Remington 870 Express Super Magnum Shotgun

Remington 870 Express Super Magnum Duck hunting can be really tough and demanding on the equipment, let alone the hunter. In some flyways across the country, the best action is had during the worst flying conditions. In the Pacific Northwest, the best duck hunting conditions are near freezing temperatures, snowing, raining or hailing to get the flock's landing gear engaged. With the possibilities of water, dirt, and lots of trigger time, a dependable duck hunting shotgun needs to be dang near military grade. At least, if you don't want to be shivering in your waders with a broken shotgun in your hands and little to show for it.

There are plenty of high-end waterfowl shotguns on the market, but very few of them can be had for under 400 dollars. When I say waterfowl shotgun, I mean features that are practically a MUST HAVE in the duck blind. First and foremost, a 3.5" chamber is preferred. Longer shells + more BB's in the air going faster. Yes 3 inch shells will get the job done, but I would venture to say a 2 3/4" chamber is really handicapping the hunter's ability to knock ducks out of the sky at moderate ranges, without chasing crippled swimmers all day. The second is water resistance. Ducks like water, and typically firearms do not. A good duck gun needs to be able to withstand a few dunks each year without rusting to pieces after the season. A synthetic stock made from composites will fare much better than a classic walnut stock. The finish on the metal must also be up to the task for resisting rust. Lastly is feeding reliability - and in short while semi-autos are fantastic at mitigating recoil and getting off consecutive shots quicker, you just cannot beat the manual operation of a pump-action for ejecting stubborn shells and shooting a wider variety of ammunition without encountering cycling issues.

Remington 870 Express Super Magnum

The one shotgun that covers the aforementioned points is none other than the Remington 870 Express Super Magnum. Big Green's 870 series needs little introduction, as it is nearly half a century old with over ten million produced. Today the Express line of 870's are best summarized as budget shotguns with an aftermarket selection seconded only by the infamous AR-15. Stocks, grips, fore-ends, barrels, magazine tubes, rails, adapters... you name it there's probably a part you could bolt on to your 870 scattergun. Even the tactical furniture pioneers at Magpul Industries have products designed for the Remington 870. One important note, many fore-ends and other aftermarket parts are not compatible with the Super Magnum due to the fore-end overlapping the action when at its shortest position. You can either risk removing material with a Dremel tool, get a shorter fore-end design like the Law Enforcement style pump, or stick with the factory fore-end.

Remington 870 Super Magnum

The 870 Express Super Magnum line consists of a handful of configurations offered from the factory, chambered for  3.5" shells for hunters of ducks, geese, upland birds, and even turkeys. Depending on the configuration, the 870 Super Magnum can be had for under $400. I picked up my plain synthetic model on sale for $309 at a large box store, after a $50 mail-in rebate from Remington. It's dark flat black from muzzle to super cell spongy butt pad.  While you could get the jump on the vision-impaired ducks just fine, it would easily benefit from a paint job or camo finish and spook less of the more attentive fowl. When I got mine, Remy didn't offer the camo-dipped versions, and if I could do it again I would have chosen the Turkey/Waterfowl camo or the Waterfowl camo.

The 870 Express Super Magnum comes factory installed with a modified Rem Choke.  Compatible with all Remington shotguns, the modified Rem Choke is claimed to deliver wider shot pattern for shooting at 25-45 yards for squirrels, rabbits, pigeons, doves, partridge, grouse, pheasant, and quail... as well as ducks and geese using steel shot. Factory tests indicate 55-60% of pellets in 30" circle at 40 yards with either lead or steel shot.

The finish on the 870 Express shotguns has been heavily criticized as not only being declining in quality after the 2005 acquisition from the Freedom Group. The words "rust magnet" echo throughout the internet reviews. The culprit seems to be the non-glare, dull matte finish Remington applies to the action and barrel, and reported issues seem to be greater in high humidity areas of the country. The solution to prevent rusting is the same as any firearm, thorough cleaning and application of oil during storage. If your gun takes a quick dip in the drink, DO NOT leave it in it's case all day. Let it air dry, and proceed to clean and lightly oil non-plastic surfaces before storage for long periods of time. If rusting has started, apply oil and buff softly with a light grade of steel wool. There are numerous DIY solutions for preventing rust in the safe, from desiccants, dehumidifiers, etc. so if you care about your investments, you should be taking these precautions regardless.

Remington 870 Express Super Magnum

Another solution that I highly recommend getting done is hydrographic refinishing, a process where a digitally printed film of camouflage or other fashionable pattern is floated on the surface of water, and the object is submerged. The water conforms to the contouring surfaces of the object and the patterned film is transferred to the object. I had Zack Carlson of Lone Wolf Distributors apply an ATACS finish to my 870 Super Magnum, and it has held up well to three seasons of light to medium use, and only shows minor wear in certain areas, most likely due to a crowded safe.

Performance wise, the only issue I've encountered are the well documented 'stuck shell' failures. Every now and then, the gun will refuse to eject a shell from the chamber using the same amount of physical exertion as usual. It's quite frustrating, and I am not the only one to experience this issue with the Super Mag. There are mixed diagnoses from ammo quality, powder charge, or just tight chambers. To free the stubborn shell, you have to literally use brute force. Often slamming the butt of the gun on the ground or other hard surface while grasping the fore-end will usually free the shell, and some very light polishing of the chamber with Flitz polishing compound and a cotton-wrapped dowel will help smooth the interior surfaces and remedy the issue. Be careful with how hard to slam that gun on the ground however, because a broken extractor is another problem you do not want.

A much argued weakness of the 870 express is the ejector. While its closest competitors from Mossberg have dual ejectors for redundancy and are easily replaceable with a screwdriver, the 870 has only the single ejector. It is also riveted/ground flush to the frame, so if it were to fail or need replacement, the shotgun would have to be shipped to the factory or taken to a competent gunsmith. The 870 Wingmaster/Police models have better quality parts, and the parts used in the Express line are known to be lesser quality materials which contribute to the low price tag. I'm not saying the ejector will ever fail, but beware that is a potential weak point that Mossberg enthusiasts love to throw in the faces of 870 owners. Also the lift gate stays down when the action is in the closing/closed position, which helps keeps on-deck shells from falling out but can also catch your thumb during magazine loading.

Remington 870 Express Super Magnum

The beauty of the 870 Express is low initial purchase price, smooth pumping action, and the potential for customization for your intended use. It's the Honda Civic of the shotgun world, and can look as practical, tactical, or minimalistic as one desires. For the duck blind, it is perfectly capable of busting birds up close and at range with the 28" barrel, and with the right choke/ammo selection. The modified choke Remington chose seems to be an all-purpose choke, not especially excellent for either end of the spectrum for long range hits or close quarters, fast moving targets. I would recommend researching a kit of chokes that can be changed out to specifically suit your immediate hunt type. Don't forget to pattern the shot of the shells you intend to use at 20, 50, and 75 yards to get an idea of your maximum effective range, you may be surprised at how well the 870 Express Super Magnum can perform in the heat of the battle with the right ammo and choke combination. Happy Hunting!


Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  For those looking for that "one shotgun to do it all," you'd be hard pressed to find a more affordable all-purpose option than the Remington 870 Express Super Magnum.

Target Market:  Upland/Migratory/Waterfowl hunters, Trap/Skeet Casual Shooters

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Available in 26" or 28" vent rib barrel (12 gauge only)
  • Also available as a Combo kit with 20" rifled barrel with iron sights
  • Chambered for 2 3/4", 3" and 3 1/2"12-gauge shells
  • Modified Rem™ Choke
  • Receiver milled from a solid billet of steel for strength and durability
  • Non-glare matte finish
  • All-weather black synthetic stock and fore-end.
  • Twin action bars ensure smooth, reliable non-binding action

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black Synthetic, Wood Furniture, or 3 different camo finishes. Left Hand ejecting models exist but are rare and more expensive.

What others are saying?: "Bought the super magnum as it seemed like a good overall shotgun that will shoot steel. Took it dove hunting and it would not eject shells. Cleaned and brushed the chamber and took it trap shooting and the same thing. I have to literally beat the stock on the ground to clear the chamber. Called Remington and they are aware of the issue. They said the problem may be inexpensive shells with low brass cases. Bought some more expensive shells with high brass to try. Don't really want to have to ship it back to the company for repairs, even though Remington is willing to let me do that. Disappointing, especially since this seems to not be an uncommon problem with new 870's." ObtuseDakotan, Cabelas Review

"I saw this on sale at my local Walmart and decided to pick it up after reading all reviews and comparing to the Mossberg 500. This gun is awesome except for a few things. One is that the camo coating does come off and gets dinged up pretty easily. Don't expect this gun to take the beating a blued barrel would without some cosmetic issues. Second, and most important is this gun jams. Saw some things about the jamming and though I'd take the risk. Every 5th shot or so average i see this gun jam up. Have to rack the gun very hard for it to eject the shell. Called Remington and the only advice they had was "polish the chamber." I took the gun apart completely, cleaned, lubed and polished. Same issue. Now given the choice of waiting 4-6 weeks for repair or dealing with it. Being the start of waterfowl and upland hunting soon I'd rather not. May have to wait until off-season before it can finally get repaired...otherwise awesome price, great versatility between 2 3/4, 3 and 3.5 inch shells. Lots of chokes, sights, slings etc out there for this 870 model. This gun is lightweight and seems pretty solid. If this jamming issue gets ironed out then i'd definitely consider purchasing again. If repeat problems or you just don't want to take the risk and wait for repair (If yours does the same issue. Have seen plenty that don't.) I would go with the Mossberg." DandyDwarf, Walmart Review

Price point:

  • MSRP = $469.00
  • Retail = $310 - $367 at major stores / gun shops

I need it now! Availability:  Readily available online at most sporting goods stores and gun shops nationwide, even Walmart

Our Rating:


  • Compatible with nearly every accessory for the 870 platform
  • Pump/Cycling the action in very smooth compared to competition
  • Well Suited for hunting or shooting clay pigeons
  • Safety position easily within trigger finger reach forward of trigger
  • All-Purpose designed, Modified Rem Choke also adequate for various hunt/sporting types
  • Price is low and can often be had on sale + mail in rebate at box stores


  • No forward sling swivel attachment point on non-waterfowl camo models
  • Factory non-glare dull finish on metal has known rust vulnerability
  • The riveted single ejection is considered to be the weak point of the 870, and must be repaired by a qualified gunsmith or Remington factory.
  • The forearm of the Super Magnum overlaps the receiver when in the open-action position, and can interfere with some aftermarket accessories

Score: 7.5 Good



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Hunter of Design

Remington 700 AAC-SD + Bell & Carlson Medalist M40 Stock





When it comes to bolt action rifles, the Remington 700 platform is almost ubiquitous.  Big Green has created over a dozen varieties and flavors of bolt guns based off the platform because of its success and time-tested reliability.  Police and Military have used the 700 for quite some time, and it's no stranger in the field for both big and small game.  Variety is the spice of life, and Remington has something to offer most consumers no matter the niche they are after.

The 700 SPS Tactical is designed as a compact tactical rifle with a shortened 20 inch varmint (heavy profile) barrel, BDL floorplate, and a Hogue overmolded stock that's usable in any weather condition and makes grip & recoil both manageable.  It is chambered in both .308 Win and .223 Rem. The Hogue stock has a flatter type forend and a low, straight comb. It's really more of an entry-level tactical bolt action rifle meant to be accessible to a greater range of the market.  The AAC-SD variant is the same rifle, but with a "ghillie" Hogue stock that's green with flecks of color and swirls.  It has the letters AAC stamped on the receiver, and is only available in .308 Win although I've seen some in 300 Blackout floating around.

I snatched up the rifle because of the hype and it already having a threaded barrel.  On the shelf, initial impressions are pretty high.  It shoots fairly well, many owners have claimed MOA or sub-MOA out of the box.  Mine wasn't exactly as consistent, and has lead me down the path of reading, learning, and smacking myself in the forehead a couple times.  The first thing that needs replacing is the stock.  I would have paid an extra $200-250 if it had come with an HS precision or B&C stock, but perhaps it was thought that shooters who want to invest in greater accuracy would take the trouble to do so already, and so they slapped on the Hogue stock as a lowest price point option.  The hogue stock has flex to it, sure it has aluminum pillars but the forend WILL touch the barrel when using a bipod or any support.  That's a bad thing if you want your bullet holes anywhere close to each other.  I opened up the last 2 inches of the stock with a dremel to compensate for this which had to help some, but ultimately if you are after a rigid stock with solid contact with your rifle and a free floated barrel, you have to ante up and upgrade.  The difference could be 0.5"-1" tighter groups at 100 yards, which may or may not be a concern for your own level of confidence and satisfaction.



I decided to pick up a Bell & Carlson Medalist/Tactical "M40" type stock.  There's alot of options out there, and how I decided really was price, and how good did this same rifle look in each stock during a google images surf session.  The time tested military style M40 riflestock was introduced in the 1970’s, replacing the wood stocks on standard issue U.S. Military sniper rifles. Even though the U.S. military has moved into other configurations, this M40 silhouette's popularity continues to increase to this day as the chassis is hard to improve upon.  B&C's M40 was found at just under $250 through Redhawk Rifles, and it was only 2.5lbs which addressed my total weight concern.  I plan on using this as a hunting rifle as well as shooting from the bench so a compromise in weight was needed.


Now if I was a really thorough reviewer, I would have photographed groups with the factory stock, groups before bedding, and groups after bedding.  But I didn't get around to it, so you'll have to take my word that the above photo with a 3 shot group under 1 inch at 100 yards is the best I've shot with this gun, and that was with cheap 150gr factory ammo.  I'm confident now that working up some reloads in the 168-175 pill range will produce some very good results.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: 

R700 AAC-SD: Highly maneuverable and suppressor ready with pinpoint accuracy.

B&C M40 Stock: Bell & Carlson's Medalist Varmint/Tactical Stocks were designed from the ground up to help maximize a rifle's performance by providing a rock-solid, ergonomic firing platform incorporating the accuracy enhancing characteristics demanded by today's serious shooters with the resilience necessary for use in extreme environmental conditions.

Target Market:  

R700 AAC-SD:  Hunters and Intermediate range target shooters, especially those looking for a suppressor host.

B&C M40 Stock: Bolt Action rifle owners looking to increase performance / rule out equipment as a variable in shot group size

FNBs:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

R700 AAC-SD:

  • 308 Win with 20” Heavy Barrel with 5/8-24 Threaded Muzzle
  • Shipped with Thread Protector Installed
  • Accepts AAC® and other 5/8-24 Threaded Flash Hiders, Muzzle Brake and Suppressors
  • 1 in 10” Rate of Twist for increased bullet stability
  • 7.3 lbs
  • Hogue® Overmolded Ghillie Green™ Pillar Bedded Stock
  • X-Mark Pro® Externally Adjustable Trigger Set at 3 ½ Pounds
  • BDL hinged floor plate

B&C M40 Stock:

  • Designed as a drop in fit for heavy barrel Remington 700 short action or long action rifles.
  • Free floated barrel channel
  • Full aluminum bedding block that extends from the grip to the front swivel stud
  • Dual front swivel studs to allow for bipod and sling attachment
  • Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad
  • BDL hinged floor plate design
  • 14" LOP
  • 2.5 lbs.
  • Raised comb for better eye alignment with scope, notch built into comb to accommodate bolt removal.

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

R700 AAC-SD:  Hogue Overmold Ghillie Stock only. Many aftermarket stocks available is various colors.

B&C M40 Stock:  Black, Black w/ Gray web, Gray w/ black web, Olive Green w/ Black web, Tan w/ Black web,

What others are saying? 

R700 AAC-SD:  "If you’re looking for a relatively cheap but accurate bolt action rifle that can put your silencer to work, the AAC-SD is a bullseye. If you don’t have a silencer, if you’re simply looking to put rounds on target, you can buy a factory fresh Weatherby Vanguard S2 and kit it out for less than a standard Remington 700, let alone this one." The Truth About Guns Review

"Great rifle for what I paid, makes an excellent budget precision starter kit. I did change out the stock, because the Hogue overmold stock, although attractive, was way too flexible. On a bipod I can actually watch the stock contact the barrel, negating the free float. It would be 5 stars if not for the stock, which I consider to be a conceptual flaw. This is meant to be a tactical rifle, with the ability to make multiple accurate shots. This is not possible form a bipod with the included stock. " Buds Guns Review

B&C M40 Stock: "The B&C Medalist stocks (of which we are discussing) are a hand laid Kevlar and composite shell with fiber reinforced foam over an aluminum inner chassis. The aluminum skeleton runs "grip to tip". I have several of these. I can tell you they will stand up to more than most on here will ever put their rifles through. I will say that in my opinion the B&C Medalist stocks are higher quality than H&S Precision stocks." Sniper's Hide Review

Price point:

R700 AAC-SD:  MSRP= $833.00 Retail= $656.00 Buds Guns

B&C M40 Stock:   Retail = $289.00 on MidwayUSA Best Value= $249.99 on Redhawk Rifles

I need it now! Availability: 

R700 AAC-SD:  Check local gunshops, and popular online dealers, the AAC-SD is commonly listed but mostly out of stock.

B&C M40 Stock: As of time writing review, sold out in every color on major dealers, I got mine at Redhawk Rifles and their getting low on certain colors, so hurry!

Our Rating:

R700 AAC-SD: + Short bull barrel achieves accuracy through rigidity, easy to transport with shorter OAL. + Will make a great suppressor host. + Trigger is satisfactory IMHO, 3.5lbs is light enough for me. + Its a Remington 700, one of the most customizable, blueprinted actions out there.  Aftermarket options are very good.

- Factory Hogue stock is the weakest link, a must-replace for any serious shooter. - Remington's 700 bolt handles aren't as robust as they were in the past, can be broken if dropped or prying bolt open on stuck casing. (Had mine tapped and secured with a screw for extra support)

B&C M40 Stock: + Absolute drop-in fit with no modifications needed (on this particular rifle, your results may vary) hinged floorplate operates correctly. + Improves groups greatly from factory Hogue stock + Precise CNC-machined aluminum bedding block ensures a perfect metal-to-metal fit along receiver, aligns the barreled action, stiffen the forend, and eliminate the need for conventional bedding methods (Although glass bedding will still help create a perfect, gapless bed.) + Freefloats the barrel + Weight kept down compared to other model stocks 3lbs + over +  Stock comes with a lifetime factory warranty on materials and workmanship.

- Inside factory inletting was a little rough on this particular stock, but got filled in during glass bedding process anyway. - Outdated company website (call me, B&C!)


Score: 6.5 OK65

R700 AAC-SD:  Reasoning - for the MSRP amount and AAC's name attached I expected more innovation or at least a better all around rifle instead of an SPS w/ threaded barrel and different color stock. It's still a good rifle, but a tackdriver or tactical rifle out of the box it is not. Cost saving corners for Remington are pretty obvious. For $600-$800, better performers are available.

B&C M40 Stock:    8.5 Great85









Remington 1100 20ga. Shotgun


Every hunter has one firearm with the most sentimental value. It's probably one of the first they've ever had, and is reliable without question.  For me, this would be my Remington Model 1100 in 20 gauge.  Given to me many years ago by a close family friend and role model in all things outdoorsman, this is the shotgun with which I've learned to hunt upland game birds and shoot skeet.  Over a whole decade later it's still my favorite shotgun for the range or in the field.

I'm not an extraordinary shot or anything, but I can claim with this firearm I can get double and even triple consecutive hits on clay pigeons and quail. The lightweight and soft recoil of 20 gauge plus the gas operated recoil system make this shotgun a dream.

The blued image has held up over the past 10+ years flawlessly, and the engraving on the receiver and bolt add to the classy aesthetic of the shotgun.  This will be one of the finest heirlooms I pass on to my future kin.


Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The first autoloader to combine the repeat-shot versatility of early-century models with the sleek, modern lines and handling qualities of revered double barrels.

Target Market:  Bird Hunters, Trap/Skeet Shooters, especially those who benefit from softer recoil

FNBs:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • Handsome American Walnut Stock
  • Machined-cut engraved receiver and bolt
  • Stainless Bolt
  • Generously sized Bolt Latch
  • White diamond grip cap
  • High-Polish, Blued Finish

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available? Many different models to choose from: synthetic/composite, stainless, blued, camo.

What others are saying? "Another high point of the 1100 gas operation is reduced recoil. This gun will be much more enjoyable to shoot than your mule-kicking Mossberg. Especially since it is a lighter gauge. But, don't let that fool you. The 20 gauge is plenty of gun for anything from geese to doves and deer to pigs. In fact, I like the way it puts the smackdown on a a gobbler with heavier loads or gracefully knocks a quail down with field loads. Great all-round gauge. " - review

Price point:

  • Retail = $450 - $600 depending on model / condition

I need it now! Availability: New models available, but less seen on shelves than 870 series

Our Rating:

+ Finish has held up well, bluing is very good quality + Recoil is soft, due to both 20gauge vs 12gauge and gas operated action + Lightweight translates to faster shots on quick targets, less stress in the field. - Aftermarket furniture for 20 gauge is virtually non-existent.

Score: 8.5 Great







Remington 870 Express

Remington 870 pic 1photo 3

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  An all American pump action shotgun built with the same quality, precision and dependability found in their Model 870 Wingmaster, but at a more affordable price.

Target Market:  Hunters, clay shooters or just any one.  

FNBs:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • 12 and 20 gauge models offered
  • 26 or 28 inch vent-rib bead-sighted barrel
  • Shoots both 2 3/4" and 3" shells
  • A proven solid and dependable action
  • Affordable price

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?  Remington offers this gun in a plethora of options and finishes.  Remington

What others are saying? "Outstanding shotgun at a reasonable price."

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at any local gun store or major sporting goods stores.

Our Rating:

+ 12 and 20 gauge models available + Shoots 2 3/4" or 3" shells + 26 or 28 inch vent-rib + Affordable price

- Laminate stock

Score: 9.090

Jared prefers Simon Peter Sport Company for all his FFL needs.

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Remington 597

Remington 597

By Ken Cultraro

With 22LR ammunition beginning to return to store shelves, also returning is the opportunity to plink and practice at a reasonable cost.  With that in mind, my wife asked what I wanted for our anniversary.  I asked for a 22LR rifle and the one I selected was the Remington 597.

The day after receiving my gift, I headed straight to the range to give it a try.  I set it up on a Caldwell front bag and put in the neighborhood of 150 rounds through it that first day.  Right out of the box I was able to shoot fairly tight groups, 5 rounds each at 50 yards using CCI Standard Velocity rounds.  The 3-9 scope was very good and I sighted it in without too much effort.  There was only one misfeed and that was due to a bad round and not the rifle.  I departed the range quite happy with my new gift.

I returned the following week to confirm the zero on the scope and also try shooting the rifle offhand.  25 rounds off the Caldwell confirmed the zero and so I moved onto offhand.  The first thing I noticed was that the rifle was heavier than I expected.  That being said though, it felt solid in my hands and allowed me to take a confident stance.  The first few groups were not as tight as off the bag, but I attribute that more to my shakes than to the rifle.

Claim to fame:  Reliable, easy to shoot and reasonably priced.

Target market: People who love to plink (target shoot) and those who want to teach the next generation the fundamentals of shooting.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  •  It comes standard with a 3-9 scope.
  • Shoots semi-auto with virtually zero recoil.
  • Comes with a 10-round detachable box magazine.

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  My 597 is a dark green synthetic stock with a black barrel.  The rifle comes in many different finishes from traditional, tactical, camo and "Gen Y" for the tween shooter.   Here is the link to see them all.  Remington

What others are saying:  Judging by these links, people seem to agree that the 597 is a good rifle.

MSRP vs Retail:  My wife paid $199 for the rifle at our local Dick's Sporting Goods.

I need it now! Availability: From my online research, it appears that the 597 is available at most places that you would expect to find it (Dick's, Bass Pro, Gander Mountain, Walmart, etc.).

Our rating:

+ Easy to shoot + Low recoil + Good scope for the purpose / price + Reasonable price

Score: 880