870 Wingmaster.....Anyone Have One Customized for HD Use??

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Mar 22, 2003
Spring, TEXAS....USA
Hey all,

I have been thinking of picking up an older Remington Wingmaster with a vent rib barrel and the nice wood and making it into a nice Home Defense shotgun.

I would leave the rib in place and cut the barrel back to 18 to 20 inches depending on where the closest vent rib support is and probably put one of the big head safeties on it and then add an extended mag tube. That would be about it. I am looking at simple and beautiful. Nowhere does it say that your HD shotgun has to be BLACK and have things mounted and hanging all over it. If that's how you like your, AWESOME! I just choose to go another way.

Anyway, I thought I'd ask and see if anyone else has done a Wingmaster HD shotgun. I'd also like to see some pics of one. I don't think I have ever seen pics of a Remington Wingmaster made into an HD shotgun like this and would really like to see some pics of one.

So, I'd like to hear what you think of this idea and how it would turn out. Any ideas or improvements you would make to it?
The only things I am uncertain of are a light and a side saddle. I guess I'll figure that out one I see it completed and see how it turned out.

Post pics please.

Thanks for your time and advice.

You've seen my Wingmaster on GT... I ordered a bead and tap yesterday.

Whenever they arrive, I'll chop the barrel whenever I get a chance and tap/install the bead. I won't be adding a mag extension or anything to this one, though.
If it were me... I'd want to keep it as simple as possible. Get that old Wingmaster, buy an 18 or 20" bead sighted barrel, install and you're in business. You can get a standard riot type barrel directly from Remington (or through your local shop, or on the 'net...) and Mossberg also makes a barrel specifically for 870's...

Once you have your HD popper, invest in enough shells to do some serious practice time and you're in business... Retain the original barrel if you choose or sell it to recoup the cost of the shorter barrel.... That new barrel should come marked imp cyl and I'd expect the pattern with standard 00 buck to disperse at roughly one inch per meter from the muzzle (but part of learning to use a defensive shotgun is some patterning work with whatever ammo you're going to be using). You'll find that none of them produce the same pattern if using different makes of ammo...
About the only thing I'd do to is buy a slug barrel for it and call it a day. I might not even do that. Plenty of people have defended the old fort with a duck gun and done quite well.
There are police trade-in riot guns all over. Find a good one of those, if you know the design well enough to pick one out in good mechanical condition no matter what the outside looks like. Many of the older Police and Riot guns were marked Wingmaster - I have two of them.

No need to chop up a perfectly serviceable field barrel, if you find a deal on a good used field gun, when there are used riot or slug barrels all over, pretty cheap. No telling when some one will need to take that shotgun dove hunting, duck hunting or whatever. I have bought a number of used 870s with field barrels through the years, and have yet to hacksaw one. It's too easy to find factory made short barrels on the market already - and often enough in my experience a factory barrel just patterns better than a sawed-off, for whatever reason.

At this point I don't give a dead rat what my HD gun looks like, only that it fits me, shoots where it looks and that it is dead nuts reliable. I have mixed finishes on the same gun (blued and parkerized, even one Express blue with a hard chrome Marine Magnum barrel), mixed finish wood, whatever. Long as it fits and works it's fine by me. I don't care what it looks like, if I ever have to drag it out for real all anyone is likely to see of it is a culvert sized muzzle anyway.

Hint - if you ever do really have to use it, it's going to be gone for a few months at least, quietly rusting in an evidence locker with someone's initials or badge number scratched all over it. It's a TOOL, like a hammer. Don't marry it - USE it. And get at least two of them while you are at it, because you'll need a backup somewhere along the way. Or someone will.

As to what else to add on, that's up to you. Some folks like KISS, others want everything plus the kitchen sink. I like a shortened stock with a good recoil pad, 12.5" is the default LOP around here because that fits my wife and she might need to use it too. I like Sidesaddles, never had any problems with them so far. I like 18-18.5" barrels and 2 round magazine extensions, but my wife doesn't like magazine extensions because the make the gun too muzzle heavy to suit her. I like sights for shooting slugs but can use plain beads or plain barrels with nothing on them reasonably well too, at least a closer ranges with a known shotgun. The nice thing about rifle sights on the barrel is that when you take off the RS barrel the sights go away too. I like rail mounted LED weapon lights. I like having a sling on board if needed.

And I like Louis Awerbuck too, a lot. Far as I'm concerned the best accessory you can add is a shotgun class from Louis. Or Randy Cain, or Tom Givens, Clint Smith, John Farnam, or one of those guys. You'll never look at a short shotgun the same way again, after a good class.
If you do decide to cut one you have the option of 21" or 19" if you cut on a vent rib post. I've cut a few Express barrels at 21" with good results. Figured if I messed up I had 1 more chance and still be legal, but all have gone just fine. I've found I like the 20-21" length better than 18.5 anyway.
...cut the barrel back to 18 to 20 inches depending on where the closest vent rib support is and probably put one of the big head safeties on it and then add an extended mag tube.

20-inch barrel will accommodate a larger mag tube extension.

If you go with 18-inch, give yourself another 1/2 inch and cut at 18-1/2 to BE SURE you stay well away from NFA territory.

BEFORE you decide on a mag tube extension, consider how much weight you're hanging toward the end of the gun. I've run with and without at tactical shotgun matches... and decided without for HD.

FWIW, I have a pair of old 1950's Wingmasters -- one with an 18-inch LEO barrel, the other with a 18-1/2 barrel salvaged from a bulged 30" barrel. Plain barrels (not VR) with bead sight. Neoprene butt cuff pads the stock and carries 5 extra shells.
I have one with a 20" RS smoothbore barrel that I use for HD. I ran across a blued Remington extension I'd bought and may put that on it to see what it looks like. I wouldn't bother with the over sized safety as it isn't needed. The standard safety is just fine and other than looking different or for certain pistol grip stocks it's (the OS safety) just a gimmick. The 870 has the fastest safety of any of the HD shotguns...nothing else even comes close to the manipulation speed of the 870's safety location. For a hunting gun though I've always preferred Winchester safeties and controls.
One would do very well with 870 Wingmaster Upland with straight grip and 21" or 23" barrel. The ones produced at the end came with 23" Remchoke barrels and those are the most desirable guns of this type. It would make excellent HD gun as is w/o worthless extensions or rails.
Here is one of my Wingmasters that I simply added a 20" riot barrel, mag extension, shell cuff and sling/mag support to. No need to do any gun smithing "customization". The factory bead is fine for me.

I am going to go against the grain as I bought a pretty well-used 2-3/4" Wingmaster with a fixed Modified choke on a vent rib barrel, a cracked butt stock, and a fair amount of finish neglect. The gun itself cost me less than $200, and the action and barrel were fine. It just looked like it had seen no TLC for twenty years. Patina is a nice word for the finish.

I spent more than a few hours tearing it down, cleaning it, and assessing what needed replacing. I had a local smith shorten the barrel to 18.75" (right at a vent support), crown the new muzzle, and thread in a new brass bead. I then added a set of 870P wood furniture, replaced the mag spring, follower, and magazine spring retainer, and started shooting it with the cylinder choke. My total investment in the gun was $325, and the net result is a very handy HD gun. So for the cost of a new barrel, I was able to get the shorter barrel, the new furniture, and the new magazine tube internals. I have plenty of other 870s with field barrels, including 21", 26", 28", and 30" barrels, so I did not sweat shortening this one.

I did not bother to add a side saddle or extended tube as I dislike how the gun swings with those additions. I considered having some choke added to the barrel, but it patterned better than I expected with #4 buck. As such, I decided to leave it as is.

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Well, mine's an Ithaca 37 but it is box stock... mostly.
It has a 20" barrel and their trademark Raybar sight.
It is marked "Full" overstamped on top of "Mod."
A 20" barrel with any degree of choke is highly unusual, most likely shortened. But that does not explain the overstamp.
Cool deal! Your 'smith did a nice, clean job on the barrel muzzle.
About 3 years ago I did a similar thing; I bought an older 870 for 220 bucks at a local gun store, then I added synthetic 870 take-off stock-forearms for another 30, a 2-shot extended tube for 35 and a rifle-sight 20" barrel for another 125 and I'm now set.
Went ahead and put my extension on one. 20" smoothbore RS Imp. Cyl with three shot extension. I don't really care for the bayonet lug portion of the extension.


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Not judging by the picture at the link it won't... that's a barrel for a semiauto by the looks of it.
I did this with an H&R pardner pump that had a 26 inch barrel and vent rib. I measured to a vent rib post and cut there. It was 18.5 inches. I then added a tru glow sight for a front bead.

Later on, I added a red dot scope for when I take it deer hunting and a tube mounted light for low light conditions. It's now my all around utility shotgun.
I did this with an H&R pardner pump that had a 26 inch barrel and vent rib. I measured to a vent rib post and cut there. It was 18.5 inches. I then added a tru glow sight for a front bead.

Later on, I added a red dot scope for when I take it deer hunting and a tube mounted light for low light conditions. It's now my all around utility shotgun.
You ruined perfectly good pump gun. All you needed to do is screw in CYL or 1/4 choke tube.
Chopped the barrel on mine to around 21", added the 8 shot extension, then a tritium bead. Love the tritium bead. Rarely have to use a flashlight for pest control if there is any moon at all.
Geeze, it's a shotgun, not a Holy Relic

Besides, I want one that can pull duty as a HD gun if needed. 26" barrel in a small hallway doesn't make that sense. Except for the vent rib, looks just like the ones they sell for HD. Traded an $80 Mosin Nagant for it.
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You ruined perfectly good pump gun. All you needed to do is screw in CYL or 1/4 choke tube.
1. Seems to me it was his gun to "ruin" if he wanted to. 2. It is a chinese clone to start with not a nice old 60's wingmaster .
Which by the way would make me cringe but still be his right if it is his gun
I have two friends who have had some issues with the big button safety. Also, when I took Loui Awerbucks shotgun class he didn't seem to speak favorable about big button safety. Since I run the Mossberg shotgun I don't recall specifics beyond that. Personally I made the mental note not to go to big button safety.

I do have more than one Mossberg. One for home defense and one for field work. My thoughts are if I ever have to use one in self defense is that it will be taken for evidence. I wouldn't want to be without a shotgun for home defense.
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