The Remington 870 DM is a detachable magazine, pump-action shotgun that is garnering a great deal of interest and both positive and negative comments. It isn’t the first detachable magazine shotgun, as the AK types have been in use for some time, and there are detachable aftermarket kits for modifying existing shotguns. However, this is a production pump-action shotgun from Big Green.
Some feel the popularity of the AR-15 rifle led to the detachable magazine shotgun. The tube fed shotgun just worked so well with so little complaint, the only attention it received was a long, extended magazine tube. It is interesting that Remington did not choose a self-loading shotgun. Then there is the magazine, which at six shells is hardly a high-capacity type. Just the same, the shotgun bears study as it offers many advantages for both individuals and police departments.
The pump-action shotgun is a model of reliability, and the Remington 870 among the most respected. Since the pump action shotgun is manually operated, the power, or recoil impulse, of the shells doesn’t matter. Low brass birdshot or Magnum buckshot is equally reliable in the pump-action shotgun. The shooter manipulates the action and a trained shooter can be fast with a smooth shotgun such as the Remington 870.
With some eleven million Remington 870s sold it isn’t an unknown quantity. And while the 870 DM differs significantly from the original 870, it is essentially still a Remington 870 pump action. The DM is offered in several versions including tactical and hunting versions. My shotgun, and the one used in this test, is a standard wood furniture version with bead front sight. There are tactical and hunting versions of the DM listed on the Remington website.
If you use an AR-15-type rifle, the use of a shotgun with a detachable magazine will be simple enough. The original 870 uses a tubular magazine under the barrel. In different versions, this tube holds four to eight shells. The shells are loaded one at a time. The advantage of simply loading the piece with a detachable magazine is obvious.
I must point out that the tube-fed shotgun may be topped off with a shell or two as needed during an action if the need is there. Just the same, if the shotgun is fired empty and you need a reload right now, the removable box magazine is the way to go. It is much faster to change a magazine than to thumb the shells into place one shell at a time.
The DM, like all 870s, may be quickly fired by opening the action dropping a shell in the chamber and firing. The tube under the barrel with the DM is simply a tube that serves as a guide for the forend as it is used to rack the action.
The magazine well looks like an aftermarket addition, but it isn’t. The receiver isn’t a standard 870 and the bolt differs as well. The mechanical operation is a pump action 870 but the parts of the DM are not interchangeable with the 870, in many cases. Even the trigger group is different. However, common accessories such as stocks and forends do interchange and the many different barrel types for the 870 also may be used in the 870 DM.
Operation of the 870 DM is straightforward. The magazine doesn’t load like a rifle magazine, but a shotgun magazine and the shells are pressed firmly to the rear to load. The magazine locks solidly in place with a bit of practice. The magazine release is placed forward of the magazine. Depending on arm length, shooting style and even clothing, when you are firing the shotgun and racking the forend, the arm may contact the magazine. Keep the elbow bent slightly in order to be certain you do not contact the magazine with the arm on the backstroke.
The action is as smooth as any modern Remington 870, and that is pretty smooth. Chances are the shotgun will smooth up with use as my Magpul Tactical Remington 870 has. The advantage or disadvantages of the shotgun with a detachable magazine will be debated. The magazine tube is proven and does not interfere with stashing behind the truck seat or riding in a rack in a police cruiser. The tube is easily loaded, and it is practically unknown for a shotgun magazine tube to fail. (Disregarding cheap plastic aftermarket extensions.)
The magazine is easily loaded for those familiar with magazine fed rifles. An important advantage for safety is that the shotgun is more easily unloaded with the magazine. Rather than pressing tabs in the shotgun to release shells from the tub one at a time, the DM may be unloaded simply by removing the magazine. The DM version holds a total of seven shells, with six in the magazine and one in the chamber.
The tactical versions of the tube fed 870 hold eight in the magazine—standard versions four. I recommend against anyone keeping a shell in the chamber for home defense. The shotgun may be made ready quickly enough to face a threat. Shotgunners often keep a slug or two along with buckshot in a shell carrier on the receiver of the shotgun. With the DM version, a brace of slugs may be kept at ready in a removable magazine.
A trained individual using a standard pump shotgun may change out to a slug in the chamber quickly, changing the gunload is another matter. There are a lot of options and debates concerning the DM, and I am certain it will not replace the traditional tube fed shotgun. New buyers not familiar with tube fed shotgun are probably going to be the most common customer.
Over the course of several days, 220 shells were fired, a goodly number for such a hard-kicking beast. The shotgun is smooth enough and tracks well and I was able to get good results on target after a modest acclimation. Reduced recoil buckshot is a proven law enforcement load that should prove ideal for home defense as well.
Reducing the velocity of the buckshot load results in a tighter pattern with the 18-inch barrel Remington. The 870 DM had no problem handling this loading. Patterns were as good as with any Remington shotgun. I used Remington 12 gauge 00 buckshot in the Managed Recoil line. Results were excellent.
I have also used the new #4 buckshot loading in the Ultimate Defense line. Results were good. I think the Remington DM is a modern shotgun with much appeal. It is useful for defense against dangerous animals or light cover if needed by simply switching to slugs. The Remington 870 DM is a useful and reliable shotgun per our testing. For many, the 870 DM will be a great improvement.
Do you prefer magazine-fed or tube-fed shotguns? Which would you prefer for self-defense, hunting, or competition? How does the Remington 870 DM rank against your favorite shotgun? Share your answers in the comment section.
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