another gun fund to make this happen so the proceeds of the planned sale will replace that cash.

 Now I'm going to see how this dirty girl cleans up.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Odds N Ends

Got a post on the Malay Emergency in the pipe but am too scatter brained to write it today. It's my Friday so that is good.

Saw this lovely piece on the Drudge today.

911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About To Be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops To Help Her Due To Budget Cuts

 Thoughts in no particular order. 

- I don't know where this gal lived but Josephine County is pretty rural. If a cop needs 30 minutes to get there all they can do is take a report and maybe clean up the mess. Rural people are pretty much on their own anyway.

-I would be interested in  having a conversation about what a Sheriff's role is with the Josephine County Sheriff. Personally as a Sheriff I would answer the important calls myself if nobody else was available.

 - Budget cuts at the state, county and city level are a reality. That means fewer cops in many places. I have issues with a few things some cops do but generally they are good people doing their best and are certainly a force for order in our society. You had better accept that you are becoming more and more on your own. Get ready for it.

  -AMERC wrote about the 5 principles of patrolling today. Good stuff. Sort of like Priorities of Work the 5 P's of Patrolling are solid guidelines to stay within.

  -Project 870 might be taking a significant jump both to the side and forward tomorrow. At the risk of counting my chickens before they are hatched I will keep the details to myself till it's done.

 Well I'm going to put some work into our bags. Have a good night,



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Project 870 Paralysis

Alexander Wolfe and Tam's shotguns are coming along nicely. My project is stalled. A week ago I would have said it was pending funds. However upon reflection I just haven't been quite sure where exactly it was going.

At this point instead of turning my shotgun into what I want the idea of simply purchasing a slightly more purpose built gun has come up. For the cost of buying an extension plus what I could probably sell my gun for one with a factory extension could be purchased. Once I $25 in a couple doo dads plus pay for shipping everything this option would probably SAVE me a few bucks. Given the randomness of used gun availability this option may or may not pan out. I'll give it a couple weeks to see what happens.

For lights I'm going to go with the surefire forend. Probably the most expensive way to skin that cat but I think its the best.

Anyway that is the status of Project 870.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Basic Guns Part 3: Shotguns

So far we have talked some basics of the series and in Part 2 picked up a good used .38/ .357 revolver. Now we are looking to get a shotgun as our second gun. There is certainly some debate between different folks about which gun should come second (or first for that matter).

Here is my thinking with a shotgun. The reason I would lean towards a shotgun is twofold. They are affordable and versatile. Shotguns cost less than rifles, especially modern magazine fed type rifles. A pump shotgun in hand is a lot more useful than an envelope with $300 saving towards some rifle. Also shotguns are versatile and when you do not have a lot of guns that is important. So there is my thinking for putting it #2, moving on.

To recap the goal here is to get a basic gun that fits a tight budget but is still a good solid weapon to bet your life on. The distinction between this and the cheapest guns out there is significant.

I strongly recommend purchasing a pump shotgun. They hold several (5-8) shells are affordable, rugged and fairly modular.  With the same gun you can defend the home, hunt little birds, various pot sized stuff and big game then do all manner of recreational shooting. They might not be perfect for any of these tasks (except the birds) but can do them all decently. Shotguns are sort of like any other jack of all trades in that regard.

There are two pump shotguns I recommend; the Remington 870 Express and Mossberg 500. I've compared them recently and both are good guns. For our purposes here the Mossberg tending to be $50-75 cheaper than the Remington would be an advantage.

In Southern Arizona today you can regularly find a good used Mossberg 500 for about $300. Used guns tend to be expensive here since most of them are probably bought by straw buyers and shipped to Mexican cartels so a bit less is probably reasonable in other places. Remington 870's can be found at the same type of prices but either they are in a bit rougher condition or you would have to wait awhile to find a deal.

For barrel length you want 18.5-20 inches for defense and whatnot. If you hunted you would already have a long barreled shotgun. Follow the local used gun stuff places and eventually you can find a long barrel (or potentially a whole nother gun) at a good price. A shotgun with short and long barrels can do a whole lot of things. If I had to have 1 barrel it would be a 21" barrel that took chokes but that's a rare or custom job. Between an 18.5-20" or a 28" hunting barrel it would be a short barrel for sure. 

I recommend purchasing a 12 gauge with a 3" chamber. That way you can shoot almost every 12 gauge round out there. There are 3.5 in shells but aren't many in circulation and the guns that shoot them are a lot less common. Twenty gauge is an option but the shells are a bit less common. They recoil less which is an advantage for some. Honestly being a healthy averageish sized man with some weight behind me and muscle to pad my shoulder joint this isn't a concern. It is my opinion that this is a training issue and there are many small people who shoot 12 gauge shotguns. Personally I would suggest folks in that situation buy a youth sized gun, fit it with a serious recoil pad and shoot low recoil shells out of a 12 gauge instead of getting a 20. However a 20 is still a fine option.

There are other cheaper models of shotguns out there. I have not used and can not possibly discuss all of them. While I will not say they are all worthless junk I certainly will not recommend them. The only exception is the Maverick 88 which is the Mossberg budget brand. They are almost identical to the Mossberg, the difference is fit, finish and furniture, and as far as I know parts are compatible. For goodness sake you can get a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 for a very good price.

It is worth touching on other configurations of shotguns. There are no well reputed consistently reliable semi automatic shotguns in our price range so that's not worth discussing. Single and double barrel shotguns are worth discussing. Bottom line in the do a lot of things including defense role they are not so good. For hunting and survival they are fine. In particular they offer a real value and can take cartridge adapters which is  pretty handy. I'll own one in the next year but for defense they fall woefully short. Do you really want 1 or 2 shots instead of several? The answer is hell no. Specifically to double barrels. Typically a double barrel worth owning can be sold for enough to get a decent pump gun which is probably a good idea unless it is a family heirloom. That leaves us with low end (but still functional) double barrel's and single barrels. My thoughts are twofold. If you ALREADY OWN one of these guns then it might be worth keeping. It can be your shotgun for awhile and down the road get a vastly superior pump gun and keep the older gun as a backup. If you do not own one then save another hundred bucks or so and get a good pump gun. You will not be disappointed.

For a little bit more money. This came up in the last post. If a person wanted to spend a bit more money I would recommend an older Remington 870 Wingmaster. They are blued which is a better finish than the Express and have a better fit and finish. The Wingmaster is the gun which made the Remington 870's reputation. If you are patient and toss in a couple more twenties it is a very nice gun.

Beyond just the gun. My basic shotgun setup would be:
Remington 870/ Mossberg 500
Buttstock shotshell carrier
Something to hold more ammo. I use an old SAW pouch.
750 rounds of ammunition:
250 rounds of buckshot. Folks like different sizes, I favor #4 buck but 00 buck is fine too. Honestly it doesn't matter. If it says 'buck' it is good to go.
100 slugs
400 rounds of mixed game loads 5, 6 and 7/8 shot.

Well those are my thoughts on that. Hope it gives you something to think about. As always input is welcome.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Solar Cooking, Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500 and Other Stuff

Getting used to cooking on the Sun Oven is definitely a priority of mine. The weather here is very cooperative and not a lot was going on earlier today so I gave it another go. Cooked up some pinto beans with the usual spices and a bit of bacon. Used canned beans and normal bacon but you could easily do the same thing with canned dried pinto beans and canned bacon. Got the Sun Oven set up and it started heating up like crazy. In a couple minutes it was over 200 and in 20 minutes or so it was over 300. In 2 hours I figured the beans were probably done. They turned out really good.

The sun oven cooks sort of like a combination of a normal oven and a crock pot. The time is a bit closer to an oven because the temp is higher bit it retains moisture like a crock pot. The combination is pretty awesome actually. Getting it positioned so the sun is hitting as much of the inside as possible and slightly ahead of the sun (so it's going to be in the sun for awhile) takes a little bit of practice. Checking it every 30 minutes or so and adjusting about every other time seems to do the trick. I have heard of folks setting up an oven aimed to catch the mid day- afternoon heat then leaving for work to come home to a hot dinner. That seems like a pretty cool thing to be able to do. I am going to work on doing that  over the coming weeks. Cooking for free and building skills is pretty cool.

As we have been asking shotgun related questions and specifically talking Project 870 the other logical option the Mossberg 500 series has come up. Folks have mentioned them and it's time to discuss the Mossberg as well as some compare and contrast between the two. (Note I'm not going to talk the Mossberg 590 separately. They are really more of a nicer M500 variant than a new gun IMO. A fine gun but if we talked every variant of both guns this would be a 10k word post.)

Bottom line up front: Both are good guns so get whichever you prefer.

Remington 870 Positives:
-Probably the most common pump shotgun in circulation. Basically the same gun has been made since the 1950's. 
-Pretty much the standard shotgun for police and firearms professionals. This might be a marketing/ sales success thing, I don't know. In any case when the vast majority of serious users choose one option it is  worth paying attention to.
-Very adaptable with all manner of parts options including those by duty grade type makers.
-Excellent fit and smooth action.

Remington 870 Downsides:
Controls in less than ideal locations.
On the basic Express Model some issues can come up with the finish. (I will talk 870 variants another time)

Mossberg 500 Positves:
-Excellent controls with the safety and pump release (probablyy not the right technical term) in the right locations.
-Excellent value. Typically a Mossberg 500 will be $50-75 cheaper than a comparably set up Remington 870.

Mossberg 500 Downsides:
-Rougher fitting of parts.
-Limited availability of duty grade type accessories. Lots of folks make junk that can be bolted onto the Mossberg 500. Good stuff is harder to get than for an 870.

Conclusion: It is worth mentioning I did not discuss reliability or durability intentionally. That is because both of these guns are about as reliable and bomb proof as a gun can get. The damn things just last forever and don't break. They both have positives and negatives so folks have to think about what matters the most to them. Right now we only own the 870 series but that is more about parts/ accessories commonality than anything else. If a good deal on a Mossberg 500 came up I would snap it up. Hopefully this gives you some insight into how I look at these two shotguns. At the end of the day I believe either gun will serve you well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Project 870 and Various Shotgun Stuff

 The start. A basic plane Jane Remington 870 Express. It came with the long barrel. Got the gun for a solid deal in a Pawn Shop. It's mechanically excellent but has some finish issues. The 18.5 inch barrel was purchased later to make it into a more viable defensive weapon. A shotgun with long and short barrels is really versatile. The downside is spare barrels start about $120ish. Remember that if you consider getting a shotgun with the wrong barrel for your goals. The end result is a lot of versatility but the cost is pretty high. Folks are probably better off just getting the right barrel length for their purposes.
 My camera is not good enough to catch it but the finish has some rust damage (though thankfully no pitting). I cleaned it up but the damn thing just seems to attract rust. I'm not sure exactly what my plan there is. Probably going to clean it up well and either get it refinished (which I do not like because it costs money) or just rattle can the thing. Input is welcome here.
 The long barrel also needs some love. I get these cleaned up then leave them well oiled but they still get nasty. It will get whatever the gun gets.

 In our previous talk on shotguns the issue of carrying ammo came up. The thinking of keeping ammo physically on the gun is that at 3am if you grab the gun it has a reload or two on there. As most folks would be nekid or in their PJ's the options for ammo are on the gun or secreted in some body cavity. You might not have the presence of mind or time to put on body armor or whatever. If you have the gun you have ammo.

An easy and cheap way to do this is a buttstock shotshell holder. Pictured are two of them. The upper one is a pretty heavy duty model made by Tactical Tailor. The lower one is a neoprene one I got as a gift. Both work fine. Some folks use sidesaddle's that hold rounds on the receiver. I do not like the big plastic ones for a lot of reasons. The new method some folks are using of putting velcro on the gun and using those HSGI shot shell panels has a lot of potential. I will probably give it a try down the road.
There are many ways to carry shotgun shells. In addition to what you have on the gun one might want more ammo. If you keep a shotgun as a trunk gun or use it as a go weapon this is important. I do not like bandoleers but they are a decent option I guess. I HATE the sling bandoleers. Who wants 10 pounds of shotgun shells flailing around all over the place attached to your gun?

My method of carrying shotgun shells is an old M249 SAW drum pouch. I sewed some buttons on to keep it shut. In there are about 40 rounds of 2 3/4's #4 buck. I like #4 as a good compromise between projective count and size. We could debate what shotgun ammo to use for defensive purposes; however if it ends in 'buck you are good to go. Also in there are 5 slugs in there. I kept them in the box so they are easy to find if needed.

If I get into those HSGI panels then a lot of options open up for storing them on body armor in pouches and such. 

As to where this project is going.......

I am going to convert this shotgun into an optimized home defense type gun. It will get an extended tube to hold a couple more shots. To do that I will need to deal with those stupid dimples in the tube. Also a sling will be attached. Going to figure out a way to make the gun more durable in terms of finish. It might be a good way to practice painting guns. 

A light would be nice but it's going to be awhile.  Any options I consider duty grade and worthwhile are pretty expensive.

So that's my old trusty shotgun and what is in store for it.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Project 870 Questions

I'm going to be getting into the project of turning my 870 into a good all around HD or trunk gun. Will talk more about this later but right now I have some questions to help me gather info.

Slings- Do you have a sling on an 870 and if so what type? Is drilling a hold in the stock to put the swivel easy to mess up? What sort of front end attachment did you use?

Extended Tubes- Do you have a (non original factory) extended tube? What type (make and + how many rounds) and are they a hassle to install? My initial thought is to get a factory made Remington one. Is there any advantage to that?


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Since Everybody Else is Talking Shotguns I will also

Unfortunately I could not find a cheesy obviously photo shopped picture of Joe Biden with a shotgun. So you get assassin Joe. In an case Joe thinks shotguns are better than assault rifles. He also likes washing his Fire Bird in front of the White House.

Population Gun control issues aside I am disinclined to take tactical advice from old Joe for a variety of reasons. In any case since Mountain Guerilla and American Mercenary have talked about them I might as well chime in. The best way I can think to do this is to talk myths about shotguns and then get into pluses and negatives.

Shotguns do not need to be aimed. The general guideline is that buckshot spreads at about an inch per yard of travel. So at realistic home defense type ranges you are looking at a fist to open hand sized pattern. It cuts you a bit of slack over a single round but you can still definitely miss.

Shot penetrates walls less than other rounds so it is better for home defense. This has been demonstrated false at a variety of places including Box of Truth. Bird Shot does penetrate a bit less however it is designed to kill little birds and thus falls short in terms of deer/ man sized animals.

Shotguns are easy to use. This is confusing for a couple reasons. We lack standardization of what constitutes being capable of using a weapon (example: load, cycle, unload, score X in under Y time on El Presidente (or whatever), reduce stoppage, field strip and clean). Without that standardization we cannot say with validity that it is easier to learn to use a shotgun than a rifle. When the issue is dug into folks far too often have the impression that you can can load a shotgun, pump it and pull the trigger you are good to go. Sadly this is just not the case.

More to the point shotguns in an anti personnel role are not ideal and require a lot of manipulation. Most common shotguns must be manipulated before every shot and are reloaded 1 round at a time. This is especially problematic because they hold 5-8 shots. The more a shooter must manipulate a weapon the more chances they have to mess up and make the darn thing not work. In particular for shotguns short choking is an issue.

Now that the myths are set aside we can talk about the shotguns advantages.


Cheap. You can get new Remington 870's and Mossberg 500's for somewhere in the mid- low $300 range. Used guns can be purchased for less depending on their condition as well as how desperate the seller and buyer are. At that price range a solidly decent pump shotgun is something any functional adult can easily purchase with a little bit of planning. For a quality gun that will last you a lifetime this is a bargain.

Legal pretty much everywhere. If you can own guns you can have a shotgun. To the best of my knowledge you can have a pump shotgun anywhere in America. They are also looked at much more favorably abroad if that is a concern for you.

Versatile. Shotguns can harvest all manner of game, defend your home and be used for a variety of recreational pursuits. A Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 with a long choked barrel and a short riot barrel can do a lot of things.

Super Common. If a place sells ammo they have 12 gauge shells and probably 20 gauge also. For the common guns (Rem 870/ Moss 500) there is a ton of aftermarket support in terms of different parts.

To be fair shotguns also have some downsides.


 Round count. More shots are better and shotguns fall short here. Between 5 and 9 rounds in most common configurations.

High recoil. Shotguns recoil more than any standard defensive type rifle. More recoil means a longer time between shots.

Slow Reloads. One round at a time in a rather cumbersome fashion. This makes the low round count all the more problematic because you need to be constantly reloading to keep from running empty.

Limited envelope of performance. Shotguns are very lethal up close but if you get past 40 yards (and that is generous) for buck and 100ish for slugs in a standard configuration they aren't much good. Yes rifled barrels with scopes are available that push this envelope but those only exist because of states that only allow shotguns for hunting. If you want this configuration just buy a rifle.

Mediocrity. As we talked above it is true that shotguns can do a lot of things. However like any 'jack of all trades' they are pretty mediocre at all of them.

Bulky/ Heavy ammo. Shotgun shells are big and heavy which means you either carry less of them, less of something else or pack a heavier load.

It is true that more purpose built semi automatic shotguns like the Benelli's and in particular the mag fed Siaga 12 have leveled some of the historic weaknesses of pump shotguns. These are problematic because the high price point cancels out one of the biggest advantages of the shotgun.  Even beyond cost these shotguns are are in my opinion still a distant second to a rifle. Like we discussed some time ago I cannot think of a 2 legged predator situation where I would reach into a safe/ closet that held an AR/ AK and a shotgun and pick the shotgun over the rifle.

Anyway those are my .02 cents on that. Guess we can file this under the biannual rehashing of topics. Comments may be fun.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

3 Guns For ....

Some folks have talked about a 3 gun scenario and due to boredom I feel like chiming in.

My thoughts on a basic battery (rifle, shotgun, pistol, .22) are on the record being an AR, Remington 870, Glock 9mm and Ruger 10/22. I talked about my families survival guns awhile back. Those are my Glock 19 and AR, Ruger 10/22 and Remington 870 and Wifey's .38 and if we can fit it in a 30'06. I have thought about this one for awhile and 3 guns is a lot less than ideal. While it is worth noting that the 3 gun scenarios folks have talked about are for an individual so I will go that route. For a family I would be pretty unhappy with anything but a basic battery. A basic battery would let a viable defensive long gun be at home and with the person going out with a pistol somewhere in the mix so it has some options.

My first two guns in almost any conceivable scenario are an AR, pretty happy with Project AR but any good functional rifle works and a Glock 19. The third gun is the rub. I have a hard time going generic here so it has to be somewhat scenario specific.

If I really cared about legally hunting (within this contrived scenario) the rifle would need to be something that is legal to hunt with. This is a great case for a semi auto .308 like a PTR-91 or an FN-FAL.

For an economic collapse or long term survivalist scenario I would have the 3rd gun be a Remington 870. This gives me the ability to take a wide variety of game and to use one of the most common types of ammunition out there. Since a .22 conversion bolt will let me shoot .22LR out of the AR (almost cheating but since it is just a $200 bolt and magazine that can fit in a mag pouch it isn't too bad IMO) I have a lot of options. In general for anything except a very military context this is the way I would go.

If I was in some sort of a Red Dawn scenario the third gun would be a .30 caliber scoped 'precision' rifle. The .22 conversion kit and AR could keep me fed if I was scavenging. The AR is good for just about everything with the Glock 9 as a backup. In a military context the only other gun (aside from multiples stashed away) that would buy me something is a rifle that could be used from a really long distance.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. If somehow you were stuck with just 3 guns what would they be?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dave Canterbury on the Remington 870. Not that I needed to be sold on it but still interesting. He talks single shot shotguns a lot for 'the woods' but unfortunately this mythical woods where there are lots of game and no people is just not so. Certainly there are areas with few people but almost none is a stretch. With very few exceptions (off the top of my head rural Alaska, a good chunk of Wyoming and the Dakota's outside of the few cities) the US just has too many people for them, and the resulting security issues not to be a consideration. If you can possibly afford it a pump shotgun is a better all around choice than a single barrel. Anyway a Remington 870 with a long barrel and a short riot barrel is a heck of a combo.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Night Ramblings and Tab Clearing

I always knew that liberal dudes were weaker and generally less masculine but now there is scientific proof.

Apparantly CNBN did a hit piece of the venerable Remington 870. Hat tip to The Firearms Blog for the find. Maybe they could have been even more unamerican by bashing apple pie and cold beer.
Now for my take. I will even set aside the fact that the so called experts who testify about how pretty much every firearm is unsafe FOR MONEY and are trying to sell some new safety thing they invented.

The thing is that shotgun safeties, to the best of my knowledge are not so much safeties as trigger stoppers. To the best of my knowledge there isn't a shotgun out there that has a safety which blocks the sort of accidental impact based discharge that happened to the unfortunate fellow mentioned in the story. Sort of like many open bolt machine guns if you give them a good whack they will probably go off.

There is a simple and time tested way to handle this mechanical weakness. KEEP THE CHAMBER EMPTY UNLESS YOU ARE ACTIVELY USING THE GUN! For a shotgun this means that when you are done using it take the round out of the cylinder and stick it back into the tube or buttstock carrier.
I own a Remington 870 Express. With both short and long barrels it is a really versatile weapon equally capable of defending ones home or all manner of hunting and sporting. I have trusted it with my life in the past as a primary home defense weapon and would not hesitate to do so again in the future. As to my thoughts on reliability and usefullness the Remington 870 I won't sell the one I have and at some point will get another one.

I was at the store the other day picking up a couple things on my way home from work. The folks in front of me bought some stuff using WIC. Nothing really new about that. Overseas food costs are pretty high so they calculate eligibility differently and a lot more folks get it. I bought my few items and walked out to the parking lot. The folks who bought the stuff with WIC in front of me got into a car that was maybe a year old. Nothing crazy, I think it was a Ford Focus or something like that. I got into my 10 year old SUV with some minor cosmetic damage and drove home. Honestly it sort of made me angry. Why should I be subsidizing them? If they don't make very much money maybe they should be doing things like not buying new cars so they can afford food for their kids. I got to thinking. Given the state of our nation I don't really look down on folks who figure out how to work the system a bit in their favor. A few years back I did look down on them for being moochers. These days I sort of look at it that if you can get a little bit back it isn't a bad thing.
Ironically this year we qualify for welfare Earned Income Credit. A nuance of combat deployments is that since our pay is not taxed. Thus as far as my taxes are concerned it does not count. Since I deployed in February and was gone for a year our taxable income was pretty tiny for last year. Thus we get welfare Earned Income Credit. I wouldn't have thought of it but a pretty sharp contractor (ironically also a contrarian investor and survivalist) said I should look into it. This is something I had some real internal conflict about. It is pretty crazy that we qualify because my income fell into a different column on the stupid little piece of paper that is the W2. I make a decent living and we aren't in any sort of need. However me deciding to be a good guy and turning away free money is not going to fix the national deficit. We are putting the money into our house fund. I kind of look at it as a partial refund of all that money I put into SS and medicare
The man who committed 10 felonies in 9 hours was pretty impressive. Some folks are just bad and if this sort of thing happens when everything is normal toss in a power outage or a hurricane or a riot and well, it ain't pretty.

Well it is just about a done deal that Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican presidential candidate. I am almost entirely ambivalent about this. Got to purchase some more mags between now and November.
Heineken is pretty good and Jimmy Fallon probably has the best late night TV show these days.

That is all.
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