Tacti-Cool Bird Gun Model 870 Mk 1. Is it ugly? Damn straight. Does it work? I’ll let the birds speak for themselves. It’s not a limit of dove, and it really is an ugly gun, but it’s not bad for what I had on hand.
Go ahead, I’ll wait for the laughter to die down before I continue.
Now, before you get going, sending me emails and leaving comment asking me “What the hell were you thinking doing that to that poor bird gun?” let me say, this shotty did not begin life as a bird gun but instead was pressed into service. I first purchased this 870 shotgun back when I was working executive protection and needed a small tactical shotgun. It came with a pistol grip and an 18″ cylinder bore barrel. I added the side saddle, folding stock and vertical foregrip to make it more useful in my job. I haven’t worked security for a number of years and, despite having bird hunted with friends’ guns for some time, as my firearm collection grew somehow a proper bird gun of my own never made its way into my safe.
Fast forward to this weekend. Friday a friend of mine called asking if I wanted to join him early the next morning on a Dove hunt in North Texas. Sure I did, but I didn’t have a bird gun, and on such short notice I couldn’t get my hands on one easily in time to get out to the dove fields before sunrise. I could however get my hands on a ribbed 26″ Remington 870 barrel with an improved cylinder choke, so I called my buddy with the barrel and asked him if he wanted to come on a dove hunt with us. He’d never hunted before, but agreed it could be fun so off we went.
It wasn’t pretty, but with the bird barrel installed on my Remington 870 I felt confident I could drop a few birds. Getting proper cheek weld was going to be a problem: the bead on the rib was a bit higher than on my old barrel, but after a few misses I quickly figured it out.
By the afternoon, I was dropping doves regularly. While I didn’t shoot a limit like my friend with his semiautomatic 11-87, I was pretty happy with the results. It wasn’t the best tool, but with a quick barrel swap I turned the wrong tool into an adequate tool. And dove is a tasty reward.