"Combat" shotgun question


June 5, 2005, 05:13 PM
After fondling (and falling in love with) a Wilson Border Patrol 12 ga., I began to wonder. Would I be O.K. shelling out $850 for a Wilson, or would I be better served by a Mossberg 590 ghost ring setup for around $500? I understand the "custom" this and that on the Wilson, but the Mossberg has some pretty impressive specs. Please sound off shotgun lords!

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June 5, 2005, 05:26 PM
I believe the Wilison is a souped up 870. Why not just get an 870 Police version and be done with it.?

June 5, 2005, 05:27 PM

Before you get the toys, you need the training. If you already have the training, than I say get what tickles your fancy.

June 5, 2005, 05:46 PM
I have 8 years LE training (good and bad :rolleyes: ) and hve been shooting shotties for 25 yrs. with many outside LE defensive training seminars/schools. Cost really is not the issue, I just want bang for the buck and longevity. The Mossy really appeals as I am a Lefty(safety), but dang did that Wilson feel smooth. Kudu makes a good point also, the police models are pretty nice, but I feel that "you could have a semi-custom for a few bucks more" cliche that keeps dancing in my head. I could just buy a roll of duct tape to keep my forehead from splitting with all of the good/bad decisions with these two guns and shelve the thing :D .

June 5, 2005, 06:00 PM
I, too, thought about buying a Wilson. I agonized over it for months and months. "Do I really want to spend that much for a shotgun?" Well eventually, I decided against it. About 2 weeks later I bought a Rock River AR for just as much. If you want the darn thing, just buy it. It is only a few more bucks...go work some OT on a friday night...

Phantom Warrior
June 5, 2005, 06:13 PM
I agree w/ UPD3315. You would be well served w/ a Mossberg or a Remington 870. But if you really want that Wilson (and they are damn nice guns) and you have the money, go for it. The only thing I wouldn't recommend is buying it before you have the money and going into debt over it.

June 5, 2005, 06:13 PM
May the shotgun gods frown on me, but I bought a Wilson Border Patrol 870 as a post-deployment present for myself. I was in the market for a plain jane 870, but like you, I just fell in love with the Wilson after handling it. It had all the furniture I was going to put on it. I know I could have probably done it myself for less money, but I just wanted it now dang it! So, yeah, you should probably get a regular 870 and BA/UU/R, but if you really, really want the Wilson, get it and be happy. :)

Black Majik
June 5, 2005, 06:50 PM
To expand on Kudu's statement, not only is the Wilson 870's a souped up 870, but its a souped up 870 EXPRESS. Even the Police is cheaper than the Wilson. Get the better quality Police/Wingmaster model. Adding the surefire forend, GR sights etc will be cheaper and better quality if you do it yourself.

The Wilson is overpriced in my opinion.

June 5, 2005, 07:09 PM
Remington offers a wide assortment of Police options on their guns, you can pretty well get everything Wilson offers at a lower price, AND in the top-of-the-line Police model, not the cheaper Express Wilson bases their gun on.

The Remington model 4971 has about everything Wilson has.

Wilson is nice but pretty over priced.
The Police model is the absolute best.


June 5, 2005, 07:30 PM
Wilson starts with the 870 Express because they do their own finish and put Speedfeed stocks on it anyway. There is no point in covering an already nice finish and replacing a decent stock by starting with a Police or Wingmaster base.

Brian Williams
June 5, 2005, 08:25 PM
form the Remington web page.
Remington now swings the pendulum even further on 870P Police shotgun line offerings. The new 870P MAX carries maximum features for tactical shotgun application. The buildup starts with the standard 870 Police Parkerized 18" barrel shotgun. We’ve included the Davis Speedfeed® IV-s 13" LOP full pistol grip buttstock for ease of handling and comfort while wearing a vest. (Stock is 1" shorter than a standard full length stock)

Next is the Wilson Combat®/Scattergun Ghost Ring sight system that includes the XS® interchangeable front sight. This system also allows the user to remove the rear sights and put on a low profile front bead for instant bead sight acquisition. Last but not least is the Surefire® Tactical fore-end flashlight with momentary & toggle switch ON/OFF application. Other features include Remington’s new R3 recoil pad to lessen the felt recoil of full load buckshot and slugs as well as provide a quicker second shot recovery.
• Davis Speedfeed® IV-s 13" LOP pistol grip stock
• 2 shot extension tube
• Surefire® Weaponlights™ (Model 618 FA)-a 6V Shotgun tactical light
• Wilson Combat®/Scattergun Technologies Ghost® Ring Rear Sight
• XS® interchangeable front sight
• Remington R3 recoil pad

Stock Synthetic/Black

Barrel Length 18 1/4"
Gauge 12
Choke Imp. Cly.

Finish Parkerized

Order No.4971

It sounds great but get a used pump from any of the big 4; Rem, Win, Ith, Mos. Cut the barrel to 19" and shoot the snot out of it.

June 5, 2005, 09:05 PM
You probably can't go wrong much either way methinks.

That said, the 590a1 is a fine weapon and the difference between that and the Wilson could buy a goodly amount of ammo and training (spoken from an Wilson Scattergun 870 clone owner too).

Just a thought.

June 5, 2005, 09:31 PM
Get an older (early Flexitab , to be precise) Wingmaster and send it to Robar and let Robbie : cut the stock with his quick mount bevel on a Limbsaver or Decelerator pad, honest to G-d SILVER SOLDER real post front and Ghost ring sights, and smooth up the action and trigger. While he is doing that have Hans Vang at Vangcomp ,a few cities away and Robbie will handle it, backbore and shorten the barrel with no vents. Then get robbie to NP3 or Roggard black the whole thing. If you pay $250 for a good used wing master plain barrel, $150 ti Vang and $500 to Robar you will have something other than plastic parts and glue. True you need a $250 Surefire and a 1 shot extension and clamp to be perfect but you can do that yourself on your perfect combat shottie. ;)
590 Mossies work pretty good too, with just a stock cut! :banghead:

June 5, 2005, 09:37 PM
I like the Wilson Combat shotguns too. If I did not already own several 870s, and two Mossbergs, I would get one myself.
They are sweet, but frankly, they won't do anything my other shotguns can't do.

June 5, 2005, 10:21 PM
When I decided to start training with a shotgun, I ordered myself a Vang Comp 870. A gun that I considered to be superior to the Wilson.
I already owned an 870 with a factory 20" barrel that had iron sights on it. I talked to some people who did this sort of thing and they all advised me to either cut down my stock or get a youth model stock, which I did.
I took my first tactical shotgun class at Frontsight (4-day class) using my old 870: the Vang gun wasn't done yet. After getting a little experience under my belt I attended Gunsite 260 Shotgun Class with Louis Awerbuck. The morning of the first day, they told us that you HAD to have a dedicated light on the shotgun, so at lunch time I bought one (At Hans Vang's shop right down the road from Gunsite) and installed it. While I was there, I inquired about my gun he was building for me and he loaned me his personal gun that was just like mine was going to be so I could use one of his guns in the class. So, I took two shotgun classes: about 2/3 with my old Remington 870 Express with a short stock, rifle sights and a light. The other 1/3 with a tricked out Vang Comp gun.
After it was over, I knew that I like my old plain jane gun A LOT more than the tricked out gun. I was happy that I didn't have a magazine extension. I liked the rifle sights more than the ghost ring sights. I liked the stock safety button rather than the oversized one .......................................

Bottom Line. If it was me, I would go down to wallyworld and buy a 870 Express and be happier than if I had the Wilson or the Vang. The Mossbergs are also fine guns: my personal choice would be not to own both. Shotguns are so complicated to operate that I couldn't handle trying to learn two different manual of arms. Not that I have kept up my skills anyway, but.....
I had a Mossberg 590 and gave it away to a friend for this very reason. He needed a home defense piece and I didn't want to deal with owning both.

My Vang gun is in my safe and is new and unfired.

June 5, 2005, 10:41 PM
Will the safety of the Remington be much of a problem? I've used the Mossy's and had good fortune. Anytime I used a Rem., I followed the "your finger is the safety" rule. I'm a lefty so my only worry with a Rem is getting it into action quickly if need be. Any tricks or suggestions on this or would the Mossy be better suited for that application?

June 5, 2005, 10:43 PM
The Mossbergs have a lot going for them. You just hit upon one of them. The safety.
There is nothing wrong with going with a Mossberg.

I like the feel of an 870. It seems to have a more quality feel and look. However, in talking to these instructors and students in these classes I have taken, the Mossbergs seem to hang right in there with the 870s.

June 5, 2005, 10:59 PM
One fella that is "in the know" said that the mil-spec Mossy's are thicker walled and hold up to a lot of abuse. If it can handle what our boys are doing, I know I won't be able to wear it out. The Rem's reputation precedes it- don't really have to go into that. I guess I'll just have to find a place that has both and get the feel side by side, hopefully that will help.

June 6, 2005, 12:05 AM
Will the safety of the Remington be much of a problem? I've used the Mossy's and had good fortune. Anytime I used a Rem., I followed the "your finger is the safety" rule. I'm a lefty so my only worry with a Rem is getting it into action quickly if need be. Any tricks or suggestions on this or would the Mossy be better suited for that application?

From one left handed shooter to another, I don't think the safety on the Remington Model 870 is that much of a problem. Granted it may not be as convenient as the tang safety of the Mossberg, but the Remington always felt smoother to me and I prefer it, even with the less ergonomic controls. I love the 870. Now I've never had to rely on one in a life and death situation and in fact my only shotgun is set up for skeet and small game, but I have never had any problems keeping up with my brother gunning for fast moving ground squirrels or clay pigeons. I have fairly big hands. I am holding my Wingmaster right now. At the low ready, I carry it with my firing hand index finger flat against the receiver out of the trigger guard. This requires my hand to be slightly forward of firing position on the tang/grip but also puts my index finger in a position to manipulate the bolt release/action lock (whatever you technically call it) at the front of the trigger guard. In the manner, the firing hand pinky or ring finger can hook back and push the safety to "fire" and in one motion set the web of hand in the correct firing position on the grip.
You can also keep your firing hand in the firing position and tilt the shotgun 45 to 60 degrees counter-clockwise and disengage the safety with the thumb of the firing hand. I actually prefer the first method as it actually seems faster and more convenient for me and really isn't as complicated as it sounds on paper. Regardless, it may not be ideal, but as a southpaw, you can suffice and with practice actually be damn fast into action. Many a ground squirrel can attest to this as they are presently in varmint heaven because I was so quick on the safety and got that first shot of before they could remember where their hole was. Maybe not combat, I know, but if I were to get a shotgun for home defense, it would be a Model 870 just because I know it and trust it.
Or you could just buy a left handed Express and pimp it out with whatever sights, stocks, and gizmos you want. This may require cutting down the factory barrel but that shouldn't be too difficult.

June 6, 2005, 12:34 AM
850! My Benelli M1S90 was about that much!!

June 6, 2005, 01:11 AM
I've thought Wilson's shotguns were over priced since I got their catalogue. I would just get a Wingmaster and cut it. I have a 590 I gave $150 for...And two Wingmasters I got for a song. And they all go bang when the trigger is pulled. A lot of money for a pumpgun.

June 6, 2005, 01:28 AM
I put out almost $800 for the 870 police magnum and it was worth every penny. I'm starting out in patrol in less than a week and that will be the gun sitting in the rack next to me. I'd reccoment the tricked out 870 over the Wilson version. If you want a super pump gun go with the Vang Comp version, for only a couple hundred more you'd have an awesome gun that almost no one has.

June 6, 2005, 07:55 AM
I bought a couple of Remington 870 Police Magnum dept trade-ins, added Knoxx CopStocks (excellent recoil reduction), +2 mag tube extensions & SureFire forends and I'm good to go for $600 (each).

Fred Fuller
June 6, 2005, 08:22 AM
I've spent a long time listening to folks yelling about "plastic this" and "MIM that" in 870 Express shotguns. Had a customer in one of the shops I used to do some work for who just HAD to have a Wilson 870, nothin' else would do. They ordered him one. It came in.

He was dismayed to find an Express gun with a plastic trigger plate, and to find the big- head safety he had ordered in the carton with a note that said due to liability issues (this was J-hook safety days, remember) he'd have to install it himself if he wanted it in there.

Dude was almost apoplectic. Manager ordered the old style safety detent and spring from Brownells for him and got me to install them along with the big head safety for the customer while he watched, right there in the store. It satisfied him and he took the gun home.

My advice FWIW, buy a good used agency trade-in 870P, a used Wingmaster, or even an older pre- plastic trigger plate/magazine tube dimple/MIM parts Express gun for a couple hundred bucks or less, then spend the balance on getting it exactly precisely how you want it to be. Robar indeed does good work, Lee Hadaway (used to pull the freight at Scattergun before they sold out to Wilson) is still going good 870 work too ( http://www.thearmsroom.com/_wsn/page10.html ), Tank's Rifle Shop has a certain following too. Any number of local 'smiths can build excellent 870s as well.

If you just gotta gotta gotta have the Wilson, go ahead and buy it. But it is too much sugar for a cent, and IMHO you can actually get a better gun for less money by pursuing other avenues.

Stay safe,


Dave McCracken
June 6, 2005, 10:33 AM
The Wilson's and Vang's mods are nice, but.....

A bone stock shotgun is a fearsome close range weapon right out of the box, in trained hands. One can buy a stock 870 and add stuff as one progresses. Costs less, eliminates the bling, and aids in knowing your weapon.

My approach was as written above. My two "Serious" 870s have what I need, nothing extra. If I ever lose a firefight with them, it won't be because nothing on them is labelled "Wilson", etc.

June 6, 2005, 01:52 PM
One fella that is "in the know" said that the mil-spec Mossy's are thicker walled and hold up to a lot of abuse. If it can handle what our boys are doing, I know I won't be able to wear it out. The Rem's reputation precedes it- don't really have to go into that. I guess I'll just have to find a place that has both and get the feel side by side, hopefully that will help.

The Mossberg 590 A1 has a heavier barrel but the receiver is identical to all of the other 500-series guns. In my over 40 years of shooting and 30 years as a gun dealer, I've never seen a Mossberg barrel failure of any kind and only heard of one. That one was caused by the owner allowing the muzzle of his shotgun to be pressed into the mud on a goose hunt and not clearing the three inch plug from the barrel before shooting at said goose. The barrel split in traditional fashion but no one was injured.

My point: why carry the extra weight of the A1 barrel if it serves no good purpose. My 590 has had over 25,000 rounds through it and the barrel is just fine, thank you. The gun has been refinshed by Robar and now looks as good as it shoots.

CaCrusin :cool:

June 6, 2005, 05:52 PM
Looks like I'm gonna be lookin over the police trade in racks! Everybody has given some great info and saved me some major bucks in the process. Everybody belly up to the bar, drinks are on me tonight! Seriously, thanks a bunch for all the info, it is greatly appreciated. I knew with all the old codgers in here, I'd get some straight answers :D . You guys are the best!

Fred Fuller
June 6, 2005, 07:20 PM
Old codgers?



I resemble that remark...

lpl/nc (been workin' to get there a long time, too- one'a these days they're gonna promote me to curmudgeon!)

June 7, 2005, 01:21 AM
As if you didn't have enough advice already!!

But, I like my Wilson Regular model 870 with SureFire fore-end so much that I sent in my 1980's vintage 870 to have them reconfigure it to the Border Patrol model, including new barrel. Like the regular model, It will come with Tactical sling, Armor Tuff finish, ext. mag., Track Lock II tritium sights, converted to 3", replaced worn parts, and so forth. When Wilson gets done smoothing it up, it'll be so smooth (like the first one) that my hunting shotguns will seem rough (they're not).

Regarding the Wilson/Scattergun Tech Reg. Model Combat shotgun that they built for me (Express), I'll bet the plastic trigger guard is twice as tough as the aluminum on the original 870, and my dealer installed the Jumbo safety in 10 minutes. This gun operates rapid fire without a hitch--buck, slugs, 3" or 2 3/4", and what bird shot I've used for practice so far.

You don't need to drive a Caddy, but there it is if you want one. :D

June 8, 2005, 09:15 AM
and if I had lots of money, I would consider one....However, in the "real world", in most any situation where I feel a shotgun would be appropriate, I can't see the advantage over my "plain Jane" Mossberg, which cost about 1/4 as much.

Basically, you need to do a "cost/benefit analysis" and see if the features on the Wilson guns are really worthwhile for you.

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