Are you looking to upgrade your Remington 870 with a new barrel? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Best Budget Pick: Remington 18.5 inch Parkerized Barrel with IC Bead Sight
For the money, the factory Remington 18.5 inch parkerized barrel with an IC bead sight is a solid choice. It’s very rust and corrosion resistant, durably made, has the same finish that is likely already present on your parkerized Remington 870 shotgun, and should be easy for you to install.
Best Value Pick: Remington 870 Police Barrel with Rifle Sights
This Remington factory barrel comes with rifle sights that make it easy to line up your barrel on a target and can also tighten your groups out to around twenty five yards. The sights themselves are very durably made, as is the rest of the barrel that comes with a parkerized finish to maintain conformity aesthetics-wise with the rest of your parkerized 870.
Best Overall Pick: Carlson’s Remington 870 Barrel with Ramped Front Sight
The Carlson’s Remington 870 barrel is a solid if also somewhat expensive choice. Its biggest benefits are its chrome lining to help improve service life, lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, solid construction, and the fact that the choke can be replaced.
The Remington 870 is not only one of the most popular shotguns in the market today, it is also one of the most customizable. Most parts of the 870 can be modified or upgraded, and the barrel is no exception.
In fact, upgrading your barrel is arguably one of the best if not the best ways to improve the performance of your 870 shotgun.
In this article, we’ll dive into what makes the Remington 870 a good shotgun, the reasons to upgrade your 870 barrel, the top qualities to look for in a new shotgun barrel in general, and then our choices for the top three best Remington 870 barrels for 2020.
Why Go With The Remington 870 Shotgun?
The Remington 870 is one of the most popular shotgun designs of all time, and since its inception has been the best selling pump action shotgun in the United States. The only other shotgun that comes anywhere close in terms of sales is the Mossberg 500, but the 870 is still the more customizable options. In fact, the amount of aftermarket parts and accessories for the 870 rivals the AR-15, Colt M1911A1, Beretta 92, Glock pistols, and the Ruger 10/22.
The Remington 870 is technically the fourth generation in a series of Remington pump action shotguns. Remington originally released the Model 10, which was admittedly quite fragile and was later evolved into the more robust Model 29. Afterwards, John Moses Browning designed the Remington Model 17 and 31 shotguns, both of which were solid but struggled to sell well in the face of the Winchester Model 12, which at the time simply dominated the pump action shotgun market.
In 1950, Remington released a new shotgun that they intended to be durable and affordable at the same time. The idea was that the shotgun could be sold to the masses while also being built to a high standard so it could last for a lifetime and be passed on down to future generations. The result was the Remington 870.
While sales were initially slow, they picked up steam and within twenty five years over two million 870 shotguns had been sold. By now, the number has skyrocketed to over ten million shotguns sold, which says a lot about the quality of the design. Today, the Remington 870 holds the distinction of being the best selling shotgun in American history.
There are numerous different models of the Remington 870 available, including the budget minded Express model, the hunting/clay pigeon shooting oriented Wingmaster model, and the combat/home defense oriented Tactical models.
The Remington 870 is noted for its side ejecting receiver, tubular loaded magazine that runs underneath the barrel, and for being a bottom loading firearm. Sometimes the 870 will ship with a plug, which reduces total capacity to three rounds so the weapon can be legal to hunt with in states or jurisdictions where there are limits on how many rounds a hunting firearm can hold.
A rifle version of the 870 is called the Remington 7600, and is chambered for most of the major big game hunting cartridges. The fire control group, safety button, action, receiver, and slide release catch are fully compatible between the 870 and the 7600. This means you could buy one of each weapon, one for bird hunting and the other for big game hunting, and the spare parts you would need is largely the same or both firearms. The manual of arms between the two weapons is nearly identical too.
All in all, the 870 is a solid shotgun for hunting, home defense, tactical use, and clay pigeon shooting. It’s been around for over seventy years and will without question be around for seventy years more and beyond.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Remington 870 Barrel?
Why should you upgrade the barrel to your Remington 870? The 870 is already a well made shotgun, and it needs to be made clear that the barrel that comes with your shotgun will work well from the factory. Nonetheless, it can still be improved.
Even though your factory barrel will be solid and work well, you can improve your 870 further with a barrel that improves accuracy. Some barrels come with a different design on the inside to help aid in accuracy.
Another reason to improve your barrel is to improve your weapon’s capabilities as a self-defense weapon. For example, standard 870 barrels come with a bead on the front sight. This bead works well enough, but by adding a barrel that comes with rifle sights, it will become much easier for you to line up your sights on target. Adding rifle sights to your barrel also makes it easier for many people to shoot their shotguns and improve accuracy at distances of twenty yards or even greater.
Another reason to upgrade your barrel is if you want to get a barrel that is more rust and corrosion resistant. A blued barrel, for instance, may look nice, but it also not be rust or corrosion resistant against moisture at all. A parkerized, nitride, or stainless steel barrel, on the other hand, will be.
Some barrels also come with fixed chokes (which as we will mention later, impact the spread and accuracy of your shotgun). Some people may prefer different chokes for different purposes and would therefore prefer a barrel where the choke can be removed and swapped out if the user so desires.
Yet one more reason to replace the barrel are if you want to change the barrel length. For example, the 870 shotgun you purchased may have a long 24 or 28 inch barrel for hunting and clay pigeon shooting purposes. If you want to have a shotgun for home defense, a barrel of that length will simply be too long because it is not very maneuverable in tight conditions.
But rather than buy an entirely new shotgun with a shorter barrel, you can instead just buy a shorter barrel of 18.5 inches or so for far less money, and then install it on your shotgun.
All in all, there are several reasons for why you may want to swap out the barrels on your 870. Next, we’ll talk about the top features you need to look for if you do indeed decide a barrel upgrade is in your future.
Buyer’s Guide For Choosing The Best Remington 870 Barrel
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new barrel for your Remington 870:
The term ‘choke’ is a word that you will hear thrown around a lot in discussions of shotgun barrels and in shotguns in general. It simply refers to a tapered construction located at the end of your barrel, with its purpose being to spread your shot to help gain better accuracy. Sometimes, the choke can be replaceable, and other times it will be fixed. A fixed choke means that it has been screwed into the barrel and it cannot be replaced, so if you want to get a new choke, you need to get an entirely new barrel along with it.
For home defense, you’ll want to go with a shorter 18.5 inch or 20 inch barrel length for your shotgun. Any longer than that will make the shotgun considerably less easy to maneuver in tight conditions, such as in home defense. A longer barrel, however, will be much preferable to use for hunting or clay pigeon shooting for fun.
Most shotguns come with a simple bead located at the end of the barrel. This certainly works, but for home defense or self defense or tactical purposes, you may want to look at barrels that come with rifle sights instead.
While it may seem odd for your shotgun barrel to have rifle sights, the truth is that rifle sights make it easier for you to line up on target than a bead, and they can also improve accuracy out to distances of twenty to thirty yards or so.
Finally, make sure that your barrel comes with a very rust and corrosion resistant finish such as parkerizing. Most Remington 870 shotguns come blued or parkerized from the factory; parkerizing admittedly looks more crude than traditional bluing, but it is far more rust and corrosion resistant. In bad weather conditions, in the rain, or in humid tropical areas, parkerized finishes will always be preferable to bluing because they will simply hold up far better.
The 3 Best Remington 870 Barrels For 2020
Now that we’ve covered why you need to upgrade your 870 barrel and the top qualities to look for in one, here are our top three choices for the best Remington 870 barrels for 2020:
Remington 18.5 inch Parkerized Barrel with IC Bead Sight
The Remington 870 18.5 inch parkerized barrel with an IC bead sight is one of the best choices for a new barrel for an 870 if you want a solid self-defense option for a barrel that also will not break the bank. This barrel is sold from the Remington factory, so you can be comforted in knowing that you are buying a factory product.
As the name clearly suggests, this barrel comes with a parkerized finish. Parkerized finishes, while admittedly rough looking, are also highly durable and are one of the most rust and corrosion resistant options for a finish. If you want a barrel that can give you solid service in inclement or humid weather, a parkerized finish is a great option to go with.
As a fixed choke barrel, this barrel will fit shotguns with either a 2 3/4 or a 3 inch chamber. However, it has not been threaded for choke tubes. It comes with a front bead and a magazine cap retainer. The front bead can be replaced if you so choose, but since it is threaded on a pedestal, it can be difficult to replace and you will most likely need to employ the services of a gunsmith if you want to do so.
All in all, this is a solid choice for a factory replacement barrel for your Remington 870 shotgun. It’s durable, comes with a rust and corrosion resistant parkerized finish, and the 18.5 inch barrel length is a good choice for home defense and tactical uses since it will be easily maneuverable.
- Very rust and corrosion resistant thanks to parkerized finish
- Matches the original finish present on a Remington 870 receiver (assuming you get the parkerized model)
- Short and easy maneuverable in tight conditions for home defense
- 18.5 inch barrel length is good for self-defense uses
- Lacks a rear sight
- You’ll need to drill the barrel if you want to replace the beads
Remington 870 Police Barrel with Rifle Sights
The Remington 870 police barrel with rifle sights is a barrel primarily aimed at law enforcement use but can also be equally at home on your home defense 870 shotgun as well. This barrel, as the name suggests, comes with rifle sights present. The advantage here is that this should help you to tighten your shooting groups considerably out of distances of around twenty five yards or so.
Another advantage to the rifle sights is that they will help you to line up your barrel on target faster as well. In a self-defense situation, this is a highly desirable feature and is precisely one reason why this has been aimed primarily at the law enforcement market.
This is also a Remington factory barrel, so you can be comforted knowing that you’re not adding any third party parts to your firearm. The parkerized finish is very rust and corrosion resistant, and it also should be the exact same type of finish that is present on your parkerized 870 already. This means that the look across your shotgun from the end of the barrel to the receiver will be kept consistent and uniform.
While this barrel will not accept choke tubes, it does come with a fixed choke and can handle up to 2 3/4 and 3 inch shells.
If you want a Remington factory barrel that comes ready to use for home defense or self-defense right out of the box, this is a great option for you as the rifled sights will make it easier to aim quickly at targets and tighten your groups out to around twenty five yards. The parkerized finish is also very durable and rust resistant.
- Solid construction
- Very easy to install
- Parkerized finish is very rust and corrosion resistant
- Rifled sights can help improve accuracy out to twenty five yards
- Sights are very durably made
- Not a good choice for hunting or skeet shooting use
Carlson’s Remington 870 Barrel with Ramped Front Sight
While it may be relatively expensive barrel on the market, the Carlson’s Remington 870 barrel with a ramped front sight also provides you with a lot of value for the money. Despite being built and sold from a third party, the Carlson’s barrel is very easy to install on your Remington 870 shotgun as if it were a factory component.
The biggest benefit to the Carlson’s barrel is the fact that it can improve the accuracy of your Remington 870 considerably, which is something that many users of this barrel have reported on. It is also chrome lined on the inside, which not only helps to ensure reliable feeding from the round into the chamber but also helps to extend the service life of the barrel considerably as well. As an added bonus, this barrel comes with a Carlson cylinder bore choke tube as well. The barrel has been threaded for the standard Remington choke, and can fit 3” chambers.
The biggest downside to the Carlson is that it will not work with any Remington 870 Tactical model, but it should be fully compatible with other Remington 870 shotguns. The choke of this barrel can also be replaced if you so desire. In addition, the Carlson’s is available with either an adjustable front and rear sight set up or a ramped blade front sight only. It also ships with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer as well.
If you want a Remington 870 that is durable, comes chrome lined, and that has a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, the Carlson’s 870 barrel is exactly what you’re looking for.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer
- Very robust build
- Chrome lining helps to extend service life
- Cannot fit Remington 870 Tactical models
And that concludes our list of the top three best barrels for the Remington 870 for 2020.
The 870 is one of the most customizable firearms in existence, and it’s arguably the most customizable shotgun. While the 870 is already a shotgun choice out of the box, you can improve it even further by adding a new barrel to it.
Any one of the barrels that we have covered here today will help to improve the self-defense capabilities of your Remington 870, or alternatively you can follow the buyer’s guide that we went over above to help you select a solid barrel for your 870 a well.
Featured image by Matt E.