Billy: The Remington 870 Tactical Express

Keeping along this theme of weapons matching character personality, I wanted to talk about Billy, who was without a doubt my favorite character to write in Commune Book One.  He was my main point of contact when I needed to inject a little humor back into the story to keep things from getting too damned depressing.  His interactions with the other characters ended up being surprising to me in many cases; I always knew where I was going with him and had each interaction well mapped out but I had such a good sense of his character going into the story that his dialogue was the easiest for me to write.  I was simply taken by bouts of inspiration while writing his parts, finding it easy to shift into his manner of speaking as well as thinking.  When going back through the revision process, there was a lot of dialogue I had to tune up in order to get the personality of each character dialed in tighter so that they would feel like distinct people when you read from their perspective.  They all got revised accept for Billy; I got him right the first time.

If the characters in my story were actually real people, Billy is the one I’d most want to have a beer with.  Well, him or Gibs.  More on Gibs later, though…

Billy is an old-school Cahuilla Indian born sometime around the early 60’s.  He needs an old school scatter gun.  It doesn’t get any more old school than an 870.  The model pictured above is as close as I could find to what he was carrying in my book, minus the two-point sling and receiver-mounted side saddle – it even has the magazine tube extension he mentions in the story.  No, he wouldn’t have had wood furniture on his – he bought it specifically for home defense.  The Tactical Express was the way to go.

He also intentionally does not have any of that Magpul furniture nonsense, AR-style telescoping stock, or pistol grip because, as he said, “You just don’t mess with perfection.”

In the shotgun world, the big three tend to be Remington, Mossberg, and Benelli.  The old guys love their Remingtons, the younger guys swear by their Mossbergs (I certainly love the hell out of my own personal 590), and the guys with too much money for their own good can’t shut up about their Benellis.

Additionally, you couldn’t pay Billy enough money to carry a semi-auto shotgun.  Heresy.

Commune Book One is available now on Amazon and Kobo.

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