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Old 12-26-2009, 18:47   #1
B Coyote
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Remington 870P and Sneaky Bag Review

This is a review I wrote at AR15Armory.com....but felt it might be enjoyed here. bc


Details, Details, Details:
The Remington 870 has been the quintessential law enforcement shotgun for the last several decades. Find a police vehicle with a shotgun inside, and there's a good chance that shotgun will be a Remington 870. It's been available in a variety of configurations with stock, barrel and finish options to suit the user (or at least the purchaser). All 870's have double action bars for reliability in operation.
The 870 has a very large, side-ejection port which I like very much. The magazine follower is a bright orange and provides a VERY visual indication of an unloaded magazine tube. The safety is a cross-bolt behind the trigger and action release lever is forward of the trigger. All current Remington Police shotguns wear their very effective R3 recoil pad. All 870P's are chambered for the 12 gauge 3" shell (though most users stay with the 2 3/4" round).

I've chosen a near-clone of the gun that's kept in the police cruiser I usually drive as a Reserve Police Officer, for personal use (I wanted a wood stock on my gun and the department uses synthetic). My reason for devoting so much time to the scattergun is simple. It's the weapon I will go to on the street, and my shotgun-fu was VERY weak. Over the past few years I'd spent so much time on the handgun and the carbine, I'd nearly forgotten the shotgun (except to clean it monthly). Faced with being limited on duty, I decided to take the leap and learn what I'd been presented to the best of my ability.

My 870P wears the traditional walnut stock and forearm and parkerized finish. It has rifle sights on an 18.5" Improved Cylinder barrel and a capacity of 6+1 using 2 3/4" shells. This picture is not mine, but my gun is identical.
Tactical Shotguns

Police vs. Express:
There are several very important differences between the commonly found Express models and the higher-end Police shotguns. They can be found at the following link.
http://www.remingtonmilitary.com/articles/...sPol6-30-05.pdf

Patterning, 00 and #4 Buckshot:
I patterned my gun at three, five, seven, ten, fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five yards with Winchester Ranger Low Recoil 00 Buckshot (RA12005). The target used was an IDPA competition target. At three to ten yards, all pellets stayed in the "-0" zone. At 20 yards, all pellets stayed inside the "-1" zone of the target. At 25 yards several of the nine pellets wandered into the "-3" zone. I was very pleased. I'll repeat this test again and take pics when the weather gets halfway decent and I get a day to head to the range. This particular load is my favorite general purpose load. If I were limited to one type of shell for my shotgun, this would be the one I'd take. Thirty rounds of Ranger Low Recoil 00 is what's in my go bag (more on this later).
This round has a bright red hull.

Since I'm not limited to one load, I choose a different round for home defense. The 870P's tube is filled with Federal Tactical Low Recoil #4 Buckshot(LE1324B) for home defense. Considering my apartment living arrangement, and the direction and proximity of my immediate neighbors, I've gone with the smaller pellet #4 load for safety reasons. I patterned my gun at five and ten yards. At both distances all pellets stayed inside the "-1" zone of the IDPA target. Considering my living conditions, this is perfect for what I want it to do. I feel it's the best balance of performance in target and lack of barrier penetration. This round has a dark red hull. Be aware, as it has been discontinued by Federal, this load can be fairly difficult to find if you attempt to buy some. I have a very limited supply myself, and have had much difficulty finding replacements for what I've shot. I'm presently scouring the internet and local shops, but have thus far been unsuccessful in finding more. When my supply is depleted I'll switch to the Ranger 00 exclusively, but I won't be happy about that change.

Slug accuracy:
My chosen slug load is the brand mate to the 00 Buck. Winchester Ranger Low Recoil, 1oz.(RA12RS15). I shot this off the bench at 25 yards. All slugs stayed in the "-0" zone of the IDPA target. For fun, I also shot a few rounds at the target's head box at the 15 yard line unsupported. Head shots were easily accomplished. I keep 18 rounds of this load in my go bag. Something I think is great; this round has a medium grey hull (visually different than the red hull of the buckshot load).

Below are a couple pics of the shells and their boxes. Take note of how Winchester crimps and seals their buckshot load. I REALLY like this feature. The Federal shells will occasionally leak their shot buffer if they're not rotated out frequently (every six months at max). Subsequent research post writing this review has led me to the cause of this issue. Winchester makes their hulls out of a stiffer plastic to prevent warping or bulging in the magazine tube under spring tension. Federal's shells leak buffer because they're, literally, uncrimping inside the tube. That explains a LOT of what I've observed over the last few years.
Tactical Shotguns
Tactical Shotguns


Dislikes:
Nothing is perfect. There are a few things about this gun I really don't like. Are they easily correctable? Yes. I choose not to do so things are the same across the board from work to home. Here's my short list...
-LOP!! The length of pull on this gun is a full sized 14". That's fine if you're in a duck blind or trap shooting with the Fudd's at the gunclub. Put body armor on and things suddenly don't fit right anymore. Fighting shotguns should come with 12" LOP stocks.
-Small-head safety. This is a pet peeve. While the safety is easy enough to find under normal conditions, if you add stress or gloves it's not such a simple task. A larger button on the safety would be a vast improvement.
-Rotating front sling stud. This is minor, but the front sling stud on my gun rotates. I'd prefer a fixed unit, to keep the sling from twisting around.
-Sights. While not a dislike, I think they could be better. The rifle sights as issued on the gun are fine, with a white triangle in the rear and a fairly small post with a white face on the front. That said, XS Sight Systems makes a tritium Express set for the 870 that would VASTLY improve on the 870's functionality as a close combat tool.

MY 870P and why I like a KISS shotgun.
My previous shotgun (a Mossberg 590A1) was loaded with tacticool goodies. I think I found about every way I could to modify it from the factory configuration. Dedicated forearm light, side saddle, shortened stock, ghost ring sights, adjustable choke...I did it all. It was heavy, slow, and stuff caught on everything. While the gun had a very high "cool factor", it never really made me happy with the way it felt. Sure, it had all the whizbang gadgets that make a gun look awesome in a youtube video, but when it came time to actually put the gun to use in training I was underwhelmed by the way it swung, came to the shoulder, and generally how it handled (the thing weighed a TON).

When I got this Remington, I promised myself I was going to keep it simple and exactly like my cruiser gun. I wanted clean and fast handling rather than sluggish with tacticool goodies. My first trip to the range simply reinforced what I already knew: KISS is best. The 870P swings from target to target with ease, is fast from ready to the shoulder, and doesn't have a bunch of crap on it affecting what is the best balance I've ever seen on a riot-type shotgun.

All of this brings the question "Well if you don't have a side saddle, where do you keep ammo?" That brings me to the next part of my thread title, the Sneaky Bag.

bc

Showing the "Police Magnum" marking. Also visible at the front of the trigger guard is the action release lever.
Tactical Shotguns


The rear rifle sight.
Tactical Shotguns

Last edited by B Coyote; 02-08-2010 at 23:18.. Reason: Wanted to add the note at the top/update some info
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Old 12-26-2009, 18:49   #2
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The Details are in the Bag:

Sneaky Bags

I'm a big fan of the "Go Bag" idea. The premise is simple: have a shoulder bag of ammo and a few other important items next to your gun and ready to go. It's not a new idea, either. Take a look back into history to the days of the musket. "Possibles bags" were a necessity. Usually the gun and bag were stored together as a unit, so when a person grabbed one, the other was there. This is the approach I take with my shotgun, on and off duty. Bag and gun are stored together. Rather than weigh my gun down and trash it's handling capabilities for just a few shells, I've got a much larger quantity of ammo there with the gun, and a couple other dangerous goodies, too.

I first found out about the Sneaky Bags Mini Sneaky Bag through Gabe Suarez's "Shotgun Gunfighting" DVD. Clicky. I thought about it, really liked the idea, so I ordered a bag for myself.

This bag is a very handy size to live up to it's name of being sneaky. It looks like a small camera bag or a tool bag. I chose the grey bag with black trim specifically to avoid the ninja/operator "tacticool" colors of solid black, coyote, foliage, or olive green. Note the removable padded shoulder strap. Not pictured is the leg strap on the rear bottom, and the document pouch on the back. There's also a handy grab handle on the top at the junction of the flap and back (you can kind of see it in this pic).
Tactical Shotguns

Here's a view from the top. I didn't do a great job of getting all of the main compartment in the pic, but I assure you it's there and has a few rounds of 00 Buckshot inside at the bottom, as well as the slugs in their loops (they're visible). The front compartment has a flap to cover it, but I left it open and tucked into the center compartment. I wanted access to my G22 mags and might just get an American Flag or morale patch for the exposed velcro there.
Tactical Shotguns

Here's a view of the side. The bag has loops (molle, pals, whatever) for mounting goodies on both sides, so I added my Benchmade Nimravus to the side that would face rear when I wear the bag (the bag's left). I like having a fixed blade knife, and this is a good way to keep one handy. This particular knife was a very nice gift from my good friend Jeff.
Tactical Shotguns

Here's a view of the bag's right side. I put a Surefire G2 here. A flashlight is another handy item to have around. This particular one was free and just lying around collecting dust. It fits perfectly through the loops...enough tension to get it out without a struggle, but enough to hold it in place through some fairly vigorous activity.
Tactical Shotguns

Here's a pic of the contents of the bag. There are three extra Glock 22 mags that fit perfectly in the bag's front-most compartment. The Cav Arms Personal Trauma Kit was ordered with the bag from One Source Tactical. This or a similar kit is a MUST in any Go Bag. There's also a couple extra batteries for the G2.
Tactical Shotguns

Criticisms:
I LOVE this bag overall. I regret not buying one sooner. It's really an overall great purchase that I find myself liking more each time I practice with it. I'm very eager to get out to a tactical shotgun match in the spring with my Sneaky Bag. While I won't likely finish with the guys who use game gear, I have no doubt I'll turn a few heads with my bag. That said, I do have a couple of small criticisms of the bag (and both of them are really just me being me more than a problem with the bag itself).

-Cost!! This bag was $107 and the shotgun shell loops were another $25. (The bag comes with a pouch to hold a couple rifle magazines so the decision to make this into a shotgun bag was 100% at my expense.) Had my wife not agreed to this project before our baby was born, and had I not had a large chunk of income from a gun sale, she'd have beat me to death with it when she saw the invoice. I recognize that buying American is sometimes expensive. In fact, being American-made was a huge factor in buying this bag. I do honestly feel that cost could prevent some from having a Sneaky Bag. That said, this bag oozes quality. The stitching is perfect, and you can feel the durability when you pick the bag up for the first time. This bag is HEAVY DUTY! I'll have no qualms about taking this bag into an unhappy social occasion, either personal or on duty.

-The main compartment could be a LITTLE bigger. This means exactly what it says. If the main compartment were even a quarter inch roomier, it'd make getting stuff (read buckshot) out of the bottom that much easier when the middle compartment is filled with a PTK and a couple spare batteries.

bc

Update: This posting has turned into a work in progress, the most up to date version can be found at http://www.ar15armory.com/forums/Rem...ml#entry911617. Thanks, bc

Last edited by B Coyote; 02-07-2010 at 23:24.. Reason: Fix an error/add a update link/update posting
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Old 12-26-2009, 18:51   #3
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GT limits the amount of pics I can post to five per post. The following pic was in the first part of the review, and shows the front rifle sight.

bc

The front rifle sight.
Tactical Shotguns

Last edited by B Coyote; 12-26-2009 at 19:13.. Reason: fxi a tyop ;)
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Old 12-26-2009, 19:00   #4
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Very nice review! NICE PHOTOS. Thank you. OVERTHEHILLGUY
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Old 12-26-2009, 19:12   #5
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Thank you. I appreciate the compliment.

When I get a day when the weather cooperates, I'll head back out to the range and repeat my patterning for photos and add them at AR15Armory.com and here.

bc
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Old 12-26-2009, 19:17   #6
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thank you for taking the time and making this review...I want a sneaky bag...
Bill
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Old 12-28-2009, 17:02   #7
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Nice review.
I like the sneaky bag alot and I may be ordering one.
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Old 02-07-2010, 23:14   #8
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As promised, I did some patterning and took pics. They'll be on page 2:

http://www.ar15armory.com/forums/Rem...Ba-t70452.html

bc
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Old 02-08-2010, 00:15   #9
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I freakin love the old school wood furniture on a combat shotgun. It just looks badazz!
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:53   #10
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Super review . The 870 Police Mag is quite possibly the ultimate KISS shotgun. I have been searching for a nice one on the used racks and at gun shows to no avail. I guess the new route is the only sure thing. Found one at a show yesterday. Not new by any means, unless you include the price. Nearly $500 used! Not this dude. You have a dandy weapon there,enjoy.
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Old 02-08-2010, 19:56   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet17 View Post
Super review . The 870 Police Mag is quite possibly the ultimate KISS shotgun. I have been searching for a nice one on the used racks and at gun shows to no avail. I guess the new route is the only sure thing. Found one at a show yesterday. Not new by any means, unless you include the price. Nearly $500 used! Not this dude. You have a dandy weapon there,enjoy.
Thanks for the compliment.

I looked around used, fully willing to go that route, but couldn't find one like I wanted. When I found this one, I jumped on it.

bc
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:31   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixflip View Post
I freakin love the old school wood furniture on a combat shotgun. It just looks badazz!
+1 Wood works for me too, I don't like the black synthetic on the remys
the flat stain they use is very nice looking,

I have an 11-87 special purpose coming in a week with the good wood on it.
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Old 02-08-2010, 19:57   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixflip View Post
I freakin love the old school wood furniture on a combat shotgun. It just looks badazz!
I got lucky with this gun. The one on the wall was synthetic, but when they pulled my gun out of the back, it had wood. You see the decision I made.

bc
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Old 02-08-2010, 19:44   #14
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I recommend the Vang Comp big head safety. I never used the safety on my 870P until I got one.
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Old 02-08-2010, 19:47   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 22highcaps View Post
I recommend the Vang Comp big head safety. I never used the safety on my 870P until I got one.
I'm used to the smaller safety now. I'd like the larger one, but won't change (unless I leave my current department or they install the larger button on the agency guns).

bc
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Old 02-08-2010, 20:17   #16
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Originally Posted by 22highcaps View Post
I recommend the Vang Comp big head safety. I never used the safety on my 870P until I got one.
wondering if this is necessary - being sporting arms (non-MILSPEC) almost none of the shotguns are drop safe - (except the Mossberg & Saiga) - so carry mode is cruiser ready (empty chamber hammer dropped) - when the gun comes to shoulder, the slide is racked and safety stays off..., threat goes away and shotgun is returned to cruiser ready...
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Old 02-10-2010, 20:47   #17
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Originally Posted by Whazoo View Post
wondering if this is necessary - being sporting arms (non-MILSPEC) almost none of the shotguns are drop safe - (except the Mossberg & Saiga) - so carry mode is cruiser ready (empty chamber hammer dropped) - when the gun comes to shoulder, the slide is racked and safety stays off..., threat goes away and shotgun is returned to cruiser ready...
You are absolutely right in that most shotgun safeties only block the trigger and not the sear. I put the VC BHS on my 870P in because I figured they would teach use of the safety at a shotgun course.
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Old 02-10-2010, 22:38   #18
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Thanks for taking the time to do that writeup. was a good read
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Old 06-07-2010, 15:21   #19
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Since it was time to rotate out the old #4 rounds for fresh, I decided to take the camera along for a couple pics of the patterns. I've searched high and low for replacements, but simply cannot find any. When this stuff is gone, I'll switch to the Ranger 00 Low Recoil that I use for everything else.

First at 5 yards:
Tactical Shotguns
Notice that I held slightly high, and a couple pellets left the -0 zone. Had I held slightly lower, they'd have all stayed in.

Next, at 10 yards:
Tactical Shotguns
Here I had two stray pellets. One wandered out of the pattern and into the -3 area to the right, and one dropped low toward the bottom of the -1. The other 25 pellets grouped nicely.

Another at 5 yards:
Tactical Shotguns
For grins and giggles, I went back to the five yard line and fired another. This patterned perfectly.

bc
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:47   #20
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Quote:
It was heavy, slow, and stuff caught on everything. While the gun had a very high "cool factor", it never really made me happy with the way it felt. Sure, it had all the whizbang gadgets that make a gun look awesome in a youtube video, but when it came time to actually put the gun to use in training I was underwhelmed by the way it swung, came to the shoulder, and generally how it handled (the thing weighed a TON).
That has been my experience both as a student and as a shotgun trainer. Lots of added doo-dads look cool, but it seems the folks who always did the best on actual shooting tests used very simple, low-tech guns, particularly when it involved moving through areas.
One trick I have found to be very helpful is a little two-round holder from Safariland http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/p...spx?pid=080-12 that clips on the belt. I put a velco piece on it and my stock so the holder stays with the gun while in storage, but when I grab the shotgun I can easily grab the holder and slip it on the belt. This gives me two quick rounds for reload if needed, or as I use it I keep two slugs in to facilitate a select slug drill instead of having to dig in the pouch.
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