Bullpup Unlimited Remington 870 Kit

The benefits of a bullpup rifle, especially in close quarters, are many fold. Bullpups have been around for decades, but until recently, they sort of lived on the fringe of the rifle world. It seems with the recent introduction of the FS2000 and more recently, the Tavor, bullpups are finally starting to become semi-mainstream.

The bullpup concept has recently found its way to the shotgun platform as well. There are several offerings on the market now including the Kel-Tec KSG, the Utas UTS-15 and the SRM Arms line of shotguns. While all of those guns bring new and interesting concepts to the field, it seems they all lack one thing that many shotguns over the years have boasted; indestructible reliability.

Platforms such as the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500 have been around a very long time, and for good reason. They are practically indestructible when it comes to reliability. As appealing as those other new bullpup shotguns are in concept, I have not heard of a single one of them favorably compared to an 870 when talking about reliability.  Also, they are far from inexpensive. The least expensive of that group, in terms of list price, is the KSG, which now lists for $990 (although finding one available for under $2000 can prove challenging). Compare that to the price of a base Remington 870 (I just bought a brand new 870 Express 7-round for $365) and you have a TON money left over to dump into upgrades.  That said, you still have to deal with a full length shotgun, or do you?

BPU-07Enter the Bullpup Unlimited, Inc. bullpup conversion kit for the Remington 870 pump shotgun. The kit is available directly from Bullpup Unlimited and is also sold by several other dealers. The kit sells for $359 and it includes everything you need, except the actual Remington 870. Per the instructions, it will work with all right hand ejection 870’s so long as they do not have a vent-rib barrel. While conceivably, you could install a shorter or longer barreled gun into the kit, it is designed around an 18” barrel, and my 18.5″ barrel protrudes only about 5/8” beyond the end of the chassis.

After conversing with the company owner a bit, both via email and telephone, I ordered my kit direct from the company. Shipping was very fast and despite the fact that they are located many states away from me, I received my kit in just 2 days. The kit is made in Kentucky so you can feel good knowing it is a US produced item. When I opened the kit, I saw that it indeed lives up to its word and included everything needed to assemble it, including the hex wrenches. The only tools you need to provide on your own is whatever you need to disassemble your donor gun.

Initial Impressions
When I first received the kit, I did not yet have a shotgun to install in it, but that did not stop me from playing with the empty kit. I found that it shouldered easily and the controls felt very familiar to me. The kit uses a standard AR-15 pistol grip and safety, which is a plus for anyone who carries an AR on a frequent basis. Overall, the ergonomics of the kit were very good. However, I was initially a little put off by some little things.

BPU-05

Several locations where flashing needs to be removed

First, I immediately noticed several locations on the kit where it was going to be necessary for me to trim off some flashing left over from the molding process, and I am not talking about small bits along the seams, but large pieces where the mold is filled. Next, I decided that since the kit employs a standard AR pistol grip, I would swap the standard grip out for a larger one that fills my big mitts better. Upon installing the replacement grip, I found another annoying problem. The larger grip did not mate up to the bottom of the receiver area and left a very large gap, more than 1/4″.  This particular grip spent many years on one of my AR’s and this fit issue did not exist on that rifle. The fit looked so bad that I removed it and put the standard AR grip back. Lastly, and this is super nit-picky, but the brass inserts near the forward end of the upper half, where the small sections of rail can be attached, are shiny brass set in black plastic. While I had no intention of mounting both rails since I only planned on using one, I installed the second one so that I did not have to look at the shiny brass inserts. I have got to think that the threaded inserts could either have been available in black or could have been better concealed.

BPU-03

Despite advertised as accepting standard AR-15 pistol grips, fitment is not exact

I do have another gripe with the two sections of rail, and that is their location. While the location chosen is not an issue for an accessory that you turn on and leave on, it does become problematic for one that is designed for momentary activation, like my InForce HSP-WML weapon light. While I have large hands and am able to easily reach the activation button with it mounted on that rail, not everyone (based on the difficulty I have in finding gloves with fingers long enough, almost no one) has hands the same size as me. Additionally, I can imagine instances where I might have the action open and need to use my light, which would require me to remove my hand from the forearm to activate the light. I would have much preferred the rails have the option of mounting to the chassis or the forearm, but that is not currently an option.

The trigger on the kit is advertised as a “Dual Safety Trigger”, which in function is similar to the Glock style trigger that seems to be finding its way onto more and more firearms. The problem I have with it in this instance is that it is unnecessary since the kit is equipped with a manual thumb safety. This safety trigger design just results in unnecessary complexity and an additional possible point of failure (violates the K.I.S.S. theory of design).

The advertising for this kit also boasts sling point attachments for 1 and 2 point slings which sounds promising, but in reality, what you receive is two small pieces of plastic with a hole in them, that are designed to be pushed through the slots molded into the top of the chassis. While they will function as sling attachment points, they are far from what I pictured when reading the description.

While none of these items are huge issues on their own, they start adding up, and on a kit that sells for nearly the same price as the actual gun, I did not expect to see issues like these. Still, despite these minor complaints, I was hopeful that the performance would overcome my cosmetic gripes.

BPU-01Assembly
The pack mule carrying my new 870 finally arrived and I excitedly set about preparing it to be installed in the Bullpup Unlimited kit. The particular model 870 I used for this test is the 870 Express Synthetic 7-Round 18.5” Barrel (Remington item #25077). It is different from every other 870 I have used in that the magazine tube is a full 6 rounds long from the factory, no magazine extension is required. The barrel retaining nut and lug on the barrel are out near the very end instead of at the halfway point. I found this change to be noteworthy and is one of the reasons I chose this particular model. To prep the gun, I removed the factory stock and forearm.

BPU-02

Forearm Slide Tube – Arrow points to the small lug on which the new forearm attaches.

As I began the assembly process, I discovered something that concerned me from a functionality and durability standpoint. The piece that replaces the stock forearm is referred to as the “forearm slide tube” (see photo), and it is made from the same thin plastic that some of the other parts of the kit are made from. What concerned me more than that was that the new forearm only attaches to that slide tube on a small molded plastic lug with two metal screw inserts molded in place. I have been using the 870 for nearly 20 years, and in that time, on more than a few occasions, I have run into an expended shell that does not want to extract from the chamber. The solution to the problem is to take the gun, and while holding the forearm and wrist of the stock, slam the gun butt first onto the ground while pulling rearward on the forearm using the extra force to free the stuck shell from the chamber. Additionally, over the years, I have seen a few steel action bars (the bars that connect the forearm to the bolt) encounter cracks from just regular usage, granted these were on older guns that had seen many years of use.  Now to my concern, I cannot foresee this small, ¾” long x ½” wide section of molded plastic standing up to the abuse to which it can be subjected. If this part, the “forearm slide tube”, was constructed of metal I would not have the same concerns.

Gap between halves visible from butt cap to ejection port.  This was later resolved but the cause was never determined.

Gap between halves visible from butt cap to ejection port. This was later resolved but the cause was never determined.

Moving along, I continued the installation determined to give this kit a thorough testing. As I continued the installation, I encountered a second problem. Once the gun was set into the lower half of the chassis and function testing done, I went to install the top half of the chassis. As I started installing all of the screws that hold it together, I found that the seam between the two halves, on the right side of the gun, would not mate up well. Near the butt end of the gun, there was a gap between the two halves that I could not get rid of. I separated the two halves and knowing that the trigger transfer bar runs in that area, I inspected it to make sure it was not the cause, but it was where it belonged. I tried to reassemble the two halves and again had the same problem. I futzed and fiddled with this issue for nearly 40 minutes, and even went as far as completely removing the gun from the chassis a couple of times and starting over, but I was never able to resolve the fitment problem. Finally, I gave up, completed the assembly and did my best to get my OCD in check and ignore the gap between the two halves.

After my first shooting session with this gun, I tore it apart and spent another hour plus messing with it. I checked for signs of rubbing or bad fit in the trigger guard area but found none. I finally decided to loosen up all the mounting bolts slightly and squeezed the two halves together as hard as I could, and something finally gave. It finally went together as it should, and the gap was gone.  Now, maybe I would be able to sleep…

One final thing that I only discovered after assembling the kit, one that with a shotgun is not a deal breaker by any means, is that you cannot feel the trigger reset.  This is due to how the trigger functions with this kit.  The kit uses a transfer bar that is attached to the trigger in the chassis and pushes against the factory 870 trigger.  The trigger you are using is not solidly connected to the stock trigger and thus when it resets, that noticeable click is not translated forward to your finger.  If it were somehow attached to the factory trigger, rather than just pushing against it, you would likely feel the reset, but as it sits, you just cannot tell when the trigger has reset.

Having spoken to the company owner directly prior to ordering the kit for this review, out of courtesy and in trying to maintain a professional relationship, I figured I would contact him with some of my initial concerns and fitments issues. While our email conversations in the past had been somewhat brief, throughout them all, he had managed to answer all of my questions. Sadly, the reply I got to my concerns did not, and consisted of one sentence telling me that the side seams should not have a gap. Nothing at all addressing my concerns about the “forearm slide tube”. This was less than reassuring.

Handling
After completing the assembly process, I began checking the handing characteristics of the gun (playing with it). I did not have my standard 870 at home, since it lives in my locker at work, to compare it to back to back, but it seems to me that from a depressed muzzle, the Bullpup Unlimited gun comes up much quicker and easier, which only makes sense since most of the weight that is normally far forward of your trigger hand is now near your shoulder, far behind your hand. Since the kids were still at school, I decided to make a few runs through the house and simulate clearing it. I was very happy with how the gun handled.

The shorter length and changed balance point of the gun make it very easy to maneuver in the tight confines inside a building. Additionally, I found the AR style safety easy to manipulate without any thought required. If you train with your AR, dropping and reengaging the safety as you maneuver around, this will feel right at home.

A downside to that shorter overall package, which I discovered when I was playing around with this after assembling it, is the elimination of a convenient place to mount a spare ammo carrier.  On a traditionally configured 870, you can get a sidesaddle that mounts on the left side of the receiver, but you cannot do that here because the left side of the receiver is now where your cheek rests.  Other standard 870 shell carriers, like those that mount on the forend and stocks that either carry the spare shells inside them, like the Speedfeed stocks, or stocks with side mounted ammo carriers, are also not an option when using this kit.  The only location I could find to mount a spare shell carrier was on the top picatinny rail, which is not an ideal location for fast reloads, and then the only rail mounted shell carrier I could find was made completely of plastic and had the absolutely tightest grip of a shotgun shell of any shell carrier I have tried.  I considered using a Velcro attached shell card, which are available from several manufacturers, but due to the shape of the chassis on this kit, there was no flat surface on which to affix the other half of the Velcro.

Shooting
During my first shooting session, I did not have any sights of any kind installed. A new, low priced red-dot optic, that I plan on including in a bargain red-dot comparison article, was on the UPS truck on its way to my home so I did not bother with digging out any of my old back-up iron sights. I just planned on running a few rounds through it to get the feel for it. To my surprise, even without any form of sights installed, I was still able to put rounds right on target from about 20 yards. I ran about 20-25 rounds on #8 shot and 3 rounds of #00 buck through it without a hiccup.

Initially, I found the loading port location difficult to find unless I looked, but after a few sequences, it proved easy to find without looking for it. Loading the gun proved to be nearly identical to a standard 870 once I became accustomed to the different location, but there is limited access in that area of the gun which slowed reload speeds. The one major difference, which took me a few variations of technique before I settled on one I liked, was performing a slug change over. Unlike a standard 870, I am forced to relinquish my master grip with my fire control hand in order to accomplish this. While this is not ideal, I think I figured out a technique that will work.

For the second shooting session, since I was bringing along a case of shells, I took along my buddy Alan figuring two shoulders would last longer than one. Also, since I was planning on shooting quite a bit, I decided to head to an actual range so as not to really annoy my neighbors. We setup and got started, but it was not long before we started encountering problems. I was the first shooter up. I combat loaded a shell in the open chamber, closed the action and topped off the magazine tube giving me a full load of 7 rounds. I began firing and twice in that first series of 7 rounds I experienced a failure to eject the spent shell. They hung up with the front of the shell out of the ejection port and the base still inside.

Sadly, that was to be a very regular occurrence over the next couple of hours. I had initially started using some cheaper Estate brand #8 target & field shells. I thought it might be an ammo issue since it had functioned fine the first time I shot it the week before, so I switched to some Remington #4 shells I had. The problem persisted. I tried the only other brand I had brought with me, which was some Winchester #6 shells and still, the problem was there. Seeing as the target shells were having problems, I filled it with some Remington #00 buck and still encountered the same problem.

In trying to determine the cause of the ejection failures, we closely compared my two 870′s and found nothing glaringly different.  I verified that none of the ejection port was blocked by the installation of the bullpup kit, which it was not.  The opening in the kit is slightly larger than the ejection port and there was no interference with the opening.  Using the screen on my camera to watch what was happening, Alan and I both concluded that the shells may have possibly been hitting the ejection port hood/deflector that is part of the conversion kit as the shells were rotating in the open ejection port causing them to stall on their way out. We were not able to say that was definitely the cause, but it was our combined educated guess.

Despite the function issues we were having, we both agreed that so long as reloading was not something you were planning (gun that would be slung or ditched if it ran dry), the ergonomics and overall size was ideal for an entry gun or for home defense. It shouldered well, pointed fairly naturally and was very compact.

Early on in this testing trip, I had a red dot optic (which was purchased for a future comparison article) mounted on the top rail (visible in the related video) but the riser on which I had it mounted could not handle the recoil impulses of the 12 gauge and it was vibrating screws loose, so it had to be removed, causing the last half of the testing to be done with no sights. Even at 25 yards, we were not having any trouble hitting our targets once we had acclimated to the different point of aim.

Recoil management was not significantly different than a standard 870, although I found the shape of the forend did was not conducive to maintaining a firm grip. The sides of the forend just go straight up and then they roll over at the top, which is much different from the shape of any other 870 forend I have used. They have all been rounded, and in the case of the Magpul forend on my work shotgun (seen in the video), there is a lip with provides the shooter with a little extra bite. Combine that with the different balance point of this shorter gun and I found the forend slightly jumping up out of my left hand on occasion. Even though my left hand noticed a difference, my right shoulder did not.

Another area of concern, one especially noted by Alan as it bugged him quite a bit, is the location of the action release. While it does function perfectly fine where it is, it requires the user to break their fire control hand’s grip to hit the action release whether it is to chamber the first round from a fully loaded magazine, or to perform a slug change over.

Speaking of slug change overs, I had brought my standard 870 that I carry every day at work with us so that we could run a few drills back to back for comparison purposes. I ran two drills for time with both guns. The first drill I ran was a slug change over from the car carry setup, as my department defines it, which is a full magazine, chamber empty, action closed, safety on. Alan timed me with a stopwatch (I have yet to purchase a shot timer, but will be soon). With the standard 870, from the “gun” command, it took me 6.42 seconds to get my first shot off with the slug, which was done without losing any rounds out of the magazine. With the Bullpup Unlimited gun, the same drill took me 7.96 seconds to get the shot off. I attribute that 1.5 second difference to all the moving around that I had to do with my fire control hand.

BPU-06The second drill I ran was not anything special. I just started with the magazine full and a round in the chamber (except I screwed up and left an empty chamber on the standard 870) and three additional shot shells in the ammo carrier attached to each gun. With the Bullpup Unlimited gun, from the “gun” command until the last round was fired, 22.88 seconds had elapsed. With my standard 870, the same drill only took 15.78 seconds. Besides having to deal with an ejection failure when shooting the Bullpup, I found it much slower to reload both due to the location where I was forced to carry the spare shells and due to the cramped area around the loading port.

Finally, about 200 rounds into the testing, we decided to stop.  The rate of ejection failures was just making the testing exceedingly frustrating. On one walkup drill, I started with 7 rounds in the gun, and during that walkup drill, I encountered 3 failures to eject (see the video). At this point, we had experienced more than 20 ejection failures out of 200+/- rounds fired, which translates to roughly a 10% failure rate.   Since the failure rate was as high as it was, and since the Remington 870 is known for good reason as an ultra-reliable shotgun, I started to think that maybe there might be a problem with this particular gun, so we packed it up and headed home. When we got back, I removed the 870 from the Bullpup kit and reassembled it as it arrived from the factory with a full stock. While removing it from the kit, I found that one of the two very small screws that holds the forearm to the “forearm slide tube” was very loose and had in fact backed itself halfway out. Seeing as there are only two of those small screws, this was very noteworthy.

Once I had the shotgun back in stock form, we took it down to my shooting range and ran nearly two more boxes of the same cheap Estate target shells through it, in addition to a few other rounds, and it functioned flawlessly. Not a single failure to eject or any other issue to speak of. We both tried cycling the gun hard, soft, fast and slow, and neither of us could replicate the ejection issues we were experiencing when this very same gun was assembled in the bullpup kit.

Something else to consider, which became very apparent to me when we were having the function issues, is that working on, or even cleaning your gun, requires near complete disassembly of the entire chassis, which can only be accomplished with a minimum of two different hex wrenches.  The beauty of the standard 870 is that it requires no tools to disassemble for cleaning, and can be broken down in seconds.

Malfunction Resolution Attempts
In the interest of both trying to help the manufacturer out, and in an effort to maintain a professional working relationship with them, I emailed the owner and described the problems we were experiencing.  I described the situation as best I could and told him that I had many instances of the malfunctions captured on video.  I was not confident I would receive a warm reception based on the extremely short response to my early concerns, but I was surprised by an initially positive response.  He and I were working out the process to ship the entire gun back to the manufacturer for them to examine, but in the meantime, I provided him with a link to the YouTube video I had uploaded, which was set as a private video (only those with the link could view it).  While waiting for an email response from the owner, a Google+ user by the name of BullpupForum posted the following comment on my still private YouTube video:

Short stroke, short stroke, short stroke.  Don’t blame the kit when it’s the operator!  The Bullpup Shotgun action is closer to the body than a traditional shotgun, so your comparison is not valid.  Watch closely, and you’ll see the weak manipulation of the pump in each of the “failures”.  In a traditional set-up, your pump hand is further out, so you’re less likely to short stroke.  Obviously, you guys need some training (especially the guy with the goatee – he’s barely touching the gun.)  I’ve got thousands of shells through three different kits with no failures…

BPU-09Now, I will admit that this is the first bullpup shotgun I have ever fired, but to suggest I lack training is silly.  I have been shooting the Remington 870 for 18 years.  The standard configuration gun I am shooting in the video, I purchased brand new in 1997 and have carried it on duty ever since.  I have been through extensive training with the Remington 870 both in the academy and throughout my career.  Just last year, I attended a two day advanced tactical shotgun class, during which we fired nearly 1000 rounds.  I’m just a tad familiar with how they function.  Other than when I first started learning to shoot a shotgun, I have never had an issue with short stroking the gun.  Since that comment was posted while the video was still private, and contained (other than the insults) much of the same information that the owner had told me in the past, I can only assume they, or someone working with them, are responsible for that comment.

Now to address the short stroking comments.  When I began experiencing the malfunctions at the range, I thought that might have been the problem so I made sure that I was cycling the action fully, but the failures persisted.  And while the claim that the shorter configuration moves the action closer to the shooter is true, the length of the action cycle does not change.

I made some changes to the related video to include a slow motion portion where the camera has a very clear view of the action.  You be the judge and decide if it is a short stroking problem.  As for me working with the manufacturer to address this issue, that comment on the video ended my cooperation with them.

Final Thoughts
The concept of this bullpup shotgun conversion kit is something that I have personally mulled over in my ADHD infused brain on more than one occasion. I find the AK-like reliability of the Remington 870 to be very desirable, but have always wanted a shorter version. This kit clearly accomplishes the shortening of the 870 platform however it seems to me that in doing so, the reliability factor has all but been defeated, at least with the kit I received.  While the item that initially concerned me, the “forearm slide tube”, survived my limited testing without any noticeable damage, the gun would just not reliably eject spent shells when installed in the kit.

I began this project really excited about the kit. My initial inspection of the kit dampened that a bit, but I still really wanted to like it and high hopes that it would perform well. While I have enjoyed shooting this gun in this configuration, considering some of the things I have identified as areas of concern, especially the lack of reliability, and even more than that, the behavior on the part of the manufacturer, sadly I must say there is no way I would consider fielding this gun in a combat or “life on the line” situation. It is a fun gun to shoot, and the novelty factor is very high, but based on the list price for this kit and the issues that it has, I just cannot bring myself to recommend it.

Matt

Matt is a full time Deputy Sheriff that has been on the job for 17 years. During his time as a LEO he's attended countless training classes and is a court recognized firearms expert. Matt brings a unique perspective to TBS given his LEO experience and life time appreciation of firearms and our 2nd Amendment rights.

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  • http://gravatar.com/enscriptchun g

    It’s tough to give an honest review when it’s negative, but that’s why I respect this site. Thanks for the heads up… I’ll be steering clear of this kit until they work the issues out.

    • https://www.facebook.com/camperben Benjamin Bender

      Good review..I agree. I would never buy anything with that rate of ejection failure. Thats crazy man…

  • http://masiro.wordpress.com masiro

    The empty shells can be seen bouncing back into the open breech in a few instances

    • https://www.facebook.com/JeffPederson1986 Jeff Pederson

      Ditto, on the slow mo example you can see it bounce backward, hit the receiver and then flip back into the ejection port; does not look like a short stroke problem at all to me, it looks like the plastic molding of the “deflector” is messing up ejection sometimes. Then again, it’s a lot easier for the company to blame your technique than it is to go back and redesign the product to work properly.

      • Matt

        Jeff, I completely agree. I even offered to trim that piece off on my kit and retest it, but that was before communications broke down.

      • magyud

        Jeff, I think your analysis is right on target. As a tremendous fan of both the 870 and the Bullpup configuration (I’m in the very small Bushmaster M-17s Fan Club), it seems to me this is the worst of both worlds. Looks like an ejection port failure issue to me, too. I’ll keep my 870 as is for the foreseeable future, but I’ll always look at Bullpup options.

        This is not for me; repeat, NOT FOR ME.

        I appreciate the demo; it may prove to save my life, and those I hold dear.

        Keep on rackin’!! William

        If’n you can.

  • RPM509

    I think the idea of a bull-pup shot on a reliable platform like the 870 is promising, just not maybe right now. Have two 870′s myself, with a better kit, would be more than happy to convert one. Maybe I will wait for V 2.3 before spending that much on a kit. Thanks for the review.

    • NotOP

      You’re right, a decent shotgun this size would be great. Pity nobody has been able to quite manage it yet.

  • Kevin

    I’ve had this conversion kit for a couple of months, and when I started shooting it, I experienced the same failure to eject as you did. I am not as experienced as you are with a shotgun, but after some experimentation with snap caps in the privacy of my home, I discovered that I was, indeed, short stroking the shotgun. I personally found it very easy to short stroke this kit, much more so than my other shotgun. It could be that it is because of the difference in length, as the other comment somewhat rudely put it. I have not had an issue with failures to eject since I took this into account.

    I am not a firearms professional, but I am a mechanical technician, and I know from experience that screws which are subject to vibration will tend to back out, therefore I used some medium strength thread locker when assembling this kit and have not experienced any trouble.

    Unlike you, I have smallish hands, so I also installed an AFG on the pump which helped me a great deal with hanging on in general as well as the short stroking issue.

    Like you, I could be happier with the placement of the slide release and the redundant safety. I can’t argue with your assessment that you would not take the shotgun into combat, but since combat is not an issue for me, I am pretty well satisfied with this firearm for a home defense gun, and it is a blast to shoot.

    • John

      Actually the newer cheaper 870 express models lack a small stop behind the bold @3/32 long. So yes the newer guns have a slightly longer stroke. So I this case the forearm could hit the trigger guard and cause a short stroke. I know this has been addressed and altered by bullpup unlimited. It’s hard to cover a do-all kit for years of 870′s with slight changes over those years. The kit was based around 8 diff 870′s when it was first completed, any new problems are and will be addressed.

  • Tater Salad

    I have the same ejection issue with the kit I have. Since the 870 in the kit is not one I installed (I got a complete setup used) I thought it might be the gun itself.

    Sorry to hear that it is not. I hope the kit maker does something to fix this issue, but based on the Google+ comment to your video, I am not hopeful. Too bad, because i really like the kit and i think many of the manipulation issues you encountered could be overcome with training.

  • https://www.facebook.com/richard.turner.357 Richard Turner

    I watched the video before reading the rest of the article. and initially i thought the same thing about the short stroke. the stroke is the same length, but its closer to your body and may be a little out of whack. in the video you almost short stroked your duty gun at 4:20 in the video, i’m assuming because of the time spent on the bullpup. remember that even though its the same 870 innards, its mechanics in bullpup form are completely different. that being said it sounds like there is something wrong with the kit. maybe a couple malfunctions would be from short stroking, but like you said, it happened even when concentrating on a full strong stroke. i hope you do a followup on the kit when you get it back. i was thinking about purchasing one, but i think i’ll hold off for now.

  • http://youtube.com/Arms4allofus arms4allofus

    Wow, the response from who can only be assumed is the manufacturer is incredible. This product has potential to fill the the market gap for bull pup shotguns by providing an affordable alternate to dedicated bull pup shotguns. However based on the merits of its performance in tests and the attitudes of the makers I would imagine that this product will be relegated to somewhat of a novelty status rather than a tool for practical use. I doubt that we will see them on the market long, as they will go the way of many other fads and novelties in the firearms community.

  • GearGuy0100

    Great article Matt! The bullpup shotgun is definitely an intriguing idea. It’s disappointing that this kit didn’t work out. Hopefully Bullpups Unlimited will get their act together and make an upgraded generation 2 kit. Unfortunately it sounds like they aren’t interested in improving their products. Thanks for the great info and stay safe out there!

  • Murdock

    It almost looks like the action was binding when you were cycling it, perhaps the loose screw was allowing the plastic components to flex and causing the failure to eject? Just trying to come up for reasons the kit was causing the issues you ran into.

    • Matt

      Quite possible. I was actually thinking the same thing. That screw was installed per the instructions though. You shouldn’t use thread locker because it is only screwed into a metal insert set in plastic and needs to be removed for cleaning and maintenance, and you can’t tighten it too hard for the same reason. Given that, it is going to, in my opinion, constantly vibrate loose as it did in my case. But, that is just part of my hypothesis.

      • Murdock

        Could you use a flat lock washer or star washer to hold it? That would be a non-permanent fix at least.

        • Matt

          Possibly, but that is only one of the shortcomings I see with the product. At this point, I am just going to try and recoup some of my hard earned money that I spent on this kit.

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  • D. Hide

    Sounds like the manufacturers of this product have two choices ahead of them: Address and attempt to fix these issues, or get a contract with Hollywood for a new “Aliens” shotgun mold.

    It looks cool and appears handy, but if it doesn’t work well, then I see no reason to diverge from the standard 870. If they do end up fixing a lot of these issues on their part, it’d be nice to see a kit for the 500 or 590, too.

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  • LeftThumb

    A well made kit I agree would be awesome. I admire you trying to fix it but with the manufacturer spouting BS I think it’s time to call it quits. It’s clearly a POS. I really detest this kind of manufacturer. I ran into a well known optics maker with the same attitude. You show them clear video evidence of a fault and they make excuses.

  • http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIPNHdOgSxlhMXWeoUMdiUw Hawaii Volcano Squad

    So it seems to me that the snapshot is:

    BULLPUP RIFLE > YES !

    BULLPUP SHOTGUN > NO !

    That was a long detailed review.

    Now that I have my Tavor zeroed in with my MSE AQC-1C red dot, I don’t feel the need for any shotgun, and really I can’t think of any scenario where a shotgun would be better than a Tavor with my new handy dandy Israeli red dot.

    I am NOT a professional weapons guy like most of the people here, just recreational shooter, but I did as full of a review as I could on the new Israeli red dot. Here is my best effort to detail and compare the MSE to Aimpoint, Trijicon, Eotech, & Mepro.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F5aR9emqTo

  • https://www.facebook.com/william.woolum.9 William Woolum

    One thing that really stood out for me was the complete uniformity of the ejection process when you converted the shotgun back to the “normal” condition. All hulls ejected from the action in the same way. They turned 180 degree’s and down. However the same cannot be said of the shotgun in the bullpup shell. I agree with others that have said you can see the hulls bouncing back into the action. Trying to trouble shoot a firearm by video only is very difficult to say the least. But at least you did get good footage of whats going on. The saddest part of this all tho is the reaction by the company. Even if it wasn’t the person you were talking with via email, someone in the company did make the statements. Aside from it showing complete unprofessional attitude, it becomes a company killer.

    I like you have toyed with the idea of a bull pup shotgun for many years. My main reason is because I’m a shorter guy & its more practical. Anyhow Thank you for the honest review, I would offer a little hope that the company somehow tries to save face from their actions (mainly because I really like the idea & design they produced). So if they follow up will you let us know?

  • http://gravatar.com/kalderr kalderrkalder

    I think it IS possible that is could be a short stroking issue, but not at the fault of the shooter but at a fault of the kit itself. When shooting it in the video it looks like the back of the forearm makes contact with the area in front of the grip. That travel might not be enough for it, but I am talking fractions of an inch of short stroking because its not 100%. If it wouldnt void a warranty I would try trimming that forearm on the bullpup kit to allow for more travel.

  • Will P.

    These type kits I see more as gadgets, as they are fun, cool, and defiantly different(only kid on the block with that toy thing). I would not trust my life to it in the field, unless the enemy is paper or steel targets. Most likely that was the ultimate goal of the manufacturer, to make something cool that no one else had out, there are no claims of being a tacti-cool alternative to your good ole original 870.
    I ran across similar problems in function of these bullpup converstions when I purchased a Shernic Gun Works bullpup kit for my SKS. It turned my standard SKS that functioned flawlessly into a very very cool looking SKS that was riddled with feed and ejection issues(probably a combo of the kit and aftermarket mags). But it was fun to shoot at the range and I knew far before hand it was just going to be a toy and not a tool. Again though it was something cool and different that I got asked a lot of questions about.

  • Joseph

    Hey, it’s an 870…which brings up the old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

  • Bullpupwizkid

    Looks like it’s bouncing off the plastic deflector a bit. try taking a little bit off with a Dremel and see if it works.
    As for loose screws, try some medium loctite. It’s a gun nut’s best friend.

  • http://gravatar.com/jperciv Jon Percival

    I’m the one that left the comment while it was private. I’m Sgt_P from BullpupForum.com and the manufacturer asked me to look at the video and see what I thought. Sorry if you didn’t like the comments, but running a Bullpup Pump Shotgun is entirely different than a “tradition” set-up. So what chaffed me, a bit, was when you “slowed down” with the traditional shotgun, as if that was some sort of comparison. Try running the Bullpup slow, and teach yourself how it operates, and you’ll probably get a different result.
    However, there can be “lemons”. Tim’s KSG was a lemon that needed to be addressed by Kel-Tec. He ran my KSG at the Bullpup Shoot, and didn’t have any problems.
    In the article you spoke of gaps and flashing issues with 870 kit, and these need to be addressed by the manufacturer. So give him a chance to address and correct before you slam his product.
    Should they be 100% out the door? Yes, but so should Jeeps, and there are lemons there too.
    So, in fairness, try your “slow” drill with the Bullpup. If there are issues after full, complete strokes, then call it a mechanical problem and have the manufacturer address it.
    Again, I’ve got thousands of shells through 3 different 870 kits with no failures. None. So I come at this with some experience…

    • Matt

      Jon, did you read the article? I did address some of those other minor issues with the company, who knew before I ordered it that I was purchasing to review here, but my questions and concerns were glossed over or completely ignored. I have an extensive collection of emails documenting the entire conversation. It got to the point that I felt like I was pulling teeth to try and get anything addressed. When I was finally getting somewhere, your comment appeared on the private video I had shared with the owner. Additionally, I did not “slam his product”. I think if you were to look at the review from a neutral point of view, you would see that I was very unbiased in it. Pointing out problems is not slamming a product. If I made derogatory remarks about the product, that would be slamming a product.

      Speaking of derogatory comments, I did not dislike your comment because what you suggested was the possible fault. I disliked your comment because at that point, whether intentionally or not, you were representing the manufacturer as he was the only one with the link to the video. Your comment was not made in even a remotely professional manner, in fact it was completely derogatory on all levels. You know nothing about myself or the other shooter, our experience or training, yet you decided to chuck personal insults at both of us. I would suggest if you are going to offer technical advice in the future, especially when doing so on behalf of a manufacturer, you should attempt to maintain a more professional decorum.

      Running a bullpup shotgun is not entirely different than any other pump shotgun. The only difference is the location of your hands. The action functions exactly the same. Yes there are nuances, but “entirely different” is a gross overstatement.

      Finally, the shotgun was run in standard configuration at the end not to try and compare it to the bullpup kit as you keep stating, but it was run in the standard configuration to see if we could replicate any of the malfunctions, which we were unable to. We did run the bullpup at different speeds and experienced malfunctions no matter what we were doing.

      Finally, I suggest you watch the video again, including the slow motion section at the end. The forearm comes all the way to the rear as I am suffering a malfunction. It is pretty visible in the slow motion clip, but if that is not good enough, the zoomed still shows no gap at all yet the shell is not ejecting.

      • http://gravatar.com/jperciv Jon Percival

        “personal insult”??? Where? Observations, yes.
        But your points have set me straight. I grossly overstated the differences. Running a Bullpup is exactly like running a traditional 870 (except for hand location.) I guess I’m not professional enough to give technical critiques. Thanks Matt!

        • Matt

          Sorry, you’re right. I clearly overreacted. You were nothing but professional in all of your comments…

          • bobby

            Sounds like Jon is about as unprofessional as you can get….I hope no one is paying him for his services. That anyone would allow them to represent or speak for their company (directly or indirectly) is truly embarrassing for that company. All that aside, I also had a ton of ejection problems with my bullpup kit as well. After looking at your video, I took a dremmel to my ejection port and took off the flange and flared the rear a little bit and those issues cleared right up.

            • golonghorns76

              The deciding point of whether or not I am purchasing the 4 kits I wanted for home defense is the attitude of the manufacturer and Jon’s attitude. Incredibly unprofessional. Bullpup Unlimited would be wise to get some separation from this condescending person. That level of sarcasm should never be involved with customer service or customer interaction. Even with a pretty high price point and a few issues that would require some extra effort to fix, I was considering at least trying out one before purchasing the other 3 I need. Obviously Jon is in contact with the manufacturer and I see no attempt to make things right from either. Hopefully a professional company decides to make something similar.

  • Tom Vickers

    With it functioning properly with the slight gap between the two halves and failing after you where able to close the gap I would think a small tweak might be needed to make it function flawlessly. Wonder if you could get the gap back?

  • Philthegardner

    As a lefty, I can’t really relate. But I would like to share that I wish this manufacturer would consider making a kit for a Savage/Stevens bottom shucker. I would love to own a bullpup shotgun but the KSG is still vaporware in my neck of the woods.and the idea getting shells ejected into my ear is not appealing in the least. I would think that there are a significant enough number of left-handed shotgun shooters who would constitute a viable market for someone out there.

    • https://plus.google.com/101278944281819648834 Chris Upchurch

      I agree, a bottom ejector would be the natural platform for a bullpup conversion.

  • Al

    On two occasions I saw the shell flip and the front of the shell struck the (ejection port or bullpup housing) and bounce back into the action.

  • Guy

    The curse of the unreliable bullpup pump-action shotgun lives on…

  • thebronze

    Another review I read said this thing is pretty much a POS. Now with yours, I’LL PASS on this crappy thing.

  • http://masiro.wordpress.com masiro

    I will certainly buy one when they come out with a 500, if it gives me any problem the ejection shield which I believe is the cause of the ejected shell stovepipes will be eliminated.

  • Junk762

    Well, I hope the issues are addressed and they come out with a Mossberg 590A1 version. I am not sure how they would address the tang safety though.

  • http://www.markandrewedwards.com/markblog.html Mark Andrew Edwards

    Thanks for the in-depth review. It is much appreciated.

    I think I’ll keep looking. I’d love a bullpup shotgun and a KSG is still on my shopping list…though I realize I’m rolling some dice there.

    Thanks again.

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  • ensitue

    So to re-phrase the response ie the short stroking:
    ‘The Bullpup design makes proper operation of the slide action far more problematic resulting in a great increase in FTE.’
    And even That Statement is a Canard, as shown in the slow-mo.
    Another example of a product marketed as a solution to a very questionable problem.

    • magyud

      As owner of a Bushmaster M-17S, I understand the meaning of “fringe weapon” more than most. Most of the time, it works just fine. But once, it did something that would have earned me a prison sentence if an ATF agent had been present at the range. Not gonna say what. Use your imagination, dammit.

      I must say, this 870 Bullpup is in a class by itself. If I were enamored of massive failures, I’d buy one.

  • https://www.facebook.com/tim.jackson Tim Jackson

    I am assuming that the drills that it was put through were to estimate this weapon as a potential choice for LEO. Hey… the irony…I heard the designer was former LEO. Might be wrong there. I’m glad I crossed this review before I landed my next lottery ticket winnings! (not really). Being in a law enforcement career myself, there’s a tendency to become very analytical in evaluating equipment for use in the field. There is no judgement here. The greatest single turnoff for me is the breakdown for cleaning purposes. The second greatest is the price point. I recently bought an “injected polymer” child seat for a bicycle ($50). Now if at a price point like that can be trusted and certified to “protect” a child on the back of a bicycle, I think the price of a little less “plastic wrap around” should provide much much more for the end user. At least it shouldn’t even come close to defeating the purpose of an already reliable weapon inside.

  • walter

    I am curious to know if you were using 2 3/4″ or 3″ shells

    • Matt

      They were only 2 3/4″ shells.

  • rich

    I like the honesty of this site as shown in this review. I recently purchased this kit myself and I wonder whats up with yours though. Mine has shot flawlessly for a few hundred rounds now. I did do a bit of silicone lubing of the slide contact points to bring back the smoothness of my slicked up 870 action, and it feels just as slick now. Hopefully the manufacturer sorts it out for you. I suspect perhaps there is an ejector adjustment needed, maybe the spent shells just come out a bit off and hit something? I previously had a knoxx recoil reducing pistol grip stock on my gun, the recoil of this config is a bit higher but still highly manageable with the low bore axis and recoil pad. The shorter overall length even with a 20″ barrel is nice compared to my old config.

  • https://www.facebook.com/casey.frennier.1 Casey Frennier

    I have one of these kits and it runs great. Loading the tube is a little slower (I usually throw it up on my shoulder and load with my strong hand because my forearm is in the way anyway) but the ejection port deflector actually helps with breech loading. You may need to trim some of the molding junk above the front of the trigger guard and where the slide make contact maybe? And stuff shouldn’t be loosening up. You need to locktite stuff down with this kit or you’ll lose it. I also noticed that the initial fail to ejects seemed to happen with shells from your “tight shell holder”. Is it possible that they mushroomed a bit in the holder making them harder to eject? I have a couple similar shell holders mounted on 90 degree rail adapters on the side of mine and I found I needed to dremel out some of the plastic from them to be able to quickly get my shells out without pushing a finger through it. I noticed the problem with dummy rounds and fixed it before going to live ones so I’m not sure that is it.

    • deeked

      Very well said. The compression of the shells in that holder make perfect sense.
      If the manual did not say use locktite use it any way. You must secure those screws when they are getting hammered by that much force or they will back out on you.

      • David toranzo

        What screws should I use loctite on….. And what kind of lube should I use for the pump

        • deeked

          Use loctite on all screws. I do and never have any problems as long as proper torque is applied along with loctite.

          I’d try a light grease on the action or pump. That should help.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jorge.val.969 Jorge Val

    the shells are getting cought by the plastic around the ejection port it need to be opened more

  • Doug Kemp

    I’ve had this kit for several months and haven’t experienced any of the problems you seem to have had. The build quality is excellent, I watched the assembly video on youtube and followed the instructions provided with the kit and had no “gaps” or fitment issues at all. I just now went back over the weapon to verify that I hadn’t missed seeing some “flash” left over from the molding process and found none. I’ve ran approx 500 rounds of every kind of shell that Walmart sells through it and haven’t had one failure to feed or eject instance. I purchased the kit through the store of a bullpup forum website for under $300 as well.
    I recently carried this to a local gun show here in Hickory and spent hours answering the questions of vendors and individuals who stopped me and wanted to know what I had. I didn’t have one person voice any concerns over the build quality. Every one I talked with and allowed to handle the weapon was impressed and I had many offers of trades and purchases all of which I declined.

    The one issue I have had is that if you allow the fleshy part of your hand to hang over the back of the slide you will pinch the hell out of it between the slide and the trigger housing. This can be resolved with the addition of a vertical foregrip of some type.

    I’m sorry that your experience wasn’t positive in the product you received but from what I’ve heard from other users your experience is the exception and not the rule. Other than the one issue that I just mentioned I have to say I’m extremely pleased with the kit in fit, finish and function and would recommend it to anyone considering a shotgun for home defense and just some overall shooting fun.

    Doug Kemp

  • Brian H. Zimmerman

    I enlarged and slowed your video even more. It looked like all of the expended cases rotated inside the chamber, the front of the empty shell bumping the outside rear of the ejection port as the rear of the shell continued to spin out of the front of the ejection port. The front of the shells that jammed seemed to catch the raised rib at the rear of the ejection port and delay the ejection process just enough for the rear of the shell not to make it fully out of the chamber.

    • rich

      I’m thinking the positioning of the action inside the stock is off due to the fitment issues he mentioned. Perhaps preventing full cycling of the action..ie short stroking.

      • Matt

        Rich, all fitment issues were resolved before the malfunctions started happening. Oddly enough, while the fitment issues existed, I did not experience a single malfunction out of the 20 or so rounds fired.

    • Matt

      Brian, I agree with your assessment. That is what we think was happening as well.

    • magyud

      HMMM. I’m thinking the best way to “fix” this problem is to return the boolpup add-on for a full refund!

  • Mark S

    It would be interesting to try a body grinder and carefully grind off the plastic hood over the extractor port to see if this resolves the failure to extract problem.. In my opinion, that problem alone makes the kit worthless.. Otherwise, I love it!!

  • Trjnsd

    Well, I’ve had my kit for most of a year. I’m retired LEO and do private security and protection, often in areas where long range and over penetration of 5.56 and 7.62 are a concern. Short ranges, building clearing, Slugs and 00Buck are my thing, as are 870′s.
    This kit caught my attention real quick. I put it on a new 870 Tactical. And I had similar assembly problems with gaps in the front halves, however reassembly worked them out! I have experienced none of the problems shooting or operating my unit as described in your case. Mine’s running fine, though I am glad I saw this review. It has caused me to recheck, re-evaluate and retrain!
    …and save up for a Tavor….!

    • Brad

      5.56 penetrate farther than a 00 Buck or slug? um no.

  • CommonCents

    I’d like to see a comparison/review of the keltec ksg! Also, how long does it take to take this kit apart to clean?

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  • 870 shooter

    Thanks for a great and fair assessment Matt. I love my two 870s and was on the fence about this product. Unfortunately I don’t support manufacturers with the type of attitude this one displays. Thanks for helping me decide to pass on this one.

  • Connor

    It did look like you were short stroking the gun. But when you showed the slow motion replay of the “short stroke” there was no gap or anything. i paused the video when the hulls were being ejected and the top if the hull looks like it mushroomed. That could possibly be why they did not eject correctly. i have the same problem with my mossberg maverick shotgun. cheap shells tend to mushroom more often. Did you try any other loads? like a more expensive type of load possibly? I was just wondering because i saw this and i love the look of the bullpup design and was thinking about purchasing one. And if all it takes is a more expensive type of load or shell then it would be well spent money.

  • Davison Schanno

    I just assembled my own conversion kit, and the big difference I noticed is on the backstroke there is almost NO gap between the slide and the trigger assembly. When I watched the video there was a noticeable 1/2″ clearance between them on yours. Perhaps it was a short stroke, but not an intentional one! It looks like something was preventing a full stroke, because your technique was good.