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Only dead fish
go with the flow
Picture of pessimist
posted
I'm curious about the particulars of an 870 I have. I bought it new about 25 years ago. I had a credit that I was eager to get rid of so it was a snap purchase.

It's a cheap Express model but it seems to have some of the attributes of a Police model.

It was labeled by the shop as an 870 HD (Home Defense). The HD is not indicated anywhere on the shotgun. It has synthetic furniture and a large bead on the 18 inch fixed cylinder barrel (or 18.5). The receiver is marked Express Magnum and it's parkerized along with the barrel. The trigger guard is compressed metal and the extractor is steel. The mag tube holds 4 rounds.

When was the Police model first introduced? Is this the predecessor to that model?

My only complaints with the shotgun are two things that seem fairly common: 1) it will rust if it's neglected in the slightest and 2) there's a loose star washer that slides up and down the stock bolt as the shotgun is turned which makes a very annoying noise.
 
Posts: 1320 | Registered: March 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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With 870 Expresses, you frequently get parts that would normally be found on an upgraded gun. I went through factory 870 school this year, and the instructor told us that a lot of the Express guns are built with whatever parts are on hand-even though a MIM extractor is specified, if they're out of MIM's and have milled ones, they'll go with that.


What, me worry?
 
Posts: 2001 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: September 27, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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IIRC, Express 870s had metal trigger groups up until the late 1990s or so, when the polymer trigger groups were introduced.
 
Posts: 22919 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Let's be careful
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Express models seem to be Frankenguns; whatever parts are in abundance go into them, I believe.
 
Posts: 7086 | Location: NW OHIO | Registered: May 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As I recall for the first couple years of the Express (mid 1980s) they were cosmetically nicer and closer to the Wingmaster.
 
Posts: 687 | Registered: September 27, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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quote:
Originally posted by pessimist:
When was the Police model first introduced?


The early 870 Police guns were not marked as "Police".

The earliest police 870s were just Wingmasters offered in certain specific finishes and configurations to LE agencies, and were still marked as Wingmasters.

Starting in the late 70s or early 80s, they became a separate line from the Wingmaster, but were simply marked "870 Magnum".

The specific "Police Magnum" markings came along in the late 80s or early 90s, shortly after the Express model was introduced.

quote:
Is this the predecessor to that model?


No. The 870 HD is a version of the Express specifically marketed toward home defense, usually with some defense-related features like certain sights, furniture, or mag extensions. Same with the 870 Tactical.

They're still Express-style quality, for the most part. The good news is that the Express models from 25 years ago are nicer than the Express models today. Still cheaper and rougher than the nicer Wingmaster, but they weren't as rough 25 years ago.

I can't speak for a 25 year old 870 HD, but nowadays the main difference between the HD/Tactical and the regular Express is that they usually have the dimples in the mag tube omitted so an extension can more easily be added. And there are some models of the HD/Tactical family with a longer one piece 6 round mag tube and correspondingly different barrel attachment setup. Like so:




But a 25 year old Express wouldn't have stuff like magazine tube dimples or a plastic trigger guard anyway. Those features were incorporated in the 1990s and 2000s, less than 25 years ago.


quote:
Originally posted by Fundman:
As I recall for the first couple years of the Express (mid 1980s) they were cosmetically nicer and closer to the Wingmaster.


Correct. The Express was introduced in 1987, and the early Expresses from their first few years in the late 1980s cut corners mainly on the outside, namely cheaper wood with cheaper pressed checkering, and a slightly less fancy metal finish. The gun itself was still of a similar quality level to the Wingmaster.

As the years rolled on into and through the 1990s, Remington gradually incorporated other cost-cutting features into the Express line one or two at a time, like a cheaper trigger guard, even cheaper finish, cheaper MIM parts, less polishing in the bore and dehorning in the receiver, cheaper magazine cap retaining system with the dimples, etc.

Nowadays they are noticeably cheaper/rougher than the Wingmaster.
 
Posts: 22919 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Only dead fish
go with the flow
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Thanks for the info! It's a shame that Remington and some of the other manufacturers have adopted the trend of making their product just good enough for moderate use. I think I've read that some of the new Mossberg 590s have canted sights and other issues.

I'd like to get another shotgun so I guess the best bet is to find an older one that has little wear.
 
Posts: 1320 | Registered: March 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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quote:
Originally posted by pessimist:
I'd like to get another shotgun so I guess the best bet is to find an older one that has little wear.


If you're wanting to buy an 870, I'd look for a lightly used older Wingmaster. You can find them for the same price as a new Express, and they're much better guns.

My youngest stepson bought a very lightly used early 1970s Wingmaster ~4 years ago for $250, and it's the nicest, smoothest pump shotgun I've ever felt. I recently tweaked it with an 18 inch barrel, 1 round mag extension, and new springs so he can use it for home defense when he moves out of state in a couple months.



Or, if you don't mind it being a bit rough cosmetically, get a LE trade-in Police Magnum, and swap out the springs for new Remington Police springs or Wolff springs. Same situation, in that you can get one for around the same price as a new Express, and they're much better guns.
 
Posts: 22919 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Only dead fish
go with the flow
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Rogue, that's a beauty! I'd be very pleased with something similar.

Most of the old Wingmasters I see for sale have the long, vented barrels. If you don't mind me asking, where did you get the barrel and what did it set you back?
 
Posts: 1320 | Registered: March 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, the sporting Wingmasters were not offered with shorter barrels, but Remington offered 18.5 and 20" blued barrels for blued Police 870s.

Luckily, Remington still does small production runs of these shorter Remington barrels with the deep Wingmaster bluing from time to time, and one will drop right in to your Wingmaster in place of its standard 26" or 28" barrel.


I got this one from MidwayUSA for $170:

https://www.midwayusa.com/prod...nder-bead-sight-blue

Currently out of stock, but you can set up an email notification, and you'll be notified when they're back in stock. They seem to get a new batch every few months or so.


You can also get them from AI&P: https://tacticalgunsling.com/p...ngmaster-blue-bs-185

AI&P also sells the 20" Wingmaster blued barrel: https://tacticalgunsling.com/p...r-blue-bead-sight-ic
 
Posts: 22919 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Only dead fish
go with the flow
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Great! Thanks.
 
Posts: 1320 | Registered: March 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You may already know this, but keep in mind that some older Wingmasters are not Magnums, so they are only set up to accept 2.75" shells.

All new barrels will be for 2.75" or 3", and state as such on the side, but your receiver may not be able to accept 3".

If you want to be able to handle 3" shells, make sure the serial number ends in "M".

(The only difference between a Magnum and non-Magnum receiver is the ejector. So you can convert an older 2.75" only 870 to 3" by having a gunsmith drill out the ejector and re-rivet a new one. But that would be a shame to do to a nice older blued Wingmaster, and also doesn't make much sense financially, in most cases.)
 
Posts: 22919 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Getting an older 870 is a great choice. I’ve had mine for decades and recently swapped the 30”, FC VR barrel for this 18” I picked up at an estate auction for $50. Added the mag extension, (also added a clamp between the barrel and and mag tube after this photo was taken).

Come time to shoot birds or skeet/trap the original barrel and mag tube go right back on.

 
Posts: 59 | Location: SW VA | Registered: January 25, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I recently picked up the Express Home & Field kit. So I can mount the 18.5 inch barrel for a House gun or put on the 28 inch field barrel to bust some clays. One issue out of the box was that I had to Mortor the shotgun with about 10% of the fired rounds to get the shell ejected. That being an excellent way to end up with a split buttstock it went back to the factor along with both barrels. Once it came back shot about 150 rounds of Trap with the 28 inch barrel to confirm it was working properly and didn't have one single stuck shell. Then to test out the 18.5 inch barrel I shot 3 rounds of 5 stand with it. Didn't do very well but did confirm the shorter does eject properly. Note, I found the sight picture with the 28 inch barrel made for an excellent Trap gun and would expect it to be an excellent Field Gun.


I've stopped counting.
 
Posts: 4286 | Location: Michigan | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glorious SPAM!
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MAN I love those old Wingmasters! I just got my Remmy 870P from up north and although I have gotten accustomed to the Mossberg in its absence they do not compare.

Remington on top (not as pretty as the ones pictured)

 
Posts: 8929 | Registered: June 13, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If I were buying now I'd get a used Wingmaster or Police model.

I have a late 90's express I traded for a Taurus .44 mag I didn't want anymore. At this point it is hardly recognizable from where it started, Wilson mag extension and sling mount, Magpul fore end and Streamlight TLR-1 light, sidesaddle, large head safety and upgraded the internals all except for the plastic trigger guard housing. I figured that is still pretty rugged and not worth over $100 to replace.




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

The world's a dangerous place, we can help! http://portlandfirearmtraining.com/
 
Posts: 4345 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would check out Mark over at summitgunbroker, that's where I bought my Wingmaster from years ago. Looks like he has a good deal on Police Magnums right now as well. And an even better deal on an older 870 Wingmaster Magnum.
 
Posts: 1358 | Location: Raleigh, NC | Registered: March 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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