Remington had been involved in shotguns for over a century, marketing various single and double-barreled models in the 19th Century before moving into the pump-action game in 1908 with the Remington Repeating Shotgun, a bottom-ejector based on two of John Browning’s “magazine gun” patents. Then came the Model 31, which clocked in for riot gun use with Uncle Sam, among others, in addition to its use by sportsmen from coast to coast.
To replace the Model 31, a team that included L. Ray Crittendon, Phillip Haskell, Ellis Hailston, and G.E. Pinckney, worked across the late 1940s to craft Remington’s new Model 870AP Wingmaster, which debuted in 1950.
An easy take-down, side-ejecting, bottom-loading pump-action shotgun with dual (rather than single) action arms on the slide, the 870 had a receiver that was machined from a solid block of steel and marketed at first in just a 2.75-inch chamber with choices of 12-, 16- and 20-gauge, retailing for $69.95 on a standard-grade and $79.95 for a more deluxe model.
Remaining in constant production for 70 years, some 11 million Model 870s were produced by Big Green, making it one of the most popular shotguns in firearms history.
Then came the big bankruptcy last year, and Remington’s flagship factory in Ilion New York was shuttered on October 26, 2020, with 585 unionized employees laid off just two months shy of Christmas– with zero benefits or severance.
Now, with the factory acquired by a new holding group and under the RemArms banner, a deal with the union has reopened the Ilion works this week, and reportedly over 200 furloughed workers have been called back. Their first order of business: make more 870s.
More in my column at Guns.com.