Rem 870 Express - Home Defense ammo?

This is a discussion on Rem 870 Express - Home Defense ammo? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Stopped in one of our better gun and pawn shops today and I couldnt help myself. I purchased a good used Remington 870 Express 12ga. ...

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Thread: Rem 870 Express - Home Defense ammo?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Rem 870 Express - Home Defense ammo?

    Stopped in one of our better gun and pawn shops today and I couldnt help myself.

    I purchased a good used Remington 870 Express 12ga. He had $199.95 on the price tag but I said that was out of my budget (with taxes and call in fees was well over $200).
    I walked out, he offered another price cut. I refused. I called a buddy of mine about the gun and he pretty much said it was worth more than what I was offering. I offered a final price of $175 out the door. They took it. I took the gun.

    Its right now getting a thorough cleaning and lube and a new firing pin. Next will be a new forend (tactical grip style) and an 18" barrel. I want to make it satin/flat black all over so a paint job will come soon.

    No pics! It looks just like any other 870 with worn finish on the wood stock and forend.

    Anyway, after some reading and some advise from a buddy, I am under the assumption that a good premium personal defense #00 ammo (low recoil type) is good, but that some good old #7 or #8 shot is just as good for close quarters with an improved choke.

    Thoughts? Advice? I did purchase 10rnds of Federal Vital Shok #00 Buck shot just because it was there and a largeer box of Fiocchi game load.

    This wont become a bling bling tacti-cool shot gun. I just want it short, clean and functional, but a light rail of some sort might be added later.
    Last edited by Tally XD; February 22nd, 2008 at 11:01 PM.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    You'll get virtually no pattern spread in household distances with 00 Buck. We tested many loads and decided on #4 Buckshot (not birdshot) for close contacts. Save your pennies...the best investment you can make for that Rem is a Surefire forestock and an extended mag. The light beam is fairly the same as the spread of your shot. Leaves both hands on the weapon, and activation is a simple squeeze of the forestock.
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    I was looking for some smaller buckshot, but I have yet to find anything but #00. Will check Midway, but AmmunitiontoGo.com doesnt offer anything except bird shot and #00 buck.

    UPDATE: Midway shows #4 35 pellet to be on backorder. They have 27 pellet #4 buckshot.

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    One's probably a 3" round while the other is a 2 3/4". Check your chamber!
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    My chamber is for 2 3/4" and 3" as well.

    I guess picking S/D ammo isnt that big a deal between #00 and #4. I will use whatever I can get I suppose. At close distance, which is what my shotgun duty would be for, almost anything at a few yards would probably work fine.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    I have an 870 also... would go with ought-ought if there is no danger of collateral injury through walls, otherwise #7, or #8. At close quarters, it can be just as deadly. That's my 2 cents worth!
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  8. #7
    Senior Member Array Super Trucker's Avatar
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    I use Remington ammo. I stagger 00buck with #4buck. I have the 870HD model 18" barrel with no choke.

  9. #8
    Member Array senseiturtle's Avatar
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    Buckshot's pretty much the standard response you'll get, in terms of killing the guy. It's a good balance of energy deliverance and penetration.

    But, there are competing schools of thought why the others would work. So, it may be personal preference.

    Birdshot will do well if you're worried about penetration issues (apartment/kids/etc.). It's still a lot of force being delivered, and it's gonna make a NASTY shallow wound (guess 1-2 inches) at home distances. Problem is, civil lawsuit afterwards likely. Damage caused is generally inoperable, and given a direct hit, the guy will likely die of septic/anaphylactic shock unless he sees a doctor ASAP.

    Then again, a 3/4 ounce slug is 325 grains of solid lead moving over 1600 fps. Full ounce is 437 grains. That's a hell of a lot of lead moving very quickly. But, just note that it'll penetrate very very deep.

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Buck

    For short barrels, give a serious look at Federals "PFC154 Low Recoil" OO load. It has the Flite Control wad and will shoot into a coffee cup at 60' from the Mossberg 500 we keep behind the counter at the range. It's that good. Make sure you get the Low Recoil version, though. The full power load has the same stock #.
    Federal Premium Ballistics

    If you like birdshot, and nothing wrong with that, plenty of good and bad about any HD load, try Federal's "PFC156" load. Another Flite Control load in #4 lead shot. The biggest they offer in lead and 2 3/4". The H126 is a cheaper practice load, it's not a Flite control, but pattern with what you're going to use. The "PF154" is a hard hitting load, too. Copper plated and buffered, but not a Flite Control. It patterns nice in tightly choked guns while the Flite Control seems to work better with a more open choke. I personally don't like steel shot in my HD guns, stick with 2 3/4, and I don't like to go below #4 shot. I don't have a lot of experience with heavy shot or the exotic (to me) non-toxic stuff. That's just me. If you are happy with or need to use low brass 7.5 shot for some reason, there are plenty of cheap loads at Wal Mart to pick from.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    IIRC, about 10 years ago the International Wound Ballistics Association did a study of shotgun ammunition performance. According to their study results, birdshot was ineffective as home defense ammo, creating an ugly, but shallow wound, unless fired point blank.

    I, myself, have seen what #8 shot can do when the muzzle is placed against the chest, but from 4-5 yards penetration is less than 4-5". #6 shot penetrates 7" or less, on average.

    According to their study, #1 buck was the smallest shot to penetrate 12 or more inches, reliably. It's combined cross sectional area is about 30% greater than that of either #00 or #000 buck. #1 buck has the potential to cause up to 30% more wound trauma than either #00 or #000 buck, but is less likely than either to overpenetrate.

    At the time, the IWBA made the following recommendations for 12g:
    first choice: any standard 2-3/4" #1 buck load. Their preference was the Federal Classic load (F126 or F126b1), which has since been discontinued. It was deemed slightly more accurate than the loads from Remington and Winchester.

    second choice: the Winchester Magnum #1 buck load, which was considered to offer the best patterning.

    third choice: any standard or tactical 2-3/4" load of #00 buck.

    #4 buck was considered marginal, and then a magnum load was recommended, IIRC.

    Some of the study results were published in one of their newsletters. I expect the article is still available on the net. I'm going on memory; however, that article was important in my choosing to go with #1, and I've not regretted it. If I can figure out how to handload a shell that performs like the Federal Classic #1 buck, then I might start loading my own #1.
    - Tom
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  12. #11
    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    I use #1 Buck in the magazine and Hornady OO TAP in my shell holder. The TAP gives excellant patterns. The following provides some good information on choosing Shotgun HD ammo:

    Shotgun Home Defense Ammunition, .357 SIG -- A Solution in Search of a Problem?

    tacticalworks.ca!

    FBI testing proceedures which demosntrate their desire for 12" of penetration.

    CALIBERS -- FBI Ballistic test Protocol

    Here’s a decent article on shotgun wound ballistics from the Western Journal of Medicine of special note is page 155 which deals with mortality rates based on distance:

    Shotgun ballistics and shotgun injuries.


    Bird shot may be Ok for "up close" but, in my house I have the potential for shots over 10 ft, my longest shot is a little over 35’. I use something that will be effective at the greatest distance in which I may have to take a shot. Then there's always the off chance that I may HAVE to shoot through something. My chosen gun/load will keep all of its pellets on a silhouette target out to 21 meters reliably.

    BTW in two tactical shotgun classes, the birdshot question arose and was not recommended. This is due to the lack of penetration. The FBI penetration tests call for 12” with handgun ammo, this takes into account outer clothing and shots at “bad angles’ IE through limbs etc.

    The bottom line is, we’ve all got to do our own risk assessment, I value penetration above the potential risk.

    Chuck
    homo homini lupus est

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    For short barrels, give a serious look at Federals "PFC154 Low Recoil" OO load. It has the Flite Control wad and will shoot into a coffee cup at 60' from the Mossberg 500 we keep behind the counter at the range. It's that good. Make sure you get the Low Recoil version, though. The full power load has the same stock #.
    Federal Premium Ballistics

    These are the Federal Low Recoil self defense shells that I now have. They are #00 buckshot. I guess I was worried about over penetration but since I live in a house, alone with no kids or anyone else, I would agree that these shells are obviously a great choice in my situation.

    I have also took some other advise and ordered a weapon light, tactical forend grip and a 2 round mag extension.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    I keep remington hi speed steel in my 870, shot size is #2 ( .15 inch diameter and moving at 1500 fps ). So thats 125 pellets which pattern out to about 80-90 pellets in a 30 inch circle at 40 yds.
    I shudder at what the results would be at 10 yds against a bad guy.
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    I have #4 buckshot in mine. More projectiles than 00 and as for the spread not being too wide, it is still about 8+ times as wide as my .45 ACP and less likely to overpenetrate through my walls into a neighbor's house..
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf. - George Orwell

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array Musketeer's Avatar
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    00 Buck or Slug. Nobody will ever debate its potential to end a fight.

    For those who talk about "nasty shallow wounds" with birdshot I have to ask this, what stops a determined attacker?

    1. CNS damage
    2. Massive Blood Loss resulting in unconsciousness.
    3. Structural Failure (broken bones resulting in an inability to physically continue the fight).

    Birdshot will not do #1. It has little chance of accomplishing #2 in a short amount of time because it does not reliably reach things deep inside the body which bleed FAST (Organs and major arteries). There is no way it will accomplish #3 (but neither will most other shotty loads short of a slug.)

    Without those three sure methods of stopping the fight you are depending on the will of the attacker to fail. I would rather not depend on an attacker's will failing.

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