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 Post subject: Comparing Win SXP Defender and Rem 870 for HD
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:01 pm
Posts: 15
I own a Win SXP Defender 12 ga, and bought it for HD. At the time I was considering what gun to get, it came down to the one I got vs. a Rem 870 "Express Tactical". Both were about the same price. I decided on the SXP from some posts here from folks who had owned both but liked the SXP better (for various reasons). And I did shoulder both and cycled both, and the SXP seemed maybe just a wee bit better in some way, but not by much. But since I got it, I can clearly see the 870 has a MUCH bigger following, so it makes me wonder if maybe the 870 might not have been an overall better choice. After all, could so many people be all wrong? If not, where did I go wrong in my research?

In short, I like the SXP. It is easy to shoot, the action cycles smoothly and quickly, and it seems to be designed simply and built well. Comparing the specs, they are almost identical except for the following: 1) the SXP holds 5+1, the 870 holds 6+1; 2) the 870 is a little over 1 pound heavier than the SXP. The 870 has tons of add-ons available whereas the SXP has almost none. I guess I don't care about the add-ons, nor the weight difference since I will not be carrying it for a long time. In fact, the extra weight might be an advantage for recoil. And the number of rounds is probably not a big deal either. The one thing I do not like on the SXP is that loading is not real smooth. When the round is pressed into the tube, it seems to catch a bit right at the end when the shell rim hits the shell retainer as it snaps in. But maybe I can 'smith that out.

Yeah, I know, I should have bought them both, right? But seriously, for those of you that considered them both, especially those of you that actually have had or have used both, what made you go with one or the other? I just can't help but wonder if my decision was the best. Thanks.

Lou


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 Post subject: Re: Comparing Win SXP Defender and Rem 870 for HD
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:15 am
Posts: 239
Location: Houston, Tx
The 870 tactical is not as great as you may think. I had to do a lot of work to mine to get it to my liking. Which is fine by me since i'm mechanically inclined and don't mind doing research and DIY work. But addons do not make a shotgun great.

I have a Winchester 1300 Defender which is the predecessor to the SXP. I like the action on the 1300 a lot more. It's a lot smoother to me and I can get rounds off much faster if needed. In stock set up the 1300 is better in many ways. Smoother action, easy loading and a bit lighter so it swings easier. You can make up some of that weight by adding a shell carrier on the receiver.

I practice the action with a-zoom snap caps. The 1300 has no issues loading and ejecting them even with the rims all chewed up from use. My 870 will double feed them on rounds number 3-5 every time. It doesn't double feed with live ammo at the range as the shell rims are in spec and correct but I'm sure the chances are higher that it may.

Here's what I've done on my 870:
Replaced trigger housing with metal 870 police version
Vang big dome safety and metal follower.
Replaced extension tube with custom version that's been polished with steel wool. The stock version would have shells bind. (I absolutely hate two piece extensions because of this. I look for one piece now or will keep the 870 as a 4+1 shot)
Polished chamber with steel wool (Cheap birdshot shells would sometimes stick and had to be forced out)
Polished the bolt contact points to smooth the action.

I also had an issue with shell rims catching on my mossberg 500 loading gate. A dremel and some polish could take care of that. The 1300 has never had that problem, not sure how the SXP differs.

So far the Winchester has been the best of the 4 pump actions I've owned. I've had no problems with feeding, loading or the finish and the action with rotating bolt is the best out of the box I have felt.

Even with all the work I've done on the 870, the 1300 is the one that gets HD duty. It only has a Hi-viz MPB and a CDM Gear BMT rail, TLR-1 and a shortened stock to 13" LOP with limb saver pad.

Lastly, the finish on my 870 gets rust a lot faster than the blued 1300. I live in Houston where humidity is pretty much always 100%. I have to wipe it with light oil if I don't take it out of the safe every few months.

I think your choice of the Winchester is fine if it doesn't win the popularity contest.


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 Post subject: Re: Comparing Win SXP Defender and Rem 870 for HD
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:26 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:01 pm
Posts: 15
Thanks ghost, I appreciate the comments. I made some poor-man's snap caps by reloading a couple of shells with spent primer, no powder, and 1 oz of shot. But I will check out the snap caps you mention.

Lou


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 Post subject: Re: Comparing Win SXP Defender and Rem 870 for HD
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:15 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Kentucky
Louca wrote:
... I made some poor-man's snap caps by reloading a couple of shells with spent primer, no powder, and 1 oz of shot. But I will check out the snap caps you mention.

Lou

Lou,

Buy the commercial snap caps sooner, rather than later. The commercial snap caps should never be confused with a real shell. They look different in the light. They feel different in the dark.

The risk of confusing a home made dummy shell that is made from a real shell, with an actual real shell is more than I am willing to live with. All it takes is one moment of inattention or confusion between some real shells sitting on a table and your home made dummy rounds and you have a live shell in the chamber.

You are an adult, but think through the risks and consider how simple it could be months from now to make an accidental confusion. Your dummy shells would look very much the same in the light, and feel very much the same in the dark. If you somehow got a real shell mixed in with the dummy shells, your dry fire exercise will rapidly turn in to a live fire scenario in your home.

_________________
Cancer survivor since 2011


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 Post subject: Re: Comparing Win SXP Defender and Rem 870 for HD
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:16 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:01 pm
Posts: 15
Quote:
Buy the commercial snap caps sooner, rather than later. The commercial snap caps should never be confused with a real shell ... The risk of confusing a home made dummy shell that is made from a real shell, with an actual real shell is more than I am willing to live with.

Yep, you're right on the money there. Just happened to me the other night. I was polishing the opening of the magazine tube on the SXP because loading the tube met with some resistance. As I made changes, I wanted to see how much it was improving the loading so I used my "fake" cartridges. BUT ... just like the scenario you mentioned, I had five live rounds sitting on the bench which I had just taken out.

My fake rounds were made from Remington hulls (which are green) and my real ammo is always in red shells. So as I was going to test loading the tube, I almost grabbed one of the live rounds by mistake. It was right then and there I knew the danger of having these fake ones around. So, you are spot on, point well taken.

Actually, I do have some 12 ga snap caps, but they are much shorter than a 2 3/4-inch case, so I didn't feel they would be a good representation of the real thing. I will see if I can get some loner ones.

Lou


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 Post subject: Re: Comparing Win SXP Defender and Rem 870 for HD
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:22 pm
Posts: 60
For the last 15 years I have been shooting an 870 express while teaching tactical shotgun courses to military and law enforcement entities. I bought it back in 1998 for about $200 I think. It was the 5 shot version. The only addition I made was a 18" Vang barrel. In 15 years I think that it was cleaned maybe 3 times. I always made sure it was properly lubricated though. Part of my reasoning for not cleaning was that I wanted to prove the reliability of this gun, and to see what may fail when not properly maintained. If a gun doesn't work when dirty, it ain't worth having. I probably had over 50,000 rounds through it and every thing from 7 1/2 shot to rifled slugs. I never had one problem that I remember. I would brush the chamber area about every 4-5000 rounds when it would get a little sticky. I taught everyone from brand new sailors with Mossberg 500s to Marines with their new Bennellis to SEAL team ninjas with various shotties and lots of law enforcement agencies with their various guns. That $200 Wal-Mart gun ran like a champ. Those with their semi-autos were amazed that I (and others after training) could actually shoot their pump guns just as fast or faster and often more accurately than others with semi-autos.

I just bought the SXP camp/field combo in February and really like this gun as well. I have a few thousand rounds through it now with no issues. The only issue I had was that the stock loosened up a bit after my first trip to the range. No big deal, I retightened and have not had a problem since. It is fast, light and accurate. The two barrels make it easy to switch from field/clays to HD/tactical. For the price, I don't think you can beat it.

The only advantage that I have noticed that the Remington has over the Winchester is how to conduct a changeover (select slug). Remington's design allows for a more efficient method.

While I don't have near as many rounds or years on the SXP yet, I find it to be a very good shotgun. I'm not a big fan of hanging a lot of "Gucci Gear" off a shotgun. A light might be nice, but besides that, I like to keep it slick. I have seen too many lights, lasers, scopes, eotechs, aim points, side saddles, ghost ring sights, and everything else fall off the things or interrupt with the functioning. Also, unless you're a breacher, leave the pistolgrip off the thing. And to improve your skills, go to a good training course. Then, get to a clays range to really fine tune your shotgun skills. Trap, skeet and sporting clays are great ways to improve your overall shooting skills. If you can consistently hit a small clay target going 40+ mph in under a second you will have no problem defending yourself if it comes to that.

Both guns are great, Mossbergs and Benellis are good guns as well. I have shot them all and have had good and bad experiences with them all. The point here is that you can get a poorly made gun from any manufacturer. Get one that fits you well, has the action release and safety in areas that are not difficult to manipulate and especially one that will fill the role that you intend to use it for.

Just my opinion....


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