Sunday, November 18, 2012

Remington 870 Tactical WITH Magpul Furniture - Complete Reversal

I got to thinking a month ago that I really wanted to get a good set of sights onto my shotgun.  I began researching and calling around to see what it would take to outfit a ghost ring on my existing plain Jane Remington 870 Express, as well as an appropriate front sight.  In a previous blog entry, however, I argued that anything more than a bead sight was really unnecessary.  Most of my opinion was based on cost as well as the practicality of having some extras on the shotgun.  I will say that a bead is really all you need, but as my shooting evolves, and my taste evolves, so too do my choices in firearms.  After taking the ole 870 out for a shakedown shootout, I realized I hated the ergonomics of the stock Remington chose to put on it.  The recoil pad felt like a brick, and the angle of the grip area wasn't ideal for my wrist.  Indeed, as my experience with the gun increased, so too did my longing for a little more.  I may consider myself to be an average shooter, but to most people I meet, I'm not an average shooter.  To most, I'm exceptional.  Of course, in the company of real exceptional shooters, I always feel like quite an amateur.  That doesn't mean I need to settle.  It does mean that I maintain the right to change my mind on occasion and trade up whenever I can.  We've seen that before.  When I got my Rock River Arms AR15, I was quite a happy camper.  Then as my experience with the gun rose, so too did my expectations.  While there is nothing wrong with a Rock River Arms carbine per se, there were a few things here and there - small things - that got me pining for more.  So too has my experience with the ole Remington 870.  Gone now is the plain Jane scattergun I was happy to buy.  In it's place is the evolution - the Remington 870 Express Tactical.

Okay, what's make's it so "tactical?"  Personally, I think it's just a marketing ploy to get the zombie hunter types out buying their guns.  In truth, the mechanical operation of the Tactical 870 is identical to the bare bones 870. What peaked my interest is the fact that as I researched sighting options, I came to the same conclusion that Remington had, and they sell it with them already installed.  Hmm... After a call to a gunsmith, I just wasn't happy with the price it would take to get something on my gun.  For the price I was quoted, I could almost buy a new shotgun... ehh, hrm... Not a bad idea!  I put the old 870 up on the classifieds, and within 20 minutes, I had a buyer.  Excellent!  I was able to sell off a few other things I didn't need or grew out of, and by the time 1 o'clock PM rolled around, I had more than enough money to buy a Remington 870 Tactical.  Not bad for a day's worth of selling and trading.  Hey, when I put my mind to something, I can get it done.  It's just a question of motivation.

As you can see from the picture above, I didn't leave the fore end alone for long.  Actually, I had already purchased the Magpul MOE fore end for my old shotgun, but never got around to installing it.  This fore end is superior to the original in every way.  It gives plenty of purchase for my ape like hands, and since I shipping was free from Amazon Prime, I included a section of rail to mount a light on.  My only gripe is that the fore end from Magpul is a little slippery.  That's nothing a little skateboard tape can't solve.

But that's not where it ended.  I still have the memory of that horrible Remington stock clear in my mind.  I found the Magpul SGA stock at a gun show and decided to throw caution to the wind and buy it.  I had intended on shouldering an 870 with it already installed, but alas, nobody had one I could play with.  But for $100, I wasn't going to let a high value stock option (pun intended) slip through my fingers.  I brought it back home and installed it.  It was a bit of a pain to get the stock bolt started due to the design of the stock, but I managed to get it on and torqued down nice and tight.

Now let me emphasize when I say this, the Magpul SGA stock is the MOST COMFORTABLE stock I have ever shouldered.  I've held everything from the Knoxx Stock to the AR15 style stocks with Mesa Tactical adapters, to speed feed, Hogue, and many other pistol grip stocks over the years, and each one has left me wanting a bit.  They were either too short, too long, angles wrong, or didn't have suitable sling options.  The SGA offers everything I want.  It's still a monte carlo stock (technically), it has sling points all over it, the length of pull adjustment is the best I've seen, the cheek rest can be adjusted to accommodate optics, should I change my mind even more, and the grip angle is ideal for me.  It's as if the gun shoulders itself!  When I raise it up, the gun levels perfectly, effortlessly.

When I first look at it, it sort of reminds me of those brooms that the wizards on Harry Potter ride around on when playing a game of Quidditch.  You would think the angles would make this stock feel a little weird when shouldering, but honestly, it doesn't.  Form follows function in a huge way with this stock because the angular lines of the stock are the result of Magpul not compromising ergonomics for style.  Sure, there are many other stocks that are prettier, but none really have the ergonomics that are needed to effectively run a shotgun.  Don't get me wrong.  I've run shotgun for years and have become quite proficient with them, despite having to work around ergonomic issues.  But why settle for less when you don't have to?  I really don't see the point in working around a problem when you can solve it and make life easier.  Do you?

If you look at the sling mount on the side of the stock, which is repeated on the other side, by the way, you will see a round knockout just in front.  That is a hole provided so you can install an optional quick detach sling mount.  Up where the stock meets the receiver, there is another spacer, which when removed, provides a spot for a SGA receiver sling mount.  On this one stock, you get two sling mounting points standard, and the option of adding two more on whichever side you want.  That gives you six different mounting positions to accommodate your shooting style and virtually any choice of sling you want.  That's worth the price of entry alone.  On top of the stock is the standard is the standard riser, which aligns your eyes with the irons that the gun comes with, and it aligns me with the ghost ring perfectly.  You can buy optional low or high risers to accommodate different optics of different heights.  You can see a slotted screw toward the rear of the stock.  If you remove that, you can pull the butt pad adapter out and add or remove spacers to adjust your length of pull.  I have two spacers in mine.  It is actually shorter than the original stock, and the slightly shorter length of pull puts the ghost ring rear sight the same distance from my nose as the rear sight on my AR15.  For those who want to use a different recoil pad, Magpul sells a butt pad adapter similar to the one the gun comes with, but shaped to accommodate the oval designs of most recoil pads.  I like the Magpul pad.  It's softer than the recoil pad that Remington sent.

The grip area of the stock has some traction due to some kind of stippling, and the top of the grip has a rubber back strap that is used to cover the mounting screw, and provide more traction.  The front of the grip has ribs that also provide some traction, and the raised lip extending from the bottom of the grip keeps my hand from slipping off the end.  Along with that, the grip itself swells around the palm area ever so slightly to allow a firm grip on the weapon.  The angle of the grip not only make shouldering this gun effortless, but also allows you to hold it in close to your torso with ease.  I'm not suggesting that you should fire this weapon from that position, but for a low ready type of position, it is comfortable.

All of this work in ergonomics is focused around making the shotgun comfortable to shoot and aim.  I'm not suggesting shotgun shooting is ever a pleasant experience, but much like doing anything dangerous, making the gun more controllable and less troublesome in a gun fight is better than putting up with something that is just a band aid.

If you are looking for a solution to your shotgun, you might give Magpul a look.

-James

1 comment:

  1. Really like your Remington 870 Tactical. Good review of the Magpul stock and forend. I can also add that you can replace standard Magpul buttpad with Supercell pad for even more comfortable shooting. Remington 870 Forward Sling mount is another optional feature which I really like.

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