Remington 870 for HD, 12g or 20g?


Black Adder LXX
December 24, 2007, 12:36 PM
Hello to all,

I am looking into my first shotgun, and have posted earlier in my 'quest for knowledge'. I was just reading a thread on 20g for home defense: and it is making me wonder a few things. I hope you guys can help me figure it out.

Over the last week I have been reading up a lot on shotguns in the archives here and other places, and have determined that for a first SG the 870 is a solid choice. My ONLY use for this shotgun is for HD, and range time for HD practice. I will not hunt or shoot clays with this SG. If I get into it later, I will purchase the right tool for the job (yaay another gun).
I have narrowed my choices down to the following:
870 12g, $269 shipped - add $100-$120 for the knoxx stock
870 20g, $390 shipped

So here's my question: Which one in my situation?

I do want this SG for me, but my wifey is getting into shooting, too. She's about 5ft, 95 lbs. I also have some little guys who will eventually be able to come out with me. I realize that the 20g is lighter, and has less recoil, but it seems that there is less variety of loads available for 20g. I understand that the Knoxx stocks make a big difference, and I don't plan on ever shooting slugs in either gauge. Is it better to go with the 12g and have the versatility of lower powered loads, or the 20g with it's inherent lower recoil but fewer options on ammo. I do shoot on a budget, so are 20g shells significantly less expensive?

And please, I know I need to practice, BA/UU/R. Also, I don't have the money for BOTH, I've selected these as the price point/value is about what I need it to be.

Any helpful thoughts?

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December 24, 2007, 12:51 PM
I have a Knoxx Comp Stock on one of my Mossbergs. I was not really impressed by it.

I would go with a 12 gauge and load it with low recoil buckshot rounds. The low recoil rounds not only allow quicker follow-up shots and a person who is recoil sensitive to use the 12 gauge, but they also address the issue of over-penetration.

That being said, my 5 foot 95 pound daughter shoots her 20 gauge pretty darned well.

More of my thoughts on home defense shotguns are here ( if you are interested.

December 24, 2007, 12:59 PM
I guess my first question would be why the tactical, folding stock and a pistol grip? Second, have you ever gone to the range to shoot a shotgun or taken a defensive shotgun class?

My suggestion would be for the latter first to see what you might need in the way of a home defense gun. A scattergun of this ilk would probably be the way to go, if you know how to move with it and handle it...say in a hallway. Thus my recommendation for the class. I don't know the prices, but take a look for the standard 870 which might go for around $350, or thereabouts, new and use the rest of the that money in a good NRA sponsored class that might help you figure out what you need, instead of investing in stuff you might want to change later.

Riot guns like the 870 are robust and the recoil may be intimidating to some, but it really isn't all that bad for a 12 gauge (though this is relative), unless you are shooting a bucket load of slugs through it----which you wouldn't be for home defense.

Also, depending upon your height and the length of your arms, you might want to invest in a youth stock for smaller folk since you mentioned your wife. That's what I have on mine for my 5'7", buck fifty-self.

In any case, my suggestion is to not get caught up in the coolness factor of what a defensive shotgun ought to look like and extrapolate use from that snapshot---and see if you can try before you buy at a place that rents.

Good luck.

December 24, 2007, 01:04 PM
Go with the 12 guage more knock down power

December 24, 2007, 01:14 PM
12g definitely. 20g will probably work, but if the things only job is to protect you and your family, i'd put my faith in the 12 with lots of 00buckshot.

Black Adder LXX
December 24, 2007, 01:36 PM
XavierBreath- thanks for the advice and the cool link. I love the pics of all that crap duct taped to shotguns, very tongue-in-cheek. Could you recommend a specific type and a place to purchase the aforementioned low recoil rounds? Also, what didn't you like about the Knoxx?

Butter- Good advice, thanks. I have fired shotguns before. This will be my first to own, however. I didn't pick that SG for the folding stock, but for the $269 price point. The stock is eventually going to be replaced. I liked the price for that shotgun with the mag extension already on it. I want a pistol grip and collapsing stock (eventually) because I'd like a SG that others can shoot and suit varying arm lengths. The way I figure, I don't want a used SG in a model that is known for economy or I'd look for a used 870. I figure if a new one with the traditional stock is about the same price as one that also has a pistol-style grip, I'd prefer that. Also, I am looking into a SG course in my area...

December 24, 2007, 02:42 PM
Here is a post ( about the Knoxx Compstock I made over at The Firing Line a while back. What I have is the telescoping type that supposedly helps absorb recoil, not the folder. It is well made, a quality product, but I just don't like the way it compresses when I shoot with it. It makes the gun feel like something is wrong with it. I also do not like folding stocks, they seem to invariably shoot loose after a while and start to wiggle around. I prefer a solid stock, but I keep the Knoxx Compstock because I'm to lazy and cheap to swap it out.

Federal ( makes some low recoil buckshot. So does Remington ( Here's some more by Federal ( Hornady ( has some on the market too. So does Winchester ( Fiocchi ( also makes some.

My preference is Remington, Winchester, Hornady, or Federal ammunition; always low recoil 00 buckshot for home defense, unless, like after the hurricaine, no shotgun ammunition is on the shelves. Then I will take whatever I can get if I use what I have. To my way of thinking, tactics is more important. Start scouting around for a class on home defense shotgun use. There is no replacement for a knowledgeable hands on instructor.

December 24, 2007, 04:32 PM
either 20 or 12 will work. I myself prefer the 12. I am stockier and I can handle the recoil well. If you are recoil sensative go with the lighter loads or a 20 gauge.

December 27, 2007, 09:12 PM
12 gauge all the way. Just use reduced recoil loads when necessary. Also, $120 bucks will buy a lot of ammo.

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