Today I get to write about one of my favorite and one of the best firearms that I can think of. Well to be more specific I am going to enlighten anyone who needs to know how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble an American gem that is the Remington 870 shotgun.
These directions will be applicable to any shotgun in the 870 family. Speaking of family, the Remington 870 series of shotguns is the only 3-generation shotgun still being used state side. That makes it one of the oldest shotguns that's still in production and some of the earliest dated ones are still in fantastic operating condition and they are coveted for their history and outstanding work horse performance. Not to get into any numbers or anything but the Remington 870 has been in production for nearly half a century and has sold over 10 million units across the world making it the number one selling shotgun in any category ever produced anywhere.
I personally own a couple to several of these reliable beauty's and wouldn't mind owning a few more. I love my 870 Wingmaster Express that is cut down 2" with a custom Dyna-choke that depending on my shooting I can switch the pin in under 2 seconds. And have spent days with my 870 slugger sitting high in a tree or stalking a deer through dense woods while hunting. To be honest with the countless guns I have bought, sold, and traded over the years, I can honestly say I still have every Remington 870 I have ever owned. This fact is something that has never dawned on me until I sat down to write a how to guide for the Remington 870.
To keep these guns in working condition doesn't take much in fact I have shot mine covered in clay from the bottom of a creek without issue. I have put thousands of shells through my 870's I have shot every type of "shot" imaginable from bird and foul shot, to home defense and .00 buck shot and my coveted Hornady 12 gauge SST Slugs, I have never had a hang fire or light primer hit. My very first and probably most prized 870 even has what is referred to as "dew marks" which is the slightest amount of rusting due to long periods of holding the gun in your hand and the acids in your perspiration actually leave your custom rust-like print on the gun. At first I was ready to run to the shop and have it taken care of then after a little bit of time I began to actually grow fond of it as it adds some character and history to the gun.
Shotguns are made to take a beating and they get filthy dirty, but that's ok with a little love and maintenance you will have a heirloom piece that can be passed down to your grandson one day. With just a few minutes spent cleaning these shotguns they will perform and look as good as the day you took it home from the store. These guns are as simple as it comes to a pump action shotgun and will deliver reliable tack driving performance for long after we will be able to shoot them. So let's get into how to disassemble, clean, and re-assemble that piece of American history you want to take care of!
Preparing the Work Area
Find a high table or flat surface to work on, this is something I never see mentioned in other cleaning directions. The higher the table the better, as you won't be crouched over the entire time hurting your back struggling to see. Cleaning a shotgun is also far easier to do why standing so things can be reached and moved without straining your back and neck. Also having the gun up high prevents children and animals from getting in the way making a very for very safe process and work area.
Get yourself some newspapers or old rags to put on the table. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of covering the surface area of what you will be working on. Unless you are sitting in your workshop on top of a bench with more stains that a used gun cleaning rag then you are most certainly going to want newspapers, towels etc., to be placed down on the surface. This should not be done just to protect the table or underlying surface from the lovely stains from solvent and spent gunpowder residue but it will also protect your gun. All it takes is a loose screw or metal shavings on top of your workbench to put scratches in the gun or the stock when moving around during the process of cleaning.
I think that it is far better to prep the area that you would be working in and get all the materials required to complete the cleaning process before ever taking the gun out of the safe.