Remington 870 Shotgun

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The Remington 870 shotgun. If anyone can think of a more iconic scattergun let me know, because I’m pretty sure this is the tops. Star of stage and screen and gracing the gun safe of just about every gun owner in the United States, it’s a familiar sight on the range and in the field. We bought one from an online retailer and tested it out . . .

This model is the very cheapest version we could find, figuring that if there are any cracks starting to show in the old girl, they’d be most apparent in the lower-end varieties. But for $350, you still get some nice features.

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The latest incarnation of the 870 uses the same style stock as the newer Remington 700 rifles. Most of the stock is the standard slick black plastic, but there are some panels fitted into the gun around the grip area that are made of a squishy, grippy rubber material that give the shooter a much more secure hold on the gun.

Also included is a rubber recoil absorbing butt pad, which is damn near required when shooting a shotgun this light — the gun weighs only a hair over seven pounds. At the top of the stock Remington has crafted in a good-sized comb that gives the shooter a solid cheek rest when aiming the gun, rounding out the fine design of the rear section of the firearm.

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Out front, Remington seems to have skimped a little. The forend of the scattergun is a minimalist design, using a rough textured plastic as the sole ingredient. It fits with the price tag and the overall style of the gun though, so I’m not complaining.

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While the stock and forend might not seem to be of the highest quality, there’s no doubt that the action itself is  up there with what we’ve been seeing for ages. The blued steel of the receiver and bolt both feel silky smooth, and I can’t find any signs of errant tool marks or rough patches. It’s the same Rem 870 we’ve come to know and love, and it feels as solid as ever.

Then, when you put the gun up against some competition, and you start to realize just how good you have it. Compared to a Mossberg 500, for example, the gun is head-and-shoulders above the competition. When you rack the 870, the gun feels solid and well-built. When racking the Mossy 500, it feels like it’s about to come apart. While the finish and design on the 870 is sleek and solid, the 500 has some exposed mechanics and a strange slotted lifter design that I just don’t like. Other things come down to personal preference, like my partiality for the Remington’s cross bar safety as opposed to the Mossberg tang-mounted safety. But overall, the Remington is still a clear winner.

The only thing I could find that wasn’t up to spec was on the trigger guard of the Remington 870. It looks like the old metal trigger guard has been replaced with a new plastic version, and there was some leftover material behind the trigger that I could easily remove with a pocket knife and a few minutes of concentration. While it may not sound like much, it’s the only issue I found on the entire gun.

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Out on the range I put hundreds of rounds of birdshot, buckshot and slugs through the gun without a single problem — and never lubed it once. I just assembled it straight out of the box and started stuffing shells up its pipe. The gun never malfunctioned, never hung up, and always ejected properly.

To be fair, we aren’t done testing this shotgun. Our 870 and a Mossberg 500 purchased at the same time, with the same round count on it, are currently lightly salted and sitting in a field somewhere in Texas. Probably being stepped on repeatedly by horses if I know the herd at the ranch as well as I think I do. In a few weeks we’ll transfer them to the bottom of a lake for a while, drop them from an airplane, and then blow them up. And then we’ll see if they still work. But until that testing is complete, I can say without a doubt that under “normal” conditions the gun runs just fine.

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There’s no doubt that the Remington 870 is still the king of the pump action shotgun. Even after all of these years and management changes, it still feels and works just as well as its predecessors. And for the money, it’s the best shotgun you can get.

Specifications:

Chamber: 12 gauge
Barrel: 18″
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 a shotgun. It makes things go boom.

Ergonomics: * * * *
The forend could use some of those softer grippy panels, but otherwise he 870 is a downright comfortable scattergun.

Reliability: * * * * *
Lubed or not, it runs just fine. Give us a couple more months and we’ll prove it even more definitively.

Customization: * * * * *
Everyone and their brother makes accessories for the gun.

Overall: * * * * *
It’s still reigns. Long live the king.

27 thoughts on “Remington 870 Shotgun

  1. It is my favorite to purchase after I saw a video of a hunter successfully and skillfully take down a 10 point Buck which was running approximately 70 yards away. The hunter took it down with a sabot slug; very impressive shotgun.

  2. I purchased an 870 over 40 years ago and have taken deer, coyote, Bob Cat, rabbits, squirrel, Ducks, geese, dove, and quail and considered this the best shotgun I have ever owned. I have recently passed it on to my grandson and he has continued the legacy, taking his first deer last season. As far as I am concerned, this is the finest shotgun ever made.
    Jerry Peters
    USMC Vietnam Veteran

  3. My 870 went on a very long list of firearms I totally regret selling. Demands of the time, you know? Mine never, ever failed me no matter what I fed it. One gent said he thought it the best shotgun ever made. Can’t argue with truth.

    1. Agree, best all around shotgun ever made. I sold mine too!!! And yes, I regret it. I used mine for trap, Dove and rabbit. This review motivates me to buy another one.🤓

  4. The 870 is the best work or sporting shotgun ever. I have an original Wingmaster Magnum in my vault right now that has never given me even one second of trouble and as a law officer the 870P rode in the rack of my vehicle always. An now anticipating buying an 870 Tac14. The Tac14 is the Remington take on the original Scatterguns Technology WPG, which is an excellent small shotgun. I just wish Remington would include the one shot extension on it as a standard feature.

  5. Must hop on bandwagon. Bought mine several decades ago. Would classify use as normal & it was never abused (e.g. put away uncleaned, wet, proper storage position). It now belongs to my grandson as I’m an octogenarian & keep in shooting shape only on pistols.

  6. I have a 12 & 20 gauge 870. Both shoot great but the first 12 gauge was returned to Dicks where I bought it. Would not pump. They swapped it & the next one would not eject when fired. Returned it at the company’s expense for the second time & they replaced the barrel. Said the chamber was bored off center. At least they honor the warranty! I also have 2 Winchester SXP pump 12 gauges. I like them even better. One has a 18-1/2″ & the other a 28″ barrel. I also have a couple Winchester 1300 which are great pump guns as well.

  7. Have my 870 since 1972 bought new gun never failed me used for skeet and trap and dear hunting gun still looks like new and works flawlessly

  8. I have my Dad’s 870. His was made in the first two years of production. I could not begin to count all the game it has taken. I can honestly say I have used it far more than Dad ever did!! I own two newer models. One is a 28: barreled magnum model, and the other is a Duck’s Unlimited edition made in 1982, which is the year we were married! None will be for sale or trade until after I am gone. I have a cousin and a friend that will inherit them.

  9. I bought my 870 in 1973 used it when I was a teenager for pheasant hunting and some skeet shooting for a couple of years it performed great. Then when the ring necks disappeared I put it in the gun cabinet for 43 years. In 2017 I had a chance to go on a Veterans only hunt with the NWTF for chuckers so I broke out the Remington 870 Wing Master pump and went on the hunt. The gun work just as good as the day it came out of the box shot 5 out 5 birds with that 20 gauge. You can’t beat the old 870’s.

  10. I own multiple 12 & 20 gauge 870’s for hunting and defense, used one for more than 30 years as a
    police officer; as a Chief bought one for each officer and issued one with the
    mag extension and rifle sights per officer like their handgun. In retirement, I am an NRA and BSA instructor. We use the 870 and 1100 there in teaching shotgun instructor and shotgun shooting merit badge. You just can’t beat either the 870 or 1100. Although I prefer the 20 gauge 1100 for smaller Scouts because of much less recoil.

  11. Over the years I have purchased 8 Remington 870’s. In 1967 it was the gun I qualified with in the Balto. P.D. I retired in 1999, and we were still using 870’s. I used’em to hunt all types of small game, ducks, geese, and deer. AND< can you say ELEVEN MILLION?

  12. the new Remington has cut the rugged quality of the new 870 my contact at fdle tells me they are so bad the new recommended gun is the coast guard preferred Mossburg 3 inch gun

  13. Looked at a 870DM the other day. Almost cut my hand on the mold marks on the plastic stock. If that is an example of their quality control, I wonder what else is messed up inside the gun. I’ll keep my old 870 and my Italian guns.

  14. If you really want ti splurge, go for the Remington 870P, which is nearly identical the Wingmaster version (an upgrade to the tested Express version). The “P” is for Police, and the 870P is built and assembled on a separate assembly line. The P model is noticeably heavier and more substantial than either civilian version. It has a parkerized finish rather than bright blue, and is available in a variety of barrels (your choice: 18″ or 20″), sights, magazine capacity, etc. You’ll pay about $200 more over a comparable Express, but you’ll get all metal part – no plastic trigger assembly group – a better mag follower, etc. It’s just a heavy duty firearm. When you see advertisements for police trade-in shotguns, be sure to check the receiver’s side for “Police Magnum” or some variation. Many departments will not spring for the heavy duty version, and simply buy civilian Express versions. The 870P is clearly marked on the receiver. Worth every penny for better quality, better assembly, metal parts, ety.

  15. I ordered several police magnums a few years ago front sight posts were incorrect height and were coming loose, factory was less than helpful. Action on newer version is not near as smooth as older models such as the wingmaster. If you own an older version keep it fix it they are worthy of the time and money.
    Be cautious of some of the dealers dressing up an 870 express as a tactical shotgun not worth it

  16. MY HUNTING BUDDY HAD THE 870,i OUT SHOT HIM EVERY TIME WITH A GOOD OLD RELIABLE REMINGTON 1100 THE
    `MOST VERSATILE GUN i EVER SHOT TRAP SKEET PHEASANT YOU NAME IT,as I got older I went into more expensive guns, but I still have my 1100
    just putting in my 2 cents worth

  17. I’ve owned and hunted with quite a few different 870’s over the years but my experience pales in comparison to that of a longtime friend, Britt Robinson. He started shooting trap with an 870 many years ago and literally has fired well into the millions of rounds through it. Little of the original remained when he reluctantly retired that shotgun but I’ve never heard anything but praise of it from him. I’ll take his word for it. He still holds world records in trap shooting. He also remains the ‘Sandy Kolfax’ of trap shooting as they are both the youngest admissions to their respective ‘Hall of Fame’.

  18. I bought an 870 express and can’t wait to trade that jamming piece of junk for a Mossberg 500. My son and I went to a local range where we like to hand throw single clays just for fun. We each had an 870 and a Mossberg 500. I had a 12 ga. 870 he had a 20 ga. 870 both Mossbergs functiones flawlessly. Both 870 double fed and jammed so bad we had to remove the barrels to clear them. Wouldn’t trust my life to an 870 for all the money Obama sent to Iran!!!!

  19. Mossberg(s) didn’t stand a chance, not with the ‘slanted’ opinion of the author behind the article. I personally have nothing against the 870, I KNOW them to be great s/g’…usually. Every manufacturer will at times screw up QC though, and it pays to look over EACH firearm (if possible) prior to purchasing. I have a M590A1…LOVE it, a very stout s/g. Being a Mossberg owner won’t deter me from ALSO getting a 870P either, as a ‘beater’.

  20. wish the 870 had a tang safety like the Mossberg 590s&500s-safer with gloved hands and more ambidextrous for us southpaws,a telescoping or longer buttstock[I REQUIRE 14.5″l.o.p.:re-attached retina],a spreader choke tube,a NON air wrench torqued rear sight[ditto for Remington 7600]

  21. I am another long-time satisfied customer of the Rem 870. I have 4 including the one my Dad shot, manufactured in one of the first years of production. That old 12 gauge has been shot so much it literally rattles when shaken. Almost no original finish – not rusted, just worn off from LOTS of use on dove, quail and pheasant. Probably worth nothing except to me. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. The 870 may not be as “purty” as a Winchester Model 12 (which I’ve also owned) but it’s a much smoother action and one that I’d reach for first every time – no matter what type of bird hunting or self defense it needed to be used for.

  22. AWESOME !! Bought mine in ’75’ from future bro in-law’s friend… used. Rem. 870 Wingmaster TB Trap.
    $150 !!! 30′ full choike barrel for trap. Crushes targets. Only added a slug/scatter barrel for deer and lil’ close critters. Best buy I ever made. Still using today for most of my shotgun activities ! Never a prob. And I am NOT MR. CLEAN !!!!!!!

  23. Luv, everyone’s opinions but ya know there just like something that smells (LOL) everyone has a favorite, but the Mossbergs must not be to bad, I know a lot of Military personnel that uses them in some pretty harsh environments and they seem to hold up pretty well.

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