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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I picked up a sweet old 870 Wingmaster last month with the intent of turning it into a tricked-out scattergun...


Now, I'm not quite sure which way I want to go with it.

A few pertinant facts before I continue--this is an OLD 870; 2.75" only, pre-"M" (Magnum) receiver. From what I understand in research, I can put a modern, 3" chambered barrel on it, but 3" shells probably won't feed from the magazine, and the receiver isn't really designed to take the stress of magnum loads--not that I'll use many (if any--my preferred social shotty rounds are low-recoil, 2.75" 00). It also has the smoothest action that I've ever felt on an 870; much smoother than the new actions, and a pretty nice trigger on top of it. Definite potential.

Now--my delimma.

My original aim was to take it and either send it to Wilson/Scattergun and have it upgraded to 3" (not sure if this is possible with the pre-M), or do it all myself--Mesa extended tube, Trac-Lok sights on it, Knox stock, Surefire forend, either have it Armor-Tuff'd or send it to Robar and get NP3'd...flowing robes, striking. A true, overblown, money-pit tacti-fabulous shotty.

The second option came to me while I was playing with it (it shoots great, BTW, as a couple of cottontails found out to their dismay). Chop the barrel to 18.5", put an XS tritium front bead on, keep the wood (maybe get a new forend...maybe), extend the tube...and make a bare-bones, form follows function, almost trench gun style shotty.

I kinda lean towards option two...definitely cheaper, and a bit more unusual.

Whattaya think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Winner! There is nothing better than the old Wingmasters

I'd offer some trades if you were local
Again, I don't see why a Wingmaster is anything special; Remington recently put out it's 10 millionth 870; I'm willing to bet at least 10% of these were Wingmasters...

And, since my research shows that these had better actions than the standard...why wouldn't one base a HD shotty off it?

I am, however, looking for a blued (not matte), 18" bead barrel for it, and avoid chopping the original (seems it's serial numbered to the receiver)...I'm not an utter Visigoth.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not that your wingmaster has the intrinsic value of an old A-5, but they are far superior to the modern or new 870's being sold today. The metal, workmanship, fit & finish and smoothness of the action are heads and shoulders above a brand new piece.

Also, a 2-3/4" gun cannot be "modified" to accept 3" fodder. For one it is doubtful that the tang of the 3" barrel would fit the receiver of a 2-3/4" gun. Secondly the action was made to accommodate a 2-3/4" shell, max. One might try to open up the ejection port to allow the longer shell to fit through but the geometry of the action will prevent proper cycling of that longer shell. You might get lucky with a few rounds but you would be asking the gun to do something it was not designed and built to do so your reliability factor would be very, very low...and a HD piece should be 100% reliable.

If you want a 3" 870 for DH your best bet would be to get a 3" gun. If you want to modify this piece for HD you can add whatever options you want to it but you will have to accept the fact that you'll have a 2-3/4" gun (which is no problem as 2-3/4" loads are just as effective as 3" at common HD distances).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Not that your wingmaster has the intrinsic value of an old A-5, but they are far superior to the modern or new 870's being sold today. The metal, workmanship, fit & finish and smoothness of the action are heads and shoulders above a brand new piece.

Also, a 2-3/4" gun cannot be "modified" to accept 3" fodder. For one it is doubtful that the tang of the 3" barrel would fit the receiver of a 2-3/4" gun. Secondly the action was made to accommodate a 2-3/4" shell, max. One might try to open up the ejection port to allow the longer shell to fit through but the geometry of the action will prevent proper cycling of that longer shell. You might get lucky with a few rounds but you would be asking the gun to do something it was not designed and built to do so your reliability factor would be very, very low...and a HD piece should be 100% reliable.

If you want a 3" 870 for DH your best bet would be to get a 3" gun. If you want to modify this piece for HD you can add whatever options you want to it but you will have to accept the fact that you'll have a 2-3/4" gun (which is no problem as 2-3/4" loads are just as effective as 3" at common HD distances).
The research I've done seems to point to 3" barrels working in the 2.75" receivers; however, since I'd prefer to keep it all a similar finish, and finding a blued, 18" cylinder barrel darn near impossible...I'll probably just chop the current one down. Actually, it's far cheaper to go that way as well...guess I am a Visigoth.

Using 3" shells really isn't an issue for me; about the only 3" loads I have are slugs used for deer hunting pretty much exclusively...and, I have several other 3" chambered 12ga shotguns. No huhu there, and my HD choice is a low recoil, 2.75" load...no huhu there, either.

A local smith will cut the barrel, blue the cut, and put a new front bead on for $40...looks like it's butcherin' time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'd leave it alone to tell the truth. I like the old field shottys with wood furniture.

But if you're determined to turn it into a defensive shotgun, definitley OPTION 2! Trench guns are way cooler than the high tech "tactic-cool" guns. :D

Good luck. Keep us posted on how your project turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dropped off the barrel to get chopped today.

Now--does anyone know if a Wilson/Scattergun +2 extension tube fits flush with an 18.25" barrel, or do I need to stick with a +1?
 
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