There are many reasons you would need to know the age of your rifle. The internal and exterior design has changed several times. Before ordering parts you need to know what your working with. For those interested in collecting 880’s knowing the different changes made through the years is interesting information. I will be focusing on bigger design changes, different options were often offered like fiber optic sights etc. I will start with the current model of the 880.
Current Model 880 (New Style)
Very easy to distinguish from its brethren the current model has many design improvements and is unfortunately made in China. Being made in China is probably why the current model costs the same amount today as it did when I was a kid. Don’t let the negatives fool you though this is a well made rifle that has some improvements over former designs.
Looking on the barrel cover towards the receiver you will find the “Made In China” stamp easily identifying the current model. One of the most needed revisions was securing the butt stock better. The current model has three screws on each Side securing the butt stock. This prevents the stock wiggle so common on every previous version of the 880.
The current model has a plastic receiver (side covers) and a plastic pump arm. The only metal remaining on the exterior of the gun is the barrel cover and the trigger.
The Last U.S. Built 880 (Mixed New & Old Styles)
The last gun built in the US this version is in transition. The diamond on the forearm is just painted, the stock is retained by a
single screw. This was the first rifle to employ the new style internal working which were an improved design. I think the new style chamber design is the easiest to work on. With a better chamber seal and pump tube design that is also easier to re assemble when worked on.
The Multi Piece Diamond Forearm
The thing that sets this 880 apart from later and earlier models is the diamond on the forearm. Later versions only have the diamond painted on, and earlier versions don’t have the diamond. These guns have plastic receivers (side covers) and plastic pump handles.
Last General Production Metal Receiver 880
These 880’s have the diamond in the forearm and metal receivers. The pump handles are plastic.
The Original 880
The original has the most metal parts as to be expected of the oldest model 880. The forearm is plastic with no diamond insert or painting. The shape of the forearm is also different for the later models. The receiver (side covers) and pump handle are metal.