12 gauge

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.

AT4

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.)

AT2

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:

Pros:

  • 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!

Cons:

  • 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

 

 

Multiple Impact Bullets

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Multiple Impact Bullets

Bullet technology for self defense has gotten a bit of tunnel vision as of late. Manufacturers have been competing over penetration/non over-penetration, expansion, and weight retention quite heavily these days. While what the bullet does when entering the body of an attacker is important to a point, there is a variable that all these fancy bullets doesn't take into consideration. Under the immense stress of a lightning fast confrontation in a self defense scenario or threat encounter, you are likely to miss your target all together. While I'd love to quote a legitimate statistic on how many bullets fired in self defense scenarios hit versus miss, I would wager the number is less than 50%. Some self defense training courses offer the statistic that Law Enforcement shootings at 15 feet or less result in only a 10% hit rate. While a percentile of 90% shots missed seems abnormal, many who have actually been in the heat of the moment can attest to the difficulty if not trained, mentally prepared, and 100% on their game.

Multiple Impact Bullets

For ages, the shotgun was touted as the king of home defense because of the spread of birdshot or buckshot and the disregard for aiming properly. While half-true, the spread of shot can be irregular and inefficient, and requires travel distance after leaving the muzzle to adequately expand. What if there was a way to apply the concept of multiple projectiles in a handgun cartridge, giving the shooter a round with consistent increased hit probability, while retaining enough energy and terminal ballistics to stop the threat? If the projectiles can be given a controlled spread, misses off the body due to incorrect point of aim can still retain a chance of striking a hit.

Multiple Impact Bullets

A Colorado based company called Advanced Ballistic Concepts, LLC has designed a bullet that strives for the aforementioned goal. Multiple Impact Bullets or Mi Bullets™ are designed to take advantage of the spinning forces generated by a rifled barrel. When an Mi Bullet leaves a rifled barrel, the forces cause a rapid release of the bullet's tethered segments, expanding to a desirable radius in a much shorter distance than buckshot leaving a shotgun barrel. The inspiration for this concept is one I can relate to. Co-Founder Todd Kuchman was out camping and encountered a grouse, with only a rifle and pistol sidearm. Wanting to harvest the grouse for a savory campfire meal, he thought about the astounding feet of marksmanship needed for a perfect headshot, resulting in no damaged meat and a clean humane kill. While to story doesn't detail whether fowl was on the dinner menu that night, the inventor began brainstorming how a more forgiving projectile could be invented. After a home invasion experience and subsequently diving into the world of self defense courses, the concept for the Mi Bullet ™ was developed into three primary variations: non-lethal (Mi3 Stinger), semi-lethal (Mi3 Stunner), and fully lethal (Mi3 Stopper).

Multiple Impact Bullets

The Mi Bullet ™ consists of interlocking MI4™ segments assembled into a single projectile, that when fired and traveling down bore of the rifled barrel, begins to spin. As the projectile assembly leaves the muzzle of the firearm, the spinning forces imparted by the rifling causes the interlocked portions of the projectile to simultaneously move rapidly outward (Accelerated Radial Spread™) away from their original center of rotation with a 120° spacing from one another, still spinning to achieve stabilization along the original trajectory. How the ammunition differs between Stinger, Stunner, and Stopper (lethal, semi-lethal and non-lethal) comes down to the velocity and density of projectile materials (lead vs plastic, rubber, etc.) The 45 acp fully lethal Mi Bullet™ consists of a single buckshot weighing 31.5 grains, surrounded by three segments ranging between 36.5 - 37.5 grains, collectively forming an approximate 142 grain projectile. The 12 gauge fully lethal Mi Bullet™ slug consists of a 75.5 grain bullet-shaped core thats surrounded by three segments weighing between 205 and 210 grains each, adding up to a whopping yet approximate 700 grains slug. As a reloader, the weights of each individual part interest me, as does the inconsistency of the segment weights.

Multiple Impact Bullets

The key to the controlled separation of the segments is a multi-staged tether/brake™ system that balance the expanding radial forces with the centrifugal force to gyroscopically stabilize the orbiting segments around their original center of rotation as if it had remained a solid slug. There's alot of physics language on the website if you are interested in the science behind the concept. For my fellow laymen, the bullet has a core and connected segments that expand into a Y shape rapidly out of the barrel, giving you a projectile that forgives close misses. It's important to know that the radial spread doesn't stay constant at 14", at it travels it will pulsate at the tethered segments expand and contract from their center axis. While still possible to miss enough for all the parts to miss their target, the tethered fragments do grant you a better chance of a hit. In a life or death confrontation, and glancing flesh-wound of the abdomen can still carry a chance of striking near center mass with a segment and stopping the threat.

Multiple Impact Bullets

In my range test, I found the 45 acp full-lethal round to have a full spread at around 10 to 15 yards, my initial shot at 15-20 feet didn't reach the advertised radial spread. The core of the 45 bullet just a round buckshot pellet, and doesn't hold much accuracy despite the segments acting like a sabot. Interestingly enough another shot had struck the neck, and a segment had wrapped around to the back of the head and embedded into the spine, like a bolo wrapping around prey.

Multiple Impact Bullets

Giving the 12 gauge full lethal shells a turn, The segments spread well at mid range, wide enough to span the face of Bobby Bluebeard completely. Mr. Pink however was not so lucky, as the 12ga core glanced his left temple but a segment nailed the forehead and blew out the back (foam not an accurate analog for the human head). This demonstrates the goal of the Mi concept: increase your odds and turn close misses into direct hits.

Multiple Impact Bullets

 As for the legality of shooting and killing someone with a non-lethal or semi-lethal round, I'm not touching that with a ten foot pole. Multiple Impact does color the packaging for each (Green for non lethal-stinger, Orange for semi lethal-stunner, Red for full lethal-stopper). If I hadn't already known that differentiation I would have had a difficult time because the ammunition itself isn't marked on headstamp or hull, and the packaging is so cluttered with marketing buzzwords and trademarks that its a tad overwhelming, at least in the eyes of a professional graphic designer.

Multiple Impact Bullets

I would have loved go for a hike in the woods and report back with a harvested grouse or rabbit using my 1911 and the 45 acp Mi Bullet ™ but there were none to be found on that day as luck would have it. Obviously these rounds are specifically designed for human size targets, as the spread can be between 10" and 14" as the range that grouse or rabbits typically afford me before their wits finally kick in and they scurry off. Perhaps a 'small game load' pistol round could be in the works later on down the road with a shorter radial spread and perhaps more than 3 segments, in different calibers as well including revolver cartridges. One can only dream! For two legged threats, the concept behind the Multiple Impact Bullet is very interesting and innovative, but it won't replace my favorite hollowpoints just yet. I look forward to seeing the execution and marketing strengthen over time.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  One-of-a-kind bullet technology makes it possible to achieve an unprecedented combination of stopping power and high hit probability

Target Market:  Self Defense, Home Defense, Security/LEO

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • High hit probability
  • 99% firearm capability
  • Full lethal, Semi Lethal, or Non Lethal
  • Quicken response time
  • Deep-impact™ Technology

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: N/A

What others are saying?:

"As it turns out my testing at different ranges doesn’t accurately tell the whole story of the bullets expansion. As the bullet flies downrange the diameter is constantly increasing and decreasing in size, or pulsing. At its smallest size the dispersion might be 5″ and at its largest it will be limited by the length of its tethers, which is 14″.

I did notice at 7 and even 15 yards the point of impact was pretty much where I had aimed. At 25 yards the projectiles had veered off course and struck left of center, but still scored a solid hit on the target.

I pulled a bullet apart to see what made the rounds tick and found a simple coil of string tethering three copper/zinc alloy projectiles together. Each of the bullet fragments weighed right at 40 grains with a variance of a grain or two between them. This variance is likely what contributed to the fired round drifting from point of aim at distances greater than 15 yards. I wasn’t able to fire the rounds over a chronograph to measure bullet velocity as I was concerned I might hit the device. As of this writing the manufacturer hasn’t published velocity data on the bullets.

As of right now it’s too early for me to pass judgement on this unique new defensive round. What I can say is that the concept is innovative and I personally find it to be interesting. Will it replace my 147gr 9mm Gold Dots anytime soon?  No, not at the moment, but stick around as I put this new ammo through its paces. Who knows, maybe it will knock my socks off." The Bangswitch - Military Arms Channel Blog

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: www.mibullet.com

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Even out of a 18.5" smoothbore shotgun barrel, the semi-lethal and full-lethal segments spread decently at short range, a much better spread than with regular buckshot.
  • No failures or malfunctions, both rounds cycled test guns (gas operated Mossberg 930 - even lowbrass!, and Ruger SR1911)

Cons:

  • Shotgun slugs protrude past the shell, reducing overall capacity in some magazine tubes by 1 shell - did not test in box magazines
  • No data yet on safety with suppressor use
  • The Mi Bullet suffers from over-marketing - the packaging has so much trademarked buzzwords its overwhelming
  • Price per bullet is considerably higher than other tried and tested defensive ammunition.

Score: 7.0 Good

 

 

Featured FFL:

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

Ryan's Links:

Gun & Gear Review Podcast

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Firing Line Review

 

 

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:

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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:

Pros:

  • Very reliable
  • Lightweight
  • Great trigger

Cons:

  • 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 (skdtac.com user)

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at skdtac.com

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

 

California Competition Works 12 Gauge Speed Stripper Review

California Competition Works 12 Gauge Speed Stripper With all the pistol and carbine mag pouches out there on the market, a lot of people forget about a carrying system for the largest and clunkiest of the munitions, the 12 gauge shotgun shell. Instead of fishing around a dump pouch or pocket blindly for shells chaotically, there are belt caddies available to hold shells in the same direction, and in an easily accessible way. The lest expensive option I've found is the California Competition Works 12 Gauge Speed Stripper. I bought a couple of 4 round strippers while there are strippers with 6 packs available. You know what I mean. The caddy can hold 2 3/4" and 3" shells and its quite robust, the metal clip on the back is extremely rigid. Luckily the supplier demooner.com offers the same caddies with different backing systems. The only downsides are the shells rattle quite, and when you are running/active with only 2 or 1 shell left in caddy it is likely to come out. As a beginning 3 Gunner looking to accommodate shotgun shells onto their belt, look no further than these from California Competition Works.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Provides controlled carry of 12 gauge shells for fast, fumble-free reloads.

Target Market: Bird hunters, Skeet/Trap Shooters, 3 Gun Competitors

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Available in either 4 or 6 round configurations
  • Belt Clip ride height is adjustable (only 2 positions)
  • Multiple mount options available through www.demooner.com
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black, Coyote Brown, & Orange

What others are saying?: “Works well in Practical shooting. Capacity of four definitely the correct size for me, as four rounds is the maximum I can hold in my hand while feeding my gun. Comes with two spacers to adjust the stripper for different length of cartridges. You have to use both spacers with extra short rounds like S&B Practical Sport. With one spacer extra short rounds can fall off. This also means that the stripper doesn't cope well with mixed length rounds. Few downsides though: - Rattles which prevents hunting usage - If the stripper is not packed full, remaining round(s) may fall off while moving. This limits tactical usage, if there's a need to feed only one, two or three rounds into the gun. All in all a simple, rugged and very good product." - puppe user, Brownells.com review

Price Point: Retail: $25.99

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at Brownells

Our Rating:

+-Retains 4 shells securely and easy to load up +-Price is under other competitors, easy to afford multiples +-Includes spacers to accommodate 2 3/4" shells --Metal Clip on back is overly rigid and extremely hard to clip on belt. --When caddy is not 100% full (-1 or 2 shells) remaining shells are able to fall out during rapid movement --Shells rattle loudly in caddy (using spacers and 2 3/4" shells) which may spook some game during hunting

Score: 8.0 Great

Taccom 8Up Quaload Shotgun Shell Holder Review

4f06530962d2950a2dd70c4c84beb478_xaph_ra0y By Daniel Strait

Taccom Quaload: I ordered this product directly from the Taccom website based off of the review of Jesse Tischauser on BrianEnos Forums and the AR15.com forums. I figured, if he could load 8rds in 3.5 sec then I could...right??

Initial Impressions:

Upon opening the package, I was initially very impressed. It has a very sturdy feel and does not feel like it will break easily. I ordered the product with TekLok and was surprised, and slightly annoyed, when there were no instructions on how to use it! Well that agitated feeling quickly went away upon a quick search on YouTube and finding a video of how to attach the TekLok to the 8Up Quaload.

When attaching it to my shooting belt I noticed that these are not a small loading system. If you are cramped for space on your belt, I would not look toward the 8Up Quaload to save some space...the 4 Quaload, perhaps, might be a better choice or the Carbon Arms EZ8 or FSL8  or AP L2/L4 might be better space savers.

As previously mentioned, the Taccom system feels very sturdy. The problem I seemed to have is the tightness of the clips. The website even mentions IOT (in order to) remove the shells from the caddy efficiently, you need to remove them in a specific way. While not intuitive, it is not too difficult, unless you have small hands, then you might want to try the Load 2 method.

Overall Impression:

Overall, I would buy this product again. However, keep in mind this method does take quite a bit of practice, contrary to what I had initially thought. Granted, you will probably notice improvement within the hour, but IOT load 8rds in 4 seconds, this will take many hours of practice, in my humble opinion. The price point is right on par with many of the other quad loading techniques, based off of my prior research. One 8Up Quaload will cost you $69.95 plus $10.00 for the TekLok backing (must purchase separately).

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Straight from the horse’s mouth..."Our QUALOAD holds the 2 columns of shells next to one another, you can't get any closer than having them touch. No other quad load device can do this!! This allows for you to control how the shell come out of the holder and not have to worry about rim overlay.....the rims are already overlapped in the correct position!!

We allow a generous amount of room under the shells so that you can wrap your fingers around the shells before you lift them out of the holder. Also, we have the farthest distance between our clips so that HUGE hands will have no problem getting at the shells out of our loader."

Target Market: This product was specifically created for the Competition Shooter ie. 3 gun competitors. I have seen those on a few “End of the world as we know it” forums though for what it’s worth.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Ability to load 4 shells vs 2 shells
  • Availability of sizes (Quaload, 8Up, and 16Up).

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The Taccom 8Up Quaload Shotgun Shell Holder is only available in black.

What others are saying?: “Been working with these this week, allows you to grab a handful with less fumbling, you can raise or lower the shells, the clips hold the rounds in a lot better than the one with metal clips, 5 star, looks like it’s made of delrin, should outlast most anything!” - dustbuster, The Shooter's Source Review

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: You can purchase this shell holder from a few retailers, including Midway USA, The Shooter's Source, and directly from Taccom.

Our Rating:

+-Tough Construction +-Shells positioned well

--Size --To much tension

Score: 7.5    75

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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