A few months back, I wrote an article on finding a Remington 870 police trade-in shotgun for right around $50. What I didn’t tell you was that I went back and bought a second 870 for the same price once the article was released. Both shotguns had some degree of surface rust and had seen better days. The bolts and components were all worn down and the overall lockup left a lot to be desired. So after taking a look at everything, I decided to sink a little money into them and try to bring one of the tired 870’s back to life. Let’s jump into my journey rebuilding a Remington 870.
Parts and Coatings
There were a number of parts that were extremely worn on the 870 I decided to rebuild. I kept debating on whether or not to just buy new parts or try to save the current components. After a couple weeks of deliberating, I decided to coat the existing bolt and parts to try and reuse as much as possible for originality and cost.
The coating I decided to go with on the bolt and action bars was a TiN coating for a few different reasons. First, TiN adds a decent amount of thickness to the parts that will be treated making it a tight fit like it was when it left the factory. Secondly, I wanted to do something a little different from every other 870 build that’s around. Will the 870 look terrible and end up on the Hot Gat or Fudd Crap list? Who knows, honestly it may, but it’s worth a shot to add thickness and overall rigidity. My hope is that the coats will add a tiny amount of material back onto the worn parts making them fit like they were new.
Furniture and Additional Parts
The furniture was also cracked and basically ruined after years of hard use, so those had to be replaced, unfortunately. After looking around at various options on the market, I was split between the Magpul furniture and Hogue’s rubberized 870 furniture. I bought both for the interest of science, but ultimately I went with the Hogue furniture.
My biggest issue with the gun was the state of the barrel and the overall condition of the metal. The gun was fairly dinged and had surface rust covering the entire weapon. After going back and forth on the barrel, I ended up caving and purchasing a replacement 18″ smoothbore for it. While I was cruising the interweb for parts I decided to also pick up a new metal side saddle to replace the cracking plastic on and a tube extension as well. Looking back, I probably should have sunk a tiny bit more and bought a new bolt and action arms but it’s still a good test point to try out the coating option.
The overall state of the firearm was still rather poor. I would have fifty shades of black on my 870 and figured it deserved a decent coating after all these years. I picked up a matte black Cerekote and decided to give it a shot. The beauty of owning a $50 Remington 870 is the fact it doesn’t really matter if you mess it up. Once all the parts were blasted, I sprayed all the external metal parts to have the same finish and baked it to cure.
The beauty of working on something like an 870 is the fact it’s about as complicated as a paper bag. Collectively, tearing down and assembling a Remington 870 takes less than 10 minutes typically. I had to take some of the D clips out to install my Mesa Tactical side saddle so it took a few minutes more but overall it was a fairly simple process. Simple actions like the Remington 870 are great to buy at a cheap rate because they are incredibly easy to work on even with little to no prior knowledge. A Remington 870 receiver is equivalent to a blank canvas just waiting to be turned into something special. Initially, I really considered turning it into something like an old school pump action with great wood but I always have another receiver to work with.
I bought this Remington 870 as a beaten broken down shotgun and after a little TLC, it’s going to be a great range day addition. The TiN finish may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but to me, it serves a purpose and is something different. Let me know if you guys have ever rebuilt a gun and your story in the comments below. If you have a question, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!