Remington 887 Nitromag
By: Pat Farey
One of the oldest shotgun models on the market, Remington have now given their 870 pump-action a complete makeover - enter the M887 Nitromag
If there’s one company that can take an old design and breathe new life into it, it’s Remington. Oft regarded as the great-grandfather of single-barrelled shotguns, Remington’s classic pump-action 870 has become something of a novelty and although military versions are standard issue to Germany’s GSG9 squads along with the model’s enduring appeal to practical shotgunners, for many it’s just plain old fashioned. However, all that’s now changed in the shape of the all new, rubber armoured M887 Nitromag, a pump-action 12 gauge that’s relaunched Remington’s esteemed manually operated shotgun into the 21st Century complete with a serious attitude problem. It’s no wonder that I like it!
Rubber dub dub
With a suggested retail price of £660 it’s hardly surprising that the 887 arrives in nothing more upmarket than a cardboard box complete with choke key and a high tensile steel cable lock. That said, if you need anything more than what’s contained within, you’ve probably bought the wrong shotgun. If not, what you’ve now got in your hands currently rates as the world’s first - as near as you’ll get - to an indestructible 12 bore shotgun.
As soon as you assemble the 887 you’re instantly aware that it’s a big gun. Reason being that apart from the synthetic stock and thick SuperCell recoil pad, the rest of the 887 is encapsulated and sealed within an 1/8th inch thick ArmorLokt coating, this plasticized rubber type armour covering protects every micron of the outer surface. When Remington says their ArmorLokt coating is resistant to anything and everything you can conceive of throwing at it, they mean it. You can also take my word for it that when importer Edgar Brothers boasted that no matter how I tried, I wouldn’t be able to inflict any damage, they were right. Apart from employing a vice and a sledge hammer, rest assured nothing fazes the 887.
The coating itself is as described; protective yet in its own way decorative. To ensure the shooter constantly maintains a firm grip, the over moulding incorporates numerous ridges with stippled inlays that run along the receiver, 28” barrel, the effect amplified along the entire length of the oversized fore-end slide. Add into this the embossing of the Remington and M887 Nitromag logos to either side of the wrapped steel receiver and that’s basically it, the only flash of colour being the Hi – Viz green and red bead and mid – bead that are embedded into the three, longitudinal grooved and integrated stepped 8mm rib.
Same but different
Control wise, the familiar cross-bolt safety is recessed into the rear of the trigger- guard whilst the bolt-release is a concealed into the front. Different from what’s gone before, the release now falls easily within reach of the trigger finger and is far more straightforward to locate especially when the gun is cocked, the entire triangular bar moving forward. Just in front of this is one of the few areas of exposed black metal, the shell lifter and magazine tube are sans 870 whilst the initially hard to find serial number makes its appearance through a small cut out in the Armorlokt coating.
Look beneath the surface though and there lurks an 870 albeit with a 3½” Magnum chamber. The familiar two-piece bolt freely sits in four small detents located on the fore-end slide rails that ensure the 887 is quick and easy to clean and maintain. Where the bolt differs is that the single extraction claw has been enlarged, this now talon-like protrusion of a size and aggressiveness ideally suited to virtually tear the spent 3½” cases from the chamber and chrome lined, steel proofed barrel.
Soft and gentle
Given the core antiquity of the 887 you’d be forgiven for thinking that this old meets new Remington could well be something of an animal to shoot. Nothing however could be further from the truth, most of it down to a combination of weight and Remington’s new SuperCell recoil pad, this soft, thick pad reducing the kick of even the most aggressive magnum loads. Starting with the dimensions, like many synthetic stock shotguns, the measurements are a tad on the small side. Taken from the raised section of the rib that steps up in height just over 1½” from the receiver, the basic, yet extremely precise dimensions give a drop at comb and heel of 11 7/32” and 2 15/32” with a 13 7/8” length of pull. Now whilst these are short by comparison to most general measurements it must be remembered that most people will use the 887 whilst wearing a thicker jacket.
Similarly, the open radius and narrow profile of the grip is perfectly suited to gloved hands. The down side of wearing a pair of thick gloves is that you’ll have to beware of the light trigger pressure. Breaking at a constant 4lbs 9oz - even with the small amount of creep that the wide grooved, non-adjustable blade displays - a little dry practice may be needed to initially avoid accidentally tripping the firing pin.
As to whether the trigger weight was unique to this particular 887 I cannot say, but this small trait is worth mentioning. Aside from this, once you’re used to it, the lightness of the trigger adds to the pleasure of using the Nitromag as does the gun’s true working versatility.
Not a chance
I’ll say from the off that whilst the clay layouts aren’t 7lbs 8oz shotgun’s natural habitat, it was still entertaining around fifty of Rishton SG’s sporting targets when loaded up with Express Supremes. Equally, the original 870 was always and still is pretty nifty on DTL and skeet, the 887 not far behind. The downside is that the Nitromag is a big gun, and with the slide forward it balances over two inches in front of the chamber situating the bulk of the 887’s mass firmly in the palm of the lead hand. Now whilst this tends to count against the 887’s overall handling, the gun mounts extremely well, the view along the rib confirmed by the correlation of the twin beads. It’s a relatively slow mover and the seemingly long pump cycling action jogs the muzzle about, but whilst a fast opposing pair becomes a challenge, crossers and going away targets are simplicity as are duck, crows and other vermin.
Duck and dive
Although you can buy as many flush – fit Rem Chokes as you’d like, the ½ choke that accompanies the 887 is about all you’ll ever need. Remember, faster spreading fibrewads effectively open it up by at least a point or two to 3/8th whilst non – toxic takes it up to approximately ¾ or full dependant on load configuration. Ramping up the ammo to a couple of boxes 3½” Remington Sportsman Hi – Speed Steel, these No2 shot buffered loads are the sort of fodder the Nitromag designers had in mind.
An evening beside a flight pond followed by a couple of afternoons on crows and squirrels saw the 887 in its element. High circling mallard fell in an instant whilst corvids and grey tree rats were despatched with alacrity, over ninety – five percent of the £1 a time bang shells proving their and the 887’s worth. It also highlighted that this type of ammunition and shooting is the purpose Remington had in mind for the Nitromag, the newer configuration and SuperCell recoil pad taming the most potent of loads.
New from old
Whilst the Nitromag at first feels slightly unwieldy due in the main to the weight forward nature, you soon get into your stride with it. Likewise, you quickly come to appreciate why the 887 is as it is and as to the reasons a new generation of American shooters have taken it to their heart. If I was looking for an inexpensive single-barrelled 12-bore that was capable of shrugging off anything you could throw at it, a vermin exterminating shotgun that was more of a tool than a firearm, then without doubt it’d be an M887 Nitromag.
Just like my own basic 870 Express Magnum, the 887 derivative exhibits an enduring appear or simply a novelty value, attributes that will definitely appeal to the ardent Remington or pump-action collector. But one accessory you will get with the 887 is reliability. Even if maintenance is only occasional, Remington pumps rarely if ever go wrong and now they’ve effectively armour plated it, it would seem they’ve proofed it against not only the elements but even the most neglectful of shooters. This is another shotgun that’ll maintain and continue the model’s legendary reputation.
|Model||Remington M887 Nitromag|
|Calibre||12 bore / 3½” Chamber|
|Capacity||3 x 12 bore cartridges|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates