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Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: S&J Hardware 870 modifications - part 1

Another sponsored review, this time from Simon at S&J Hardware. He was kind enough to supply us with a few things that they make. This stuff is the latest, cutting edge technology for the 870 shotgun system.

The contents are so cool - they created a blackhole of awesome inside the package.
In the package we received, we got a number of things. We got a jumbo safety, a couple 870 high-viz followers and a detachable shell carrier - some other goodies too - all available for FREE through our exclusive giveaway.

Stock mounted DSC from S&J Hardware.
The first accessory that I installed was the velcro detachable shell carrier. Some call it a substitute for a traditional side saddle but in reality, it's a different system altogether. My Mesa side saddle is rigged to the receiver of my 870 currently and I don't plan to change that. I have adopted the DSC as a secondary shell carry system on the stock of my gun. This way, it serves multiple purposes. If I don't have time to rig up some sort of vest or chest rig in the height of an active shooter situation, I can have a few of these detatchable shell caddies ready to go. That way, I can just slap it on the stock and get on the go.

Further from that, a user could keep a few different velcro shell caddies hooked onto the inside door of their gun safe with shells ready to go. The same could apply for the trunk of a car or another safe area to keep ammunition. Another thing to consider for the use of these is the colour you get. For instance, you could keep certain loads in certain coloured DSC's and know, just by looking, what load you're about to stick on - just by the colour. Rip and ready to rock.

The other thing I'd like to mention is the quality of the material itself. This is made to fit six shells, held in place with elastic. It's good enough to keep them in there, but I don't know how it would hold up to having shells in there upside down - time will tell. The caddie itself is constructed with a stiff back. Compared to some knock-offs and the commonly seen velcro backed shell holder, the S&J version is good and solid. It doesn't bend and warp.

S&J on top, no-name on the bottom.
The stuff that holds the 'other' side of the velcro (I STILL don't know what the 'hook' or 'loop' side is...) on is made with 3M quality tape. It's REALLY strong. Simon gave me a hint that I thought to pass on to you folks as well; when it's in place, blast it with a hair-dryer. It'll heat up the glue and bond it further to the surface you've selected to install it on.

Simon has already confirmed that new production models will have a pull tab to quickly remove the empty DSC from the surface it's attached to. That way - you can rip off the empty and transfer a new one from your vest to the gun.

The DSC costs 13 bucks on the S&J site. Go get it. Even not to keep explicitly on your gun - I'm sure you'll find somewhere convenient to keep it.

The next item I installed was the enhanced jumbo safety. Admittedly, the 870is a little more difficult to take apart for a newbie, if compared to a dead-simple firearm like the SKS. That said, it all looks pretty easy if you compare it to an AR or otherwise. It falls apart into a few big 'sections' - I used this video to guide me through the whole process.

Once I got the trigger assembly out - it was quite simple to pop the old safety in and pop the new one in. If I get a gun all apart in front of me, I like to take the time to perform a piece for piece clean-out and lube. Especially for guns that don't shoot corrosive ammunition regularly - it can become a back-burner kind of thing to do the full field strip.

If you compare that to your stock 870 button safety, it's easy to see the difference. This this is huge!

When I got everything put back together, I shouldered the shotgun. Immediately, I noticed the safety jutting out from where it used to sit tucked into the little spot it rests in. It's got a good grip too, I don't know what the exterior is made of, but it creates a good amount of friction on the inside of my index finger.

One thing that I noticed when I was playing around with the action of the safety itself was a new way to actually shoulder the gun altogether. I don't know how practical it would be, but at the crux of a quick shot scenario, a shooter could off-safety and shoulder in the same instant and the index finger would slide right into the trigger. It could all be one fluid motion with this attachment; one that needs practised but is absolutely well worth the 15 bucks it costs.

If I would change one thing - it would be to add a red ring on the other side of the safety. That's only because of the way I learned about firearms' mechanical safety features. "Red means dead." I intend to paint my own little red ring in the channel.

S&J 870 followers. Type one, Remington stock and type two.
The next part to install was the selection of followers we were sent. Of the different types, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. One type has a little knob on the end, the other a little hole in the middle - it's what you feel when there's nothing more. You'll have to pick which style better suits you.

The followers are made of a high visibility material that is hard to the touch. It's marketed as being made from 'delrin' material that is slick and smooth. It's a 'no-jam' follower. I won't have had enough experience with this product until I've put through a couple hundred rounds to know that it is in fact 'no-jam' but it does feel heftier than the stock one. It's sold for a couple bucks and you really can't go wrong.

It's good practise to rip your shotgun down to parts - and a good product to put in place of the stock version. As a matter of fact, the follower S&J makes was the first product I found from them on CGN's forum. It was only after browsing their site that I found some of the other stuff they offer.

The other thing that should be noted about the follower is the actual 'visibility' it offers. If your 870 comes with a black follower of any type - immediately replace it with one of S&J's offerings. If you train to look for the green follower and teach you brain; 'green means empty' - it'll be easier in the long run to know when you have to reload. Especially for the competition shooter - if you lose track of your shell count, this is a bright green sign screaming; RELOAD!

S&J Hardware offers good products at a very reasonable price. If you're looking to just buff up your shotgun to accommodate a faster competition time, or maybe to add some extra rounds to your loadout - S&J has got you covered. Some of these add-ons might seem trivial, and if you're trying to prioritize the order that you're buying stuff for your shotgun - get the safety first. It's a game changer for quick deployment and is built really solid.

Better yet - get it all for FREE. Enter the contest we're holding for all of the above add-ons.

Head out to our FORUM to share some experiences you've had with S&J hardware and their product line.

Stay tuned for PART 2 - field testing.

1 comment:

  1. Very good review! S&J Hardware manufactures very good accessories for the Remington 870. I have experience with safety, follower and sidesaddel and they all work great and can withstand heavy use.