Advice? Rem 870 Express/buckshot with rifled slug barrel?


April 23, 2005, 03:38 PM
I just purchased a Remington 870 Express, that came with a "screw in choke" 26" barrel, and a 20" barrel with rifle sights, but without any rifling..(smoothbore)

I like the shorter barrel with rifle sights for home defense and just general truck carry..

Can I/Should I shoot buckshot from the rifle sighted barrel.?

If so, has anyone done it, and does it pattern okay??

Is it just simply a smoothbore with iron sights like I think it is, okay for any type of ammo, or is there some detail I'm missing, that makes it only appropriate for slugs?

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April 23, 2005, 03:43 PM
As long as its smoothbore, you can put just about any shot through it you want to (Provided that its not a shell larger than the barrel is chambered for).
As for paterning, you'll have to test different brands to see what paterns best in your gun.
Congrats on the new 870! Enjoy.

Fred Fuller
April 23, 2005, 05:12 PM
You can and should shoot buckshot through the rifle sighted barrel. It should do well with it. If it is a new gun the barrel will be choked improved cylinder from the factory. If you bought it used, it might be one of the older cylinder bore 20" barrels. Either way, as long as it is a smoothbore, you are good to go with either buckshot or slugs. Shotgun barrels with rifled bores tend to do well with sabot type slugs only, they often throw buckshot patterns with holes in the middle.

Remington marks their new short barrels with IMP CYL stamped into the left side of the chamber end, looking at it with the muzzle pointing away from you. Give yours a look and see if it is marked. I have had good luck with these barrels, they usually deliver better patterns than the older cylinder bore barrels and produce useable patterns at somewhat longer range.

Try patterning with 00 buck first, the new low recoil/reduced recoil/managed recoil loads available from several manufacturers these days are a lot easier on the shoulder. Then see if there is a size the barrel likes better, I prefer not to go smaller than #1 buck and really prefer that if a gun will pattern it well- you get higher pellet counts in #1 buck loads without sacrificing pellet size too much. See if there is a particular load your barrel seems to like better, if you want tight patterns that is. Some folks want their shotguns to be true scatterguns- if that's what you want, try S&B 00 buck in the clear hull and you should get exactly what you are looking for. Any standard velocity buckshot load with soft lead pellets in an unbuffered load is likely to give lots more open patterns than hard lead/plated shot in a buffered load launched at reduced velocities.

I sight in with slugs when using a barrel with sights, as a general rule. My preferred slug is the Brenneke KO loaded by Kent, it is a hard lead sharp-shouldered slug that cuts full diameter holes and is usually quite accurate as well. They are often found on sale at reasonable prices, too. Buckshot loads are more forgiving at longer ranges but still will impact in a single cluster close up. After you sight in with slugs, try your favorite buckshot load and see where it prints in relation to your slug zero at various ranges. Often the two are usefully close but it is not a given- check it to be sure, you might want to change brands/loads to get closer points of impact with slugs and buck.

Stay safe,


April 23, 2005, 05:40 PM
Wow, Lee saved me a lot of typing.

I have 2 Remington 870s, one being a Police Magnum and the other a beautiful '70s Wingmaster. Both are configured the same, the only thing different is the wood quality (the Police has cheap but tough walnut and the Wingmaster has high quality stocks) and the finish (the Police is parkerized and the Wingmaster is blued). They have 20" IC barrels with rifle sights, 3 shot magazine extensions (hold a total of 8 rounds with one in the pipe), and hold additional shells on the stock (the Police model has a 4 round sidesaddle screwed into the buttstock, and the Wingmaster has a 5 round leather buttcuff on order).

I prefer the Remington reduced recol 1 oz slugs. They group into 4 leaf clovers at 25 yards and will stay on the head of a sillouhette out to 50 yards with my bad eyes even. I like the S&B 12 pellet OO buckshot, the ones with the clear hulls that Lee mentioned. They spread fast but consistently. Great for HD use, not the best for long range shotgunning. Anything farther than 25 yards and I'll load the slugs from the buttcuff.

April 23, 2005, 06:22 PM
You've gotten good advise here. Congratulations. IMHO, you have the "most gun for the least money" on the planet. The 870 is a good, durable, classy, reliable and versatile shotgun for quite a reasonable price. Enjoy!

April 23, 2005, 06:36 PM
Thanks all, for the great advice... :)

April 23, 2005, 08:49 PM
Lawdog, the "combo" gun you describe was the first shotgun I bought in this country. I got mine at Wal-Mart for a very decent price, and it kept me sleeping soundly in gang country for several months. The shorter barrel should pattern just fine with buckshot - but remember to pattern several loads to see which one performs best for you.

You might also want to check out Express Sight's replacement rifle sights for the Remington barrel. You can get a Tritium night sight, which greatly enhances low-light performance.

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