Seeking Old 870s....


Dave McCracken
January 23, 2003, 06:46 PM
The word on the bush telegraph has been that old 870 Wingmasters have been getting scarce, even beater turnins. So, I made some calls and got some info and also pretty angry.

Here's the deal...

I called 6 gun shops in the area, including a couple I've been doing business with for 30 years or so. I was told that MD police depts are not allowed to turn in old inventory anymore, but that all used weapons MUST be destroyed by law.

Since depts got credit for the stuff they turned over to the shops against the price of new stuff, this means that in a time of budget deficiencies and escalating crime(Here in MD murder and robbery rates continue to worsen) the police have less money when they need to do more.

And I'll wager my favorite gland that crimes committed with those surplussed weapons occur at the same rate as with other legitimately obtained firearms.IOW, not very much. IIRC, 6% of all violent crime here is committed with legal guns, and those are mostly crimes of passion. Those of us stable and tightly wrapped enough to NOT shoot our BIL because he took the last slice of pizza( Actual case) are the folks most looking for bargain 870s suitable for defense or building dedicated specialty shotguns.

Md Politics would make a hyena vomit, and this is another example of Liberal defeatist, control everything thinking. $%^&*( Liberal pols and those who vote for them...

On to 870s....

In the course of calling these shops, I inquired as to whether they had any old 12 gauge WMs. Out of those shops, I found ONE WM and ONE Left Handed WM. The WM was listed as NRA Very Good, 26" Vent rib barrel in I/C. The asking price was $300. Another shop had the LH, described as like New. They wanted $745!

Considering the shop with the WM was selling off beater 870s a year ago for #200, I find this rise kinda frightening.

And a few years ago, used 870s were on just about all shops' racks, oft selling for less than a new Express.

The fact that my own little battery must now be worth much more than I thought is of little comfort.

I recommend those of us who do not have ENOUGH 870s get them now, and watch who you vote for...

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January 23, 2003, 07:03 PM
This reminds me about Jeff Cooper's famous quote about how scarce Colt's were in the late 60's:

"When asked about where We get our Colt's, We respond with the same statement the ladies of Boston used to make about where they got their hats: Sir, we don't GET our hats, we HAVE our hats".

A couple of years ago there was a typical news media "stink" about ex-police guns being used in crimes. They actually managed to find two or three cases where guns sold by police departments were used in crimes.

This was, of course, used as a weapon to coerce departments into destroying used guns. This also, of course, lost those departments big bucks, which the cities then used as an excuse to raise taxes.

Interestingly, questions about criminal mis-use of old police CARS were ignored, even though there were several cases of the cars being used by drunk drivers, and criminals.

January 23, 2003, 08:19 PM

You might as well live in California, no offense.

Guess I better not put off buying one any longer. Thanks for the post, Dave.

January 23, 2003, 08:21 PM
I just bought one end of last year. Stopped in my favorite gun shop and it there was a Wingmaster smoothbore with rifle sights. Only thing, the receiver was drilled and tapped for scope mounts. Beautiful condition, not 99% or anything but an honest 90%. Beautiful blue metal and gloss stained wood. Price on it was $270. I traded a Blackhawk I paid $270 for and got the shotgun and another harris Bipod so I figure I paid $225 or so for the gun.

Can't beat it for the price. Beautiful gun.

January 23, 2003, 10:03 PM
I think I need to practise cold bores with my .308 bolt rifle...



January 24, 2003, 06:10 AM
I am stationed at a small training and development center on the Eastern Shore right near the Maryland / Virginia border, and although many of us choose to live in Maryland, thats why finding a house in Maryland was not even an option for me.

January 24, 2003, 07:37 AM
Glad I kept mine.

January 24, 2003, 02:43 PM
I just picked up a pretty well-used express 870 for $149 last week. I think that's the cheapest I've seen a used 870 go for... This gun looked like it'd been used as a truck gun or a field gun and had been dropped in the swamp! there was bits of peat or whatever in the receiver and I spent an evening cleaning the gun out. The good thing is that it's one of those "Pre-PC" guns, so I don't have the dimples or the PC safety on it. I thinking about getting this bad boy hard chromed just for the fun of it. I figure with that finish, my great-great-great-great grand kids will just be breaking it in ;)

I love old 870's...

January 24, 2003, 05:42 PM
I may have to go look around for an 870 and see what I can find.

January 26, 2003, 08:19 AM
A couple years ago I picked up an 870 riot gun with 20" barrel and extended mag for $150. Rumored to have been a prison gun. Cosmetic shape is bad but it shoots fine. I'm happy.

Dave McCracken
January 26, 2003, 10:41 AM
Thanks, guys, with 180-plus views in a couple days, it's obvious this is of interest to many.

And, I had a couple projects in mind that will not happen now, unless I go the spare barrel route.

More importantly, there's lots of folks out there that do not have a battery in place, and now it's going to get more difficult.

P35, my Frankenstein gun started out at the MD Pen, at least the receiver and TG did. Prison guns look like H*ll outside, and are close to new inside....

January 27, 2003, 12:47 AM
I bought an Express for $200 in '90 but just never liked the Express version so I sold it in '00 for $160. I regretted it immediately. I'm glad I read this thread; I just assumed I would be able to pick up a used 870 anytime. I'd like to pick one up in abouth the same condition and sights as the one belonging to cratz2. I guess I'll start looking around this week.

January 27, 2003, 06:17 PM
I picked up three Wing prison turn-ins just over a year ago for $120 each. Bluing was gone, furniture was beat, vent ribs dented and one receiver was slightly bent (since fixed). Barrels were otherwise good, also good mechanical condition. They have all been repaired and refinished into fine firearms.

The dealer had ten, knowing what I know now, I would have bought all of them. If you see a deal, grab 'em!

January 28, 2003, 03:28 AM
I just got lucky and picked up an 870 for $100. It was only a few years old. The action is a little tough to work when the shell lifter contacts the inner wall of the reciever, but I think I can fix it. Not a bad deal.

Dave McCracken
January 28, 2003, 06:27 AM
$100-120 for beater 870s is a great bargain these days.

Stinkyshoe(Got a new pup?), the shell carrier shouldn't contact the receiver. Care to elaborate?

Maybe we can fix this long distance.

Meanwhile the next decent used WM I run across for sale will be bought, regardless of how the Permanent Head of the Budget Committee (Wonderful Wife) feels....

January 28, 2003, 03:38 PM
What would you suggest for fixing the shell carrier?
Sometimes it will slide by without catching on the wall of the reciever. When it slides by without catching the action is about as smooth as a mossberg 500. But then sometimes it will catch a lot. I attempted to bend the shell carrier by hand maybe .020" to offset it enough so it wouldn't hit. I think they heat treated the shell carrier cause I couldn't bend it without risking damaging the rest of the trigger mechanism. I could grind just a bit of the carrier off and then polish it. Is this a good idea?
"The new and yappy mutt"

Dave McCracken
January 28, 2003, 06:51 PM
If anyone mistook me for a smith the light must have been bad. I'd sure like to know why the prob come and goes. Cut and Try sounds good as a last resort, but we've not exhausted the possibilities yet.

Maybe posting down on the Smithing Forum is the best approach.

Sure missing DML right now, he was a treasure beyond compare on this stuff...

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