Bird Gun to Zombie Killer: Upgrading the 870 Pump Shotgun

By Woody published on in News

Many shooters love the Remington 870 pump shotgun in the field, and I have owned many 870s I used for doves, ducks, and bucks. The gun has a basic appeal as a game-getter.

Here’s the 870 in its original form. The author wanted an adjustable buttstock instead of the fixed stock shown, which lead to a sizable upgrade overall.

I have also owned one self-defense version, a Remington Model 870 Express Magnum Synthetic 12 gauge, which I bought for $325 six years ago. The 870EMS is a capable home-defense scattergun by any measure. Mine had a matte-black synthetic-stock, a 3-inch chamber, and 18-inch barrel. It weighed 7 pounds unloaded. The fixed buttstock had a length of pull of 14 inches, a drop at comb of 1.5 inches, and a drop at heel of 2.5 inches, with no cast.

But since I’ve become an AR owner, I love the flexibility of a six-position collapsible stock, so I began looking around for 870 replacement buttstocks. Grazing online at CheaperThanDirt.com, I found several choices and settled on a Blackhawk! Knoxx SpecOps Recoil Reducing Shotgun Stock for Remington 870 (CTD Stock No. 2-BHK04100-C, $81.19).

Installing the new Knoxx buttstock was easy. Using a ratchet-handle driver with replaceable tips, I removed the Phillips-head screws holding on the existing buttpad, and then switched bits and took out the buttstock screw. I pulled the solid buttstock off. Then, using the supplied long Allen wrench, I screwed the adjustable Knoxx stock onto the gun in less than 3 minutes. Next, I installed the replacement forend supplied with this kit. Putting the forend on took about 10 minutes with an 870 action nut wrench.

At the Range

Next, I tested the stock components for function. I had access to an identical 870 sans modifications, so I could compare the before-and-after guns shot to shot. Firing a range of shells from light 2.75-inch bird loads to 3-inch steel magnums, I immediately liked the Knoxx buttstock. It uses a spring-loaded recoil-absorption system to reduce felt recoil and muzzle rise. The soft, thick rubber recoil pad was 5/8 inch thick, and it noticeably cushioned the blows of the magnums. Of course, being able to adjust the LOP to exactly what I wanted made a big difference in fit. Also, the ergonomic plastic pistol grip with finger grooves improved control for fast follow-up shots. The ribbed replacement forend provided a good gripping surface, though the original forend was fine as well.

Fine Tuning

I later added XS Ghost Ring sights and a Wilson mag extension to really get this 870 where I want it. The Wilson Combat machined-steel two-shot magazine extender (Wilson stock #SGET-RH-2) comes with a magazine spring and high-visibility chartreuse nylon follower. Installing the XS Ghost Ring sight required drilling and tapping my 870’s receiver, which I had done at a local gunsmith shop. Many shotguns are already drilled and tapped, and in that case, the X

Blackhawk Knoxx SpecOps Adjustable

The SpecOps stock uses a spring-loaded recoil-absorption system to reduce felt recoil and muzzle rise

S sights are drop-in installs. Of the components, the recoil-reducing stock offered the most noticeable improvement over the standard version.

On my gun, I probably didn’t need the Wilson mag extension, but if you’re upgrading a shorter 870 tube, that extension increases capacity and adds a front sling-attachment spot. The XS sights are another big upgrade over the basic 870. If you intend to shoot slugs and want to hit what you’re aiming at, I consider them to be vital additions.

Tags: , , , ,

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!