The Remington 870

The 870 has proved to be a legend of a bird gun.  Not only for me, but many others.   Considering a new shotgun?  On a budget?  I beg you to consider the Remington 870.

Why So Popular?

Plain and simple, the Remington 870 is debendable and versatile. With sale numbers literally in the millions and different models for every possible purpose imaginable, the 870 is as common as a hammer.  The original Wingmaster lives in the heart of countless duck and upland game hunters, and the short barreled versions can be found in a police cruiser near you, not just coast to coast, but around the world.

A Perfect Fit

The 870 has proved to be a legend of a bird gun.  Not only for me, but many others.  Most shotguns are built for the “average” person and look relatively similar on paper across manufacturers.   Because everything looks so close on paper, one might think that fit wise, they’re all going to be about the same.  Shove an 870 to your shoulder and peer down the rail, and you will find, not all shotguns are created equal.  The Remington 870 and its semi-auto counterpart the 1100 managed to discover some sort of wizardry, and “fit” the “average” guy just plain better than most other shotguns.  I can attest, the 870 feels like it was made for me.

A Closer Look

The success of this gun is largely attributed to its reliability and sturdy design.  Unlike other pumps, the 870 has a solid steel receiver, most other using alloy receivers.  This translates to long lasting durability.  The 870 features dual action bars and a bottom-loading, side-ejecting receiver that facilitates consistent ejection and smooth action.  Whether you need a sport shotgun or a tactical home defence weapon, there are tons of aftermarket accessories to make your 870 your own.  It’s no wonder bird hunters, sport shooters, police officers and military personnel have made it their shotgun of choice for more than 60 years.


Chamber: 12 gauge

Barrel: 18″ – 30 ”

Capacity: 4+1

MSRP: $350

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category. Overall rating is not mathematically derived from the previous component ratings and encompasses all aspects of the firearm including those not discussed.

Accuracy: * * * * *

It’s as accurate as a shotgun can be. It makes things go boom.

Ergonomics: * * * *

The forend could use some of those grip panels, but otherwise the 870 is a downright comfortable scattergun.

Reliability: * * * * *

Lubed or not, it runs just fine.

Customization: * * * * *

Everyone and their brother makes accessories for this gun.

Overall: * * * * *

It’s still reigns. Long live the king.

Remington 870 Variants

  • Express – Matte blue/black bead-blasted with, hardwood, laminated hardwood or synthetic stocks and chambered for 2 3/4″ and 3″ 12 or 20 gauge shotshells. All Expresses have been chambered in 3″ in 12 and 20 gauge, but markings have varied.
  • Marine – Nickel plated with synthetic stocks.
  • Mark 1 – adopted by the United States Marine Corps in the late 1960s and saw service into the 21st century. The Model 870 Mark 1 has a 21 inches (53 cm) barrel with an extended magazine increasing total capacity to 8 rounds, and was fitted with an adapter allowing use of the standard M7 bayonet for the M16 rifle.
  • MCS (Modular Combat Shotgun) – A new modular version of the M870 which can be quickly modified with different barrels, magazine tubes, and stocks for different purposes, such as urban combat and door breaching.
  • Police – Chambered in 12 gauge only with a 3″ magnum chamber. Blued or Parkerized steel finish. These models feature a stronger sear spring, carrier latch spring, and a forged steel extractor (as opposed to the MIM extractor found on Express models). Receivers are stamped “Remington 870 Police Magnum” as of 2014.
  • Super Mag – Chambered for 3½” 12 gauge shotshells.
  • WingmasterBlued steel with high gloss or satin walnut stocks. They have been offered in Skeet, Trap, and field configurations. Originally the basic Wingmaster was chambered for 2 3/4″ rounds and came with a fixed choke, and the 3″ chambered versions were designated Magnum models. Models built after 1986 offer the RemChoke Interchangeable choke tube system, and the 12 and 20 gauge versions are chambered in 3″ for either 2 3/4″ or 3″ shells. Prior to the introduction of the “Police” model 870, altered Wingmasters were popular among law enforcement.


Do you own a Remington 870?  If so, what is your opinion of it?  Do you love it? Do you hate it?  What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?  Let us know in the comment section below.

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