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Thread: Bit the Boolit

  1. #1

    Bit the Boolit

    Hi all! Long time lurker, just trying to read and learn. Soak up what I can first so that when I do start asking questions, I'll have some idea to begin with. And yeah, this is my first post.

    For quite some time I have been looking to get a big bore rifle for 125 yard shooting using all the lead and hard alloys I have accumulated, and was leaning towards the 45-70 Marlin lever...all for the right reasons . I had pretty much set my mind to it and frequented all the LGS looking for the right used one. One day I was out to complete this errand and on the rack was an early '90s 870 Express Magnum with a 20" 1/35 rifled bore for $250 OTD. Looked clean and possibly never fired. Then it hit me...this is my 125 yard big bore!

    I'll need to drill and tap for top of receiver mount on my bench mill. Determine which scope to top it with. Then acquire a mold(s). There are a couple of interesting top options and I have decided to go with the Lyman .525 or the 2 cavity clone. I have ~30 pounds of pure lead, so I'll have plenty that should drop right around that .525, use 2.75 hulls and the target/game wad peddles should work well enough to prevent a bunch of leading anyway as best as I have gleaned from reading through the threads here. Then I have a bunch of hard alloy that I have no idea of what they may drop out at, but I should be able to push them out of the barrel at higher velocities anyway. In the end, I'm looking for the best accuracy I can get out of this Remmy.

    I'm really looking forward to this newest addiction. Thanks all for tolerating my post of excitement.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    I had just addressed another person on accurizing an 870, so I'm just going to copy and paste the text.

    When I started, it was an old 870 12 gauge, that started as a bird/buck combo. The slug barrel is a 20" smooth bore, fixed IC choke with open sights. It always shot decent enough, but with my dads aging eyes, he could hardly keep them on paper anymore. At first he bought a saddle mount that went through the trigger pin holes. I had tried the same thing years ago on my Benelli Nova, and I can say with certainty that saddle mounts are junk. There is no way you can get a tight enough fit without binding the gun, and still have any kind of accuracy. I even tried oversized screws that I had to pound through the gun, and I could still wiggle the mount by hand. After a failure to sight in the 870 with the saddle mount, I purchased a Da-Mar mount, that I believe to be the best available for the 870. It uses 6 screws instead of the typical 3 or 4, and 4 of them are right in the meat of the receiver. After that, we went to the range and had accuracy like you describe. The first couple shots touched, then it went way off, then it shot patterns. I cut up a beer can to use as shims around the barrel, and carefully got 2 or 3 thicknesses in. There is a lot of slop in a shotgun barrel. A beer can is something about .004" thick, so this 870's barrel was undersized by .008" or more, and on top of that, the loop on the end of the mag tube is sloppy too. After shimming, the scope was way off, but accuracy was fantastic. I went home, and did what is known as pinning the barrel. I tightened the mag tube nut as much as I could by hand, then drilled and tapped right through the receiver on the left side, into the barrel extension. I added a single shim to kind of keep the barrel straight. After grinding the bolt to be flush on the inside, I tightened it down good with loctite. Topped with a leupold 1-4x, it is now the most accurate smooth bore slug gun I have personally seen. I've only done it once, but I've shot a 4" 5 shot group at 100 yards with estate 1oz slugs. Most slugs are closer to 8" groups, but the thing is an absolute tack driver to 75 yards.

    The key points I would like to make are

    1. Do research on "pinning the barrel". This is very important.
    2. Use a Da-mar scope mount, they are fantastic

    I would recommend trying to find a clearance Leupold VX-1, either the 1-4x (my pick) or 2-7x. Leupold has dropped the VX-1 line in favor of the VX-Freedom. I've been told that the VX-Freedom is the VX-2, but at a much lower price. If you cant find a VX-1 for less than say $125, I'd go right to the freedom, you get better glass, and you can find them sub $200. One thing to note is the parallax on leupold rifle scopes is set at 150 yards, and shotgun scope 75 yards. They don't make a freedom model shotgun scope, but I'm pretty sure you can send the scope in to have it adjusted. I don't think it will matter either way though.

    I think the lyman slug is a good one to start with. You can actually buy the slug from a few places to try before buying a mold. Gardeners cache is one. I assume you have not played with rifled shotguns much, so just be aware you will not get the accuracy of a rifle. 4" groups at 100 yards is doing good. 125 yards is not too much to ask with the right combo, but beyond that I never found anything as far as hunting accuracy goes. If you are just looking to shoot paper or steel, then you have chosen a very fun platform. Slugs are big enough you can often see them in the scope on a sunny day on those 200+ yard shots.

  3. #3
    Thanks Mega! Yes this is a new genre for me for sure. 4" @ 100 will do just fine. Paper and steel will be on the menu for sure but I also intend to pack it in the back hills and use it to dispatch any potentially dangerous beasts if need. I'm wanting to avoid a big bore side arm for that endeavor.

    Looking forward to getting advice from those that have gone down this road before me.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master bikerbeans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Wait for Hogtamer's input, he knows how to get dem 870 rifled guns to shoot slugs!


  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Hogtamer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    East central GA, Appling near Augusta
    Welcome to the big lead forum sport! You've got a good start with the Wingmaster and the Lyman 525 is a killer and easily loaded. I've done and undone most anything you can do to an 870 so fwiw I'll give you some shortcuts and try to save you the hard won experience to an end that works for me.
    1) Your new 73 cal rifle packs a punch since you're now forgetting weighing bullet in grains, we talk ounzes in this forum! Get a good made or grind to fit recoil pad 1st! I like the thick soft limbsavers about $45 bucks. You will thank me later. If you have to cut the stock to fit YOU, so be it.

    2) Optics...Don't drill and tap your gun just yet. After several fails I found a saddle mount that is perfectly adequate here https://www.cheaperthandirt.com/prod...12274523760.do For the scope I found the nikon slughunter 2-7 with bdc reticles a good choice, again after several fails. My stuff gets hard use and this combo has proved reliable. You'll need mounts of course and leave yourself ample eye relief for reasons you'll soon discover! I can shoot 3-4" groups with the lyman 525 @ 100 yds from a rest.

    3) Trigger. If you're a rifleman the trigger will seem atrocious! I grew up yanking shot gun triggers but a little touch up helps. Since you'll be taking replacing the two trigger unit pins with screws provided for the saddle mount, pull the unit out and see the trigger spring. If you cut a round off the spring with good cutters and polish (NOT grind) the hammer and sear you will smooth things up considerably.

    4) Barrel fit. If that gun was used only for shooting the occasional slug during deer season chances are it's pretty tight. A poor man's fix is a aluminum can shim between the barrel and receiver here http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=197756 Wouldn't hurt to do that anyway, easy as can be.

    5) Lyman load. This is the best I have using lots of components and works as well as I've seen.

    Whew! Good luck and welcome again.

    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
    Leonard Ravenhill

  6. #6
    Thanks Hogtamer for taking the time to welcome me with your response! I had been collecting lead and alloy to cast for rifle projectiles, but automatically switched gears when I acquired the 870. I figured it was a great use for it all and I have plenty (approx 70-80 pounds pure and alloy) to cast some big chunks to sling down range. I already know chances are high that I'll shoot the 870 a great deal less than the amount of rifle rounds I send and casting for rifle in that great of number seems to me to take away from actual range time. I do follow "conventional wisdom" in regard to riflery, but no one in any of my circles have made any serious attempts with this type of endeavor and it provides me the with the perfect opportunity to step out of my own comfort zone.

    1. I assumed the repeated recoil would be an issue. Thanks for the validation.
    2. The saddle mount idea had me a bit spooked just because of personal experiences with high power riflery. I may very well head your recommendation on the mount. I'm stoked about the Nikon scope recommendation! I'm a big fan of their glass.
    3. Yes, the gritty trigger was noticed almost immediately...stone polishing should alleviate much of that issue. And spring shortening is a trick I've used to get sub-sonic loads to cycle reliably on the 10/22 and others so I understand the relevance for softening trigger pull.
    4. I intend to install a +3 mag tube so while I'm at it, I may as well get the barrel/receiver tightened up.
    5. I was planning to use the hulls and wads I acquired when I bought a bulk lot which came with two older Pacific 12ga, presses but I may just designate those for shooting clays with the wife and friends.

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    For that price, I'd give that saddle mount a try. Stay away from Weaver and B-Square. Those are the ones I tried, and they are junk. I forgot about the recoil pad, yes the standard 870 pad is about as soft as an offroad tire. No surprise, the Lyman shotgun manual is what you should get, and has lots of data for that slug. I have not played with them much, but had good results with a Federal 12S4 wad and Blue dot.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    this saved my shoulder when working long range 06 loads in 10 shot groups


  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    The Abyss
    Quote Originally Posted by sporterizin View Post
    Thanks Mega! Yes this is a new genre for me for sure. 4" @ 100 will do just fine. Paper and steel will be on the menu for sure but I also intend to pack it in the back hills and use it to dispatch any potentially dangerous beasts if need. I'm wanting to avoid a big bore side arm for that endeavor.

    Looking forward to getting advice from those that have gone down this road before me.
    For this purpose, it's hard to beat a bead-sighted, short-barrelled shotgun loaded with Brenneke's!
    "We'll kill them ALL!"

    Optimus Prime at the Battle of Chicago

  10. #10
    Got this much closer.
    Click image for larger version. 

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check