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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is a Ruger forum, but I also know there are lots of knowlegable folks here.

My secondary HD weapon is my Remington 870 12ga with 18.5" barrel and dresssed in synthetic black. It is the Express version.

Years ago I had a Rem 870 12ga Wingmaster for hunting.

Does anyone know the difference between the two models? Does Wingmaster have a better quality action? Is Express cheaper quality?

I've seen a few used Wingmasters at my LGS recently and wondering if it would be worth the investment.
 

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I only have a Wingmaster so I don't know for sure but I thought actions are same Wingmasters are just finished better & have different contour barrels.
 

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The Express Model has:
A plastic trigger group.
The dimples in the mag tube and the new style plastic magazine retention system, EXCEPT on the extended magazine versions, which do NOT have the dimples.
A rougher, bead blasted blue job.
A less polished bore.
A two piece sleeved barrel. (not 100% sure about this)
Hardwood or synthetic stock, with a sporting-length fore end and pressed-in checkering.
Some Metal Injection Molded (MIM) parts, like the extractor.

The Wingmaster has:
An aluminum trigger group, (Possibly changed to polymer in 2008).
The old style magazine retention system.
A much smoother finish inside and out, no machine marks or burrs.
The Wingmaster gun receives a higher level of inspection and finishing.
A fine, commercial polished blue finish.
A polished bore.
A chrome plated bolt.
Walnut stocks with the famous "Bowling Pin" finish in gloss or satin. and better checkering.
No use of MIM parts, the extractor is milled.
The Wingmaster is the full top-of-the-line commercial Remington pump gun, and is priced accordingly
 

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I only have a Wingmaster so I don't know for sure but I thought actions are same Wingmasters are just finished better & have different contour barrels.
that's what i've been told. 'course i have the express, so maybe folks were just trying to make me feel good about my cheaper purchase. :confused::)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, after Lee D posted, I took my Express apart to compare to his list.

Since I replaced the original 26" vent-rib barrel with an 18.5" HD barrel, the barrel quality is not a factor. I also replaced the wood stock and forearm with synthetic, so not a concern there either. I added an after-market steel mag extender. No dimples in the mag tube. The carrier is solid steel, as one would expect. The trigger group housing is aluminum, not plastic. I think the finish is Parkerized (not beaded blue), which I prefer in a HD configuration anyway.

The reason I'm asking is because the last time I shot it, it jammed solid several times on ejection. I was using very old shells at the time, which may have been a contributing factor, but 870s are usually pretty tough. I need to shoot it again with newer shells to see if that is the problem, or if there is some other mechanical problem with this gun. It'll be a few months before I can shoot it anyway because of shoulder surgery.

Thanks everyone for the good feedback.

I certainly liked my early 70s Wingmaster when I had it, for all the fit and finish qualities. It was truly a beautiful gun. But for my use today, it seems more like taking a Cadillac off-roading.
 

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Wingmasters are just purdy. I got mine on sale at Kmart in 1981 for $149, and the original barrel on it was a 3" full choke. I've since added an 18 1/2" cylinder bore and a 26" with screw in chokes.
 

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I added an after-market steel mag extender. No dimples in the mag tube. The trigger group housing is aluminum, not plastic.
thats not how my express is??? last winter i added a wilson combat +1 extension/spring/follower and i had to drill out the dimples....and i do have the synthetic trigger group housing.

im curious, do the newer wingmasters have that stupid trigger lock on the saftey as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thats not how my express is??? last winter i added a wilson combat +1 extension/spring/follower and i had to drill out the dimples....and i do have the synthetic trigger group housing.

im curious, do the newer wingmasters have that stupid trigger lock on the saftey as well?
Hi Lee,

I didn't buy this gun - it was given to me for helping a friend move. That was probably close to 10 years ago, and I don't know how long he owned it before that. It is definately stamped "Express" on the housing and it is the parkerized finish. I had heard about the dimples on the mag tube. Honestly I can't remember if they were there when I added the extension, but I carefully examined it yesterday specifically looking for evidence of them and I couldn't find any. Whatever, there are none now and the extension works correctly, loading two extra rounds.

Maybe older Express models were better quality than they are today. I know my trigger group is aluminum. Oh well... If I don't have the jamming on ejection with newer shells, I'll be satisfied. This gun is strictly for HD. I need to make sure it cycles reliably when it counts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wingmasters are just purdy. I got mine on sale at Kmart in 1981 for $149, and the original barrel on it was a 3" full choke. I've since added an 18 1/2" cylinder bore and a 26" with screw in chokes.
I got mine in '73 or '74 in Abilene TX and you're absolutely correct: "just purdy"! Wish I never sold it. :mad: At least I sold it to a good friend.
 

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my take on the whole express vs wingmaster thing is the same as the winchester 1200 vs 1300. The newer/express versions are basically the same gun only manufactured in a more economically way (read that any way you want) to the manufacturer. Less expensive manufacturing in my opinion does not make the gun any less functional, just not as nice a version. Less machining/polishing, more plastic/less metal parts and less time spend on fit/finish. I had a Winchester 1200 and 1300 and my untrained eye could tell the difference, sold off both and now have a Wingmaster that started its life out as a police shotgun.
 

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Maybe older Express models were better quality than they are today. I know my trigger group is aluminum.
i wonder when this changed?...mine was bought new in 2000 as a combo gun
 
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