870's: Wingmaster vs Express vs Used


August 23, 2010, 08:22 AM
Another question about Remington 870's. I'm looking for a good pump shotgun for clay targets, waterfowl and as a last resort home defense gun. After hearing great things from my friend about his old 870, I wanted to get one as a reasonably priced "tank" of a gun. He has an older model passed down from his dad that I've shot before. I had always heard good things about their durability, most popular shotgun ever, etc. Then I started reading some of the forums and it does appear that there are legitimate concerns about the newer models. Looking at new guns, I saw that the price difference is signigicant: over $300 more for the Wingmaster vs. the Express. Is the Wingmaster worth almost $700 when I can get an Express for under $400? Another option is buying a used gun. The local shop has 2 older Wingmasters in good shape for around $400. Given these options, which would you recommend? I don't mind paying a little more for a good gun; if its going to last me 20 years than its worth it in my opinion. I'm just thinking if I'm going to spend $700, should I jump up to another model. Thanks for your help.

A new Wingmaster for $670. Or would you recommend another model if I'm going to spend this much.

A new Express for $350.

Look for a used gun. Is $400 too high for an old 870? I don't know enough about them to say exactly how old, but they are Wingmasters. Another one was $450 and a semi (Rem 1100) was $500.

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August 23, 2010, 09:11 AM
The current Express models can be had for less than $300 from most big sporting goods stores or WallyWorld. They are certainly servicable units, and I own several.

Having said that - I like older Wingmasters far better than the new production Express units. It should be noted that most older Wingmasters have fixed choked barrels, and you should check the barrel of the used units to see what choke the barrel carries. Around these parts, most good clean used 870 Wingmasters with MOD or IMP choked barrels sell for $275-$325, and FULL choked units sell for a bit less.

I'm not of a mind to pay $700 for a new Wingmaster, but that's just me.

August 23, 2010, 09:44 AM
Even around here, where everything is over-priced, good clean Wingmasters are cheaper than new Expresses. They are a huge bargain, as long as you're a little careful (and relative to other used guns, you don't need to be anywhere near as careful because not much goes wrong with the Wingmasters).

August 23, 2010, 09:51 AM
Dunhams is having a sale... Remington 870 ... $279.00, and an additional mail in rebate for $30.00 from Remington. I bought a Rem. 870 20 gauge Youth yesterday. Check their current online flier.

August 23, 2010, 09:57 AM
I have both the express and wm.
the express are definitely the economy version, even the wood.
I say go with the wingmaster with a vent rib barrel in full choke esp if you want to shoot trap. other barrels can be had later if you still want one.
Don't hold back from a nice 1100 either. they are equally as reliable and will recoil less. An auto will be nice for trap or clays, as well as hunting.

August 23, 2010, 10:27 AM
I've owned 2 wingmasters and 2 express model's and the wingmaster is simply a better finished firearm. Around here you can find new express model's for 280-300 + a Remington 30 dollar rebate (thou two years after I sent my rebate in reminton still hasnt sent me my check) Or you can pick a used wingmaster for 380-450.

The new (parkerized?) finish on the express model is reported to be poor at preventing rust and the chambers are roughly finished. Both of my express models had severe FTE issues because of the poor chamber finish (many times the rim of a spent shell was ripped off at the point of contact with the extractor). I would have to drop a cleaning rod down the barrel to knock the empty shell out. I eventually polished the chamber on both express models and my FTE issues dissapeared.

If you are just looking for a reliable shotgun at a low price and don't mind doing a little work to smooth out the rough edges, the Express will serve you well. If you want the weapon to look good and work 100% out of the box, the wingmaster is the one for you.

August 23, 2010, 11:43 AM
Older Wingmasters are a joy to own and they can be had for under $300 if you spend some time looking. Most of the ones that come my way are not worn out -- or even close to it. They are usually just dirty. A little elbow grease and they slick up nice.

August 23, 2010, 11:46 AM
Don't pay $350 for a new Express. Go to Wal Mart and get one for $276

Buy used. 870s get better with use and age. I found a nice 870 Wingmaster, wood stock, for $200 from a private seller. It was as smooth as butter

Any 870, if you halfway take care of it, will outlast you

August 23, 2010, 11:52 AM
Get a Wingmaster and forget the crude Express.

August 23, 2010, 12:22 PM
I like the WingMasters. I still have 2 at one time I had 5 of them and all but 1 was bought used.
$400 for an avg used WingMaster sounds high to me. But Remington did make some higher grade models that would bring that much or more.
By the way, I also have 2 Expresses. There is nothing wrong with the Express, it’s just not as smooth or finished as nice as the WingMaster.

texas bulldog
August 23, 2010, 01:21 PM
I have an Express for HD duty. It's fine. That is...it's sufficient; it'll get the job done. However, I can tell you that my next shotgun will definitely be an older Wingmaster or Ithaca 37 Featherlight. There's just something about real walnut and gloss blue that the budget guns can't touch. It's like the difference between a family heirloom and a beat-up truck gun. If I had it to do over again, I never would have gotten the Express. I'd have gotten the best used Wingmaster I could find at a reasonable price and either replaced or chopped the barrel for HD purposes.

August 23, 2010, 01:25 PM
GunBroker has about five pages full of Wingmasters to bid on.
Surely in that pile there is one that is just what you are looking for and at a decent price.

August 23, 2010, 01:33 PM
My last shotgun purchase was a WingMaster 1955 model and I do not regret the purchase.

August 23, 2010, 01:39 PM
get a used wingmaster for 300 or so and install chokes if you don't want a fixed mod choke. shouldn't cost more than 100. functionally an express is just as good, but the wing is SO much nicer. slicker, smoother, prettier.

August 23, 2010, 03:34 PM
Thank you for the suggestions everyone. The local shop here is usually pretty expensive, as you can tell from the prices. I think an hour drive is worth saving some money and getting more choices. A buddy is going to take me to his favorite place where there is a much larger selection and more reasonable prices for both new and used guns. Hoping to find a nice used Wingmaster up there.

August 23, 2010, 03:57 PM
'51 wingmaster + '74 barrel w/rifled sights = buttery smooth action & classic looks for $175.00.

August 23, 2010, 04:07 PM
Top quality. They just keep working.

August 23, 2010, 06:42 PM

Maj Dad
August 23, 2010, 09:02 PM
Get a nice 28" Wingmaster of any choke & have Carlson's ( http://www.choketube.com/instal.html ) install choke tubes for $125 - you are then ready for about any eventuality. Mine (circa 1972) is one of the absolute last guns I will give up, and I have quite a few... :cool:

August 23, 2010, 09:19 PM
One easy way to get removable chokes in an older Wingmaster is simply to buy a replacement late-model barrel.

Gun Geezer
August 23, 2010, 09:25 PM
don't know much about the express. But my WM has been knocking birds out the sky for 36 years and still going strong. Smooth as butter slide.

It could use a nice hot blue job, but 35 years of my sweating mitts is pretty good performance.

August 23, 2010, 09:29 PM
I am with Maj Dad

A good mingmaster will do for a lifetime or two, maybe three.
I have a few wingmasters now, but I started hunting with an 1100 for 8th grade graduation. 2 barrels full and skeet.
With them I have taken everything there is to hunt in Illinois. Shot trap and skeet and sporting clays.

August 23, 2010, 09:48 PM
New Wingmaster is $700 give or take. A used 1960-1970's model Wingmaster at a pawn shop approx $280 around here in 75-80% condition. The used model is 3 times the gun a new Wingmaster is. A express isn't in the same ball park in quality as any Wingmaster.

Jeff F
August 23, 2010, 10:08 PM
I'd go the used route myself. The last two were exceptional deals. First one was 28 inch modified choke 2 3/4 inch chamber, real smooth and broken in nicely 125 bucks. Number two is a magnum 30 inch vent rib full choke, again real smooth and broken in nicely 200 bucks.
Hit the gun shows and look in the big nickle or whatever, there are good deals to be found.

August 23, 2010, 10:14 PM
I currently own 11 wingmaster shotguns. I recently sold my 12th to a buddy who had a break in while he was at work. All of them are used vent rib 2 are 12ga magnums, a couple 20 ga, a couple 28ga, 1 16ga, and a few 12 ga 2 3/4" only models. The 28's were higher priced for the gauge but the rest were purchased well under $300 each. I have owned some high end shotguns in the past. Ruger red labels, Benelli SBE, Berretta Silver pigeon. None of which IMHO are as durable as the 870. I should of saved my money especially on the SBE most over rated peice of crap I have ever owned.

Old Shooter
August 23, 2010, 10:39 PM
I've had them both, go for the used Wingmaster and don't look back. My Express has been very good but it is an older one. The newer Wingmasters have nothing to offer over an older model so I'd go for used in a heart beat. Around here good ones go for $300-$350 when the local gun shops get them in.

August 24, 2010, 07:37 PM
Mike Orlen recently cut threads on an older PM barrel for me. It was as good or better than factory and much cheaper than a new barrel, possibly cheaper than a good used barrel.

Heavy Metal
August 24, 2010, 10:17 PM
I think Express can handle upto 3.5" and wingmaster up too 3" other than that look at walmart if you have one around that sells guns and see what their prices are. Also Check out the 870 Remington 12 Ga 3.5" Mag Express Waterfowl/28" Barrel/Mossy Model 81111 I think IMHO this is the one for you.

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