Well I got an invitation to use the Sheriff's department range any time they don't have training going on. I wish I had this invitation years ago, because it's a nice range, it's free, it's only 18 miles away and I had it to myself. It has 24 lanes, goes out to 100 yards at the concrete pad by the covered instructional area and has marked 3, 7, 15, and 25 yard lines. Off to the side they have a small steel plate range as well.
I recently aquired a Remington 870 Express HD in a trade with a friend. It had never been fired. I've had a Mossberg 500 for years but always liked the feel of the Remington's action.
Anyway, I took the opportunity to try to burn up some shotgun ammo before I move, and also start breaking-in the 870 while comparing it to the Mossberg with a few loads. In 2 3/4 inch shells I tried out Brenneke 1 oz slugs, Winchester 1oz Foster type rifled slugs, Sellor&Bellot 9 pellet 00 Buck that has no buffer or shot cup. Also some Remington Express 00 Buck, Winchester 00 Buck, Winchester #4 Buck, and Winchester 3" Mag 1.5 oz #4 Turkey load. I also shot plates with some Winchester and Federal #7.5 shot bird/sport loads to run some drills.
I also brought along the Sig 220, The Springfield 1911, and my Glock 19 for practice on the plates. I'll need to come back out and burn some ammo through the AR and AK. I won't shoot their plates though, because I don't know if they're rated for rifle rounds.
I've recently been involved in some discussions lately on the merits of buck shot versus bird shot, as well as the importance of aiming when using s shotgun and understanding how your shotgun patterns with different loads. I figured I should put my money where my mouth is and at least get out and practice with my own tools. So today was mostly about getting more familiar with the new Remington and how it behaves in paterning with the ammo I have. I didn't have time to try all of the loads I have, but figured this was a pretty good representation to begin with, and my shoulder could probably only stand so much. I didn't use any reduced buck shot loads today.
This first pic shows the Remington 870 target on the left and the Mossberg 500 target on the right. All patterning was done at 25 feet for easier comparison.
The Remington seemed to index better for me and put patterns more to the center and right at point of aim with the Foster type slugs that were fired into center mass. (Kind of odd, because I've used a Mossy for years in the Navy and as my personal shotgun). They grouped fairly well, and the Remington seemed to show a preference for the Fosters over the Brenneke slugs that were fired as head shots.
I didn't bother to change out targets for different loads, but on the Remington target you can see that each of the buckshot loads are pretty well hitting at point of aim. The buckshot in the head is from the Sellor & Bellot load. The hit in the lower abdomen is from a single shot of the 3" Mag #4 Turkey load (That load was the most punishing son of a silly person that I shot, I mean it was painful to shoot). The pattern opens up pretty fast, and the pattern density seems pretty poor for a deffensive round at 25 feet.
Here's the back of the target if anyone is interested (upside down, too):
The Mossberg seemed to pattern a bit tighter with each load compared to the Remington. Not by much, but a bit. It also seemed to show a preference for the Brenneke Slugs that were used for headshots. But you will also notice that the patterns are more to the left of point of aim. Just how the shotgun indexes and shoulders for me. Pretty much the same deal, Each buckshot load was fired in the same general location, but I did actully think to shoot a #4 Buck load a little low for comparison, as well as a lower pattern with that same #@%*! painful-to-shoot turkey load. Similar results with the turkey load out of the Mossy. Opens up faster, and shot density doesn't seem that great for a defensive round at 25 feet.
And the back:
After this I went about running drills on the steel plates with light bird loads.
Both shotguns were easy to control and drive from target to target. The problem I did experience was driving the plates down so hard that they would occasionally bounce back up to reset. I'm still getting used to the location of the slide release on the 870, for doing combat loads into the ejection port, and speed loads into the mag, with the flexi-tab elevator. I did find that the 870 actually had a tendency to bind a bit when I tried to cycle the pump, but this may be partly because it's a new gun, and user error on my part, as I may be trying to come back on the pump too soon. Also when I did the 3"mag turkey loads I port loaded both guns. The Remingotn ejection port isn't quite as generous as teh Mossberg port and the shell got hung up a bit. I din't have as much difficulty with standard size shells, but I did have to pay a bit more attention to my port load.
Teh Mossberg ran fine on the plates. Combat load drills and speed reload was smooth. Of course I have practices these for a few more years wiht this model of shotgun. Also this shotgun is over 20 years old and is pretty well broken in.
Best thing was, I got some range time, had a wonderful facility at my disposal, and I had it all to myself for a couple of hours. No ill prepared folks who forgot their spotting scope asking for a cold range every 3 shots. No kids running out in front of the firing line. Just me and the stinking sand gnats, and fire ants trying to beat the next bout of rain that was coming in.