Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Guns: The Tacticool Remington 870 Wingmaster, Part 3 - Onboard Ammo

I converted my vintage Remington 870 Wingmaster into a modern home defense shotgun. In Part 1 of the series, I swapped out its barrel, and in Part 2, I swapped out its stock and foreend. Now, let's start cramming some more ammo into this puppy:

The default capacity on a Remington 870 is 4+1 shells, which is not a ton when you consider that most people keep their home defense shotguns with the chamber empty (as do I). So, if you want to have more than four rounds available to deal with an attacker, or if you want to be able to switch to a different type of shell on the fly (say, a slug for a longer shot), you're going to need a way to carry more ammo on the gun.

Magazine Tube Extension

The most obvious way to increase an 870's capacity is by lengthening the magazine tube with an extension. Pros? Such extensions are cheap, fairly easy to install, and don't add too much bulk to the gun. Cons? The longer tube necessitates a new spring, which must be thoroughly tested for reliability, and the extension introduces a "weak link" into the magazine tube that can fail or break where an un-modified firearm wouldn't.

One advantage of using an older 870 for a home defense build is that you avoid having to deal with the infamous "dimples" that interfere with the installation of magazine tube extensions. It's such an annoyance that Brownells even has a tool to remove them:

I picked up a Remington factory 2-shot, 2-piece extension from MidwayUSA that worked just fine with the old Wingmaster..


Even a large tube extension only adds a few more rounds to the gun. If you need to carry 5 or more additional shells, a sidesaddle is a better option.

There are two main types of sidesaddles - rigid aluminum or polymer ones that attach to the receiver using special fasteners, and nylon-looped shotgun "cards" that attach using Velcro tape. I opted for the second type, which I found to be cheaper, easier to install, reliable, more secure, and easier to pull off and on.

Upgrade still to come - sling...


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