The Remington 870 is an extremely popular shotgun that has been in production since the mid 20th century. At this writing, it is the best-selling shotgun of all time.
Remington Arms Company
designed the Model 870 in 1950 and dubbed it the Wingmaster. The design was intended to improve upon the Remington 11-48 shotgun and was meant to be a modern, reliable, and affordable shotgun. In fact, the first Wingmasters could be purchased for as little as $70. As a result of its quality and affordability, the gun has gained popularity over the years with hunters, law enforcement, military, and individuals interested in home defense.
The 870 is a pump-action shotgun available in a variety of gauges. In its standard configuration, the 870 holds five rounds in a cylinder with one in the chamber. However, an aftermarket extension can be added to increase the gun’s capacity to as many as eight rounds. By attaching a side saddle to the receiver, you can have up to eight more rounds at the ready.
There are a number of other aftermarket parts you can get for the 870 such as barrels to make it as long or as short as you would like, rifled barrels and slugs to increase accuracy, special stocks with pistol grips, and stocks to reduce recoil, to name a few.
In addition to changes made by aftermarket add-ons, there are dozens of Remington-made variations of the 870. These variations fall under a few categories but the most popular are:
- Wingmaster—This is the top-of-the-line 870 with a polished blued finish and a walnut stock.
- Express—The Express is the model’s budget gun and has a matte black finish and laminated hardwood stock.
- SP/SPS –The Special Purpose and Special Purpose Synthetic lines were designed to meet specialized needs such as turkey shooting or deer hunting.
Because Remington 870s are and have been available in a variety of gauges
, the right type of ammunition depends on the specific gun. In general, an 870 will use a .410, 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, or 28 gauge cartridge.
In a general sense, Remingon 870s are not particularly collectible—after all, more than 10,000,000 of these guns have been sold. However, collectors may be interested in older and limited edition 870s like the Ducks Unlimited
and Bicentennial Commemorative editions.
Remington Model 870 shotguns are readily available any place where guns are sold including sporting goods stores, online stores, gun shops, pawn shops, and even Walmart. For a vintage 870, gun stores and pawn shops are a good place to look. Online gun auction sites will also typically have some available.
With so many variants of the Remington 870 available, you can find them in a wide range of prices. Brand new 870’s can run between $400 and $1,100, depending upon the variation. The basic 870 Express is at the lower end while a specialty Wingmaster is on the higher end of the range. Vintage 870s can be found for under $200 or as much as several thousand dollars for one with particular collectability.
The Remington 870 is a very reliable gun with a decades-long track record. While both the old and new 870s receive high praise, many people believe the older guns to be superior. It is not uncommon to hear stories of vintage 870s being neglected and/or mistreated, only to be found in perfect working order months or years later. The newer guns seem to require more consistent care and attention
to keep them at their best.