Remington has always been well known for their attention to quality shotguns and rifles, a history that stretches back to before World War I. The Remington Model 870, a solid pump-action of the ages that’s been lauded by experts and amateurs alike. The fourth shotgun design made by Remington, the Model 870 debuted in 1950 and was used in the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Nowadays, it’s fallen out of favor with the military, but it is still given hefty support by a civilian fanbase. This is a gun that has been made for seventy years and shows no signs of production end anytime soon. This raises the question; does the Remington Model 870 still live up to its lofty reputation? Read on to find out more.
As far as accuracy goes, I’ve found that the Remington Model 870 works at the same rate as other shotguns. Optics are your best bet for improving or changing accuracy and I’d even say the sight that comes on the 870 works wonders already. I did appreciate having a scope though, especially when doing some tricky skeet shooting on the range. The barrel length is fairly short at a solid eighteen and a half inches, which doesn’t do much for accuracy, but on most Remington 870s it’s quite easy to change the barrel if it suits your fancy.
As far as I’m concerned, the 870 is built with sturdy parts and it’s built to last. This is true of most older guns which lack the cheaper plastic of their contemporary counterparts. I’ve had my 870 for ten years now and I’ve never had a problem with it, save for once when it became inaccurate for a little while. All that took was a proper cleaning which is where I come to one of my only (very small) complaints about the gun. The 870 is a complex chore to take apart due to the many bells and whistles that make it up and it takes a very long time to clean. Still, I’ll always recommend to properly clean it regularly to make sure it works to the best of its abilities.
The Remington 870 is built for maneuverability, which you might have guessed from the shorter barrel size. The stock is nice and bulky which helps with the recoil, but sidelines the maneuverability from the rest of the gun a bit. I find this a necessary addition however, as this shotgun only weighs seven pounds, which is an incredibly low weight for a shotgun. Recoil would be a pain without the good rubber stock the 870 comes with. The grip itself is a welcome fit as well, with a very rubbery, easy to hold area that allowed me and everyone else I know who shot it a good sense of movement.
The Remington 870 comes with a well-made trigger and trigger guard, which provides a lot of room for big and gloved hands. Factory weight of the trigger pull I weighed at five and a half pounds, but I’ve found spring kits that can pull that down by as much as two pounds, bringing it to even less than its Japanese cousin. I don’t have much to say about the trigger; it’s got a satisfying pull, it doesn’t affect recoil, and it provides sufficient space for any hand size.
Magazine & Reloading
The standard Remington 870 comes at a capacity of 4+1, but you can find lesser and higher capacities in the multiple versions of 870 made. You can also find box mags and inner tube mags made specifically for the Remington 870, but I’ve always been a sucker for manually reloading each shell. The satisfaction of reloading each and pumping out spent shells is too good to pass up. Those looking for something more modern with less emphasis on the pump-action can check out the 870’s sister shotgun, the SP-10.
Length & Weight
Your standard Remington 870 will come in at thirty-eight inches long, with the aforementioned barrel taking up eighteen and a half of those inches. There’s a lot of variety depending on which variant of 870 you get, but I’ve found this to be the standard. I’ve also weighed mine in at seven pounds which seems to be the norm, but as with the length, tons of variants have been made over the seventy years of production. For a comparison, I’d liken the standard model to be most similar in length and weight to the Mossberg 930.
With a shotgun, recoil is always going to be an ever-present danger. While the Remington 870 kicks like a mule, the rubber stock and the solid maneuverability of the gun give it an advantage when compared to similar shotguns. The grip really helps with pushing that recoil back since you have such firm control of the gun.
As an old shotgun that’s been mass-produced for going on seventy years now, it should come as no surprise that the Remington 870, when compared to similar firearms like the Benelli Supernova, is fairly cheap at $349.99 MSRP. You can definitely find stuff for even lower prices if you go to over-the-counter stores or buy used, in which case they’re still likely to be in pretty remarkable condition.
One of my favorite guns of all time, if not my favorite shotgun of all time. With its low price, high reputation, satisfactory shooting, and accustomed reliability, I can’t recommend Remington’s Model 870 enough.
Richard Douglas is a long time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.