870 Slug VS: Shot question


July 7, 2005, 09:58 AM
Getting an 870 but not very familiar with the minutia of barrels.
1) Are there separate barrels for Slug and Shot?
2) Can you use 1 barrel for both all the time?

This will be only for home defence and in the truck for the trips in to BLM land in the 4x4.

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A Cleaner
July 7, 2005, 10:40 AM
Yes there are separate barrels. However, one barrel will do it all. If you aren't planning on hunting with it, there's an 870 home defense model that would be perfect for your two uses. It's barrel is only 18" and it has a mag extension, allowing you to carry 6 + 1. It's cylinder bore (no choke) and is good for 00 buck, which is my first choice for a 12g defensive round. It will also accomodate rifled slugs. For $300, you'd have yourself a bang-up HD/truck shotgun. Hope this helps.

July 7, 2005, 11:56 AM
it's a trade-off. Full choak trap barrel- pretty good with buckshot but maybe not so good with slugs.
20" deer barrel- cylinder bore: Good with slugs but paterns with buck shot open up quick

Fred Fuller
July 7, 2005, 12:14 PM
1) Are there separate barrels for Slug and Shot?

2) Can you use 1 barrel for both all the time?

It can be cornfussing all right. Folk who will shoot naught but sabot slugs have available to them shotgun barrels that are rifled, the better to toss their one-at-a-time projectiles with greater accuracy. However, rifled barrels blow shot patterns into nice donut shapes. Not good...

More utilitarian shotgunners prefer smoothbore barrels for all tasks, and with a smoothbore you can shoot birdshot, buckshot and slugs with equal success. Some find it easier to use a longer barrel for wingshooting while preferring a shorter barrel for home defense, deer hunting, etc. Remington offers the 870 in a 'combo' which features two barrels- a 28" vent rib barrel with RemChoke tubes, and a 20" barrel with rifle type sights and a fixed Improved Cylinder choke, recognizing the uses many people have in mind for their shotguns. See http://www.remington.com/firearms/shotguns/870excmb.htm .

Given the wide (but not total, note) interchangeability of Remington barrels and their wide availability, you can put together a do-it-yourself combo pretty easily and probably save money too. There are lots of good used 870s out there, and lots of used barrels in different configurations too, if you are willing to pass up the new car smell.

If you want to be as versatile as possible with just one barrel, I'd suggest a 'turkey gun' with a 21" vent rib barrel with a midbead/front bead and choke tubes. You can see one at http://www.remington.com/firearms/shotguns/870extrky.htm . I have one that I bought used for less than $150 and it is an extraordinarily versatile shotgun- for a good while it was the only long gun I had available, and I never found anything to complain about with it.

Happy shopping,


July 8, 2005, 09:43 AM
Thanks guys! That answers my basic get started questions.....
Smoth bore 18-20" 870 and I believe the next correct action is BA/UU/R right?

Thank you.


Dave McCracken
July 8, 2005, 07:48 PM
Right. Go shoot.....

July 9, 2005, 08:08 AM
I can think of only one small detail to add since you seem new

There are two kinds of shotgun slugs

Sabot slugs - which are smooth sided like a bullet and are best used in a rifled slug barrel. They can be used in a smooth bore barrel but aren't as accurate.

Rifled Slugs - these have raised ridges that sort of swirl around the side of the slug. These ridges compensate for the lack of rifling in a smooth bore barrel. They give the slug the same sort of spin, and improves accuracy. Do not use these slugs in a rifled slug barrel.

July 11, 2005, 11:27 AM
I've just bought 870 w/26" barrell. I was under the impression that you just changed out the Rem Choke in the end of the barrell in order to shoot slugs as you do to change chokes from full to modified to etc. (I'm not a slug shooter)
Some one told me that there is even a rifle slug choke available for this unit.
Has anyone used one of those?

July 11, 2005, 11:40 AM
you have the best of all possible worlds. just screw in the desired choke and you're ready to go. The most open choke is usally prefered for slugs. I havent experimented so I don't know if a choke constriction will mess up their accuracy or not.

Dave McCracken
July 11, 2005, 07:11 PM
I've an 870 with a 20" Remchoked barrel with a front sight and bead. I use a rifled tube for slugs. Works well with my slugs of choice. Our freezer can testify to its effectiveness.

However, one HAS to test slugs to find the best one. No shortcuts.

July 12, 2005, 07:44 AM
FWIW...In my experience, Federals have typically been the best performers (accuracy wise) but YMMV. It'd be where I'd start.

I used to have (long time ago) a bolt action 16 gauge that would consistently hit a pop can at 30 yards with Federals HTH

July 12, 2005, 09:15 PM
Just to add my brief experience for your consideration: I just bought an 870 with an 18" smoothbore cylinder choke barrel. These are a couple targets.

Remington 2.75" 00buck, 9 pellet, I would guess about 7-10 yards, but not sure:


The big holes in this one are Remington 1oz slugs, offhand, 50 yards, no rear sight (so don't think of this as indicative of the accuracy potential of the barrel/ammo combination). I shot them at someone else's target after they left the range:


Here is the shotgun:


July 13, 2005, 04:03 PM
Nice shooting.
What kind of front sight is that? Is it stock, or something you had done?
My 870 shoots high, I think I need a ramp-bead combo. Thanks,Patrick.

July 13, 2005, 05:52 PM
Just a stock front bead sight.... I wouldn't mind having a rear sight as well, but since I intend to shoot mostly shot through it, I don't think of it as a priority.

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