Remington 870: First gun.
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Old 10-26-2007, 04:24 AM   #1
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Default Remington 870: First gun.

I've been into recreation shooting for about 6 months now, and I want to look into buying a gun for home defense/recreation. The primary use would be as a home defense gun, and very little for hunting.


From reading around the forum, I've learned that people who hunt favor variable chokes, longer barrels, and 3 inch magnum capability. The shotgun I'm looking int is a Remington 870 Express Synthetic in 12GA, and it's 18 inches, Fixed Cylinder choke.

A lot of questions:
1, What advantages does a shotgun have over a rifle for home defense, if any?
2, What type of ammunition should I look into for home defense/recreation?
3, What does the choke affect? I know it's something with the exit pattern and spread of the shot, and little else.
4, What type of length should I look for, is 18 good for utility?
5, I know about changing barrels for this shotgun, and that seems fairly common among the owners here, should I invest in another barrel if I don't hunt?
6, What kind of capabilities does this gun carry? Max size cartridge, and projectile capabilities specifically.
7, What goes into owning a gun? Responsibilities, permits, storage, etc.

I know some of these will vary by location, but any information is welcomed. I'll be reading up on laws after I post this.


Any help will greatly appreciated,
Thanks.

For the record, I'm 6'4", and 220, so recoil is not a problem.

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Old 10-26-2007, 07:25 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
The shotgun I'm looking int is a Remington 870 Express Synthetic in 12GA, and it's 18 inches, Fixed Cylinder choke.

A lot of questions:
1, What advantages does a shotgun have over a rifle for home defense, if any? Depending on the rifle, none. You still have to aim, just like a rifle. Ok, may the ability to get different loads..
2, What type of ammunition should I look into for home defense/recreation?
HD.. you decide. #4 Turkey loads, 00 Buck.. For hunting it depends on what you are hunting.
3, What does the choke affect? I know it's something with the exit pattern and spread of the shot, and little else.Simple answer is that the tighter the choke the longer it will hold the shot pattern together. Ok for hunting, may be Ok for defense depending on the load. It certainly can't hurt.
4, What type of length should I look for, is 18 good for utility?
18" is good for HD, and slugs for Deer at short range. Probably will not work for you on birds (I know it won't for me anyway)
5, I know about changing barrels for this shotgun, and that seems fairly common among the owners here, should I invest in another barrel if I don't hunt? If you are not going to hunt, nope.
6, What kind of capabilities does this gun carry? Max size cartridge, and projectile capabilities specifically. You have to check what it says. Most, but not all, to day will take up to 3" Magnum. Trust me, that is a VERY stout load in an 870. You can shoot the shorter shells in there as well. As far as projectiles, the only thing to watch out for is with slugs. Some are meant for smooth bores, and some are meant for rifled bores.
7, What goes into owning a gun? Responsibilities, permits, storage, etc. Varies by locality.
I hope that answers at least some of your questions.

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Old 10-26-2007, 07:22 PM   #3
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Can I use a choke with slugs? I think the 870 I'm looking at has a fixed cylinder choke, and a smooth bore.

And thanks for the information!

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Old 10-26-2007, 09:18 PM   #4
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To my knowledge the choke of a shotgun does not have any bearing on using slugs. I had one that had a full choke and it shot them fine.

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Old 10-26-2007, 09:42 PM   #5
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So, about the choke on this model, it says Fixed Cylinder. Is that a tight choke or a loose choke? And I figure that fixed means exactly what it sounds like and is not a screw in/out type.

(If I'm informed correctly, a tight choke means tighter strings at longer distances, and a loose choke means wider strings or spreads, right?)

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Old 10-27-2007, 03:39 PM   #6
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The 18 in. barrel would be good for home defence but use small shot. At the range you will be shooting in the home you won`t have a pattern yet it will be a very small ball of shot and stop as well as larger shot but not go through walls as well, makeing it safer to everyone but the person being shot at.
I would not hunt with an 18 in cyl. bore, but you can pick up an other longer barrel with choke tubes pretty cheap.
The loads and size of shot would depend on what your shooting.

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Old 10-27-2007, 07:51 PM   #7
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I've also heard about rock salt, which I assume is something someone reloads, and not a factory made cartridge. If rock salt ammunition is available, should I look into it?

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Old 10-27-2007, 07:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
I've been into recreation shooting for about 6 months now, and I want to look into buying a gun for home defense/recreation. The primary use would be as a home defense gun, and very little for hunting.


From reading around the forum, I've learned that people who hunt favor variable chokes, longer barrels, and 3 inch magnum capability. The shotgun I'm looking int is a Remington 870 Express Synthetic in 12GA, and it's 18 inches, Fixed Cylinder choke.

A lot of questions:
1, What advantages does a shotgun have over a rifle for home defense, if any?
A shotgun with the proper load is far less likely to penetrate an interior or exterior wall than a rifle. Any rifle (except .22 lr) will probably easily over-penetrate and potentially hurt or kill others in the next room or the next house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
2, What type of ammunition should I look into for home defense/recreation?
00 or larger buck is likely to overpenetrate. #4 buck is often recommended for short-range (stairway/hallway/across the room) targets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
3, What does the choke affect? I know it's something with the exit pattern and spread of the shot, and little else.
Correct. The short range of an indoor shot means a choke is not necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
4, What type of length should I look for, is 18 good for utility?
18" is fine. Shorter than that, and you may be stepping on federal laws (and possibly state laws). You want something short and light enough to maneuver easily. Depending on your local laws, you may be able to remove the heavy stock and replace it with a lightweight collapsible stock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
5, I know about changing barrels for this shotgun, and that seems fairly common among the owners here, should I invest in another barrel if I don't hunt?
Nope. If it has only one purpose, there is no need for the additional barrel.

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Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
6, What kind of capabilities does this gun carry? Max size cartridge, and projectile capabilities specifically.
Remington offers a few different models of the 870. The 20ga I have can fire 3" magnum shells. I'm not sure what your choices are with the 12ga, but research it well before plunking down cash on a specific gun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles2107 View Post
7, What goes into owning a gun? Responsibilities, permits, storage, etc.
It is recommended you take a firearms safety course. Most hunting courses (easy to find this time of year) will teach you that. Or, contact your local PD or a gun club and ask about it. Some basic rules to get you started:

1) Assume every firearm you pick up is loaded and treat it as such. Always check that it is unloaded by examining the chamber before handling it casually.

2) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

3) Verify your target and what is beyond your target.

4) Never point your firearm at anything you do not wish to kill or destroy. Always be conscious of where the muzzle is pointing and make sure it is in a safe direction.

California does not require a permit or registration to own a shotgun.

Always clean your shotgun after use. Keep it oiled. If you do not use it for several months, it is recommended you give it a good cleaning and oiling just to address any potential rust or corrosion that might occur naturally.

How and where you store your shotgun depends on your circumstances. If you have kids in the house, I recommend you let them get familiar with the gun, let them handle it and ask questions. What worked for me was telling my son that if he ever wants to see or handle any of my firearms, all he has to do is ask. Try to make the gun just another boring fixture in the house, and take the mystery away. That said, keep it out of their reach when it is stored.

Since this is a home-defense gun, you will probably keep it in your bedroom loaded. Put it out of reach for the kids but make sure you and any other adult living there knows where it is and how to handle it.
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Old 10-27-2007, 08:00 PM   #9
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I've also heard about rock salt, which I assume is something someone reloads, and not a factory made cartridge. If rock salt ammunition is available, should I look into it?
Please understand that a home invader may be higher than a kite on any number of drugs. You will need to kill him immediately. "One-shot stopping" can be done with buckshot. If you live alone and there are no neighbors anywhere near you, go for 00. Otherwise, tone it down to #4 or so.
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Old 10-27-2007, 08:18 PM   #10
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I sense the logic behind that. I live in a slightly rural area, the nearest person is about 200ft away. We also have coyotes that may threaten our animals, which is another reason which prompted me to get a firearm.

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