I have always wanted a Remington 870 shotgun, so last year finally bought one. I knew when I was buying it that it was not manufactured like they were in the old days. There is no Walnut stock, beautiful engraving or blued finish; mine has a durable sand blasted black finish. The plastic trigger guard is the first thing I noticed that I wasn’t thrilled about. The synthetic stock certainly fits, but nothing is flush with the receiver. I found a mystery part in the butt stock during its first trip to the range, which I will tell you about in a second.
Having said all of that, I still feel that I could club the heck out of an intruder or angry dog and the gun would still operate properly afterward, as sometimes hitting an adversary is tactically/legally better than shooting them. The 870 is a tried and true design. With the addition of a Surefire fore-end (Model 618FA), you also have the option of seeing and/or blinding your target before you shoot!
By the time I bought my 870, I had sold far more of these models than I’d shot. I must say our society is well armed. There are plenty of factory variations with collapsible stocks, pistol grips, long hunting or rifled barrels, different finishes and stock materials, etc. Modifications and improvements have been taking place on this model since the 50’s. The shotgun’s innovative twin action bars insured improved reliability and smooth functioning. Many Law Enforcement agencies have selected this as a patrol weapon for decades.
The day I saw my 870, it was like it called to me. As I said before, I know the “flaws” of my personal weapon, but this particular serial number was meant to be mine. I was at the gun range and as I was leaving, the black 12-gauge 870 express magnum shotgun demanded to be inspected and then purchased. It turned out that it was on sale for cheaper than I could buy it anywhere else. The ten-day waiting period was tough for the both of us. Luckily on the tenth day, the range and gun shop, being one and the same, allowed me to fire slugs indoors. I got home with a pleasantly sore shoulder and a mysterious little part that dislodged itself inside of the butt stock as I was shooting. It’s funny how a part rolling around somewhere in your firearm puts an end to training. But heck, it’s not like I didn’t intend to go home and completely dissect the trigger group anyway.
When I unscrewed the stock bolt, and finally got the stock assembly off, out came the mysterious part that was taking a ride up and down the long stock bolt. Though it didn’t look like anything that was needed for safe operation of the shotgun and it surely didn’t have a Remington part number, the statement, “Oh hell, I don’t need that crazy little part” just doesn’t go hand in hand with gunsmithing or firearms in general. This gave me an excuse to call Remington.
The experience of calling Remington’s 800 number was met with excellent customer service. The gentleman I spoke with had never seen or heard of such a thing and he had been “doing this a long time”. He apologized that he didn’t know what the part was but agreed that we should find out what it was! He asked me if I minded waiting on hold for a while as he checked with the head armorer. He got back on the phone and told me that it was an “assembly washer” that only one of their factories uses to separate and store the receiver studs before mass assembly of the shotgun. He said that sometimes a little bit of machining oil will cause the washer to stick to the receiver stud and it gets assembled with the stock bolt. A lot of the time the washer will remain there undiscovered, but it got banged around for quite sometime that first day at the range!
I really like the no frills nature of this particular model of the 870. My favorite car is a black 1968 Plymouth Road Runner and it reminds me of this shotgun. They were both engineered to bring down the price for the “common man” without sacrificing the firepower (or horsepower) and reliability that you need. Just like my Road Runner, the 870 just keeps working, no matter how hard you beat on it. If it breaks, there are plenty of parts available and everything is quick and easy to get at to fix, although my car doesn’t have any “Federally Restricted Parts” . . . yet.