Posts Tagged ‘Remington’
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
It works. It’s reliable. It lasts. It’s versatile. It’s American. You want to call it a “starter” gun? Go right ahead, but make no mistake, more than anything, the Remington Model 870 is a “finisher.” It’s a killer field gun.
First in the Field
Shotguns sporting intricate engravings, lavish woods and foreign names make for great gun displays and copywriting, but as far as the 870 is concerned, the next big thing is better left to the avant-garde. The rooster you slide into your vest is too dead to care whether your scattergun has gold inlay or not.
There is a modern tendency to overcomplicate things, and that includes pheasant hunting. One can easily spend thousands of dollars in search of the right outfit, guns, and other helpful gear to make your hunt a success. The 870 harkens to the core modesty of the pursuit. You can fill garages with gear and cabinets with guns, but when you peel the layers away, the basic recipe still calls for just a pocket of shells, a working dog and a working man’s gun.
And isn’t it nice not worrying about your gun? Eight months out of the year fall somewhere between purgatory and eternity, only for heavenly autumn to slip away devilishly quick. Why leave anything to chance? Some hunters trust in God and their 870s, and depending on the day, not particularly in that order.
Every field-used 870 has at least one legendary story of reliability, having braved the elements for an unforgettable day afield or just to put dinner on the table. How many 870s have spent time holding water at the bottom of the duck marsh only to have a few thousand rounds left in ‘em? A reputable owner’s 870 should, by unwritten law, have a few character marks made permanent from good, solid overuse.
An Undiscerning Shotgun
Many have described the 870 as a “tool,” not glamorous but an apt term for the all-purpose gun. Being highly dependable and versatile tends to bring on such workmanlike praise.
Grouse woods, goose pits, duck blinds, deer stands, and pheasant fields, the 870 leaves no room for inclusion in the utility gun category. Remington has catered to hunters’ evolving wants and needs over a half century, now offering no fewer than 25 Rem 870 models for upland, small game, big game and waterfowl pursuits. Whatever “upgrade” and “improvement” each model bears, all hold true to the time-honored, classic Remington pump-action shotgun design with the smooth-as-butter bind-free action. Remington may have invented the concept of variations on a perfect theme.
Some of those variations extend to the 10 or so percent of hunters whose guns shoulder on the left. Used to be unless the left arm was a ticket to the majors, southpaws were misrepresented – heck, unrepresented – by the rest of daily life, gun manufacturers included. Not the 870. “When I was growing up, I remember my dad being a little apprehensive about me shooting left-handed,” says Andrew Vavra, Pheasants Forever Marketing Specialist, “He thought it would be an expensive trait since he couldn’t just give me his hand-me-down guns; not to mention the fact that finding a decent left-handed firearm is a chore in itself. Luckily for him – and me – I’m still shooting the same left handed 870 Express he bought me 13 years ago and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Grouse, geese, ducks, woodcock, pheasant and turkey – that gun has been through every element imaginable.”
Starter to Lifer
Launching a shooting and hunting career with an 870 has become the modus operandi.
There have been more than 10 million 870s from Remington Arms Company sold since 1951 – it’s the best selling scattergun of all-time – much of it due to the ease with which novices can handle it.
There is belief in natural progression held by certain shooters. Start with an 870 and when time passes and money permits, move to something more elegant, more refined, possibly with more barrels. And while 870s are occasionally relegated to backup duty and fill-in hammer, more often than not they enjoy a lifetime afield as intended. The glue from these guns sticks beyond the wood and steel.
My dad bought his first 870, a Wingmaster edition, forty years ago, and purchased two more along the hunting path. A few years back, he added his first 20-gauge Wingmaster for when he feels like lightening the load. Pheasants, waterfowl and deer – to use his words, “It’s the only gun I’ll ever need.”
I’ve seen him drive plenty use out of his 870 collection, but one memory is forever etched in my mind as the classic “Wingmaster” moment. Dad is walking a South Dakota draw, and as a lone poster, I have the privilege of a free hilltop show to this pheasant panorama. There’s a heavy headwind, and a big (naturally) rooster busts out ahead of the small group of hunters, banks right and puts the wind at his back. He’s booking back high and fast, slightly off the veteran’s right shoulder, providing a seemingly unpleasant angle. The old Wingmaster locks into Dad’s shoulder and the barrel begins tracking. It’s an epic lead when suddenly the bird folds. Being a sizeable distance away, I hear the shot a second later as I eye the bird’s final descent into the grass. A late afternoon glow, a perfectly executed shot from the field proven 870 and a true trophy bird made it a post to remember.
I’ve followed my dad’s lead into this legion of 870 lifers. The trusty Wingmaster he gave me is one of my prized possessions, and to date the most-used firearm in my collection. I’m not unlike most pheasant hunters in harboring the occasional affinity for new guns. But I’ll always do well to heed his words and when it’s time to hit the pheasant fields, draw the Wingmaster 870 from its case. “It’s the only gun I’ll ever need.”
This post appears in the October issue of On the Wing, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s monthly eNewsletter. Read more from this month’s issue.
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
James (Jay) F. Gore had fond childhood memories of a Remington Model 17 pump action 20 gauge shotgun, so when he found a used one in good condition at a Missoula gun shop in 2007, he sprung for it. His Model 17 was made in 1925.
That same year, Gore toted the Model 17 on Montana’s pheasant hunting opening day. “I had the poly choke turned to the stop between improved cylinder and modified. I was using Federal 2 ¾ inch shells with ¾ ounce of #6 steel shot as we were hunting on the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge and steel was required,” Gore said. Seven rounds were put through the Model 17 that day. “Four shots were wasted on my eagerness and shooting at birds too far. When I settled down, my next few shots connected on three rooster pheasants that were ‘puffed’ at 20-30 yards. The little old Model 17 worked like a charm.”
Consider Gore in the camp that believes classic guns are meant to see the field. “It was rewarding finding, buying and hunting with this antique. I’m a happy guy.”
Do you have a classic shotgun with a story to tell? Email a photo to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at email@example.com.
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
I spent some time coming up with one word to define the Remington 870. What came to mind was “venerable.” To save you the trouble of looking up the word, as I had to do, here’s the definition:
ven·er·a·ble adj \ ve-n r(- )-b l, ven-r-b l\
a: calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments <a venerable jazz musician>; broadly: conveying an impression of aged goodness and benevolence
Venerable describes the Remington 870™ perfectly. Brought to the sporting market in 1950 this pump-action shotgun has been a favorite for 62 years with almost no changes other than aesthetic. On April 13, 2009, the 10,000,000th 870™ was produced. It holds the record for the best-selling shotgun in the world, making it the all-time champion. If the Model 870™ were introduced today, it would be hailed as a major advance in pump-action shotgun design – the ultimate in strength, durability, silky-smooth bind-free action and sleek classical lines.
Most of you have likely gone afield with a Remington 870™ at some time in your life. For many, the Express model could have been our first shotgun, with a few guns in-between. Today, many have come full circle and have upgraded their love of the 870™ with a beautiful new Wingmaster. Remington currently makes 27 different variations of the 870 to allow hunters to specialize this pump gun for many types of quarry or sport. You can find a specific 870 for pheasant, deer, turkey, waterfowl or the range. The simplicity of the Remington 870 creates such a reliable firearm that it is used by over 18 armed forces around the world and countless police departments.
My personal “full circle” came this past fall in the fields just south of Pierre, South Dakota one beautiful autumn morning when PF’s Joe Duggan pulled a stunning new 870 from its case. It was a high grade 20 gauge Wingmaster with a gloss finish he had won at a Pheasants Forever Build A Wildlife Area event. We were not in the field very long before I asked to give it a try. The gun was light and shouldered quickly. As you can imagine, I was thrilled with this firearm. Just carrying the gun brought me back to days spent hunting waterfowl with my brothers in Green Lake, Wisconsin. When a rooster flushed in front of me, it was as if I had been shooting this 870 my entire life. My old friend had come home!
For those in the market for a new pump-action shotgun, I strongly recommend you look at the venerable Remington 870. Over 10 million users can’t be wrong.
The Pheasant Fest blog is written by Brad Heidel, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Corporate and Special Event Sales. Look for Brad’s column, “The Gun Shop,” in the Pheasants Forever Journal.
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
On May 13, the Pheasant Fest crew headed to Omaha. We were joined by 30 other Pheasants Forever members for PF’s annual new shotgun test event. We shot 17 new guns on a beautiful sunny (and yes windy) day just outside of Omaha at Werner Valley Shooting Complex on the banks of the Platte River.
First off, I have never shot at a more beautiful facility in my life. The lodge, sporting clays, and 5-stand were state-of-the-art with a leather-appointed indoor range to top it off.
We shot several new models and some slightly older models with upgrades. We shot guns from Beretta, Benelli, Remington, Winchester, Browning, Connecticut Shotgun, CZ, Stoeger, Ithaca, Weatherby, Fausti USA, Verona, Franchi, Ugartechea, Parker, and an optic from Burris. We also took full advantage of the beautiful indoor range and shot a DPMS Panther 5.56 and Kimber .45.
All of the guns performed great; however, there were two that when all was said and done, people wanted to shoot more. The first was the Benelli Legacy 28 Gauge, while the second most popular was the gun with the mounted Burris Speed Bead.
After the shoot, we all adjourned to the lodge to discuss the guns and talk about National Pheasant Fest coming to Omaha next January 28, 29, and 30 in 2011.
To learn more about all these fine guns look for your Pheasants Forever Fall Magazine for my article giving you the specifics!
Friday, May 21st, 2010
New to Anthony’s Antics Afield, every Friday I’m going to post the stuff I’ve recently checked out and found worthwhile on the World Wide Web. Well, some of it’s worthwhile, anyways.
- My Georgia Peach. I’ll just put it out there: Georgia Pellegrini, I’d be happy to dine with you any time. Georgia has put herself in the running to become The Official Pheasant Chick of Anthony’s Antics Afield. If you have other suggestions, I encourage you to post them below.
- Semi semi-auto. The new Benelli 28 gauge Legacy is billed as the lightest semi-auto available. I handled the model that came in for the annual Pheasants Forever Shotgun Review, and if this thing was any lighter, it’d have to get checked for an eating disorder.
- Sioux Falls Pheasants. Baseball fans who love pheasant hunting now have the perfect team to cheer for, the Sioux Falls Pheasants. Not surprisingly, these roosters are in first place.
- Win a Gun. If, like me, you own a Remington firearm, and made a memory with it, you could win 13 Remington firearms, a case of ammunition for each gun, and a Remington safe.
- HyperSonic. While we’re talking about Remington, they’re the latest to the high velocity waterfowl shotshell party.
- Hunting Regs. A comprehensive site with up-to-date hunting and fishing regulations? Yeah, and that hot tub time machine was real.
- Four! Idiots. The city of Forest Lake is just 10 minutes north of the Pheasants Forever national office, and home to at least four low denominators. Thankfully, we hold PF’s national golf tournament on the nearby lake-less Stillwater golf course.
- The Brees Knees. No matter where it is, Super Bowl champion quarterback Drew Brees is always on target. Fellow Pheasant Blogger Andrew Vavra’s NFL lookalike also makes this gallery. Seriously, tell me they don’t look alike?
- Great Cover. Let’s end the work week on a high note.
Enjoy your weekend outdoors!
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Yesterday, I posted the following request to the fans of Pheasants Forever on Facebook: “Tell us the Story of your First Shotgun.” As the lengthy comments extolling the virtues of their favorite scattergun stacked up, I came to the realization that I don’t have a relationship like these folks with any of the three shotguns I own.
I mentioned this to co-worker and fellow blogger Anthony Hauck. Unlike me, Anthony is in a committed relationship with the Remington 870 he’s owned since it was passed down from his pops; as evidenced by this link to his shotgun love story. What Anthony and I came to determine was that I just haven’t been with any of my shotguns long enough to take my relationship to the next level.
You see, I grew up using my dad’s classic Ithaca model 37. I really “liked” that gun, but it wasn’t my own. When I had saved up enough cash, I purchased a .12 gauge Ithaca model 37 of my own. But I made a mistake; I ordered my own Ithaca with an English stock. Ever held a shotgun with a straight stock for an entire day in the field? It ain’t comfortable. “She” just never felt quite right.
A few years back, my folks surprised me with a .20 gauge Remington 870 for my birthday. A fantastic present, its short 24 inch barrel has been a great scattergun when I’ve needed to get through the thick tangles of the September grouse woods. Sadly, I’ve never shot the gun particularly well. Blame it on the shorter barrel, less BBs in the .20 gauge shell, my confidence with it in hand, or my skills; but “she” has also just never felt right.
Enter my current girlfriend – er, I mean shotgun – my Beretta 686 Onyx .12 gauge over/under. She’s got curves in all the right places. In fact, this was the first shotgun I ever took into a gunsmith to have professionally fitted to my alligator arms. With a little length removed from the stock, the gun shoulders better than any I’ve ever handled. I’ve also never been more deadly than during the two years I’ve owned the 686. NOTE: I would highly recommend getting your firearm professionally fitted if you have never done so.
But, there’s just this one thing that has me hesitant about taking that next step and “falling” for my Beretta; I bought the model with “extra wood” because it was in my price range. You see, extra wood looks good from afar, but upon closer examination you can see that it’s not real wood. I know, I know, I’m being superficial, but I’m just trying to be honest about my feelings. I just don’t know if I can fall in love with something that’s, well, fake. And besides, I’m a multi-dimensional guy. Sure, the majority of my hunting is done behind a pointing dog in the pheasant fields and grouse woods where an over/under is a classic choice, but am I really expected to take this “gentleman’s” gun into the mud of a goose pit or slough of a duck blind? I think not!
As a result, I’m currently in lust with a .20 gauge Franchi Renaissance Classic with a beautifully engraved receiver of flushing gold game birds. The $2,000 price tag and high maintenance finish probably isn’t the best fit for my Yooper roots though. And, yes I know, she won’t solve my waterfowl issues, but she sure does look pretty on my shoulder.
What I do know is that my bird dog, Trammell, does “light up my life.” Yes, the bird dog/hunter relationship makes my imperfect shotgun relationship manageable afield. Besides, maybe Anthony is right and ol’ 686 and I just need a few more birds in the bag to take our relationship forward. We have had some good times; there were the triple doubles on Huns in 2008, the three magical Montana island roosters last year, and the first of everything over Tram. There’s definitely potential that she’s the “one.”
Yes, I think Anthony’s right, Beretta and I are just dating . . . and that’s just fine for now.