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What parts would you replace on an 870 Express to "upgrade" it?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by breakingcontact, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Well-Known Member

    I've read the follower should be replaced, what else would you upgrade/replace?

    What would have to be replaced to upgrade it to near 870 Police level?
  2. Jericho_223

    Jericho_223 Well-Known Member

    Forgive my ignorance, but what would be the reason for replacing the follower? What would an aftermarket follower do better than a stock one? I'm not being argumentative, just a curious, fellow 870 owner.
  3. average_shooter

    average_shooter Well-Known Member

    Metal trigger guard / FCG, metal (?) follower, extended magazine, short "police" foregrip, and a lot of polishing and finishing of the internals by hand.

    Probably the best thing you can do to the Express is run the gun and slick up all the moving bits.

    If you were really into it and had a mind about what and how to do it I bet you could get to the internals with some polishing compounds and techniques to really smooth things out.

    If it matters at all I went with the 870 HD (Express) and it smoothed out nicely just with use. And I actually swapped the extended mag for a normal length setup to improve handling. That and adding an R3 recoil pad are the only modifications I've done to mine.

    The stock follower is just a chincy looking and feeling piece of plastic, but you can get metal or more robust plastic aftermarket followers. The stock follower works, and I haven't had a problem yet, but I can see other folks not trusting it in a serious life-on-the-line working gun.
  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Just the ammo as I used it up. If something ever fails, which isn't likely in my lifetime, then I'll replace it.
  5. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator


    Remember BA/UU/R
  6. Virginian

    Virginian Well-Known Member

    I believe the only different parts between a standard Express and a Police are the extractor, carrier dog follower spring, magazine spring, and sear spring. There are a couple of other different parts that go with a synthetic trigger group too. A synthetic trigger group versus cast aluminum wouldn't bother me a bit.
  7. Six

    Six Well-Known Member

    The first thing to replace is the new shotgun smell, and the action bars should be upgraded from factory finished to well worn.

    A thousand rounds or so should do it.

    Other than that, I like to have a follower I can see clearly to be certain the gun is empty. Bright green does it for me.
  8. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    The best way to upgrade an 870 holds true for all other guns as well--practice!
  9. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Well-Known Member

    Virginian rattled off the list of functional differences. There is no improvement in finish quality or polish inside. My 870p and 870 express are identical inside on fit and finish. Other than the aforementioned individual parts and receiver engravings, the part #s are identical between the two.
  10. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    The only thing that always needs upgraded is what's behind the trigger. Run a few thousand shells through it, and then see what the gun feels like. Most "upgrades" are really just money wasters. Follower upgrades? Anyone, ANYONE, ever seen a factory follower take a dump? For $45 I can buy almost a whole case of shells.
  11. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Well-Known Member

    Training over gear for sure.

    I didn't want to buy the police model as I felt I would have been largely buying the name. I don't buy into all the super duper quality control stuff. I'm sure the police model is "better" but it's not magic.

    So I'm looking to do small upgrades to an express model.
  12. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    The only things you need is to do is maybe polish the chamber if it is sticking with steel base ammunition (Usually the Winchester White Box Super Speed stuff) and shoot the heck out of it

    Shooting it will smooth up both your shooting ability and the firearm.

    Just my .02,
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    as mentioned, no need - if yours doesn't need the chamber polishing, buy ammo and practice - It's the Indian, not the arrow
  14. average_shooter

    average_shooter Well-Known Member

    Hm, I always understood the "P" to have more hand finishing, along the lines of what the higher quality Wingmasters supposedly have or had. Thanks for the info, I haven't had a chance to really check out too many P models.
  15. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Well-Known Member

    Guts look the same to me. I bought a police trade-in for less than a new express. The only real difference is parkerizing vs the bead blasted crappy blued express finish and $30 in parts. The barrels on police models also tend to be IC instead of open choke. Not worth the premium price if you have a gunsmith who can refinish the receiver, barrel, and extension. The police ejection port still has sharp edges like the express.

    I run the S&J green delrin follower simply because its neon green AND there is a huge recess for blatantly obvious tactile feel to differentiate between a shell or empty tube. They're overpriced but worth it to me.
  16. Striker

    Striker Well-Known Member


    I prefer to buy ammo and run the gun.

    But that's only my opinion. As always, YMMV.

    Edit: Maybe a big head safety, if I'm in an environment/situation that dictates gloves.
  17. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Well-Known Member

    I've been looking at semi-autos, but want something that will cycle everything. That doesn't seem to exist. So sticking w the pump gun. Thinking of adding one of these and a few minor upgrades. [​IMG]
  18. Domino

    Domino Well-Known Member

    What are you going to use the gun for? If for Home Defense then an extended magazine tube, large safety, and some sort of white light would make a lot of sense. Also, unless you are wearing body armor I don't really see a reason to go with the collapsable stock. Those are unfcomfortable on a shotgun and if you want a pistol grip there are other better fixed stock options IMHO. I like the Urbino on my 870 as it is very comfortable, makes holding one handed much easier, and it is still nice and short. Also a shell carrier would make sense if you can handle one.



    BTW, I have had this shotgun over 10 years and it was plane jane for most of those years. In the end the shotgun needs nothing to do the job and the 870 is built to last from the factory. But you can customize it to suite your needs/wants as you learn how to use it. I agree with those who recommend shooting it first before you go swapping parts. It will proably save you a lot of money and heartache.
  19. ZGunner

    ZGunner Well-Known Member

    I think an 870 Express is best left unmolested until you know what you want it to do. If you find you need to reload often, an extended tube and maybe a shell caddy would benefit. Not many things would improve function as long as you are using decent ammo and lube.
  20. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Well-Known Member

    My Express with 2 round extension. I keep it loaded up with 2 3/4 00 except last in the tube / first in the chamber is a 2 3/4 slug.

    I bought it from a guy at work for less than $200 without the mag extension. It doesn't need much else.


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