How to make a Rem. 870 tactical?


April 5, 2006, 11:11 PM
I have a Remington 870 express magnum shotgun with wood stock and 28 inch barrel that has been sitting around my house for several years. Rather than sell it, I was thinking of changing it into a tactical shotgun. What parts changes do you suggest to do this? I would like to do it on the cheap if possible. Thank you.

If you enjoyed reading about "How to make a Rem. 870 tactical?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
bad LT
April 5, 2006, 11:30 PM
The only modifications I would view as "necessary" are a shorter barrel (18-20"), and sling swivels.

The shorter barrel has the obvious advantage of making the weapon shorter. Sling swivels let you mount a sling to your shotgun if you ever want to carry it long distances. However, take the sling off in your house so that it won't catch on things.

bad LT
April 5, 2006, 11:31 PM
O, and lots of ammo (buckshot) for practice!!!

April 6, 2006, 12:23 AM
I would also reccomend a stock with a true pistol grip. For me it's more comfortable when you're keeping the weapon shouldered for room clearing and such.

Fred Fuller
April 6, 2006, 08:24 AM
The biggest parts change necessary involves the part between the operator's ears. Start with one of the NRA classes on personal protection or the like. Find a range with practical shooting matches involving shotguns. Take a class from Louis Awerbuck, Randy Cain, John Farnam or any other good instructor. Learn good habits, then BA/UU/R. It's the operator, not the hardware. No amount of kewlstuff bolted onto a gun will make up for lack of training and practice on the operator's part.

Learn to run the gun as stock as possible- make sure it fits you properly first of all. Then put on a shorter barrel (18- 21")with a bead sight, and a set of sling swivels for starters. Then shoot it until it is as familiar as a body part. Build on that, adding accessories as your skill grows and your ability to evaluate what helps YOU run the gun better improves.

Stay safe,


April 6, 2006, 12:33 PM
I made sure to purchase mine with the 18" barrel and extended mag already on the setup NIB. You could add those. I still need to get sling swivels and I added a Butler Creek pistol grip w/side folding steel stock. That is all I feel I need for my purposes. You could change the fore-end and add a grip and add sight rails for laser scopes, side saddles, ghost sights, a whole lot of stuff to increase your ninja points.:D

April 6, 2006, 05:19 PM
Heres my 2 cents worth. A pistol grip stock is unnessasary, at least for my tastes, but the 14" length of pull is just to long for a fighting shotgun, so to stay cheap, I'd just pull the recoil pad. Then I'd get a 2 shot magazine extender which will be about 30 bucks. That will allow you to leave it loaded over time with 4 shells in the tube and one in the pipe without putting too much strain on the spring, or you have the option of totaly loaded with 7 shots. Also, I'd get a spare shell carrier which will screw right onto the side of you stock. That will be 10 or 15 dollars. Other than that, I'd cut the barrel down to size, and have a huge bead sight installed, which would be about 15 bucks. I wouldn't bother with a sling unless you plan to carry it.

For less than 65 bucks, the above mentioned modifications will turn your 870 into a formidable street sweeper, but if this is going to be a HD gun, you should get a light, but its less of an issue if you live in a big city with a light polution effect. A surefire light will set you back a couple hundred bucks, but its well worth it.

April 6, 2006, 05:47 PM
Buy an 18" barrel for it.

Go for the Scattergun tech. mag extension. sells them for $40.
Get get sling swivels and adjust your sling but take it off as mentioned before.

Get a stock with a shorter lenght of pull. I'm looking at the Knoxx Compstock right now. Speedfeed make a some nice short stocks with or without the pistol grip. - I think the pistol grip makes it easier to manuver and gives it a better balance for defensive purposes.

Bead sight works but for anything over 25 yards it would be nice to have a set of ghost rings. But I can hit the target alright at 100 with a bead sight. At this point its time to use a rifle anyway. I've thought about putting an EOTech on my shotty but if I caught off guard while I'm sleeping or something I'm not going to remove the cover and turn it on. So for home defense I'd prefer bead or iron sights.

Stick with 00 Buckshot and Slugs.

April 6, 2006, 06:06 PM
I am in the process of doing this as well.

- I bought a wilson oversized safety and installed
- I cut the stock down 2 inches and reinstalled the recoil pad. Some sanding
on the pad to match size of stock was neccasary
- I bought a 2 round mag extension and installed. Some grinding of the
factory dimples in mag tube was neccasary.
- I am waiting for my tacstar 6 round shell carrier to mount on side of
- I cut down and sanded the forearm to allow the mounting of the shell
carrier. About 2 inches was removed.
- I am going to use duracoat and give it a paintjob. Probably some olive drab/
black scheme will emerge.

She's not done yet but here's where I am at so far! - Mine came with the 18 inch tube allready. I would take it in some place and see about a trade or sell it to fund the purchase of a 18 incher! Have fun.

April 6, 2006, 06:26 PM
I put a speedfeed stock and a set of wilson combat ghostring sights on mine. It came with an 18" barrel.
The sights make a world of difference, especially if you plan on using slugs.
I added a 2 round magazine extension later. Done.

April 6, 2006, 06:51 PM
No amount of parts is replacement for being good and familiar with the weapon, but there's nothing wrong with making the gun itself more effective.

I took in a neglected 26" express that's about 6 yrs old and am in the process of tweaking it to my liking. It's not the cheapest route but I did only give $100 for the gun, I still have the long barrel too if I get a wild hair to do some waterfowling.

In order of addition:

18" Remington 870HD Barrel
Synthetic Police Stock & Forend
Wilson Combat +2 Magazine Extension w/ Side Sling Mount, High Visibility Follower
6 Shot TacStar Side Saddle
Wilson Combat Side Sling Mount for Stock
Remington R3 Recoil Pad
Uncle Mike's Barrel Clamp (Remington Police/Marine Magnum/870 HD style)

Next up is going to be a Surefire Forend, probably the 9v version which will finish the build and likely be my favorite addition!

Ultimately I should end up with a clone of this, only without the funky sights and with the addition of the barrel clamp.

April 6, 2006, 11:02 PM
Guys, thanks for the excellent replies. And the great photos, also. Let me ask a very basic question about barrels. First, my uses for converting the shotgun: I would like a home defense gun, and one that I could use for 3-gun competition if I got that motivated. Ok, concerning barrels for the 870: does a smooth bore 18 inch make the most sense? I understand you can get an 20" Remington barrel that will take Rem-chokes. Is that a better choice? And aren't there also rifled shotgun barrels? At this point I'm still somewhat ignorant on this subject. Thank you.

April 6, 2006, 11:24 PM
here are some things i did to mine. It is still not complete i still have to put the mag extinstion and the barrel clamp on, because I ordered the wrong size but it should be here within the week. I am by no means a gunsmith all i do with guns is shoot them, but the mods were quick and easy and it turned out really good.

Acessories used:
AT buttstock with pistol grip
AT forend pistol grip
AT barrel shroud

To be added:
mag extension
barrel clamp

This pic is of the forend pistol grip from advanced technologies i thought it would make working the action quicker.

This is a side shot of the whole shotgun.

This is the blackhawk shell holder and the AT buttstock with pistol grip

April 7, 2006, 02:55 PM
Here's one person's list, fwiw and in no particular order:

-replacee stock safety button with large safety (very optional)
-added 6x sidesaddle
-swapped Rem OEM pad for Pachy Decelerator
-added forward sling swivel (rear was already installed)
-added carry (not "tactical") sling
-replaced follower with red aluminum follower (could use hi-viz plastic, too)
-added 2-shot mag extension
-replaced forearm with Surefire forearm
-replaced Rem barrel with a Vang barrel one time when he had a big sale going on barrels

This started out as an 870P so it already had a stronger mag spring, and it has the current lifter, etc., which might be worthwhile improvements on an older gun. The balance of this 870 shifted dramatically forward, btw, and its weight went way up. The nearly perfectly stock 870 w/ 20" cyl barrel next to the one above is a hugely more pleasant shotgun to handle.

Dave McCracken
April 8, 2006, 01:44 PM
Shoot it until it feels like a body part. Know it the way your tongue knows your teeth.BA/UU/R until the leaf springs in your ride bend straight from the weight.

Then decide what will aid performance and what just aids the bottom line of gimcrack vendors.

Anyone disputing that approach is welcome to come try their hand against me and a close to stock 870. Bring all the bellsnwhistles you can afford. You pick the COF, ammo and time. The loser ( you,alas) buys lunch.

After you learn that credit cards, checkbook and Wilson,etc, T shirt do not a shotgunner make, I'll show you what else you need to know.

April 8, 2006, 02:09 PM
Spoken like a true Marylander!

April 8, 2006, 02:21 PM
What are your thoughts on sights on an SD/HD shotgun?

April 8, 2006, 04:34 PM
Dave is right. Best bang for buck, in order:

1. training
2. ammo for practicing what you learned training

Then maybe doo-dads.

Dave McCracken
April 9, 2006, 09:33 AM
'Dog, beads work for most people out to 50 yards with slugs. Besides being simple, durable and fast, they usually are less costly.

I do like a peep sight with a large aperture for slug work, but I use my slug shooters for venison acquisition as well as HD and CD tools. That versatility thing again.

Sights arte not must haves. Evaluate what your needs are, and take your pick.

April 9, 2006, 10:48 AM
My SD shotgun also doubles as my deer slug gun. I wondered if I'd missed something. Good answer.

April 9, 2006, 11:49 AM


April 9, 2006, 12:12 PM
I would like a home defense gun, and one that I could use for 3-gun competition if I got that motivated. Ok, concerning barrels for the 870: does a smooth bore 18 inch make the most sense? I understand you can get an 20" Remington barrel that will take Rem-chokes.

I used an 18" cylinder bore for my build-up. A 20" Rem-Choke barrel would arguably be more versatile. It should come with an improved cylinder choke tube in it. If you're not planning on buying other choke tubes (modified, full, imp. skeet, etc.) I'm not sure the added cost is worth the benefits. As far as rifled barrels go, they're designed mainly for use with sabot slugs and aren't something I'd buy to use with buckshot or birdshot.

Dave McCracken
April 9, 2006, 03:28 PM
Choke tubes are nice to have but not must haves. The Deer dedicated 870 here has a 20" Remchoked, RS barrel. An IC tube does OK with KO Brenekkes, a rifled tube better. That I/C tube gives 16-18" patterns ar 25 yards with "old" Estate 00 R/R and nigh as good with Fed Classic 00.

For comparison's sake, a zero choked 18' barrel here with long cone gives 16-20".

A tube setup gives the option of one more tweak to improve performance.

April 11, 2006, 03:59 PM
Dave- what do you recommend for training? Are there options that are not too
expensive? Thank you.

Dave McCracken
April 11, 2006, 09:16 PM
RM, practically ANY activity that involves lots of shooting works to a great degree. Even clays.

Think about it. Destroying a 4" disc moving on a complicated trajectory at speeds up to 75 MPH simplifies hitting larger, slower targets.

BTW, 4" is about as wide as the uppper CNS.

Doubles, especially simos, aid your pumping and reacquiring targets.

The formal "Practical" games also are of some merit, but do not get caught up in using game equipment that can get you killed in real world crises. Simple works.

MD has a paucity of practical ranges. If you find some in Central MD, please let me know. Thanks...

If you enjoyed reading about "How to make a Rem. 870 tactical?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!