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Pimp your pump

Twenty years ago, JAKES Country Editor Matt Lindler purchased a Remington 870 shotgun for hunting and home defense. Over the past two decades, it has killed nearly 50 gobblers, including multiple Grand Slams, the Devil’s Road Gobbler, the Hurricane Tom, the Amish Ghost, the Hot Lunch Gobbler, the Box Canyon Beast and a host of other memorable turkeys.

Ten years ago, when I arrived at the NWTF from Illinois, I was hunting turkeys with a teeth-rattling, shoulder-separating 3½-inch cannon. I needed something that would shoot the new 3-inch denser-than-lead loads without mule kicking me. I convinced Lindler to part with his favorite old turkey gun, since he had bought another. I guess he felt sorry for me, although the wad of cash I offered for the gun helped convince him to sell it.

“It’s a superb gun for knocking down turkeys,” Lindler recalled, “I still regret selling it, especially to P.J., who doesn’t have the greatest track record for taking care of things.”

Two decades of road trips and riding around behind the seat of a truck have taken its toll on the 870’s express finish, so I decided to give this turkey-killing machine a facelift.

As I take new hunters out during Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. events, I want it to be adjustable to fit them, easy to use, and still knock down birds as it always has.

Thanks to Lindler, who did all of the work on our old gun, and my friends at Blackhawk, Weaver, Federal Premium Ammunition, Champion Shooting Gear, Primos Hunting Calls and Wheeler Engineering, the next 20 years should be interesting.

A new coat

The shotgun was overdue for a new finish. Here’s how we added a couple layers of Wheeler’s Cerama-Coat custom spray-on armor to the Remington 870.

  1. Disassemble the gun: remove stocks, barrel, receiver and trigger group
  2. Clean all metal parts with a quality solvent
  3. Use 0000 steel wool to remove any traces of rust
  4. Completely degrease metal components that will be treated with Cerama-Coat to ensure a good bond between the metal and coating. We used a combination of Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber and chlorine-free brake cleaner.
  5. Mask off any parts of the trigger group, barrel and receiver you do not wish to coat, such as the threads on the end of the magazine tube or the barrel extension that inserts into the receiver.
  6. Insert a wooden dowel into the barrel or magazine tube so you can handle it without touching the metal.
  7. Evenly spray the metal gun parts with Cerama-Coat being careful not to build up too much: It will run and you’ll have to start over. I recommend using disposable gloves when spraying, as the finish does not wash off easily.
  8. Allow all treated parts to air-dry for 30 minutes between coats. Two or three coats should give you a nice, drip-free, durable finish.
  9. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  10. Use wire to hang all of the parts from the oven racks and allow it to bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Plastic parts should be cured in a 200 F oven for 120 minutes.
  12. Turn off the oven and allow the parts to cool to room temperature before handling.
  13. Oil all uncoated metal surfaces with quality gun oil and wipe off any excess.

Stocking up

Since we had such a pretty new finish, we installed a new Blackhawk! Specops Stock to replace the aftermarket plastic one Lindler added more than a dozen years ago. The Blackhawk! stock reduces felt recoil by up to 85 percent, a nice option for young and smaller-framed shooters or those sensitive to recoil. This also allows for easy target reacquisition in case of the occasional miss and need for a follow-up shot. The stock has seven position adjustments to customize the length of pull for each shooter. The pistol grip also adds a great deal of stability when aiming.

Eye candy

Since the Remington 870 was not tapped for a scope mount, we installed a Weaver scope saddle, securing it using the trigger-group’s existing holes. The scope is a Weaver Kaspa Series 1-4 x 24 mm with a vertical turkey zone reticle. The reticle helps judge distance by comparing the space between the head and base of the neck. At 40 yards, the head and neck should just fit in the small center oval. For fun, we added a Weaver Micro Dot holographic sight to the top of the front scope ring, for close birds.

Finishing touches

When hunting from a blind, an adjustable Primos Trigger Stick bi-pod rest is an arm saver. On days when I don’t want optics, or for home defense purposes, I can remove the saddle mount and use the Champion 3mm x 5-inch-long fiber-optic Easyhit Shotgun Sight. It’s great in low light conditions and is easier to acquire in my sight picture than the old metal bead.

Finally, to call a wary bird those last few steps, a Primos Bombshell call can be strapped to the barrel. It is a tunable push-button call with a pull string to allow the hunter to create calming clucks and purrs without moving too much in the shooting position.

It’s a little heavier to carry with the new stocks, but I will be more than happy to tote the extra pound when it drops the first gobbler that ends up on the wrong end of the barrel. — article and photos by P.J. Perea

Champion Target
Federal Premium
Weaver Optics
Wheeler Engineering