Does anybody buy brand name anything anymore? I don’t know about you, but I haven’t bought an actual bottle of Heinz ketchup since I found out that the “great value” store brand is literally packaged in the same facility. The analgesics in my medicine cabinet read ibuprofen and acetaminophen rather than Advil or Tylenol. So, the question is, why not guns? If I were to ask you to guess the all-time, best-selling sporting arm ever produced, would you know it? Hint: It actually gives the number one most manufactured firearm (of any type) in the world a run for its money. Of course, the number two highest selling firearm in the world is the Remington 870 Shotgun.
The Model 870 is only number two because there are a lot more people that use the dozens of manufacturing locations, variants, and sources of Mr. Kalashnikov’s venerable AK-47—the all-time top manufactured firearm. As a side note, I encourage the purchase of any of the AK variants as well; you certainly want to have something of historical value in your safe, if and when, the next round of regulations comes.
However, I digress.
First stocked on dealers’ shelves in 1951, the 870 pump has been a standard addition to thousands of gun cabinets everywhere. Known for its bullet-proof reliability, economy, and generally low maintenance requirements, it was rated a best buy for decades. Remington came out with a value line of the Model 870 in 1987 and labeled it the Express model. For years, the Model 870 reigned as the the low-cost alternative for taking game or breaking clays. However, there is a new contender for the crown.
Like many things, once the patent protection expires, new offerings pop up with all of the benefits, longevity, reliability, and economic value, for an even better value. Today, that value is the Legacy Sports International Escort M87 Pump Shotgun.
That’s right; you can now get a Remington 870 clone for about $100 less than the already tremendous value of a Remington 870 shotgun. And, if you are interested in a shotgun with a Tactical flavor—extended magazine, short barrel, ghost ring sight, you can save even more. Perhaps as much as $200—and it is all because of the availability of additional labor, manufacturing facilities, and the expiration of patents that you, the consumer, can benefit.
Many people do not realize the quality of craftsmanship that has been coming out of countries such as Turkey or Japan. Ironically, many of the firearms produced in other countries have finer pieces of walnut attached to them then you would find with your typical “American made” flavor. Likewise, there is a story in the gun world about one large manufacturer that actually traveled to Turkey to enforce a patent infringement and liked what it saw so much that it actually bought the factory and started using it to produce their own firearms line.
Having handled the Escort M87 pump-action 12 gauge, I can tell you that the fit and finish, while not on par with a high-end Rizzini or Perazzi double, is more than acceptable, and the reliability and durability of its action and interchangeable parts are already proven and time-tested. Additionally, it is offered in 12 and 20 gauge, with both youth and adult versions in the sporting lines and numerous tactical configurations to suit your needs.
Yes, quality competition has come to the gun world, and that’s a good thing. As time goes on, look for more and even better rebrandings of your favorite old-school firearm—with many improvements as well.
Competition is good for the consumer in greater availability at a lower price, but also for the manufacturer to force innovation, modernization, and general improvement.
How does the Legacy Escort M87 stack up in your estimation? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section, and be sure to mention your favorite clone.