Saturday, June 4, 2016

Made Some Changes

To make a spare shotgun a little more useful...

When Erik was in middle school I awarded him a Remington 870 Express Lightweight Youth Model 20 gauge for turning a "D" in maths into an "A."  I had replaced the truck tire that Remington calls a recoil pad with a Pachmayr Decelerator Sporting Clays and the front bead was removed on the advice of a wing -shooting instructor.  All good.  Erik promptly outgrew it.  I bought him the adult sized 870 Express Lightweight Synthetic 20 gauge.  It comes with Remington's marvelous R3 recoil pad on the full length stock.  The little shotgun went into the safe for decade.  A thread at got me thinking setting it up as a handy little general purpose shotgun, equally suited to the use of bird shot, buck shot, and slugs.

The youth model's short (12 inch) LOP absorbs that extra inch of barrel, making it no longer overall that the 20 inch 12 bores I used to work with, so I'm not going to replace the 21 inch vent rib barrel.  Still it needs sights for my purposes so I've ordered XS Express Night Sight Set Benelli, Remington Vent Rib Steel Matte Standard Dot Tritium Front, White Line Rear.  Found a local smith to install them (at a price; seems dovetails are spendy here in Prescott).  These sights won't be as precise as a ghost ring rear and and a square post front but it might still let a fella pot a quail without too much distraction. I aspire to seeing how far out I can reliably present a hazard to navigation using the Brenneke one ounce slugs (1392 or 1476 fps; my shoulder gets to choose).  Once installed, all I have to do is determine which buckshot load it likes best with which choke tube and select which of the three rear sights in the XS kit lands Brennekes where I want them. 

I attached a Weaver base to the wood fore end with brass screws to serve as a flashlight mount.  I've got a spare Weaver top mount ring in the parts box somewhere.  I've got a spare Surefire for a light.  Presto, I have a weapon mounted light.

Onboard ammo storage means a fella can select different sorts of cartridges so a four-shot TacStar side saddle was ordered.  Andy Langlois made me a four shot leather ammo holder that I screwed to the wood stock. Screws work so well I may never use the lace-up variety again.  Might add another screw or two.

I replaced the plastic factory follower with an aluminum aftermarket unit from Ultimate Arms Gear.  The factory safety was swapped for jumbo button from S&J Hardware; buh bye, J-lock!  Finally, Uncle Mike's set me up with some sling swivel studs.  The rear swivel is mounted at the bottom of the pistol grip to keep the sling  out of the way while reaching for the ammo cuff underhand and it allows a higher carry position when slung in African style.

The original forend design overhangs the receiver, which can cause a variety of problems when a fella is in a hurry.  From time to time I have somehow (I'm clumsy) managed to pinch prodigious quantities of my left hand between the long wood and receiver of similarly set up slide action shotguns when operating them wrong quickly. In the process of raising blood blisters and shedding blood I've come to hate pinch points and strive to extirpate them at every opportunity.  I used a needle nose pliers to unscrew the forend retainer. If I were going to do this more than once I'd definitely buy the purpose built tool.  

Finally the factory hardwood forend and buttstock got a dose of Rustoleum brand truck bed liner.  Simple, sturdy and simple to touch up.

I'm shopping for a wall-mounted security lock so I can keep this handy little gun close at hand yet protected from the untrained and the unauthorized.

Regardless the challenge encountered - day or night, at arms length or at the 50 yard line - four rounds of buck in the magazine, four slugs in the saddle, and four rounds of shot in the cuff ought to suffice.