The Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic Deer is a pump-action hunting shotgun chambered in 12 gauge. The M870 is a family of pump-action shotguns with a variety of hunting and tactical models. The Synthetic Deer can shoot slugs, but is less expensive than the Express Slug. But with fewer dollars comes fewer features. Actually, it’s pretty bare feature-wise. What it does have is a 20″ rifled barrel, adjustable sights, a Monte Carlo comb that’s set a little lower and a rubber recoil pad. Remington recommends the Synthetic Deer for hunting deer, of course.
|Model 870 Express Synthetic Deer|
|Features:||Slug gun; Monte Carlo comb; and rubber recoil pad|
|Length of Pull:||14"|
|Drop at Comb:||1.5"|
|Drop at Heel:||1.875"|
The word ‘express’ gets thrown around a lot in the firearm’s business
and it seems to mean something different every time. An ‘express’ gun
or cartridge used to refer to one capable of higher than usual
velocities. Later, the term became standard for referring to weapons
designed to hunt exceptionally large or dangerous prey. Remington has
curiously opted to re-define the term as, ‘the cheap-o version of a more
Not that the 870 Express is a bad shotgun. But there is no getting around the fact that this is the lower-cost edition of the 870 Wingmaster. It is a pump-action shotgun available in both 12 and 20 gauge that is well-suited for most knock-around types of shotgun hunting.
Less prone to rattling than the Mossberg 500 (its chief competition), the 870 Express is reasonably well-made for the price. It is mechanically reliable, well-priced, and there are a good number of after-market chokes and parts available to turn it into anything from a turkey gun, to a slug gun for deer, or even a tactical home defense rig. This reliability and flexibility have led to the 870 being literally the world’s best selling shotgun and it has been adopted for use by police forces and militaries around the world.
The 870 Express is great for occasional use in shooting clays or upland bird hunting. If you plan on shooting a lot of skeet or sporting clays then there are better, more specialized tools out there. The 870 Express is something that you buy when you think that you might want to do a little bit of almost everything and you don’t own any other shotguns.
Yes, I said ‘almost’ everything. The 870 has a dirty little secret, which is its alarming tendency to rust. If you stared really hard at an 870 Express on a cloudy day and thought about water then that would probably be enough. This is not something that you could even consider taking out to hunt waterfowl. Nor even turkey on a soggy day. I have taken a 20 gauge 870 express on a September dove hunt in very high Southern humidity and watched the dark brown speckles appear over the course of the afternoon. Water is the kryptonite to Remington’s Superman.
If the rusting issue is a problem for you then you can either upgrade to a higher level of finish (the Marine Magnum version is intended to resist even temporary salt-water immersion) or look at some of the competing shotguns within the price range of the 870 Express. Rust issue aside, it’s a good gun and if you intend to keep it dry then you could have many happy years together.