Remington Model 870 410 TSS Turkey
New for 2020 is Remington's 870 .410 turkey gun and it is a dandy. It comes with a 25 inch vent rib barrel, threaded for screw chokes, and only one choke tube is supplied. The SKU is 81173 and the MSRP is $699, something like $615 street price. The entire shotgun is dressed in RealTree Timber Camo.
The weight of my example is 6 lbs., 3 oz. That includes the supplied and installed Picatinny Rail and ghost right sights. The trigger is excellent, breaking at 3 lbs., 3 oz. No trigger work is necessary on this shotgun, it is good-to-go right out of the box. The weight is a good level, for between the 6 lbs. 3 oz. and the SuperCell pad, it is a super-soft shooter with the heaviest TSS .410 loads. Some of the 4-1/2 – 5 lb. single-shot .410's out there are surprisingly a bit harsh to shoot due to their extreme light weight with TSS loads. Not so with this 870: you'll be glad you went this route.
The TruGlo rail and ghost ring sight set up is superb. Sometimes, peep sights are unfortunately called ghost rings but this is a ghost ring. The human eye can instantly find the center of a circle and that's what gives ghost ring sights blazingly fast target acquisition. Shame on Remington for supplying only one choke tube, as this handy little shotgun isn't a one-trick pony. It is an ideal squirrel gun and, with slugs, an easy to use, reliable HD shotgun as well.
This may be hard to get your head around, but an Apex Turkey Ninja .410 load of 7/8 oz. #9.5 TSS at 1060 fps outperforms a 1300 fps 1-3/4 oz. #6 buffered lead turkey load at 40 yards. You can forget the annoying noise and recoil. It is fun for Mom, the kids, or anyone with a bad shoulder, and so forth. It is fun for grandpa and great-grandpa as well: fun for everyone, actually.
Although my first shotgun was a .410 I was given when I was five years old (a Mossberg .410 bolt-action) I didn't care for it. Shortly thereafter, I used a Crescent SxS .410 with a cut-down stock to take my first wild pheasant. Nevertheless, I still hold a general disdain for the .410 as a hunting gun . . . until this 870, with TSS shot. With 11/16 oz. lead loads, you're good for squirrels, with #8 or #9 loads, some have found the .410 to be a good snake gun. Though not anyone's very best option, the Winchester Super-X rifled slug (¼ oz., 1800 fps) #X413RS5 that comes in a 5 round pack with a deer on the box, and is a decent intimate self-defense round if a .410 is all you have.
As for chokes, only one extended choke tube is supplied. It is hard to get a really lousy pattern with TSS loads, but I'll test the factory choke and a .024 inch constriction Briley, along with Apex “Turkey Ninja” (7/8 oz.) and Apex PT-410 (27/32 oz.) loads for starters. Apex is clever enough to use #9-1/2 TSS as opposed to #9, yielding 350 pellets in the lighter PT-410 shell. The radical, extreme constrictions as in 12 gauge TSS tubes aren't necessary (or helpful) in the .410 bore.
Local hunting regulations are a moving target, but more and more states are making the .410 bore with TSS loads legal for turkey. They well should, if they want to sell more tags and get more hunters out in the field. The .410 is a problem solver, particularly for young and old. If you have a family member using Coumadin or other anti-coagulant, you know how easily they can bruise or bleed.
The Remington 870 .410 Turkey is the first truly enjoyable .410 I've used in years. It has enough mass to feel like a real shotgun, the factory ghost-ring sighting system (adjustable for drop and windage) sure beats the heck out of shooting off the bead, it is low-profile compared to many bulbous red dot sights, and of course it never needs batteries and cannot fog up. Add in the light trigger, the faster lock-time compared to an exposed hammer gun, the SuperCell recoil pad, and you'll quickly be able to tell why I think Remington has a truly superb little turkey, pest control, and squirrel gun here.
To see what an Apex PT-410 turkey load produces at 40 yards, see https://youtu.be/XuHHUTVwYO0 . For more info on the Remington, see https://www.remington.com/shotguns/pump-action/model-870/model-870-410-turkey-tss .
Copyright 2020 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.