1911 serial dating
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.
I know RS- serial numbers were going on guns at least as early as 2011, but looking at the date intervals of the preceding prefixes, I'm guessing 2011 wasn't the first year. These are two different things, but most of the "guides" online don't explain this very well, if they even try.
I just bought a new in box 870 tactical with a Blackhawk Special Ops II stock and pistol grip from a small independent dealer/sporting goods store. From several different sources, of which Remington is one of them, that tells me it was manufactured in November 1998, 1969, or 1925. I just bought a new in box 870 tactical with a Blackhawk Special Ops II stock and pistol grip from a small independent dealer/sporting goods store. From several different sources, of which Remington is one of them, that tells me it was manufactured in November 1998, 1969, or 1925. Some even call the barrel date stamp a serial number.
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.
Again, please keep their identity a secret Click on the "Continue" button search with your zip/postal code.
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.
For the time being at least, "RS" can simply be considered the successor prefix to "AB".Remington of course just stonewalled me when I tried to email them directly about it.In any case, an "RS-" serial number points to a manufacture date of 2009/2010 (not sure exactly which) or later.A decent overview of which models and features were available when can be found .Keep in mind that barrels can be changed, guns can be refinished, and old parts can be replaced with new ones, so these things won't always reflect a specific date with 100% surety.