With the new M887, shotgunners will be dealing with an all American-built smoothbore designed with a basic steel-frame receiver skeleton; a steel-core barrel drawn out much like the 870, but with a polymer jacket overlay; and a unique receiver and action design. The M887 is very much its own brand of pump gun, as it moves well away from previous Remington designs.
Starting at the guts of the new shotgun, we first see an encased trigger group that is designed to be replaced as a whole unit if a part should break. The basic receiver is made from solid steel with a barrel support welded in place. This receiver “cage” is then inserted into a mold and ArmorLokt (in which a polymer-injected mold material encapsulates the steel receiver). This receiver is built to withstand the effects of the bolt’s locking system, barrel breech stresses and, of course, the basic energy transfer all receivers must digest when the gun is fired. Like a traditional all-steel receiver, the 887’s system is separate from the buttstock and barrel assembly. These are all additional parts, which when installed result in the complete pump-action shotgun.
Bolt design as applied to the receiver is unique in that it is a rotary locking lug system but uses a full overhood to compensate for the added length of the 3 1/2-inch ejection port. To activate the action, this pump gun makes use of the almost standard twin action bars found on nearly all pump guns today. The action moves smoothly, will not bind up like some designs have done in the past and for the most part can be considered foolproof in terms of its overall design qualities. If there is a small catch here, it is that when fieldstripping the shotgun these twin bars can be a bit tricky to line up during assembly of the slide to the receiver. It’s a small problem, however, considering that the overall gun design is first-class.
Like the receiver, the barrel designed for the Model 887 is a steel tube, which is then encased using an overmold process by way of Remington ArmorLokt. This makes the exterior of the barrel completely waterproof, dent resistant and able to withstand the tough conditions found in the bottom of a duck boat or ground pit. “Tough” is the word when searching out a buzzword for the new shotgun. As an integral part of the barrel, the rib is vented and, like the exterior material of the barrel, is just about indestructible. I base this observation on several days of goose hunting in northern Alberta during the fall of 2008 with several samples of the M887 that were sent up for field review.
The choke system employed is the standard RemChoke, for which I’m grateful. All we need is one more thread pattern or choke-tube size to add to the confusion surrounding the whole choke-tube mess today! During testing I shot my own RemChoke Dead Ringer tube in Canada, with very positive results. Other chokes used included Improved Cylinder, Modified and, in a few cases, Full. However, shooting was at an established range of less than 45 yards much of the time; therefore, in most cases my five other associates used more open choke tubes as well as the Dead Ringer during testing.
Once I got the gun back home, I was able to do some more extensive patterning work using an assortment of chokes and loads. Using Remington 3-inch No. 2 HD loads (that’s 1 3/8 ounces) at 40 yards using the standard 30-inch circle, I got 92 percent with the Dead Ringer, 71 percent with the RemChoke Modified and 64 percent with the RemChoke IC. I then switched to 3-inch Remington Nitro Steel No. 3 (1 1/4 oz.) and got 88 percent with the Dead Ringer, 78 percent with the RemChoke Full, 68 percent with the RemChoke IC and 71 percent with a Pattern Master.
In terms of sights, the M887 prototype I used had a single white bead front sight pin, but full production models should feature a mid-bead. Once the gun gets going into full production, there are plans to offer additional variations in terms of barrel lengths and specialty types. In the Camo Combo package will be both a 28-inch barrel for upland and waterfowl and a 22-inch length for closer work. As I see it, Camo Combo in 22-inch trim is close to ideal as a coyote (or turkey) gun.
The test guns we were issued on the hunt did not employ the final buttstock design that production guns will feature. However, current configurations that will see production first include the 887 SPS Waterfowl, 887 SSPS Camo and that previously mentioned 887 SPS Camo Combo. This Combo gun will mount Hi-Viz sights and Realtree Hardwoods HD camo.
Recoil will be tempered by the Remington Super Cell recoil-pad system. But even without it I found the Camo Combo—at a weight of 7.3 pounds—to be quite workable in terms of diminishing felt recoil. The fore-end of the Model 887 is an extended unit of a generous tube design that extends well back over the front of the receiver when the action is fully open, allowing a short-armed shooter to get a firm grip on the fore-end while operating the slide action. It should also be added here that the stock on the Model 887 has a molded sling swivel system built into it, eliminating the problems often associated with slinging up a new shotgun.
During our waterfowl foray in Alberta, we used six prototype Model 887s on geese and ducks over a three-day period, with no failures noted. The gun did feel a bit oversize at first; the basic skeleton frame is close to the size of a conventional steel-frame shotgun (the overlaid polymer coat measures .041). But after using it for a few hours, I became less aware of any added bulk. The Model 887 exhibited good balance, a smooth-working action and first-rate dependability.
Field loads used during the hunt were exclusively Remington 12-gauge 3-inch, 1 3/8-oz. High Density. Those HD No. 2s produced ample energy to take waterfowl to any reasonable range required. While some might think that field testing during an actual hunt is often a bit too subjective, I have found that when I’m actually afield, all kinds of small things tend to turn up that might otherwise go unnoticed on the design table or pattern range. After all, the devil is in the details. But overall the Model 887 NitroMag is one tough gun, well designed and certainly a bargain by any yardstick. Call it a “meat gun” or whatever, but rest assured that this big, plastic-coated cannon will get the job done all day long.