Remington 870 - used Wingmaster or new Express?


August 31, 2008, 12:28 PM
I have a couple of questions regarding the 870. I want to finally pick up a shotgun, and I've pretty much settled on the 870. What would you guys choose? I can get a 90% Wingmaster for $400 or a brand new Express HD for $350. The Wingmaster is in excellent working condition, it just has a couple of finish issues.

From what I saw, the Wingmaster has better small parts. Things like the safety switch are made of metal, whereas the small parts on the Express are made from plastic. But if I get the WM, I'll have to replace the barrel since this gun will be used for self-defense.

What would you guys do?

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August 31, 2008, 12:33 PM
I have an 870 express and I love it. I don't know that you'd ever necessarily need a metal safety switch, and if you ever wanted to change it to metal you could for not much. Plus doesn't the HD Express have a barrel-length mag standard? That with the shortened barrel, I'd say it'd be the better choice for you. IMO of course.

August 31, 2008, 12:33 PM
Same here i have an 870. No problems its a very good gun

August 31, 2008, 12:47 PM
For HD purposes get the express. I prefer the wingmaster and really only because fit and finish but 870 is one of the greatest pump shotguns built.

August 31, 2008, 01:09 PM
I would get the Wingmaster. No doubt about it. However, the price of $400 sounds just a little on the high side to me, but I haven't bought a Wingmaster in about 6 or 7 years so perhaps they have gone up. Even so, I would still pay more for the Wingmaster.

If you buy the Express, then as soon as you shoot it, it becomes a USED gun.

August 31, 2008, 01:19 PM
If you go with the used shotgun, make sure to check the fit between the barrel and reciever. There can be some play or slightly loose fit if the ejector is worn heavily.

I know this because it's the case with my mid-70's 870 wingmaster. I'm still happy with it and it functions as new. But the ejector is going to have to be replaced sooner or later if I keep it.

On a side note, I got mine at a gun show and got a good deal but it came with a full choke 30" water fowl barrel. The new 23" Rem-choke equipped barrel was about $200 at Bass Pro. I've contemplated cutting the duck barrel but I'm not sure I want to cut down the stock barrel.

Fred Fuller
August 31, 2008, 03:18 PM
$400 sounds high to me for a used WM too, especially if it has a plain (i.e., not vent rib) barrel. Plain barrel probably means fixed chokes too.

I'd rather have a good used WM (or a good older Express gun) than a new Express, but unless the used gun market there is different from here (a used WM in the condition you describe would be tagged $295 or even less depending on condition), I'd keep shopping for a bit...


August 31, 2008, 03:29 PM
I'm in CA if that helps any. From what I've seen firearm prices across the board are higher here than most places.

Thanks for the help guys.

August 31, 2008, 04:02 PM
Concider this No doubt the WM is better as far as fit & finish . Yes $400 does sound a might steep for a used WM . I just purchased a New WM less then 3 weeks ago here in V.A. for $598.00 . Dick"s Sporting Goods price is $629.00. Have you concidered Looking at You might find a deal ther on a WM.I have purchased a few shotguns off an have pretty good luck in finding what I was looking for. May I suggest however If you do go for the WM the 28" or 30 " barrell is a good all around shooter Deer ,Upland or Waterfoul.
GOOD LUCK !! Let us know how you make out.

August 31, 2008, 04:48 PM
If you like synthetic stocks nd matte finish then get the Express. If you are like me and prefer wood and blued guns, then get the WM. All in all, get the one that fits your need best.

Don Gordon
August 31, 2008, 05:42 PM
Buy the Wingmaster! You can sell the Vent Rib barrel for $100 and pick up a Plain IC barrel for $50 and you'll have a better finished gun for the same price as the express.

You could also sell the wood, and it should bring more money than what a speedfieed stock would cost.

I've owned all sorts of 870's, in every gauge offered. The great thing about 870's is the availability of all the extras and the ease of swapping out parts. THe synthetic 870's today generally use crappy material for the trigger guards, and some recent models have poor mag followers that hang up.

Make sure the 870 you buy has the flexi-tab carrier though.

Fred Fuller
August 31, 2008, 06:34 PM
Doing some rambling around, it is apparent inflation really is at work out there. Still, you might want to look at these, or the other pages full of 870s in GB I didn't explore...


August 31, 2008, 07:57 PM
Converting the Wingmaster will get expensive. Short barrel options are limited. You best bets are a 18.5" Express barrel or the 20" Wingmaster barrel with rifle sights. Remington does make 18.5" barrels for the Police models but they only sell them through Law Enforcement dealers. If you use the Police or Express barrels the finish won't match your glossy blued Wingmaster receiver. Also, magazine extensions cost from $40 up to $80 for the Remington version. Unless you find some great deal on a used barrel, the conversion will cost a minumum of $150 on top of whatever you pay for the Wingmaster.

August 31, 2008, 08:14 PM
$400 for a used wingmaster??????????????????????? :what: Unless the gun is late production and like new, no way.

I know where three are right now for $230 or less. Looks like I should start buying them and selling them for fun and profit.

Oh, and express = :barf:

August 31, 2008, 10:09 PM
How much use will this gun see? If it's for the occassional trap field visit or the yearly dove hunt with the fellas, the Express should be okay & $50 bucks is fifty bucks!
FWIW, I just picked up a pre owned WM from a buddy for less than your new Express. The deals are out there if you have the ability to find them ;)

August 31, 2008, 10:20 PM
I went with a used Wingmaster, FWIW... I'll get a short barrel for it eventually.


Jeff F
August 31, 2008, 11:44 PM
I just in the last couple months picked up a used Wingmaster, 30 in VR fixed full choke for 250.00. Nice gun, well used on the trap range very good condition and broke in. Good deals are out there you just have to look around.

Fred Fuller
September 1, 2008, 09:01 AM

Now this is jut between you and me, no one else should read it because they'll just get all argumentative and stuff, and I wouldn't want that to happen. :D

Number one, older Express guns- the ones made before they started using plastic trigger plates, before the magazine tube dimples came along- are mechanically as good as Wingmasters. Heresy? Hardly. Call it experience instead.

Barrels hard to get? Remington will happily sell you any barrel they have in stock and deliver it to you by mail. Doesn't matter what gun it's for, long as it's over 18" there won't be any problem. Basic 18" parkerized CYL bore was $96 last time I checked, but that was a while ago and as I said earlier, inflation has been at work. Oh, and the world is awash with good used 870 barrels, too- you just need to make sure they match the magazine cap retention system used on your gun (detent and spring on older Expresses, all WMs and 870Ps, the toothed plastic magazine spring retainer/magazine cap detent on Expresses with mag tube dimples). I just bought a 21" vent ribbed Express turkey barrel, dual beads, set up for RemChokes, from the Buy/Sell/Trade Accessories forum here for $100 delivered. It's the third? fourth? fifth? 870 barrel I've bought from a fellow THR member.

Matching finishes? Get serious. This is a $250- 350 working gun, not some kinda showpiece. What, it won't shoot if the finish on the barrel doesn't match the finish on the rest of the gun? C'mon, be real. There are more mismatched 870s here than not, and no one laughs at them.

Worry about getting the basic gun first. Look for a good solid used gun- older WM, LE trade-in either WM or 870P, or a good older Express gun. While you're looking, keep an eye out for a deal on a good used 18", 18.5" or 20" RS smoothbore barrel, with a barrel ring mag cap detent just to be on the safe side. If you find a deal on a barrel, nab it first, then keep looking for the gun you want.

Don't worry if it's just chambered for 2 3/4" shells, that's all you need anyway.

Don't worry if it's beat up/worn on the outside, you can fix appearance stuff later. As long as it is mechanically sound, it's OK. It would be a good idea to get some dummy shells to check functon with- ask first of course before you start stuffing shells into a shotgun in a gunstore (Brownells sells Action Proving Dummies) or a friend who reloads can make you up some- just be sure they are made up with a fired primer, no powder and are clearly marked DUMMY).

If you have a relative or friend who already has an 870, get them to teach you how to field strip it, and show you what to look for as far as function is concerned.

Not a lot goes wrong with 870s as a rule, even 50-year old guns that have been shot a lot, most of what you need to watch out for buying used 870s is kitchen table "gunsmithing" efforts from people who think they need to detail strip every gun they own, or who are sure they can improve on the factory design somehow. You need to learn what 'normal' wear looks like, and what gunbutchery looks like, to be a smart shopper for a used 870. If you want help in locating a good one to get transferred to your dealer, I'll be happy to help look for one for you. Just PM me. Finding a good deal takes time, but it's worth it.

I've had good dealings with these folks in the past- . Look through what they have in stock and see if any prices appeal to you, if they do give them a call and talk it over. No one else on the web I have dealt with before has anything in the way of 870s at decent prices right now.

Good luck and happy shopping,


September 1, 2008, 09:51 AM
I also live in California and watch the used racks constantly for deals. Haven't bought a shotgun in a while, but still keep my eyes open because I always have friends looking. A clean used Wingmaster is an easy $250 pick up.

As for California prices, I travel for work in Arizona and Nevada all the time. On most guns, we pay the same and sometimes less if you shop around. Despite our wacky laws, that sucking sound you hear is the huge number of firearms sold into this state every year.

September 1, 2008, 10:00 AM
You might want to look around on the Internet and your neighborhood for a used 870 Wingmaster that was used by a police department. It will already have a shorter barrel, will probably be in Improved Cylinder and might have a longer tube magazine.

I picked on up for around $200 a few years ago and I have seem some around that price since then.

September 1, 2008, 10:05 AM
Short and simple here:

1) $400.00 for a used Wingmaster is way high. You can find them in my area used for between $250.00 to $325.00, depending on the owner's need to sell.

2) The Express is not so easy to upgrade, say with capacity as is the Wingmaster.

Suggestion, go with a used Wingmaster, but hold the line on price.


September 1, 2008, 06:51 PM
i have had really good experiences with both of my new expresses. they are a little "rougher" than wingmasters, but they are good functioning shotguns. i like em both.

Black Majik
September 2, 2008, 01:51 PM
I'd also vote for a used Wingmaster, I've been slowly converting our group to 870 Wingmasters exclusively when we go out to shoot clays. I've turned two older WMs into "tactical" shotguns (please dont beat me with the buttstock Dave! :D ), one running a 18" bead barrel with +2 extension and the other runs a 20" rifle barrel with a +3 extension. Both sport untactical plain jane wood stock and doesn't have sidesaddles (again, how untactical).

I prefer older Wingmasters since they feel significantly smoother than the newer production. My 06' WM racks smooth, but it isn't as "tight" as the older models. My smoothest WM was someone's old beater hunting gun, the gun is the smoothest of them all. Very tight and slick compared to my newer production.

Barrels are plentiful, but it took me over 2 years to find a excellent condition blued 18" bead barrel. It was on Calguns nonetheless, but all the online retailers sold the 18" in parkerized finish, or 20" rifle sights in blued. Barrel swaps are easy, if you choose to get a magazine extension on it, it'll take 30 seconds to add, and used factory extensions are easy to come by.

$400 is pretty high for a used WM however. I found a 97%ish WM for $375, and the beater WM I mentioned earlier was $230. Prices are high here too, but some patience and persistence should pay off.

Since I think I'm somewhat familiar with your taste in firearms, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the WM to fit the bill :evil:

Happy hunting for a new 870!

Dave McCracken
September 2, 2008, 09:37 PM
No beating, Black Majic. My oldest 870 is a "Serious" shotgun. I doubt I'd prune the original barrel if I had it to do again, but I've few regrets.

September 4, 2008, 06:23 PM
For HD use, the Express will give you everything you need for less money. Mine performs at 100% all of the time. It came standard with a 6 round tube and an 18.5" barrel. It is ready to go for HD. The Wingmaster is a great gun too, but it will cost you more to get it, and again more to mod it for CQ defense.

Cactus Jack Arizona
September 4, 2008, 10:39 PM
I went with the 870 Express with an 18.5 inch barrel and 7 shot tube for HD.

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