1967 Wingmaster vs new 870P for home defense?


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Hapworth
November 19, 2012, 06:43 PM
Happened across what appears to be a beautifully preserved Wingmaster that Remington identifies from the serial number as a 1967 build. Blued; 18" bead barrel; wood stock and forend that look law enforcement, not sporting.

I've been planning on acquiring a current production 870P for home defense use, but find this piece calls to me.

I'm not an expert in evaluating 870 condition -- though my general firearm assessment skills are good -- and this is an impressive specimen, condition-wise: a couple very light handling marks and wear and that's it; function seems solid and surprisingly fresh -- it's been shot but not used unless restored and refinished.

Seller has no history on it, and is asking $450 but there's room to play.

I'd like some help deciding.

Obviously the knee-jerk reaction is "It's an older Wingmaster in good shape -- get it!", and that may be the right reaction.

I'd be foregoing parkerization, which I like on working guns; the two shot extension; and a couple other do-dads like a front bead night sight and shell holder (yes, I've been planning to buy an AI&P gun) -- none of which is absolutely necessary, just desired.

I could of course have all that done to the Wingmaster, but that seems wrong for an older one so well preserved.

The only thing the Wingmaster lacks that actually troubles me is the flexitab conversion, which for $100 I could do myself but that starts to make the savings of buying used less compelling.

But it is beauty, and really seems to be calling, and would probably be enough gun for the intended purpose as is...

Thoughts? Price? Pitfalls?

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Smith357
November 19, 2012, 07:15 PM
A vintage shotgun would just look wrong all tarted up. I vote on a new one for your build.

Hapworth
November 19, 2012, 07:25 PM
A vintage shotgun would just look wrong all tarted up. I vote on a new one for your build.
Agreed, and as stated, I wouldn't tart it up.

AI&P Tactical
November 19, 2012, 07:31 PM
The used one will serve just fine and the flex tab is a must. If the price is right get it.......... no wait, I just lost a sale. Forget that old piece of junk and send me your money.

Milkmaster
November 19, 2012, 07:44 PM
If it calls to you then buy it! It doesn't have to be the last or only one you own!

Fred Fuller
November 19, 2012, 08:13 PM
That IS an 870 Police, from your description - just the 1967 version. They didn't start marking the receivers differently for another 20 years or so. And the Riot version had the same furniture and finish, but a 20" bead sight barrel.

Can't tell you what to do with it, I'd be prone to keep it 'as is' but I'm sentimental that way.

Virginian
November 19, 2012, 08:22 PM
I didn't think a flex tab conversion cost nearly that much, having never found the need for one, but I looked and I'm not sure $100 will cover it. Sounds to me like for what YOU really want the AI&P version is the way to go.

Hapworth
November 19, 2012, 11:46 PM
The used one will serve just fine and the flex tab is a must. If the price is right get it.......... no wait, I just lost a sale. Forget that old piece of junk and send me your money.Ah, but I could snag that old piece of junk instead and send you my money. :D

Hapworth
November 19, 2012, 11:47 PM
That IS an 870 Police, from your description - just the 1967 version.I believe that's indeed what it is.

Can't tell you what to do with it, I'd be prone to keep it 'as is' but I'm sentimental that way.I feel the same way about the classic models.

Hapworth
November 19, 2012, 11:49 PM
I didn't think a flex tab conversion cost nearly that much, having never found the need for one, but I looked and I'm not sure $100 will cover it.Really? Lists for about $88 at Brownells; I figured that and shipping puts me at about $100 and I'd do the install (just a parts swap as far as I can tell).

What am I missing?

788Ham
November 20, 2012, 12:33 AM
If you need one to "jack-up", go to a pawn shop and buy an older junker, leave this one alone, or don't buy it either!

Hapworth
November 20, 2012, 01:13 AM
If you need one to "jack-up", go to a pawn shop and buy an older junker, leave this one alone, or don't buy it either!

I could of course have all that done to the Wingmaster, but that seems wrong for an older one so well preserved.:scrutiny:


;)

Virginian
November 20, 2012, 07:59 AM
I went to the Remington parts list, and promptly read it wrong, sorry.

lemaymiami
November 20, 2012, 09:28 AM
What you've described is exactly what I was issued during my years on the street (1973-1995). I've seen very few offered in the last few months that I've been looking (still haven't even decided to make a purchase if and when I find one.....). Can't say enough good things about that particular simple popper for street work (and by extension home defense). For those that can forego all the extras... an 18" imp cyl with just a bead sight and standard four round tube is a quick pointing argument ender.... It won't load three inch shells and there are lots more "modern" choices available but I can't telll you how much confidence I have in that model.... Yes, the asking price seems high but that's the only concern I'd have. You'll find that these particular weapons were mostly carried in one car or other and only made it to the range for practice and qualification once or twice a year at most. In recent years the few agencies that still have them probably keep them in one dusty corner or other in a locked armory.

4v50 Gary
November 20, 2012, 10:46 AM
I'd start with a new one. Old guns should be kept as old guns.

Hapworth
November 20, 2012, 01:21 PM
I went to the Remington parts list, and promptly read it wrong, sorry.No worries, just glad it isn't more expensive than I thought. ;)

Hapworth
November 20, 2012, 01:23 PM
What you've described is exactly what I was issued during my years on the street (1973-1995). I've seen very few offered in the last few months that I've been looking (still haven't even decided to make a purchase if and when I find one.....). Can't say enough good things about that particular simple popper for street work (and by extension home defense). For those that can forego all the extras... an 18" imp cyl with just a bead sight and standard four round tube is a quick pointing argument ender.... It won't load three inch shells and there are lots more "modern" choices available but I can't telll you how much confidence I have in that model.... Yes, the asking price seems high but that's the only concern I'd have. You'll find that these particular weapons were mostly carried in one car or other and only made it to the range for practice and qualification once or twice a year at most. In recent years the few agencies that still have them probably keep them in one dusty corner or other in a locked armory.
Excellent review -- thank you.

Hapworth
November 20, 2012, 01:25 PM
I'd start with a new one. Old guns should be kept as old guns.
You're messing with me, right?

oneounceload
November 20, 2012, 04:40 PM
If you REALLY think you need all the extras to make the gun a serious performer for its intended role, I would argue that is incorrect. When it comes to guns that are used to keep you alive, think KISS - the more crap you add is just that much more to go wrong at precisely the moment that Murphy farts on your parade - extensions get tweaked and jam, coolio sights fail or get snagged, just like slings, added weight up front makes it slow to respond, and on and on

Do yourself a real favor - get whichever stock gun you want (I would go with the older WM) and put it through your training drill, usage drills, whatever it is you envision using the gun for - if after some extensive practice you TRULY believe you need some extra gizmos, gadgets, and geegaws, then add them; but ONLY after you ran it stock for a credible time - you might be surprised just how effective those old stock guns really are in today's reality - even if they fail in today's video game false reality

good luck in your quest

Hapworth
November 20, 2012, 06:20 PM
If you REALLY think you need all the extras to make the gun a serious performer for its intended role, I would argue that is incorrect. When it comes to guns that are used to keep you alive, think KISS - the more crap you add is just that much more to go wrong at precisely the moment that Murphy farts on your parade - extensions get tweaked and jam, coolio sights fail or get snagged, just like slings, added weight up front makes it slow to respond, and on and on

Do yourself a real favor - get whichever stock gun you want (I would go with the older WM) and put it through your training drill, usage drills, whatever it is you envision using the gun for - if after some extensive practice you TRULY believe you need some extra gizmos, gadgets, and geegaws, then add them; but ONLY after you ran it stock for a credible time - you might be surprised just how effective those old stock guns really are in today's reality - even if they fail in today's video game false reality

good luck in your quest
That's how I handle any new piece, whether stripped down and basic or full of goodies: run it like it is for several hundred rounds before changing anything, if changing anything.

I don't play video games. ;)

btg3
November 20, 2012, 06:44 PM
...this piece calls to me.
I know, I know!!!
Be aware that the LE forend is shorter than a field forend. If you grip at the rear edge of the LE forend and cycle the action, the heel of your hand can get pinched against the receiver.

Hapworth
November 21, 2012, 10:13 PM
I know, I know!!!
Be aware that the LE forend is shorter than a field forend. If you grip at the rear edge of the LE forend and cycle the action, the heel of your hand can get pinched against the receiver.
Good info -- thank you.

rodinal220
November 22, 2012, 10:48 AM
No need to spend too much for an overpriced 870P when a 870 Wingmaster is basically the same gun.I would get a 18.5" barrel for it and call it good for HD.The 870P has evolved over the years,the early ones were just a 870 Wingmaster.870Ps made in th last 20 years have been blue,parkerized,with heavier springs,made with synthetic stocks.Once you get past the "special" inspection check-point charlie thing made in the magic part of the factory by armourer elves.A 870 Wingmaster is the best buy in the used rack.
Most folks do not need the heavier sear spring,under trained or poorly selected types do.

870 Police shotguns go thru a special 23 station check list – ranging from visual
inspection, functional testing, test firing, and final inspection.

• All Police shotguns are assembled in a “special build area” at the plant in Ilion, NY.
This section is secured and serves only to build LE and Military shotguns, with the
same factory personnel working at that assignment each shift.

• All parts that enter the “special build area” are visually inspected by hand to ensure
top quality and functionality.

• Due to heavy recoil in buck and slug loads, all 870 Police guns have a longer
magazine spring which ensures positive feed and function.

• A heavier sear spring is used to generate a reliable, positive trigger pull between 5
and 8 lbs.

• A heavier carrier dog spring is used to ensure when the carrier elevates the shell, it
will be held there until the bolt can push it into the chamber. This ensures positive
feeding when using heavier payload rounds.
• Police shotguns do not have an ISS (Integrated Safety System) which is a locking
mechanism on the safety of commercial shotguns. This type of locking mechanism
can cause delay to an officer who needs the weapon but does not have the
appropriate key. LE shotguns have the standard, proven, cross bolt safety.

• The fore-end on the Express model is longer and not compatible with many police
shotgun vehicle racks.

• The Police shotguns utilize the heavy duty SPEEDFEED Stocks and Fore-ends.

• The Express model will not allow for the addition of an extension tube without
physical modification to the tube and barrel, which can nullify the warranty.

• The Express model has a BEAD BLAST BLUE finish while the Police models utilize
either High Luster bluing or Parkerization.

• The Express model utilizes a synthetic trigger housing while the Police models use a
compressed metal housing.

• The Police shotgun barrel is locked down with a “ball detent” system in conjunction
with the magazine cap vs. a lesser grade “synthetic magazine spring retainer” lock
down as used on the Express system.

• The receivers used in Police guns are “vibra honed” to smooth out rough finishes
and remove burrs before parkerization or bluing.

• Police shotguns use machined ejectors and extractors, as opposed to powdered metal
cast which are utilized on the Express models.

Hunterdad
November 22, 2012, 02:00 PM
IMHO, there are very few things sexier than a blued wingmaster with nice wood and a blued mag extension that's even with the end of the barrel. No other crap hanging off it either.

Hapworth
November 22, 2012, 02:04 PM
No need to spend too much for an overpriced 870P when a 870 Wingmaster is basically the same gun...Thank you for your input. The Wingmaster I'm considering comes with an 18" bead barrel; I'd probably pick up a sporting barrel and the WM would do double duty as defense and clays.

I've encountered the Remington write-up on differences between the Police and Express models and on paper it's compelling. At a different forum dedicated exclusively to shotguns, some of the more senior members say that it's outdated and doesn't amount to much more than hype now, save for about $30 in easily replaceable parts and little extra finishing that some elbow grease and break-in use can accomplish.

Personally, I have no idea and would love to find definitive evidence one way or the other.

I believe that the Police model no longer ships with the heavier sear spring, but instead uses the same five pound one as in the Express, and that the Integrated Safety System is no longer used on the Express as of several years ago, so the up-to-dateness and validity of Remington data sheet is in question.

Also, several owners of current Police models report their gun shipped with the polymer trigger housing.

The heavier carrier dog spring, follower spring, and machined ejectors and extractors I do believe remain a difference between the Police and the Express, but they're easily and cheaply replaced. And the parkerization on the Police is supposed to still be much superior.

Differences in how the barrel attaches to the receiver and the extension tube additions remain, so far as I know.

Personally, if the amount of individual attention, hand fitting and smoothing the Police model is supposed to receive it does, is quite compelling to me.

Would love for others to chime in...

As for The Wingmaster in question, it's likely everything the current Police model is, and with the flexitab addition would be totally in line. If I buy it I doubt I'll look back.

Cesiumsponge
November 22, 2012, 02:18 PM
$30 in parts will upgrade a normal 870 to 870p specifications except for the parkerized finish. I own both the express and police model. There are no notable interior differences. Both have sharp internal edges and my 870p barrel actually has more machining marks than my express. I wouldn't bother paying the premium asking price for a new 870p. Used? Definitely worth it.

rodinal220
November 22, 2012, 02:30 PM
Hapworth,I have heard the same but haven't seen them in person,do not doubt it,the 870P seems to be in flux,all depends when it was made,different decades/eras.
Yes,the 870 Express is just fine,me personally I would replace the MIM parts with the machined parts,cheap and easy to do.I just hate that Remington puts those dimples on the mag tube,no reason for it.The Express wont be as smooth as a Wingmaster but just lube it up and shoot the crap out of it,or cycle it 5k times,it will smooth out .

The Express was made to compete with the Mossberg 500.A few MIM parts,sand blasted surface and parked and crappy wood(dimples).Its still the same basic 870.

All my 870s and other Remington products are older ones.The product Big Green has been putting out in the last 5 or so years has been spotty.The Marlins I have seen out of Ilion are :barf:.

mgkdrgn
November 22, 2012, 08:46 PM
If you are not going to take that Wingmaster .. please tell me where it is so I can snag it!

In HD use, it will make just as big a hole in the BG as the "police" version.

TreeDoc
November 23, 2012, 01:17 AM
My cousin had the same question as the OP. I sold him his first shotgun last year. It was a 68' wingmaster that I had gotten from an estate sale. It is a beautiful shotgun, deep blue and not scratch or dent in the wood, looks as it had never been shot. Great first shotgun, a classic. At the recent Wanchmakers gunshow we picked up a 20" barrel for home defense. Today over turkey he said the shotgun was to nice for home defense and wanted to buy a lesser gun that could get 'beat up' and not care as much. I told him to buy an express model and not look back. Save the wingmaster for dove and pheasants.

Hapworth
December 1, 2012, 03:52 PM
UPDATE:

Was able to take a second, much longer look at the Wingmaster and am divided.

Its condition is very good overall. Handling marks; some thinning of blue along the magazine as to be expected; two small dings in insignificant spots; forend, stock and recoil pad all excellent.

Cycled snap caps no problem; good ejection. Trigger was light compared to what I'm used to on a shotgun -- not ridiculous, but felt in the four pound range. Safety functioned properly. I was pleasantly surprised to see it had the flexitab conversion.

Dealer was courteous and affable about my checks, but wouldn't let me remove the barrel, so I ran a dry patch through it and put a light down both ends. No sign of corrosion, rust or pitting. There were long marks running the length that might have been lead or might have been scratches, it was difficult to tell. None of my shotguns have those but I keep them well cleaned.

As I was doing this the dealer said that he didn't know anything about previous ownership or use, that he'd gotten it from another dealer. Then said that at another gun show someone was checking it out and racking it too hard and broke the forend and action bars.

That surprised me.

He went on to say he'd taken it to a gunsmith who'd replaced the broken parts and put some new parts in, which I figured explained the flexitab and perhaps the trigger.

He was willing to come down a bit on price, but when I asked that if I bought it and test fired it this week, should the weapon fail to function properly would he see that it was fixed as my intention was to buy a working gun, he said no, that once it was sold he was out of it.

I can understand that position selling at gun shows where it's to strangers and many yahoos, I'm sure, but that's near to a deal breaker for me with a gun somebody already broke and in a manner that, as described, I find unusual.

I've never had seller say they had no intention of making it right if they sold me a broken gun.

So I'm conflicted.

It passed basic, reasonable checks, and it's not like 870s aren't durable (although this one apparently broke oddly) and fixable if there's an issue. Odds are if I bought it, it would work fine and that would be that.

But it has required not inconsiderable work, and I also don't like it when sellers won't stand by what they're selling, whatever the reason

And there are many 870s, new and used, out there.

Thoughts?

Youngster
December 1, 2012, 04:13 PM
If it were $170 and immaculate, like the one I foolishly passed up in a LGS two years ago, but at the price they're asking? Meh.

btg3
December 1, 2012, 04:30 PM
At $450, I'd pass b/c over the last 2 yrs I found a couple of very nice late '50s vintage WM field guns with plain stock and corncob forend for half that price. Found blued 18-inch barrels for less than $50 and ended up a pair of sharp HD guns with classic old-school looks -- wood and blue steel without the hi-gloss and checkering.

Uniquedot
December 1, 2012, 06:41 PM
racking it too hard and broke the forend and action bars.


Never heard of such a thing...doesn't sound like an honest individual to me, but who knows perhaps the forend nut was loose and it allowed the breakage.

Milkmaster
December 1, 2012, 06:59 PM
I wouldn't buy it from him now on general principle. But that's just me. Plenty of other 870's out there that will be guaranteed to work by the seller. Don't fret about it and keep looking. You will know when it feels right and have no doubt. The saga continues...

Rollis R. Karvellis
December 1, 2012, 09:12 PM
These two Wingmaster's came out of the Mansfield Prison. I put a slug barrel with a rifled choke, on mine. My buddy kept the beadded barrel, but added an extended mag, and side saddle to his.

So don't be afraid to tweak the gun to your liking, there are only about a half of billion 870's out there right now. Well maybe not that many but it is close.

Hapworth
December 3, 2012, 12:51 PM
Appreciate the feedback one and all. At present and with some reluctance, I've elected against this particular piece.

Uniquedot
December 3, 2012, 01:14 PM
Appreciate the feedback one and all. At present and with some reluctance, I've elected against this particular piece.

If you keep looking you'll find a good deal. A fellow just sold a really nice one the other day on another forum for $250.00.

AI&P Tactical
December 4, 2012, 12:29 AM
Racking an 870 to hard broke the forend tube assembly? I would have simply walked away from the guy because he insulted you by telling such a whopper.

One absolute fact is that it takes no firearms knowledge to obtain an FFL, so there are stealers, dealers and clowns out there everywhere.

You may be better off with a private party sale if you keep looking on the forums. Especially if the guy has been a member there for a good length of time. Some very good deals to be had.

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