My Favorite Shotgun: The Ohio National Guard Remington 870

When an ad scrawled across my Facebook feed from a military collectors group showing a rare Ohio National Guard 870 with the bayonet lug and ONG markings, I nearly broke my keyboard punching in my credit card number as fast as I could. At the price of only $229 dollars, I should have bought five of them.

Alas, I only bought one gun with a fixed stock. I was too late for the folding stock models. I don’t think I’ve ever been more impatient for something to arrive.

It took seven days, and I checked the tracking number four times a day. Finally, the shotgun arrived, and I knew as soon as I saw it, I had a new favorite shotgun.

These shotguns are a piece of history. Their production started in 1971, and they served with the Ohio National Guard up until they were sold and then resold. Luis Valdes did an excellent look at the history of these guns here. Certainly worth reading.

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

People are seemingly trying very hard to flip these guns on Armslist and Gunbroker. With prices ranging from $750 for fixed stock models up to a grand for the folding stock guns, I figured somebody would want to know what they were getting themselves into.

Overall Condition

Any time you buy a used gun sight unseen from a group of guns, there is apprehension. I was hoping to get at least a decent model. Joe ONG member doesn’t treat his issued weapon well in a lot of circumstances, and the big army doesn’t have the best ideas about weapon maintenance. Also, the low price didn’t inspire confidence.

You can insert shocked Pikachu face here.

via GIPHY

The gun I got is beautiful.

The Ohio National guard Remington 870s are Wingmaster versions and are deeply and richly blued. They have a shine you don’t see with modern shotguns these days.

These guns also feature gorgeous American hardwood stocks and forends. The overall package makes me want to Fudd on and on about they just don’t make them like they used to.

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

Which, as far as Remington is concerned, they genuinely don’t.

That’s not the say my Ohio National Guard 870 is perfect. (As everyone knows, the only perfect gun is the M240.) It has some nicks and scratches in the wood and some scrapes and scratches in the finish too. These marks seem to give the gun character. The inside was immaculate and very dry. I couldn’t find a lick of rust or any pitting on the gun inside or out. Overall I was pleased with the condition of the weapon.

What Makes Ohio National Guard 870 So Special? 

What makes the Ohio National Guard 870 super unique and somewhat rare is that bayonet lug. To a smaller extent, the folding stocks are also rare, but were present on police 870s and made their way to the civilian market.

Look at the Bayonet Mount (Travis Pike For TTAG)

The bayonet lug does more than hold a bayonet, though. It’s also where the front sight sits. This raises it a bit above the barrel, likely on par with the Remington sight base for bead sighted shotguns.

The bayonet also wraps around the magazine extension and offers it more support and keeps it from being a catch point. The tube extension has to be reinforced for using a bayonet since the ring of the bayonet goes around the magazine tube. I’d imagine you wouldn’t want your magazine extension bending in a bayonet fight.

Lastly, it also acts as your forward sling point. Remington certainly made this a do-it-all attachment for their shotgun.

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

Another unique factor is the ONG markings. The receiver has an outline of Ohio engraved into it with the letters ONG inscribed inside. It’s neat and rare to see something like this these days. I have no connections to Ohio, but I love the markings.

There are guys out who clone guns used by the military, and they pay ridiculous money to get 80% lower receivers correctly marked. To get actual markings is a rare thing indeed.

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

How Does the Ohio National Guard 870 shoot?

Like a dream. Well, I mean, like any other good pump-action shotgun. But the ONG 870 does so with more style and grace than most.

The most significant difference I noticed was the pump action. It’s buttery smooth. It glides in both directions as if it’s on ball bearings.

My go-to shotgun is the Mossberg 590, and it’s honestly hard to go back to it after experiencing the Ohio National Guard Remington 870’s pump. The Mossberg 590 feels gritty and rough by comparison. 

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The ONG 870 is slightly front-heavy as most shotguns of this size are. The bayonet lug and mag extension add a few extra ounces. It’s hard to notice unless you move from something like an SBS to this gun.

The good thing about front-heavy guns is less muzzle rise. You’ll also feel the weapon becomes more balanced after firing 2 or 3 rounds.

The gun recoils as any 12 gauge pump should, and the small included rubber recoil pad does help some. Proper mounting and technique will help a lot more than the recoil pad.

The pump is heavily textured as far as wood goes. The wood’s finish is naturally a little slick, but the aggressive and numerous corn cob cuts help you hold on if you use a push-pull method of recoil control.

It’ll put a load of shot right where you want it. The bead sight is enough for ranges the gun is intended to be used at. The cylinder bore gives you a bit of spread with stock Winchester mil-spec ammo. I felt it was appropriate to use mil-spec ammo with a military veteran shotgun.

You’re maxed out at about 20 yards on a man-sized torso target with the Winchester military buckshot. With FliteControl, you can get a bit further, of course.

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

This is a gun that’s well suited for home defense for sure, but mine won’t take that duty any time soon. Shooting this gun is enjoyable to me because it’s shooting a piece of history. It might not have the history or prestige like Patton’s SAA, but it’s still historic.

It’s a beautiful example of the Remington 870 and it’s undoubtedly an excellent rendition of Remington’s favorite son.

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

My Ohio National Guard 870 isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It’s one of my favorite guns. This gun is a lot like my girlfriend; I can spend a lot of time just looking at it and feeling very happy.

Finding one on Armslist or Gunbroker is still possible, but pricey. These guys currently have one with the folding stock for $1,200 if you’re so inclined.

Specifications: Remington Ohio National Guard 870 Shotgun

Caliber: 12 Gauge 2 3/4 inch chamber
Capacity: 7 + 1
Barrel Length: 20 Inches
Overall Length: 40.5 inches
Weight: 7.5 pounds

Ratings (out of five stars): 

Accuracy * * * * *
It’s a shotgun so it does shotgun things and accuracy is one of those things. 

Ergonomics * * * *
One point off for being front-heavy. Like any 870 it’s more right-handed friendly and for righties it’s very easy to use.

Reliability * * * * *
Again pump-action shotguns are hard to mess up, as long as you don’t short-stroke it. Remingtons made back in 1971 were built to near perfection.

Customization * * * * *
Because it’s an 870, you can certainly bastardize this thing with all sorts of stocks, pumps, and accessories. But if you dare, you don’t deserve to own one of these.

Overall * * * * *
My Ohio Nation Guard 870 is one of my least expensive shotguns, yet it’s by far my favorite. For a measly $229 dollars I have a piece of American history from both the National Guard and Remington. It looks great, shoots great, and is best described as awesome.

comments

  1. avatar disgruntled says:

    But WHICH 240?

    I say the golf.

    1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      Personally I’m not picky if one shows up at my house. I’d take a plain jane MAG58 even.

    2. avatar Travis l Pike says:

      The B model with it’s recoil dampening system

    3. avatar Merle 0 says:

      I’d want an MG3 over a 240.

      1. avatar Blah says:

        x2 for the MG3

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          FN MAG.

        2. avatar Jabberwockey says:

          PKM

        3. avatar jwm says:

          I always wanted a Bren gun.

        4. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          jwm, Damn skippy on the Bren, but the South African variant. 7.62 NATO and accepts FAL mags.

  2. avatar Bob says:

    Luis Valdes, another auhtor for TTAG wrote a very in depth article on the ONG 870.

    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/obscure-object-of-desire-ohio-national-guards-remington-m870-shotgun-part-1/

    1. avatar Guesty McGuesterson says:

      Um, yes. The author actually gives a link to that review at the very top of the article, and explicitly credits Luis Valdes.

    2. avatar Jeff In CO says:

      Meh 😑. Only has a 2-¾” chamber. Everyone knows that unless it is a 3-½” she’ll, it is useless as a defensive gun. This is fact! I once saw it on the internet!

      1. avatar Sid says:

        Then it must be true. As everyone knows, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates installed a truth sensor on the Internet that prevents posts or comments that are not factual.

        1. avatar Jeff In CO says:

          It’s called cnn.com & newyorktimes.com. 🤔

          And my post was suppose to say “shell.” Autocorrect on the phone sometime gets a little “over-zealous…”

  3. avatar Hody Snitch says:

    Can’t you say that an old Wingmaster’s pump action is buttery smooth. I know all the ones I felt were.

    1. avatar Frank in VA says:

      My first long gun was a used 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge youth model that I got in the mid 80’s. Not sure how old it was, but the receiver finish was like black glass, the wood was gorgeous, and the action was both tight (no rattle) and buttery smooth. It was not hard to shoot doubles in skeet with it, even clays flying from opposite directions over my head.

      I’ve looked at more recent Wingmasters and there is no comparison. Sad.

  4. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    I like my modern Security 870 very much, though it’s always nice to see vintage models and the appreciation for them. As time has progressed, I’ve found that my inventory has evolved into equal parts of modern synthetic (AR, Glock, et al) with all the goodies or older vintage/antique (classic bluing, polished wood furniture, iron sights) from the 1960s all the way back to the 1900s. I pretty much avoid anything from the ’70s thru the ’90s. Just personal preference.

    Thanks for the opportunity to see photos of an 870 version I’ve never known of before.

  5. avatar Dirk Ri says:

    No pic with bayonet affixed….

    Disappointed.

    1. avatar John says:

      Agreed. Pics of bayonet attached are needed.

      1. avatar John says:

        Well that was a weird auto-correct. I guess I hit the “t” twice instead of the “f” and it went to attached. “Affixed”

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Weird, especially since “attached” works just fine. Is autocorrect becoming aware?

  6. avatar Tom H says:

    I also picked up an ONG 870. Great buy! Of course I had to spring for a bayonet and an M1 sling to dress it up. 😉

  7. avatar jwm says:

    The older 870 worked like it had to. Go back to 1970 and pick up an 870 and a Mossberg 500. I had both at that time. The Mossberg was no where near as slick as the 870.

    Fast forward to now and my go to shotguns are all Mossbergs and I don’t even own a Remington of any kind. Times, they sure do change.

    Of course if you want to talk about American made pump guns there’s always my old man’s Model 12. Bog standard mass produced pump guns the model 12 was the king.

  8. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Great article. I love an 870 Wingmaster. Own several. Also love firearms/military history. The receiver markings are especially cool. The folding stock. If it was the old Remington factory over the top folder, and you want to shoot the shotgun, be glad you didn’t get one. When I shot the one that belonged to a guy I served with it was Hell on the cheek bone. Looked cool though.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Yes. That over folder sucked.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        jwm, the only folders/collapsible that don’t suck are the FN and its derivatives.

  9. I love my 870 Marine Magnum. The factory nickel plating makes the action super slick. I mounted a Signtmark M Spec red dot on it and it is my go-to gun for large bears. I load it up with slugs and have no doubt it will do the job.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Sheesh. My go to gun for large bears would be a Corvette, preferably in third gear or higher, with the throttle buried.

      1. avatar Jeff in CO says:

        “Sheesh. My go to gun for large bears would be a Corvette, preferably in third gear or higher, with the throttle buried.”

        And heading in the opposite direction of the bear!

  10. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Saying an old gun is too new is somewhat clumsy, and to be truthful I had to check the internet and reread the beginning of this article for dates. May 4th 1970 was day the Ohio national guard fired on a bunch of unarmed college kids protesting the Vietnam War, killing four. Since your shoot gun wasn’t born yet it can’t be guilty.
    Judging from the photo, looks like it way too long for in home self-defence, they that far away, might be manslaughter. However, might make a nice club. Glad you got something you enjoy.

    1. avatar Travis Pike says:

      No gun us guilty of any crime. Ever.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Unless it doesn’t work when you need it.

  11. avatar Vhyrus says:

    I heard the kids at Kent State got a real kick out of these.

    Too soon?

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      M-1 rifles.

    2. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Weren’t Grarands used then?

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Cross, an M-1 rifle is a Garand. M-1 Garand and Garand is common slang. M-1 carbine is a whole ‘nother animal.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          So is M1A.

  12. avatar Trigger happy, Dale happy says:

    “This gun is a lot like my girlfriend; I can spend a lot of time just feeling it and looking very happy.”
    FIFY

  13. avatar possum says:

    a song iz to think 4 dead in Ohio. Pew I smell cat poop. I care not what says what. 1911 , 870 dah

  14. avatar J.T. says:

    I am still kicking myself for not getting one of these in time. I missed them by about an hour thanks to all the guys buying several at once.

  15. avatar An870isan870 says:

    I’m sure it has a great history of shooting college students from Kent State, so bonus for you I’m sure.

    1. avatar Travis Pike says:

      The Kent State Shooting Happened in 1970

      This gun was produced in 1971.

      What’s it like being ignorant?

  16. avatar Arne zacnussen says:

    Half the article is talking about the muzzle/bayonet lug. Zero detailed picture of same.

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