A Guide to Collecting
Remington Model 870
By Roy Marcot
beginning of the second half of the 20th
Century was a milestone product year for the Remington Arms Company.
It was in 1950 that “America’s Oldest Gunmaker”
introduced what many believe is the finest pump shotgun ever
produced, the Model 870. Produced every year since, the Model 870 has
become the most successful single model gun in Remington’s 189-year
history, and the best selling pump-action shotgun in firearms
history. Remington called it “the Wingmaster”.
years earlier, Remington design engineers had begun working on a
replacement for the rugged but outdated Model 31 pump-action shotgun.
Utilizing common parts from the sleek, new Model 11-’48 autoloader,
L. Ray Crittendon, Phillip Haskell, Ellis Hailston and G. E. Pinckney
developed what would later be called the Model 870 shotgun. In
January 1950 Remington announced its new Model 870 Wingmaster
shotgun. Like the Model 11-’48, the new Model 870 shotgun
breech locked securely in a hardened barrel extension, and a new
locking block and slide was devised for a smooth and effective
The following is a chronological history of the initial specifications
and subsequent additions to this versatile and stalwart shotgun:
introduced fifteen versions of the Model 870 shotgun, in 12,
16 and 20 gauges, including: Model 870 AP Standard Grade
shotgun (for $69.95), the Model 870 BC Special Grade
shotgun (for $81.45), the Model 870 ADL Deluxe Grade
shotgun (for $79.95), the Model 870 BDL Deluxe Special Grade
shotgun (for $91.45), Model 870D Tournament Grade (for
$295.00), Model 870F Premier Grade (for $585.00), Model
870TC Trap Grade (for $159.95), Model 870TD Trap
Tournament Grade (for $388.55), Model 870TF Trap
Premier Grade (for $678.55), Model 870S Trap Special
Grade (for $89.95), Model 870SA Skeet Grade
(for $79.95), Model 870SB Skeet Special Grade (for
$91.45), Model 870SD Skeet Tournament Grade (for
$325.00), Model 870SF Skeet Premier Grade (for
$615.00) and the Model 870R Riot Grade with 20"
barrel (for $69.95).
Remington Price List – May 1950
introduced the Model 870 Magnum-AP Standard Grade shotgun
(selling for $88.30) and the Model 870 Magnum-ADL Deluxe Grade
shotgun ($127.15), each chambered for 12 gauge, magnum load, 3"
(or 2¾”) shells.
Remington Price List – 1955
introduced the 12 gauge Model 870 RSS Rifled Slug Special
with slug barrel and rifle sights ($95.95), and the Model 870
SX Skeet Grade and TX Trap Grade and ADX
Field Grade shotguns with Sun Grain stock and forend.
Remington Catalog – Spring 1959
introduced the Model 870 ADX with Sun-Grain stock &
fore-end ($162.65), a 20 gauge magnum, chambered for 3" shells.
Remington Price List – January 1960
introduced the Model 870 AP “Brushmaster” shotgun
introduced with 20" slug barrel, recoil pad and rifle sights
($109.70). It replaced the Model 870 RSS. Remington also
introduced a 20 gauge magnum Model 870 ADL and Model
870 ADX shotgun.
Remington Catalog – 1961
produced the Model
in a new deluxe grade for all
field models with custom checkering
and improved wood finish.
this year, Remington announced the sale of the one-millionth Model
870 shotgun! The year 1966 also marked Remington’s 150th
Anniversary in business, going back to 1816, when young Eliphalet
fabricated his first gun barrel, giving birth to an industry. Besides
local festivities in Ilion, Remington introduced several
commemorative firearms with the 150th
Anniversary seal stamped on the receiver, including the Model
Anniversary Edition Shotgun. 2,534 would
be sold over the next two years.
introduced Model 870 field models in 28 gauge and .410, which
were issued with scaled-down receivers, and lightweight mahogany
stocks and fore-ends. Remington also introduced Model 870
“Matched Pair” 20 gauge and .410 Skeet guns with walnut
stocks and hard carrying cases, selling for $395ºº the
pair. Over the next three years 1,503 pairs would be sold. Remington
also introduced a 20 gauge Model 870 Brushmaster Deer Gun in
Standard or Deluxe versions. Remington
contracted with the U.S. Marine Corps to fabricate 3,231 Model
870 Mk-1 military-style, 12 gauge Model 870 shotgun
with 7-shot magazine extensions and fitted with bayonet attachments.
870 28 gauge and .410 shotguns were offered individually, in place
of the previously marketed “Matched Pairs”.
versions of the Model 870 were offered in Field, Magnum
and Trap grades, in 12 gauge and 20 gauge guns.
introduced the Model 870 “All American” Special Trap Gun,
advertising it as “the finest pump-action shotgun we’ve ever made,”
and selling this custom, engraved gun and protective case
for $550ºº. Also,
Remington introduced the 20 gauge Lightweight Model 870 in both
standard and magnum versions, with scaled-down receivers and mahogany
stocks and forends, weighing only 5lbs/12oz. Prices ranged from $139.95
for a plain barrel version to $184.95 for the 3″ magnum model with
ventilated rib barrel.
October, Remington proudly announced production of the two-millionth
Model 870 shotgun!
produced 10,000 12 gauge, limited edition Model 870 DU (Ducks
Unlimited) shotguns, “commemorating Ducks Unlimited’s
many years of service.” These shotguns sold for $132.47, and
featured specially decorated receivers and a selected block of serial
numbers followed by DU suffix. Due to a shortage of American
walnut, in mid-year 1974, Remington began fitting some M870 Field
Grade shotguns with mahogany stocks and fore-ends.
introduced limited edition, 12 gauge “Bicentennial
Commemorative” Model 870 SA Skeet Grade, Model
870 TB Trap Grade and Model 870 TBMCS Trap shotguns.
May, Remington announced the production of their three-millionth
Model 870 shotgun! In this year, the “All American” Trap Guns
were discontinued. The Model 870 Trap line was altered to now
include three grades of increasing quality: TA, TB and
TC. Remington also introduced a 20 gauge Model 870
LW-20 Lightweight Deer Gun.
walnut stocks replaced mahogany stocks on all 20 gauge, 28 gauge and
.410 Lightweight Field guns.
introduced a new stock styling and checkering pattern on all Model
of the 12 gauge Model 870 “Competition” Trap gun
with 30" barrel and integral recoil-absorbing gas piston.
Remington also introduced Model 870 20 gauge Lightweight
Limited with 23" barrel and 12½ inch length of
pull – “for younger shooters and smaller-framed adults.”
discontinued the Model 870 SA Skeet shotgun in 12, 20, 28 and
.410 gauges, and Model 870 TB Trap in right and left hand
Remington 1982 Catalog
produced 4,000 limited edition, 12 gauge, 3" magnum “Ducks
Unlimited Commemorative” Model 870 Mississippi Magnum shotguns.
These had a special receiver decoration and 32-inch, full-choke
barrels. Remington also introduced a left-hand 12 gauge Model
870 Deer Gun.
Remington announced their four-millionth Model 870 Shotgun! The
company also introduced the Model 870 “Special Field”
in 12 and 20 gauge versions, with checkered, straight English-style
stocks (no pistol grip) and 21-inch ventilated rib barrels in
improved cylinder, modified, and full chokes. Remington also changed
the name “Lightweight Limited” to Model 870 20 gauge
Lightweight “Youth Gun” with a change in barrel length to
introduced the Model 870 SP Special Purpose Magnum gun
with 26-inch or 30-inch, full choke, vent rib barrel, a no-sheen,
satin finish on exposed metal parts, and a subdued oil finished
hardwood stock. This gun was designed for waterfowling and turkey
re-styled the Model 870 Wingmaster with a Bradley-type ivory
bead front sight, and raised diamond style, cut-checkering on the
satin finished walnut stock and fore-end. In 1986, Remington
introduced the new RemChoke system (with
interchangeable improved cylinder, modified and full chokes) which
became standard on 26-inch and 28-inch barrels. It was not available
on 30" barrels, deer guns, target guns or as a retrofit. This
patented device allowed the shooter to use a wrench to change the
shotgun to full, modified or improved cylinder chokes. Remington also
added the 12 gauge Model 870 SP Special Purpose Deer Gun
to the Deer Gun line.
introduced the lower cost Model 870 Express, which
differs from the standard Model 870 line only in exterior
matte finish and low luster hardwood stock and forend. RemChoke
was now expanded to additional Model 870 12 gauge and 20 gauge
shotguns. The Special Purpose line was expanded to include the
Model 870 SP with 3-inch chamber, ventilated rib barrel
and RemChoke. In this year, the Model 870 Deer Gun was made
available in right-hand and left-hand versions in “Wingmaster”
introduced a Model 870 Express Combo with 20-inch slug
barrel and 28-inch ventilated rib barrel. The Model 870 TC Trap
Grade shotgun received a new stock style and dimensions, and
a new 31-inch overbored barrel with RemChoke system or fixed,
Purpose stocks and forends were changed to American walnut and a
cantilever scope mount option was added to the 12 gauge Deer Gun
Model 870 Express line was expanded with the addition of the
Model 870 Express Turkey, the Model 870 Express
Cantilever Scope Mount Deer Gun, the Model 870 Express
Rifle Sighted Deer Gun, the Model 870 Express Small
Gauge, and the Model 870 Express Youth Gun. Remington
also introduced the Model 870 SP Cantilever Scope Mount Deer
Gun, the Model 870 SPS Special Purpose Synthetic,
and the Model 870 SPS-T Special Purpose
introduced the 12 gauge Model 870 Marine Magnum Security gun
with electroless nickel plating, seven-shot magazine, 18"
barrel, and synthetic stock and fore-end (for $439ºº).
Remington also added a fully rifled 12 gauge Deer gun, and
.410 bore shotgun to the Model 870 Express line. Also,
Remington introduced a fully camouflaged version of the Model
870 SP-CAMO shotgun in Mossy Oak Bottomland camo (for
$425ºº). Remington also introduced the Model 870
Express in .410 bore (for $289ºº).
Light contour barrels for the Remington Model 870 shotgun were designed in 1992, and became common on these shotguns thereafter.
announced production of the six-millionth Model 870 shotgun!
The company also introduced the Model 870 SPS BG-Camo gun
with synthetic stock camo finish, 20" barrel and rifled sights
(for $443ºº), and Model 870 SPS-Deer (fully
rifled) gun with synthetic stock (for $385ºº).
introduced cantilever scope mounted barrel on the Model 870
Wingmaster in 12 and 20 gauges. Remington also introduced
the fully rifled Model 870 SPS with cantilever scope
mounted barrel and Monte Carlo style synthetic stock, and another
with RemChoke. Also introduced were the Model 870
Express Small Gauge shotgun in 28 gauge, and a 20 gauge
Model 870 Express Youth Gun with or without Deer
barrel were added to the Express line.
introduced the Model 870 Express HD (Home
Defense) shotgun with 18-inch cylinder choke barrel and checkered
announced the seven-millionth Model 870 shotgun! The company
also re-introduced the Model 870 TC Trap gun with
straight-comb or Monte Carlo stock. In addition, Remington also
re-introduced the Model 870 Express Small Gauge gun in
20 ga., 28 ga. and .410 bore. Custom style, fine-line engraving was
added to receiver panels of the Remington Model 870 Wingmaster
field, target and Deer Gun shotguns.
introduced a new Mossy Oak Break-Up Pattern on the Model 870
Magnum SPS Gun, and Model 870 Turkey Gun in new
Realtree X-Tra Brown camo. Remington also introduced two new Model
870 Express Combos with 26-inch
ventilated rib barrel and 20-inch fully rifled Deer barrel in
12 gauge and 20 gauge.
versions of the Model 870 Express Super Magnum shotguns,
chambered for 3½-inch 12 gauge shotshells, were introduced.
The standard version had a hardwood stock and 28-inch RemChoke
barrel. The Synthetic Super Magnum had a black
synthetic stock and a 26-inch RemChoke barrel. The Synthetic
Turkey Camo gun had a synthetic stock with Advantage Camo
design and a 23-inch, extra full RemChoke barrel. The
Super Magnum Combo gun had a standard hardwood stock, a
26-inch RemChoke barrel and an extra 20-inch fully rifled deer
barrel. Remington also offered the Model 870 Express Turkey
Camo shotgun with Advantage camo-covered synthetic
stock in 12 ga. and 20 ga. Youth Turkey Gun versions,
both with 21-inch RemChoke barrels. The company also offered a
Model 870 Express 12-gauge shotgun with a 28-inch RemChoke
barrel in a left-hand version. Fine-line receiver engraving was added
to the Model 870 Wingmaster 20-gauge field gun.
added 28-gauge and .410 bore versions to the Model 870 Wingmaster
line. The company also introduced the Model 870 SPS “Super
Magnum” Camo Shotgun and the Model 870 SPS-T “Super
Magnum” Camo Shotgun, both featuring 12-gauge, 3½-inch
chambers ($532ºº). Remington also introduced the Model
870 SPS “Super Slug” Deer Gun, which featured a 23-inch,
fully rifled, modified contour barrel fitted with a barrel-mounted
cantilever scope mount, and a black synthetic stock and forend
($520ºº). The company also expanded its Express line with
the Model 870 Express Super Magnum Turkey Gun (
featuring 12-gauge, 3½-inch chambers, extra-full RemChoke
23-inch barrels and black synthetic stock and forend – $259ºº)
and the Model 870 Express Synthetic Deer Gun (with
20-inch, fully rifled barrel with adjustable rifle sights, and matte
black finish on all exposed metal parts and black synthetic stock and
forend – $365ºº).
introduced the 50th
Anniversary Model 870 Classic Trap Gun as
a tribute to the world’s best selling pump shotgun! This 12-gauge
gun featured a 30-inch vent rib barrel with RemChoke barrel
and semi-fancy American walnut stock and forend. Remington also began
making the Model 870 Wingmaster Super Magnum with
28-inch vent rib barrel with RemChoke, chambered for 2¾-inch,
3-inch and 3½-inch shells. The company also manufactured the
Model 870 SPS-T RS/TG Shotgun with fully adjustable
Truglo rifle sights, 20-inch RemChoke barrel, black
matte finish on metal parts and black synthetic stock and forend.
Remington also made a Model 870 SPS-T Super Magnum Camo CL/RD
Shotgun, with a 23-inch barrel with RemChoke and
Leupold/Gilmore Red Dot sights, a Mossy Oak Break-up camo
finish on metal parts and on the synthetic stock and forend.
this year Remington introduced the Model 870 SPS-T Super Magnum
Camo CL/RC Shotgun with cantilever scope mount and a 23-inch
RemChoke barrel. Also a Model 870 SPS-T Synthetic Camo
RS/TG Shotgun with 20-inch RemChoke barrel and Truglow
sights. Also new for 2001 was the Model 870 SPS Super
Magnum Camo Shotgun with vent-rib, RemChoke , 26-inch
barrel and Mossy Oak Break-Up finish on metal parts and
synthetic stock and forend. Remington also offered a 12-gauge,
Model 870 Classic Trap Shotgun with 30-inch vent rib,
RemChoke barrel with high polish blue finish and semi-fancy
American walnut stock and forend. Also new was a Remington Model
870 SPS-T Youth RS/TG Synthetic Turkey Camo Shotgun with
20-inch super full choke barrel and RemChoke, and Truglo
fiber-optic sights and Mossy Oak Break-Up finish on metal
parts and synthetic stock and forend.
re-introduced the 16-gauge shotgun this year in four variations of
the Model 870, including the Model 870 Wingmaster, the Model
870 Express, the Model 870 Express Synthetic and the Model
870 Express Synthetic Youth Shotguns. Also new for 2002 was the
Model 870 Express Shotgun in 28-gauge and .410 bore.
introduced the Model 870 SPS-T, a 20 gauge gun with
camo pattern and a TruGlo fibre-optic sight and Model
870 Express Super Magnum Turkey Cammo gun and a Model
870 Express Turkey Camo gun and a Model 870 Express
Youth Turkey Camo gun.
introduced the Model 870 SPS Deer Shotgun, a fully
rifled cantilevered, 20 gauge gun.
In this year Remington
introduced the Model 870 Wingmaster Jr and the
Model 870 Wingmaster Dale Earnheart Limited Edition gun with
fine-line engraving of the famous driver and a solg signature and a
Model 870 SP-T Super Magnum Thumbhole stock shotgun and a
Model 870 Express Super Magnum “Fall Flight” gun and a
Model 870 Express super Magnum Synthentic with 28″ barrel and
Model 870 Express Jr. NWTF Edition shotgun.
All in all, the Remington Model 870 shotgun has earned it’s reputation as the geatest selling pump shotgun in firearms history. this cheivement was made possible by a rock-solid design and innovative Remington management which introduced dozens of variations over a 55-year history to satisfy millions of shotgunners. So many variations, it seems, that the Model 870 has become a collecting field all by itself.
Good hunting, 870 fans!