Spotlight: Remington Model 870 Express Tactical Magpul FDE
Remington Model 870 Legacy:
The Remington Model 870 has been with us for over 60 years. It’s fought in wars, bounced around in radio cars, taken every kind of game from bears to little birds, defended our homes and families, been used for sport, and passed down from generation to generation. It is iconic, it is American, and it is still an excellent choice for a fighting shotgun.
The Remington 870 Magpul FDE is a pump-action, 12-gauge shotgun. It features a Magpul forend, Magpul stock, XS Ghost ring sights, a breacher brake, and 6+1 capacity. The trigger pull breaks at 4.5 pounds on this model. Barrel length is 18.5 inches, and the barrel is threaded for chokes. The gun also features what Remington refers to as their SuperCell recoil pad, which is designed to reduce the felt recoil of the gun.
What We Like
The Remington Model 870 Tactical Magpul FDE is first and foremost a cool looking gun. Anyone who sees it for the first time is bound to be either impressed, intimidated, or excited. The jagged breacher brake and FDE coloring allow it to fit in to any tactical collection.
But looks aren’t everything, and when push comes to shove the 870 can perform. It’s smooth shooting, partially due to the barrel length and weight, and easy to load. The muzzle brake and SuperCell pad certainly do an admirable job reducing recoil.
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The gun holds relatively tight patterns with most loads. The best two performers during our testing were the pictured Hornady Critical Defense buckshot round and Federal buckshot round. Both of these rounds help approximately three to four inch groups at 10 yards, with the pattern going exactly to point of aim with the XS ghost ring sights. The worst pattern we experienced was with the Hevi-Shot Hevi-Duty #4 buck; at 10 yards pellets were off the paper, making this load and firearm combination unsuitable for home defense.
We also used various all-lead target loads to test the gun’s suitability for 3-Gun use. While a pump isn’t the optimal choice for 3-gun, and certainly not a pump with a 6 shot tube, there is value to using your defensive firearms in competition. This lets you pressure your guns and gear in the only live-fire stressful environment this side of a gunfight. The 870 kept a relatively tight pattern out to 15 yards, tight enough to knock down a pepper popper at least. It’s definitely a viable option for use in 3-Gun pump divisions.
One of the questions we had was wether or not the Magpul products were really worth the money. Between the stock and forend we were impressed with the performance of the Magpul parts and definitely feel it’s worth the extra investment. The stock, especially, stood out to us, we believe the SGA stock to be one of the best on the market today. It grips well, it shoulders easily, and the adjustable risers allow you to change the cheek when you’re using optics or some other kind of sights.
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What We Don’t Like
We did run into some issues with the Remington 870 Tactical Magpul FDE. Initially, the pump on the 870 would occasionally stick to the rear with the bolt in the open position, requiring some considerable force to return the shotgun to battery. We suspect this is because of the Cerakoting on the gun, which adds just enough material to the internal receiver parts to occasionally make things stick. This was fixed by dry and live fire until the contact points had worn down a bit.
The other change we would like to see is for the gun to come with a modified choke tube. While the breacher brake looks cool, it’s impractical and doesn’t do anything to really help the gun. We’re not planning on doing any breaching, and a modified choke tube would give the gun a better pattern with buckshot.
There are lot of shotguns on the market, but the Remington Model 870 Express Tactical Magpul FDE is certainly a unique option. Between looking good and being fun to shoot, it’s a great option for anyone looking for a practical pump gun that well set up right out of the box.
Especially now that the price has dropped below $600, the Remington Model 870 Tactical Magpul FDE is not only a great gun in its own right, but an affordable option as well. It can be purchased for prices down to the 500-dollar range on GunBroker, and can be special ordered from Remington as well.
Originally published in the August 2014 issue of GunUp the Magazine.
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