View Full Version : Rem. 870 express to tactical

06-04-2012, 10:54 AM
I have a remington 870 express magnum I inherited from my grandfather and I want to convert it into a tactical 12 gauge for HD and ascetic purposes. I want to put a short breach barrel, full trirail, ammo sling, red dot sight, adjustable pistol grip stock, forearm pistol grip, extended (whatever) for larger ammo capacity, tact. Light and laser dot. As I'm completely new to the gun scene Idk where or what brands or where to get them. I would prefer quality build and lightweight. Matte blue barrel to match receiver. And all under 300 bucks if possible. Thanks :)

ps.. I live in Georgia

06-04-2012, 10:55 AM
Sorry if I repeated myself or left words out. I think faster than I type and don't proof read haha

06-04-2012, 11:13 AM
full trirail - I've seen some, and they are usually expensive. The cheap ones will break and you will waste your money. This is honestly kind of useless....

ammo sling - i would skip this. the sling will be heavy as hell with all the shells and throw you off with the weight...

red dot sight - do you really need this? I would just go with ghost rings and or a nice shiny sight for home defense. If you go cheap (under 300) it will break and you will just kick your sell in the ***

- adjustable pistol grip stock - Knoxx, check ebay you can probably get one for under $100.

- forearm pistol grip - search Calguns. People generally say don't do this as it will torque wierd, but if you do really want one Hogue sells one for under $60 I believe (amazon/ebay)

- extended tube mag(whatever) for larger ammo capacity - check midwayusa or brownells, midway currently has coupon codes

- tact. Light - any good tactical light should be fine... I found with the 870 I used a clamp mount reachable by thumb to the handguard. The best solution is suppose to be the surefire light built into the handguard, but that is almost $300 by itself.

-laser dot -really a waste of $$ your dot won't tell you where to pattern....

I would say, get a side saddle for your shells, they are about $30 bucks and will be good.

You gotta ask yourself, do you want a bad *** mall ninja looking guy that is completely useless? Or do you want something that is functional that will honestly save your life.

I'm not trying to disparange you here sir, in fact I had almost a lot of these things on my shotgun once. I took it to a class put about 400 rounds down range and everything fell of or broke. While it looks cool sitting in the closet, I realized that if I really trusted my life to this shotgun I might as well bend over and kiss my ***.

My point is instead of wasting $$ on cheap Chinese knock off or a bunch of gadgetry that will make your shutgun unwieldly or heavy, I would honestly say KISS.

Get a good tac light that you trust and know how to manipulate. Spend the money here. I took my shotgun to a night class and when you are trying to send pellets down range while manipulating a light and searching for shells in the pitch dark, a well thought out light is a life savior.

You could always get the Magpul handguard and buy a magpul light kit and attach to it. Alltogether won't cost you more than $90.

I like a side saddle. Learn to use it correctly and make sure it's loctited safely. How embarrased would you be if your side saddle fell off while using your shotgun for a home defense situation.

If you are looking for some range, maybe get a good set of ghost rings. If you are never planning on shooting past 50 the nice shiny gold sights are awesome. Red dot solutions are expensive. Anything under $100 will probably get wrecked after the recoil....

06-04-2012, 11:16 AM
Also, with any after market barrels or even Rem barrels, make sure you shoot out of it a few times. I've had a Remington barrel fail on me due to some QC issues and had to have it sent back.

For home defense, don't put a sling on it as it may get caught on something when you try to retrieve it.

Make sure you run your shot gun a lot before you consider it ready for home defense. You should know the in's and outs. Pattern it at 50/40/30/20/10/5 yards with different shots you plan to use.

Also I would strip down your remington and learn the in's and outs before you start adding and subtracting to it. Best of luck sir.

06-04-2012, 11:30 AM
John is pretty spot on.

I would pick up an 18inch security barrel for your gun and go from there.

They can be found in the $90 range. Then maybe a 2 shot magazine extention so you can hold more rounds. "Aippi", who is another member on this forum, has the intructions on how to properly install a mag extention on his website.

After these two modz, you might find that the gun doesn't need anything else, of course you assess that situation for yourself.

Laserlyte makes a little trirail that attaches to your magazine tube. They're about $35. This will allow you to mount your flashlight on the cheap by using a rifle scope ring.

Have fun with your grand dads gun, and shoot often!!!

Welcome to calguns!

06-04-2012, 11:31 AM
To be honest if your serious about having this as a practical HD gun then buy one part at a time maybe 2 and see how you do with it and do a few drills.

Most of that stuff mentioned for HD kind of useless and over kill and sounds more like your going for the tacticool bed side piece more than actual preformance for HD.

I personally feel the only upgrades needed is extended tube (magazine) side saddle and a light. Maybe a sling and pistol grip stock. But the laser optic and rail and pistol grip forend all seems a little over board IMO. But again your gun your choice but don't be surprised when your gun weighs 80 lbs and you spend 10 min getting your gear up and running rather than getting the job done.

But look at the Blackhawks spec ops recoil reduction PG stock. Got one with the 870 I bought and am trying it out but plan on going back to factory stock because I don't like PGs.

Tacstar side saddle if you want stonger more expensive look at Mesa tactical saddle

Blackhawk or vudoo tactical sling

Surefire or stream light tac lights do some research on which model you need again some have features you'll never use and cost more

For forends look at hogue or the one that comes with the black hawk PG stock I mentioned earlier. I prefer hogue or factory forend personally. Don't like rail forend or light forend combo too much to me.

Optic just find a cheap $70 to $200 red dot I guess but again not needed.

Out of all of the 6 years I've been into this stuff the more and more I learn I realize simple is better for so many reasons. If it may save your life one day always make sure it's going to work before you worry about how it will look when your friends come over.

06-04-2012, 12:30 PM
Thanks for all the Input and the welcome guys. Will definitely take this into consideration. I am going for a taticool look but if it just ends up as a liability then to h*ll with it. I'm thinking I might just go with a short barrel, pg stock and tact, light. Like I said I've only had this gun and been shooting for a few weeks now so I'm still learning the ropes so we'll see how It goes. Thanks again!

06-04-2012, 12:38 PM
O if I were to go with a breach barrel what kind of accuracy /pattern loss would we be talking about and will they should "pellet " and buck shot or only good for slugs?

06-04-2012, 12:47 PM
Can you post a photo of the gun?

Make sure it is an express and not a wingmaster! Wingmasters are too purdy to bubba.

For a light I run a TRL-1S on a Mesa tactical barrel clamp.

06-04-2012, 1:02 PM
Don't have a pic but the receiver says 870 express magnum if that's accurate? It's matte blue with wood stock and forend. It's on Google images. I can text a pic if you really want it tho

06-04-2012, 1:24 PM
My head hurts...

06-04-2012, 1:25 PM
you will be okay. I have the exact same gun you had and pretty much went the route you went....

I'll tell you what I did and why and you can decide if that's what you like or not...


I swapped out the shotgun stock for a recoil reducing Knoxx Stock (also goes by Blackhawk stock) and forend. Got it on ebay for about $98 dollars. It comes in pistol grip and the reason why was I found the recoil reduction to be worth it along with the fact that I'm use to grabbing a pistol grip, I might as well be consistent.

I opted to go with a side saddle so I could easily refill shells

I would suggest an 18" security barrel. I did go with the breacher choke because, well why not? However if you plan to shoot slugs out to a further distance, or use the shotgun for anything else maybe you should consider a different choke. I patterned mine at about 25 Meters since it's purely a indoor home defense shotgun and everything below 25M is documented with the buck I am using. I chose to use just a silver knob as a front sight with no rear peeps because it's quick and easy to pick up at night.

If you wan't to shoot slugs I would strongly suggest using peep sights. Also not all Remington barrels are able to accept chokes, so if you really want a breacher choke, make sure the barrel you get will accept one. I couldn't find any 18" barrels with chokes as they were all smooth so I ended up going 20". I would avoid red dots unless you get a really expensive one as the recoil will destroy anything cheap.

If I had some more $$ I would get the Surefire Remington forend w/ rocker lights as those are bad ***. Instead I think I will go cheap and just get the magpul front end w/ a light kit to mount a light on the handguard.

I also have the magazine extension I believe it's either a 2-3 round shell extension. The only thing is if you have the extension it is a lot more difficult to mount a swivel, and I have a left side adaptor used instead. Like I said though I only used the sling during my class... Putting a sling on a home defense shotgun is asking for trouble.

06-04-2012, 1:45 PM
That is one of the great things about the 870, modularity.

I went in a totally different Direction.

I'll tell you what I did and why...

I changed the synthetic stock out for wood, because if god forbid I ever have to use this to protect my life, I want my firearm to look like "'Ol uncle Bob's gun"

I changed from a 28" barrel to a 18" barrel because it is more maneuverable.

I bought a fixed I/C (improved cylender) barrel because It will work fine for slugs, birdshot, or buck.

I used a standard non-recoil reducing stock, because it is one less thing to go wrong, and I am a man and like Wood on my guns.

As I said above It now has a small footprint light on it which is easy to remove for practice etc... When not being shot for entertainment the light is on it and it is tucked away for easy access.


This is an express with wingmaster stocks.

06-04-2012, 2:59 PM
If it were me, I would leave Grandad's gun just the way it is, and take the $300 you have budgeted, save up another few bucks and go buy an 870 that already has a short barrel, mag extension, etc., shoot the hell out of it for awhile, and decide from there what if any of the "Tactical" stuff you still want to add.

Something about guns handed down through generations of family that I feel is just too cool to mess with.

06-04-2012, 3:09 PM
:+1: to said above^^

06-04-2012, 7:47 PM
I know what you mean whip I almost don't want to but I've gotten some what into dooms day prepping haha. I really don't have a use for a full length 12 gauge pump since I don't hunt and pumps aren't really ideal for clay shooting

06-04-2012, 8:10 PM
Hey now, I use a pump all the time for clays.

IMO, keep it simple. The more junk hanging off it, the most stuff to go wrong.

06-04-2012, 8:40 PM
I know what you mean whip I almost don't want to but I've gotten some what into dooms day prepping haha. I really don't have a use for a full length 12 gauge pump since I don't hunt and pumps aren't really ideal for clay shooting

Ideal, no... fun as hell? Yes, definitely. I went the other way; bought an 870 w/18" barrel & then found a good deal on a 28" barrel. Bought one of the cheapo clay throwers at Wallyworld and have a good time for not much money.

I'm not that good yet, but it's awful fun making orange dust out of a perfectly good frisbee.

If you do go tactical with Grandpa's gun, make sure to keep all the old stuff so you can put it back later if you change your mind.

Forgot to say earlier, welcome to the board.:D

06-04-2012, 9:06 PM
Check out www.blackacestactical.com look in the customers' photo galleries.

06-05-2012, 4:57 PM
for 300? why not save another 50 bucks and get a mossberg 590a1 from big 5?

you can mount a bayonet on it too ;) tacticool enough?

Russ Florian
06-11-2012, 9:48 PM
:excl:I have a remington 870 express magnum I inherited from my grandfather and I want to convert it into a tactical 12 gauge for HD and ascetic purposes. I want to put a short breach barrel, full trirail, ammo sling, red dot sight, adjustable pistol grip stock, forearm pistol grip, extended (whatever) for larger ammo capacity, tact. Light and laser dot. As I'm completely new to the gun scene Idk where or what brands or where to get them. I would prefer quality build and lightweight. Matte blue barrel to match receiver. And all under 300 bucks if possible. Thanks :)

ps.. I live in Georgia

1. Order a Tactical Shotgun Dry Practice manual from Front Sight $39.
2. Get a 20"cyl. barrel. It will be a perfect fit with extended magazine and best for HD
3. Ammo sling- naaaa, too awkward and heavy on the shoulder.You need a sling for out in the field. It's in your way and snagable inside your rooms & hallways.
4. Go shoot your rifle B4 you get a red dot, you may not need one
5. Pistol grips? ouch! makes my thumbs hurt thinking about the recoil.
It's an 870 rifle, not a pistol. Perfectly designed to cradle that forend in your palm. Maybe a pistol grip for your trigger hand only. Personaly, I would only do pistol grips on both ends if I wanted to lose the butt stock.
6. Get a mag ext. that can hold 8 shells.This will put weight on the front of your rifle and reduce barrel rise and keep you on target. Shells stored anywhere else on your 870 will compromize the dynamics, snag, and not be as quick to reload as the "4X4 shell loaders" from APCustomUSA.com. Go on "YOUTUBE" and watch how pro shooters can shoot 1 shot then relaod 8, shoot targets, reload 8 more and hit targets,totaling 17 shots in 4 1/2 seconds!
The 4X4's hold 8 shells and are about as big as the palm of your hand. They clip on your belt.You could easily have 3 or 4 on you. That means you have 24 to 32 extra shells. Add that to the 8 in your ext mag.(assuming you go 8) and the 1 in the chamber. A possible 41 rounds of SG ammo carried confortably! DAMB! If the war in your house isn't over by then you could use all the smoke as cover and slip out.
7. Light. Go check out the;CDM MOD-C @ CDMGear.com.You will find the cleanest closest to the barrel clamp for an 870.The FAB1" Defence Speedlight fits in it perfect.
:excl: If you use a light, get a pressure switch. When using a light you want to illuminate and shut off quickly to change possition. re-illuminate and fire. When you turn on your light, the enemy knows exactly where you are.
You had better dry practice that with a friend so you're good at it. Or dont get one. Nobody knows your dark house like you do. Ambush or blind and shoot, but never leave it on.
$300.00? I might be close. Slow down, research, prioritize. or you may waste your money and end up with what hollywood wants in the next Mad Max movie.
Just for cheap fun you could get a maglight/lazer combo at Radio shack for $6.00 and Zip-Tie it to your mag. Just rotate it till its zeroed in. Now go dry practice lights in your house. I did, and it was fun. But what it really did was make me know I didn't need one. I would love to see somebody try to navigate my house at night. It better be a ninja , and I will still win that challenge. There is nothing better than A good old or new 870 for home defence. nothing, period.:18: :iagree: WELCOME!:party:have fun!

06-12-2012, 2:23 PM
I was in a fairly similar situation with how you're starting off with a long SG that isn't really ideal for HD. Got a good deal on here for a Benelli Supernova that I couldn't pass up so I use that to shoot clays mainly now. Its a pump, but quite a bit of fun regardless. The 26" barrel helps too. Thing about the Benelli's is though, shorter barrels or any replacement parts for them are typically as much as another SG, so instead of going that route, I opted for a Remington 870 Express Tactical (model number 25077).

This comes with a 18.5" barrel and extended mag tube. Its 6+1 in the gun, which sounds like what you are after anyways. I ended up swapping out the stock and forend for a Hogue Shortshot 12" LOP set, changed out the extractor and latch spring and for now, I'm done with it. I put a few hundred rounds thru it over the weekend and it feels and shoots great. Very happy with the purchase and parts swap.

Overall I'm in right around $400 for everything, and that was new. You can find 18.5" 870's for around $300 on here or other forums quite often. I would go that route before you start modifying yours too much.

If you're set on starting with that one and not buying another, swap out the barrel and shoot a couple hundred rounds thru it and go from there.

Here is mine.