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870 Question

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by STB221, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. STB221

    STB221 Member

    I bought a used Wingmaster the other day. It is only supposed to shoot 2 3/4. It will cycle 3 inch shells, does this mean it has been converted to shoot them? Thanks.

  2. blades67

    blades67 Well-Known Member

    NO! If the barrel isn't marked for 3" shells DO NOT attempt to fire them! If the barrel is marked 2 3/4 inch, that is all that is safe to shoot. If you want to shoot 3" shells, get a barrel chambered for 3" shells.
  3. STB221

    STB221 Member

    I have a 3 inch barrel for it. I was wondering what is different about the chamber. Thanks.

  4. blades67

    blades67 Well-Known Member

    The 3" chamber barrels have more steel in the longer chamber area to handle the higher pressures. They're also proofed to a higher standard than the 2 3/4" chamber barrels.
  5. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Here's the deal,Todd....

    Blades is right, but it's only part of the story.

    Grab the closest shell and measure it. A so called 3" shell is that long only when it's been fired. Until the crimp opens, it's more/less 2 3/4" long. IOW, a 3 inch shell fits nicely into a 2 3/4" chamber UNTIL IT'S FIRED! Then, the crimped portion expands into the forcing cone, pressure spikes way over SAAMI max, and it's not good for the longevity of either you or the shotgun.

    FYI, shotguns and grenades have similar working pressures.

    Also, most smiths capable of converting a 2 3/4" 870 to a 3" one are well aware of liability issues and wouldn't do it. 3" 870s are neither scarce nor expensive.

    Frankenstein, my overpublicized parts 870, was converted to a 3" shotgun when I put it together. A gunsmith friend did the ejector change and other minor adjustments, and the barrel I used was a 3" from the getgo.

    In truth,no great disadvantage ensues from having just a 2 3/4" 870, unless steel shot is mandated and not the alternatives for waterfowling. A standard 12 gauge WM is one very wonderful field gun, clays toy, and HD/CD tool. Enjoy...
  6. STB221

    STB221 Member

    It has a brand new 3 inch barrel that came off an Express on it. I was just wondering what the difference was between the receivers. I ran out of shells duck hunting today and shot some 3 inch shells out of it. It didn't blow up and it ejected the shells, but I still wasn't sure I should be shooting those shells out of it. I was just wondering if there was a way to tell if the person that had it before me had it converted to shoot 3 inch shells. It is no big deal to shoot 2 3/4, I usually shoot those anyway. Thanks.

  7. blades67

    blades67 Well-Known Member

    It was my understanding that Remington started making all of their recievers 3" compatible, even the ones with 2 3/4" chambered barrels, about eight or ten years ago. I don't know if this is true though. Any info about that Dave McC?
  8. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Blades, I've heard both ways from folks that should know, so I can't help you there. Best way to see is if the serial number ends with M, for Magnum.

    Todd, a good smith should be able to tell. I'm no smith.

    Meanwhile, I'd stay with with 2 3/4".

    BTW, what story did the shop tell you about why it has an Express barrel?
  9. STB221

    STB221 Member

    I bought the barrel off of Ebay. The guy had 12 of them. When the barrel got here the UPS label said it was from Vang Comp. I assumed they were take off from guns they were working on.

  10. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    OK,did the WM have a barrel with it when you bought it? The codes on it may tell you how old it is.

    And, those extra barrels are oft good starting points for SP use.
  11. STB221

    STB221 Member

    It had a 30 inch full choke barrel on it. The markings on it are
    A1 and 80, it also has a star followed by 12 GA for 2 3/4 shells only and Remington Arms Co, Inc. Ilion, NY Made in USA. Thanks.

  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Todd, someplace on the barrel there should be a letter designation that codes the year. The star indicates there's a 55 degree shoulder on the chamber vs the earlier one of 45 degrees. Dunno why they changed.

    Hang on to that barrel, earlier WM barrels are excellent...
  13. STB221

    STB221 Member

    There is also a G inside of a triangle, an X, and REP inside an oval. I was thinking of sending that barrel off and getting the choke opened to modified, would it be safe to shoot steel shot through? I like the barrel, it doesn't feel like 30 inches, it seems very light for that length. Thanks.

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2003
  14. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    The X is a year code, Todd, later on I'll see if I can date it.

    Earlier 870 barrels are wonderfully made, light and straight. And yes, you should be able to shoot steel with it if the choke's opened.However,2 3/4" steel may not be the best load out there. Hevi Shot is pricey, but some guides I know love the stuff. The Kent Tungsten is also regarded highly.

    In your shoes,I'd be tempted to leave that barrel alone, using it for late pheasants and trap, and using the Espress with tubes for versatility. Aa long Full Choked barrel is a good thing to have.

    If you just gotta tinker with it, have the cone lengthened, this improves patterns and cuts kick a smidge.
  15. riverdog

    riverdog Well-Known Member

    I was considering buying a short barrel with Rem Choke for my (new) older WM, but after pricing them, I decided it might be better to just buy another 870 with the barrel on it. Go the Dave route and have a different 870 for every occasion.

    BTW, I've now got two 30" FC barrels, one 3" and one 2 3/4". I wouldn't consider altering them.
  16. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    According to Kuhnhausen, that barrel was made in 1973, Todd.

    870s do tend to accumulate, don't they?
  17. riverdog

    riverdog Well-Known Member

    This thread got me looking at my $225 WM and I notced its marks differ some from STB221's. My triangle has a dot in it, followed by a "Z", followed by the oval'd "R.E.P." What does that say for the barrel date? Does it match with a receiver's 1248nnnV sn? Thanks, not that I'm going to start collecting them, but it's nice to know.
  18. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Z means 1975, same source. The REP is the proof mark. To quote from the shop manual...

    "... Reading the codes on the barrels can be difficult in certain cases".

    It seems there was little continuity in Ilion at times.

    It almost seems like some comedian stamped the barrels with anything he felt like just to confuse us...

    A V serial number means it's a full sixed 12 gauge frame for 2 3/4" shells.


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