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When Did 870 Express Quality Go Down?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Homerboy, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    I bought my 870 Express back in 2004, I believe. I know Freedom Group is generally when things took a dive. My Express has never given me a problem, although I haven’t shot it much. It sits in the safe and is not rusting like others complain about. I seem to recall replacing the extractor with a non MIM part. I should take it out and give it a workout to see, but did the older ones have any issues? I have a Knox Compstock on it and it helps tame the recoil.
     
  2. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

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    Functionally, they were the same ol’ 870. The complaints were almost entirely related to the finish used at that time.

    same quality firearm, sucky finish.

    I think the finish may have changed since.
     
  3. George P

    George P Member

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    Not exactly In order to build it to a price point to compete with the Chinese clones. corners were cut in the final stages. That is where we keep hearing issues about steel hulls sticking and the answer is to polish the chamber with 0000 steel wool and oil on a dowel in a cordless drill.
     
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  4. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Actually the solution was to not buy cheap loss leader shells from big box stores.
     
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  5. George P

    George P Member

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    However, even a lot of the highest end shells are now steel based; Remington Nitro/STS. Winchester AA, maybe federal Gold medal are the only ones. Top euro hulls are steel based - makes them easier to retrieve with a Mojo stick.
     
  6. Obturation
    • Contributing Member

    Obturation Contributing Member

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    I don't know when but the one I had for a very short time was horrible, that was about 2010. My biggest complaint was that everything was super sharp, disassembly left cuts all over my hands- some razor blade like cuts. The controls were all wrong and the finish was a joke . no 870 for me, thanks but no thanks.
    Don't know if they were always that bad, I assume not but I'm not interested in finding out, gave them a chance and was disappointed. I have zero complaints with the 500 I bought 15 years ago for under $200, better in every way IMO
     
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  7. George P

    George P Member

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    You want a Wingmaster, NOT the Express..................
     
  8. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    I bought two of them 5 or 6 years ago, both work perfectly and have no finish or any other problems...

    DM
     
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  9. Rubone

    Rubone Member

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    I have a Wingmaster, a Marine Magnum, and 4 other Express models with zero function and finish issues. The only one that had some finish blemishes was used and had been poorly stored. It cleaned up fine and functions perfectly. DCP_4437.JPG
     
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  10. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    my first was early 08, and aside from a serious individual QC problem, it worked extremely well (extractor did not actually fit into the slot, it was too wide. It was forced in by an assembler at the factory, but did not move correctly. 20 minutes to remove, shave with two sharpening stones, and reinstall and its worked for thousands of rounds), my second, around late 2008, had the systemic bad chamber issue that the express became famous for. Every 3rd round jammed, sometimes every round. Before the issue was well known, and the fix well understood, it was mostly limited to chemicals to clean the plastic fouling, and extractor work. Anyway, based on my, and a few known others the problem showed up sometime mid 08, around the time the Obama panic started.
    Remington had its AR market thing going, so it makes sense.

    EDIT: I never had the rust issue, and I shoot in the rain. Shot a lot in the snow. I oil it when it gets wet, or cold (condensation is the common cause of rust in W. WA). my finish is a quality Parkerize in black. Its held up with a few scratches, just like any other Park stuff. After chamber honing, they all work fine, including those others I worked on. I have never seen one with a poor finish or rusting issue in the hands of a "gun person", however, the 870 has a major following among the shoot it and ignore it crowd, and ALL good shotguns with their high-carbon steel barrels are prone to rust more than other types.
     
  11. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    This exactly. I always used a brake hone but same concept. I have NEVER seen one fail, chamber issues or not, with quality ammo.... but that "steel hulls" mentioned are very poor quality and cause the problems, even seen it with mossbergs.
     
  12. Omaha-BeenGlockin

    Omaha-BeenGlockin Member

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    Currently have 2 Express'---full camo Super Mag and a hardwood 20ga--no problems with either-----the Super is 6-7? years old and the 20ga is 2-3 years old.

    What I do with every "blued" Express I've owned is spray the whole outside with Rem-oil and wipe it down real well with an old t-shirt---never had a rust issue and you would be amazed at all the stuff that comes up out of that rough finish.
     
  13. Vkt

    Vkt Member

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    I was going to buy one around 2006 and remember seeing some had rust spots on the barrels new in the box.
    They must have missed some spots with the finish.
    I got a 20ga youth and have no problems with rust.
     
  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Just to put this into perspective, the original 870 was the original corner cutting shotgun design. As was the Remington 700 series of rifles. Both of those designs were intended to be built much cheaper than previous designs with many cost cutting manufacturing features. The 870 has proven to be incredibly durable and reliable regardless. The 700 has proven to be one of the more accurate designs regardless. The 700 not so much with reliability.

    Mossberg one upped Remington when the 500 was introduced using even more cost cutting features. Remington found themselves in a position of having a very well designed gun that was always going to cost more to manufacture than the Mossberg. Too many buyers just looking at price and the Mossberg was proving to be good enough. Remington was losing sales to Mossberg.

    The only way to manufacture the 870 any cheaper to even come close to Mossberg pricing was to go with a cheaper finish. I've owned several Wingmasters and Express 870's. Other than a less expensive finish I've never noted any difference in function. In fact I prefer the Express. If I'm paying the prices they want for a Wingmaster I'll buy a semi-auto or double. My pump guns are hard use knock around guns. I don't want the shiny finish. My pump guns are the ones that get thrown in the bottom of a jon boat for duck hunting and get the mud hosed off after I get home. A little surface rust isn't an issue and nothing a can of Krylon won't cover up. As long as it works that is all I want.
     
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  15. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    ^^this^^
    I've had both.
    If you're concerned about wrecking the finish, just find an old Wing Master that's been well used as a duck gun.
    Wing Masters---even old Wing Masters--- sound like a bank vault. The Express, not so much
     
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  16. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    The 870 cosmetic quality dropped with the introduction of the Express in the 1980s. I don't think the Express has gotten worse over the years. The reality is that Remington probably sells 50 Express models for every one Wingmaster sold today. Wingmaster is just the boutique version that looks good in the catalogue but no one actually buys anymore because they are too expensive.
     
  17. Homerboy

    Homerboy Member

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    I’m not concerned about the finish. Just reliability. I’ve had the shotgun for over 15 years and I doubt I’ve fired 500 rounds through it. Can’t recall any issues. But since I have a boatload of shotgun shells, some from when I bought the gun, maybe I’ll take it out more and see how she does. I do recall changing the extractor to a better one back in the day.
    I would like to get a Mossberg 590A1 at some point. Too expensive right now with all the nonsense. Someday.
     
  18. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    I had a 2007 Express, around the time the laminated stocks had come out. It functioned fine for me. The finish was pretty crappy at that time. It was very rough porous matte bluing which was hard to rub an oily rag on as it would snag lint on a gun oiling cloth and leave ling all over the finish. Since then, the matte finish is much smoother. I'd liken it to when Ruger 10/22's switched over to the rough crinkle finish and then fixed that.

    I fixed the situation by getting a Wingmaster.
     
  19. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Shot shells have been made with brass plated steel bases for many decades. The cheap ones may be plated with something that looks like brass but isn't. The silver colored basses are the most problematic.
     
  20. George P

    George P Member

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    I wouldn't say many decades, but at least 2........brass plated isn't any better than plain steel. The issue is they expand and do not contract as easily as the brass, and of the chamber had rough internals, they tend to stick.
     
  21. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    The express is a low-priced and mostly functional shotgun. The Wingmaster is a mid-price shotgun with much better finish and usually functional for many years. My Browning Superposed O/U is a higher priced shotgun that will out last me and is beautiful too. You get what you pay for.
     
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  22. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    When I sold guns from 2014-2016 the 870 Express shotguns would get what looked like rust on them sitting in their boxes in the gun vault. The display ones were of course worse. Did some research and just about everyone said it looked like rust but wasn’t. I’m still not convinced it wasn’t rust. The finish wasn’t parkerizing supposedly but one day I decided to treat it as if it was. I took one 870 and every day I worked, rubbed the receiver and barrel with Breakfree CLP. At first the metal absorbed so much CLP that the next day it was hard to tell any CLP and been applied. After a couple of weeks the metal finally started keeping the sheen from the CLP so I stopped. That shotgun absorbed an incredible amount of CLP IMO. After that no more pseudo rust, I still believe it was rust.
     
  23. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Sometimes blueing can rust (the process itself is a form of rust), and if Remington didn't adequately oil the matte finish at the factory to stop the process, the rusting process could continue.
     
  24. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I believe it’s common knowledge that bluing is a form of rust on a website such as this one. Proper bluing shouldn’t require numerous applications of oil to keep from rusting which leads me to believe the finish on 870 Expresses when I was selling them wasn’t bluing. It was more akin to parkerizing though I’ve been told parkerizing wasn’t used on the 870 Express during that timeframe.
     
  25. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    The Remington 31 and Winchester 12 were pre-War examples of the machinist's art which had become extremely expensive to produce in the post-War economy. The 870 replacement for the 31 was milled using "automated tapes" which lowered the price and was a successful adaptation of what was at the time a modern post-War manufacturing technique. Winchester kept soldiering on with the Model 12, offering a cheaper to manufacture aluminum 1200 to compete with the 870.
    Arguably, Mossberg went the extra mile with cost savings with their 500 introduced in 1960-1961, manufactured with the latest technology available then.
     
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