Getting Down and Dirty: How to Clean a Remington 870

The Remington 870 is an American legend, having been in production for almost 50 years and selling old over 10 million units worldwide. Taking care of this superb shotgun is not difficult, and requires a bit of cleaning and periodic maintenance.

When it comes to cleaning a shotgun, many owners like to stick to the tried-and-tested methods that have worked for them in the past.

In this article, we’ll share a detailed guide on how to clean your Remington 870 and we have tips for everyone, from novice to experienced users.

Safety Tips to Keep in Mind While Cleaning

Safety should always be the first consideration when cleaning a shotgun. Follow the 10 Commandments of Firearm Safety at all times.

Be sure to always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction when working on the gun.

Before starting, check that your firearm is unloaded. If it is not already unloaded, push upwards on the action bar lock, pull the fore-end slowly rearwards until the shell can be removed from the ejection port, then repeat until the gun is empty.

Check the chamber and magazine with both touch and sight to make sure there are no shells in the firearm.

Ensure that the safety is on since pulling the trigger during the cleaning steps could cause injury or damage the trigger group. The hammer should not be cocked during the cleaning operation either.

When it comes to safety, shotguns are not much different from handguns and rifles. In each case, always do the cleaning after unloading, turning on the safety, and practice the 10 firearms safety commandments.

Steps to Cleaning a Remington 870

Step 1: Preparation

Gather your tools

Before you start working on your gun, gather all your tools and equipment that you’ll need for the work.

This will save time later on and ensure you get over with the work much faster. At the same time, you won’t misplace anything during the cleaning as you’ll not have to leave your workbench.

Clear the Work Space

In order to work comfortably, find a high table or flat surface to work on. Having this will make it easier to see what you’re doing and prevent back strain.

Having the gun up high also keeps it out of reach for children and animals creating a very safe work area.

After removing any unneeded items from the work surface, cover the table with newspapers or old rags. This will not just protect the table or underlying surface from chemical stains but it will also protect your gun from scratches.

Step 2: Disassembly

Unscrew the Magazine Cap

The first step is to unscrew the magazine cap. A helpful tip is to use a cloth to over the cap and then use pliers to gently unscrew it, but only use this method if you´re unable to open it by hand. Remember to be careful of the spring that may pop out once you’ve unscrewed the cap.

Remove the Barrel

The barrel will slide right off the gun once the cap is off.

Remove the Forend and Bolt Carrier Assembly

Push the action bar lock upward and pull the fore-end rearward to open the action.

Flip the shotgun upside down and use your fingers to push out the spring loaded metal strips. Push the carrier upward, then reach into the bottom of the receiver and depress and hold the left shell latch.

This will release the forend and you will be able to pull it out just as the barrel was pulled out. Next, lift the breech bolt assembly and slide the assembly from the rear of the action bars.

Remove the Trigger Group

Two pins are used to hold the trigger group in. Use a wooden dowel rod or hammer to gently remove them, as metal items may leave scratches.

Once you remove the pins, lift the rear of the trigger plate assembly, slide rearwards and remove from the receiver.

Step 3: Cleaning

Clean the Barrel

To clean the barrel, first spray some solvent into the barrel, then push the bore snake into the barrel from the breach end.

Run the bore snake through the barrel multiple times until the inside of the barrel looks clean and shiny, then clean the exterior of the barrel with the solvent.

Clean the Interior and Exterior Surfaces

Spray a little bit of the solvent onto the cleaning cloth or patches, then wipe down the interior and exterior surfaces of the gun, including the inside of the magazine tube.

Clean the Trigger Group

You can use any good solvent or protective solution to clean the trigger assembly, but Remington recommends their own RemOil.

Spray a tiny amount of RemOil onto the trigger assembly, then wait 15 minutes.

Next, spray it with some RemOil again, which will wash off any impurities or dirt. Shake off the excess and let it dry and wipe off any excess that’s left after drying.

Step 4: Reassembly

Putting the shotgun back together in working condition is even simpler than dissembling it. Just put the items back in the reverse order from how to took them apart.

Reinsert the Trigger Group

Ensure that the end of the action bar lock is below the end of the left connector, then insert the trigger plate assembly (carrier first) into the receiver. Align the holes and tap in the front and rear trigger plate pins.

Reinsert the Forend and Bolt Carrier

Position the slide block assembly and breech bolt assembly on the rear of the action bars. Guide the action bars into the receiver until stopped by the right shell latch.

Push the carrier upwards, depress and hold the right shell latch. Slide the fore-end rearwards until stopped by the left shell latch.

Reach into the bottom of the receiver. Depress and hold the left shell latch. Slide the fore-end rearward until stopped by the action bar lock. Push upward on the action bar lock.

Reinsert the Barrel

The barrel will simply slide back on the shotgun.

Reinsert the Magazine Cap and Related Items

To reattach the magazine, insert the shell follower into the magazine tube, then the spring.

Next, place the magazine cap over the spring and screw it in. Tighten the magazine cap until you cannot turn it any further.

Quick Take: Top 3 Picks for Remington 870 Cleaning Kits

Our Top 3 Picks for Cleaning Kits

When it comes to cleaning equipment for your shotgun, you have the choice of either purchasing each piece of equipment and tools separately or getting it in one convenient package for a smaller total cost.

Unless you have a very strong preference for one brand of tools and equipment which you cannot find as a kit, buying a good cleaning kit is the better option. Here we have rounded up the top 3 cleaning kits.

  1. Remington Shotgun Cleaning System

The kit contains Rem Squeeg-Es for 12/16 Gauge, 20/28 Gauge, and .410 bore, which can clean the shotgun chamber and barrel.

Also included are: a 5" bronze bore brush, a 4-piece, 6mm heavy duty, 38" brass rod set with universal 8/32 threads, 54" long Rem Pad cleaning mat and two large utility cleaning brushes.

Cleaning chemicals included in the kit are 4 oz Rem Oil and Rem Action aerosols, and a 4 oz. New Rem All In is a water-based, high-performance all-in-one bore cleaner.

All these components are housed in a 12" x 9" x 8" Bag Cleaning Kit, which has four large pockets on each side, offering plenty of storage space for shot shell boxes or other items.

This cleaning kit offers plenty of high-quality tools and is recommended for Remington 870 owners who want a comprehensive kit.

2. Tetra - Gun ValuPro III Shotgun Cleaning Kit - 12 Gauge

The Tetra Gun ValuPro III Shotgun cleaning kit includes all the items you’ll need for cleaning your shotgun.

It comes with a 32" T-handled collapsible blued steel rod, a 2 oz., bottle of Triple Action CLP, Tetra Gun Grease (10g.), a bronze bore brush, bore guide, cotton patches, and patch holder. The kit is contained in a neatly organized storage case.

3. Hoppes - 12 Gauge Cleaning Kit

This dependable kit from Hoppes contains everything needed for cleaning a 12 gauge shotgun.

Items include a 3-piece aluminum cleaning rod, brush, correct tip (shotgun kits have nylon swab), 25 round die-cut patches for an absorbent surface with deep cleaning, slotted ends, and adapters, a 2 oz. bottle of famous Hoppes No. 9 solvent and a 2½ oz. bottle of Hoppes Lubricating Oil. The kit comes in a box with divided compartments to hold each item.

With one of these kits, you will be able to find everything you need for your shotgun in one place, making your firearm maintenance a breeze.


Cleaning and taking good care of your Remington 870 doesn’t have to be a pain! The more practice you get with disassembling and assembling your gun, the better you’ll get at it and you’ll soon form a bond with it, gaining a true understanding of how each component works.

This will help you figure out if any parts need repairing or replacement as you’ll sense when things aren’t working as well as previously.

A good shotgun cleaning kit can make your cleaning both in the field and in your workshop much easier and effective. One of the kits from our list should do a great job.

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