Turkey Season Makeover: How to Trick Out Your Old 870 Pump Shotgun

My left-handed Remington 870 Wingmaster dates to around 1979. It has a 30-inch Full choke barrel and a slick action further honed by years of shooting. Despite its shiny finish, you could take it to the woods and kill a turkey with it. It's the kind of gun people used to shoot turkeys with all the time back when I started hunting turkeys in the 80s. However, as the 870 is the most popular shotgun ever made, there are tons of aftermarket parts available for it. I gave the gun a Turkey Season Makeover: piece by piece I changed out almost everything until not much of the orginal gun remained besides the receiver, action and magazine. In all I added $998 worth of parts. Here's what happens when you invest $1000 into an old pump gun:
**Timney 870 Trigger Fix ** $89.95
The Trigger Fix kit lets you put a 2, 3 or 4-pound trigger into any 870. It's user-installable with a little effort. It is also well worth the time and trouble to have a light, rifle-quality pull on a shotgun that's meant to be used like a rifle. Timneytriggers.com
Wilson Combat Safety from Scattergun Technologies. $16.00
An extra large safety button is easier to find on those early season hunts when your fingers are numb and you're wearing gloves. I know we're talking about spring turkey hunting, but some early northern hunts can be cold. I have hunted in eight inches of snow on opening day in Iowa. Besides it's cheap and takes only minutes to install yourself. Wilsoncombat.com
Weaver Saddle Mount $20
This polymer no-gunsmithing mount slides on to the receiver and attaches firmly with bolts that replace the trigger group pins. A set screw through the top tightens the mount on. The polymer mount is surprisingly strong. Being plastic, it can't damage the stock or receiver during installation. Weaveroptics.com
Remington Shur Shot Stock and Forearm $69
The ShurShot stock has a raised comb for use with optics, an ergonomically friendly grip, and a shorter length of pull (13 5/8" inches) that makes it easier to shoulder when you're sitting against a tree. It also has an integral swivel stud. Remington.com
26-inch Rem Choked Barrel $179-$199
A shorter barrel handles better in the woods and the new ones are threaded for choke tubes, too. I had this particular matte-finished 26-inch Rem choked ribless barrel lying around from another gun project, but you can buy accessory barrels including a 21-inch, choke tubed, iron sighted barrel for $199. Remington.com
Remington Universal Magazine Tube Cap and Swivel Stud 19.99
Buy it, screw it on. Installation doesn't get any simpler, and a sling is a necessity if you cover miles hunting turkeys. I robbed mine from another 870, but you can order one from Cabelas.com
HeviShot Choke Tube 69.95
Back when this gun was new a standard Full choke and magnum lead loads could kill turkeys reliably to 40 yards. Screw in a super-tight choke and shoot tungsten-iron pellets through it and you can drop birds dead at 50 yards. In my experience, costly aftermarket choke tubes work, and so do much less expensive branded tubes like the HS Strut Undertaker. Hevishot.com
Aimpoint 9000 $422
Red dot sights provide fast, precise, two-eye open shot placement with tight patterns. Aimpoints aren't cheap, but they are rugged and combat-proven. A single battery will power one for five years so your chances of a having your dot disappear on a hunt are virtually nil. Aimpoint.com
Avery Power Hunter Sling 24.99
A padded neoprene sling makes a gun ride comfortably on your shoulder and the neoprene adds some give. Avery slings have a handy loop for your thumb, too. Averyoutdoors.com
Stoney Point Rapid Pivot Bipod (56.95) and magazine cap adapter $14.99
A bipod is perfect for hunters who shoot out of blinds, less necessary for those who like to sit against a tree and rest the gun on one knee. This one is very clever: the mag cap adapter installs easily despite having a daunting number of parts. The bipod clips onto and off the adapter very easily, yet provides a solid aiming platform while allowing you to traverse the gun. Stoneypoint.com
Underbrush 3-D tape 14.99 roll
Turkeys have very sharp eyesight and while I don't believe they can pick out a gun, anything that breaks up your outline helps you stay hidden. This tape from Underbrush goes on quickly and has a powerful adhesive backing that keeps it in place. It comes off fairly easily as well when the season ends. Leafycamo.com
The finished gun in the studio, and then ...
... me, with the gun, in the woods. Except for the sling, almost nothing I added to my old gun was necessary. Even so, all the aftermarket parts definitely made the gun into a more effective turkey getter. I'd rank the sight and saddle mount as the next most important additions, followed by the shorter, higher stock. The shorter barrel and choke tube make the gun handier and increase its range by 10 yards. The trigger fix really does improve the pull and the Underbrush tape, as you can see here, makes the gun nearly invisible.