20ga for home defense?

This is a discussion on 20ga for home defense? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm wondering about setting up a 20ga 870 for home defense. I wouldn't consider this if I didn't already have the gun, but to cut ...

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Thread: 20ga for home defense?

  1. #1
    Member Array jgilbert's Avatar
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    20ga for home defense?

    I'm wondering about setting up a 20ga 870 for home defense. I wouldn't consider this if I didn't already have the gun, but to cut some of the costs, I'm considering it because I know the gun well and know that it functions no matter what. It is the base 870 youth model, what can I do to make it more HD friendly? Thanks

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I like the 870, OK I'll admit it, I love it.

    The 20 Guage is fine for home defense, and if I didn't already have my fair share of 12 Guage guns it would be my first choice. As far as what modifications, no longer than a 20" barrel, tritium bead, spare ammo carrier of some sort and an illumination device would be what I'd select.

    18" or 20" Barrel is preferred, IME. Different companies make a tritium front bead that can easily be installed by a Gunsmith. I'm using Ghost Rings on my gun, but that's because I also shoot out to 100 Yards with my shotgun. That's not realistic for a home defense gun. BTW, after 35 Yards I'm resorting to slugs.

    As for spare ammo, while many people like a side saddle, I prefer my ammo carried off the gun to keep the gun lighter so that it swings better. I have a pouch that holds my shotgun shells, and I drape that over my shoulder when I pick up the shotgun.

    You don't need a Surefire Fore-End, IMO, but you do need to mount a light of some sort on the gun with a pressure pad. It makes identifying the target much easier and the pressure pad allows you to turn the light on/off with hand pressure. Lyman makes a decent one for around $80 that can be mounted at home easily.

    I like extended mag tubes, but then I have a known habit of carrying lots and lots of ammo. Shotguns, like six shooters are known to lack an ammo reserve of what many consider sufficient quantity. Hence, the bag over my shoulder with fifty more rounds. I do not know if they make an extended mag tube for the 20 Guage, but then I haven't looked.

    Biker

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    Member Array jgilbert's Avatar
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    Since it's the youth model the barrel is already 20", and I believe someone does make a mag extension for it. Since i also use this gun as a backup turkey gun (it's amazing what the right choke/shell combo will do out of this little gun), I think I'll do something similar to what you mention regarding extra ammo, as having the side saddle may make it somewhat cumbersome in the woods. The tritium bead shouldn't be a problem since the bead on it now screws out, so I should be able to add that myself. I'll look into a light (TLR-1?) and a way to mount it later tonight. Thanks for your help and any suggestions others have.

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    Extend the tube, toss in a cylinder choke and you are good to go. The rest is just clutter IMO.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    While I would not want to get shot with it I would not use #3 buckshot.
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    If it already has a 20 in barrel, my first upgrade would be an illumination source, then a mag extension. I'd also throw on a sling, and you are pretty much set for the gun. For ammo, get some good quality 20 gauge 00, and you are good there.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with the 20ga for HD at all IMO. Years ago, that's all I had was a Mossberg 500 20ga and my Norinco 1911A1. #2 buckshot was what I loaded in that, and I found an extra barrel at a local pawn shop for $40 or so, took it to a local gunsmith and had him chop it to 18 1/4" and reinstall the front bead for $20. Then I had my bird shotty and my HD shotty with a quick change of the barrel. I had that Mossy so slicked up, I could actually run the slide and chamber a round with one handed skill. Those days are long gone, but not forgotten. Using what you already have is a smart way to go. Options for the 3-4 round magazine tube other than an extended tube would be a shell carrier of some sort. These days, I love my 870 Express, and even though it's the HD version in 12ga, it still goes with me into the woods for a hunt now and then. Six in the tube and four on the side. I like nice round numbers (like 10). IMO, there's not much need in going to a 3" load in either the 12ga or 20ga for HD purposes.

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    VIP Member Array searcher 45's Avatar
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    My wife's 20 gauge Mossberg Bataam with 22in barrel makes a very good HD gun. Her small stature and that gun were made for each other. It is said that a 20gauge patterns tighter than a 12 gauge due to the way #3 buckshot is stacked in the shell. Make no mistake about it that little gun troughs a mean punch with 20 #3 buckshot per round.

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    Instead of a tube extension, you can get an elastic cuff for the stock. They hold 5 or 6 rounds and can be easily removed for hunting. There are all sorts of barrel mounts, for lights, if you look around. Another option would be the small sections of picatinny rail that can be mounted to your existing forearm.

    You can use either #2 or #3 buck loads which are more than sufficient for HD situations. Keep it simple.
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    BKS
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    If it is an express the front bead is pressed in and not screwed in. Don't make the same mistake as me and mangle your gun. I think the XS bead, epoxied or JB Welded over the original bead is the ticket for a house. That 20 gauge will be awesome, light , swings fast, low recoil and damn deadly.

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    Member Array jgilbert's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the replies guys, I'll pick up some #3's for it later this week. I know that the bead screws in, it has loosened on me a few times after a full day of shooting. As someone said, this little gun does kick a fair amount, but when it's needed recoil won't be an issue.

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Night sight beads at Brownell's:
    KIMBER : TRU-DOT DAY/NIGHT SHOTGUN BEAD - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools

    Your bead should be 6-48 threads. If you don't like the night sight, you could always go for a bigger plain pead or a fiber optic style.

    These are easy to install:
    CARLSON'S : 6-48 Red High Vis. Bead (155-400-002) - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools

    The biggest plain bead they make in 6-48:
    BROWNELLS : No. 8 Refill Sight, Single Pak (080-532-136) - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools

    Tru-Glo is available in green fiber optic:
    TRUGLO : SHOTGUN STARBRITE DELUXE SIGHT - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools

    I was going to recommend the "Flite Control" loads from Federal. They are excellent loads for keeping lots of pellets on target, but they have cut them way back, only one load is available in 20ga, and it's a 3" birdshot load. Big birdshot is my choice for HD, but it would be nice if they had a Flite Control load in buckshot. I sent them another email, who knows, it worked for getting Nyclads back in the line...

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    Senior Member Array Shadowsbane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by searcher 45 View Post
    My wife's 20 gauge Mossberg Bataam with 22in barrel makes a very good HD gun. Her small stature and that gun were made for each other. It is said that a 20gauge patterns tighter than a 12 gauge due to the way #3 buckshot is stacked in the shell. Make no mistake about it that little gun troughs a mean punch with 20 #3 buckshot per round.
    exactly what I use. Great little gun.
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    Mo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgilbert View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies guys, I'll pick up some #3's for it later this week. I know that the bead screws in, it has loosened on me a few times after a full day of shooting. As someone said, this little gun does kick a fair amount, but when it's needed recoil won't be an issue.
    In my opinion, save some $$ by skipping a tritium bead. If you have a good light, like a $35 Surefire G2 LED, the tritium function will be washed out completely when you're using the light. I bought a $15 fiber optic front sight which is just 1/2" of green fiber optic. It lights up like a beacon when I turn on the G2.

    For the record, my HD shotgun has the fiber optic sight, 18" barrel w/fixed cylinder choke, 4-round sidesaddle and youth buttstock.

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    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    For home defense, no question a .410 over a 20 ga.

    I see no advantage of a 20 ga. over a 12 ga.

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