Boyds At-One Shotgun stock

 As mentioned in the previous Boyds At-One review, Boyds has been making laminate wood stocks for a long time. So you most likely have heard of them. They have since come out with the At-One for pump action shotguns. So they asked me if I would like to review it, and here we are.

 Boyds gunstocks history goes back to 1981. But they have definitely kept up with the times. The stocks are inletted with CNC machines. Only US grown hardwoods are used for the laminate process. Boyds’ stocks are also hand sanded so that the smoothness is just right. I’m told the factory is even temperature controlled to maintain consistency. All of this, and finished off in a special hard finish that seals the stock, including the inlet portion, to protect it from the weather and make it last for years

 As of right now, they only make the shotgun At-One for two models. Those models are the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500. I chose the Mossberg 500 version in “Sky,” which is a blue/grey/black laminate. Now, when the marketing rep and I ordered this, we did not look at everything, so the forearm was the wrong one. I now know that there are two different action slide lengths for the forearms. I have the shorter one. So when ordering, please read the fine print at the bottom. This was by no way Boyds’ fault, it was mine. But as the saying goes “the more you know.”

 On to installation. The stock and forearm go on pretty easy. Take the buttplate of your old stock and unscrew the bolt holding it on. It should come right off. Then you need to install the included metal adaptor to your receiver. The stock comes with all the hardware needed and really good instructions. Pretty easy so far. Now you have to install the stock to the adaptor with more supplied hardware. First you have to remove the bottom cap off of the stock so that you can have access to the screw hole. Then you can install the stock itself. This is where I ran into a little bit of a problem. The hole and supplied screw are at an odd angle, so getting a long enough allen wrench in the hole is key. My universal nut driver, with allen head bits, was just too large in diameter to fit down in the recessed hole. Because of this, I took out a tiny chunk of wood where the bottom cap meets the stock. I should have just ordered a long allen allen wrench, which fits fine. Once that’s done, screw the bottom cap back on and the stock is good to go. The forearm went on easy. Just loosen the odd nut (I’m sure it has a name) that holds on the forearm. A special tool works best, but I just used a big chisel as a huge screwdriver (not recommended). I did remove the forearm from the shotgun first. Then I just lightly tapped the new Bantam forend on, installed the odd nut, and reinstalled the forend and rails onto the shotgun. It was really fairly easy.

 Now that the At-One is installed, it’s time for my experiences with it. As with the other At-One I reviewed, it is very comfortable to shoot. All of those adjustments really give the shotgun shooter an edge. Finally a stock that can be adjusted for the individual user. My Mossberg 500 has never really fit me correctly, until now. Since the comb on the At-One is adjustable, I was able to raise it up a little more than the fixed factory stock. This improved my shooting some. The length of pull on the Mossberg was fine, but with the At-One, I could fine tune it just a little more. However, I wasn’t real keen on the sharpness of the pistol grip. I liked it on the rifle, but prefer a more rounded one on the shotgun. If you want a larger pistol grip, they make the target one, which adds more meat to the grip and also changes the angle slightly. Another advantage to the length of pull, is how short the Boyds stock can go. One can shorten it up to 12.5” and out to 14.25”. If you want to make a more maneuverable shotgun, say for moving through a house, you can adjust the stock all the way in. It also works good for shorter armed shooters. The buttons to adjust the buttpad and comb have a very stout spring in them making them hard to push. This is done on purpose to keep any accidental adjustments from happening. Now I will say that the buttpad on the At-One is nice, but on a shotgun, a softer one would be nicer. It is the same buttpad as on the At-One rifle stocks. Now If you are really into adjustments, Boyds does offer a vertical adjustable buttpad system.  

 Boyds makes some really nice products. The At-One for shotguns is another one. It is available in a standard walnut also, in case you don’t like the laminate look. I personally like the laminate’s. The adjustability gives these stocks an edge in the field or on the range. Now, if they only made them for semi-auto shotguns. Take a look at Boyds gunstocks, they make a nice product.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Adjustable laminate wood shotgun stock

Target Market:

Those wanting adjustability and/or different looks from their shotgun

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Laminate Hardwood

  • Adjustable Butt pad

  • Adjustable Cheek rest (Comb)

  • Interchangeable Grip

  • 12.5" to 14.25" Length of pull

  • .75” of comb adjustment

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Too many to list, go check them out HERE

Vertical adjustable buttpad

What others are saying?:

Couldn’t find anything on the shotgun stocks, only rifle stocks

Link to other reviews:

Could only find “new release” articles

Price point:

MSRP: Stock = $175.00

           Forend = $67.00

Retail = Same as above

I need it now! Availability:

Boyds Gunstocks

Our Rating:


  • Adjustable comb

  • Adjustable length of pull

  • Optional pistol grip

  • Stable Laminate

  • Great installation instructions

  • All US made


  • Tough to get stock screw tightened

  • Buttpad could be softer

Score: 8.00 Great


Favorite Link:  Tony’s

Adaptive Tactical Venom-SE Magazine Conversion

AT1 The Adaptive Tactical Venom-SE is a magazine conversion kit for for Mossberg 500 and 590 shotguns in 12 guage.  The complete kit comes with a new forend with the magazine adapter, a pistol grip adjustable stock, and either a 10 round box magazine or a 10 round drum magazine.  Adaptive Tactical sent me the multi-cam kit with the "Wraptor" forend, 10 round magazine, and pistol grip adjustable stock. The offerings from them are available in a variety of patterns. The kit only works with 2 3/4" shells. Because the kit puts the magazine in front of the standard loading gate, it causes the user to have to put their support hand farther out, so some users may have trouble cycling the shotgun completely, especially those of smaller stature.

Installation of the Venom-SE kit wasn't extremely hard. If you know how to disassemble the 500, including the magazine tube, you should be able to complete the install. If not, Adaptive Tactical does offer installation.  After you have made sure the firearm is unloaded, remove the barrel, trigger group, left & right shell stops, bolt carrier, forend, shell lifter, and finally the magazine tube. The kit has decent instructions on this, so don't feel overwhelmed. Since the Venom-SE kit also comes with a new stock, the old one must also be removed. Now it is time to install the magazine tube adapter. To do this, screw the supplied tube into the receiver threads. It most likely will not line up with the magazine tube on the bottom. So one must sand the end of the tube down. This process takes a while, so be patient. After some sanding, try the tube again. Eventually the mag well will be parallel to the sides of the receiver, you are now done with the hardest part. Now it's time to reinstall all the parts with the new ones supplied. The only strange part in the installation is that the left side shell plate is not reinstalled. I tried it with both shell plates installed and the shotgun had problems feeding. When I removed it, the problems went away, so do follow this step. When installing the stock, you must choose one of 2 spacers that go between the receiver and the stock. One has a slot for a sling, and the other does not.

AT5The kit comes with one 10 round magazine, and a 5 round box magazine is also available. Adaptive Tactical also sent a 10 round drum magazine for me to try out, as well. I really liked the 10rd stick magazine as it functioned flawlessly in my tests.  The 10rd drum magazine, however, did not function nearly as well. The shotgun would sometimes fail to pick up a round out of it. At first, I thought maybe it was from me short stroking the slide, but I made a point to push forward and backward on the forend until it stopped, and the drum mag would still not always pick up a round, about 1-2 times every magazine. The drum magazine is shorter than the stick mag and the drum sits out to one side off of center. Because the drum is offset, they made it ambidextrous, which is a very nice feature. To insert the magazines, you must first put the front of the mag in, and then rock it back and up, very much like an AK mag.  To remove the magazine, you must push the magazine release lever behind the mag, and then rock it out, also like an AK.


My favorite part of the kit is the AR-15 style M-4 stock with a built in pistol grip. The stock is adjustable for length, and has built in cups for quick detach sling swivels. The pistol grip was very comfortable and has a storage compartment in it. The base to the storage compartment was extremely hard to get on and off, since Adaptive doesn't mention that it has storage, it makes me think that maybe they know this. On the stock is also one of the most comfortable butt pads I have ever used. It is about and inch thick and really cuts down on felt recoil. Because this is a pistol grip stock on a Mossberg, you can not get to the safety without removing your hand from the pistol grip (the safety is on top of the action.)


The Wraptor forend has 3 picatinny rails mounted on an elevated platform that sits above the barrel. 1 rail on top, and 1 on each side. The forend uses a sight tunnel through the rails. The tunnel is very large and may actually help one to find the front sight or bead quicker. It's kind of like looking through a red dot sight. The rail on the top of the Wraptor forend is too high to put a red dot on (I tried) and is probably best suited for some sort of flashlight. Also on the forend are some threaded holes to use the supplied kelly grip. The grip is basically like a vertical foregrip but attaches to the side of the forend. The kelly grip is stouter than I thought it would be. It worked fine also, but seemed a little awkward. The Wraptor also is designed in such a way that there is a lip on the backside to help from getting your hand pinched when cycling the shotgun.

If you are interested in getting a magazine conversion for your Mossberg, Check out the offerings from Adaptive Tactical. These kits are made from a polymer that is extremely rugged and feels almost like aluminum. They also offer different options than the kit I received. So if you just want the magazine conversion kit with a forend, or maybe just the stock, they have options available.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Magazine Conversion for Mossberg 500 shotguns

Target Market: Shooters wanting easier loading or maybe Heavy class 3-gun shooters

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Magazine conversion
  • 5 rd box, 10 rd,box or 10 rd drum magazines
  • Pistol grip adjustable stock
  • Forend with picatinny rails

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available? 

  • Black
  • Kryptek
  • A-TACS
  • Multicam
  • Desert Digital

Price point: 

MSRP = $339.99 (as received with Wraptor Forend, 10 rd box mag, and stock in multicam)

$299.99 (Wraptor Forend, 10 rd box mag, and stock in black)

$229.99 (Wraptor Forend with 10 rd box magazine)

$199.99 (Standard forend with 5 rd box magazine)

I need it now! Availability: You can readily purchse the Venom-SE magazine conversion directly from Adaptive Tactical.

Our Rating:


  • Adjustable stock
  • Pistol grip
  • "Wraptor" forend
  • 10 round magazine
  • Pattern options
  • QD sockets built in
  • Ambidextrous drum magazine
  • It's now a Magazine fed shotgun!


  • Installation
  • Safety isn't easily reached
  • Drum magazine didn't function as good
  • Price (though less expensive variants are available)

Score: 7.5 Good75



Chad's Favorite Link: U.S. Tactical Supply

Firing Line Review



EXD Engineering Vertical Reticle Instrument

The EXD Vertical Reticle Instrument is the easiest and most accurate way to square an optic to a gun.

I'm about to share with you one of the most useful tools in my gun drawer. I'm almost certain that unless you already have some sort of trick or technique for mounting an optic squarely level to a firearm, you'll want to pick up one of these for yourself after reading this review.
The EXD Engineering Vertical Reticle Instrument is an adjustable, self-aligning tool that uses V-blocks to square up the scope's objective bell with the barrel, assuming your scope rings are quality and in spec. Once you tighten down the thumb screw to secure the V-blocks (you can use a rubber band to keep it in place if needed) you can use the bubble level to assure the rifle/shotgun/muzzleloader/pistol is resting level with the planet. Then, with the rings loosely tightened so you can rotate the scope in place, you want to look through the glass and make sure the crosshairs themselves are parallel with something thats level - a door frame, a fence post, or a plumb line that uses gravity to create a straight vertical reference. If the reticle is vertically squared and the bubble level in the EXD instrument is between the marks, your scope is aligned with the universe and you can tighten down your rings.
Now I have managed to mount optics on quite a few firearms without the use of such a tool, but the possibility of being skewed and non-level with the bore has always haunted me. Once I'd get the rings slightly tightened and the eye relief in the sweet spot, I'd either take a step back and fiddle with the magnification so I can catch a glimpse of the reticle in the narrow eye-box and just sorta get a feel if it looks square to the action, then double check by scoping something outdoors that I'm relatively sure has straight vertical edge. If the scope had a nice capped elevation turret I would balance an actual level tool on it, but that only would tell me the scope was level with the ground, not level with bore itself. I could spend and hour tinkering with it until it looks right, and it could still be way off.

EXD Vertical Reticle Instrument

For shooting 100-200 yards it may not be worth a second thought, but for ultimate precision especially at longer ranges, a canted crosshair reticle can and will have adverse effects on your scope's windage and elevation adjustments. Many gun stores, smiths, or scope dealers will mount a scope fore you, but really only "eyeball" it or use a reference that may not be all that precise. Hell, I've had someone tell me to just close my eyes, shoulder the rifle, and then whatever canted position the rifle is in my hands is good enough, then half-ass level the windage line and tighten the rings from there. This may be "good enough" for Bubba to bag a backyard buck, but not if you hope to be consistent with your firearm's optic at various ranges.
Yes, there might be some OCD tied into it, but a scope that you've leveled yourself, without paying someone else, really gives you reassurance as well as confidence in your rig (or in some cases, gives you less excuses at the firing line). The beauty is that this tool is so simple, it should work with virtually every firearm you want to mount a scope on, with only a few exceptions. I would strongly recommend buying the EXD Engineering Vertical Reticle Instrument, especially if you own multiple scopes and like to swap them around, or if you're business includes mounting optics for customers.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  Makes zeroing your scope faster and far more accurate

Target Market:  Scoped Rifle Owners

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Self Align V-blocks
  • Thumb Screw for tightening
  • View Slot
  • Bubble level to ensure scope and bore are square during mounting

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Unfinished Aluminium only

What others are saying?:

"I have mounted numerous rifle scopes and this is the best device for leveling the cross hairs I have found. Actually, it's used to level the rifle and scope, and then plumb the vertical reticle of the scope." User Review

"This tool changes weather a scope is level or not from an opinion to a fact. It's the best tool out there for leveling a scope. On some high power scopes the narrow window can be an issue but it still works." User Review

"This tool is indispensable for quick accurate perfectly level crosshairs. No more excess time fidling with back and forth alignment. If your in the profession you absolutely need this tool, its a money maker." User Review

Price point:

I need it now! Availability:  Available at

Our Rating:


  • Removes the guesswork from mounting a scope and zeroing the reticle
  • Works with almost every firearm platform as long as the scope overlaps a round barrel
  • Compatible with Oval ocular scopes
  • Should work with optics on handguns, muzzleloaders, shotguns, as well as rifles.


  • Barrels with rear iron sights may not work with this tool
  • Leveling the reticle perpendicular requires an outside reference ie: a door frame or plumb line
  • Expensive for what it is...would have been a great additional value if some sort of black string, thumbtack and weight were included

Score: 8.0 Great



Featured FFL:

For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.

Ryan's Links:

Gun & Gear Review Podcast

Hunter of Design

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



Featured FFL:

For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.

Ryan's Links:

Gun & Gear Review Podcast

Hunter of Design

Traditions Firearms ALS 2100 Shotgun Review

Traditions ALS 2100 By Justin Miles

I have almost three years worth of experience with this great shotgun. In short, it's usability completely outweighs the bargain price you can expect to pay for this gun. I have not had any serious issues from its use, and would highly recommend picking one up a Traditions Firearms ALS 2100 Shotgun from the shelf if you find one used.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: A very lightweight shotgun that is very affordable

Target Market: Hunters and personal-defense advocates that need something that is both cheap and user friendly

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Lightweight shotgun and has great reliability
  • Comes with a recoil base pad.
  • Low recoil
  • Takes all kinds of twelve gauge shells up to 3 inches)

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available? Camouflage synthetic and hardwood

What others are saying?: On Shotgun News, the forum member SpecialEd says that it’s a great shotgun that shoots slugs very well.

Price point:

MSRP = Not Available Retail = $150 to $350

I need it now! Availability: Used Firearms websites - Armslist, Buds Guns, Gunbroker, Local Gun Shops

Our Rating:


  • Very reliable
  • Lightweight
  • Great trigger


  • Very few spare parts
  • It’s hard to remove the magazine blocker from the tube. You need a special tool for this.

Score: 8.0 Great80


Esstac Shotgun Cards Review

Esstac Shotgun Card Running and gunning with a shotgun is both simple and complicated. Guns are typically lighter and less cluttered with accessories than carbines, however the ammo is large and clunky. Digging for shells in a pocket or pouch is "slow speed and high drag" while adding a side saddle to the receiver is the optimum way as the shells are already a couple inches from being reloaded into the action / magazine tube.

The higher end systems like Mesa Tactical units are aluminum and parkerized, and they carry a heavy price tag.  They are also more permanent and add bulk to the side of your gun, taking up room in the gun case or the safe. Plastic versions like the TacStar are also an option, and a lower cost than the aluminum option but still requires a semi permanent modification to your shotgun, and in some guns actually will interfere with the forearm of pump action shotguns.

The simplest solution is often the best one. Velcro backed, nylon constructed Esstac Shotgun Cards are a great alternative with a few great advantages.  There are some negative points I've experienced that come as a trade off.

The positives: ability to add a side saddle to your shotgun without any permanent modification or even tools for that matter. That, and you can literally stick it anywhere... a stock, a vest, a jacket, etc. Modularity is my favorite word. They also fit in carbine magazine pouches.

The negatives: fully loaded with 7 12 gauge shells the card with bend, or warp. When left adhered to a flat solid surface (your gun's receiver) it will either start to separate from the velcro, or worse separate the velcro from it's adhesive backing.  The latter happened to me and luckily the adhesive layer left came of with some persistent rubbing and the glue came off in one ball of gunk. The cards do not come with the other half of the velcro equation so fault is with the "loop" velcro I purchased elsewhere at a craft store. More industrial strength stuff is out there but I fear it would not have been so kind to the parkerization of my Mossberg 930.

If you are looking for a cheap system that will reduce the time of your shotgun reloads, these cards are worth a try. Just don't leave one loaded and attached to your favorite gun.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Shell carrier or side saddle, fits in an M4 Mag Pouch for quick changes too.

Target Market: Tactical or competitive shotgun users as well as hunters

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Velcro interface sticks to gear or mounts to shotguns
  • Elastic shell sleeves
  • Paracord loop for easy removal
  • Fits in an M4 pouch
  • Rubber interior strip to add in friction retention of shells
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black, Coyote Brown, Ranger Green,  Multicam

What others are saying?: “Saw these on YouTube and had to try them. Bought two and they are exactly what I needed! Have seven rounds on the side and can have seven more of a differnt type of round ready to change out. The hassle of unloading the side saddle and then reloading is gone. Just tear off the card and put the new one on. The cards fit perfectly inside an AR style mag pouch so you can carry as many as you have room for. Can't wait to get more."  review from Brian, Altamont IL ( user)

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at

Our Rating:

+-Price point makes it possible to get multiple cards for the price of a solid aluminum or plastic side saddle, but better suited for rapid replacement. +-Esstac Shotgun Cards remain flat when not in use, and allow for slimmer profile in storage. +  Customer Service from Otter Box (parent company) was prompt and satisfactory. - -Does not include "loop" side of velcro, you must find your own (industrial strength backing maybe overkill and damage firearm finish, so its all on you to find whats best). --Entire card warps in an arc when loaded with shells, and maybe cause separation of mount from surface, or adhesive from velcro.

Score: 6.5 Okay


Laser Ammo - LaserPET Electronic Target

Laser Ammo - LaserPET Electronic Target This is a great way to practice at home without shooting up your house. It’s pretty simple to use and comes with instructions(who uses them?) Shooting it with the Laser Ammo Sure Strike provides instant feedback if you hit it. It has three modes, all which can be used to improve your overall shooting. Using the hit counter mode you can work on your trigger control and it keeps track of your hits. The shot timer mode is for working on your quick draw/first shot from the holster. Lastly is the magazine change mode in which, you guessed it, you practice fast mag changes. One thing I found this extremely useful for is teaching new shooters proper technique in a safe environment. I’m sure you’re as at home on the range as I am but a new shooter may be more comfortable learning to “shoot” in the safety and comfort of their own house, away from other shooters. Most of all you don’t have to worry about be shot by an overly excited person waving the gun around because “They hit the target!!!” even though I still yell if I get swept by the muzzle. The only issue I had with the timer is that I tossed it on my bed with the tripod attached and folded underneath and it broke it open like a clam shell. It was a nightmare and a half to get it back together with how the buttons fit in it. After I got it back together I threw some super glue on it and it’s been good ever since. Granted, if I had removed the tripod I probably never would have taken it apart. Hopefully you guys will learn from my mistake. laser pet Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points Claim to Fame: Improves drawing, target acquisition, and trigger squeeze.

Target Market: Home defenders, police, military

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 1.8x1.8" laser sensor
  • Bright numeric LED display
  • Buzzer
  • Changeable target cards to modify target area size and shape.
  • Tripod and wall mounts
  • AAA Battery operated
  • Operational Mode: Hit counter - this setting will count the shooter's consecutive hits
  • Operational Mode: Shot timer / Fast draw - this timer will show the accurate time from buzzer to hit
  • Operational Mode: Magazine change - this mode will time the shooter as if they were changing a magazine and subsequently count how many times the shooter can hit the target within 5 seconds
  • Built in timer
  • Input for external sensor

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: It’s only available in one form, regular.

What others are saying?: “...improved my trigger control and accuracy 150%”- “Works with LASERLYTE Trainer Pistol Universal.” -

Price point:  MSRP = $119.95 Retail = $112.75

I need it now! Availability: Check your local gun shop or anywhere that has gun stuff. Or if you live by me, I’ll let you borrow it.

Our Rating: + 3 operational modes. + Multiple target inserts. + Standard tripod mount and wall mount. + Collapsible tripod. - Broke when I tossed it on my bed. - Hard to put back together if opened.

Score: 8.585


FIREClean Review

FIREClean 1 Fireclean gun oil is one of the best gun oils I have used to date.  It does everything it should do and more. It lubricates, protects, cleans, and most importantly it helps reduce carbon buildup.  While using Fireclean I have found that my rimfire's will shoot for a longer number of rounds and are easier to clean. The carbon and even lead deposits seem to just wipe off.  When using this oil with a suppressor on an AR15 there is less buildup of gunk on the bolt carrier.  Fireclean lubricates extremely well, it makes rifles and pistols cycle smoother and is better than any other oil I have used.

FIREClean 2FIREClean 3








Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  A gun oil that repels carbon fouling, is non-toxic, odorless, biodegradable, sticks to metal, heat resistant and made in the U.S.A.

Target Market:  All gun owners but more in tune with suppressed or full auto firearms users.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):  From product website: "While odorless, biodegradable, and safe, FIREClean destroys carbon contamination and helps prevent future fouling. FIREClean conditions metal - to resist carbon and other fouling buildup as well as providing durable lubricity."

  • Lubricates
  • Cleans
  • Repels Carbon
  • Absorbs into metal for lasting protection
  • Available in 2 fluid oz bottles

What others are saying?:

  • "Best I've Used"  "Surprisingly Great"  "Awesome Stuff" on Amazon with 4.7/5 stars
  • "The Best Oil"  "Amazing Product"  "Best Oil I have ever used" on Brownells with 4.9/5 stars

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability:  Readily available at Amazon and Brownells.

Our Rating:

+ Carbon just doesn't seem to build up + Excellent oil + Non-Toxic + Long Lasting Lubrication + Small amount goes a long way

- Not the best at cleaning, but it does make cleaning easier after the initial oiling

Score: 9.0 Amazing! 90


Chad's Favorite Link:

Tactical Paradise


Mesa Tactical Sureshell Shotshell Carrier with Integrated Picatinny Rail

Mesa 1

When you combine classic design with the desire for end user customization, there is bound to be innovative companies that will rise to the occasion to give the customer what they want. Just like the AR-15, common shotgun patterns such as the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500  are easily customizable with a bevy of affordable and easy to install parts and accessories. One company that provides this is Mesa Tactical.  One of the things that makes me love this company is its dedication to the scattergun. They focus exclusively on products to make shotguns more effective tools for whatever purpose you choose to utilize them for.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Multipurpose, platform focused and versatility. Mesa

Target Market: Operators, 3-gun competitors and home defense.


Key Features

  • Milled from 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum
  • Bead blasted and mil-spec hard anodized
  • Integral MIL-STD-1913 picatinny rail
  • No gunsmithing installation
  • Innovative rubber friction retention system

Key Benefits

  • Solid mounting platform for optics
  • Rock Solid retention of shotshells

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  There are a variety of models that have different capacities and lengths of rail. There is also their line of non railed Sureshell holders.  While mine is for an 870, they make models that correspond to a variety of firearms.   SureShell Shotshell Carriers-Mesa Tactical

What others are saying?:  I purchased mine off of Amazon and its average rating is 4.25 stars. With the two 2 star ratings being for faulty packaging on the one and simple preference on the other. Consensus seems strongly positive considering this products two main detractors are for these reasons.  Amazon

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: If you happen to have a very well stocked local gun store you may be able to pick it up however with Amazon the shipping is free and you will have it in a week. Direct from manufacturer is also an option.

Our Rating:

+ Construction + Included hardware + Simple installation + Rock solid mount + Rock solid shell retention

Score: 8.585 GREAT

My Blog: NJ Gun Blog

Voodoo Tactical 42" MOLLE Soft Rifle Case

Voodoo case

The Voodoo Tactical 42" MOLLE Soft Rifle Case is an excellent product for numerous applications. It is useful for trips to the range, 3-gun matches or even hunting trips.  With enough storage for many accessories including rifles, pistols, ammunition, hearing and eye protection, magazines, or anything else one might want to take with them.  The case is well padded inside and out, even having padding around the edges where the heavy duty zippers are located.  Inside the case you will find a padded divider between the two rifle/shotgun compartments.  In each of these compartments are two velcro straps to hold the firearms secure.  On the exterior you will find three large pockets to hold magazines, ammo, etc.  Behind these pockets is a large zippered pouch that holds two pistols in their own padded pockets that velcro closed.  Every time I take a firearm or two anywhere, I find myself taking this case.  It is exceptionally built and just a great all around case.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  A useful all around case for transporting weapons and gear.

Target Market:  Shooters that need to transport multiple firearms and gear in one case.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):Voodoo case 2

  • Holds two rifles up to 40.5" and two pistols
  • Three large adjustable accessory pouches
  •  Adjustable straps on all accessory pouches
  •  Comes with Backpack straps
  •  Extra MOLLE attachment points
  • Zippered compartment behind accessory pouches has built in padded pouches for pistols

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black, Multicam, Coyote, ACU, Pink, and Purple

What others are saying?:Voodoo case 3

  • Amazon reviewers rate it 4.8 out of 5 stars

Price point:

I need it now! Availability:  Readily available online at retailers like Brownells and Amazon

Our Rating:

+ Comes in a variety of colors + Durable + Hold tons of gear + Backpack straps + Removable shoulder strap + Place for velcro patch

- Shoulder strap adjustment and installation

Score: 8.5 85


Blackhawk Sportster Shotgun Case

Blackhawk Sportster Shotgun Case 2

In a market that is flooded with so many different shotgun case makers, it can get a bit overwhelming when trying to choose one that will (a) protect your shotgun and (b) last you a long time.  For me, the Blackhawk Sportster Shotgun Case met those 2 requirements.  The foam and fabric inside the case is both plush and soft which is a home-run when protecting the finish of your shotgun.  The exterior of the case is made of abrasion and mildew resistant 600 denier polyester which is paired with heavy-duty YKK zippers.  The combination of the 2 makes an exterior that is durable and built to last you long time. Last but not least, I love how the case opens completely flat.  This makes a great surface for you to clean your shotgun on at the end of the day.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: A convenient and extremely durable case to protect and carry your shotgun.

Target Market: Shotgun shooters of all levels.  Blackhawk Sportster Shotgun Case 3

FNB's:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • Exterior MOLLE webbing on one side
  • Fits shotguns up to 52" in length
  • Interior has extra soft fabric to protect firearm finish
  • Heavy-duty YKK zippers
  • Abrasion and mildew resistant 600 denier polyester

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black is the only color option that this bag is offered in.

What others are saying?:  All 3 reviews on Amazon all said the same thing ...."Excellent" - 5 out of 5 stars

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available online at stores like Optics Planet, Amazon and or Blackhawk.

Our Rating:

+ Extremely durable + Budget friendly + Can open up flat (great for end of day cleaning) + Closed-end foam is great at protecting  your firearms finish

- No strap included for shoulder carry


Score: 9.0 Amazing90

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

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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







Mossberg 930 SPX




Tactical Shotguns of yester year.  It's good to see the ol' 12 gauge staying strong, and as the popularity with module, fancy rifles has grown, the shotgun world has been becoming a little... blacker.  Rails, High Capacity clip-o-zines, flesh-eating muzzle devices... no this isn't one of those shotguns.  The Mossberg 930 is pretty conventional by todays high-speed-low-drag, 'gotta have 1913 rail all over the place' standards.  And thank the Lord for that, because this gun is really meant to be put to work.  Law Enforcement, Military, and recreational competition is where the 930 shines due to its durability and reliability.

Jerry-Miculek1It's actually a 3-Gunner fan favorite, with more than a few famous shooters (ahem - Jerry Miculek, Lena Miculek, Ryan Flannigan) having signature models.  Seriously, check out Jerry's 930 with the huge magazine tube and gnarly muzzle compensator, what a beast!  Buying a 3-Gun platform in 930 isn't painless though, as availability is real tough, but for the price it still comes way lower than a Benelli.  Luckily it's Mossberg, and that means aftermarket availability is out there.  Not as much as the 500 but its still out there.  Finding a 22"-24" is the hardest part, since these come with an 18" and everyone's looking for a longer barrel so they can get a longer mag tube as well.  I'm still searching.  But in-between matches, its a great range beast, and will definitely fit a home defense role.

The only real issue that floats around out in the community is the anemic ejection of low-brass and inexpensive shells right out of the box.  Some claim they never had the issue, other's swear by it.  I did have a few shells get caught in the action at first.  But I managed to find some winchester bulk that was a bit bolder at 1200fps, and still mixed in some 3" old game loads for about 2-300 rounds.  It shoots the cheap stuff just fine now.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The "Go-To" high capacity (tube-fed) semiauto 12 gauge

Target Market:  Ideal for 3-Gun, Home Defense, Slug hunting with legal mag limit.  Alittle 'bubba' for skeet and sporting clays.  

FNBs:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • 2 3/4" - 3" Chambered in 12 Gauge
  • 4+1 or 7+1 Capacity
  • Smooth Cycling, Dual Gas-Vent System
  • Railed, Stand-Off Breacher & Heat Shield Models available
  • Free Gun Lock/2-Year Limited Warranty Included

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available? Matte black/synthetic only

What others are saying? "I can't speak for everyone's 930spx and low recoil loads, but mine has been great with the Federal Wally World value pack and various low recoil buckshot and slugs. Shell ejection was somewhat anemic, but still positive, with the Fiocchi 00 buckshot and the action cycled just fine. I only have about 300 rounds through this shotgun. Most of the posts Ive read say it's not truly broken in until around 400." - Shotgun world forum

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Check your local gun stores.

Our Rating:

+ Large knurled bolt handle right from the factory + Ghost ring rear iron sight detachable on 1913 rail (factory installed) + Recoil is mitigated (to a point) with gas operated system - Hard to find SPX with pistol grip stock in stores, had to get standard stock model and aftermarket choate stock. - Some new owners report failure to eject with low-brass, cheap bulk ammo during initial "break-in" period.

Score: 9.5Amazing


Ryan prefers Promised Land Firearms for all his FFL needs.

I can't speak for everyone's 930spx and low recoil loads, but mine has been great with the Federal Wally World value pack and various low recoil buckshot and slugs. Shell ejection was somewhat anemic, but still positive, with the Fiocchi 00 buckshot and the action cycled just fine. I only have about 300 rounds through this shotgun. Most of the posts Ive read say it's not truly broken in until around 400.

Browning Citori Ultra XS

Browning Citori Ultra pic 1

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key PointsBrowning Citori Ultra pic 2

Claim to Fame: The quintessential representative of the quality of the Browning brand.

Target Market:  Ideal for skeet and sporting clays.  

FNBs:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • 410, 12, 20 and 28 gauge models offered
  • 28 or 30 inch vent-rib bead-sighted barrel
  • Chrome-plated chambers
  • Triple Trigger System
  • Shoots both 2 3/4" and 3" shells
  • Glossy walnut stock
  • Gold accented, high relief engraving

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available? Browning offers the Citori line in a variety of options.  Check out all 3 pages, you will not be disappointed.  Browning

What others are saying? "It's a Browning, what else needs to be said." - Hickok 45browning citori ultra pic 3

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at your local gun stores.

Our Rating:

+ Multiple gauges available + Glossy walnut stock + Gold accented, high-relief engraving + Chrome-plated chambers + Triple trigger system allows the shooter to fine tune the length of pull

Score: 9.5Amazing

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

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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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