The Clunker of 2009 Award Goes to . . .

What follows is pure opinion from Randy Wakeman.

The “new for 2009” Remington NitroMag 887, is the worst shotgun I've tested in a decade. There are no runners-up, as the Remington 887 attempt is in a class of its own. The details of the Remington 887 are something that most people wouldn't believe.

As a gunwriter, I naturally get the “privilege” of listening to those who like to say that “gunwriters never met a gun they didn't like” and other grumble-bunny type carping. I was raised to believe that no one has to be the least bit ashamed to tell the truth and that those who have a problem with the truth, even if it is not to their advantage, are the ones that are richly deserving of shame. The ordeal of the Remington 887 is quite an adventure; some spy novels have less convoluted plots.

Gunwriters that consider themselves journalists have a responsibility to their readers to give them candid, honest opinions with basis. While many qualities of firearms can be considered subjective, there are also many things that are not. What happens is what happens, not just a random speculation of what might happen. At the same time, writers also need to be fair. Invariably, there can be problems with mass-produced products. Even Mercedes dealers have busy customer service departments. The manufacturer deserves to be made aware of those issues if severe and given the opportunity to correct them or otherwise respond. The issue and the response are then included in the review, so the reader can judge for themselves the importance of the issues.

I was assigned to head up what you might think was a simple comparison for a magazine, a head-to-head matchup between the Remington M887 NitroMag and the Benelli SuperNova. It was ostensibly a simple battle of a pair of the 3-1/2 inch SuperMag slide-actions. Sound simple? I thought so, particularly since two-gun comparisons are not as time-consuming and cumbersome as four, five, or six model extensive testing can quickly become.

Well, there were major league issues with the M887, immediately discovered. Though it isn't exactly cricket to allow manufacturers to tamper with or write their own reviews, they do need a fair chance to address things. Way back in July, 2009, at least FOUR different officials at Remington were swiftly advised that:

There have been a couple failure to feed issues with 2-3/4 in. shells from the magazine, that eject shells past an apparently jammed-up shell carrier spitting them on the ground. This is not repeatable, but intermittent. 

The "2 shot waterfowl plug" isn't. After installing the plug, you can still loads three shots into the magazine. As supplied, it cannot be a legal migratory game gun. 

There is corrosion around the action bar ring, right out of the box. Apparently the finish was missing, or improperly applied. 

The barrel end appears to VERY roughly machined, and the action is unsmooth-- very rough, with significant stick / slip. 

The gun does not shoot to point of aim-- it shoots excessively, dramatically low. 
There are a lot of serious problems with this example, to be sure. Please advise as to how you'd like us to proceed.

The review was already conducted, photographed, written, and submitted. The “answer” that came back from Remington was an odd if not disturbing one: I was asked not to review it, and the unsupported claim was made that the gun I was testing was a “preproduction model.” The idea that the gun I was testing out of full retail packaging, paperwork, and with a serial number in the identical format as any number of other shotguns in this area is more than a little dubious. Most would find this notion outrageously bizarre. In any case, the review went forward, Remington didn't lift a finger to repair or replace it, readers were informed of all the severe issues that were found. Whether these types of problems rise to the level of a recall is also a good question. That was back in July. Despite the very odd, evasive, smarmy behavior of Remington in this case, you never really know what is going on. All I can say is that it is both puzzling and unprecedented.

Consumers who did not see my review in time did not know what to look for, so by now many more 887s have been inflicted on the market. Here are a few of the actual comments from actual owners, prospective owners, or now former owners of the new Remington M887 NitroMag:

I had a major disappointment today. my local shop just got in a shipment of 887 NitroMags and they were not what I expected. The combination of really poor balance, sloppy noisy action, tupperware stock and a magazine tube coated in rust did not do much for my loyalty to Big Green. Has Remington become the brand to avoid?????

I will not buy just anything just has "Remington" on it but those guns are on my "buy" list. The 887 is not.

The only Remington I would advise people to stay away from is the 887. I bought one when they first came out, and it was not at all up to Remington standards. The plastic coating was not complete inside the receiver (and it was obviously a defect, not intentional by Remington), causing bare metal to be exposed (and creating a place for water to seep in between the polymer and the metal.) There was also a large, deep gouge in the bore of the shotgun that ran about 8" long, and the front sight (fiber optic) popped off the first time I took it out squirrel hunting (not the fiber optic insert, but the entire sight assembly). I ended up getting rid of it, and just adding another 870 to the collection.

I don't like the quality of Remington's auto loaders. In addition to their lower quality, I've not had good experiences with their reliability and durability.

If someone GAVE me a recent Remington autoloader, I'd go trade it in for something else, on the way home. The Premier Upland Special was tempting in 20, but they quit making any of the Premiers. The 11-87 Sportsman, which is probably what you're looking at, is ROUGH and heavy, and I really don't think it's worth the price.

Oh, and I concur with those that say that the 887 is a disappointment. Handles like crap, seems poorly made. I'll keep my 870 as a knockaround gun, thanks.

Getting back to the original question of Remington quality I must say recently I'm disappointed in the "hit or miss" quality of their guns. I've always been a big Remington fan but after hunting for a week with the newest addition the 887 I've changed my mind. Personally I'd say the new models need a little more finish quality and better engineering. The 887 is a copy of the Benelli Nova however the Nova's internal workings are much smoother and the reassembly process after doing a complete cleaning is much easier. You don't need three hands to put the bolt assembly in a Nova receiver... you do with the 887.

I got bad news, today the shotgun had a malfunction. I was snipe hunting today in Martin County, Florida at a Wildlife Management Area. This is what happened. Two snipes flush five feet in front of me. I pull the trigger i hear the firing pin, click. I thought i hadn't pump it correctly. So i pump the shotgun and blast, that's odd i didn't have the finger on the trigger. I looked at the shell and the primer was hit hard. My dad later used the same shell and it fired. I tell my dad that it fired by itself and he tells me that it must have been me and i didn't know it because of the excitement. So i dismiss this. Another snipe flushes again and i fired three shots, the shotgun worked fine, although i missed. Another one flushes and in the second shot it goes down, couldn't find it. An hour later i had the gun empty because i had just crossed a fence and decided to load it. I always open the action put a shell in close the action and put two in the bottom. So i engage the safety, i open the action put one shell in, i close the action, all of these is happening while the barrel is pointing in a safe direction, as soon as i close the action it goes BANG. Dirt flying where the shot hit and cows were running. I yelled to my dad hey this thing is firing by itself and the safety was on. He is thinking that i am horse-playing around with it so he doesn't come to look at it. I started to see if it would fired the pin, without a shell inside, and it didn't fire. So once again i put the safety on while keeping my finger a mile away of the trigger, just to make sure i am not unconsciously pulling it, because i don't know what the heck is going on. I close the action again, while the safety is engaged and BANG it goes again. Now my dad has my attention and comes to take a look at it. He opens and closes the action to see if it would fire by itself while it was empty, but again it didn't fire. So he puts one shell in and closes the action, while the safety is engaged and BANG again goes the shotgun, the shotgun almost got out of his hands while he jumped into the air. We try to see if it did with a fired shell but it didn't, only when a live round was put in it as soon, as you close it, it goes BANG. We had to stop the hunt for the day. My dad doesn't want anything to do with the shotgun, he doesn't want it fixed or a brand new replacement. This is the most scariest thing that my dad has seen while using a firearm. Let me not mention what could have happened if i was no following the gun safety rules.

I purchased my M887 new a few months back and have had nothing but problems with it. First, I purchased the gun, brought it home, assembled it, and the barrel was bent or there was a problem with the molding. My two sights were off. I took the gun back and they gave me a new barrel. After that, I went out to the world shooting complex in Sparta, IL. I put about 300 rnds through it and 15-25% misfired. I took the gun back to where I bought it, and they sent me to a repair shop.

I bought the gun this past Saturday and after breaking it down to clean the factory oil it was shipped with I went and tried to bust some clays with it. I was totally disappointed, immediately the gun jammed once a spent shell was ejected and another set up to be placed into the ejection port. The carrier continually failed to bring the next shell up. After breaking the gun down a few more times I determined that I was not bringing the for-stock back far enough to engage the carrier. This was due to the fact that the for-stock would not go back far enough without putting the butt against my leg and with both arms pulling the for-stock back the extra 0.25" it needed to be.

I just joined this forum because my son purchased an 887 two days ago for a bird hunting trip he is currently returning home from. He said he had the gun fire the first time he pumped the lever to load a shell in the chamber. This sounded very scary to me and after reading this post, I'm even more concerned. Fortunately my son just completed the hunter safety training one month ago and was aiming the muzzle away from harms way when he loaded the shell. I'm not sure how many times this happened but the hunting trip is canceled and he is returning home. We intend to return the gun where we purchased it to see what our options are.

I posted some photos of the defective 877. It appears to me that the firing pin bore is not centered and/or the trigger hammer is not hitting the pin in the center. You can see the pin is stuck in the firing position thus causing the shell to fire when you chamber it. The is a photo of the two shell that have been chambered in this "new" gun since we've owned it. The one on the right fired. The one on the left did not but you can see a slight indent from the firing pin. Keep in mind that the safety was never turned off and the trigger was never pulled. We've yet to actually pull the trigger and have a shell fire normally. We've yet to fire a shell using the trigger. We have dried fired it a few times (less than 5) to see if the firing pin would retract after it was 'pumped'. Sometimes the firing pin retracts and sometimes it stay in firing position (like shown in the photo).

I spoke to Remington this morning and got the expected "need to return the gun for repair" response. I told the person on the phone that Remington needed to do something quickly about this issue before someone gets killed. Told them this was a new gun and was defective upon purchase so repair was not an option for me.

Today is Christmas day and my wife bought me an 887 as my one and only Christmas gift. I took it out of the box and put it together, I was very excited to have an American made shotgun. You know American pride and all that? One look down the barrel of the 887 revealed a curved rib and the two beads don't line up. Talk about disappointment. So...I guess I'll be dancing the customer service two step now. My faith in Remington is gone. This shotgun should have NEVER made it past QC. What ever did happen to that thing we used to call American Pride?

I owned an 887 for one week. The action was very rough, the front sight fell off the gun while I was cleaning it and the middle bead came loose. It took three hands to put the bolt on the action bars to slide the unit into the receiver after a complete cleaning. I could have fixed the action myself but the rest of the gun was just poor quality.

I won one of the 887 waterfowl model at a CWA dinner, and when I went to pick it up, was offered other guns if I didn't want the remington. I liked the concept of weather proofing, and trusted a company as old and reputable as remington would make a quality gun. That said, I turned down a nova for this, and am sorry I did.

Mine was trouble right from the gate.
Sticky bottom door, that you had to smack the slide to get it to close, sticky slide, to the extent I had to tap it on the blind to get it freed up, the gun drops both rounds out of the mag when you jack the slide, thereby jamming the second and third shot. Easy to clear, but there goes the shots.

Talked to Remington, they said they would send a shipping label, would take 7-10 days. During that time, I looked around on some other forums, and saw many problems with this gun, but a few guys liked it and had no problems with it. I talked with one guy who said I just had to put more rounds thru it, so I did, but then read about the guy who had a misfire when closing the slide. That kind of put the cap on it for me. The rib is curved, the mag tube has developed rust around the base of it, as well the bottom door has rust, drops two rounds out of the mag, door sticks, slide sticks, the barrel came with a chip out of the camo proofing, some rounds fail to fire.

Took the POS back to Bass Pro and they gave me a refund. When the gun counter manager came down to do the refund, he said "Oh yeah, I've seen that before". I couldn't believe it, so I asked him how many he'd seen. He kinda glossed over it and just admitted that they have received SEVERAL with crooked ribs. I still can't believe that a company would really let something out of their plant like that.

This gun is horrible quality. I bought one because I am true to Remington. I have 2 870s a 3006 pump and a 270 auto. I love them and thought I would love this one but that's not happening. Drops shells out of magazine into the water after first shot. then jams and can't move slide, doesn't fire sometimes. Can't load bullets into magazine haven't shot but maybe 3 boxes through it and probably lost 20 shells at least 3 1/2 at that. I am calling remington tomorrow. 429.99 plus tax and my old 870 out does it. What a shame. If I wanted a single shot I would have bought one lol. Also don't let this gun near water it makes it 10 times worse and ice sticks to it like crazy. My 870 would shoot wet or not even if it a little heavier and a little colder I'll take the 870 from now on. Done missed to many oppurtunites to kill ducks with the junky 887.

I bought an 887 with high hopes. I have to tell you, it is a very disappointing firearm. I have hunted with it three times and have had misfires and several times where the forearm simply wouldn't cock out the spent round. I had to take the gun apart in the blind. I have many shotguns but wanted one that would be tough and reliable, what a disappointment. I am going to send it back to Remington and ask for a refund.

This type of total incompetence inflicted on the American consumer is far, far beyond what most people would find reasonable, or even tolerable. I've read the August 2009 piece by Zachery Kouwe entitled “Investors Flock To Leave Cerebrus Funds.” American taxpayers are none too pleased with their “investment” in Cerebrus-Chrysler and right now Cerebrus-Remington is gaining a thick history of disappointments as well.

Perhaps all of these problems are on “preproduction guns” as well? Just a few years ago, if someone had told be that the day would come when Remington would show themselves incapable of building a slide-action shotgun, I would have chuckled in disbelief. I'm not exactly chuckling any longer.

As for those who claim they have never heard of a gunwriter that never met a gun he didn't love, well-- you've met one now. As for Remington, in my opinion it is long past time they should have started telling people that they are sorry. They should act quickly to pull their junk from the market. Perhaps the “Clunker of 2009” award to Remington isn't quite descriptive enough?

Those gunwriters with any semblance of conscience should start saying, “Buyer Beware!” To the extent that I am able to express that opinion, I've just done that. I was hoping that the exemplar M887 was unusually bad. Now, it seems that the nasty thing that I reviewed could actually have been one of the better examples.

An except from the original review written August 4, 2009, is as follows:

"Our M887 is a disastrously poor shotgun. We didn’t like the horribly nose-heavy imbalance and we didn’t like the hard to access safety. We didn’t appreciate the extra rattle in the receiver, and we were dismayed at the poor machining and poor finish of the barrel extension and the action bar guide ring. We didn’t like the action at all, as it was horribly rough, sticky, and essentially unfinished in our view. We all agreed that the action was a real clunker, and the idea that the supplied magazine capacity plug could get us busted was just a little icing on this sad, unpleasant cake. That the gun did not remotely shoot to point of aim made our opinions go from bad to worse. The fraudulent  claim that “our pump shoots softer than their semi-autos didn’t help,” either. The M887 pump does not shoot as soft as the SuperNova, much less gas guns.
Far too many corners were cut in trying to make this gun cheap and it shows. The inclusion of only one choke tube, not the standard three, is an obvious example. We don’t think the big thick pile of plastic molded onto the barrel advances shotgunning at all—many external finishes on today’s waterfowling guns are exceedingly durable with any type of care that is not intentional abuse. Corrosion problems are not prevalent on external, easy to monitor finishes—but far more often inside the action, where there is no attention from Remington to prevent it. As much as the Nitro 887 already had barrel machining issues, action bar guide ring finish issues, and a rattlingly cheap bolt cover—all these components are just as exposed to corrosion as ever, as are the springs and trigger group. We can’t believe that this gun could have been possibly designed with performance in mind. “How to build a shotgun for $99 or less” seemed to be the likely design parameters.
The NitroMag was so deficient, that we promptly reported the major issues to four officials at Remington. The reply was prompt, but the “answer” was baffling. Remington informed us that we had been sent a “preproduction model” with some sort of factory mix-up. This “analysis” was done without ever taking a look at the gun. The gun was in full retail packaging, with all the usual promo emblems and so forth. The serial number on the yellow and green box matched our gun. Further, we checked with a major pro shop that had just received a few M887’s in. Sure enough, the serialization was in identical format, the same prefix and suffix codes. The pro-shop’s guns were just a little bit later in the run, based on the serialization.
Remington would have us believe that their current production and packaging is so uncontrolled that a defective prototype gun could be serialized, packaged, and shipped along with standard production rifles. If true, that would indicate that there could be any number of seemingly “regular production” M887’s out there with no way for the consumer to know if they are defective preproduction models or not. We don’t know what serial number range could be affected, or if this rises to the level of a factory recall—Remington did not say. We invited Remington to comment in more detail if they would like for publication, mentioning that we're happy to add that additional information to this initial story. No further information has been forthcoming from Remington, so all we can report at this juncture is that Remington claims this is somehow a “preproduction gun.” As to the veracity and plausibility of this somewhat disturbing statement we will just leave it to the discerning reader to decide.
This entire shotgun is befuddling. You might think that by now, with the largest-selling pump shotgun in history in the 870, some 59 years (and over 10 million guns) later Remington would seek to improve and advance their product in some way, not totally abandon the basic 870 construction for an embarrassment such as the NitroMag 887. Manufacturers spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in attempt to cajole and entice consumers to part with their bank account’s contents. All this is done with little restraint, no visible peer review, and nothing approaching intellectual rigor. Now, it our turn. Our opinions are shared for the benefit of our readers: precisely what our “consumer resource” mantle not only suggests, but commands. In this case, though we sometimes find it painful to report our candid opinions, working for the fellow that actually pulls the trigger makes it worthwhile. We applaud truth in advertising, we also applaud products that work as promised. When we cannot find either, we must report our opinions in that arena with equal vigor. Our opinion, for the reasons stated and the characteristics directly observed, is that the M887 is a fundamentally and deeply flawed attempt at a shotgun.
The Remington NitroMag 887 is an embarrassment: it is the worst slide-action shotgun we’ve seen, with the build quality of a Bic lighter—except Bic lighters tend to be smoother-functioning. We wouldn’t dream of buying one, the best thing we can do is suggest that our readers avoid it."

The tested gun was more than just slightly defective. It included defective machining, defective mold-work, defective feeding, and had the built-in potential of being a horrible duck-crippler, having a vividly defective point of impact. Rust on this "weatherproof" gun was yet another defect as an added bonus right out of the box, adding more insult to its noisy and sticky action. As it turns out, several owners of the M887 fared even worse-- with warped ribs, beads falling out, and "firing on action close" without a trigger pull. Despite all this opportunity for Remington to address these serious issues, they have done nothing.

What they did do was attempt to stop the review from happening and rather than stand up and address the issues presented to them, instead did something abominable. Remington, according to industry sources, threated legal action over publication of the review-- as if the truth is something to be litigated against. Tampering with candid, honest opinions is shameful. As a friend of mine put it, just what kind of message does this send to those who seek to put their forthright experiences and opinions out there for the consumer to consider? Should gunwriters be coerced to lie about a product or have the publications they work for face the threat of costly litigation instead? Is that the honor and integrity you seek from a company that wants to be your gun company?

Now, over four months later, it appears that the original honest evaluation of the M887 was all too accurate and that no visible effort has been made to improve the matter, though a total recall might well be the only reasonable solution. The individual reader can make up his own mind, of course. In my opinion, Remington owes purchasers of their M887 a huge apology. The best I can do is award it my first-everClunker of the Year award. It richly deserves it.

Copyright 2009 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.






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