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remington 870 express vs. wingmaster: whats the difference?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by sprice, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. sprice

    sprice Well-Known Member

    So what is the difference between a remington 870 express and wingmaster?

    thanx for the info, that should suffice; and sorry I have become one of those who "make the thread intead of search"
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
  2. sbarkowski

    sbarkowski Well-Known Member

    Its been covered. I'm sure if you did a forum search on that topic you would have all the information your looking for.
  3. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    From an old post.
    Some features like the locking safety may have changed:

    Differences between the Express, Wingmaster, and Police

    The Express is Remington's "budget" gun, made to compete with the cheaper to make Winchester and Mossberg guns.

    The Wingmaster is Remington’s "Cadillac" top-of-the-line sporting gun.

    The Police is a Wingmaster with a dull finish and is a much more carefully inspected and built gun.

    The new "Tactical" and Marine Magnum guns are based on the Express.

    How Remington lowered the Express price was to reduce hand labor to a bare minimum, and to eliminate much of the polishing and de-burring the better quality Wingmaster and Police guns get.
    The Express is basically the same forged and milled steel receiver and heavy-duty internals gun the better 870's are, just in a rougher, less well finished form with plastic and MIM parts.

    The Express Model has:
    A plastic trigger group.
    The dimples in the mag tube and the new style plastic magazine retention system, EXCEPT on the extended magazine versions, which do NOT have the dimples.
    A rougher finish inside and outside, with machine marks and some burrs left.
    A rougher, bead blasted blue job.
    A less polished bore.
    A two piece sleeved barrel. (not 100% sure about this)
    Hardwood or synthetic stock, with a sporting-length fore end and pressed-in checkering.
    The Defense version has 18", Cylinder bore barrel, with a bead sight.
    The Marine Magnum and Tactical models have plated or polymer finishes.
    Some Metal Injection Molded (MIM) parts, like the extractor.

    The Wingmaster has:
    An aluminum trigger group, (Possibly changed to polymer in 2008).
    The old style magazine retention system.
    A much smoother finish inside and out, no machine marks or burrs.
    The Wingmaster gun receives a higher level of inspection and finishing.
    A fine, commercial polished blue finish.
    A polished bore.
    A chrome plated bolt.
    A one piece barrel.
    Walnut stocks with the famous "Bowling Pin" finish in gloss or satin. and better checkering.
    Wide choices in barrel lengths and choke options.
    No use of MIM parts, the extractor is milled.
    The Wingmaster is the full top-of-the-line commercial Remington pump gun, and is priced accordingly.

    The 870 Police has:
    An aluminum trigger group. (Possibly changed to Polymer in 2008).
    The old style magazine retention system.
    A much smoother finish inside and out, no machine marks or burrs.
    The Police gun receives a higher level of inspection and finishing and is built in a special area of the plant from 100% inspected parts.
    A military-grade parkerized finish.
    A polished bore.
    A one piece barrel.
    Walnut or synthetic stock, with a short police-length fore end.
    The Remington “R3” super recoil pad that reduces felt recoil by 30%.
    Choices in different stocks, including Speed-feed, and others.
    18" to 20" improved cylinder barrel, with a wide choice in sights, including rifle, ghost ring, and luminous.
    Police options like magazine extenders, forearms with built-in lights, and sling swivels.
    Heavy-duty magazine spring.
    Heavy-duty trigger-sear spring.
    Heavy-duty shell lifter spring.
    Sling swivel mounts.
    No use of MIM parts, the extractor is milled.

    The Express is a "bottom of the line" budget gun, the Wingmaster is a "top of the line" sporting gun, the Police is the top-of-the-line in defense guns.
    The 870's are generally considered to be the finest quality pump gun made.
  4. PlayMaker

    PlayMaker Well-Known Member

    Forgive my ignorance but when you say the Express has a rougher action are you guys talking about when you rack the pump thingy it's not as smooth as a wingmaster?
  5. Virginian

    Virginian Well-Known Member

    No two piece barrels, unless you are counting the magazine ring, which is silver soldered to the barrel proper on all of them.
  6. rojocorsa

    rojocorsa Well-Known Member

    Basically, the difference in only fit and finish, right?
  7. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    The Express is not as well de-burred inside and out.
    Run your fingers inside a new Express and you may pick up a cut or two.
    The Wingmaster and Police are run through a vibratory de-burring tank to smooth all burrs off.

    There will be more machine marks left on an Express.
    For that reason, the Express will be a littler rougher in operation until the gun is broken in. As it's used, it gets smoother to operate.

    Externally, the Wingmaster and Police models are polished to remove virtually all machine marks before finishing, the Express will show machine marks under the finish.
    The basic gun itself is the same forged and milled receiver and heavy duty internals on all guns.
    Expected service life of an Express, Wingmaster, or Police is the same 250,000 or so.
    Most aluminum frames shotguns have a service life of around 70,000 rounds.

    I'm NOT sure, but I can swear that on some Express barrels I can see what appears to be a very faint joint just in front of the chamber, on the OUTSIDE.
    I suspect the Express barrels "may" be two piece.
    That is a barrel section brazed into the extension section, similar to the two-piece 1911 barrels some makers use that have a barrel tube brazed into a rear section that has the locking lugs and link.

    I haven't had a chance to get a really close look at an Express barrel with high-power magnification, so I'm NOT sure.
  8. PA4476

    PA4476 member

    rojocorsa .... Basically, the difference in only fit and finish, right?

    Thats right, the Wingmaster has fit and finish and the Express does NOT.
  9. Deltaboy

    Deltaboy Well-Known Member

    My 2 cents My 28 year old wingmaster will still be going when 85% of those Express's are in the Metal recycle bin.
  10. jlv08

    jlv08 Well-Known Member

    There are differences which have been covered by some of the other folks who've replied to your post.

    I would look for an older gun in either make as the Express models of later manufacture have been wanting in quality control.:scrutiny:

    With the early model Express model compared to the Wingmaster, I would say fit and finish in differences and time and use smooths the Express up.:)

    I would suggest that you try and find an older Wingmaster as they are the best of the best in the pump. YMMV with Mossbergs and Winchester.

    Mossie's and Winchesters are good guns, but they are NOT a Wingmaster.

    I would put in a shameless plug for the NEF Pardner as it is a similar gun to the Express and made by the same consortium that owns Remington.

    It is made with parts from (gulp!) China.:what:

    But if it is the best you want, spring for the Wingmaster. :)
  11. Virginian

    Virginian Well-Known Member

    We all have our favorites, and to me the last run of Wingmasters with the chrome lifter were the top of the heap. But, not by much. All the Wingmasters I have ever run across are pretty fair examples of what a pump gun ought to be. The Sportsman series that came out in the '80s were also very good guns in my opinion. The metal work inside was the equal of the Wingmasters, and on the first of those even the outside metal finish was very good as well, and only the label and the hardwood stock told the difference. Then the earliest Expresses came along, and the inside metal work was just a tad less polished, and the outside was a decent satin, and the hardwood stocks were finished in extreme plain, but after a few hundred rounds if you closed your eyes you couldn't tell it from a Wingmaster. And slowly but surely since, they have been cutting corners to meet a price target. It is still a good gun, and an excellent value, but it is not a Wingmaster.
    I got one of the first Expresses. That was step four in trying to find a satisfactory replacement for the 1974 Wingmaster I sold, and would gladly give $2,000 to have back, but it cannot be done. I now have step six, a 1976 Wingmaster, and I think I am stopping here. I think that is as close as I am ever going to get in fit and feel to my long lost original. And, I bought two of the chrome lifter versions too along the way, and somehow they just didn't do it either. In 52 years of gun ownership, and over 20 years selling guns, and somewhere over a hundred guns I have owned, I have only sold two that I truly regretted, and only one that I have really missed, for 27 years now; that Wingmaster.
  12. dak0ta

    dak0ta Well-Known Member

    Is the chrome shell lifter better than the flexi-tab lifter that comes on new expresses?
  13. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dakota, "Better" is a slippery term. The flex tab ensures against one kind of stoppage.

    The old chrome lifters were a sign of top workmanship, and still are to many of us.
  14. dak0ta

    dak0ta Well-Known Member

    I have both a chrome lifter and the flexitab lifter. It looks pretty but I think I prefer function over looks.
  15. Virginian

    Virginian Well-Known Member

    Until I read about it on one of these boards, I was almost blissfully unaware of being able to tie up a shotgun by improperly stoking the magazine. I had never done it, and I had only seen it once in 52 years of shooting. That happened when a total newbie screwed up with an 870 on his first trip to the range. Fixed it in a few seconds and taught him the proper way to load the gun. That was about 34 years ago and I have never seen him have the problem again, either. But, obviously someone has experienced the problem or they wouldn't have designed a "fix" for it.
  16. Smith

    Smith Well-Known Member

    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but my express (which I bought used) has an aluminum trigger guard, a mag tube extension (meaning there are no dimples, right?), the flexi-tab lifter, and (I think) a polished bore. Do they not usually come with that stuff?
  17. jlv08

    jlv08 Well-Known Member

    It appears that you have an Express that is an early model that has been smoothed over some.
  18. Smith

    Smith Well-Known Member

    Ahh, ok. I've been meaning to call Remington, but I always think of it when they are closed.
  19. jlv08

    jlv08 Well-Known Member

    One thing about what you have.

    You obviously have a good one from you you have described and if you bought it used ,then the previous owner took the time to get it right for what appears to be a defensive shotgun.

    I have some friends that have some of the early model Expresses and they wouldn't think of parting with them.

    One pal of mine has killed a slew of deer with his and he has other shotguns to hunt with, but for hunting with deerhounds, he ALWAYS takes his Express.;)

    I hope that you can get more info and it may be possible to find out when your gun was made via the serial number.:)

    Edited: You did ask if they come with the features you described and I think it depends if it is an original dedicated defense shotgun or just a hunting gun that was modified by the original owner, but for polished chambers and other features, the Express is essentially a price point shotgun that was meant to deal with Mossbergs and other shotguns in that price range.

    Hope this helps!
  20. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    I just noticed something in your list I don't quite get dfaris. The only thing plastic in my Express trigger group is the trigger guard.

    A matter of semantics and me not calling it properly.
    Remington calls the trigger group the "trigger plate", I typed trigger "group".
    In fact, the only plastic in it IS the actual trigger guard, plate, or group.
    All the internal parts are steel.

    The Express will last just as long as the better finished Wingmaster or Police models since all are made from the same forged and milled steel receiver and heavy duty internals. Since the key difference IS just the level of finish, the Express will last just as long.
    REAL heavy shotgun shooters like the clay pigeon shooters say that the aluminum pump guns will start to wear out around 70,000 rounds or so.
    The 870 shooters say it'll "possibly" begin to develop cracks in the receiver around 250,000 rounds or so, and that includes the Express.

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