Dave Henderson: Remington 870 shotgun goes high-tech

ORANGEBURG, SC The Remington 870 pump shotgun, the most popular civilian firearm ever produced, will be dressed up in 2009 to appeal to Generation-X or Y or whatever designation is being used for today's young adults.

Remington has built nearly 10 million of the rugged pump action shotguns at its Ilion plant since its introduction in 1950 and the 870 continues to be the No. 1 or No. 2 seller worldwide every year. But appealing to the 18 to 35 year-old demographic seems to be the ticket to prosperity in today's world, and an exceedingly simple, easy-to-clean, easy-to-disassemble, easy-to-operate, streamlined 870 called the 887 NitroMag is designed for that purpose.

Announced at a press briefing here earlier this week, the gun's barrel and action are coated with a thick polymer to resist corrosion, abrasion and dings while also dissipating heat and giving the gun a space-age look and feel. The fire control assembly and the bolt release button have been redesigned.

Outwardly, it's going to remind you of the Benelli Nova with a slightly less Star Wars profile, and the gun will be priced to compete with that gun and the Mossberg 835. It will appear initially in 12 gauge black synthetic and Realtree Max-4 HD camouflage versions with 28-inch barrels.

The introduction was scheduled two years ago but postponed while designers worked out final kinks and will likely hit dealer shelves next spring.

Remington also altered the traditional 870's slug-shooting platform somewhat with the induction of the 870 Super Slug, a fixed heavy-barreled, stylistic slug gun with receiver-mounted optics (rather than cantilever), new faster rifling twist rate and futuristic stock.

Elsewhere, Remington will be busy answering other ammunition companies' innovations in 2009. Remington will answer Thompson Center's introduction of its proprietary 30-caliber cartridge (the 30 TC) with the 30 Remington AR a 125-grain Corelokt bullet designed for the company's R-15 assault-rifle-hunting platform.

Sister company DPMS is building the R-15 rifles that Remington drapes in camouflage, just as Bushmaster, another sister company, built the small-caliber versions of the gun for Big Green. The 30 Remington AR is designed for the AR platform to perform like a .308 Winchester round.

Similarly, Remington's new-for-2009 Copper Solid rifle bullet, Disintegrator Varmint ammunition and 308 Marlin Express cartridges are designed to answer recent popular designs from Barnes and Hornady.