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 Post subject: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:51 am
Posts: 6
Hello there,

I've been wanting to get an older wingmaster 20 gauge for small game and target shooting. I have a 12 gauge, but have always had my eye on a wingmaster. I just the love the look of them and the action is so smooth. I'd like to buy an older one in good condition. Any recommendations on specs I should be looking for or looking out for with older wingmasters? Thanks so much!




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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:34 pm
Posts: 5111
You have good taste!:-)

Since you already have a 12 ga, I’d suggest looking for the lightweight frame size. You’re probably already doing that. Then it’s down to barrel length and choke if not remchoked already.

Good luck, hard to go wrong with a LW 20 870, and most any issue one you might come across is a fairly easy fix.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:03 am
Posts: 228
I might be off by a year here or there, but I'm pretty sure pre-72 they are all on 16 ga. frames, same as the 12 ga. B/n 72 and 77 they produced both standard (16 ga.) and LW (or maybe LT?) small frame guns on a scaled frame. After 77 all the 20 ga guns are on a scaled frame. They also made a LW magnum, which could shoot 3" shells. I'm not sure when they began only producing 3" chambered guns. Really all you need to decide is what weight you want, whether or not you want a rib, whether or not you want a 3" chamber and what choke you prefer, then they are pretty easy to find.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:51 am
Posts: 6
Thanks for all the info above. Super helpful. So the older ones were on the same frame as the 12 ga it sounds like. I was seeing LW on postings and didn't know what that meant. Thanks.

I think what I'd like to find is a 20 ga, LW frame, vent rib, chambered for 3" that is rem choked.

For a 3" chamber will it say 3" or would that be the magnum for a 20 ga?


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:03 am
Posts: 228
bigcountry10 wrote:
I think what I'd like to find is a 20 ga, LW frame, vent rib, chambered for 3" that is rem choked.

For a 3" chamber will it say 3" or would that be the magnum for a 20 ga?


Remchokes were intro’d in ‘86. I don’t know when they were first produced on a 20 ga gun but it was probably in short order, if not in ‘86. Have you considered just buying a brand new one? Buy the time you buy a vintage in those specs, it’s not too far off from buying a brand new gun. That’s what I would do if that was my list of desires. In fact, that is what I did do when I had that same list of desires for my son’s “first shotgun”.

For an older gun a 3” capable will say “magnum”. For a newer gun it will say “for 2-3/4 or 3” shells” on the barrel, or some such.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:51 am
Posts: 6
Thanks for the 3" and magnum clarification.


S.davis wrote:
Remchokes were intro’d in ‘86. I don’t know when they were first produced on a 20 ga gun but it was probably in short order, if not in ‘86. Have you considered just buying a brand new one? Buy the time you buy a vintage in those specs, it’s not too far off from buying a brand new gun. That’s what I would do if that was my list of desires. In fact, that is what I did do when I had that same list of desires for my son’s “first shotgun”.


Would dropping the remchoke requirement make it easier to find? But then again having the interchangeable chokes is a nice feature.

I love the older wingmasters, so that's why I was thinking of getting a used one. I did see that they are making new ones now, but I was worried that they maybe had fallen to a similar fate of the standard 870 where the new ones aren't nearly the same quality as the old ones. Is that not true? How are you liking your "new" one?

Appreciate all the input!


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:07 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:34 pm
Posts: 5111
I have quite a few, including three newer versions. Like them all.

Nothing wrong with liking the older ones though from a nostalgic point of view. From a performance aspect though, I can’t tell old from new when shooting them.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:20 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:47 pm
Posts: 256
Location: N. IL
[/quote]
Would dropping the remchoke requirement make it easier to find? But then again having the interchangeable chokes is a nice feature.

I love the older wingmasters, so that's why I was thinking of getting a used one. I did see that they are making new ones now, but I was worried that they maybe had fallen to a similar fate of the standard 870 where the new ones aren't nearly the same quality as the old ones. Is that not true? How are you liking your "new" one?

Appreciate all the input![/quote]

A Wingmaster is still a Wingmaster. The standard 870 you speak of must be an Express. A Wingmaster and an Express are not the same model 870.

New Wingmasters 20 ga LW's come with a 3" chamber and chokes. They also weigh less than the older Standard Weight Wingmaster 20 ga guns. That is why I prefer old standard weight 20 ga guns for target shooting and dove hunting. For rabbits, pheasants, and quail I like the LW guns. The heavier guns don't kick as much as the LW's.

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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:41 pm 
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bigcountry10 wrote:

I love the older wingmasters, so that's why I was thinking of getting a used one. I did see that they are making new ones now, but I was worried that they maybe had fallen to a similar fate of the standard 870 where the new ones aren't nearly the same quality as the old ones. Is that not true? How are you liking your "new" one?


I see/hear comments about the old Wingmasters vs. the new 870 fairly often. Most of the people making this comment are comparing the old Wingmasters to the 870 Express. It's not a fair comparison. The Express is a budget gun, with cheaper metal finish and lower-grade wood. It's meant to sell at a price point. The Wingmaster has always been a higher grade gun, A lot of folks never see Wingmasters any more because they don't shop at places that stock them and they're often turned off by the price (about $700).

Some folks might argue that today's Wingmaster isn't quite as nice as the old ones, but I think they'd be hard pressed to prove that contention. Wingmasters remain a high quality gun.

One difference is the wood finish. About 35 years ago, Remington did away with the high gloss "bowling ball" finish and went to a satin finish. That's not a lower quality finish, just different. It's still a walnut stock.

Remchoke, small frame Wingmasters are hard to find used. They don't sell that many subgauge Wingmasters and folks who buy them typically hold onto them. I'm fortunate enough to have Wingmasters in .410, 28 gauge, 20 gauge magnum . . . as well as a couple of 12 gauges. The .410 was handed down to me but I had to look long and hard to find the 28 and 20 at prices I wanted to pay. When the deals came along, I jumped on them. You may have to beat the bushes awhile to find the 20 gauge gun you're looking for. Buying new would be a way to short-circuit the search . . . and it probably won't cost a lot more than many of the used examples you find.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:51 am
Posts: 6
Appreciate all the input and advice here. Thank you!

I know in comparing the 870 express old vs. new that the quality of today's 870s express has come down, but I just didn't know if the quality of the wingmaster had come down over the years since they have brought them back.

Thanks for the help in working through this! I think I've narrowed down to what I'm looking for, and it's just a matter of finding a used one or just going new. Please let me know if you ever come across someone selling one with the specs I mentioned above.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:34 pm
Posts: 5111
Wingmasters never left! Bite your tongue!:-)


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:21 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:03 am
Posts: 228
Buying a fixed choke gun would certainly broaden you options, but the LW 20 ga. Magnums with a vent rib seem to always command the highest resale of any Wingmaster just about.

Like you, I prefer older Wingmasters, but mostly just for aesthetics (white line spacers, buttplates or waffle pads, silver spoons, that 70s straight grain you can often find, etc). Performance wise, I’ve owned Wingmasters in just about every decade of their production and they have been consistently excellent. My sons new 20 ga is every bit as smooth and unflappable as the ‘51 I own. Unsurprisingly, I borrow it from him regularly for dove and clays.

I just don’t know how you beat a 3” 20 ga. with screw chokes as a multi-purpose sub gauge gun. My only functional gripe with the newer models is that they are not available in a field barrel.

I guess my firm belief is that there a lot of reasons to buy a used Wingmaster, but the idea that it will be higher quality than a new one isn’t one I think hold any water.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:28 am 
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bigcountry10 wrote:
I know in comparing the 870 express old vs. new that the quality of today's 870s express has come down, but I just didn't know if the quality of the wingmaster had come down over the years since they have brought them back . . .



Why do you say that Express quality has gone down? How so?

Also, they didn't "bring back" the Wingmaster. The Wingmaster has been in continuous production since 1950.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:04 am
Posts: 2262
Bladeswitcher wrote:
bigcountry10 wrote:
I know in comparing the 870 express old vs. new that the quality of today's 870s express has come down, but I just didn't know if the quality of the wingmaster had come down over the years since they have brought them back . . .



Why do you say that Express quality has gone down? How so?

Also, they didn't "bring back" the Wingmaster. The Wingmaster has been in continuous production since 1950.




I sure like mine. That`s provided 2015 manufacture qualifies as " today`s 870 Express".

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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:51 am
Posts: 6
Rooster booster wrote:
Wingmasters never left! Bite your tongue!:-)


Ha, thanks for calling that out. I thought they had stop making them. Good to know!


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:51 am
Posts: 6
S.davis wrote:
I just don’t know how you beat a 3” 20 ga. with screw chokes as a multi-purpose sub gauge gun.


Love to hear it! Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:12 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:56 am
Posts: 185
Rather than rehash all that was said here,

https://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewto ... 5&t=500972

I'd simply say to google "Remington quality issues".

The amount of information on the web that counters the "It's as good as it's ever been" that several seem to hash and rehash here would lend to a strong suggestion of "caveat emptor" when buying a modern Remington.

I'll stick to my older Remingtons......


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:14 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:56 am
Posts: 185
If you do find an older gun with fixed chokes, if you mail the barrel off to Mike Orlean he will install choke tubes quickly and inexpensively, so I wouldn't let a fixed choke barrel stop you from buying a nice, well made, older Remington.

https://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewto ... 12&t=36237


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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:38 pm
Posts: 185
I strongly suggest you handle and inspect the actual gun your purchasing before you buy, sending the gun back because of issues sucks. At the LGS there is a new 20g Wingmaster on the rack next to a 20g Express, the action on the Express is a LOT smoother than the Wingmaster so much so it makes you wonder what's wrong with the Wingmaster, and the Express is $400 cheaper.

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 Post subject: Re: 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge - recommendations wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:45 am
Posts: 1866
oldshotty wrote:
I strongly suggest you handle and inspect the actual gun your purchasing before you buy, sending the gun back because of issues sucks. At the LGS there is a new 20g Wingmaster on the rack next to a 20g Express, the action on the Express is a LOT smoother than the Wingmaster so much so it makes you wonder what's wrong with the Wingmaster, and the Express is $400 cheaper.


Smoother or looser ?

Had a local store try and sell me an imported O/U of some sort a few years back.

Quote: “These guns really are tight.”

Translated : You had to break it over your knee to open it.




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