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Building a Home Defense Remington 870 Shotgun


Building a Home Defense Remington 870 Shotgun

By Pedchenko Vitaly


Copyright Pedchenko Vitaly 2016

Published at Shakespir

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to Shakespir.com to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Table of contents:

Remington 870 Shotgun FAQ
Infographics: Shotgun Shooting Stance
The Best Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense: Buckshot, Birdshot, Slugs?
Remington 870 Serial Number Suffix, Find Out What Shells Can be Used
Choosing Remington 870 Shotgun
Correcting 4 Common Remington 870 Problems

20 Things to Upgrade in Your Remington 870 to Make it a Home Defense Shotgun

1. Safety button

2. Follower

3. Magazine extension

4. Stock

5. Forend

6. Side-saddle

7. Barrel

8. Finish

9. Sling adapter

10. Sling

11. Extractor

12. Barrel shroud

13. Barrel/Magazine extension clamp

14. Light

15. Sights

16. Metal Police trigger assembly

17. Picatinny rail

18. Holographic sight

19. Laser sight

20. Tactical Extended Rem Choke


Remington 870 Shotgun FAQ

1. Rifled or smooth bore barrel?

Majority of shotguns come with smooth bore barrel. Rifled barrels for shotguns are not as popular as smooth bore barrels. There are many different types of barrels for Remington 870 shotgun.

Smooth barrel can be used with slugs, birdshot and slugs. Rifled barrel is designed specially for spin-stabilized slugs which are more accurate especially on longer distances. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it with other types of ammunition.

Rifled barrels require more time and efforts for cleaning.

2. What gauge? 12 or 20?

The most common gauges of Remington 870 are 12 and 20. 12 gauge is more popular and widely used. It is believed that 20 gauge shotgun is better for women and teenagers because recoil is softer, shotgun is lighter.

There is no much difference between 12 gauge and 20 gauge in home defense situation but gauge is very important for hunting. 20 gauge is as effective as 12 gauge on close distance.

The selection of ammo for 12 gauge shotgun is much wider than for 20 gauge. 12 gauge ammo is easier to find.

Anyway, you may choose 20 gauge if you recoil sensitive.

There are also Remington 870 shotguns in 16, 28 and 410 gauge but they are even less popular.

3. Are Remington 870 barrels interchangeable?

Most of the barrels are interchangeable but there is Remington 870 Tactical model with one piece magazine tube which has barrels which will fit only that model.

4. Is it possible to get oversized safety?

Yes, you can install oversized safety which is easier to disengage under stress or when using gloves. There are several types of aftermarket safety buttons for Remington 870.

5. Can I change wood stock of my Remington 870?

There are many aftermarket stocks available for your Remington 870 shotgun. You may choose plastic or wooden stock. There are pistol grip stocks or classic ones. Some people even choose pistol grip without stock to make Remington 870 as compact as possible.

6. Can I have better magazine follower?

Yes, you can easily replace standard follower with one of the many aftermarket Remington 870 followers. Some of them have very nice additional features which improve feeding.

7. What sights available for my shotgun?

You can have aftermarket light gathering or Tritium sights. There are ghost ring and rifle sights available for Remington 870.

8. Is it possible to install scope or red dot sight on Remington 870?

There are several ways of installation of scope or red dot sight on Remington 870 shotgun. If receiver of your shotgun is drilled and tapped, you can buy rail and install it on top of the receiver. If it is not you may drill and tap receiver of your shotgun yourself. Sometimes it is better to let a professional gunsmith do it.

9. What is the best way to attach tactical flashlight on my shotgun?

There are many ways to attach tactical flashlight to Remington 870 shotgun. You may get clamp, magnetic clamp, strap or forend light.

10. What is the magazine capacity of Remington 870 shotguns?

Standard magazine capacity of Remington 870 without magazine extension is 4+1 (in chamber). But you can install magazine extension and extend magazine capacity as much as you need. There are many different Remington and aftermarket magazine extensions from +1 to +6 rounds. You will need +1, +2 or +3 magazine extension for home defense, longer magazine extensions are used by competition shooters.

11. What variations of the 870 are avilable?

There are many models of Remington 870 available: Express, Wingmaster, Police, Marine, Deer etc. There are different types of stocks, finishes, barrels available.

12. What is the difference between the Police and the Express models?

There are many minor differences between Police and Express models. The main differences are better finish, metal trigger group, non-MIM extractor, heavier sear and carrier dog springs and other.

13. What is the difference between the Wingmaster and the Express models?

Finish of the shotgun and wood of the stock and forend are different. The Remington 870 Express model has a parkerized matte finish which easily rusts. Express model comes with laminate stock and forend. The Wingmaster has a blued finish and a walnut stock.

14. Is there a better magazine spring?

You will need longer magazine spring if you have magazine extension installed. Some shooters prefer longer magazine spring for more reliable feeding. There are two good manufacturers of high-quality magazine springs for shotguns: Wolff and Nordic Components. I prefer Nordic Components magazine springs.

Read also: [+ 10 Must Have Upgrades for Your Remington 870 Shotgun+]

Infographics: Shotgun Shooting Stance

Read also: [+ Magazine Extensions for Remington 870 Shotgun (Nordic Components, Choate, TacStar, Remington, ATI)+]

The Best Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense: Buckshot, Birdshot, Slugs?

A novice shotgun user might think that shotgun ammo is all the same. They figure you just purchase shotgun shells from the store, load them in the shotgun, and then fire. Now it is true that all shotguns are predominately a short range weapon that can do loads of damage to your target. However, the type of ammo in your shotgun will be helpful in the amount of damage you want to do versus the preciseness of your aim.

There are three types of shotgun ammunition; buckshot, birdshot and slug. The best type of shotgun ammunition for home defense is buckshot. These are basically large lead balls inside shells that get loaded into the shotgun. Most people use buckshot for hunting big animals, but they are suitable for self-defense purposes as well. The standard buckshot has eight .36 inch diameter balls, but they go up to 27 .24 inch diameter balls. The bigger the balls, the more damage the buckshot will do to your target. As for birdshot, these are shells filled with small pellets in them. Normally people will hunt birds and small animals with birdshot ammunition in their shotgun. However, it has great stopping power and it will be able to incapacitate any intruder from up to 30 feet away. Finally, slugs are shells loaded with solid lead bullets with grooves on the sides. If you seriously want to destroy your target and cause the most damage then slugs are the way to go. Slugs are also very accurate when fired. You can shoot a target up to 75 yards away and still keep up a reasonable amount of accuracy.

Any one of these three shotgun ammunition types will be sufficient for stopping an intruder. It’s not like there is one that won’t do any damage. Remember, this is a shotgun! No matter which ammunition you use to shoot your target, it will cause serious injury or death to the person when used up close. But if you have a lot of property and are thinking that you’ll need something better for longer range then look into purchasing birdshot or slugs. Remember though that you should never shoot someone running away from you. The legal consequences of shooting someone in the back are quite severe. So only shoot someone long range if they are hurting someone else or trying to shoot at you from far away. Otherwise, stick with some simple buckshot and shoot the intruder when they come into your home.

Read also: Shotgun Shells Explained – Types Of Ammo (Birdshot, Buckshot, Slugs)

Remington 870 Serial Number Suffix, Find Out What Shells Can be Used

You can easily find out what shells can be used in your Remington 870. Receiver of a shotgun is marked with letters at the end of the serial number, they determine ejection size.

It is very important to load only the ammo which suits your shotgun. Table of the Remington 870 serial number suffixes enables you easily finding out which ammo can be used.

Remington 870 Serial Number Suffix Meaning

p<>{color:#000;}. Serial Number Suffix
p<>{color:#000;}. Receiver Frame Size
p<>{color:#000;}. Gauge
p<>{color:#000;}. Ejection

Read also: [+ Remington 870, 1100, 700 Serial Number Lookup+]

Choosing Remington 870 Shotgun

There are all kinds of shotguns you can choose from when it comes to self defense or hunting. The only thing shotguns have in common is they do a lot more damage to your target than traditional handguns. Most people these days use shotguns more for hunting rather than self defense, but there are still some old school gun enthusiasts who use shotguns for both. You might think that it doesn’t matter which shotgun you use for self defense, but there are some differences between certain shotgun types that could affect your decision.

When it comes to home defense you don’t need to go crazy with a longer barreled shotgun. Instead, go with a short barreled shotgun that is between 18 and 22 inches long and chambered for 12-gauge or 20-gauge shotgun shells. As for the action of the shotgun, it would be better to use pump action over an autoloader. Pump action shotguns are known for being more mechanically reliable than autoloaders, especially under adverse conditions. Plus they are safer shotguns to use in a home environment because of its safety features and manual pump needed in order to shoot. But still, always keep your shotgun in a secure place where children or intruders wouldn’t think to look. You don’t want to have any unfortunate accidents that could lead to the wrong person getting shot with it.

Despite the size of a pump action shotgun, they can actually be cheaper to purchase than a handgun of the same quality. You just have to shop around to find the best deal on a shotgun that meets your needs.

It’s no surprise that readers of the Remington 870 blog ask what model to choose. There are lot of Remington 870 modifications and it is difficult to choose the one you need. There are more expensive and less expensiver versions. There are also Remington 870 models with longer, shorter and even rifled barrels. Some 870s have classic stock, some pistol grip stock, there is also version with recoil-reducing Blackhawk Spec Ops stock. One of the new popular models has Magpul stock and forend. Choosing a shotgun is not an easy task, especially for those who never owned a one.

So what are the main Remington 870 models? They are:
-Remington 870 Express
-Remington 870 Express Tactical
-Remington 870 Express Super Magnum
-Remington 870 Police
-Remington 870 Wingmaster
-Remington 870 Special Purpose Marine

So let’s have a close look at each model. What are the main difference, advantages and disadvantages?

Remington 870 Express

Remington 870 Express is the most affordable model. Good bang for the money. It is very simple shotgun without any additional features. It is good old 870 with laminate stock and fore-end. They are not the most durable and good looking but they serve their purpose. You can change standard Remington 870 stock and forend easily.

This pump-action shotgun has standard black matte finish. Remember that this isn’t the best coating and it will rust even after light rain. So make sure that you clean and lube your Remington 870 express regularly, especially after the rain.

Standard Remington 870 Express shotgun doesn’t have a magazine extension. It’s not a problem for hunters but you will have to buy it separately if you intend to use your shotgun for home defense. Also, there are two dimples inside of the magazine tube, you will have to remove them to install the magazine extension.

There are two variants with 26″ or 28″ vent-rib barrels with bead sight available. Of course, you can buy shorter barrel for home defense.

There are Remington 870 Express shotguns with additional features:

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SYNTHETIC 18″ – very popular shotgun with 18″ fixed Cylinder choke barrel and front bead sight.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SYNTHETIC DEER – 20-inch, fully-rifled barrel with adjustable rifle sights. There were versions with smooth bore barrels. This shotgun has Monte Carlo laminated stock.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SYNTHETIC 7-ROUND – new and very popular Remington 870 shotgun with one-piece magazine tube. Added reliability but you cannot install barrels from other 870s on this Tactical model. It also has synthetic stock and Speedfeed law enforcement forend.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® PISTOL GRIP – it has short 18 1/2″ barrel and extended ported Tactical Rem Choke. Also has Pachmayr pistol grip without stock and Speedfeed law enforcement forend. Magazine capacity is extended to 7 rounds.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SLUG – the main difference is fully rifled barrel with cantilever system for optics. Also it has synthetic stock and forend. No extension.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® TURKEY – the main difference is 21″ vent rib turkey barrel and Turkey Extra Full Rem™ Choke tube. This shotgun also has non-glare Express® wood and metal finishes. Camo version comes with camo stock and forend.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® COMBOS – Combo package includes 26-inch vent rib barrel with Modified Rem™ Choke tube and a 20-inch fully rifled, deer barrel with rifle sights. There also were packages with 20-inch smooth bore barrels.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SHURSHOT™ SYNTHETIC CANTILEVER – the main differences are ShurShot™ Synthetic stock and 18 1/2″ fully rifled barrel.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SHURSHOT™ SYNTHETIC TURKEY – it has ShurShot synthetic pistol grip stock and 21″ barrel with Turkey Extra Full Rem™ Choke.

Remington 870 Express Synthetic Tactical

Remington 870 Express Tactical is a shotgun with extended magazine tube and different stock and forend. Sights are ddifferent too. Tactical model utilizes rear XS Ghost ring sight rail mounted to receiver and front blade.

[*MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® TACTICAL *]– the main difference is 18 1/2″ tactical barrel with breachers ported choke. It has front blade sight and rear XS Ghost Ring sight Rail which is mounted on receiver. Sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. It also has synthetic stock and Speedfeed law enforcement forend.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® TACTICAL MAGPUL® – this model has Magpul stock and forend installed. Shotgun has 18.5″ barrel with extended tactical choke tube. It also has more reliable one piece extended magazine tube. More comfortable SuperCell™ recoil pad already installed.

[*MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® TACTICAL *]– With 2-shot magazine extension installed and several variations of stock: Speedfeed or classic synthetic.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® TACTICAL WITH BLACKHAWK! SPEC OPS II – the main difference is a recoil-reducing sotck.

Remington 870 Express Super Magnum

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The main difference of the Super Magnum is that you can fire heavy 3 1/2-inch magnums with it.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SUPER MAGNUM – the main difference of this model is that you can use heavy 3 1/2-inch magnums with it. It has 28 inch vented rib barrel with Modified Rem™ Choke.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SUPER MAGNUM COMBO – package that includes 3 1/2″ chamber 26″ vent rib barrel with a Modified Rem™ Choke and 3″ chambered, 20″ fully rifled deer barrel with rifle sights.

MODEL 870™ EXPRESS® SUPER MAGNUM SYNTHETIC – the main difference of this Super Magnum is sythetic stock and forend.

Remington 870 Police

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Remington 870 Police is more expensive than Remington 870 Express and it has some very good features. The same shotgun as used by Law Enforcement.

There are some very important differences between Remington 870 Police and other 870s. It goes through additional and very strict quality control.

Remington 870 Police has longer magazine spring, heavier sear spring, heavier carrier dog spring, shorter Speedfeed forend (to be compatible with police shotgun vehicle racks), Speedfeed stock, better coating such as High Luster bluing or Parkerization. Remington 870 Express has synthetic trigger group, Police models use a compressed metal housing.

Remington 870 Police has machined non-MIM Extrctor.


Remington 870 Wingmaster
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Remington 870 Wingmaster is believed to be of better quality than regular Remington 870 Express. But actually this is the same shotgun but with better finish. The receiver and barrel are blued and highly polished for classic appeal. The stock and forend are made of wood.

Remington 870 Wingmaster is a beautiful shotgun and you can’t go wrong with it.

1978 Remington 870 Wingmaster


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p<>{color:#000;}. Remington 870 Marine

Remington 870 Marine is the most durable 870. Rlectroless nickel plating covers all metal, including the inside of the barrel and receiver. Stock and forend are synthetic. Remington 870 Marine coems with 18″ Cylinder barrel with bead front sight and magazine extension.

This shotgun resists corrosion and will not rust even in harshest conditions.

Read also: [+ 10 Steps to Upgrade Your Remington 870 Express to Police Version+]

Correcting 4 Common Remington 870 Problems

There are several common problems of Remington 870 shotgun. They are well known but new owners may have problems diagnosing and fixing them.

So, I decided to list the most common problems and how to fix them. Remington 870 is a very good shotgun, you just need to understand how to use it.

1. Failure to extract.

Remington 870 – Shell Stuck in a Barrel

This is when fired shotshell becomes stuck in the chamber. Failure to extract problem is one of the most common Remington 870 problems. It is often happens with cheap and low brass ammo.

There are several possible solutions to fix this problem. First, buy several boxes of ammo from different manufacturers and test what ammo will be good for your shotgun. You many even not need to do any changes to your Remington 870.

Another way to fix failure to extract is to install non-MIM extractor on your Remington 870 shotgun. It is sturdier than MIM extractor and this may help. There is also new Volquartsen Remington 870 Exact Edge Extractor which is also better than standard MIM extractor.

But if you tried everything above and still have failures to extract then you many need to polish a chamber of your shotgun.

2. Rust.

Rusty Remington 870 Wingmaster

Remington 870 Express easily rusts but this also happens to its closest competitor – Mossberg 500. So, make sure that you always clean and lube your shotgun. Thin layer of oil will protect exterior of your shotgun from rust.

Remember that when you carry your shotgun from cold environment into a warm room, condensate will appear on metal surfaces. Make sure to wipe all water from the shotgun.

Also, rust inhibitors like Shooter’s Choice Rust Prevent will help you to protect your shotgun from rust even under rain.

3. Broken Ejector or Ejector Spring.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Broken Ejector on Remington 870 Express Shotgun

Remington 870 ejector or ejector spring can be easily broken. Sometimes you can use shotgun for years and shoot thousands of rounds and everything will be ok but sometimes this can happen to almost new shotgun.

Broken ejector or ejector spring is not a part that you can easily change without tools. You can have a gunsmith do this repair for you or you can order set of special tools and fix this problem at home.

Remington 870 ejector spring replacement is easy to do when you have the right tools. This doesn’t happen often but it is better to have spare parts ready.

4. Follower stuck in a joint between magazine tube and magazine tube extension

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p<>{color:#000;}. Nordic Components Shotgun Follower

When you cannot load the magazine of your shotgun to the full capacity. It looks like something is stuck inside and you just cannot insert next round into the magazine tube. Or when spring is stuck behind the follower and there is no pressure on rounds and they just travel freely inside of the magazine tube.

This can happen with both standard and aftermarket followers. So, be sure to test your shotgun on a shooting range to ensure proper and reliable functioning of your Remington 870 shotgun.

I highly recommend changing standard follower with one of the aftermarket followers for Remington 870.

Read also: [+ 7 Remington 870 Upgrade Ideas for Less Than $20+]

20 Things to Upgrade in Your Remington 870 to Make it a Home Defense Shotgun

[]1. Safety button.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. When you want to replace the safety button of your Remington 870 you will want to install an oversized safety button. This will allow you to disengage the button more easily, especially if you are wearing gloves or are in a stressful situation where you may lack focus and concentration.

For example, if you use your Remington 870 for home protection then you may not be used to the feeling of having to ward off an intruder with your shotgun. Instead, you are likely only used to hunting with your shotgun or using it for target shooting.


But when it comes to defending yourself against a real threat, your heart will be beating fast and you’ll feel an adrenaline rush throughout your entire body. In this state, you will likely forget about the safety or panic when you realize the safety is still on. If you have a standard safety button that is small and tough to disengage then you may not be able to disengage it before the threat comes after you. By replacing the standard button with a bigger button, it will ensure this doesn’t happen.

To change the safety button, you need to first disassemble your Remington 870 shotgun and remove the Trigger Plate Assembly. Next, you need to push out the safety pin from the safety switch. You will need a pin pushing tool or something 1/16 inch wide to push the pin out. Make sure you place your finger on the detent channel before pushing the pin out because the spring inside the hole is under pressure and will jump out quickly if your finger is not there. Since the spring is so small, you will likely never be able to find it again once it jumps out.

Once you have the safety switch retaining pin out, gently let the safety detent spring and ball fall out of the detent channel. Now you can just remove the safety button that is currently there and then install the new safety button. This should be installed from the right side. Next, you need to reinstall the detent ball of the safety followed by the safety switch spring. Put the safety switch pin back in with the pointed end going inside. The safety detent spring now gets depressed into the safety detent channel with the retaining pin being inserted on the end. Now just test the new safety button you installed and then reinstall the Trigger Group Assembly.

More information: Remington 870 Safety Buttons Review

2. Follower.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. I receive many complaints about factory magazine follower from Remington 870 owners. It is cheap and easy to brake. This is number one cause for feeding problems. First Remington 870s had metal followers which were strong and reliable.

Changing factory magazine follower is extremely important to ensure reliable feeding. Remember, that broken extractor can stuck inside the magazine tube and you will have to disassemble your shotgun to fix that. And if we are talking about self-defense situation this is the worst case scenario.



Factory follower is junk, remove it as soon as possible!

Attention: new Remington 870 shotguns have two “dimples” in magazine tube and followers without slots in the sides will not work with them. You will need to drill out the dimples or modify a follower.

Factory Remington 870 follower is the most often cause of loading/feeding problems.

One of the good things about Remington 870 is that it is extremely popular and different manufacturers release new products for this shotgun each year. From the time of the last review, I have found out about 5 new followers and the more choices we have the better.

Magazine Spring

Don’t forget that good magazine follower is just half of the upgrade and you need good magazine spring. And there is no better spring than one from Nordic Components or Wolff springs.

Aftermarket Followers

Let’s start with the best of the aftermarket magazine followers for Remington 870 shotgun. Vang Comp Systems follower, S&J Hardware follower, Brownells followers and Nordic Components followers are the best followers on the market today. I have chosen the best followers after extreme number of tests on the range and several thousands of rounds.

More information: Remington 870 Followers Overview

[]3. Magazine extension.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Traditional shotgun users are used to loading shells into the chamber of their shotgun before they fire it. Most shotguns don’t have magazines that you attach to it though. You will only find those with handguns and rifles. However, there are shotguns that can have magazine extensions instead. These are similar to magazines in the sense that they both allow you to hold additional rounds of ammunition. But the magazine extensions are shaped and constructed differently. |

Instead of being something that attaches to the handle of the gun, the magazine extension is a solid steel tube that replaces the regular magazine cap on your shotgun. It will then add a few extra rounds of ammunition to your shotgun. Many of the newer extensions include a sling swivel clamp that secures the extension to the barrel of the shotgun for additional support.

You will find magazine extensions compatible with most 12 gauge shotgun models. The shotguns alone typically hold up to five rounds of ammunition, but when you add the extension you should be able to hold up to ten rounds. The people who use magazine extensions are usually those who practice at a shooting range or like to hunt wild animals. This wouldn’t necessarily be for people who are trying to aim and land a precise hit on their target. Instead, it is for people who want to shoot at a target closer to them while firing multiple consecutive rounds. Police and members of law enforcement commonly have these extensions on their department issued shotguns. That way they don’t have to worry about running out of ammunition too quickly when they are shooting at suspects or enduring a tough situation where they wouldn’t have too much time to reload. As for homeowners looking to protect their families, it is your choice as to whether or not you feel that an extension is necessary. Usually you will be shooting close range at an intruder, so you may not need additional ammunition unless you are worried that you will miss your target. But it is better to be safe than sorry so you mine as well purchase an extension anyways.

Shotgun magazine extensions run about $50 on average. The Remington models are the most preferred extensions, which will work even better with Remington model shotguns. Check with your local gun dealer because they will be able to recommend the best extension for any shotgun that you have or are looking to purchase.

More information: Magazine Extensions for Remington 870

[]4. Stock.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. If you own a shotgun and are not happy with its stock, then you can always upgrade the stock by purchasing a new one and replacing your old one with it. But before you purchase a new stock or another shotgun, you need to know the measurements of a stock that will be a comfortable fit for you. The whole idea behind choosing a shotgun stock is to choose one that allows you to be comfortable while you’re aiming the weapon. That way you don’t have any distractions or make any sudden movements with your body to try and adjust yourself while the target is in front of you.

So how do you figure out the stock size that is right for you? Well, there are a few ways to go about doing this. The easiest way is to use what is called a “try gun.” |

This is a special type of shotgun that has an adjustable stock to it. You can make the stock longer, shorter, or increase the height on top.

These weapons are designed for people to get a feel for which stock adjustment gives them the most comfort. After you find an adjustment that is suitable, you measure the stock to see what the size is. Usually, these try guns are available at gun shops which have gunsmiths in them. A gunsmith will have the right tools to measure the stock properly after it has been adjusted. You’ll practically get a prescription for the stock that is just right for you based on the measurements that were done. Then you just take those measurements and find an existing stock that matches those measurements.

Aside from the size of the stock, you also should pay attention to the material in which the stock is made from. The two most common stock materials are laminated hardwood and molded plastic. The wood stocks contained layers of hardwood that get glued together while under pressure. These are the classic stocks that are pleasant to look at more than anything else. But the synthetic stocks often provide a lightweight alternative that makes it easier for users to handle the weapon. Since they are made of plastic, they are often cheaper than hardwood too. Therefore, you should test out each type of stock to get a feel for which material you’re more comfortable with. Some people prefer the wooden stocks because they like it to be heavier while others don’t. Choosing stocks is all about experimentation but once you find the right stock you’ll never want to let it go.

More information: 5 Best Aftermarket Stocks for Remington 870

[]5. Forend.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Choose a shorter one, so you can install side-saddle. Aftermarket forends have additional features like rails for flashlights.

The first thing you want to do when trying to replace the forend of your Remington 870 is to make sure the weapon is unloaded. You’ll want to check both the chamber and magazine tube by visually looking at them and by feeling around with your fingers. That way you can ensure that you don’t have any accidents during the process of replacing your forend. Next, you will need to gather the right tool for doing this job. There is a special forend removal tool that you can purchase at most gun stores, but if you have a pair of pliers then they will be fine.


Once you have your tool ready, you can begin by disassembling the shotgun and removing the forend from it. On the front side of the forend, there is a nut that you need to unscrew by using the pliers or a forend removal tool. Insert your tool in two of the nut’s notches to grip it properly. If you have any gun oil then you can apply that to the nut to make it easier to remove. This process should be easy if you have a newer Remington 870 because the nut hasn’t been on there for very long. However, if you have an older Remington 870 model then you may find the nut to be a little harder to unscrew. Try not to be too forceful when using your tool or else you could risk breaking the forend, especially if it is wooden. But if you have the right tools then you should be able to get the nut out of the forend. After the forend nut is removed, just slide off the forend and then slide on the new one. Now reverse the process by screwing the forend nut onto the front of the new forend and you are good to go.

It is rare for anyone to have problems with this process. Most people have newer Remington 870’s with easily removable forend nuts. The whole process of removing the nut sounds harder than it really is. If you need extra guidance then there are plenty of YouTube videos you can look up which give you visual demonstrations on the forend replacement process. They should help show you how easy this really is.

More information: Best Forends for Remington 870

[]6. Side-saddle.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Allows you to have additional shells on your shotgun. When you grab a shotgun, all ammunition you have is in shotgun and on shotgun, so it’s important to have receiver mount shell holder. Sidesaddles are very popular and you can find them on many police, tactical or home defense shotguns.

I recommend getting Mesa Tactical sidesaddle. This is the most durable and reliable sidesaddle available on the market today. Mesa Tactical sidesaddle is made of aluminium which makes it indestructible. It is low profile and looks fantastic! |

One of the good features of this shell carrier is that it doesn’t hide the serial number.

There are many different versions of this sidesaddle. There are 4-round, 6-round and even 8-round shell carriers. Some of the sidesaddles have rail on the top to mount red dots or optics.

This is the most expensive shell carrier but it is worth the price. There are less expensive sidesaddles and they work just fine but made of cheaper materials like plastic.

Receiver mount shell holder (sidesaddle) is a must have upgrade for Remington 870.

Remington 870 Mesa Tactical 6 Shot Sidesaddle

More information: Overview of the Sidesaddles for Shotguns

[]7. Barrel.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. The most popular barrel for homedefense is the Remington 870 18″ bead sight barrel. It is short, simple and inexpensive.

This short barrel enables you to easily manouevre around the house. It is possible to change the factory bead with light gathering or Tritium one.

This barrel is universal tool which is good for almost any purpose. Of course, longer barrel will be better for hunting and ghost ring sights will be better for home defense. But 18″ bead sight barrel enables you to do almost all tasks. It is good choice for beginners or for people that want to have only one shotgun for home defense and for week end clay shooting.

Barrel which is shorter than 18″ usually requires special license.


Barrel, 18″, Police w/Rifle Sights, Parkerized, Imp Cyl

Get a shorter one to make your shotgun more compact.

More information: Remington 870 Barrels

8. Finish.

Duracoat, Cerakote or Gunkote your shotgun to protect it from rust.

More information: Painting Remington 870 Shotgun with Gun Kote

9. Sling adapter.

Enables you to have a sling on your shotgun. The mount is especially designed for tactical operations. The mount places the rear sling attachment in front of the user. This allows shooters to shoulder their weapons quickly without becoming tangled. The mount also allows a single point attachment, or it can be used with a front sling mount for a two-point sling installation. The loop on the mount allows you to attach up to a 1 ¼ inch wide sling. The rear mount is installed directly behind the receiver in front of the butt stock.

Why do you need a single point sling attachment? You can mount your shotgun in a tactical situation on either shoulder so when making fast entries you can swing through doorways much easier allowing moving around corners easier and faster. This helps to prevent letting others know of your position because the weapon’s barrel is sticking out from the corner. The mount works well when wearing body armor.

The mount attaches in minutes is rugged and does not snag on objects. But it protruding enough to be a hindrance in home defense especially. Once mounted it adds to the looks of the weapon and after tests of the mount in a tactical training show that catching on objects is not a concern.

Many shooters simply cannot get used to a sling and this is because they find it takes critical time to shoulder the weapon or to bring the weapon to bear from the shouldered position. In hunting or combat situations you cannot always carry the weapon at port arms you must be able to sling the weapon at certain times. Slings are critical and having the right mount is important when transitioning from your shotgun to a sidearm. Without a sling, you would have to abandon the weapon to bring a sidearm into use. This is unacceptable in most cases.

Some shooters may not want a sling or claim it is a hindrance simply because they do not fully understand the need for one or do not know how to utilize a sling and mounts properly. Having both hands free and still being able to control, your shotgun in a tactical situation is crucial.

More information: GG&G Shotgun Sling Mount Review

10. Sling.

Choose a one-point, two-point or three-point sling for your shotgun to be able to make transitions to a secondary weapon or carry it in different positions.

Shotgun slings are useful when you want to carry around a shotgun without having to hold onto it. The sling acts like a loop on the bottom of the shotgun and you just throw the loop over your shoulder to carry the shotgun around. This comes in particularly handy when you are out hunting or are getting ready to shoot something at any given moment. But in addition to carrying it around, slings also offer support when shooting the shotgun. You might not need this support with birdshot ammunition, but if you are using slugs then it will be very helpful in getting off a good shot.

There are many opinions about a sling on a home defense or duty shotgun. Some people like it some don’t. It is not necessary to have a sling on a home defense shotgun because you don’t carry it for a long periods of time and it also may catch on doorknobs or furniture.

Hunting or duty shotgun is a different story. You may carry it for a hours and you will be tired holding it in your hands all the time.

More information: Cheap Sling for Remington 870

[]11. Extractor.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;}. When you fire a Remington 870, or any other type of shotgun, you will see the shells fall out of the chamber onto the ground. The part of the shotgun that removes shell after it is fired is called the extractor. Once you cycle the action of the gun, the shell is removed from the firing chamber. It is important to have a durable extractor if you use your shotgun a lot. Most Remington 870 shotgun models come with a metal injection molded extractor which is good for standard use only. But if you are someone who goes shooting a lot then you will want a solid steel extractor in your shotgun instead. |

These extractors are typically found in Remington 870 Police models since law enforcement officials tend to shoot shotguns more often than civilians. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t install a solid steel extractor into your Remington 870 to make it more reliable.

Solid steel extractors can be purchased at most gun stores for about $25. You might see them advertised as non-MIM, or non-metal injection molded. This just indicates that it is not the standard metal injection molded extractor that usually comes with the Remington 870. But just to be safe, ensure that the extractor you purchase is in fact solid steel because this is the best extractor you can get. After you have installed the extractor, you should go test your shotgun at some targets in order to see how well the shells get extracted. If you don’t notice any problems then you have successfully upgraded your shotgun with the new extractor. But if you do notice problems, then disassemble it again and check to make sure all of the parts were put back correctly.

More information: MIM and non-MIM Extractor for Remington 870 Shotgun

12. Barrel shroud.



Protects your hands from heat

p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Gives your Remington 870 shotgun a tactical look



Scratches barrel

p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Requires modification if installed on barrel with rifle sights

p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Adds weight

More information: Remington 870 Shotgun Heat Shields

13. Barrel/Magazine extension clamp.

Flashlight mounts basically clamp to the side of your shotgun’s barrel with a Picatinny rail.

Choose a reliable clamp which will protect your magazine extension.

More information: Remington 870 CDM Gear BMT Clamp with 3 Slot Rail Review

14. Light.

One of the most common upgrades you can make to your Remington 870 shotgun is adding a flashlight to it. Light is an essential resource to have when you are trying to shoot in areas where you cannot see very well. Perhaps you are outside hunting at dusk or at nighttime and you want to be able to see in front of you better. A flashlight mounted onto your Remington 870 will give you the necessary light source you need to see what’s nearby. If you use your Remington 870 for home defense then the flashlight mount will come in handy during day or night. Even if there’s daylight outside, there could be a target that comes indoors or in an area where it is shaded from the sun. It is better to be safe than sorry so it is always a good idea to equip your shotgun with a flashlight mount. It is lightweight and doesn’t take up much space on your weapon.

What is a tactical flashlight?

A tactical weapon flashlight is basically a flashlight that attaches to the barrel of your firearm so that you can see your target in darker environments. Some people use tactical flashlights to go hunting at nighttime while others may use them to defend their home after it gets dark outside. Now you may think that a flashlight might scare off your target or eliminate your ability to be discrete, but it is still important to have the light for a variety of reasons.

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|<>. p<>{color:#000;}. The main reason being that you want to make sure you know what you’re shooting at. There are so many accidents that happen every year with firearms, especially when it comes to hunting. People see something move in the distance and assume it’s an animal when it’s really another person or hunter. You don’t want to end up in this situation for your own sake and the sake of those around you. |

The great thing about tactical flashlights is they emit a very bright LED white light that can lighten up virtually any dark environment. The brightness levels on these lights range from 80 lumens to about 200 and more lumens. This makes them perfect for law enforcement and military officers who depend on being able to see clearly while on dangerous missions. Often times, the police have to raid buildings that are dimly lit or have no lighting at all. The only way they’re going to be able to see is if they have tactical flashlights attached to their rifles or shotguns which can brighten up the entire environment. With all the questionable police shootings that go on in the United States, police officers certainly don’t want to take any chances by shooting a person who may not be armed because they couldn’t see them. The military also uses these flashlights in similar circumstances, like when raiding enemy fortresses or small villages at nighttime.

Tactical flashlights usually get mounted to the bottom of the barrel or to the side of the barrel. You can purchase lightweight clamps that are made specifically for mounting tactical flashlights to barrels. Just make sure you purchase the right clamp for your particular weapon model. The flashlights will be able to stay lit for a few hours before the batteries need to be changed. And don’t worry about the recoil, because the flashlights won’t affect your shooting at all. In fact, it will feel like it’s not even attached to your gun.

Install a clamp with a flashlight or Surefire forend to be able to identify your target in the dark.

[*More information: *]Review of 3 Tactical Flashlights for Your Shotgun

15. Sights.

Remington 870 shotgun owners depend on having quality sights on their barrels. For the Remington 870, you will want to get Tritium sights for your weapon. These particular sights glow in the dark which makes them perfect for all kinds of outdoor environments where you might have limited lighting. These sights are also very sturdy and made of the highest quality material. Ameriglo sights are also neat glow in the dark sights which come in a variety of colors such as yellow and green. So if you are a nighttime hunter, then these glow in the dark sights will be right up your alley. Just be careful what you are shooting at because this glow does not cast a light like a flashlight does. You will still have to be able to see your target. These sights just make sure you know which direction your barrel is pointed at when you aim in the dark.

Vang Comp Systems has a line of ghost ring sights available which can serve this exact purpose. This is a front sight that has solid steel side guards with a white dot in the middle. The idea is that you align your target with the white dot when you aim.

Of course, you may be an old school shotgun owner who likes to use bead sights instead of this fancier ghost sight stuff. There is nothing wrong with sticking to tradition by purchasing big bead sights for the front barrel of your Remington 870. But if you want to upgrade just a little bit then think about getting light gathering colored or Tritium beads.

Ghost Ring Sights

Ghost ring sights are basically thin iron rings that are installed on top of most submachine guns and combat shotguns. There are no optical or laser sights used in this case. It is just a ring that the shooter looks through in order to align their target through the middle of the ring. There is also a thick post in front of the ring so you can aim at your target more precisely.

Ghost rings are the perfect sights to have if you want to remain discrete in your targeting. It is truly a clever way to attack your target by surprise, which comes in handy when hunting or in war type situations.

Ghost rings might seem like a primitive invention, but it is actually a more recent innovation because of its discretion and affordability. If you shop online or at your favorite gun store then you can purchase ghost rings for less than $150. Most ghost rings for shotguns are between $100 and $150. Just make sure you purchase the ghost ring that is compatible with your particular type of firearm because they are all made for different models. Any experienced gun owner should know how to install them, but if you are a novice then your local gun shop should offer a ghost ring installation service.

Ghost ring, rifle sights, tritium or light-gathering? You choose.

More information: XS Remington 870 Pedestal Big Dot Tritium Sight

16. Metal Police trigger assembly.

Trigger group on Remington 870 police is made of metal, it is believed to be more durable. But most of the shotgun owners prefer to have metal trigger group for look and feel. Remington 870 Police trigger group looks fantastic especially when polished.

This is one of the very popular upgrades for standard Remington 870 Express shotguns.

More information: Remington 870 – Trigger Plate Assembly, Police, Metal, Parkerized

17. Picatinny rail.

If you have Remington 870 Express and want to add rail or ghost ring sight you will need to drill and tap you receiver. Rail can be used to attach scope or red dot.

Install it if you want to have additional accessories on your Remington 870.

More information: Drilling and Tapping Remington 870 Receiver to Install Rail (or Ghost Ring Sights)

18. Holographic sight.

A holographic sight on a weapon is a sight that does not magnify the image of the target. Instead, the sight has a glass optical window that the shooter looks through and sees a reticle image that gets superimposed on the target in the distance. Obviously, the reticle isn’t physically on the target, but in the glass optical window, it creates a hologram to make it appear like it is. This allows the shooter to more accurately aim at their intended target and fire at it without trying to get their target in the middle of some magnified crosshair.

Aimpoint is known for their red dot sights and is often competing with EOTech, which is another creator of the holographic sights. In a way, red dot sights are similar to holographic sights because they both paint a virtual crosshair on the intended target.

There are numerous kinds of gun sights and targeting systems for your firearms. The traditional gun optic sight is a magnifying scope that lets you see far away enemies at a closer distance. But this doesn’t help much if you want to shoot a target closer to you. In these situations, you will want to use a holographic sight on your firearm. Holographic sights are non-magnifying gun sights that contain a glass optical window on the top of the firearm with a holographic crosshair in the middle of the glass. The crosshair is actually built into the window and uses a laser diode to illuminate. The idea is that when you aim the gun you’ll want the holographic crosshair to cover your target in the viewfinder of the gun sight. Once you pull the trigger, whatever the crosshair is covering is what will get hit with the projectile. This eliminates the hassle of having to have good accuracy with your aim. As long as you can keep the gun steady and paint the target with the crosshair, you will likely hit the target every time you shoot.

Holographic sights are actually pretty new. The very first one was created in 1998, which was less than 20 years ago. What is fascinating about them is that the crosshairs are generated from a light source. This means if you are aiming your gun in a dark environment then you will still be able to see the crosshair because it will be lit up on your side. Of course, the downside to holographic sights is battery life. These sights require a lot of power to generate the hologram of the crosshair, and there are no batteries available to make it sustain long lasting life before it goes dead. Even the red dot sights have longer battery life than holographic sights. The reason for this is because the laser diode of the holographic sight uses more power than the LED light that creates the red dot sight.

So if you are going out in the woods or someplace remote with your holographic sight then make sure you have extra batteries stored. If you do then you will enjoy the many benefits that the holographic sight will give you. For one thing, any living target won’t be able to see the crosshair when you aim at it. This is something that cannot be said for the red dot sight. In the end, the holographic sight is better for those who want to increase their aim while maintaining discretion.

More information: Holographic Weapon Sight and Shotgun

19. Laser sight.

Flashlight mounts basically clamp to the side of your shotgun’s barrel with a Picatinny rail. Some of the very sophisticated flashlight mounts, such as the Streamlight TLR-2 CR, contain LED lighting and laser sight technology all in one. That way you can identify your target more clearly and get a precise aim at the same time. The red dot from the laser is so small with the Streamlight that your target won’t even notice it. Of course, if it is a human target then they will realize a flashlight is being shined on them but you get the idea. As for prices, it all depends on what features come with the flashlight. If it doesn’t have a laser and is just the light and mount then it will cost roughly $125. If it has a laser then it will cost anywhere in the $250 range. Choose whatever suits your needs and budget.

More information: Streamlight TLR-2 Flashlight/Laser on Remington 870 Review

20. Tactical Extended Rem Choke.

Breaching a door simply means forcing a door open that is locked or closed. Typically, this tactic is used by law enforcement, the military and sometime emergency services. When breaching using a firearm it is called ballistics breaching.

You want to breach the door without firing more shots than needed so this means you need the right weapon and ammunition. The weapon used is inches and sometime in actual contact with the door and the muzzle is typically angled downward to protect anyone inside the structure. If you place the muzzle flat against a surface without a muzzle adapter then there is nowhere for the escaping gases to go and it may increase the recoil dramatically. Usually the first round is fired at the lock/handle mechanism but some hardened doorways may require you also remove the hinges so this will require additional ammunition. Certain doors have the hinges hidden on the inside to help protect

against ballistic breaches. Muzzle adapters are available for door breaching shotguns that allow gases to escape from the muzzle.

Some door breaching rounds do not have a projectial but are powdered filled such as the round the Department of Defense (DoD) uses. Once the metal cup containing the powder strikes the door the impact dissipates the energy on the door lock/hinge, this is called kinetic energy impact. The shell is a 12-guage and is described as “door breaching plastic cup” used with “un-choked shotguns”.

Remington has a breaching shotgun model called 870P™Breacher, which can fire 2 ¾ and 3″ rounds. The barrel has a threaded standoff meaning the muzzle is adapted to allow gases to escape. The barrel is 11.5 inches long with the standoff. It is assumed that if the standoff is threaded it can be removed. The magazine capacity is 3+1.

The weapon can fire the standard buckshot/birdshot and slug rounds but it also has a round for door breaching designed to mitigate collateral damage by not penetrating through the door. The round is called a Hatton round and it is a mixture of compressed powders, which are zinc and gunpowder along with wax. This round only causes localized damage and the muzzle must be pressed to the lock or hinge for best results.

Breaching a door simply means forcing a door open that is locked or closed. Typically, this tactic is used by law enforcement, the military and sometime emergency services. When breaching using a firearm it is called ballistics breaching.

You want to breach the door without firing more shots than needed so this means you need the right weapon and ammunition. The weapon used is inches and sometime in actual contact with the door and the muzzle is typically angled downward to protect anyone inside the structure. If you place the muzzle flat against a surface without a muzzle adapter then there is nowhere for the escaping gases to go and it may increase the recoil dramatically. Usually the first round is fired at the lock/handle mechanism but some hardened doorways may require you also remove the hinges so this will require additional ammunition. Certain doors have the hinges hidden on the inside to help protect against ballistic breaches. Muzzle adapters are available for door breaching shotguns that allow gases to escape from the muzzle.

Some door breaching rounds do not have a projectial but are powdered filled such as the round the Department of Defense (DoD) uses. Once the metal cup containing the powder strikes the door the impact dissipates the energy on the door lock/hinge, this is called kinetic energy impact. The shell is a 12-guage and is described as “door breaching plastic cup” used with “un-choked shotguns”.

Remington has a breaching shotgun model called 870P™Breacher, which can fire 2 ¾ and 3″ rounds. The barrel has a threaded standoff meaning the muzzle is adapted to allow gases to escape. The barrel is 11.5 inches long with the standoff. It is assumed that if the standoff is threaded it can be removed. The magazine capacity is 3+1.

The weapon can fire the standard buckshot/birdshot and slug rounds but it also has a round for door breaching designed to mitigate collateral damage by not penetrating through the door. The round is called a Hatton round and it is a mixture of compressed powders, which are zinc and gunpowder along with wax. This round only causes localized damage and the muzzle must be pressed to the lock or hinge for best results.

Visit Rem870.com for how-to videos, tips and avices!


Vitaly Pedchenko is the author of this eBook.

Vitaly is an IPSC shooter and Range Officer, and participates in many shotgun competitions. He is interested not only in sport application, but also in tactical and home defense use.

His passion is the Remington 870 and its upgrades, which he tests and describes on his blog: http://www.rem870.com.

Vitaly’s blog became very popular and so he decided to write an eBook compilation to have all of his information in one place.

His first book was about Remington 870 Shotgun: [+ Remington 870 Guide+]

This is his 2nd book which is free and dedicated to gun safety.

You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form.

Feel free to contact author at: [email protected] with any questions or suggestions you may have.

See you on the Remington 870 blog and forum: http://www.rem870.com

Recommended website for shotgun parts, accessories and upgrades: Brownells.com

Building a Home Defense Remington 870 Shotgun

Ebook which describes 20 steps you need to do to build a home defense shotgun. You will find information about the most common Remington 870 upgrades. Ebook contains information about different tactical and home defense accessories. It will give you ideas about setup of your home defense shotgun.

  • Author: Vitaly Pedchenko
  • Published: 2016-10-20 21:35:17
  • Words: 9809
Building a Home Defense Remington 870 Shotgun Building a Home Defense Remington 870 Shotgun