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  #1  
Old 01-03-2022, 9:18 PM
larkja larkja is offline
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Default Which is better? Old 870s or new 870s?

Looking at picking up a Remington 870. Have slowly been collecting older, C&R firearms and would love to pick up an 870. Sometimes I have learned the older firearms are better, but sometimes the newer ones, due to design changes and enhancements, are better.

So, what say you CGers? Older C&R 870 or new one?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2022, 9:27 PM
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Got my 870 express around 2012, so I think its a "new" one. No issues whatsover.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2022, 9:35 PM
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The older ones are better. Just more attention to detail and better fit and finish on all the parts.
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  #4  
Old 01-03-2022, 9:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceh383 View Post
The older ones are better. Just more attention to detail and better fit and finish on all the parts.
This.

If you can find an older one, you’d be set. If you get an Express, I’d recommend getting it cerakoted and polishing the chamber.
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  #5  
Old 01-04-2022, 5:15 AM
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Older 870 WingMasters are DEFINITELY better---smoother---better finish---better fit---altogether better guns! The 870 Express models are known to require attention before they function reliably...
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2022, 5:19 AM
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My express needed to be tweaked my old 870 just been humming along for 35 years.
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  #7  
Old 01-04-2022, 5:22 AM
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IIRC the issue with old 870s was the possibility of difficult-to-clear shell jams.

Enter “flexitab”/“flex tab” modifications, which became standard on later guns.

— Michael
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2022, 5:27 AM
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I've got one of the newer 870's and can only say that it is the "most prone to rust" gun that I own. It works fine and has never had any other issue.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2022, 6:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceh383 View Post
The older ones are better. Just more attention to detail and better fit and finish on all the parts.
Agree with this^^^! I have an older one in 20ga built on a 12 ga frame and no vent rib. The quality of the build is far better than the recent ones I've seen.

MLC
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2022, 6:59 AM
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What is “older”?

And...

What is “newer”?
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  #11  
Old 01-04-2022, 7:00 AM
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I have a 870 Express which I bought for desert bird hunting. It gets the job done and I have never had any issues with it. As mentioned above the older 870’s are smoother.
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  #12  
Old 01-04-2022, 7:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnele928 View Post
What is “older”?

And...

What is “newer”?
Older = C&R or more than 50 years old
Newer = Newer than 50 years old
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  #13  
Old 01-04-2022, 7:52 AM
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I’ve got examples from:
70s(wm)
80s (wm)
early 90s: (tc)
Late 90s (express)
Late 2010s (express)

The one I’ve had the most issues with, but have owned the longest, is the late 90s express. A decent amount of old surface rust from the years it stayed in a soft case. I also broke the threads on the action bar (literally sheared the thread off of the bar).

I’ve seen some rusty express versions, and express versions that absolutely do not like certain brands (Winchester super targets for example)…but outside of short shucking a wingmaster I’ve had no issues with them.

Favorite: my TC but that’s because I’ve used it the most and it’s gotten me some good doubles trap scores.

I’ve handled the newly made express; and the finish seems to be much better than the express of old.

Might get one to have it, but nonetheless I’d rather buy an old TB or another Wingmaster.

Need me a 16, 28 and a 410 version, plus the All American Trap, an upland special, a TB and an older TC…



https://www.remingtonsociety.org/col...-870-shotguns/

Last edited by RayPDA; 01-04-2022 at 8:03 AM..
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  #14  
Old 01-04-2022, 8:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larkja View Post
Older = C&R or more than 50 years old
Newer = Newer than 50 years old
There are many 870s that are less than 50 years old that will serve you well.

Stay away from the express models and you should be fine. Some express models have a rougher exterior finish (no polishing at all) and if taken to the wrong duck hunting environment (think Salton Sea) they can rust by the time you get home. I've seen it. Here's an interesting read https://tacticalgunslings.com/about-remington-barrels/

Lot's of folks say the express model contains parts that aren't as well finished (think deburred) as Wingmasters, but I've never done a comparison.

IMHO, if it says Wingmaster on it you should be fine, regardless of when it was made.

Send a PM to aippi (here on Calguns), he's a Factory Certified Remington Law Enforcement Armorer and used to build custom 870s before Remington went belly up. You may want to tell him how and where you intend to use it.
Here's his website https://tacticalgunslings.com/
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  #15  
Old 01-04-2022, 6:28 PM
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Older for sure, only 870’s I’ll buy are wingmasters, I have two from the 70’s and when compared to the newer stuff I can tell the same level of quality isn’t there.

Only other type of 870 I’d consider is a police model, those are always held to higher standard. I’d compare those to the wingmasters.
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  #16  
Old 01-04-2022, 6:52 PM
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I guess it really depends on what you are looking for OP.

I dont care about shotguns, I only own one. All I wanted was a basic tool that would go bang everytime I wanted it to. Really my only requirement was reliability. So I got an 870 express. I dont care how it looks, it looks like a basic shotgun to me. It came with the 28" bbl that works great for shooting pheasant and clays, and I have used it to shoot both. I picked up an old 18" cylinder barrel with open sights on ebay, and use it in that configuration for HD. It works splendidly shooting slugs. I am not a shotgun snob so keep that in mind.

An 870 express will work fine if all you want is a basic pump shotgun. If you find an older 870 for less, go for it if it looks functional. I certainly wouldnt pay more for an older shotgun. If it works, it works, thats all I care about, age doesnt matter to me, only functionality. I dont care about the finish. Im not a shotgun guy. A ferrari in the shotgun world is equal to a camry of the shotgun world, for my uses. Im only interested in reliability, and the 870 express works for me, never had any issues with mine. And if I had to replace mine, I'd look for the cheapest one I could find as long as it functions properly.
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Last edited by California_Deplorable; 01-04-2022 at 7:01 PM..
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2022, 12:51 AM
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Along with looking for an older “Wingmaster”, I’d keep my eyes peeled for a used “870 Police Magnum”.
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2022, 8:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBGBA View Post
There are many 870s that are less than 50 years old that will serve you well.

Stay away from the express models and you should be fine. Some express models have a rougher exterior finish (no polishing at all) and if taken to the wrong duck hunting environment (think Salton Sea) they can rust by the time you get home. I've seen it. Here's an interesting read https://tacticalgunslings.com/about-remington-barrels/

Lot's of folks say the express model contains parts that aren't as well finished (think deburred) as Wingmasters, but I've never done a comparison.

IMHO, if it says Wingmaster on it you should be fine, regardless of when it was made.

Send a PM to aippi (here on Calguns), he's a Factory Certified Remington Law Enforcement Armorer and used to build custom 870s before Remington went belly up. You may want to tell him how and where you intend to use it.
Here's his website https://tacticalgunslings.com/
Thanks for the tip. I'm looking at an 870 express at Turners currently. I was not really shopping for it but it was so simple functioning, the wood looked nice, I just really felt it calling to me.

But if these guys are prone to rust, I'll look at Wingmasters instead.
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2022, 9:19 AM
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The one thing to keep in mind:
Steel shot.
If you buy a C&R earlier than 1970, you'll need to get a modern barrel if you want to shoot steel shot.
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  #20  
Old 01-10-2022, 9:19 AM
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The one thing to keep in mind:
Steel shot.
If you buy a C&R earlier than 1970, you'll need to get a modern barrel if you want to shoot steel shot.
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  #21  
Old 01-10-2022, 9:49 AM
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Quote:
The one thing to keep in mind:
Steel shot.
If you buy a C&R earlier than 1970, you'll need to get a modern barrel if you want to shoot steel shot.
Not true. The early barrels are fine with steel shot as long as you are not using big pellets in tight chokes. Avoid full choke and choose appropriate loads and you will be fine. I bought my first WingMaster in 1965 and I still have it. I have several 870s, my favorite shotgun. All WingMasters except for one Sportsman. The Sportsman was a transition gun before they released the Express. Interior finish is comparable to a WingMaster, exterior finish is comparable to an Express. Functions as smoothly as a WingMaster, but exterior rusts easily (was my Salton Sea duck gun for a few years).
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  #22  
Old 01-10-2022, 11:57 AM
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I have a Wingmaster from the 70's and it's super smooth and reliable. It is now my back up duck gun. The only problem with the older guns is the chokes are not removable, mine has a Hastings barrel with screw in chokes.
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  #23  
Old 01-10-2022, 1:23 PM
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I own a 2014 Freedom Group 870. It is not a good gun. Three initial, obnoxious factory defects, my opinion hasn't change at all. You don't have to get a C&R 870 to get a good one, but I would def avoid post 2007 Remingtons, that's when they went out of business and Cerbrus Capital bought them and re-built them under the flag of Freedom Group. That's went it all went to shyte. They were on the downhill probably beginning mid 2000s so probably a 70s-80s Remington would be good. I personally like the older C&R Police models with wood stock and fore end but I guess it all depends on what you want to do with it? Remington was once great, but mismanagement destroyed it. Today's Remington is just a licensing deal basically.

It's a shame, basically bean counters destroyed so many once great gun brands through scrimping, cutting the best, most experienced staff and making everything a former shadow of what it once was.
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  #24  
Old 01-10-2022, 3:15 PM
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My concern, whether valid or just a feeling, is it's my understanding the new, current Remarms company won't be working on the pre-Remarms guns. Right now, I don't even see any parts for sale even if the new 870 parts fit the old 870 guns (which I think mainly they do). I am wondering how long the no-parts-available situation will last.

Perhaps there are various repair shops willing to repair the older 870 shotguns and have some parts on-hand, but I don't know this. The good thing is the 870 is fairly reliable and hopefully will not be breaking and won't need parts or repairs.

I've got two 870 shotguns, a 2004 and a newer 2016. I know some folks have several shotguns in their personal-inventory. I've got a total of four and I might add another, but it'll likely not be another Remington (I've got 3 Remingtons and 1 Mossberg).
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  #25  
Old 01-10-2022, 4:20 PM
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I remember a few years ago when I nearly got lynched on this forum for extensively criticizing new Freedom Group Remington guns. I probably went too far with it though, considering LynnJr made a YouTube video showing me how to fix Remington rust with spray paint. I changed my avatar to a Rustington 870 meme for a while.

I’ve never seen guns rust like new Remingtons, especially the 870 (which I’ve seen rusted brand new on gun shop walls) and the Remington 783, which is the biggest pile of **** I’ve ever handled in my life.

Old 870s are fantastic shotguns. I have used a 1980’s production Wingmaster for dove and qual every year for the last 15 years. It’s still smooth, reliable, and looks great beside some minor finish wear.
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  #26  
Old 01-10-2022, 6:32 PM
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I had an older Wingmaster. It was one that was built in the early 1970s. My gosh the action on that thing was like nothing I've ever worked before. It was like as smooth as silk.
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  #27  
Old 01-10-2022, 6:53 PM
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My personal experiences:

20+ year old 870 Express. Used extensively as a range gun and was a HD gun, lots of bird and decent bit of buck, no issues ever. I did not like the key locking safety at all and removed it. Later on I replaced the whole trigger assembly with a Police Magnum assembly, but the old polymer one always worked too. Added a side saddle and light, and a heavier magazine spring and follower. I still have it and it is absolutely dependable.

870 Police Magnum, wood furniture. Heavier, works flawlessly, needed about 100 hulls to work out the grittiness in the action. No mods added, or needed.

870 Wingmaster Police Trade in. Lots of honest cosmetic wear, basic shotgun with surplus wood furniture and polished blue finish. Basic bead sight, 4 round tube. Absolutely the smoothest operating shotgun I have ever shouldered.

None of them ever needed any filing, grinding, or buffing to work correctly after I owned them.
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  #28  
Old 01-10-2022, 8:11 PM
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I’ve never owned an older rem 870, only the newer express models. Currently have two. Other than the rust issue and wood looking beat up on ones I used for duck hunting, no problems.

Swapped out the wood with magpul furniture and wipe it down after hunting, should be good. I cerakoted my current 870 express. I have 4 barrels for it (rifled slug, 21” turkey barrel and two waterfowl hunting barrels so won’t get rid of it. It also has magpul furniture on it. I also have a metro barrel that I’ve never used.

Currently have a 20 gauge with magpul stock for sale if anyone is interested.
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  #29  
Old 01-10-2022, 8:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedro View Post
The one thing to keep in mind:
Steel shot.
If you buy a C&R earlier than 1970, you'll need to get a modern barrel if you want to shoot steel shot.
Anyone know when Remington started putting screw in chokes on their barrels?
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Old 01-10-2022, 8:22 PM
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I saw one of the new production 870s the other day. It looked pretty damn good. Ill have to get a better look soon as I want 2 more and new ones will work
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Old 01-10-2022, 8:24 PM
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This stuff does a decent job of preventing rust. Weird smell though.

Barricaderustprotection 4.5Oz https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FSVL92O...FBP8AVQD0XGYGY
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  #32  
Old 01-10-2022, 8:27 PM
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any made after around 1980 is ok with the flexitab
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Old 01-10-2022, 8:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NATEWA View Post
Anyone know when Remington started putting screw in chokes on their barrels?
I think 1986 was the first year of the Remchoke removable chokes.
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Old 01-13-2022, 4:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatcat View Post
Along with looking for an older “Wingmaster”, I’d keep my eyes peeled for a used “870 Police Magnum”.
Yup, I been told 70s Police Magnum are primo!
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  #35  
Old 01-13-2022, 4:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoHeavyHitter View Post
I've got one of the newer 870's and can only say that it is the "most prone to rust" gun that I own. It works fine and has never had any other issue.
The new ones are rough rust buckets but stupid reliable. I’d definitely look for a 70’s or 80’s wingmaster. But a new one will work fine. I just rattle can mine.
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  #36  
Old 01-13-2022, 5:00 PM
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This is a solid option

https://ithacagun.com/product/model-37-featherlight/
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  #37  
Old 01-13-2022, 5:23 PM
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I bought one off of a consignment rack for $250. It was made sometime in the 90s, but hadn't been used much. It is the perfect duck gun. The finish sucks and the wood sucks, but it is as reliable as the day is long. Plus if it falls out of the boat I won't cry. :-)
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  #38  
Old 01-13-2022, 7:13 PM
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Maybe it's just me, but I prefer the older "white line" models of the 870.
I have owned a number of them over the years...
1970's corn cob model forearm, 1980's TB's, 1990's Special Purpose (SP), etc. Except for the SP, all of the models were Wingmasters. Mostly in 12 gauge or 20 gauge models.
Once Remington started going to the express models, I lost interest in the newer models. The quality declined and the parts were not directly interchangeable.

If you are going with a "new" model, I suggest a police model and the Wingmaster.
If you are going with an "Old" model, I suggest Wingmaster or the SP model, and pre-1995 ish.

Best regards,
870classic.
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  #39  
Old 01-14-2022, 7:22 AM
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I don’t have a newer model but I have one made in 1951 that my father purchased new from a shop in 1954. He used it for pheasant hunting and I acquired it in the late 80s. Very smooth action and still looks new. I have other shotguns that I use so the old Wingmaster sits in the safe. The newer ones should be good but I guess it all depends on how you plan on using it. Several complaints about rust in the newer years but not sure if that is centered on a specific timeframe where most of these issues are found.


Last edited by Hairball; 01-14-2022 at 8:30 AM..
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  #40  
Old 01-14-2022, 5:32 PM
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With the old ones it will depend on if the previous owner took good care of it or not. In most cases you will be fine. But sometimes they've been neglected and the actions and other things will be extremely stiff or they will have other issues. In general the older ones are gonna be better made. Though there is nothing wrong with the current ones.
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