To go with its camo synthetic stock, the XCS sported a matte brown metal finish called TriNyte, originally developed for big-game and tactical rifles. Rust? Forget about it. By all measures TriNyte appeared to be the most resistant finish ever, utterly defying corroding forces ever to get at the naked steel within. I fell hard for TriNyte as a metal finish for rifles and thought that applying it to a hard-nosed shotgun was a brilliant plan. Apparently not enough waterfowlers agreed because, according to Linda Powell, “The 11-87 XCS was discontinued for 2009, subject to stock on hand. What we found was that shotgunners weren’t as interested as big-game hunters in paying the upcharge of $100+ for the TriNyte corrosion control system.”
Fortunately Remington offers a couple of very good alternatives that aren’t quite so pricey. Powell says, “The closest current offering in the Model 11-87 is the Sportsman Super Mag Waterfowl; however, considering the corrosion/scratch resistance aspect of the XCS shotgun, the closest offering now would be the Model 887 with ArmorLokt technology. ArmorLokt is a more affordable option.”
The 11-87 Super Mag Waterfowl is a butt-to-muzzle camo gun in Mossy Oak Duck Blind, and the transfer film that completely coats the stock and metal exterior is pretty tough stuff in its own right. I have seen film scratch a few times under extreme circumstances but it stands up beautifully to normal wear and tear and is a serious deterrent to rust and corrosion.
The 887, for those who haven’t seen it, is a brand-new model that Remington calls its “softest-shooting pump gun ever.” The Armor-Lokt feature is actually more than simply a finish; in fact it is an integral part of the gun’s structure that embeds the receiver and barrel in a high-tech synthetic shell completely unaffected by water, salt and other corrosive elements. And because of manufacturing efficiencies built into this design, the MSRP on this slick new pump-action is an eye-opening $399.
For their part, shooters absolutely need to keep their swing moving. Because eiders are so big and because their wingbeats aren’t so frantic as a puddle duck’s, on first appearances I thought they were weren’t flying that fast. In many cases I was wrong, and only after making a conscious effort to lead more did I start scoring with regularity.
Wind can also be a factor because at longer ranges a serious gale can drift shot strings. This is tricky because most of us don’t have meaningful practice doping wind relative to shotgunning. But if you’re repeatedly missing behind the birds—because of wind or whatever reason—the correction is more lead.
One thing that can work in your favor when shooting eiders is that because they often fly low to the water, it’s entirely possible to see where patterns are hitting relative to the birds. Having a partner spot your shots can be especially helpful in tracking misses.
Check out the Downeast Waterfowling Photo Gallery.