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870 Wingmaster/Express

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Uncle Alvah, Oct 6, 2006.

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  1. Uncle Alvah

    Uncle Alvah Member

    Feb 7, 2004
    Duncan, NC
    Can someone tell me what the differences between the Remington 870 Wingmaster and the 870 Express models are, please?
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    Assuming you are talking about a new standard model Magnum in 12 Gauge...

    The Wingmaster is polished blue, a tad lighter on the barrel end, and quicker, with a metal trigger group, a gloss walnut stock, twin beads, and a fancier magazine cap retainer.

    The Express has a rough finish, a plastic trigger group and nut retainer, one bead and a matte-finished laminate wood stock. I think mine is a tad more sluggish than an equivalent Wingmaster, but Remington has changed the barrel so I can't say if that's still true. Also, "sluggish" can be good for longer ranges and trap, but bad for close flushing birds and skeet. Depends what you want. You can always go with a 26" barrel, which makes the gun quicker anyway.

    Over the years, the Express has had different wood (current laminate is nicest, IMO, and worth a few extra bucks), different ribs (again, the current model has the nicest rib). Wingmasters have also risen from the everyday 870 to the upscale field model, since they were first made in 1950.

    My personal opinion: don't buy a closeout Express with the hardwood stock and plain, skinny rib. I have one like that and it's a great field gun. But the new laminate version with the wider, machined rib is nicer, and worth a few extra bucks. People are paying good money for take-off laminate stocks on eBay, so I must not be the only one who thinks so.

    If you can afford it, you won't regret buying a Wingmaster. On the other hand, for a few more bucks you can get the 11-87 Premier semiauto, so think long and hard about what you want.

    The Express is a no-brainer purchase, since it's cheap and well-made. Just keep it oiled; the rough finish holds sweat and rusts if you don't clean it. I haven't shot mine in a while, but I don't regret buying it at all. If you move on to higher-end shotguns, the 870 Express is always a good backup gun in case something breaks in the field, or to lend to a friend.

    Now the 20 gauge Express and Wingmaster are very similar in weight and swing: light and quick. They both feel great.
  3. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Here's the actual differences between the sporting model Express and the sporting Wingmaster:

    Differences between the Express and Wingmaster.

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

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

    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 gets.

    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.,
    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 barrel. (not 100% sure about this)
    Hardwood or synthetic stock, with a sporting-length fore end and pressed-in checkering, with a varnish-like finish.
    Some Metal Injection Molded (MIM) parts, like the extractor.
    Has the locking safety button.

    The Wingmaster has:
    An aluminum trigger group.
    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.
    Has the locking safety button.
    The Wingmaster is the full top-of-the-line commercial Remington pump gun, and is priced accordingly.

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

    ArmedBear Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    dfaris - that's slightly out of date, since they changed the stock and barrel on the Express this year. But the gist is there.

    BTW, since I have guns with both the dimples and the old-style spring retainer, I'll have to give a vote to the dimples. If you want a field gun and don't plan on adding a mag extension, the Express retainer is easier to remove and replace without sending the mag spring flying across the yard.

    Why would you care? You have to remove the retainer to put in the magazine plug for hunting, or remove it if you want the full capacity. If you use the gun in the field, you should also clean the magazine tube when you clean the gun, to keep dirt and moisture out.
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