Remington 870 Competition – Hidden Features!

So a friend of mine handed my this Remington 870 Competition, and asked me if I would like to do a video on it…and my immediate thought was, why would I? The 870 is one of the most iconic and mass-produced shotguns of all time, and there really isn’t anything about them that isn’t fairly well known, right? Well, I was wrong because this wasn’t just any 870. It was an 870 Competition:

As a followup, I should say that the 870 Competition was introduced in 1981 and about 5500 were made, but I have gotten conflicting information on whether they were discontinued in 1982 or 1986, or perhaps they were all made in 1981 but it took until 1986 for them all to sell. I have a question in with Remington on that subject, but as of the time of this writing I have not gotten an answer.


  1. Without a doubt one of my favorite weapons is the “iconic 870” Remington pump in 12 gauge of either 2 ¾ or 3 inch Magnum. I have shot many variations of the 870 but I have never seen one of these. However, I can attest that shooting an un-buffered 870 on the combat range all day is a sure prescription for the need of some serious pain liniment at the end of the day. My favorite of my four is a just-barely-legal slug gun with a variable scope and a sling used mostly as a “door buster” for entry. It will consistently put a slug through the bottom of a coke can at 50 yards or so. It has been loaded with many test loads including one round that was a mini shaped charge design grenade designed to combat vehicles driven by drug “mules.” The slug was somewhat heavier than a regular slug or the Brenneke and did the intended job quite well but it was VERY painful to shoot! As to why an 870, or any other shotgun for that matter, is so effective in a combat situation, please see the Brenneke tests at ( If anyone ever comes up with an effective recoil buffer for an 870 multi-shot it would be wonderful. But for a “real trip” of a shotgun combination, I absolutely love the old Atchisson A-12. Now if we had just had the a recoil buffer and Brenneke Penetrators back then …. Maybe my right shoulder would still work without the “stripped-gear” sounds it makes these days!

    • Hi, Bill :

      Instead of the mini-shaped charge grenade cartridge, what about using a DDupleks Dupolit, Monolit, Hexolit or AP-20 steel slug shotgun round? These have an excellent and proven reputation for accuracy, range, maximum penetration through hard cover ( and armor too, depending on which particular sub-type and application you are looking at ) while still being relatively simple, uncomplicated and wholly practical in design and function. And you wouldn’t have to worry about excessive ( and painful ) recoil either. Combine these cartridges with a recoil-absorbing stock and / or a Sims Limbsaver , Pachmayr or similar recoil-attenuating buttpad, and you might have the best of both worlds.

      • This was back in the 1970s-1990s and most of the modern stuff did not exist back then. The rounds we used were designed to penetrate reinforced car doors. If we hit the door glasses or windshield/back window the metallic spray would kill everyone inside. We could disable a vehicle quite quickly. We also made some rounds with steel ball bearings in “cups” that would penetrate car doors quite well. Another round was a steel penetrator covered with lead that would shed and let the steel “pellet” go on into the block and lock an engine up. At one point we tried “recoil reducers” in the buttstock but they were not that effective. A good recoil pad worked to some extent but still delivered quite a kick. We also made rounds with lead “wire” instead of lead pellets or buckshot. They were devastating in a room but would not penetrate a normal sheetrock wall. They came out as a “wad” instead of a pattern. They were for close-in work where you did NOT want penetration past the target. Quite messy. Lead Buckshot crimped onto a short section of stranded stainless steel wire usually used on down-riggers on fishing boats also made a very servicable “string shot” round.

        • “We also made some rounds with steel ball bearings in “cups” that would penetrate car doors quite well”
          Russian shotgun КС-23 can fire «Баррикада» cartridge, which is designed to stop vehicles, it is effective to 100 meters, it is steel spitzer bullet.
          BTW: Did you know that КС-23 bore was inherited from 23mm AA gun – this shotgun was designed to use 23mm AA gun barrels which fail to pass quality control.
          Also exist single-shot top-break pistol designed to fire КС-23 ammunition – it is called Туляк, see photos:

          “close-in work”
          Tula Arms Factory has designed their own 12 gauge close fight shotgun – RMB-93 (its hunting variant RMO-93 is named Рысь meaning Lynx). It is shotgun of unorthodox construction. It weights only 2.6 kg, has magazine over barrel, and unlike other shotgun its sequence is: FIRE – pump forward – pump backward – FIRE – … not FIRE – pump backward – pump forward – FIRE – …

          • Additional info:
            RMB-93 is designed to fire 12/70 i.e. 12 gauge, 70mm long (12 gauge – 2-3/4″ shotshell in US parlance)

          • Hi, Daweo :

            Really interesting information that ought to get a lot of people thinking and analyzing. Thanks for sharing!

        • Thanks very much for your reply, Bill — the information is much appreciated. The last part of what you wrote concerning the improvised “string shot” was very interesting — pretty much a miniature version of the old naval chain shot, I would think. The damage inflicted on soft targets must have been quite serious.

      • Earl:
        I web-searched the rounds you listed and at first glance they appear to be at least equal to or better than some of the hand-made penetrator rounds we made “way back when.” I would like to see the steel slugs tested against a cast iron engine block. I bet the block would not survive as anything more useful than a boat anchor. Thanks for the suggestions! I appreciate it. I would like to see one of the “spool slugs” (also known as Diablos)up against something like a Cape Buffalo, Bison or Brown Bear. I think it would take out both shoulders.

        • You’re very welcome, Bill. The AP-20 round in particular is specifically designed as an armor-piercing shotgun slug for dedicated military and LE usage, and as far as I know is not currently available to the civilian market. However, experience with the other types of steel slugs manufactured by DDupleks ( Dupolit, Monolit and Hexolit sub-types — read the specifications and choose accordingly ) clearly shows that they still have considerable penetration capabilities against hard targets, so access to the AP-20 might be a moot point for 99% of users’ needs. You are probably quite right in assuming that the appropriate spool slugs would easily take down full-sized dangerous big game.

          I’m not trying to endorse any particular ammunition supplier, but I have found SG Ammo ( ) to be the most reliable and consistent vendor for DDupleks products, as they are for Vympel Golden Tiger ( probably the best non-corrosive full Mil-Spec 7.62mm x 39 and 5.45mm x 39 ) and other high-quality brands at a cost-effective price. Midway USA also carries DDupleks ammunition, although they are slightly more expensive.

          Hope this helps a bit.

      • I don’t get why there aren’t more pump-auto hybrids around. AFAIK, it’s just the SPAS-12 and the Benelli M3, but the design seems like it’d be almost ideal. You get the soft recoil of a semiauto when firing standard loads, and for ultra-light or specialty shells, you just run it like a regular pump gun.

        • Well, there’s the TEC-12, sold by Tristar, but that’s essentially a $500 M3 clone from Turkey with godawful aftermarket support (especially if you find the stock is too long for you).

  2. Also, in case of a miss-fire, you can cycle the defective round out and continue firing without modifying your grip or losing your sight picture.

  3. One time I have done some trap shooting. Several hundred rounds per session; that was enough for me to have ‘tenderised’ shoulder. With this idea, you surely alleviate felt recoil, but it comes kind of lame not having ability od second shot.

    • Not having a backup shot is annoying, but I don’t think anyone has found a way to get a gas-operated recoil buffer system on any double-barrel shotguns.

  4. The market for this design was probably for hunters, who wanted to get in some practice with the very same model of shotgun that they would take to the field. Have a hard time seeing a dedicated trap shooter going for one, seeing as there were shotguns out there that were more suitable for that purpose. For hunters, even shooting clay pigeons, a lot of them would have liked to train with the follow up shots, which this gun lacked.

    Having shot a round of trap once (my only experience shooting trap, except for some informal clay pigeon shooting) with an out-of-the-box 870 in 12 ga, a softer recoil would have been nice. But given the issues above it is not surprising that it took a while for Remington to sell the production run.

    Trap and skeet shooters are an unusual bunch in the shooting fraternity–the stereotype is that they will spend a great deal of money on one or two shotguns, custom fit to them if possible. The typical other shooters scrounge around for money for their hobby and take delight in finding a good deal on one more surplus rifle that does not fit them at all. There are doubtless a lot of good all-around shooters out there, but in my limited experience it seems that really good trap/skeet shooters are not the best with rifles and vice versa.

  5. Q: Why not just use an 1100?
    A: Trap shooters are funny about auto-ejecting all over the range. By comparison I’m practically a barbarian.

    • In a registered shoot in the ATA (Amateur Trapshooting Association), if you hit a another squad member with a spent hull it will lead to disqualification. Serious semiauto trapshooters use shell catchers mounted on the receivers to solve that problem. Also, many trapshooters reload and save their hulls. By protocol during a match, if the hull hits the ground, it belongs to the gun club. The lure of trapshooting is finding the perfect gun that shoots the same every time and doesn’t punish you for shooting 100 – 200 rounds in a day.

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