Tuesday, September 24, 2013

5 Steps to Turn Your Pawn-Shop Remington 870 Into a Tactical Zombie Slayer

So, you want a tactical shotgun, huh? Don't want to spend the extra money for a gun that says "tactical" on it though? I don't blame you. Build one yourself, no gunsmithing required, for relatively cheap. Here's how.

Go to a pawn shop or used gun store and find a well functioning Remington 870 pump action, in 12 gauge. Should be no more than $250. It doesn't matter how crappy the stock looks, or even if it's broken. You're going to replace it. Just take it home, clean it up, do these five things to it, and you've got a beast ready to rock the zombies for under $600.

1 - Change the barrel. Unless your pawn shop buy was a tactical model (in which case why are you reading this?), then you'll need to install an 18" cylinder bore barrel, for maximum short range shot spread and ease of maneuvering in tight quarters. $110 from Cheaper Than Dirt and others. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/7-R4620#

2 - Extend the magazine. A "plus two" extension will give you  seven in the tube. Many are available at varying prices, but these from TacStar are tried and true, for reasonable dough. $40 from CTD. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/31983

3 - Reduce the recoil. You're a tough guy, sure. But who needs recoil in a rapid-fire situation? Quicken your follow-up shots, make the gun easier for the recoil sensitive to handle, and make it shorter or longer to fit whoever needs to use it, all with this one accessory. The Phoenix Technologies Kicklite Recoil Reducing Tactical Stock. Much more than a butt-pad, this will make shooting comfortable, for $100 or less. I personally wouldn't bother changing the forestock, but it comes with it for the price.  http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/82583#

4 - Add a light. There are too many ways to go with light selection here, so I'm just going to tell you the best bang for your buck that I've found, for a shotgun, at the moment. This is all about doing tactical for cheaper, right? This actually requires two "parts," but I'm listing them together. Try a simple clamp mount like the TacStar Universal Mount for $16   and the grippy-skinned Streamlight Scorpion X C4 LED, with 200 lumens of blinding, room illuminating power that won't slip out of the clamp after a tube of buckshot, because it's covered with soft rubber. And at $45, it's a hell of a deal.  
Mount:  http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/6-1018216

Light: http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/9-61519

5 - Add a sling. Don't drop your gun in the middle of a firefight, and don't leave it behind if you need to scoop up the kids and run out the door! A good solid two-point shotgun sling just makes sense. Get one. This one from Blackhawk for $14 also carries 15 extra shells for you. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/8-BH-43SS15BK


  1. I cannot overemphasize to your readers that you should NOT use a tactical light during the zombie apocalypse. Zombies are drawn to light, they are afraid of the dark. All of the most accurate documentation from the field has confirmed this. Zombies, after all, must crawl from their graves -- it's the dark they fear, not light.
    So unless you're trying to "draw fire" to yourself and away from your loved ones, keep those lights off!
    (Infrared is, as far as the latest literature is concerned, perfectly fine.)

    1. I suppose it depends on whether we're talking about zombies in the traditional Haitian Voodoo sense or not? What if they're just reanimated corpses due to a viral outbreak spawned by a secret government biological weapons program? Or, what if they're just teenagers staring at smartphones?

  2. @ Andrew, lol

    I was curious, what kind of choke (if any) do those short barrels have, and are they built in or are they the screw in type?

    1. The short barrels of the 18" variety are typically used only for defensive purposes, and thus usually don't have screw-in, or variable chokes. The cylinder bore is smooth, effectively no choke, allowing you to shoot anything from buckshot, birdshot, or rifled slugs. Being a fixed choke, it also helps keep costs down to manufacture. Thus the $110 for a new barrel.

      You have to remember though that short barrel + cylinder bore = wide shot pattern. Don't try shooting doves with it. The father away you are from your target, the less likely you are to hit it. Even if aimed perfectly, you might miss entirely. Up close though, you stand a much higher chance of hitting the target with a few pellets than a possible miss from a single projectile weapon like a pistol or carbine.


Keep it clean and courteous people. Lively is good, mean spirited is bad. Thanks for participating!


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