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870 Express upgrades

Discussion in 'Shotgun Discussion' started by WanderingDan, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. WanderingDan

    WanderingDan Idaho New Member

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    My older 870 Wingmaster went to a reservation in Montana after the divorce. :( I loved that gun. I replaced it with an 870 Express. I do not love this gun. It seems much lighter duty and not as tight. Jambs occasionally.
    I ran across an article that describes upgrading some parts to "police grade" standards. Magazine spring, sear spring, Police Trigger Group, Carrier Dog Spring and a Non-MIM Extractor. Parts are under $100 and I can do the job in about an hour.

    Has anyone else made these mods and was it worth it?
     
  2. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    I'm confident there are more knowledgeable and competent people on this forum to assist you but I'm right here so I'll chime in and share what I know. It appears you have two issues or concerns. One pertains to the parts necessary to convert an Express into a Police 870. The second is regarding the 870 jams occasionally." Let's start with the parts first.

    To convert to as close to a Police Shotgun you'll need to do the following:
    • Swap out the 16" standard magazine spring to the 22" spring. This will reduce and/or eliminate any shell surge you may have with heavier recoiling buckshot or slugs

    • Change the MIM extractor to a machined extractor

    • Replace the Fire Control Group (which Remington tends to call the trigger group) with the Police Fire Control Group. This should replace the silver Express springs with the Police black springs. This new Fire Control Group should include an aluminum trigger guard and heavier carrier dog spring.

    • Remove the plastic lockable safety with a non-lockable metal safety
    Is it worth it? Well that is something you'll have to determine. If making your shotgun potentially more reliable for personal protection is important to you then yes.

    Regarding Jams - When you say it jams this is very vague. There could be a multitude of possibilities but until you expound a little more details there isn't much we can do to get you closer to a solution.

    Remington's can experience what is called "Stem Bottom Chamber" or "Stem Top Chamber" which can cause the 870 to malfunction when chambering - this is very fixable and often common with these guns.

    Keep in mind a "jam" technically is rendering the shotgun completely inoperative and unusable for service until repair. Whereas a stoppage or malfunction is merely a temporary interruption in the normal operating cycle of the shotgun and can be corrected immediately and then continue mission. So please explain if it is a jam or malfunction and what is generally happening? Is it an issue with feeding, chambering, firing, extracting, or ejecting?

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  3. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    I'm confused. I thought the OP was trying to upgrade an express to a wingmaster using police grade parts.
     
  4. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps I misread it...but what I understood was he had a Wingmaster at one time and really like it. Then lost it in a divorce. So he replaced it with an Express that he does not care for. Then he jumps right into modifying, from inference, the Express which he currently owns with Police parts so perhaps he could enjoy it more (another inference). I may be way off base however.
     
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  5. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I assume you have thoroughly cleaned and heavily lubed the 870 and that it still has feeding problems. If it's $100 fix and an hour's work then that is better than spending your time looking at new shotguns and hoping for a better solution down the line!:)
    I say go for it, just make sure your gun is well lubed as SOP!;)
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I bought an Express from a forum member that had been beat to crap. Almost no finish left the forestock was held on with a finish nail.

    I completely disassembled it upgrade a couple parts in the trigger group. Then stripped it to almost bare metal. I then glass beaded it and painted it with two part Duracoat 870 black. I allowed it to cure untouched for a week. I assembled the gun using a really nice 1960's era Wingmaster stock set I bought off ebay

    It looks like a very nice gun and operates perfectly.

    before:
    870Fieldbeforerightside_zps34093827.jpg

    After:
    sideview_zpse010ada8.jpg

    receiver_zpsbc0b90d1.jpg
     
    Stomper, ocarolan, Sgt Nambu and 4 others like this.
  7. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    excellent job, that could pass for new!
     
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  8. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Maybe not your issue, but I did buy a used pump that was not working well straight off.

    Took it apart and polished some of the rough spots. It's one of my best shooters now.
     
  9. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    That looks fantastic. I bought a 70's era Wingmaster off a guy earlier this year. It needs some refinishing, and I was considering Duracoat for the finish. Now that I see it looks good, I'll probably pursue that path. Have you tried their Durablue product before?
     
  10. WanderingDan

    WanderingDan Idaho New Member

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    Thanks all.
    A few answers: This is a new gun with less than 30 boxes through it. I clean after every outing. It occasionally malfunctions on ejection. Pretty simple to address but annoying .
    I do hope to improve this Express to the reliability level of a Police version. Based on what I read here, I'll probably buy the parts. I'll let you know what happens.
     
  11. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    When steel shot became the law of the land, I retired my old Winchester 1200 and 870 Wingmaster and bought a new 870 Express. It's worked perfectly ever since! When I quit Waterfowl hunting I stuck it away and only in the last couple of years added a magazine extension and heavy duty spring. Also marine magnum stocks, from a member here. I still need to shorten the barrel and add sights, then I'm good! It always cycled and went bang in the Duck blind and I'm confident it will continue to do so in my front door.
    I was actually a bit surprised that so many consider them such a POS! I considered them ugly and hated the stocks but found mine to be mechanicly sound. After a couple hundred rounds it smoothed up just fine.
     
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  12. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Not to hijack. In my limited experience the key to getting good results from Duracoat is the prep work. Exactly as if you were painting a Hot Rod.

    I completely disassembled the gun.
    I carefully glass bead blasted the receiver and barrel very lightly with only about 80PSI just to get a tooth to the metal
    I then painted the parts with the Duracoat heavy primer I allowed this to dry a full day.
    I then went in and block sanded the rust pits and a slight depression on the left side of the receiver using 400 grit wet dry paper dry and a small piece of lexan with a single layer of Art Foam (a neoprene foam art stores like Michaels' sells) glued on it to give a tiny bit of give. You could do the same with any small flat wood block.
    I repeated the primer coats and block sanding until the surface was near perfect.
    The barrel only got one coat of primer as it was smooth enough.
    Once the primer coat was done I using a little Badger Air Brush painted the parts while hanging in a dust free area with multiple coats following the instructions.
    Once painted I walked away from it for a FULL WEEK to allow the paint to harden up.
    Once the week was up I carefully reassembled the gun.
    Once reassembled I put it back on my display rack and I didn't mess with it for a few weeks.

    Allowing the two part Duracoat to fully cure before messing with it is the Key.

    Do your Duracoat in the off season so it gets a long chance to cure and it will be much less likely to scratch or scuff from handling.

    And no I have not tried the DuraBlue I have only used the Rem 870 Black std Duracoat.
     
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  13. WanderingDan

    WanderingDan Idaho New Member

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    Sgt Nambu: I suspect that it is an extended break-in issue and have red a few accounts of disassembly and polishing that smoothed out the action. I called Remington and asked why the Express appeared to be of lower quality materials than it's predecessor. The tech told me they couldn't manufacture and sell the old Wingmaster at the current price point of the Express version.

    I bought the all black,non-wood version just to avoid the distraction of the lower quality wooden stock. Mark W.'s refinishing work is awesome and produced the gun that I miss. Despite these minor gripes, I still prefer the Remington over other lower price SG's.

    I just ordered the replacement parts for $45 and will let everyone know how it effects the overall use of the gun.
     
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  14. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    May I ask you where you purchased these part for $45? Don't be discouraged if these parts do not fix the issues. You may need have someone look it over. A Remington Armorer can get this up 'n running for you in no time. Usually it is a slight modification that is required.
     
  15. WanderingDan

    WanderingDan Idaho New Member

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    Caveman Jim and Sgt Nambu like this.
  16. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  17. WanderingDan

    WanderingDan Idaho New Member

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    I guess that the parts exchanges are done individually and not always together. I can see someone replacing one spring but not the other. That means some of the steeps are indeed repetitive. But you'd have to ask the author. I'm not skilled enough to offer that level of instruction.
     
  18. Copperjumper

    Copperjumper New Member

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    I am soooo...what's the word, jealous, yes that's it. Of your skill and the beautiful shotgun you now have.
     
  19. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Being a dude with diverse skills across multiple disciplines (mechanical, electrical, construction, hi-tech, etc) I have a deep appreciation for all things that are done WELL and what it takes to produce EXCELLENCE.


    This is one of those moments! ;)
     
  20. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Now you have me blushing