Range Report -- Remington 870P SBS 14" (shotgun)
Range Report #1 -- Remington 870 Police 12ga SBS (shotgun)
Gun: Remington 870P 12ga short-bbl shotgun. (Photos below.)
Layout:Police model receiver, internals, preparation/polishing. Heavy-duty, 14" police barrel. 34" OAL. Ghost ring sights w/ protective steel "ears." Shortened, lightweight SpeedFeed stock. 5+1 capacity, with the +1 mag tube extension. DayGlo Orange mag-full indicator "plug" that sticks out of the end of the mag tube.
Cost: $575, from Waffen Werks. They picked them up at a U.S. Secret Service "garage sale." Plus, of course, the infamous $200 BATFE tax stamp, plus 14wks from purchase.
Purpose: Home defense / traveling gun.
Carry Mode: Uh, no.
July 13, 2008 -- First range session, after purchase.
- Goal -- Start the break-in period. Get familiar with the handling, balance. Begin cycling/feed reliability testing with a variety of loads.
- Initial Field Strip & Cleaning -- The 870 is easy to break down. Ensure gun is unloaded, safety secured. Slide fore-end half-way. Unscrew the magazine tube's securing sleeve, pull off the barrel, remove the fore-end, remove the bolt/slide, unpin the trigger assy. Did everything except the trigger assy. Lightly cleaned and lubed the friction surfaces, but everything looked well-prepped already. Will do full take-down strip soon.
- Feel -- This is a well-balanced unit. The 14" heavy barrel and receiver match up well with the SpeedFeed stock to put the weight right about where it results in excellent handling and recoil control. Easy to maneuver. A tad long for me, so I'll need to consider shortening the stock/pad by ~1/2" or more. First, more time in the saddle.
- Ergonomics -- A bit long, as mentioned. But otherwise it comes to shoulder very well. The ghost ring sights line up smartly, without having to adjust. Balance point feels just ahead of the front of the receiver, given the weight of the barrel.
Maneuvering around obstructions and corners is simple. Feels reasonably easy to keep it close-in. Even with my shorter arms, there seems very little risk of short-stroking. I am no shotgun pro, by any stretch. But I can see why many folks love the format. Nice.
- Grip/Stock -- Shortened SpeedFeed stock, in "pistol grip" (ie, standard rifle) format. No forward-mounted pistol style grip. SpeedFeed fore-end. Both the stock and fore-end have enough grooves and stippling to afford a fairly good grip. Uncertain how they'll do in muddy/bloody conditions, but even with greasy hands (as a test) it gripped fine. Just the right size and grip angle, if a bit long for me.
- Safety -- Being a lefty, the standard configuration seems a bit backwards. Uncertain if it can be switched to the other side. I'll ask the gunsmith when I see him this coming weekend. Either way, it's easy to get to, easy to manipulate.
- Shots -- Only 50 rounds, today. Shells included a variety. #7 2-3/4" target loads, #8 3" target loads, 3" #1 buck "hot" defensive loads, and a couple cast-offs from prior sessions (mixed bag). Sent several tubes' worth of mixed loads from the grab bag. Shot with 1 in the tube, three, five, 5+1. Never missed a beat.
- Shot Dispersion -- The shot of the #7 and #8 target loads was about 8" at 5yds, and about 16" at 10-12yds. That's wider than I thought it would be, with the factory MOD choke. The heavier buck loads seemed a bit tighter, but that's probably just a trick of the eye due to the fewer shots on paper.
Basically, an intruder would have a hand span mess through the chest, belly, pelvis or leg, if stopped coming into a room or hallway at home. That'll do. I'll tell you this: I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end.
- Reliability -- Perfect. No issues whatsoever. No jams or failures of any sort. The gun has an extremely smooth action. It feels like it has already gotten the attentions of a gunsmith.
Everything glides the way it should, engaging and locking up positively. Shells feed and eject without problems. Ejection doesn't cast the spent shells very far, but it's consistent and seemingly strong enough.
- Aim -- A bit off, but that's just me. It's sighted-in pretty well. At 6yds, it shoots about 4" high. At ~15yds, it's an inch or two high. Probably is perfect at 25yds. Though, checking the scatter wasn't the goal, today. That's for another day.
- Comfort, after 50rds -- Wonderful. No issues. The balance and weight makes for a very manageable recoil. It's much the same as a standard .45ACP as compared to a hot 9mm, for example. Whereas the 9mm is sharper, flips the muzzle a bit, and has less overall push-back, the .45ACP has a heavier, firmer recoil that's straighter into the hands. This shottie is something like that.
My Ithaca SKB 100 20ga 25" SxS has more recoil than the Remington 870P SBS. That's got to be due to the weight and balance. And the result is easy to feel. 50rds of my "bird" gun (the Ithaca) leaves me a bit tired in the shoulder. 50rds with the 870P SBS is nothing. Unexpected, but very nice.
- BATFE "Tax" Stamp & Procedure -- I'm about as cynical about bureaucracy as the next person. Frankly, for folks like us, card-carrying certified "good" folks, it seems ridiculous to go through all the hoops merely to have yet another agency do another background check and give its approval for what amounts to little more than another defensive firearm.
I now understand why they were called "revenuers" in the 1920's and '30's. Hm. Purchased on 3-31-08. Acquired, 7-12-08. We'll see if it ends up being worthwhile. The gun's wonderful. The silly procedures are, well, silly, IMO. YMMV.
- Overall -- Highly recommended. So far, at least, it's wonderfully suited to the task. Easy to maneuver, manipulate and shoot. Comes to shoulder well, shoots where aimed. Recoil is very low with little muzzle flip. The action is smooth and reliable. Zero problems. Besides the silly stamp, what's not to like?
- Downside -- May I be flogged with a thousand pillow cases, if it turns out I prefer the Mossberg 590-A1's tang-mounted safety. Argghhh! I think I'll be fine.
- Cleaning at the Range -- None. None needed. It just kept on ticking, though 50rds isn't much.
- Full Strip & Cleaning -- I'll get the disassembly instructions printed out, then take my time breaking it down completely, for cleaning and oiling.
See below for pics. Didn't take any target photos at the range. The ones below are for the 870P SBS.
Range Report #2 -- Rem 870P 12ga SBS (shotgun)
Range Report #2 -- Remington 870 Police 12ga short-bbl shotgun
July 28, 2008 -- 2nd range session after purchase.
Broken extractor, today, so the session was cut short.
- Goal -- Ammo selection day. Run a half-dozen different varieties of shells through the gun, to see how it runs. Continue getting familiar with the handling, balance. Specifically focus on cycling/feed reliability testing with a variety of loads.
- Initial Field Strip & Cleaning -- Lightly cleaned and lubed the friction surfaces.
- Shots -- 32 shells, testing a variety of loads:
- 10 shots Remington #8 2-3/4" target load -- hundreds of mini pellets striking paper, none of which went more than 1/8" into the 1x2" fir strips holding up the targets. Little recoil.
- 10 S&B 2-3/4" #00 buck -- 12 pellets per load, much firmer recoil. Only 4rds fit in the "five" round magazine tube.
- 5 shots S&B 3" #00 buck -- 15 pellets per load. Brutal, painful recoil on the shoulder. Only 4rds fit in the mag tube.
- 5 shots Winchester Super-X 2-3/4" #1 buck -- 16 pellets per load, 1250 fps, manageable recoil, with smoother cycling than the S&B (seemingly). Stout enough for defense, and easy to handle. All 5rds fit in the mag tube. This one's a winner, I think.
- 2 shots Winchester Super-X 3" #1 buck -- 24 pellets, 1040 fps, noticeably firmer recoil than the 2-3/4" load.
Wow. The 3" #00 buck was stout, in the 14" shotgun. Just a couple shots really gets your attention. A bit painful on the shoulder, after a few rounds, though several hours afterwards it can't be felt.
I really liked the Winchester Sx 2-3/4" #1 buck. It cycled quite a bit more smoothly than the Sellier & Bellot rounds, which seemed to be "grittier" during cycling somehow. Must be something in the plastic or shape of the shell casing after firing.
- Distances -- Three targets were set up: 3yds, ~11yds, 4yds behind cover.
- Shot Dispersion -- See attached photo for a pic showing two groupings at 4yds with the 3" #00 buck. Dispersion with each round was about a handspan in size (~5" or so, at 4yds).
Time and again, a couple/three shots to COM at all targets resulted in fair coverage of a 15" wide zone.
Last group was a pair of 3" #1 buck at 5yds, which cut the 1x2" fir strip to shreds.
- Reliability -- Until round #32, just fine. The extractor broke, and the empty shell failed to eject. The gun was locked up. Pressing on the remnant of the extractor, the action cycled and allowed me to remove the just-now-fed round sitting in the open action, then manually extract the expended shell from the chamber.
The metal of the extractor had sheared off and the pieces were rattling around in the gun, prior to opening the action and spilling out the parts. Oops.
At the 82nd round since new, the first failure. Uncertain if stouter options exist. I think the 870P has a forged, machined extractor anyway. Checking at the Wilson/Scattergun site, Remington site and a few gunsmith web sites, there don't appear to be obvious alternatives other than the factory part. Hm.
- Aim -- With controlled aimed shots, it's a bit high at anything under ~12yds or so. Aiming just below COM at 5-10yds, strikes are right on the money.
- Comfort, after 32rds -- Wonderful ... uh, with the exception of the full-power 3" #00 magnum loads. Ooofta! Somebody should warn folks about the "turbo" boost on these puppies. As compared to the 2-3/4" #1 buck loads, the 3" #00 must have 10x the energy to the shoulder, minimum. With a casual, straight-up stance, it risks tossing me over backwards, whereas the #1 is nothing, by comparison. Whodathunkit?
- Overall -- Broken part, today. Cruising around the internet, at first glance there don't seem to be any reports of broken extractors on the 870, particularly with the 870P model. I'll have my shop look at it, to ensure the extractor, plunger, spring and other parts are all intact, replacing whatever's missing or needed.
One picture, today, showing two rounds of 3" #00 buck at 4yds distance. The hole from each pellet is darned near what my 9mm rounds are from the CZ P01 pistol. Imagine 32 of those in the span of a second. That'll do.