April 14, 2009

Remington Model 870 Express Pump Synthetic 7-Round 3-inch 20 gauge

The Express line is wide and varied. We counted 19 existing Express models on the Remington website, and several other 870-style specialty shotguns to boot, along with eight other 2008 introductions. Narrowing the field, there are four Express Synthetic guns, including the 4+1 12 gauges with 26- and 28-inch barrels; the 4+1 18-inch-barrel 12 gauge; and the 4+1 20-inch-barrel 12-gauge deer gun with open sights and rifled choke.

Our 20-gauge test gun was similar to the Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic 7-Round 12 gauge No. 25077 (September 2005) and the five-shot 12-gauge Express No. 25549 (January 2001), with all three guns having 18-inch fixed Cylinder choke barrels, no ribs, single front bead sights, and non-glare matte finishes. The 20 gauge came with a 3-inch chamber, fit six in the magazine tube (plus one in the chamber for a total of seven), and measured 38.5 inches in overall length. It had an LOP of 14 inches, a drop at comb of 1.5 inches, and a drop at heel of 2.5 inches. We didn’t detect any cast. It came with a trigger lock.

Remington Model 870 Express Pump

Courtesy Gun Tests

This is a very fast-handling gun. Some of our testers wondered why it wouldn’t be a better defense choice for most households, given that dad, mom, or a properly trained teenager could wield it more easily than a bigger 12 gauge.

The Remington buttstock included molded-in studs for rear sling swivels, and the Remington also included a swivel stud on its barrel clamp.

On the Remington, the front post is mounted on a stanchion, but the receiver is rounded, except for a flat area that measured only a quarter inch in width. This doesn’t help the shooter index the receiver to the sight, in our view.

Righties found the Remington’s action bar lock, located on the left side of the lower receiver in front of the trigger guard, easy to manipulate with the trigger hand, but that move required the shooter to push his trigger hand forward and cover the trigger guard with the palm of the hand, and we would prefer not to move that hand off the pistol grip. Our testers said this gun was easy to handle and pointed fast, and our police shooters said they would strongly consider giving up their 12 gauges for the lighter 20, mainly because of the 20’s overall smaller feel. On the safety front, our testers liked having the orange follower underneath the gun because it made inspection easy. And we preferred the 870’s texture on the grip and forearm; the checkering made the gun easier to hold with sweaty hands, in our view.

Remington Model 870 Express Pump

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The 870’s checkering on the grip and forearm made it easier to hold with sweaty hands.

When worked fast the Express held the edge, our testers said. The action released smoothly after the shot and with minimal pressure on the forearm, speeding follow-ups. The Remington trigger, also steel, had a let-off of 5.5 pounds. Remington should consider a ventilated recoil pad rather than the solid version on this gun.

Comments (16)

Well Robert, it's too bad this discussion is not about bullets. I also read another magazine shortly after my last post that confirms what I said concerning shotguns and SHOT.

Posted by: Markbo | June 25, 2009 6:06 PM    Report this comment

I see opinions flying. I read an article in G&A Handguns yesterday addressing fast light bullets or slow heavy bullets, which is best for defense. Long story short, 12 or 20 gauge, 9mm or .45cal, doesn't matter. The most important thing in defense is shot placement. A well placed shot, whatever size, will stop a threat everytime. A lot of people seem to have a strong opinion on bullet size, when at the end of the day, bullet placement is what really stops a threat, not bullet size.

Posted by: Robert J | June 22, 2009 8:36 AM    Report this comment

Personally, I favor a 2 3/4" #4 nitro mag in a youth model 20 gauge for the home. My 5' 1" 118# wife can handle it also. Big K

Posted by: spike723 | May 12, 2009 7:59 PM    Report this comment

Where did that come from??? I was having open-ended thoughtful discourse. And how does sharing my experience and knowledge become self inflating?? Because I asked if your question was serious? Don't take me so seriously. I don't! But if it will soothe your hurt feelings I won't say anything else.

Posted by: Markbo | April 20, 2009 6:33 PM    Report this comment

I can see that any open-ended thoughtful discourse on this site won't be possible while "Markbo" dukes it out with all comers. It's a shame. I wanted a place I could talk about guns with other people who understand and appreciate them, love them, and use them, without the kind of offensive, self-inflating BS I've seen here.

Posted by: Gilbert K | April 19, 2009 8:04 PM    Report this comment

2 problems there fellahs. 1: You don't want to shoot someone to have them escape. You never shoot anyone unless you are willing to kill them. If they live, you will probably loose everything in the following lawsuit.

2: Your assumptions on penetration are incorrect. Remember the fellow from Pasadena, TX that shot two intruders robbing his neighbors house? I read the coronor's report. He was using 00 buck. Several pellets hit both men in the arm. NONE went all the way through. Each one had bone hit. Neither was broken. The only real penetration were the body shots (16 and 12 pellets if memory serves me) and they got through to the organs.

Both men hit the ground without a fight and did on the spot. You keep your birdshot. I prefer to use the right tool - and the right ammo - for the job and people are not birds.

Posted by: Markbo | April 19, 2009 7:36 PM    Report this comment

Markbo, it was a serious question, if rhetorical. Look at my original posting. Talking about affordable, dedicated home defense guns.

Posted by: Gilbert K | April 19, 2009 7:35 PM    Report this comment

I agree with Paul W. Any intruder hit with a load of Birdshot will be looking for the nearest door or window to leave your house followed with another load or two if necessary.
Tony Y.

Posted by: sgtyates | April 19, 2009 7:04 PM    Report this comment

So birdshot won't penetrate enough to destroy organs, but it will penetrate enough through bone to work with a head shot? As we all know,without shutting off the central nervous system, there is no one shot stop. Even a perfect heart/lung or center mass shot will allow a person to function for several seconds before they "bleed out." I have checked, I'll choose a lighter load for indoor work incase the backstop is not 100%.

Posted by: Paul W | April 19, 2009 6:42 PM    Report this comment

Good for you, Mr. Prawl.

And LouG, sure hope your wife and daughter honestly can use the piece. I know cops who don't like to qualify with 12-ga. pump riot guns, and one can extrapolate that for women and old people, short 20-ga. pump guns aren't going to be much more popular. In your case, I hope I'm wrong. Still begs the question, where are the gas-operated equalivalents?

Posted by: Gilbert K | April 19, 2009 5:08 PM    Report this comment

I've thought about replacing my trusty 45 for home defense and this seems to fit the bill. Something that my wife and daughter can use effectively.

Posted by: LouG | April 18, 2009 4:02 PM    Report this comment

Well I am 73, and purchased a remington 1400 2 3/4 inch gas operated, alum receiver very very light in 1971 because it was so light of recoil my wife shot it regularly, and I could shoot 100 rounds of trap in an afternoon. My son's 3 1/2 inch magnum long barrel goose gun was another matter. My point being, there have always been nice light, light=recoiling 12 gauges around.
PHILIP W. PRAWL, SR.73 yrs old

Posted by: longarm45 | April 17, 2009 10:50 PM    Report this comment

The "graying of America" apparently is lost on arms manufacturers. There are many more old people now than young ones, a trend that will continue. The spirit is there, the mind willing, the body less able to absorb punishing recoil. We're waiting for gas-operated 20's and .410's with short barrels. As a group we have buying power. We wait in vain, men and women alike.

Posted by: Gilbert K | April 17, 2009 4:44 PM    Report this comment

I disagree with them dropping the ball during testing. Loading with dove or small game for inside the home self defense is totally appropriate. It significantly reduces the risk of overpenetration from room to room or even from the exterior walls of the house.

Posted by: Paul W | April 17, 2009 4:07 AM    Report this comment

enjoyed reading the 20ga up-dates, my have to re-think my home defince out look.

Posted by: blactrig | April 16, 2009 10:59 PM    Report this comment

This is possibly going to be my next shotgun. I will have to handle it. The 20 gauge has been my favorite for some time. I have been disappointed with everything tactical being only in 12 gauge.

A load of #3 buck, (20 of .25 caliber) can do a fine job of taking out the intruder without too much penetration of walls.

Posted by: RICHARD H | April 16, 2009 6:59 PM    Report this comment

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