Remington Model 870 Wingmaster Shotguns

By Chuck Hawks

Remington Model 870
Illustration courtesy of Remington Arms Co.

The Remington Model 870 Wingmaster pump gun is probably the best known and best selling pump action shotgun in North America. It was introduced in 1950, replacing the Model 31. The Model 870 was designed to lower production costs, primarily by using stamped steel parts in place of many formerly forged and machined parts. This made the gun more profitable to sell. Due to its twin action bars it is non-binding and smooth to operate. It is also a sleek, good looking gun with a streamlined receiver. The "Wingmaster" name seems appropriate for the gun.

Today there are 870 variations for virtually every conceivable shotgun purpose. These range from the Model 870 Classic Trap with its high polished blue metal finish and semi-fancy walnut stock to riot guns, a marine magnum and utterly utilitarian guns with black plastic stocks and dull black metal finish.

Available gauges include 12, 20, 28 and .410 bore. Barrel lengths range from 30" down to 18", depending on model and purpose. There are plain and ventilated rib barrels, with various sorts of sights. Most barrels come with interchangeable Rem Choke tubes of one type or another, but a few are still bored and some are rifled.

Barrels are user interchangeable. Open the action and unscrew the magazine cap to remove the barrel. Remington offers accessory barrels of various types in lengths from 20" to 30".

Stock materials include (from top to bottom) semi-fancy walnut, standard grade walnut, hardwood and black synthetic (plastic). Stock finishes include high gloss, satin, flat, black matte and camo. One thing they all have in common is that they fit the majority of shooters pretty well.

The Remington Model 870 is a good looking, reliable pump gun. There is a great assortment of barrels available at low cost, which adds to the gun's versatility. It remains the most popular slide action shotgun in the world, with over 10,000,000 sold.

Note: Complete reviews of the Remington 870 Wingmaster and 870 Marine Magnum shotguns can be found on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2004, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.