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Discussion Starter #1
This may be a retarded question, but I'm new to shotguns. I bought a regular Remington 870 express synthetic. Not the magnum version. I know I can only use 2 3/4 and 3" shells. I've seen 3" magnum shells...am I able to use these? I assume the answer is no, but I'm not positive. I can't seem to find buckshot anywhere around here unless it's magnum 3".
 

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I think anything over 2 3/4 shell is considered a magnum. Not sure, myself actually.
 

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IF you have a 3" chamber you can use any 3" shell.

Some 870's only have a 2 and 3/4" chamber, if that is the case you cannot shoot 3" shells.

The Super Mags have a 3 1/2" chamber and anything can be used in those.

Also...there are 2 and 3/4 " Magnum shotshells. Magnum in a shot gun means that there is more shot in the shell, along with more powder to push it.

As long as the shell length is correct for the chamber, you are good to go.
 

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I have shot 3 inch magnums out of my 870 express. I am sure that it is perfectly fine.
 

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IF you have a 3" chamber you can use any 3" shell.

Some 870's only have a 2 and 3/4" chamber, if that is the case you cannot shoot 3" shells.

The Super Mags have a 3 1/2" chamber and anything can be used in those.

Also...there are 2 and 3/4 " Magnum shotshells. Magnum in a shot gun means that there is more shot in the shell, along with more powder to push it.

As long as the shell length is correct for the chamber, you are good to go.
Notice the brass on the magnum is higher up on the shell. I've always heard it referred to as "high brass" or "low brass" although these terms may be passe' these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys. The barrel and manual just say to use "2 3/4 or 3 inch shells" and to only use 3 1/2 in a super magnum receiver, so I'm going with it's OK to use any 3" shell. Someone on another forum said all 3" shells are "magnum"
 

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I just ordered one of those 870 Express Synthetic pump guns myself. My understanding is that all 870s can fire 3" magnum shells and are thus magnums, as distinguished from the Super Magnum models which can handle the 3.5". I went with the regular magnum over the super magnum because the Rem's owner manual for the 870 says that super magnum models can't handle as many different barrel options.
 

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My 870's barrel says 2 3/4" shells, so no 3" shells for that gun. It is an older 870 wingmaster, but is a police model. 2 3/4" only on that one.
 

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My understanding is that all 870s can fire 3" magnum shells and are thus magnums, as distinguished from the Super Magnum models which can handle the 3.5".
Wrong. Read my post.

Notice the brass on the magnum is higher up on the shell. I've always heard it referred to as "high brass" or "low brass" although these terms may be passe' these days
"low brass" generally means shells with low powerder and shot charges. Most dove loads are low brass. "High Brass"means more shot, more powder, such as Duck and Pheasant shot or even Squirrel shot.

A Magnum load is high brass...exactly as high as a high brass load.
 

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If it has a three inch chamber you are good to go.
The key difference between the 2 3/4" and the 3 inch is for lack of a better term your "throw weight". Typical 2 3/4" 00 buck load is nine pellets. In three inch you get fifteen!
 

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2 3/4" non magnum takes just that

2 3/4" magnum can take the above and a 2 3/4" magnum shell

3" can take all the above and 3" shells

3.5" can take all the above and a 3.5" shell



usually 3.5" shells are for water foul since you use non lead shot.
usually 3" shells are used for slug guns to push sabot rounds very fast. The buckshot isn't AS popular cause it reduces the tube cap by 1 (4 instead of 5 rounds)
usually 2 3/4" are used for everything from target loads to bird shot to buck shot to even rifled slugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Remington was no help...from their site

How can I tell if my shotgun has a magnum receiver?

How can I tell if my 870 shotgun has a magnum receiver?

If your 870 serial number ends with "M" you have a 12-gauge Magnum receiver that is capable of shooting 2 3/4-inch and 3-inch shells with the correct barrel.

If your serial number ends with "A", you have a 12-gauge Super Magnum receiver that is capable of shooting 2 3/4-inch, 3-inch and 3 1/2-inch shells with the correct barrel.

If your serial number ends in "N" or "U", you have a 20-gauge Magnum receiver that is capable of shooting 3-inch shells with the correct barrel.
My serial number is RS00XXX A...but it definitely is NOT a super magnum receiver.
 

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What are going to use it for? I got the 2 3/4 18" 870 police because it's my HD gun. No need to go through my walls and maybe even more, plus 2 3/4 have plenty of re-coil, magnums more, and 3" and 3 1/2" inch you are talking about quite a lage explosion. Pulling off both triggers of my SXS a few times years ago got that out of my system, and many people are running reduced recoil 2 3/4 loads. It was good enough to be a police gun ( mines an 1982 model ) maybe the bad guys need more penetration now? My neighbors sure don't. If you are shooting at geese with steel, you probably need the more massive loads, for HD no way. I can't beleive remington customer service wasn't more help, maybe try again? They have always helped me when asked.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm gonna give them a call tomorrow and see what's up. I'm going duck hunting soon, and would prefer to use steel...all the steel is 3" magnum. I'm sure I can use it, because it definitely has a 3" chamber.
 

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IF you have a 3" chamber you can use any 3" shell.

Some 870's only have a 2 and 3/4" chamber, if that is the case you cannot shoot 3" shells.

The Super Mags have a 3 1/2" chamber and anything can be used in those.

Also...there are 2 and 3/4 " Magnum shotshells. Magnum in a shot gun means that there is more shot in the shell, along with more powder to push it.

As long as the shell length is correct for the chamber, you are good to go.
What he said.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well according to the user manual, the barrel, and all the research I've done in the past hour or so...

I am able to shoot 2 3/4 shells, magnum or not
I am able to shoot 3" shells, magnum or not

I am NOT able to shoot 3 1/2 shells at all
My serial number should end in an M, not an A, and I'm gonna call Remington up to see what's up with the mismarking.
 

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2.75 and 3 in shells operate at the same preasures meaning the 3 in shell will actualy be slower. The advantage of the 3 in shell is more shot not more velocity it is more payload (shot). The 3.5in shells operate at higher pressures giving you the same velocity as a 3in shell with 50% more shot. BTW I have a supermag and it will handel any 870 barrel. NOTE: if your barrel only has a 2.75 chamber you canNOT use 3 or 3.5in shells. Also if you have a barrel with a 3.5 in chamber on a magnum 870 you still canNOT use 3.5in shells as the ejector is set too far forward AND the supermag has extra locking features that other 870's do not. In short you CAN use any 870 barrel on any 870 reciever provided you do NOT use shells longer than the reciever or barrel is made for. Use any 2.75in shells in a 2.75 chamber. Any 2.75 or 3in shells in a 3in chamber, and 2.75, 3, and 3.5in shells in a 3.5in chamber.
 

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I've never seen a 3-inch 12 gauge shell that was not marketed as a magnum. There may well be such a animal.

I never had any use for the 3-inch magnum 12 gauge shell. I like to hunt ducks better than anything else but have always found the high brass 12 gauge 2 3/4-inch shells to be effective. Perhaps the 3-inch and 3 1/2-inch shells have more value when using steel shot. I like the performance of bismuth which more closely duplicates lead in terminal performance. I don't like the price however.
 

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Wow, there is a lot of contention on this. Calling Federal and Remington might just be needed.
 
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