View Full Version : How can I tell the vintage of my 870?

August 9, 2001, 11:11 PM
Howdy again,
Is there a place that I can look up, by serial number, the vintage of my 870?
It is an 18" barrel, express magnum that has a serial number that begins with B07.

August 10, 2001, 03:50 AM
The letter 'B' as the serial number prefix indicates a manufacture date for the receiver after '97. Check the markings on the left side of the barrel near the receiver and you should see, from the front toward the rear, a final inspection stamp (a square w/ a diagonal line), a letter which will identify the month of manufacture for the barrel, another letter which will identify the year of manufature for the barrel, and a numeric identifying the person responsible for final assembly of the weapon.

If you'll post the two letters which are between the inspection stamp and final assembler identification I'll decipher it and reply. I don't believe this info is accessible on the web and to post the entire Remington shotgun date code system here would be somewhat complex and time consuming.

August 10, 2001, 09:02 AM
Well, I took the barrel off in search of those markings. This is what I found:

On the left side, receiver end, there are two letters KO. A little further away is the IMP.CYL.
On the right side, it gets weird. There is a letter P inside a triangle. The P has been tipped over to the right ninety degrees. Below the triangle is REP inside an oval. Below that I can see 5M which is tipped over to the left by ninety degrees. Forward, towards the muzzle of the triangle is a deeply stamped T.
That's about it for markings on the barrel other than the "read the instructions" warning and the "use 2 3/4 or 3 inch shells.....".
I'm guessing the REP is replacement?
I dunno.

August 10, 2001, 09:11 AM
there was a thread on this subject some time ago but I cannot bring it up using the search engine:o

Here is the basic info from that thread that I saved:
Well, I can't help with the serial number.

Assuming it has the original barrel...the chart in the back of the Blue Book says "Code located on barrel, left side of frame"

Month of Manufacture

BLACKPOWDERX, with B=Jan., L=Feb., etc.

Year of Manufacture

1950 = WW
1951 = XX
1952 = YY
1953 = ZZ
1954 = A
1955 = B
1956 = C
1957 = D
1958 = E

I just checked the 870 Exp. Mag. I bought for the fall duck season in 1993 and it has an EN on the barrel.
E = Oct., N = 1993. FWIW, I pulled the receipt on it - 11/16/93.

The chart starts with 1921 (= M) and ends with 1999 (= T).

They repeated the alphabet as necessary, leaving out a lot of the I's, O's, Q's & V's, and used double letters from 1943 to 1953.

1976 through 1979 used 1, 0, Q & V.

Starting in 1980, with an A, it looks like they started using the whole alphabet.

Hope this helps.


Geoff Ross

August 10, 2001, 10:44 AM
K = May O = '94: the date of manufacture for the barrel

IMP. CYL = Improved cylinder choke

P inside triangle = indicates barrel has been stress tested. Magnaflux is the name of the process.

REP = barrel proof mark, meaning Royal English Proof.

5M = post '95 indentifier for the producer of the steel from which the barrel was made.

T = another identifier code for the steel used to make the barrel.

K80Geoff's post is real close to the info I have about barrel codes. 'L' was used for those made in 1920 and 'T' was discontinued after 8/99 when Remington switched from a date code stamp to a bar code.

For future reference with regards to serial numbers on the receiver, pre '68 870s bear no alpha prefix. The letters which were used, in sequence, beginning in '69 are:

S = '69 - '74
T = '74 - '78
V = '79 - '83
W = '84 - '90
X = '91 - '94
Z = '94 - '97 (used as a prefix and suffix)
A = '97 - to production gun #7,000,000
B = post '97
C = may not yet be issued

August 10, 2001, 11:49 AM
Gotta save that post SKN:D

Geoff Ross