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Remington 870 PC mag dimples and locking safety

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Maintz, Apr 21, 2003.

  1. Maintz

    Maintz Member

    Used to own an older 870 Wingmaster so I am familar with that vintage.....Please explain the "PC mag dimples & locking safety" on the newer 870 Express models.... I see reference to it but no one explains...
    Many thanks,
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    Remington needed to be able to compete on the low end against Winchester and Mossberg.
    The problem is, Remington still uses the much more expensive to make forged and milled steel receiver, while the Winchester and Mossberg use cheaper to make cast aluminum.

    So, in order to cut the cost of the 870 Express models, Remington went to the plastic trigger guard, the rougher finish, and the new magazine tube retention system.

    The older tube design still used on the Wingmaster and Police guns, uses a steel cup washer to hold the spring in the tube, with a spring-loaded plunger retaining the magazine cap on the end of the tube.

    The new Express system has two lugs, or "dimples" pressed out into the tube near the front end. A plastic bushing interlocks with the dimples to lock the bushing into the tube, and the front of the plastic bushing has "teeth" that grip burr-like projections inside the magazine cap to keep it from unscrewing.

    There is no expensive steel cup washer, spring-loaded plunger inside the barrel ring, and a much cheaper to make mag end cap.

    All this holds the cost down so the Express can compete.

    The lockable safety is a special safety button that can be locked with a special "key" making the gun unable to be fired until the safety is unlocked.

    The safety is "PC" but get used to it. You will see more and more of this on guns until we put the brakes on the lawyers who are suing everybody in sight. Remington is just following the trend of the rest of the gun companies, most of whom either have a lockable safety, or are working on one.
    Nobody likes the safety, but in order to hold off the sharks, ya gotta have it. Look at this like a gun version of air bags and seatbelts.

    The new style Express magazine assemble with "dimples" has nothing whatever to do with "PC" and everything to do with cost and competition.
    There are those who think the dimples are "PC", but if Remington doesn't want "Civilians" having the "evil" magazine extension, why do they sell all comers the 870 HD and Marine model with the magazine extension factory installed???????

    Again, it's all about cutting cost to allow a forged and milled steel receiver gun to sell at a price comparable to a cast aluminum receiver gun.
  3. jthuang

    jthuang Well-Known Member

    Leaving aside the issue of the integral lock, Remington shows its PC side in other ways on the 870 Express (and others of the 870 line). Most notably, you can see it in their policy regarding the TacStar sidesaddle accessory.

    (I'm going to plagiarize from my own 870 article):

    If you have an 870 Express or an 870 Wingmaster, you're going to have some trouble installing the Sidesaddle. The slide on the Express and Wingmaster shotguns is too long -- about 1.75" too long -- and so that excess will have to be chopped off if you want to use a Sidesaddle.

    There are a few ways around this nice little modification. First, you can buy a Surefire Responder (weapon-mounted light) for around $200-250 -- the Responder does not have any clearance problems with the Sidesaddle.

    But let's say you don't have an extra $250 laying around to buy a Responder. Fair enough, especially for 870 Express owners who probably paid less for their gun than the purchase price of a Surefire.

    Where Remington's PC stripes really come out is if you try to buy a special shortened slide from Remington to address the above problem. Remington will only sell the shortened slide to owners of the Remington 870 Police model. Call them and ask. I did.

    There is no reason why 870 Express and Wingmaster owners should not be sold something as harmless as a shortened slide so they can use a Sidesaddle. The shortened slide is available to 870 Police owners. You can draw your own conclusions.

    It is also my understanding that that 870 HD retains the magazine tube dimples. I can't even find the 870 HD on Remington's website (have they dropped it?). The closest thing is the 870 Synthetic (18" plain barrel):


    Mag capacity is only 4 ... no mag extension from the factory.

    And note the nice blurb at the bottom of the page: "The Model 870™ Express® is intended for personal use and will not accept law enforcement accessories." Nice, eh? :fire: This blurb is only present on the 870 Synthetic 18" barrel product listing -- you will not find it on the 870 Synthetic 26" barrel or the "regular" 870 Express pages. Ask yourself why they'd put this blurb here (on the most defense-oriented 870 they have listed, save the 870 MM) when no "law enforcement accessories" will fit the "regular" 870 Express or Wingmaster.

    Lastly, IMO the integral lock is further evidence of Remington's kowtowing to the hoplophobe community. Where are the integral locks on Winchester Defenders, Benelli M1S90s or Mossberg 500s?

    Based on the above (and more -- ever check on Remington's policy on the 700 Police rifle?) I added Remington to my boycott list.

    NB. TacStar, probably in response to peeved Remington 870 owners, came out with a four-shell Sidesaddle which fits the Remington 870 Express and Wingmaster without modification. But you lose two shells in the process. Notice it was TacStar that had to solve the problem, not Remington ....
  4. Omaha-BeenGlockin

    Omaha-BeenGlockin Well-Known Member

    Does the Marine Magnum have the shortened slide like the Police models???
  5. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    Remington doesn't have either a shortened or long "slide".

    Remington commercial guns have a sporting type FORE END or hand grip that extenders farther back. Police guns have a shorter hand grip just like almost all older shotguns used to have.

    The newer commercial fore end will partially cover the loading port and will hit a sidesaddle, preventing the slide from moving far enough back to operate the gun.

    The commercial hand grip is an appearance item, covering more of the exposed mag tube, making the gun LOOK better, and it prevents getting your hand pinched between the receiver and the fore end. Remington decided this looked more stylish than the older "Corn Cob" fore ends used on older guns.

    The Police guns still use a shorter, original-type fore end mostly because years ago the police started using lockable shotgun racks in the patrol cars. These racks lock around the receiver and have an section that fits between the fore end and the receiver that prevents the slide from being operated while the gun is in the rack.

    This has little to do with side saddles, since Remington has used this fore end on the 870 Police since 1950. The side saddle is a fairly recent invention, and in truth, most police departments don't use them anyway.

    If you have an commercial 870 with the long fore end and want to use a side saddle, simply cut the rear of the fore end off!!! This is a common alteration when converting an older Wingmaster to an HD gun. There's no need to buy a short police-type fore end.

    As to the HD and Marine with a factory magazine extension. The HD designation has apparently been dropped, and Remington now just lists it as an 18" Express. I can't find a catalog number for the Express 18" with the mag extension, but it is available.
    The STANDARD 18" Express does have the "dimples" since it's just a standard Express with the standard magazine. The factory extension Express doesn't have dimples.

    As to the statement that Remington Express guns won't accept Law Enforcement accessories: This is just a statement of fact, in the order of a "head's up".
    The reason they don't put the "No LE gear" disclaimer on the other Express guns, is that people who buy the HD-type gun MIGHT figure they CAN use LE accessories, and Remington wants to make sure they know there's a reason the Express HD is so much cheaper than the Police.

    Remington designed the Express for the targeted consumer: a sportsman.
    Probably 99% of the purchasers of the Express guns are hunters, many of whom probably don't know magazine extensions and side saddles even exist, and few of whom would ever want one.
    Again, 99% of the sporting Express gun buyers will never be concerned about LE gear, so no disclaimer is necessary.

    Simply put, Remington didn't design the Express to be a combat or police gun, they built it for sports shooters who wanted the cheapest gun possible from Remington.
    The 18" barrel Express is Remington's "average" home owner's idea of an HD gun: A cheap, basic, no-frills shot gun. Most of these people don't use extensions or side saddles either. Again, they just want the cheapest gun possible.

    Remington's plan was that the Express would be the "budget priced" gun to compete against Winchester and Mossberg's commercial-type guns.
    The more expensive Wingmaster would be for those who want a top-of-the-line or specialty gun, and the Police model would be for those wanting a full-blown combat gun, with all the "bells and whistles".

    As to the "PC" safety. All new guns come with some kind of trigger lock, and MOST gun makers are working on some kind of integral lock device, or other safety feature. Many new handguns have a built-in lock device and the rifle and shotgun makers are moving that way.
    This is just an unfortunate fact of life in the lawyer-ridden culture of today.
    Anybody seen the new Mossberg DOUBLE-ACTION pump shotgun?
    There are rumors that Winchester is working on some kind of action lock system for their rifles and shotguns.
    Anybody seen the safety button on the Winchester 1894 Lever-actions?
    How about the safety buttons on the Marlin lever-actions?

    I'm NOT saying that "PC" isn't running rampant in the gun industry, I'm just saying that Remington DIDN'T design the Express to be a PC gun. They never intended it to be a police-type gun, and the HD model was an add-on for home owner's.

    They designed the Express to cut costs so they could stay in the low-end shotgun market, and they added the lockable safety to hold the sharks at arms length.

    Want a cheap gun? Buy an Express.
    Want a Police gun with all the neat accessories? Buy a Police gun.
    Don't want an integral lock? Sorry, get used to it, their coming every where, along with the ultimate "PC" gun, the "smart gun" that will decide FOR YOU if you can use it.
  6. jthuang

    jthuang Well-Known Member


    Thanks for your explanations. It is clear to me that you are very well versed in Remington shotguns.

    Note that there are other ways of solving the problem of Remington's over-long fore-end. Beyond laying out $250 for a Surefire Responder, one can buy the 4-shell saddle from TacStar. I have a Responder for my Benelli but it's not like I want to put a $250 light on a $200 gun. :(

    However, your well-intentioned essay has not explained why Remington will not sell the shortened fore-end to non 870 Police owners. If in fact it was cosmetics, there is no incentive to restrict distribution. I suspect the motivation is not just cosmetics.

    I also refuse to roll over and accept the integral lock on Remington longarms. I don't like it and I refuse to just accept them as a "fact of life".

    But in particular, I don't like Remington's integral lock. John Farnam reports incidents in his shotgun classes of 870s locking up by themselves (without the key). On a defense gun, this is an appalling "feature". I do not want such poor execution of an internal lock -- get off your duff Remington, if you're going to install an integral lock, make it work correctly! :fire:

    The Mossberg 500 DA is an abomination. Mossy's reasoning was to provide commonality of trigger pull between the officer's sidearm (a DA revolver or Glock pseudo-DA trigger). IMHO it is a poor idea.

    I don't know anything about Marlin or Winchester lever rifles. I'm only talking shotguns. And maybe Marlin and Winchester have got the PC bug too, in which case I'm more than happy to add them to the boycott list.

    In sum, THR readers can draw their own conclusions as to Remington's motivations. Given their restriction on availability of the fore-ends, I see no motivation beyond deprivation of the non-LE/military market of defense-minded accessories.

    It saddened me to put Big Green on the boycott list. Dad worked at duPont, Remington's former parent, for 25+ years. I believe at one point it was possible to get Remington stuff through the company with his employee discount. Those were the days. :)

    To me there is little question that Remington has got the PC bug. Until they lose it, they've lost my business.

  7. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    Remington has always been a little "hinky" about LE gear. They always stamped "Law Enforcement Use Only" on their folding stocks.

    I think there is indeed, an element of PC at Remington, which I blame on the current atmosphere of suing everybody with more than $50.00 in his pocket, and on the foreign ownership of Remington. Remember the British owners of S&W?

    I DON'T understand why Remington won't sell a wood or plastic fore end to all comers. I'm sure there is SOME kind of Corporate "Bean-counter" mentality behind this. If Remington will sell "civilians" a Police shotgun, why not a piece of wood?
    On this, I have no idea.

    As for the PC lock, the average gun owner couldn't care less about this, if they even really notice it, and I doubt if any but a tiny percentage ever actually use it.
    I won't, and that's why I bought a police gun.

    BUT, Remington isn't targeting commercial guns to people like us.
    These days, if you make egg beaters, and have $150.00 in the bank, lawyers are targeting you for a fast raid. Even better if your company is a maker of "evil" products.

    As much as I dislike these safeties, be assured that if I owned a gun company, my guns would have locks, just to CYA.

    As for the PC Express, Remington really didn't design it that way to stick it to people who wanted to modify it to an HD gun. They simply didn't build it to BE modified, in keeping with the targeted market of sporting shooters.

    It was all about price and completion, but later when push came to law suit, it was also "Oh, so PC".

    As for a huge foreign owned corporation like Remington, their bottom line could care less about selling a few bucks worth of fore ends to to a small hand full of obscure people. So, if their business practices PO us, their bottom line won't detect even a ripple.
  8. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Well-Known Member

    THe longer fore end is actually an aid to shooting, IMHO.

    as soon as i get some money, i'm going to put the youth model stock and pumphande on my mossy so i can have more pumphandle area.
  9. CleverNickname

    CleverNickname Well-Known Member

  10. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    A couple things....

    First, an 18" barreled 870 Express with zero addons and mods is still one d*mn good "Serious" shotgun in trained, cool hands. Lots of folks will get these and be well protected thereby,if they practice and learn the weapon. That's the same for every weapon, from nuke to rock.

    Us fans and gearheads tend to obsess about the gadgets and gimmicks, The best accessory is still lots of ammo. BA/UU/R.

    As was said, those who want a bare bones HD shtogun should think about this Express. Those who want the bellsnwhistles should go with the LE models or heh,heh, older turnins. Meanwhile, I'll keep looking for old WMs.

    And, good people, if a good hand with an 18" barreled Express cannot control a situation, chances are a more "Evolved" weapon and that operator won't either. Expertise and proficiency beat hardware hands down.
  11. Kestrel

    Kestrel Well-Known Member

    I have an older "Special Purpose Magnum" 870. It has the dimples on the mag tube - are these just Express 870s with a different name? Are there any differences in the SPM and the Express?

  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    'Nother name, Steve, that's all. Good shotgun...
  13. Kernel

    Kernel Well-Known Member

    "Remington's plan was that the Express would be the "budget priced" gun..."

    Ain't that the truth. I bought a 870 Youth Express. It's setup for screw-in chokes but Remington only provides one choke tube. Sorta like buying a car with one tire and three empty rims. Even though it's got that god awful PC safety it's still been a great bunny buster. -- Kernel
  14. TechBrute

    TechBrute Well-Known Member

    Remington's written policy is that the LE guns only be sold to LEOs with letterhead. It's not really enforceable, but we are talking about intentions here. If it were up to Remington, we would not have access to the guns with the "evil" features.

    that is, until it locks up when it's not supposed to... like in the middle of a shootout.

    Oh, if anyone cares, Mossy sells both the sporting and tactical fore ends to anyone who wants it.
  15. Guyon

    Guyon Well-Known Member

    On my HD gun, it took me all of 45 minutes to grind out the dimples and polish the mag tube with a Dremel. The Choate mag extension I installed works just fine.

    On all of my Remington shotguns, I installed old style safeties. Takes about 5 minutes when you're cleaning your trigger assembly. (You do clean your trigger assembly, don't you?)

    On the HD gun, I use a four-shot side saddle because I actually like the longer fore end. I hunt with my other 870s, and when I pick up my HD gun, I want it to feel the same as the others. To that end, all my Remingtons have the same amount of extension at the butt pad.

    The dimples and locks are annoying, but it's worth the trouble to modify them.
  16. dance varmint

    dance varmint Well-Known Member

    If reliability of the lock is an issue, why not defeat it with superglue or loctite?
  17. Guyon

    Guyon Well-Known Member

    So much easier to pull the old safety and install a regular one that costs no more than $10. Wilson Combat ran a special on old-style safeties a while back ($4 each), and I bought up a bunch.

    Now, I have no doubts about my safety. The gun is either safe or it's hot, and I know the difference.
  18. PJR

    PJR Well-Known Member

    The dimples don't concern me as much as the safety and the continuing downward spiral of Remington's quality control.

    Current production guns are discouraging in their fit, finish and general appearance compared to the products of even only a decade ago. A recent test fire of a new Remington 1100 Sporting revealed a gun that couldn't hold a candle to the Remington 11-87SC that I owned several years ago (and deeply regret selling).

    If I want another Remington I'll but it used. The older Remington 870s, particularly the trap guns, will stand proud on the rack even beside the high grade over/unders. The only trouble is that good condition 870s are becoming harder to find on the used gun shelves.

  19. nvrquit

    nvrquit Well-Known Member

    Does this sound right/okay?

    Saying that you desired to keep the 870 Express magazine tube avec dimples, couldn't the mag tube, spring retainer washer, mag cap, detent and detent spring of non-Express parts be used in place of the Express components? Wouldn't this then avoid the drilling/grinding removal of the dimples from the Express mag tube and allow the installation of the aftermarket accessories(mag extenesions) without the hassles. This would also allow the re-install of the original Express components without questions should the owner ever want to resell/private sale of the shotgun(hey, what are those little holes all about?!?). Just thought I'd ask?

    Hey Justin, will you be at the Shotgun match up at Ontalaunee R&G on 7-20/03? It's billed as the Notheast Regional Practical Shotgun Challenge. Two classes(Pro & Sportsman) with two divisions(auto & pump). Haven't seen you in a while and hope to see you there!
  20. Cameron Lamont

    Cameron Lamont Well-Known Member

    Which foreign company owns Remington?


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