For this month we are going to start covering shotguns for survivalist. The two primary shotguns that are found in the average survivalist battery are the Remington Model 870 and the Mossberg 500 series.
We are taking the Remington 870 first as it is the most used. This weapon is the primary longarm of American law enforcement. This shotgun has more acessories made for it than all the other shotguns put together. The reason for this is a history for dependability dating back to the mid part of this century. The 870 comes in many models and configurations from a model for Trap compitition to the favorite riot gun for law enforcement. The 870 comes in both a left and right hand model. The 870 utilizes twin action bars to prevent binding of the slide action during rapid operation of the weapon. The 870 also utilizes twin shell stops to prevent shells from slipping from the magazine tube. It is possible that a shell can slip from the magazine and wedge between the shell carrier (the part that lifts the shell from the magazine) and the slide assembly (the part that moves the bolt itself). In the new models of the 870 this problem has been cured by the installation of the "flexitab kit". It is very easy matter to clear this type of jam. Clearing is accomplished by slamming the weapon against a hard surface while racking the action. The flexitab conversion consists of a carrier assembly, a slide assembly, and a breech block assembly (either black or chrome). An easy way to tell if the flexitab assembly is installed in you gun or one you might by is by the U shaped cut in the carrier assembly. For those weapons that have the old style assembly all is not lost. The flexitab conversion can be owner installed in any 870. This kit can be ordered directly from Remington, but they give a better price to police officers. The part numbers to order the conversion kits are 93339 (Black bolt) and 93340 (chrome bolt). Now for those without the funds for this kit all is not lost. The problem can be addressed in another way by modifing your existing carrier assembly. The carrier assembly can be removed from the weapon and a slot cut in the middle of the carrier assembly for 3/4 of its length. This slot allows for a narrow item (like a knife blade) to be slipped in and push the shell back in the magazine tube. The slot can be easily cut by a Dremel cutting wheel. The slot should be 1/4 inch wide for 3/4 of the length of the carrier. The slot should be started in the center and be cut equally in both directions lengthwise.
The second problem that can be encountered is that the shell stops can become worn and let shells slip from the magazine tube. These shell stops can be replaced but are riveted in the weapon. They must be drilled out and new ones installed by utililyzing a special tool made just for this purpose. This is generally a gunsmith operation.
A minor problem that the current 870's have is the magazine tube follower is made of plastic. These can break and jam the weapon. This can be easily and cheaply fixed by replacing the plastic follower with one from either Choate or Scattergun Technologies. They are Orange and Green respectively. These are both highly visible and have a elongated "tail" to prevent kinking of the magazine spring. These replacement parts are highly recommended for all 870's.
Spare parts I recommend for this weapon are the following: Firing pin, firing pin spring, trigger housing retaining pin (these are used to hold the trigger assembly to the receiver), and 2 magazine springs. The magazine springs should match the magazine tube length. This is especially true for those weapons with extended magazine tubes.
Spare barrels come in a wide variety of lengths, chokes, and combinations. Barrels come in fixed and changeable chokes. Barrels can also be obtained with adjustable chokes, such as the excellent Poly Choke adjustable device. Sights available range from a simple bead front sight through adjustable "Ghost Ring Night Sites".
Probably the best but is the Express Magnum model that utilizes a parkerized finish. It is chambered to take the normal 2 3/4 inch and the 3 inch shells.
Next month we will cover the Mossberg series of shotguns.
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