WTB Remington Wingmaster - Whats the best years

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by withoutink, Sep 30, 2012.

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  1. withoutink

    withoutink Member

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    Well it's been a while since I posted here. Lots of crazy stuff happened in my life. Anyway, moved to GA recently and I am looking to buy a used older Wingmaster. I know the old versions are much better.

    What are the best years should I be looking for? If I recall correctly 1950-1970s is a good range.

    I've seen a number of them around locally... So I am finally looking to pull the trigger so to speak. Also, how best to determine the age? I know a lot of barrels get swapped on Shotguns. So I am not sure the barrel code is a good indicator. Is there a better way to figure out an accurate age?

    What size barrel would I want to get for HD?
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  2. content

    content Member

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    Hello friends and neighbors // You can call Remington during their normal work hours and they will tell you the year if you have the serial number.

    It is my understanding firearms made in the 1950s and 60s happened to be made when American Steel quality was at its highest... could be just talk but I believe it.

    **If you come across an 870 WM with a pre 6000 serial number and have no interest please PM me despite quality. This would be a first year.

    My 1953 12ga, and three 1960 (tenth year ), a 12,16 and 20 all get used by folks of all sizes with the occsional malfunction. They all believe it is the gun but if you run it smooth and firm ... well you know... some times it is the ammo.:D

    The 1976 was my first Wingmaster experience and I have no complaints at all. It remains my most used shotgun and sports multiple barrels depending upon need.

    Enjoy the search.
     
  3. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    The Wingmasters were never plagued by the quality control issues of the Express models. I would think a Wingmaster of any vintage should be fine, as long as everything functions as it should.
     
  4. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    Any 870 since they are all the same. If you have to have the blued finish get any Wingmaster. If you want it for a defence weapon make sure it has the flex tab conversion and the Wingmasters that have serial numbers that end in the letter M will. This ain't Wine so forget that year stuff as an 870 is an 870.

    Remington shotguns will never be collectable guns. There are over 10 Million 870's and nothing of significance has changed on this weapon since day one. Minor changes to chambering size and what size shells the receiver ejects is about it other then the flex tab conversion, two minor changes to meet SAAMI standards to the chamber and rim cut and a change to the stand off on the barrels. None of this will affect the effectiveness of that old 870 you find.

    I am almost the same age as the 870 and hope I hold up as well in the years to come.
     
  5. RickMD

    RickMD Member

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    I think the alleged quality discrepancies between the older versus newer Wingmasters is a myth. I have several dating back to the early 60's as well as two manufactured in the 2000's. The only difference I perceive is that the early guns have been used more and seem to be slightly smoother solely for that reason.

    In fact, the newer models are more aesthetically pleasing because Remington did away with that godawful, useless, pressed checkering and plastic looking finish on the stocks. As far as 1950's and 1960's steel being superior, I find that to be almost laughable.

    The Wingmaster from its inception was a mass produced, slide action shotgun designed for the working class hunting/shooting market. The design requires a minimum of hand fitting unlike a Colt Python from the same era. The only difference between one made today and one made fifty years ago is the new one’s outrageously inflated sticker price. Either vintage, if even minimally cared for, will outlast you and your great grandchildren.
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I'll second that. Whoever dreamed up the silly idea of reversed stamped checkering should be tarred and feathered. Worse yet is Remington still does this on their wood stocked Express guns. I refuse to own a gun with that style checkering and would much rather have a new production plastic stocked Express than one of the older guns just to avoid that awful checkering. What a shame on some of the nice wood they used on older guns. The 1/8" thick clear plastic coating on the wood is not much better.

    If Mossnerg and Marlin can put real checkering o their birch stocked budget shotguns and rifles and still sell them cheap, Remigton can do the same.

    The 870 is my go to shotgun. I've had several over the years and the new ones have been just as good as anything made 30-40 years ago. About the only ones I'd avoid are the ones made with a lock on the safety. They were only made for a few years.
     
  7. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    Great answers frm rickMD and Jmr. Like Jmr said there are a couple of production years that came with a J-Lock Safety. Those Suck, however it is a simply fix with a new safety, detent ball and spring. There is a kit sold on Gun Broker for $10.50 that provides the parts to change that J-Lock mess out so if you find a good weapon and price don't let the J-lock be a deal breaker.
     
  8. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    I know I'm the odd man out here, but I don't care. I PREFER to buy older model (pre-magazine tube dimples) 870 Express guns - they cost less. Mechanically they are pretty much indistinguishable from Wingmasters. Oh, there might be a MIM extractor in the bolt, but I have yet to have one of those fail in use, and there are machined replacements in the parts box if needed. Other than that, the only difference is the finish. I refuse to deal with dimples in the magazine tube any more, I just pass those by no matter how good the tag price is.

    But I am VERY happy that so many are spreading the "gospel" that a used Wingmaster is the only way to go. :evil:

    How many people reading this can tell a MIM extractor from a machined extractor just by looking at it, anyway? Or know the easy way to tell if a used Express has magazine tube dimples?
     
  9. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    I can. The MIM has a ridge across the back of it and it sticks out like a sore thumb. The solid steel one does not. Simply look at the extractor, even in the breech blot and you can tell. So with that info we all can tell by looking now.

    Remington does it like that for Dumb Jarheads like me so we don't get the two parts mixed up. Also, I have yet to see a MIM extractor fail, break or get dull and I leave them in my hunting shotguns. I tell people this and they then ask "So why are you taking them out of your Custom Builds and putting the solid steel one in?". I then tell them, "Because your paying me $1,200 for the gun".
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
  10. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Count me as one of those weirdos who actually prefers the pressed checkering. It looks just as good, I don't have any problems holding on in over 49 years with it, and it holds up way, way better than regular checkering. I prefer the 1963 to 1975 Wingmasters with the chrome carrier because it is my right ! :D
     
  11. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    All i know about the new 870 express guns are the differences with the one in my safe and first off it has a horrible orange PLASTIC follower in the magazine tube and the ball detent is non existent on the barrel lug as it uses a cheesy PLASTIC insert inside the magazine tube and therefore requires a different magazine cap. The darn thing has a PLASTIC trigger group too! so there is more to it than them just being UGLY AS SIN as they have plastic everywhere! and Wingmasters are not only beautiful and silky smooth... they also don't have PLASTIC on them. MY wingmasters have nice walnut stocks, not beech or PLASTIC stocks.

    I remember reading a post a guy made and he said he bought two expresses and the extractors broke in short order and he said he would never buy another newer express.

    As far as the post about marlin and mossbergs checkering goes. They are also pressed checkering, but it's standard line and groove checkering...unless they are on the laser checkering boat nowadays which in my book isn't real checkering either. I actually like the press checkered wingmaster stocks o.k., but nothing like those on my 870 special field.

    The one thing about the 870 wingmaster that i don't like isn't a fault with the gun, but rather the fact that it was a mass produced gun using stamped parts and pressed checkering and because of this it could be sold at a price point so low that it drove the model 12 out of production.

    Wingmasters and expresses are not the same unless you think plastic and steel/aluminum are equal as well as ugly rough finishing.
     
  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    I'm with Fred. Again.

    I've never met an 870 I didn't like. And I've owned them from a gorgeous TB with C wood to Frankenstein to that little 20 gauge Express that has delusions of being a quail gun.
     
  13. btg3

    btg3 Member

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    But I did buy a little-used 1956 Wingmaster with a crack right up the middle of the trigger group. If shot more, I suspect the 3/8" long crack might propagate to failure Fortunately, I found another trigger assembly with the chrome lifter and preserved the aesthetics of this Wingmaster, but gladly tip my hat to materials technology for MIM and polymer advances.

    Personally, the late 50's Wingmasters with plain mahogany stock and the longer corncob forend are easiest on my eyes. They're not hard to find on the internet and prices were $225 - $275 in great condition a couple of years ago. Mine came with 30" full choke, but I have a variety of S58 barrels that can be used on the 870 and picked up a couple of blued 18-1/2" barrels for HD. (Actually, one is an 18" LEO turn-in and the other is a shortened 30" that had a bulge near the muzzle.)
     
  14. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    Never met and 870 I didn't like. What a great statement. I request permisson to use that one.

    Where is the 870 hate found on most gun forums any time an 870 question is post? Being new here I am starting to believe I have found "gun forum heaven" where the moderators don't allow that kind of mess. I'm grinning about all the good stuff being said about a great shotgun without the haters jumping in.
     
  15. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    There are a lot more good shotguns (and at my house, too) than there are really good shotgunners. I'm not about to dismiss lightly any shotgun make/model that works, and I feel an obligation to explore and experience as many makes and models as a limited budget will allow. But some designs are mechanically stronger than others, more durable, or better suited to certain tasks.
     
  16. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Yes, but nothing exists that is as versatile and durable as an 870 at their price point IMO...perhaps nothing as versatile at any price point.
     
  17. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    I love Wingmaster, but MIM technology is not an improvement in my book until they find a way to ensure quality affordably. If it breaks they will replace it - they still have good customer service - but I greatly prefer the old forged and machined. I have seen two broken extractors and one ejector. The ejector certainly LOOKED to be MIM but I could be wrong.
    Engineered plastics are good stuff, provided they are properly engineered. I think the new mag cap retention system sucks, but it is so easy to switch back to the old system why all the bitching?
     
  18. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Doesn't matter how high or low you look...you wont find any such 870. The 870 was an economy shotgun from the start and Remington invested a great deal of money in equipment that paid off in the end. These guns have always been made from stamped parts. If you want forged and machined parts in a pump Remington you'll have to look at models such as the 31.

    If it's that easy then by all means do explain to me how to put the ball detent in the barrel lug without having to change the barrel as i would be interested in doing so.
     
  19. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    The receivers, bolts, barrels, and action blocks have been forged since day one. As have many of the smaller parts, including the extractor, trigger, etc. Go to Remington and you can see for yourself. The first MIM parts came along with the recent Expresses. Stamped parts can be and are made from forgings in some instances, but I am not aware of any of that on a Wingmaster.
    You don't need a detent. A 3/32" 'O' ring will hold it nicely with the old style metal spring retainer in the tube. Note - this will chew up the 16 cents 'O' rings at a fairly good clip if you clean your guns a lot so if that is too rich for your blood learn to love the green monster. It is also pretty easy to drill the barrel ring and install a detent. The hole won't be perfectly straight but it doesn't matter. Angle it the way that it is against the direction of unscrewing and you'll be fine with that, too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  20. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    I wasn't referring to injection molding, but an interesting read in the American shotgun says many of the parts were manufactured on tape controlled machinery...Hmmmm
     
  21. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Tape controlled machinery is just a kind of computer controlled. It's like you used to have to feed a punch card deck to a card reader and then that told the computer what to do. The tape stores information and is then run thru a reader and that directs the machine what to do.
     
  22. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    AI&P,feel free to use that line. It's adapted from Will Rogers' "I never met a man I didn't like"...

    For the record, I like most OTHER shotguns also.
     
  23. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    Thanks. I love the adaption.
     
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