Whats considered the best years for 870's ?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by CrazyIrishman, Dec 4, 2008.

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  1. CrazyIrishman

    CrazyIrishman Member

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    Does anyone know by chance whats considered the best years for an 870 in reference to workmanship,parts & appearance?


    I have read that some guys prefer the older shotguns. How far back would that go?


    The new ones look nice,but I don't want to part with any money if the product is questionable.


    Thx,

    CI
     
  2. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    I don't think current production 870s are any worse than previous years. They aren't personally for me but they seem just as solid as any older ones I have handled.
     
  3. flyboy1788

    flyboy1788 Member

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    I have a "newer" 870 with the oh so feared and hated metal injection molded (MIM) parts and it has seen many thousands of rounds down the pipe with zero problems. I would never hesitate to get another 870. In fact if we were only allowed to have just one shotgun, i would go buy a new 12ga 870 without hesitation.
     
  4. ZeBool

    ZeBool Member

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    I have the $300 dollar(2004 price) 870 Super Express Magnum that I absolutely love. It's a gun that I don't feel bad if scratched while rabbit hunting. I was a little skeptical of the finish at first, but I have yet to have a problem, and believe me, it has been put through it's paces.
     
  5. sbarkowski

    sbarkowski Member

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    I had a newer 870 express and sold it. Kept jamming the cheap winchester target loads which is mostly what I use for clays. Im not willing to pay more for better shells just for clay shooting. And IMO a pump should cycle anything you put through it. Other than that it was a great gun and I will get another one. But it will be a wingmaster or the newer XCS. I had a chance to handle an older 870 and It was really nice but function wise I couldnt tell the difference. It had nicer wood than what's available now but other than that it was the same. Minus the jamming problem.
     
  6. evbutler462

    evbutler462 Member

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    I read a post recently, can't remember where. The poster staed that a 870 made before the J-lock was better than the current. Or it could have been the other way around. Their issue was with the J-lock and the time period in which they were used.

    Since I don't know what a J-lock is, I'll back out of here.
     
  7. xm21

    xm21 Member

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    Ev,the J lock is a safety button that has a "J" shaped slot in it that a J shaped key is used to lock it in the safe position to keep anyone without a key from firing it.I read some posts saying that fiddling with it a certain way could lock it without using the key.The 870 Express that I bought had one,I bought a standard safety,spring,and detent from Midway for less than ten dollars and DX'ed the J safety.I also replaced the MIM extractor with the forged one standard on the WingMaster and police 870.My Express also had extraction problems with low priced shells.Like sbarkowski I think a pump should feed the inexpensive stuff as well as more expensive shells.Searching the forums online I discovered lots of folks having similar problems with extraction with several different makes of guns and steel based low priced shells.I used steel wool wrapped around a bore mop attatched to a drill to polish the chamber(I had to do this several times)now it extracts the cheapest shells with no problems.The newest Expresses I have looked at do not have the J lock and also have a different vent rib texturing.
     
  8. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Member

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    The 870 express HD model that I purchased a few months ago has been flawless.
     
  9. swampshooter

    swampshooter Member

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    The older 870 wingmasters, made about 20 to 30 years ago were machined and fitted much better. The finish was much better also, on both wood and steel. Look for one with a chrome carrier, they are the good ones. The new 870's are pretty sad compared to the older ones.
     
  10. EHCRain10

    EHCRain10 Member

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    Have to agree with swampshooter, the older ones are much nicer but they all work really well
     
  11. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Mechanically they are good guns but I refuse to buy one with stamped/impressed checkering. Whoever came up with that idea should be shot. I would try to avoid one with the "J" lock as well.

    My Wingmasters with wood stocks have cut checkering and Remington started doing that in the early 90's or late 80's I think. The Express models I own have sythetic stocks to avoid the awful stamped checkering on the wood express models.

    As far as getting the job done I cannot tell a major difference in any of them. The Wingmasters are just as good as ever, maybe better. The early Express models were definately finished better than current guns but shoot about the same.
     
  12. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    I prefer the older style, approx pre-'79, before any "too busy" scrollwork, and even better are the ones a little earlier with the chromed carrier. I have no data or facts, just personal preference. Never saw or heard of one of those that wasn't slick as a whistle. In my 60 years I have sold two guns I really regret selling, and one of those was a -'74 Wingmaster Magnum. I got an early Express and killed two geese with the first 3 shots I ever shot out of it, and it never missed a beat, but I just preferred a slicker finish. I now have my third older Wingmaster Magnum since that first one, and I think this one is about as close as I am going to get to a duplicate.
    I must admit, I'm one of those weird people who actually like impressed checkering. On 1100s and 870s. I like the looks, it holds up incredibly well, and I have never once had a problem holding on. I have had several genuine checkered stocks I hated so that probably colors my thinking as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
  13. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Member

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    I saw a corncob 870, apparently a field model (no rail and no black cap at the bottom of the pistol-grip), going for $180. All I can say is that I hate the guy who's going to scoop that one up.
     
  14. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    I have an older Wingmaster "Riot" or "Police" model with the corncob front end. It's probably from the 1970s. I've been raving about it on any and every thread where it's even remotely applicable to talk about my 870. It's smooth, reliable, and pretty to look at, despite its aged appearance.
     
  15. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Number One was made in 1950. 5 digit serial number.

    Number Two,a reworked cruiser gun, 1973.

    Same for Frankenstein's receiver. Sundry parts from the 50s on in that one.

    The 20 gauge Express, around 1990-92.

    Number Six, 1955.

    All of them are good. In fact, I've not yet seen a bad year for 870s, but I am only 62.....
     
  16. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Any without the integral lock in my opinion. There is nothing wrong with the lock this just seems to be the year that Remington decided to get cheap at all costs.
     
  17. abaddon

    abaddon Member

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    A few people have mentioned getting one with a 'chrome carrier.' What exactly is the carrier? Is it the chrome that makes it good or the fact that during the time they were using chrome carriers the rest of the gun was made with better specs?
     
  18. CrazyIrishman

    CrazyIrishman Member

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    Thanks guys!!


    Do they use the DIMPLES on the Wingmaster too? About what year did the dimples and "J" lock start production?


    Thx,

    CI
     
  19. ChCx2744

    ChCx2744 Member

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    abaddon:

    the "carrier" is the bolt carrier. its the little metal/steel thing that your reciever's bolt rides on as you cycle the action inside the reciever. if you field strip your shotgun, as you pull out the action, the bolt and bolt reciever will be at the "end" of it. it comes right off without having to punch out anything or un-hook anything.

    as for the quality of the gun or performance based on the material your bolt carrier is...i dont really think it matters. i think mine is tempered steel but im not sure.
     
  20. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    The carrier is the part on the bottom you push up to put a round in the magazine, and it carries the shell up from the magazine to the chamber when you work the action. In order to get a good chrome plating job you have to have a very good finish on the metal, so I take it as indicative of a little more care being required finish wise.
     
  21. Ironballs

    Ironballs Member

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    I have a 'vintage' police model (1987?) and a new police model (2006). The 87 is fitted and finished way better.

    Classic wingmasters and police models are where its at (price, quality, etc.).

    Not knocking new... I have a newer express and she is fantastic for the coin... but considering a used/older police model can be had for cheaper... that's my route for now on.
     
  22. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I sorted thru hundreds of 870s the last 50 years!
    The 50's and early 60s ones were extremely nice especially the skeet and trap guns! The early impressed checkered guns with the chromed carrier seem nice enough as are the wonderful Police guns made then. The mid to later 80s SP guns seem pretty nice and the Police models were nice too till the first Gulf war years. During these later periods the higher grade guns and the trap, Skeet,smaal guage wingmaster and RS factory guns all seem pretty nice.After about 93 IMHO they all started going down with the Police guns the last to take the cheap shots. Just my $.02
     
  23. Hollywood Marine

    Hollywood Marine Member

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    What's the best year for 870's? All of them!
     
  24. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Up until the advent of the RemChoke, I could not discern any differences in receiver or barrel dimensions or weights from 1950 through the '70s. I was pursuing the differences between 3" and standard 870s and 1100s and found out the roll marking is all the difference there is in the receivers. I am talking to 0.005" dimensions wise and 2 grains weight wise. The biggest difference between two like barreled and stocked guns was about 3-1/2 Ounces, and sans the wood it was infinitessimal.
     
  25. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    "People seem to think they are better because they feel more solid IMHO" :banghead::banghead:
    Also the barrels were actually lighter for a while. Please pick up a corn cob plain barrel 870 some times, it's as light as they come-AND "solid" too!:rolleyes:
    The deal is Remington lost almost all their skilled labot force in the 70s and didn't bother training or hiring that kind of worker again! After all it is the almighty $ and the consumer is happy with their Express!:neener:
     
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