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80s Wingmaster questions

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by midwestrider01, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. hey guys, new to the forum. ill start off by tellin you alittle about myself-

    I am 18, grew up in Bodarc, KS (population- 14) and been raised around hunting, both archery and with firearms. Im a strong believer in my Right to Keep and Bear Arms. As long as my heart beats, my guns will never be taken. I own a Remington Wingmaster 870 (1980s model), Pietta 1851 Confederate Navy black powder revolver, Rossi 20ga/.22cal single shot, .22LR Henry lever action rifle, and a .22cal revolver (make unknown).

    With that bein said, i have a few questions about the 870 Wingmaster. It was my grandpa's first shotgun that he bought himself, his others were given to him by his father. Ive shot pheasant and clays with it, but nothin else. Spring Turkey Season is comin up soon, and i would like to use my Wingmaster. Bein in college for Diesel Technology, i dont have the money to buy another shotgun for turkey, and id rather use my own than my stepdad's Benelli Nova turkey setup.

    So finally, the questions---

    1) If i use my Wingmaster for turkey, what is the largest shot size i could use in it without damagin the barrel?

    2) Is it possible to put an 870 Express barrel on, just for turkey?

    3) How do i find the year this particular gun was manufactured?

    all answers and opinions are appreciated. Thank you
  2. content

    content Well-Known Member

    Hello friends and neighbors // Welcome and congrats on a nice combination of firearms.

    1&2) Is your 870 2 3/4" or 3"?

    3) You can call Remington for the DOM during their business hours at 18002439700.
    Just a few prompts gets you to a live person.

    Others are far more qualified to answer, I just like the 870s.
    Enjoy the shooting.
  3. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Well-Known Member

    Not sure what the gun is choked for, but any lead shot is perfectly safe to use.

    Yes, an Express barrel will fit.

    Get your serial number ready and give Remington customer service and call and they'll tell you when it was made. You can also do it by the serial number on the barrel, but if the barrel isn't original to the gun, it won't be accurate.
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    The firearm regulations for Turkey according to the Kansas Dept of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is
    I'd use lead shot 6, 5 or 4's. Your 870 likely has a modified or full choke. If so either would be fine for killing turkeys and there would be no need for any "special" turnkey setup. If your real close just shoot for the head and not the body.

    Lead shot will not harm your 870 and 2-3/4" shells will work if your 870 is only chambered for them.
  5. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Well-Known Member

    Yes an express barrel will fit, but make sure that your magazine cap is tight. The older Wingmasters and Expresses used a ball detente to keep the magazine cap on. The express barrels use a plastic ratcheting system without the detente. Either regularly get in the habit of checking how snug it is or put an O-ring on there and screw the magazine cap down.
  6. Thanks guys!
    it is the original barrel, chambers 2 3/4'' shells only. i have 4 shot that i use for pheasant, guess it looks like ill be usin it for the gobblers too. i always aim for the head. shootin the body damages the meat and feathers. its also a faster kill with a head shot on them ol birds.

    the reason i asked about the Express barrel is because i believe they can chamber 3'' to 3 1/2'' (correct me if im wrong), and i thought usin a heavier shot would damage my Wingmaster barrel. i thought maybe a 3'' 2shot load would but my best route

    thanks again
  7. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Well-Known Member

    It doesn't matter if you put a barrel on it that says 3" or 3 1/2", you should only shoot 2 3/4" out of it since that what the receiver was designed for.
  8. Bull Nutria

    Bull Nutria Well-Known Member

    when aiming a shotgun at turkey try aim where the neck joins the body. centering your pattern there will likely get you a clean kill. if you aim for the head turkeys have a habit of poping there headup and down and sideways. it would be very possible to miss a turkeys head especially at close range it he quickly moved his head. if you are aiming at the base of the neck this is much less likely to happen. Lots of nerves and blood vessels in that long neck that when hit with shot will put theturkey down quickly!!

    i personnaly like the heaviest load I can get of number 6 lead or hevi-shot, followed by number 2's in the magazine!!

    i suggest you pattern your shotgun at 40 yds to see how dense your pattern is. usually smaller shot will make a denser pattern for clean quick kills.

    it you pattern is thin hold your shots for closer range for more of a sure kill.

  9. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus


    The last letter in the serial number of your 870 will tell you what length shell the receiver is set up to handle.

    V = Full size 12 ga. frame, 2 3/4"
    M = Full size 12 ga. frame, 3" magnum
    W = Full size 16 ga. frame, 2 3/4"
    X = Full size 20 ga. frame, 2 3/4"
    N = Full size 20 ga. frame, 3" magnum
    K = Small frame 20 ga. LW, 2 3/4"
    J = Small frame, 28 ga., 2 3/4"
    H = Small frame, .410 bore, 3"
    -from p. 16, _The Remington Shotguns: A Shop Manual_, by Jerry Kuhnhausen

    The issue with the different shell lengths in the receiver is the placement of the ejector, while the ejection port might be the same length (except for the 3.5" guns), the ejector is set up to handle a different length shell, and a 3" fired shell might not clear the ejection port of a receiver set up for a 2.75" shells.

    Of course, sometimes an ejector has been changed or a different one was installed at the factory, so this list might not be iron clad...
  10. ok, so the Express barrel for longer shells is outta the question. On the gun, it says to "only use 2 3/4 inch shells". i have yet to get the serial number checked out, but ill do that this weekend. and thank you to Bull Nutria. i never thought of that. i was always taught to put the bead right at the bottom of his head, so the only thing you could see is it's head. that way you get most of the neck and head. ill try the neck/body shot.
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    #4 shot is going to be a little spotty in the pattern for a Turkeys head & neck.

    You would be better off with smaller shot like #5 or #6, as it will put more pellets on target and insure a broken neck or brain shot bird.

    If you look on the barrel on the left side it will tell you what choke it is.

    But I agree you don't need to buy a new barrel if you already have a Mod or Full choke barrel already.

    There is no need for 3" or 3 1/2" shells to kill a turkey.

    I got one every year I hunted them for years with one shot & 2 3/4" Mag #5 shells.

    BTW: I have lived in Kansas 68 years and never heard of Bodarc, KS before!!
    Is that like Bois d'Arc?

  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Does it have a 3" chamber, some do, some don't, it will have the chamber size stamped on the barrel? If it has a 3" chamber you can put any lead 3" magnum turkey load through it you want. I have a 1982 Rem 870 WM with the 3" chamber and my Son has one with the 2- 3/4" chamber, it's a bit older than mine. I'm an accoplished turkey hunter / guide and have put gobbs of 3" mags. through mine with no problems at all. As for the 2-3/4" chamber, same thing, just use 2-3/4" magnums in it. Don't put steel shot through the barrel's of older 870's.

    As for shot size, I've used mostly BB and have tried some of the duplex loads on the market which are #2's #4's and #6's, but for me BB has always done the job well. But before you settle on a particular shell, be sure to take them out and pattern them on paper at 20 yds. and 30 yds. to see how they do. I draw a circle slightly smaller than the size of a base ball on the paper to shoot at.

  13. yes, it is actually Bois d' Arc. but on the old limestone buildin we have 20yds from the house has a sign that spells it "Bodarc". it used to be a 2 room hotel upstairs, with a store/bar/post office downstairs (it had different uses over the years). im not sure when the buildin was put up. but the old iron bridge over the Little Walnut River next to us was built in 1886, just before the two dams and mill were built. but the dams were blown out in the '60s or '70s i believe, and the mill was burned down/torn down. if you "Google Image" Bois d' Arc or Bodarc, theres some cool pictures of the buildin and bridge
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  14. gamestalker,

    my Wingmaster only chambers 2 3/4'' shells. my grandpa even emphasized that when he gave me the gun. i never paid much attention to the choke, but i think it is a Modified.

    Question- when i look at the muzzle, i dont see a choke. Are the Mod. and Full chokes just the barrel inside diameter? or will there actually be a choke in there?

    im mostly an archery hunter, so im not too familiar with all the shotgun stuff. ive always just shot what i had and never really paid much attention to that little stuff :(
  15. content

    content Well-Known Member

    Hello friends and neighbors // The choke size is stamped on the barrel near the receiver. MOD. probably like my 1976,

    Call the Turkey in close and hit them twice with 2 3/4" turkey loads.
  16. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Well-Known Member

    You can either shoot the turkeys at a closer range with your modified choke, or find a barrel with a full choke which will give you a little more range. Many a turkey have been taken with the shotgun you have. Camouflage and a good turkey call would be a better investment than a new barrel.
  17. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Interchangeable chokes in shotguns have become commonplace but have only been popular in the last 20 years. Before that there was adjustable chokes that looked like a knob at the end of the barrel but most shotguns built prior to the 80's or 90's had fixed chokes. The choke is typically the amount of restriction at the muzzle with greater restriction for full and less for modified and improved. Fixed chokes are simply a narrowing of the barrel at the muzzle when the barrel was made so you don't see an insert like you will on current shotguns with interchangeable chokes.

    Quickest way to determine full or modified fixed choke is to take a dime and insert it into the muzzle. A full choke is too tight for the dime to fit while a modified is just barely open enough to allow the dime to pass and an improved or cylinder bore will allow the dime to easily pass and rattle a bit in the fit. The picture below illustrates a full choke on top and a modified choke on the bottom measured with a dime.

  18. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Actually it should have MOD for (modified choke) stamped on the barrel, or Full (full choke) or IMP (improved cylinder) depending on which barrel it has. And no, there won't be a Rem choke or threaded type of choke unless someone has replaced the barrel with a newer Rem choke barrel, or an after market one.

    So since it has the 2-3/4" chamber, just use 2-3/4" magnum lead shot shells. Since you are in a good state for turkey and getting them in close isn't as boggling as it can be in the mountains where I've hunted them for most of my life, a good shot size would be anything from #2 to #5.

    Good luck and I hope yo knock a big gobb down with that classic 870! I took my first gobb with an 870, what a rush!

  19. tactikel

    tactikel Well-Known Member

    Classic Turkey loads are copper plated lead 5 or 6s. It may be to your advantage to try Hevishot loads. Hevishot may pattern better, and hits very hard. Hevishot 6s hit as hard as 4 shot lead. In any event pattern you gun with several loads to determine which patterns best. Whatever range you can put 100 pellets into a 10" paper plate is your max. Aim at the base of the neck. Good luck!
  20. thanks guys. took a look at it last night. the barrel has MOD. on it.. so its a modified :)

    and i looked up some of the letters that tell you in which month and year it was made. but theres 3 letters, and theyre sporadic in a square inch area. the letters are M, G, and P. the P is just to the right of the "REP." stamp.. the barrel itself has no serial, but the reciever has a serial.

    thanks again

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