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870 Express 20 gauge - feedback?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by TheFrontRange, Jul 10, 2007.

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  1. TheFrontRange

    TheFrontRange Member

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    I tried a search on this and couldn't come up with anything...feel free to point me to a link if this has already been asked-and-answered...

    I'm thinking of good HD shotgun. An 870 Express in 12-gauge with the 2-round magazine extension is a very appealing option, but I've seen the same setup in 20-gauge over on GunBroker. Does anyone have any experience with the 20-gauge version? Looks mighty nice...
     
  2. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    There's a 20 gauge 870 here in the Youth model. I've shot a couple fast COFs with it and done some clays and slug testing with it.

    Here's my input.

    With one oz loads, it's a hard kicker. Controllable and not painful to me, but I have good form and a high pain threshold.

    With the 20" IC choked slug barrel, I got 18-20" spreads of 3 buck at 25 yards. YMMV. Slug groups ran about 3" at 50 yards with the hard kicking Rottweil Brenekkes. These BTW, are highly effective on deer.

    The standard stocked 20 should be easier on the shoulder, the stock's not only longer but the pad is larger.

    And 20 gauge is enough for HD.
     
  3. sm

    sm member

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    Dave's experiences mirror mine and others on this board

    20 gauge is a very effective Serious Situation Shotgun, and Hunting tool for deer and other game.


    Of interest, I carried a 20 gauge pump often for a Serious Shotgun while traveling.
    Body Guards we used often did as well.
    They still do.

    Quite a few folks I know are using 20 bore guns, and not all are ladies.

    :)
     
  4. spooney

    spooney Member

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    I love my 20ga 870 Express to death, I can't think of one "shotgun" use I wouldn't use it for.
     
  5. TheFrontRange

    TheFrontRange Member

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    My next thought is about 20 gauge shell availability...frankly, I've never paid attention to anything other than 12...seems you can get it at WalMart, Academy Sports, anywhere...is 20 as easy-to-find?
     
  6. sm

    sm member

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    12 is going to have the largest assortment for sure, no doubt.

    20 gauge is next up.
    Stay with 2 3/4 inch loads.

    Between Academy and Ganders here, they stock target , hunting , steel, Bismuth, Forster Slugs, Brenneke , #3 Buckshot.

    I"m in the South, not uncommon to find ammo in Mom&Pop gas station/bait shop/ grocery stores.
    2O ga is stocked in these places too.

    Feed and Seed Store about 2 miles from me has it too.
    I snagged some Fiochhi #9 Target loads from them the other day.

    DO NOT BUY Winchester Promo loads in 12 or 20 Gauge.
    Real shiny , "tinny" looking base.
    Problems - period.
     
  7. toivo

    toivo Member

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    You will find 20-gauge shells pretty much anywhere you'll find 12-gauge. There might not be as many "flavors," but they'll have it.
     
  8. JT'sDad

    JT'sDad Member

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    +1On the Remington 870. I have the 20ga 870 express youth model.
    With three chokes you have all needs covered. It does kick a little. 20ga shells can be had at any Walmart, Big5 etc.
     
  9. TheFrontRange

    TheFrontRange Member

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    Thanks much for all the input here! I like the all-black 20-gauge 870 Express with the 18-inch barrel and full-length magazine tube...slick-looking piece with a little less recoil. I want to find one locally to actually get a feel for it before committing. Thanks again, though...I've been hesitant to rely on a 20 as I've never fired one before...all previous shotgun experience has been with a 12.
     
  10. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Well - Another fan of the 20ga. here . I bet after you pick one up you won't want to put it back down.

    The 20ga is lighter . To keep the recoil down just don't expect it to deliver the same payload as a 12 ga. Heavy 20 ga. loads with the lighter gun will produce heavy recoil. That said , the energy that the 20ga. can deliver - particularly for HD is well above most all handgun catridges including the magmums. In other words - very adequate to do the job.

    I like the youth models as I take a shorter LOP . Not because I am small - far from it. If a little more LOP is needed you can always add some pad ! No downside to that as I see it. Whatever fits you best.

    If you want a waterfowl gun I would stick with a 12 ga. , but all other hunting can be done quite well with the 20ga. (IMO)
     
  11. sm

    sm member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
  12. Big Daddy K

    Big Daddy K Member

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    Great Point SM

    Another great point Mnrivrat

    Among other shotguns I have a full size 20 870 Express and a youth 870 Express. I got the youth for my 10 year old. BTW He shots my lt 1100 20 with a 28" barrell better that his 870 youth but anyway......

    With an IC in the youth and 2 3/4 #3 or #4 buck it shoots hard out to around mabey 30yds. Cant remember exact range we were shooting. But we were covering a small metal trash can lid and it was hitting it hard. This was prep for shotgun only pig hunt. Thick cover close shots on running pigs to about 100lbs max. (Very wild east texas pigs) I use a 870 12 with open smooth bore slug barrell with BS and Slugs for this.

    A few weeks ago we were shooting. I picked up the 870 youth 20 and loaded up a cheap Remington slugger. Threw the gun up to my shoulder and fired at a metal target at 100yds ish and bong! Naild it with bead sight and IC choke. I was impressed and how hard it hit, and how MOPig it was at that range.

    I think the 20 is fine for just about everthing but ducks and geese and will work on them if thats all ya have.
     
  13. springfield30-06

    springfield30-06 Member

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    What exactly is the difference between the 20 ga 870 youth and 20 ga standard? Is it just the size of the stock?

    If it is just the size of the stock, I'm assuming that the youth & standard size stocks are interchangeable?
     
  14. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    The Youth guns also have shorter barrels. But barrels are interchangeable too.

    And the stocks are shorter too (IIRC, 13" LOP). And yes, the 20 gauge stocks are also interchangeable.

    lpl/nc
     
  15. Dirty Bob

    Dirty Bob Member

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    If recoil is a concern, the older (pre-1974?) 870 20ga. guns were built on the 12ga. receiver. More metal makes them a bit heavier and reduces recoil. Remington is also announcing a new recoil pad on their website that's supposed to be a big improvement over previous pads. Haven't tried it, but maybe it could be something to try in your case.

    Look at it this way: muzzle velocity of buckshot should be similar between 12 and 20, so the big difference is fewer pellets. Winchester #3 Buck loads are 20 .25 caliber pellets. I think that's likely to be effective, if you put them on target.

    The other concern may be pellet size. FWIW, #3 Buck is the largest I've been able to buy, and #1 Buck is the largest size I've found load data for. If you want 0 or 00 Buck, you'll probably have to go with a 12ga.

    Regards,
    Dirty Bob
     
  16. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    I own a 20ga express light weight youth model, it is one of the handiest fast mounting shotguns around, not very pretty to look at with its' matte finish, just a tad short on LOP but a slip on recoil pad fixed that, the short bbl makes it quick on the rabbit breaking cover. With a stiff load of #4buck3"magnum I definitley wouldn't want to be on the recieving end!
     
  17. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I'm going against the grain and say to just stay with 12 guage. I tried one of the youth 20's for a while. They are light and a pleasure to carry, but offered no real reduction in recoil. If anything it is worse. While the gun should recoil less, it's lighter weight cancels out any reduction. For a home defense gun you will not be carrying it around for hours at a time.

    I have no doubts about the 20's ability to get the job done with the right loads, but the right loads for the 20 are harder to find. You can go into almost any store and find shells suitable for rabbit and squirrel hunting but slugs and buckshot are a bit more rare. The 12 just gives you so many more options and if ammo is chosen carefully recoil is not a problem. Remington as well as others are offering reduced recoil loadings in the 12. If you need a stock with a shorter length of pull it is a simple matter to shorten the full size stock.
     
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