The Burris SpeedBead – A Disappointing Test

For Shotguns Gear Reviews

I don’t get why Remington doesn’t just tap their shotguns for an optic’s mount. Like all of their shotguns. Mossberg does it, so why can’t Remington? Luckily, solutions exist, and one that has always interested me was the Burris SpeadBead. It seems like a great solution for a complicated problem. Burris designed the Spea Bead to be an optic mounting solution that doesn’t require a tapped receiver.

Instead, this optic mount fits between the stock and the gun’s receiver. It’s a metal design with a setup that allows you to directly attach a Burris Fastfire optic or an optic that shares the Burris footprint. I’ve used a Burris Fastfire 3 for years and have always appreciated its capabilities. I finally broke down and purchased the SpeedBead. Boy, was I disappointed.

Installation and Fit

Installation seems simple. Take off the stock, fit the SpeedBead attachment around the stock and close the two. Well, okay, let’s do that. Well, first, it’s stock picky. My 870 uses a AR 15 adapter that allows me to attach AR pistol grips and stocks. Well, no go, it doesn’t fit.

Alright, no big deal. Next, I tried to mount it on a TAC-14 with the Raptor grip. Again, no go. Okay, well, next, I went searching for my original Remington 870 stock. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I never throw anything away and quickly found it.

Burris SpeadBead side view sitting on wood
The SpeedBead is a mount that fits between the stock and receiver.

Alright, so it seemed to fit. I attached the SpeedBead between the stock and the receiver and followed the instructions to a T. As tightened, the mount moved. Well, okay, loosen it up, try again. I repeated this process and eventually tasked my wife to make sure the mount didn’t move as I tightened down the mount.

Burris SpeadBead front view sitting on wood
The SpeedBead is made from very thin metal and it’s not super durable.

The SpeedBead comes with two spacers, and I tried both. Then I readjusted a rear screw to secure the mount. It took forever to find the right combination of the spacer and rear screw tension to get it just right. With a normal bead, it should sit on the bead. Well, once the optic was attached, the dot sat below and to the right of the bead.

I then adjusted the Fastfire 3 to its max, and it was still off. This led to me trying a mix of everything.

Fighting with the SpeedBead

I had to detach the stock, move the mount to the left a little, and swap spacers. Finally, after what felt like hours working with a variety of different drivers, I got everything lined up. I grabbed some basic buckshot and went to the range.

The bead on this barrel sits directly on the barrel. It’s gotta be an old Remington barrel because Remington uses the pedestal mount now to raise the bead to match the point of aim to the point of impact. I rose my bead a hair above the gold bead to make up for the bead sitting too low.

Burris SpeadBead mounted to shotgun
See how the optic sits against the receiver? That’s how it’s supposed to sit.

Me and the SpeedBead were finally ready! I needed to do a confirmation zero for my buckshot load, and I’d be good to go. I started by firing a few rounds and noticing the rounds were a bit to the low and left from the bead. I made the necessary adjustments and fired again.

Uhm, well, now I was way high. So I adjusted again. My dot floated way above the bead and fired another round. Again the shot shifted. I unloaded, showed clear. I noticed the optic moved. Well, the mount moved.

Burris SpeadBead mounted to Shotgun from the front
Notice how high the SpeedBead now sits above the receiver. It worked its way upward.

Those shots shifted it upwards out of its mounted position. The entire optic mount sat high on the gun. Recoil shifted the mounted upward with every shot. The recoil would also make the whole optic recoil rearwards.

Back to the Bench

I popped the stock off completely. My mount was now bent. The thin metal bends with absolute ease. I used the stock to guide my attempt to rebend the mount. Realigning the mount and stock took time, and I reattached the stock to the gun and very carefully made sure the mount sat flush with the stock and the receiver as I reattached everything.

I really cranked down on the stock bolt to ensure it was as tight as I could get it. Maybe I had messed up and had not tightened it all the way. This time I wore my hands out, making sure that the bolt was tight.

Burris SpeadBead mounted to shotgun laying on it's side.
I reattached the SPeedBead and tried again.

I made sure the front of the optic sat flush with the receiver and that the mount was sat fully into the gun. I even watched a video from Burris to make sure I understood exactly what I was doing. At this point, I had spent more time attaching the SpeedBead to the gun than I had actually spent shooting the weapon.

With the SpeedBead back in place, the dot sitting slightly above the bead, and a heart full of hope, I went back to the range.

Once More Into the Breach

I wish I could say I fixed it, and it worked. I started with birdshot, and the dot stayed put. I zeroed it good enough to bust clay pigeons on the berm and finally moved to buckshot. With five rounds of 00 buckshot, I went at it! Deep breath and all!

After two rounds, the SpeedBead shifted upward and once more out of its proper position. At this mount, I’d put more than enough effort to make the SpeedBead work. I tried three different stocks and attached and reattached the mount several times.

Burris SpeadBead view through the optic
It’s a shame because the sight picture is fantastic.

I’m done with it. I’ll be returning it. I’m not sure what the issue is. I’ve seen the SpeedBead work. Is it my gun? My stock? Or what? I’m not sure, but I’m not purchasing a different stock to try it out. Maybe my Remington is old and has some odd characteristics. Whatever the case is, my experience with the SpeedBead hasn’t been positive.

That being said, the Burris Fastfire 3 is a great optic. It worked without any issues. The SpeedBead itself is the problem. I guess I’ll need to have my 870 tapped for an optic rather than try a shortcut. Does anyone else have a good or bad experience with the SpeedBead? Let me know below.

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  • PETER MIGALE April 4, 2023, 6:35 pm

    I have a Burris SpeedBead II that is over five years old on a Beretta A400 that I have used 3.5″ 2.25oz turkey loads through for all that time, shooting three Toms a season, also shot it for one duck/goose season to help keep my head down and have put hundreds of 3 and 3.5″ shells with the sight installed. It has never budged or been off target. I just shot my first turkey of this season at 69 yards in the head, no pellets in the body cavity!! I do not know what or why your SpeedBead is doing this, I can only assume that it is an issue with the Remington set-up, maybe there is some play or it does not fit well enough?

  • Louis April 3, 2023, 11:28 am

    My take on this is too thin for mild steel, should be 3 times as thick or made with a much stronger metal. Of course, price has to be higher. As is it represents a fair idea but badly executed.

  • David M. April 3, 2023, 10:46 am

    Thank you very much for this straightforward review. Being completely honest, the vast majority of reviews on GunsAmerica are more like extended product endorsements. It’s refreshing to see flaws being pointed out rather than just gushing praise.

    Kudos on a job well done. I will definitely be looking forward to more of your reviews in the future.

  • OldBeast April 3, 2023, 10:11 am

    Never understood why people put optics on shotguns anyway. Patterns are different with every shot. Every time I see a Tac-14 or a Shockwave with a red dot I have to laugh at the money wasted. If shooting slugs I could understand that, but buckshot and birdshot just save the money and take the time to learn how your shotgun shoots. I shoot sporting clays competitively and never even look at the bead but instead put 100% of my focus on the clay and the brain and body after being trained just react.

    • Louis April 3, 2023, 6:04 pm

      Like you I wonder which real advantage a red dot sight might have on a shotgun, at least for someone who is really used to his own shotgun. For some, I believe the adjustability of the sight and having a red dot on the target might be comforting. Nevertheless for a fast shot on a flying or running “bird” I would rather bet it will be a bit slow for taget acquisition. For slugs, in my experience a 4x scope is very useful at 60 yards and more (2X is probably enough). In those conditions, it’s a lot easier to hit with a zeroed optic and a bit of magnification, especially if you have to rush your shot.

  • Dave Williams April 3, 2023, 7:26 am

    Most of the new RemArms 870s are drilled and tapped. Finally.

  • Joshua Martin April 3, 2023, 6:18 am

    Your metal mount looks a lot thinner than the model available on Amazon. Is this an older model? New one looks to be a plate, not a frame

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