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1968: NO SERIAL NUMBER PREFIX1968 TO PRESENT: LETTERS USED (IN SEQUENCE)L-68, M-74, N-78, P-85, R-90Model 1100 LETTER SUFFIXSAME STRUCTURE AS THE Model 870Model 1187 LETTER PREFIX1987 TO PRESENT: “PC” 12 GA., 1999 “TL“ 20 GA.,2000 “SM” SUPER MAG.
“LIGHT WEIGHT” (“LW”) (ALSO INCLUDES M/1100 “LT”)U 20 GA. H .410 BORE (2 ½” OR 3”)Model 1100 LETTER PREFIX1963 TO APPROX.
I am assuming your second letter in the barrel code is "Q" based on what you say above 1978 or 1996.
If it is a 1978 then the prefix letter in the serial number on the receiver will most likely be "V".
If it is a 1996 then the prefix letter in the serial number on the receiver will most likely be "B" or possible "C" Please always keep in mind that if you bought your gun used or second hand it may have had the barrels swapped and this can cause much confusion......example is a 1996 barrel will fit just fine on a 1978 receiver or vice versa!!!!!
In addition to what Tu Jays said, the barrel date stamps usually take long enough to repeat that you can get a pretty solid idea of which potential date applies to your gun based on its features.
For example, in the mid-1980s, Remington implemented some minor design updates to the action on 12ga 870s, including a "U"-shaped cut-out in the shell carrier that prevented a certain type of malfunction from binding the gun's action.
The Remington Model 1100 has been a field-proved favorite ever since.
Its superb balance, handling, durability and soft recoil from the gas-operated action are the foundation of the Remington autoloading legacy.
Call Remington and give them the serial number, they will tell you when it was born, however keep in mind they due make errors. So, anyway, according to the above info, my PA barrel code and lack of serial # prefix, my Wingmaster has a mfg date of June 1953.
Back up what they tell you with this information; DECODING REMINGTON SERIAL NUMBERSModel 870 LETTER PREFIX1950 TO APPROX 1968: NO SERIAL NUMBER PREFIX1968 TO PRESENT: LETTERS USED (IN SEQUENCE)S-68, T-74, V-78, W-84, X-90, A-91, B-94, C-97, D-01, AB-05Model 870 LETTER SUFFIX (DESIGNATES GAUGE)V 12 GA. What is the barrel code and the serial # letter prefix?
After less than 24 hrs, I've already found the "extra" info to help me beyond the the "black powder" and barrel code info.