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Old March 22, 2010, 10:34 AM   #1
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870 vs. 870

I've some questions about the Remington 870/870Express.
I did a search about these but there's about a gazillion responses to the idea and reading through a bunch of them didn't help so....
From Remington: 1987 -
Remington introduced the lower cost Model 870 Express, which differs from the standard Model 870 line only in exterior matte finish and low luster hardwood stock and forend.
Question: Is that the case? Is the only difference as is stated? Is the current 870 Express only cosmetically different than an 870 Wingmaster?
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Old March 22, 2010, 10:46 AM   #2
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I believe the Wingmaster/Police lines have a special part of the factory where they are inspected in greater detail.

There is also huge difference in quality of finish and I think WM/P models have an all metal trigger system/guard.
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Old March 22, 2010, 10:57 AM   #3
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As I understand it,Pete, few differences exist other than cosmetic.

Some Police models have machined parts like extractors instead of MIM ones.

Some letter grade trap and skeet guns have tweaked triggers.

Newer Expresses have a different mag spring and cap retainer setup.

I do know this.....

Over that last half century I've shot 30-40 different 870s, from agency weapons to my own and those of friends. Maintenance ranged from none to obsessive.

Parts failures on all these can be counted on the fingers of one hand, with fingers left over.

Newer 870s have had some QC issues, but the worst is past on that. And the worst 870 I've ever seen was still a good shotgun.

Get the 870 you want and shoot it plenty. Chances are you'll not have any problems.
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Old March 22, 2010, 01:16 PM   #4
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Is the current 870 Express only cosmetically different than an 870 Wingmaster?
Yes and then some. There are even differences between the older Expresses and the newer one. Functionally perhaps some minor diffferences. You can make the measure on these. Cosmetically; Major differences. I'll list just a few on the newest Express.

1. Weaker magazine springs that readily lose their memory.
2. Hulls stuck in chamber and won't extract.
3. Not just a dull finish but a deeply grooved finish that lends itself to rusting, More readily. Take a new one, wipe it down and see what you get.
4. New ones only come with a Modified installed choke, older ones had three.
5. New ones have little or no wood protective finish, mostly a stain. One good season and it's gone. I've seen them come out of thhe rack, all scratched up.
6. Stocks are laminated birch as oppose to solid birch. Actually, I don't mind this.
7. Trigger group housing is now synthetic/plastic as opposed to metal.

Yes, the new Express is still a good functional shotgun but again. you get what you pay for. I'm very happy with my "Older" Express and more so with my Wingmaster. ...

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Old March 22, 2010, 02:06 PM   #5
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"New ones only come with a Modified installed choke, older ones had three."

That has not been my experience.

My uncle won an Express the first year they came out in the late '80s and it only came with a MOD choke tube. It was a magnum even though it didn't say Express Magnum on it.

I bought an Express Magnum in 1993 and it only came with a MOD choke tube. I got it at a steal of a price for back then - $199.95.

Both of these guns came with gunk on them that was probably preservative and looked like funky rust when rubbed off. I've used mine exclusively for saltwater duck and goose hunting and haven't had any problems with rust since I started spraying religiously with BreakFree or Sheath after every cleaning. Not after every use, after every cleaning - like on Monday night after a weekend of bouncing around in the skiff and dragging it in and out of blinds and swamps and stuff.

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Old March 22, 2010, 02:09 PM   #6
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Getting the empties stuck in the chamber is an issue with some newer guns, but is usually corrected by a good cleaning and a little steel wool polishing in the chamber. They should not leave the factory that way, but some do.

The metal finish has been up and down. I've seen older Expresse's that look worse than new ones. It seems to depend on which day they were made more which year. Just pass on the ones with bad finishes and pick a better finished one.

If you don't like the wood finish, buy the synthetic. More durable, lighter, and has a better shape and real checkering for a better grip. Same price. If buying wood I also like the laminated better, just cannot stand the reverse stamped checkering.

The plastic trigger group, will probably prove to be an improvement over cast aluminum anyway.

Any of the 870's are a great design. Remington has tried to cut a lot of corners to produce a great gun that will sell at a price that can compete with other guns that cost much less to produce. Sometimes imperfect guns get out the door, but I have yet to see one that would not work great with a minimum of tweaking.
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Old March 22, 2010, 02:16 PM   #7
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That has not been my experience.
Perhaps you need to broaden your experience as I bought one last September, for my Grandson and it only came with the one mounted Modified choke. I have an older Express that came with all three but the newer ones only come with one. Do a search on the current models for yourself. The newer models are the ones with laminated stocks.

Read it for yourself; ...

Be Safe !!!

Last edited by Pahoo; March 22, 2010 at 02:27 PM.
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Old March 22, 2010, 02:58 PM   #8
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I’ve owned several 870s over the years and all were good guns, but I can’t say that for the new models. My grandson bought a new one and it is just trash. There’s so many negatives about it I can’t list them all, from function to fit and finish. I’m just sorry he bought it on his own and that I wasn’t around to advise him otherwise.

Be advised that they’re not the quality shotguns they once were.
Those who beat their guns into plows, will plow for those who don't.-Thomas Jefferson
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