by Ken Cherry
October 31, 2014
Remington has taken the venerable and reliable shotgun and pulled it into the 21st century. For the most part pump action shotguns have changed little since John Browning’s model 1893, and most innovation (after double action bars) was a plethora of accessories you could add on to your favorite gun to make it as tactical, or look like bush. There was no reason to re-invent the wheel, so Remington refined it instead. I first picked one up when I borrowed Howard Hall’s to attend a week long shotgun course. Lucky me, Howard had obtained his recently and despite his intimate knowledge how a fellow Marine can break things, offered me the chance to “break it in”. Challenge accepted sir. I did in fact bring it home in one piece.
Lets face it. The Nitro Mag looks cool, and looking cool is half the battle. Its space age in a world of wood and metal, and regardless of its bulky appearance is a smidge heavier than its predecessor the 870. Underneath the exterior Remington has made a few modifications to their design that improve operation. After shooting hundreds of rounds through his, from birdshot to slug, I knew what I was going to buy. A few months later I had my own, an 887 Nitro Mag tactical. Now I buy shotguns for one reason, home defense, so I cannot speak to its hunting and sporting applications too much. Remington offers the 887 in a Nitro Mag base model, Waterfowl, and combo models so the technology works for many disciplines.
– Full rib and excellent “Hi Viz” front sight on the 18 1.2” barrel. Very easy to sight in and point.
– Picatinny rails for optics and flashlight.
– Extended fore-grip with excellent texture and ergonomic shape allows for smooth manipulation of the action.
– Extended 2 round magazine tube
– Extended, ported “Rem-Choke” which also functions as a breaching adapter. Easily removed and replaced with another choke if desired.
– Super Cell recoil pad that reduces felt recoil by 54%
– “ArmorLokt” coating, prevents rust, is scratch resistant and durable, weight comes in the same as a 870 tactical at 7.5 lbs. Feels lighter but the specs do not lie.
– Replaceable trigger group.
– Plastic action release button on the trigger guard feels mushy, could be crisper and less recessed.
– The receiver is thick and wide, and does feel more bulky than a traditional 870
– All the extra gadgets make disassembly more complicated, with more small parts to lose.
– The twin action bars are finicky on assembly (like all 870’s)
– The 18.5 inch barrel and breaching adapter make it a bit long for a tactical shotgun. Total length is 39 inches.
I honestly had to be very critical to find issues with this shotgun. All the cons I listed are small in my opinion to its pros. There is a reason 870 shotguns are popular and the 887 draws its inspiration from its predecessor. Some improvements to the system are the removable trigger group that allows you to replace parts without disassembling the receiver. The bolt itself is a rotary locking lug system with dual recesses and a full hood. This allows for a large 3.5-inch ejection port, and the whole assembly moves back on twin steel action bars. The stamped and welded steel frame, as well as the barrel, is molded with Armor-Lokt coating. Both parts are encapsulated in polymer, making it waterproof and tough. It adds a bit of girth, .041 inches, to the whole gun but it will never rust and can take abuse. Remington calls it “sleek”. I would say curvy but unless you have extremely petite hands, you most likely will not notice. The barrel is hammer forged and 18.5 inches long with the tactical choke adding another inch and a half. Eighteen or so inches is about as long as I want something I would use in my house. Easy answer is to take off the screw in “tactical ported choke”, but then again, it wont look as cool and the DNA scraper aspect is always a bonus.
It shoots 2 ¾, 3, and 3 ½ inch loads equally well. I have noticed some 870s dislike 2 ¾ bird loads with the extractor failing to remove the expended husk or tearing up the thin head. Out of approximately 1000 various bird rounds I have had a dozen hard extractions, call 50% of those from me not cycling the gun properly, so it does not seem to be trend with the 887. It has a thick stout claw extractor designed to pull out any type of husk. The types of shells I have regularly put through mine have been:
Bird/ Target loads: Federal 2 ¾ 6 shot, Federal 2 ¾ 71/2 shot, and Winchester 2 ¾ 8 shot
Buckshot: Royal buck 00 2 ¾, Federal premium 00 2 3/4, and Herter’s 00 2 ¾
Slugs: Herter’s 1 oz. slug 2 3/4, and Federal rifled 1 oz. slug 2 ¾.
So far I have not seen issues with any type of ammo I have put through it and a smattering of 3” and 3 ½ rounds as well as some Winchester PDX defender all seem to work just as well. As far as patterning the “Rem choke “ puts a nice 12-inch group at 15 yards with the Federal premium 00 buck. The “Flite control” wadding seemed to work well with the Tactical “Rem choke” as well as cylinder bore with it removed. If you shoot with out a choke inserted I have noticed a build up of lead particles in the threads but no wear and tear that I could see. There were occasional fliers of course but it holds pretty true to 1 inch spread per yard with most ammo. With slugs 50 yards is an easy day, and with the great sight radius and sight, hitting steel at 100 is no problem.
I love the long full rib along the barrel, and the green fiber optic “hi-viz” sight catches the eye perfect (so much that I put it on all my pistols.) and works great in low light. For me, he Picatinny rail on the top of the receiver acts like a rear sight, with the shallow “U” shape frames the front sight, it makes target acquisition fast and easy from the ready position and when engaging multiple targets. I most likely will not mount an optic on it as works well enough for me, but the option is there.
The extended textured and ergonomic design of the extended fore grip is right up my alley. After many pinched fingers and tired over extended T Rex arms, it was a requirement for any shotgun I was going to buy. It allows me to smoothly run the action with out reaching for the end, I have found that if you grip to tightly or apply some upward pressure on the back end of the extension, the action bars will stick, so a firm but relaxed grip is required, depending on how you time your trigger pull/ reset and run the action this could cause a hiccup or two.
The extended mag tube hold 2 rounds so with one in the chamber it will top out at 8 rounds. It’s easy to take apart once you get past the barrel clamp. The barrel clamp also has a small rail to hold a flashlight or laser. It’s position 3 ½ inches away from the edge of the fore grip when forward. This would make it hard to trip the switch on a light like a surefire 300. A light equipped with a pressure pad would work well, but I would prefer it back closer to where my hand should rest on the fore-grip so I could hit it with my thumb.
The position of the action release is center in front of the trigger guard. It’s a triangular shaped and recessed a bit. It’s a small critique but I would prefer it being more forward. The older style on the 870 was less forgiving on the fingers but you felt it. The newer one is mushy but works well enough. The safety is the same as an 870, with a small circular button you pushy to the left, a small red band signifies the shotgun is off safe. While the receiver mounted safety of a Mossberg seems more practical, I have no problem coming off safe and mounting the gun in a hurry. I use my thumb to place it on safe when done shooting.
The super cell recoil pad is advertised to reduce recoil by 54% and the Remington web page calls the 877 “ Our softest shooting pump gun ever”. I tend to agree, after 5 days of shooting, including dozens of slugs in the prone, I was not as beat up as I thought I would. I use it in all of Aegis Academy’s shotgun courses and can go through a couple hundred rounds a day with out needing to ice my shoulder down. I’m not sure if it’s the polymer coating but it seems to soak up the recoil plenty.
It’s hard to improve on a great design, but Remington nailed it. Great design, reliable, high magazine capacity, excellent sights. This is a gun you can use for many purposes, I know it makes a capable tactical shotgun, and its durable construction definitely is a bonus to waterfowl or game hunting. With its 18.5 inch barrel it can hang in sports like clay shooting as well, and the easily changed choke will help make up for any lack of length. The combination of proven technology with some new cutting edge ideas shows you actually can refine the wheel. At a MSRP of $534.00 is a value. Whether your hunting game, zombies, taking down a door on a entry or fixing things that go bump in the night a shotgun is the tool for the job, the Nitro Mag tactical is one you should consider having in your inventory.
You can find out more about the Remington 887 on the Remington website here.
~ Aegis Academy Staff
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