View Full Version : Rem 870 Wingmaster. Devil in the details?

November 19, 2008, 01:43 PM
I'm in the market for a shotgun and I need a little help with the details.

I'm already settled on an 870 Wingmaster 12 ga. I'd like to use it for duck hunting and shooting clay pigeons.

Most of what I see online is the 28" or 30" barrels with 2 3/4" or 3" chambered. (Rem doesn't make a Wingmaster with 3 1/2" chamber.)

Is there really that much of an advantage of the 3" over the 2 3/4" or the 28" over the 30"? I know the 28" swings easier because it's 2" shorter, and the 30" holds a tighter pattern for a slightly longer distance (all other things being the same).

Is there a certain choke that would better than the others for these particular uses?

Is there really that much of a difference?

November 19, 2008, 04:32 PM
the 3" shell would hold more pellets,have a bit more punch to your shoulder. i have a wingmaster magnum myself and its a great shotgun. as far as the 28" vs. the 30", i would go with the 28" barrel.

chokes for hunting would be determined by what distance you would be shooting,loads you are going to use,etc. you would have to fire different shot sizes,weights,brands of shells with differnt chokes to see what kind of spread you get. there is different manufacturers of choke tubes. i'm sure there are others on the forum that can comment on them. i only have factory brand (remington) tubes.

clay shooting not too sure on that. i just shoot them for a 50/50 fun, practice. i've used gunclub 1 1/8 oz,game loads 1 oz in 7.5 and 8,sport loads 1 1/8 oz in 8.

November 19, 2008, 04:45 PM
there really that much of an advantage of the 3" over the 2 3/4" or the 28" over the 30"? I know the 28" swings easier because it's 2" shorter, and the 30" holds a tighter pattern for a slightly longer distance (all other things being the same).

Never equate length of barrel with the pattern. The length of the barrel has absolutely nothing to do with the pattern - it's all in the choke. As to a 28" barrel swinging easier, not necessarily so. It will swing faster, but not smoother.

If you are shooting skeet or quail (need to get the gun up and pointed quickly), then a 26" barrel is what you need. If you are pass shooting waterfowl or shooting trap, then the 30" barrel with give you the smoother followthrough. Most people that need a general purpose barrel will compromise and choose a 28". Having interchangable chokes will allow you to use that barrel with the choke that suits your particular need.

As to the chamber size, you only need a 3" chamber for 2 things - waterfowl and turkeys.

November 19, 2008, 05:27 PM
Wingmaster has been a good gun for many years / although personally I prefer the Browning BPS - I think they are comparable. There is a thread below - that says there was a recent test that didn't care for the Wingmaster - but I'm betting you'll be happy with a Wingmaster.

Go with a 3" chamber ( so you can shoot 2 3/4" or 3" shells ). It'll give you all the shell options you need for waterfowl, etc.

Barrel length is more personal - I'm 6'5" / 290 lbs and fairly long arms - and the lighter the gun ( and a pump is light ) then I go with the longest barrel option. So I would go with the 30" barrel for everything - including shooting Skeet, hunting Quail, Grouse, etc - and I don't think its any disadvantage. But if the 30" feels too long ( or clumsy ) then go with the 28" barrel. I would not go below 28" on a light gun. The 30" gives you a longer sight plane - and it really helps on the follow thru - as long as the gun remains balanced between your hands and does not feel clumsy. That clumsy feeling, where it starts to feel like you're trying to "swing a big ole sewer pipe out there" is different for all of us ( arm length, upper body strength, just plain feel of the gun, etc ).

In terms of chokes - for all of my hunting or sporting clays guns - I carry a Cyclinder or Skeet Choke, an Improved Cyclinder, a Modified, an Improved Modified and a Full. In general - I pick a choke based on the kill range for clay targets or birds ( < 21 yards I go Cyl or Skeet choke, 21 - 30 yards I go Imp Cyclinder, 30 - 35 yards Modified, 35-45 I go Imp Modified, over 45 yards Full.) The idea in picking a choke is to put a 30" pattern on the target at the kill range. We talk about lead in wingshooting - you feel the lead on a crossing target at 25 yards - at something around 3 - 4 feet - so I pick a Skeet or Cyclinder choke to make that happen. Tighter isn't better - it defeats the ballistics of a shotgun / making my lead issues too precise. I change the pellet sizes too - as I go further out / like a clay target at 21 yards you need about 3 9's to break it / you probably need 2 8's to break it / and only one 7 1/2 pellet to break it - but the bigger the pellet size, the more energy is delivered at the kill range - so with choke changes, you probably change the pellet size in the shell too ( maybe increase the amount of shot from 1 oz to 1 1/8oz or 1 1/4oz etc ) - but my favorite load for 12ga is 1 oz of 8's at 1225 fps ( for Skeet, Sporting Clays, and Quail ) ....

The length of the barrel 28" vs 30" has no impact on the pattern / modern shotshells burn all the powder in the shells probably within the first 15" of the barrel.

November 19, 2008, 07:31 PM
I do not see a need for the 3 1/2" shells personally, so I do not see this as a problem. I use 3" shells for turkey and waterfowl so I like the ability to shoot both 2 3/4" as well as 3" in the same gun which all 870's made for at least 15 years or so will handle.

I like the 26" barrels better as an all purpose length and could use a 28" but feel 30" is just too long for me. I am in the minority on this but that is what feel best to me.

November 20, 2008, 09:07 AM
This is some great information! Opinions help greatly.

November 20, 2008, 09:30 AM
I have a wingmaster and I LOVE IT. That said, forget the wingmaster if you want to hunt waterfowl unless you plan to sit on top of them or by VERY Expensive premium shot.
Ever since non toxic shot (a.k.a. Steel) became law I have been completely unsuccessful killing waterfowl at most distances that I used to consider reasonable. You simply don't have enough energy left to reach out and make most of the shots that used to be easy kills with lead because steel looses energy so fast and you have to use larger sized shot which means a weaker (less densly packed) pattern.
For this reason I would definetly buy a similar gun (just about any of the other remington 870s) but with a 3.5" chamber. You can still shoot 2 3/4 shells from it for clays etc, but when you need to hit those ducks out past 25-30yards you can load it up with a lot more firepower.

November 20, 2008, 01:38 PM
I'm finding that these online gun buying sites say they come with "full choke" or "modified choke". Now I understand how a choke works, but does this mean that the Wingmaster comes with a barrel with a choke built in, or that they are interchangeable but comes with a full choke?

November 20, 2008, 02:55 PM
Wingmasters have been made for MANY years. The older ones came with fixed choke barrels. Most of the ones made in the last decade or two come with interchangable choke barrels.

November 20, 2008, 03:28 PM
Remington introduced the first changeable screw in chokes ( Rem Choke ) in 1986 in some models. I think the Rem Choke was standard on the 11-87 model in 1987 - and later in versions of the 870. I don't know for sure when it was standard on the 870 Wingmaster model.

So any Remington mfg prior to 1986 will have a fixed choke that is not changeable - unless the barrel has been aftermarket threaded to accept screw in chokes - or someone put a replacement barrel on the gun.

I would not recommend a shotgun without screw in changeable chokes as a general purpose shotgun like you are looking for ( although you might be able to get by on one gun choked in IC or Mod - if you got a great price on it - and open the pattern up a little by adjusting your loads ) - but its not as versatile, in my opinion, as a gun with screw in chokes.

November 20, 2008, 04:05 PM
Good to know.

What is a "REM Choke"?

November 20, 2008, 04:16 PM
"Rem Choke" is the term Remington applies to their screw in choke system.

Browning calls their current system - Invector Plus - just marketing terms.

Benelli calls one of their screw in chokes a "Crio" system ....

Screw in chokes vary by mfg / threads are different, the thread location on the choke body is different, etc ..... you can buy chokes that will fit a Remington 870 Wingmaster from Remington or from companies like Briley. In general, a Remington choke will not fit another gun mfg's barrels ( but there are overlaps with some of the conglomerates that make guns and sell them under more than one name ).

Depending on the model of gun ( some guns come with 3 screw in chokes, some with 5, some with just one or two )... Extra chokes on average probably cost about $ 30 - $ 50 each depending on whether you like them flush with the end of the barrel, extended with knurled edges outside the barrel, some have holes in the choke .... lots of marketing gimmicks out there.

November 20, 2008, 04:19 PM
Here is a compatibility chart on chokes from Briley Mfg - ( it gives me a headache trying to keep track of it all ..).


November 20, 2008, 04:33 PM
Here's Briley's selection of chokes for most Remington models - range is price from $ 18 - $ 75 ( on high end for a ported choke, which I don't personally recommend). Extened chokes are nice - but not mandatory either. I would opt for a middle of the road model of choke around $45 probably if I was buying them from Briley.


November 21, 2008, 03:01 PM
I just bought the 3" 12 ga, 28" barrel with rem choke system.

November 21, 2008, 04:22 PM
good call GP, now ya need a choke tube wrench and some choke tubes.

the barrel most likely came with a mod. choke tube in it. depending on what kind of shots you are going to be taking, you'll possibly need skeet,imp.cyl. and full. the factory brand ones will be cheaper, thats all i have. but they may not perform to your liking. so the briley,carlson,etc would be a wise choice in choke tubes as well.

did you take a picture of it?

November 21, 2008, 05:26 PM
Congratulations - I hope you have a lot of good days with it.