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 didnt detect any cast. It came with a trigger lock.
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 doesnt help the shooter index the receiver to the sight, in our view.
Righties found the Remingtons 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 20s 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 870s texture on the grip and forearm; the checkering made the gun easier to hold with sweaty hands, in our view.
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.