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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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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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.

-Bidah
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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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.

-Bidah
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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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If your going to be shooting coyotes I would recomand number 4 buck shot, but make sure there is nothing behind the coyote when you shoot as these will rickoshet about like .22 rimfires, only there is alot more of them every time you pull the trigger.
 

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Any type of ammo fired has the possibility of a ricochet. The higher up you go with shot shell size #5, #6, #7 1/2 etc they more BB's you put out there to have ricochet, just smaller in size.
 

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Fixed cylinder refers to a non choked barrel (cylinder bore) without the ability to interchange choke tubes (fixed).
3" shells are over rated for defensive purposes. They give you a heavier charge of shot (more pellets) and MUCH stiffer recoil. I have never seen a bad guy continue a fight after taking a load of 2 3/4" OO buckshot.
For home defense, #4 buck is good. I do not use it because it lacks consistant lethality past 15-20 yards. Each pellet is too small to get the job done at longer ranges. I have killed Coyotes at 65 yards using OOO buck. One pellet to the chest kills em. #4 buck will not do that at extended ranges.

The 3" chamber simply gives you more versatility in case you happen upon some 3" ammo.

Slugs- I would not recommend shooting slugs through a choke tighter than Modified. You "may" never have a problem, but you may have a big problem.
In a smooth bore barrel use only "rifled slugs". Sabot slugs will not be accurate unless you have a rifled barrel
 

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Sorry must have typo'd. "Rifled slugs". The Foster type slugs that have rifling cast into them. They will turn, just a bit, but enough to be stable. Not really any good for anti personnel/ hunting beyond 100 yards but very effective w/in 100. FWIW I used to regularily hit a truck (at a Military range) at 400 meters with 1 oz Winchester slugs out of an 18" cylinder bore tube. Once you range it in it is kind of like shooting an M-203. You can feel the hold over (about 14 feet at that range).
The "Sabot slugs" use a sub caliber projectile (usually about .60 cal) and platic "collars" that break away after leaving the barrel. They require a rifled barrel or at least a rifled choke tube. Otherwise they tend to tumble past 25 yards or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the help. I found some slugs that are rifled at my local gun store when I was looking around. I'll stop by next week and get my gun and ammunition.
 

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Achilles, what was the outcome? Did you go get your new baby?

A lot of good info from our comrades in the posts.

I use the same setup (18" 870) police with a fixed choke. I have had great success with 00 buck and 1 oz slugs (on paper;) ). However, it has been with a very specific round. I have shot all manner of buck and slugs in it, some very very hard recoiling in 2 3/4 (I don't mess with the 3 for self defense loads). The Remington reduced or managed recoil slugs and 00 buck are excellent balance between power and the ability to get an accurate second shot off. The wife can easily shoot them as well. At 100 yds (ridiculous range I know) I have hit a silhouette mid section with an aim point of the top of the head.

The only other piece of advice I would offer is the 18" for self defense has to be "aimed" not pointed as you would do when hunting/ wingshooting. So practice, train and shoot a lot. I hope you enjoy your gal.

regards
 

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the Remington 870 12 ga. Express Magnum was my first gun too. I have the same gun, 18" barrel and syn stock.

For ammo i keep mine loaded as follows

1. 7 1/2 bird shot
2. #4 buck
3&4. 00 Buck
5. slug.

Skip any "less than lethal loads" If the load doesn't put them down and keep them down...what are you going to do next when they get back up?
 

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thats gud compination for home defence alrite. i find magum super x to be really gud.. try them.. quick gun question??? ive recently a bought remington 870 with camo stock and pump?? wud it look well if these where painted black?? by someone who new what they were doing?? if so wat paint, how is it done ect
 
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