870 Project (long)

This is a discussion on 870 Project (long) within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; When I was a kid, I hunted almost exclusively with my dad's 870 Wingmaster. He got it for his 18th birthday from his father in ...

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Thread: 870 Project (long)

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    870 Project (long)

    When I was a kid, I hunted almost exclusively with my dad's 870 Wingmaster. He got it for his 18th birthday from his father in 1953.

    I still measure a long gun's function by how it operated.

    In college a re-load from a buddy of mine blew out the last couple of inches behind the muzzle. We took it to a machine shop and had it shortened. When I graduated from college and moved away, I gave my dad his shotgun back.

    A few months later and 1200 miles away, I bought an 870 myself. I didn't know there was a difference, but I what I bought in 1989 was an 870 "Express", not a "Wingmaster". It lasted about 10 years of moderate use before parts started wearing out, it began jamming and otherwise falling apart.

    I got another one the year after I got rid of it. It was a gift from my best friend's dad, also an "Express", and pretty well-used (but I ain't NEVER turnin' down no free gun). It has never ejected properly. My buddy's dad also gave me Hastings barrel for it, which felt remarkably like the barrel on my dad's gun (except it was a wee bit longer, as it hadn't been blown up by bad re-load).

    Today, while perusing in my local gun shop I saw an old, old 870 Wingmaster in the barrel the owner usually reserves for trashy guns. It looked rough and it was rusted in some places.

    But when I worked the action, I felt the old Wingmaster magic. The metal was thin and smooth, not that thick, marbly, spongy rough stuff they use on the "Express" nowdays. The grip was thin, just like dad's. The length of pull was short enough for me, too. Just like dad's.

    And the action was smooth when I ran some snap caps through it. Not as smooth as glass, but smoother than any freakin' "Express". It was also strong and positive. You'd have to know what I'm talking about to understand that, but if you do, you really "get it".

    I did a little research and discovered that it was probably one of the 870's made for law enforcement before they started stamping them "police" or whatever they put on their LE guns now....until that point in time all LE 870's were simply marked "Wingmaster". It had an 18" cylinder bore barrel and a stamp that indicated that it had at some point in time belonged to the " ___. ___. P.D." It also restricted its usage to 2 3/4-inch shells only, which is the primary thing leading me to believe what I do about its age.

    And the sucker was cheap. Cheaper than a pretty well-used Mossy 500 residing in the same barrel.

    So I'm going back tomorrow and getting it, I think. Get some steel wool and WD40, with some oil to follow, that receiver and that 18" barrel are perfect to put by the bed with some slugs in it. With that Hastings barrel for hunting and a little cleaning and oil in that action, hopefully silky once more, I'm thinking I'm really onto something.

    Thoughts, folks?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array '75scout's Avatar
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    Get it. I bought a brand spanking new 870 Magnum about three years ago. It was my 1st gun to buy on my own. It had a 26" barrel I think and was mossy oak camo. The action felt gritty and cheap. When I took it skeet shooting the action stuck closed and I had a heck of a time getting open. This happened more than once.
    I sold it to my brother-in-law for $200.

    I was at a gunshow two years ago and saw a dealer with some LE demo machine guns and short barrel shottie. I looked at his stuff and saw a clean 1870 Wingmaster like you are looking at. It had a beautiful blueing on it, original wood stocks, 18" barrel, rifle sights, and extended mag. I asked to see it and it had an action as smooth as deer snot. I bought it for $285. I know the NIB Express HDs are the same price, but the older 870s are in a different class. Found out mine was made in 1956.

    I've now had it coated OD green, Knoxx compstock, and Mesa Tactical side saddle. Its a pretty mean HD shottie and I would trade it for anything. I learned that if I want a high quality combat pump I should go with an older 870 Wingmaster and build it up or get a new 870Police.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    75Scout:

    I took your advice and brought her home today. Cleaned'er up with some WD40, oil and steel wool.

    Doesn't look "new", but looks a lot better.

    And that action is....well, a REAL 870 action.

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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Does it have twin action bars ?

    When we have a serious training day at the club we sometimes start by having to emerse our weapon in a water tank,or sometimes in a nearby stream. When I get home from one of these days I break out the WD-40.

    I have a small paint bottle that I hook up to my compressor. I set it up to blow a fine mist of WD at 40PSI. I spray my entire weapon inside and out.(thoroughly) I let this drip dry for an hour or so,then I spray this all out with dry air at 80PSI. I have never had a spot of rust using this method.

    Great find. --------

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    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's got twin action bars. Made in 1956. That's a great idea you have there about the WD40...I'll have to try that.

    I spray'em with WD40 it pretty good, but that compressor idea is something of which I would never have thought. I also blow air into'em, too.

    GMTA....

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Didn't know they had twins back in '56.

    The weapon has allot of good things goin' for it as used for HD. You can even take the LOP down to 12 1/2" or so for these purposes. To me,around that LOP simply shoulders faster. My Benelli(competition gun) has a 12 1/4 and it's great.

    The short bbl and the 2 3/4 chamber will be great for HD.

    Keep your eyes open for the older loadings of #2 or BB(lead) and you'll have a shoulder fired "chain saw".

    Let us know how the "finished product" comes out. -------

  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    RSSZ:

    I might not be doing right by my 870 nomenclature. If the action bars are the fork-like things on which the pump rests, and which you stick into the grooves on the inside of the receiver, then, yes, it has twin action bars.

    If it's something else....well, you'll have to let know what, 'cause I can't figure it out!

    I agree with you 10,000% on shortening the length of pull- it just makes it shoulder faster (I like my long guns short, too- easier tomaneuver, and I never shoot anything very far away anyway, even in deer season).

    The next step is some Brownell's Oxpho-Blue.......

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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Lightbulb I thought all 870's were junk.

    My friend has an 870 wingmaster that his dad gave him when we were kids in the early 80s. It was his dads before that, so I'm sure it's pretty old. As far as I know, it's the only shotgun he has. He has shot everything with it and it is still going strong.

    On the other hand, I and several of my aquaintences have owned 870express models, and they are IMO junk. I have seen nearly every possible malfunction with them.

    I am a dedicated Mossberg man, (the double action bar type prefferably) because I have never seen one malfunction, and recommend either them or Winchester 1200 or 1300 (?) over 870's for this reason; although most people don't listen to my advice or agree. This is the first time that I have heard of the distinction between the wingmaster and express but it explains a lot and now I understand the difference in quaility.

    So, next time my advise will include this distinction. Congrats on your find and thanks for enlightening me on this subject. (I'm still sticking with Mossberg though)
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Sergeant D:

    Mossies are good guns, period. They GREAT guns for the money. I have a 500 and an 835, which is my dedicated turkey gun.

    You can't hurt'em and they always work.

    Good luck and good shootin'!

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Thanks Randy. When I posted I was concerned that I might come of as a smart ass, and was not intending to be one. Sometimes things on boards get touchy because we can't see the posting partie's body language or sense the tone of voice.

    Again, thanks for enlightening me, and congrats on your new gun.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  12. #11
    Member Array DILLIGAF's Avatar
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    sounds like you found a great deal there
    instead of the wd40 and the air compressor i use kroil in a cheap $3spray bottle and just wipe off the excess it's not quite as messy and can be done in the house. the kroil and steel wool is also great at taking off rust, i have used it quite a bit on a different things too.
    911 Government sponsored dial a prayer!

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    Senior Member Array '75scout's Avatar
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    There is definatly a difference between the new Express models and the Wingmasters, especially the older Wingmasters. If you can get an old and new 870 side by side all you have to do is handle them and cycle the action and you will feel the quality of the older one.

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    Member Array Warhawk's Avatar
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    Grab it before somebody else does. I've owned a lot of 870's and an "express" model has yet to grace my safe. There are untold numbers of Wingmasters on the used gun racks of almost anyplace that sells used guns.

    As far as action bars, some older pumpguns of other brands (Ithaca, mossberg, etc) had single action bars, but I've never seen an 870 that didn't have two.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array '75scout's Avatar
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    Winchesters 1300 also had single action bar.

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    I've got an old Remington Mod. 29 12 guage. It has a single action bar and ejects out the bottom via Browning design. Not my HD gun, but thought I would share.
    I'll keep my freedom, my liberty, and my guns. You can keep the change.

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