First Look: Remington Classic 870 Defense Shotgun

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This past week I attended the Remington writers seminar near Fayetteville, West Virginia. This event doesn’t exclude some tactical guns but is dedicated primarily to sporting arms. Over the next week I’ll be bringing the readers news of new Remington guns as well as rifles from Dakota Arms, Marlin and Nesika.

They had some beautiful rifles on display including the 200th Anniversary edition 1911, model 700 and shotguns. More on that later over the next week.

The ranges we used are located on the huge Boy Scouts of America Summit Group facility also near the location of the seminar. Many thanks to our Boy Scout representatives Mike Patrick Operations Director and Ryan King Shooting Sports Program Manager. If you’ve never seen or heard of this Boy Scout facility the scenery is breathtaking and facilities first rate. We used skeet ranges, rifle ranges, handgun ranges and shotgun ranges.

Every summer these gentlemen host Boy Scouts from around the world and teach them to shoot rifles. This was an activity lost for some time but it’s back hopefully to stay.

Now lets get on to talking about this new Remington 870. For more years than I care to remember I was issued a duty 870 with walnut furniture and four round capacity which eventually changed to 6+1 capacity. As you know nobody is making much in the way of wood furniture for shotguns of the tactical variety. Most have switched over to synthetic stocks. Remington decided it was time to bring back this classic shotgun.

I may be old fashioned but I miss the old tactical 6+1 capacity 870 with the nice thick butt pad and hardwood stock. When I saw one on the display table and was told they were bringing them back to market I was very happy to hear it. One of the best things I heard was they will be aggressively priced starting out at about $300 MSRP. Now that’s hard to beat for a tried and true 870! The finish is a dark almost black parkerization. The intro photo above is me shooting the new 870 in 6+1 capacity. It felt like an old friend shooting slugs and 00 buck. These are also chambered for 3 inch shells.

The Remington 870 standard and extended magazine model. Obviously the prices listed have been lowered.

The Remington 870 standard and extended magazine model. Obviously the prices listed have been lowered a good deal.

This 870 is available for order now. From now on when TFB brings you news of a new Remington gun of any type they will be production guns only that we’ll be testing and the announcement will only be made when the guns are being sent to distributors and will be immediately available. The new Remington CEO is doing some great things for the company and there will be more to come on this subject.



Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • Anonymoose

    Ooh, that is a sexy 870! Only thing that could look classier would be a corncob pump and a heat shield.

    • BattleshipGrey

      I agree with the heat shield, but I’ve always liked the above forearm as long as it doesn’t cover up the magazine port, nice and robust.

      • Bill

        The longer fore-end prevents the user from extracting a live round from the chamber without ejecting another round onto the carrier, something you don’t want to do as part of the LE deployment manual of arms.

    • Burst

      I agree with both, although that’d certainly push the price point higher.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Wow, you weren’t kidding about aggressive pricing. That’s right in line with Mossberg and will probably give it a run for it’s money.

    • Grindstone50k

      Not until they make the controls (safety, slide lock, etc) ambi and the ability to repair at home standard like the 500 series, which vastly out-sells the 870.

      • Bill

        Arguably, the 500 controls are set up far better for a fighting shotgun. And the 870 isn’t drop-safe.

        • cutamerc

          I have both an old 18.5″ 870 and a 590A1. Despite trying to like the 590A1 better, I ended up liking the 870 a lot more. It took me longer to train up and become faster with the Remington’s safety and loading gate, but in the end I am just quicker running the 870 than I am the Mossberg.

  • Steve Rothaug

    Three and a half years ago, I bought a new 870 Police Magnum largely due to the walnut furniture and parkerized finish. There’s a long list of other minor upgrades over the Express models, but had this been available at the time, I would’ve saved a few hundred bucks. These things are going to sell like crazy.

    • I couldn’t agree more. They just look right and at that price they sure will sell! I know I’m ordering one.

    • Bill

      I agree that these will sell like hot salted nuts, but they look the 870 HDs with wood furniture, not 870 Ps

  • Brocus

    At that price it’s in the “don’t need, buying anyway” category. Damn you Remington!

  • DW

    “Home Defense Enthusiasts” sounds a little odd…

  • Tyler Horne

    I may be weird, but I want the wood furniture with the 870 Tactical’s ghost ring sights and picatinny.

    • Paul White

      That’d be absolutely perfect for me. Put a low fixed power scope (like a 4x) for hog in brush, and bam. Hog gun AND house gun

  • James

    That’s delicious. I think I found my shotgun of choice.

  • Slvrwrx

    I have to agree, Wood goes very well on shotguns. Having a guy at work re-make the Magpul furniture on my 870 SBS out of wood :O

  • bjeremy

    Now if they could just get the damn things to work. I personally have zero interest in any Remington firearms until they address their quality control issues. I had a “tried and true” 870 a few years ago that wouldn’t eject spent shells. Spent quite a bit of $$ shipping it back for repair (twice) and they didn’t fix the problem. A buddy of mine had a similar problem with a 700 Varmint. Remington just sucks these days.

    • LOL—I’ve never seen an 870 go haywire. My PD issued 45 to 50 per shift and I never heard of one having problems whether on the range or street.
      Sure any company can have a bad one get by but with the 870 I have to think it’s very rare.

      • bjeremy

        Even a cursory google search will reveal that 870s produced over the last few years have significant problems (not rare at all), and I was unfortunate enough to experience that personally. Yes, all companies can produce lemons once in awhile but with Remington it seems to be the rule rather than the exception. Remington made great guns in the past, but those days are long gone. Seen any R51s lately?

        • Remington is changing by a great deal with the new CEO. The mistakes of the past are over.

          • bjeremy

            I certainly hope so, but that remains to be seen as far as I’m concerned. Their “mistakes of the past” cost me a lot of time and money, so I’m not in any rush to start buying their products again.

          • I’m going to write an article with more information. I just have to make sure I release non confidential information.

          • John Shore

            Before ‘Cerberus,’ Remington’s reputation for quality was high; Presently, it is very low. If Remington can get past the insignificant issue of 7.83 million defective 6-and-7-series rifles out there, the numerous wrongful-death lawsuits, the lawsuits where people have lost legs and feet and other important ‘bits’ allegedly to unintended discharges of their rifles, and the little matter of a poorly-publicized ‘settlement’ in a major class-action lawsuit, I’m sure that they’ll be just FINE with a new CEO.

        • John Shore

          The mistake Remington made with the R51 was to try to model it on unproven designs, and to combine those unproven designs in a gun that was put on sale before the design WAS proven. Nobody wants a ‘Microsoft’ gun, where it gets into customer hands, then customers start finding glitches and freezes, and Microsoft/Remington tries to fix the ‘glitches’ by sending out updates to fix each fault as it comes up in ‘consumer testing’ done BY consumers in the field that should’ve been done before putting the gun on the market.
          Remington should’ve kept with a proven design–that of the old 51, built in the late ‘teens and ‘twenties, in .32ACP and .380ACP. 65,000 of them were sold, and the design was capable of being upsized to .45ACP in the experimental Model 53–the model that showed up the Colt 1911 in Navy reliability testing at the time. If the US hadn’t entered WWI, the Model 53 just might’ve been The Gun, instead of the 1911.
          Take a look at it–you’ll be amazed at what Remington could do almost 100 years ago.

      • John Shore

        I’m glad that you have some faith in the new CEO; If you have the chance, ask him about the Pollard v. Remington lawsuit and the Walker trigger, and then about the XMP trigger–see what changes he’s going to make about THOSE items. Ask him about Gus Barber, while you’re up. Then about Lanny O’Neal. See what he says about those names.

        • Sounds more like an interrogation than questions.

          • John Shore

            Considering the information that I gave you, it ought to be. However, we are who we are.
            By the way, Gus was only 9 when he died; Lanny was a little older when a Remington 700 .243 fired when the safety was taken off. . .

      • Bill

        The only issues I’ve ever had has been on high-mileage guns, namely broken firing pin springs and fractured action bars. Even then, the gun would frequently work.

        One of the several advantages the Mossberg 500 has over the 870 is that the action bars aren’t rigidly connected to the forehand and can flex without building up metal fatigue.

  • Bill

    What goes round, comes round. First black and white police cars started coming back in style after all the high tech graphics, now this.
    At that price point it would make a great truck gun, I guess. The full-length forearm and lack of P model upgrades kind of preclude it from actual duty use.
    Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown out all that wood furniture I swapped out on the duty 870s. Maybe Remington should go full retro and put the pre-Flexitab carrier and bolt in it. That’d be fun.

    • I hated it when they changed ours from black and white to those graphics.

    • John Shore

      That ‘pre-Flexitab’ carrier and bolt could be a killer; Old guns out there that still have it surely shouldn’t be used for home defense, and certainly not by any cop. The ‘tab’ modification was to prevent those solid ‘jams’ of a shell lodged under the bolt and on top of the carrier–that kind of real, true ‘jam’ that pretty much rendered the gun a very well-machined and fitted club. The ‘tab’ modification allows the user to clear the mess easily.

      • Bill

        I was kidding, having had to literally disassemble a couple older 870s to clear them out. I still have one to retrofit, and have seen that Brownell’s no longer carries the kit.

        • John Shore

          Remington still sells the bits, but only as parts; Just having a Flexitab carrier helps. Remington supplies them with the carrier dog already attached.

  • RocketScientist

    Article states MSRP = $300, slide shown states MSRP = $450-475… which is it?

    • I did say in my write up the prices were lowered to be more aggressive after this PDF file was made. One of the reps present told me about the lowered prices.

      • RocketScientist

        Ah, saw the 300 price, didnt see that was a “correction” or change to the 450 listed on the slide. Thats very awesome. thanks for the clarification

  • Jack Burton

    Cool, I guess. The Norincos are still better values though, and half the people who buy them don’t feel the need to also buy a new non-MIM extractor immediately afterwards.

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      Cheaper doesn’t automatically mean “better value”.

      • Porty1119

        Acceptable fit-and-finish, solid metallurgy, very smooth action, ghost ring sights ALL for under $200 on Bud’s before FFL fee? I’d call that a value. Given Remington’s QC of late, I gave Norinco my money and don’t regret it.

      • Jack Burton

        The Pardner Pumps and IAC 981/982’s have no chintzy MIM parts that most people replace immediately as a precautionary measure, nor do they have a reputation for rusting for no apparent reason like modern 870 Express models. Those who gripe over their country of manufacture must not buy much of anything at all.

        • This parkerizing is darker and appears a bit more substantial. I’ve never had a problem with rust either way.
          Carrying one in a police car and getting it out in rain, snow and whatever else. I just wiped it down with a silicone cloth and maybe some lube if it was soaked and it was good.

          • Bill

            Ours rusted like crazy.

          • Huh never had one like that. Most of mine were ones I put together and Memphis PD was good enough to parkerize them for me. Another one was retired from a PD.

        • John Shore

          The finish rust issues are because the Expresses aren’t Parkerized–they are ‘hunter matte,’ a completely different thing. Real Parkerizing changes the metallurgy of the outer surface of a gun’s steel, modifying its chemical properties by combining the steel with manganese or zinc. It’s a bit like galvanizing, and offers great rust protection. ‘Hunter matte’ isn’t even close, being more like a thin chemical blackening that has minimal rust-preventive capabilities. Plus, it’s THIN.

      • Grindstone50k

        And it doesn’t automatically mean “less value”.

  • Paul White

    Gonna buy. If my shoulder’s still too FUBAR’d I’ll use reduced recoil loads

  • EWittt

    Walnut =/= Hardwood, unfortunately.

  • Lance

    Got to love the wood saw one at the gun show last week. Its very nice wood stock to it.

  • taofledermaus

    What is the 200th anniversary edition 1911?

    • I knew I shouldn’t have said anything until I wrote it up. It’s an R1 engraved by laser with the higher grade hand engraved and inlaid with gold. More to come—

  • Just say’n

    I have to agree with the author. There’s just something about an 870 that just feels right.

    • Yes indeed and I have a hard time saying what it is. It does feel right and handles so well.

      • John Shore

        The 870 Lightweight, Standard and Magnum are strongly-built, nearly all-steel, machined creations that usually have few ‘bugs’ after 65 years of production; Except for the fire control mechanism’s safety design, they are just magnificent examples of a bygone era of gun-making. The upper-grade guns, along with the Police models, are still some of the best shotguns on the market for the price.
        Down-scale 870s are still good guns, but cost savings in manufacture have to come from somewhere. Comparing an Express-grade gun to a Police-grade one of the same barrel length and type can be very illustrative of the differences. A Police gun of today is what a standard 870 was like 20 years ago, when Remington only competed with other top name brands, not Chinese copies.

  • John Shore

    Be very careful thinking that these two guns are incredible bargains; They are most likely just the original ‘home defense’ Express models but with wood. To make those ‘Express’ guns less expensive, they have a thin ‘matt finish’ that is a far cry from Parkerizing, much cheaper than that or bluing (several steps of finishing the metal can be omitted by using ‘matt’ finishes), and that ‘matt finish’ or ‘hunter matt’ wears faster than bluing or Parkerizing.
    The Express guns have a plastic fire control (trigger housing), not metal; There are other omissions or engineering changes, such as in how the barrel nut is fastened down, the thickness of the receiver steel, the overall fit and finish, that make them a far cry from higher-grade 870s, the police models, or the 870s that you remember from the past.
    With firearms, just like everything else, you get what you pay for. These guns will surely go ‘BANG!’ for quite a while, but that’s about it. If that’s what you want, grab one up.

    • The trigger guard is metal.

    • Jason Bourne

      Learn to spell, its “Matte.” Know your terminology before posting, it makes you look like you have no idea what you are saying.

  • Will

    I, too, am a retired LEO. My department issued the 870 with a side saddle to hold additional ammo. Didn’t care much for that, would have preferred the magazine tube extension, but it was not my call.
    What I did like were the rifle sights on the gun. We routinely qualified with slugs at 50-75 yards.
    Great shotgun.

  • Gregory

    I will pay twice as much for a lighter, all steel Ithaca 37 that is three times the gun.

    • greasyjohn

      To be fair new 37s have fixed barrels.

    • Bill

      and no disconnector…

      • Gregory

        Wrong, the current model 37’s have disconnectors.

        • Bill

          Right, which means that they are no fun whatsoever.

  • greasyjohn

    They really need to make one piece tubes. I’d like one with the longer tube that only came on the blackhawk model. I can’t get over the aesthetics of those extensions.

  • Grindstone50k

    I’d still rather have a 500 for HD.

  • Southerner

    “Both accept 870 Express accessory barrels without modification.”

    So does this new “Classic 870 Defense Shotgun” have a traditional external ratchet magazine cap or the much maligned internal ratchet / magazine tube dimple system? The latter, it seems, was designed to prevent the use of extension magazines.

  • Spencerhut

    I’m a long time Remington 870 & 1100 guy. After owning the gun store for the last six years I’ve switched to Mossberg 590’s and 930’s. I’ve kept most of my old 870’s, those things are tanks for the most part, but when they break . . . you better have the special tools to fix them. The Mossbergs? You probably have all the tools you need in the kitchen “junk” drawer.

    We started having issues with new 870’s not extracting. I’ve worn out several Flex-Hones fixing Remington’s bad chambers. We’ve also seen action bars go bad in a matter of days after the customer picked up the gun. The quality and materials just don’t seem to be what they were. If they don’t get these new 870’s right, it will be a real bummer . . .

  • This is actually perfect timing. I’m looking for exactly this 870 to compliment my other 870.

  • H.A.O.

    mossberg 88 security 6 is a great pump for far less money.

  • dltaylor51

    I might just have to save up and get an 870 to go along side my Mossberg chainsaw.I just hope the wood furniture is not furniture wood like birch,i would be more than willing to pay extra for good old fashioned American walnut.

  • carlcasino

    Okay I missed it. The article says $300 MSRP and the Remington spec sheet lists a $450 and $475 for 6+1. At 300 I will sacrifice my 870 Wingmaster magnum for this one. My neighbor has a Mossberg full tactical and I love the single point sling. perfect balance to the gun. I have taken anger management classes and no longer feel the need to hunt. I let my nephews and nieces do the hard stuff and I have instilled in them the philosophy of sharing is Godly.