View Full Version : older wingmaster questions...

'68 riotgun
July 18, 2001, 10:41 PM
Hey guys, Just bought a 870 Wingmaster made in '68. The gun is in perfect cond, actually never been fired in the original box. OK, I've had several other 870s, in SP or Express, and the feeders had holes in them, and were 100% reliable with 1000's of rds. through them. This one has a silver feeder that's plain with no holes. Is this just as good? My concern is with reliability only.

Also it has a metal follower, black in color. Should I replace it with a modern plastic one, or does it matter?

The 18" barrel says "MOD" by the reciever, but all of the older dealer gents say that no matter what it is stamped, it's a CYL. bore.
This makes no sense to me, but more than two guys have told me this?

Any advice on this gun is much appreciated. Thanks!

July 19, 2001, 07:21 AM
Shoot the piece before you start changing out parts. They should be perfectly reliable. It sounds like someone cut off a 28" barrel on your gun to make an 18" barrel. Measure the constriction if you are curious. A true cylinder bore in a 12 ga gun of 1968 vintage will run around 0.729 inches in diameter. Just use a dial caliper and check.

Dave McC
July 19, 2001, 07:41 AM
The shell carrier(feeder) and follower will work fine as is.

The older style carrier went out of fashion for police depts, because some semi trained troops of less than brilliant intellect could never be trusted to load a shell ALL THE WAY into the magazine.If the shell comes back over the carrier, either dissassembly or a rather stressful(on the shotgun) clearance drill has to be done. A few minutes of practice should get you right for a lifetime.

I had maybe 20 years of experience with the 870 when I learned of this. Had zero FTFs at that point and still do.

You've a real gem there, probably bought/altered during the 68 riots and forgotten thererafter. Enjoy!

'68 riotgun
July 19, 2001, 10:33 AM
THanks for the info fellas. The Dillon dial came up exactly.729" so I'm a little dissapointed. The crown job, bead, and finish are all perfect--it even has that faint "ring" on the edge that all of my Rems had. Oh well thought it was too good to be true, guess I was right!

Dave what can I do to simulate the failure to feed? I'm not sure of the clearing steps if it jams. :eek:

I'm going to leave the steel follower unless range time dictates otherwise. I try to load by feel only anyway.

The other thing I noticed was that when putting the barrel on the reciever the magazine's threads where the cap goes on don't stick out far enough to tighten by hand. Should I always have to torque the cap on with a large phillips? Seemed like the expresses were fine with a good hand tightening.

I'm pumped about the shotgunning forum!

Dave McC
July 19, 2001, 12:29 PM
Tom, here's the options, but first let's simulate the prob.

With an EMPTY 870, close the action and start a shell(preferably a dummy) into the magazine. DO not push it all the way in, and let it come back behind the carrier. Voila! A jam....

If this is practice, now safe the weapon by removing the mag cap, the spring and mag follower and let the shell slide out the front of the mag tube. Reassemble and continue.

If this is a crisis, clear the weapon this way. Be advised it's hard on the butt.I've broken pieces off stocks doing this.

With one hand on the grip and the other on the forearm, depress the slide release and hold it down. Swing the weapon straight up and slam the butt down on a hard surface. The jam should clear.

As for tightening, use padded channelocks to tighten ONE click past handtight. More can warp the bbl temporarily.

Chokeless(Cylinder bore) bbls are quite useful. As an upland gun, this gives beautiful 25 yard patterns for grouse, quail, woodcock, etc, anything that gives you 25 yard or less shots.Same applies for HD, choke is meaningless at HD ranges.

Getting that thing set up for tubes will give you more versatility, one local smith here of good repute will do this for about $110+ the tubes, including lengthening and polishing the forcing cone. This is one of the best aftermarket mods around.

Or, buy another bbl and keep this one for when it's in the closet ready for trouble.

'68 riotgun
July 25, 2001, 12:46 AM
Well after firing a 100 rds at the range I'm not dissappointed anymore. This old baby was a pleasure to shoot. At 25 yds. I kept the Estate L.R. #00 within 12", The Winchester high brass #00 in 10", and the Remington #0 within 9.5". (Man, watch out with that Rem. Express #0 buck, felt like the butt was going to fly off my shoulder!)

This old gun really inspired me to do alot of quick repeat shots. I'm pretty quick with the expresses i've had but this action is so slick, I pushed it as fast and often as I could!

It did measure cyl. bore but I believe it groups tighter than my 870 Bunny Buster with the factory cyl. barrel.

Dave McC
July 25, 2001, 06:03 AM
Glad it worked out for you, I knew it would. Those are excellent patterns. Cylinder bores give nice even patterns with any load, less shot deformation and fewer flyers.

Enjoy, sounds like an outstanding toy....

July 26, 2001, 07:43 PM
After my Mossburg 500A fell apart (forestock keeper stripped), my Dad gave me a new 870 Wingmaster fieldgrade 12ga for Xmas.
As described: all steel and slicker'n snot on marble!
Plain barrel 28" Modified.
Machined steel all-the-way, double push rails.
Never a problem with that one.

Are the new ones as good? I'm scatterless, presently.

'68 riotgun
July 29, 2001, 12:31 AM
FDM, I'm not sure about the new wingmasters, but the 870 Express is fine. IMHO, my old WM is much tighter where the bbl. meets the reciever and where the trigger group fits in the reciever(tighter tolerances throughout-- can be both good and bad).

I've owned 4 Expresses, and their action was nice, but this one is like greased glass.


Dave McC
July 29, 2001, 06:52 AM
FDM, the newer ones tend towards looser tolerances, and sometimes the high gloss finish runs a little thin in spots. However, the worst 870 ever built is still one great shotgun. That includes the newer Expresses with those #$%^*( PC safeties and mag dimples.

And, since 870s last unbelieveably long even when neglected, there's lots of excellent ones out there selling for reasonable prices. My local Guns R Us has beater 870s with mag extensions and Choate stocks with a PG for $229(Old Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant Police turnins), and a used 16 ga WM with nice but dinged wood for $250.

Since Son is showing an interest in shotguns, I may have to pick up another field grade 870 and set it up for him. That need is a few years off, but they're not going to get any cheaper.

July 29, 2001, 03:52 PM
Thanks for the info, guys!

I should look for a used WM, because I loved the fluers in the checkering on my old one.
Should never have peddled it, but in '68 I went in the service and didn't know where I'd wind up.
Wish I had my ol' ruger 10/22 back too.
Oh well, they're still being made too.