Project 870


.308 garand
September 25, 2011, 01:26 PM
After having a semi auto for a while I decided I wanted to get back to a pump, kind of like having a manual and going to an automatic transmission and missing the manual. For this project I was looking for a multipurpose shotgun. This gun would be used for HD, Hog hunting, varmint hunting and range toy including on a rare occasion skeet w/ friends.

After looking around I happen to come across GT Distributors in Dallas. They had one 870 but it was in Austin. It sounded like what I was looking for and they transferred it to the Dallas store for pickup.

It is a 870 Wingmaster that looks to have been converted for police use. The gun had a 20" barrel that was cylinder bore and a factory +3 magazine extension.

I wasn't too excited about that as I had other plans for the barrel and extension, but what I was excited about was the fact it was a Wingmaster with the police wood stock and foregrip.

I wanted the police wood furniture for this build. I have had several black plastic tacticool stocks in the past but wanted the wood this time. The wood is in pretty good shape. I will probably strip it and refinish it to take out some of the scratches and dings.

After I get everything the way I want it I am probably going to be duracoating it. Still haven't decided if I want to go with a black or a parkerized look.

Overall I am very happy with my first 870, after all I only paid $205 out the door for it.


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.308 garand
September 25, 2011, 01:30 PM
I received some packages for this project already.

From Brownells I received a Wilson Combat +2 extension w/ swivel stud. A spring and hi-viz follower came with the extension.

It took me a while to decide on a barrel mainly because of the sights. Length wasn't a big deal because I new I wanted a short barrel. Since this gun was going to be used for hog hunting I wanted the ability to accurately and quickly shot slugs. The plain bead just was not accurate enough for me but was fast. Rifle sights were were accurate but slower than a bead. I looked at ghost ring sights and they were accurate and fairly fast but I didn't like the idea of the rear sight in my face when trying to shoot a clay or a small moving target (varmint).

The barrel I finally found is a 18.5" Imp. Cylinder with XS Low Profile Sights, these are not the sights that replace the rifle sights. The sights are just like what can be found on a pistol. The rear sight is attached to the rear of the barrel right in front of the receiver. This was exactly what I was looking for, it was fast and more accurate than a bead. The rear sight sets low enough that if you need to make a quick shot you can just over look it completely. This setup really made since to me. A shotgun is generally used at the same distance as a pistol why wouldn't you put a pistol type sight on there instead of a rifle sight.

This barrel is offered in several lengths mainly shorter, because Remington only sells these to LE only. This is where AI&P Tactical came in. After talking to J.D. he told me he could sell the barrel to me and it was in stock. My next question was what payment type do you take! If you haven't had the opportunity to talk with him your missing out. His knowledge and customer service are top notch.

I also ordered a Carrier dog follower spring replacement. The Carrier Dog Follower replacement spring was the black police spring and not the standard metallic spring that comes with commercial models. The police spring was a little bit longer but that made a lot of difference in the tension and force on the carrier.

I also had order a magazine replacement spring from AI&P. After installing the this spring with the extension I was only able to load +1 instead of +2 to into the extension. I then tried the spring that came with the Wilson extension, it was bigger in diameter but shorter. It worked but the spring felt weak as you got to the last rounds in the tube. I then tried the spring that came with the gun and it's +3 extension. It was big in diameter like the Wilson but longer and still shorter than the police spring from AI&P. The spring out of the +3 extension worked great. There was almost as much force with the last round as the first.

On an interesting note I was able to get +3 in a +2 shot extension along with an extended follower?

Top: Wilson +2 Middle: Original +3 Bottom: Police for +2 & +3

Overall I am happy with the way this project is going. I think after seeing what it looks like with the matte finish and the wood I will probably be duracoating it in a matte black finish. I also picked up an over sized Wilson safety in another forums classifieds to replace the factory one.

What do you think?



.308 garand
September 25, 2011, 01:41 PM
I got to take the 870 out for some range time and overall came home very happy. The only complaint I have is my shoulder hurts! hahaha. I put a little over 75 shells through it. I got the chance to pattern a variety of shells, 7 1/2, 6, #4bk, 00bk, 1oz slugs and even 3" #2.

I put a lot of slugs through it because I wanted to test out those sights. The slugs I used for testing were just the bulk Win. 1oz slug from Wal-mart.

50 yrds.
5 Shot Group

25 yrds.
5 Shot Group

Each group is a five shot group shot standing unsupported. I was pretty pleased with my results especially at 25ydrs. I think with some more time behind the trigger I will be able to tighten up those 50yrd. groups.

After using the sights I can honestly say that I don't think there is a better choice for me out there. Slug shooting was fast and accurate. I also did some run n gun while I was out to test the speed and liked the fact that I could completely overlook the rear sight, so it was just like running a standard bead up front. I did have to remember that the bead is raised but that was easy to overcome with a six o'clock hold.

I learned several things:

Winchester Universal shells are unreliable in this gun, of course they were unreliable in my last gun too. Seems like I couldn't put a full tube of them through the gun without having at least one get stuck. They would lock up the pump and I would have to tap the butt on the ground while holding onto the pump. This worked every time it got stuck but was annoying. The Winchester shells were the only ones that I had any kind of problem with so I can obviously say I will use up what I have and won't be buying anymore of those. If nothing else I did get some practice with failure to eject situations.

The buttstock is too long. I have shouldered it with out the recoil pad and it still seems like it could stand to loose another inch. I know that there are some 12" LOP stocks on the market but I want to keep my wood stock. Any suggestions on cutting this down? Is there anyone in the DFW area that has done this and would like to help?

Regardless of what I do with my stock the recoil pad has got to go. That thing is just too stiff for my liking. Any suggestions for an new recoil pad?

That is pretty much where I am at with this project as of today. I look forward to everyones thoughts and suggestions. As this project moves forward I will keep updating the thread.

.308 garand
September 25, 2011, 01:43 PM
I have a small update. My Wilson Combat Jumbo Safety that I picked up in the classifieds showed up. Took 2 minutes to install.

I think my next step is going to be shortening the stock for a 12" -13" LOP, if I can come up with the courage to get the saw out. I think I am more concerned with getting a recoil pad installed afterward than actually cutting the stock itself. Any thoughts or suggestions on the stock work would be appreciated.

On a side note, if my research is correct my 870 Wingmaster was born in 1974.

September 25, 2011, 02:01 PM
Just one question, is not that a 2 3/4 chamber in it's original configuration?

Fred Fuller
September 25, 2011, 02:37 PM
Actually it was an original 870 Riot gun as you received it. The original Police guns had 18" barrels, the Riot guns had 20" barrels. And they were both marked Wingmaster on the receiver. The 870 Police receiver marking came along later.

You got a good deal on it, so far no objections to what you've done with it. Were it mine I'd still want a clamp on that magazine extension though. Look for a good grind-to-fit recoil pad (KickEez, etc) and let a local 'smith do the stock shortening and pad fitting for you. That's some really pretty wood and with a new oil finish it ought to really do you proud. I like the XS express style sights a lot too, we have them on one of the house guns here.

Happy shotgunning,


.308 garand
September 25, 2011, 03:40 PM
Rshooter - Yes it was originally chambered in 2 3/4.

Lee- Thanks for info. on the Riot gun. I do want to refinish the stock set with an oil finish and new recoil pad but I would like to cut the stock down first. The LOP just isn't where I think it needs to be.

September 25, 2011, 05:17 PM
Some of that hardware looks very familiar :)

.308 garand
September 25, 2011, 05:22 PM
Some of that hardware looks very familiar :)

Hope you are enjoying your new barrel and extension. :)

Dave McCracken
September 26, 2011, 04:16 PM
Nice shotgun. Like Lee said...

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