How to Clean a Remington 870: Getting Down and Dirty

| Last Updated: June 1, 2021

The Remington 870 is an American legend, having been in production for almost 50 years and selling 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.

Review of the Best Remington 870 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.

Best Overall:
Remington Shotgun Cleaning System


  • Super durable cleaning rods
  • Carrying case is nice and spacious
  • Easy to carry from home to the range (or the woods)
  • Fully-loaded kit with all your cleaning needs to be addressed
  • Does a good job cleaning all the gunk and residue from your Remington 870


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report 

A lot of recent buyers were happy with the kit and for a few good reasons. For one, they said that they had all the accessories and cleaning supplies they needed to ensure that their Remington 870s were clean from the inside and out. One user said that he had just enough cleaning pads to make sure that his shotgun was clean and ready for the next hunting adventure. He also added the cleaning rods were easy to assemble and super durable as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This cleaning kit is the total package. And it definitely will be your sidekick for when you need to clean your shotgun be it at home, at the range, or while you are out hunting. You have plenty of equipment at your disposal so cleaning it will be easy. Plus, you won’t have to hunt down for the supplies you need the most. Everything is all here in a nice sized carrying case. 

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.

Who Will Use This Most 

This would be an excellent carrying case for the Remington 870 user that is on the go. It will be perfect for home use or take it with you while you’re spending the weekend at your camp. This is the perfect cleaning kit for those that don’t want to waste time looking for separate cleaning materials, oils, or solvents. 

Bottom Line

The Remington Shotgun Cleaning System is simply put one of the best package deals you can get anywhere on the market. With sturdy cleaning rods and soft but durable pads that get the job done, it just might be one of the best in the business. Why settle for anything less than what you’ll get in this entire kit?

Tetra - Gun ValuPro III Shotgun Cleaning Kit - 12 Gauge


  • Durable cleaning rods
  • Fits most shotgun bores nicely
  • All your needed cleaning supplies in one kit
  • Perfect for 12 gauge Remington 870 shotguns
  • Cleaning pads don’t leave a single speck of dirt or residue behind


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report 

Most of the new buyers said that they were super happy with the cleaning kit. Not only did they get all that they need for cleaning materials and supplies, but they were also happy with the overall quality and ability to use them to their advantage. One user said that the bore brushes and cleaning pads can easily be fit through the barrel for all kinds of cleaning. It didn’t leave any scratches, gunk or dirt after a few passes. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Once again, we have an all-you-need cleaning kit. But this time, it’s a cleaning kit fit for a 12 gauge Remington 870 shotgun. You have a cleaning rod that you can assemble and disassemble with ease and enough cleaning pads and solvents to last you quite a while. It’s not one of those cleaning kits that will last you a short time and get another one. You have a nice healthy supply of cleaning materials that can last you well beyond a year. After all, you do need to clean your shotgun on a regular basis (or once every 200 rounds). So make the most of your supplies so you are able to keep your shotgun as clean and functional as possible. 

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.

Who Will Use This Most 

This would be an excellent 12 gauge cleaning kit for those who want to take their cleaning materials on the road and have it ready for the weekend-long hunting trips. It’s even better for those who want to keep it clean for some target shooting fun at the range as well. You get all the products you need in one kit. Some of them will last longer than others. By that, we mean you won’t get a new cleaning rod (provided that it won’t break). But some new cleaning pads might be needed eventually. 

Bottom Line

The Tetra Gun Valupro Shotgun Cleaning Kit is definitely the go-to choice for those who love their Remington 870 12 gauge shotguns. If you love your shotgun, you know for a fact that taking care of it regularly is a task that you must not miss. You have everything you need to ensure that your shotgun is clean all the time, every time.

Best for the Money:
Hoppes - 12 Gauge Cleaning Kit


  • Perfect for newbie users
  • Bore snake is at the perfect length
  • Fits most 12 gauge shotguns perfectly
  • Cleaning rods are easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Does an excellent job cleaning shotguns without leaving a scratch or speck of dirt


  • Some say there should be a bit more cleaning pads
  • Regular rod might not be suitable for cleaning complex guns

What Recent Buyers Report 

Most of the new buyers certainly were not disappointed with the kit. They said that everything they needed was all here in one kit and it would have the potential to last them nearly a year. One user said that the bore snake was easy and useful for cleaning and could easily fit through his shotgun barrel no problem. Overall, the kit was easy to carry and the cleaning solvents were not harmful to breathe in.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Hoppes has long been one of the more reliable names in cleaning for years and even decades. What sets them above the rest of the pack is that they create cleaning materials that are durable, reliable, and leave no stone unturned. The solvents and oils do an excellent job in hardening gun barrels with ease. It’s perhaps one of the best kits on the market and most people would grab it on the name alone. But if you want excellent quality and cleaning abilities that are hard to match, then this is the cleaning kit for you.

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 find everything you need for your shotgun in one place, making your firearm maintenance a breeze.

Who Will Use This Most 

If you own a Remington 870 and need a cleaning kit that is the real deal, this probably might be the one for you. It’s got easy to assemble (and disassemble rods) along with cleaning pads that will wipe and clean the shotgun from the inside and out with every pass. The pads themselves just might be sturdier than the others. So you won’t have to worry about them falling apart or lose them while they’re stuck inside the barrel itself. 

Bottom Line

The Hoppes 12 Gauge Cleaning Kit is without a doubt one of the top quality kits that you can find just about anywhere on the market. You’ll find these cleaning supplies to be better in quality and much more affordable in price compared to some that are considered cheap and flimsy overall. If you want a cleaning kit made by a name that most gun owners can trust, this could be a good option. 

Steps to Cleaning a Remington 870

Below are the main steps of cleaning a Remington 870:

Step 1: Preparation

Here's what you need to prepare:

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 done 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

Here's how to disassemble:

Unscrew the Magazine Cap

The first step is to unscrew the magazine cap. A helpful tip is to use a cloth to cover 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

And now onto 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 you 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.


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.

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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