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Remington 870 Wingmaster - Receiver Conversion to 3"??

Discussion in 'Shotgun Discussion' started by etrain16, May 22, 2016.

  1. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I am sure this has been discussed here before, I even seem to recall reading about it, but I'll be darned if the search function is helping me find those threads. So, I'll ask again.

    I picked up a used Remington 870 Wingmaster, 1974 vintage, a few years ago. It was a bit beat up and had some surface rust, but the wood looks really good (old Remington wood) and the action is as smooth as you would expect from an old Remington. I'm gradually working to clean this gun up. The barrel was pitted, so I am simply replacing that. The rest really needs a thorough cleaning and I may just get the receiver/mag tube Cerakoted to clean it up.

    Here is my question, the new barrel will likely be one that will accept both 2 3/4" and 3" shells. The original barrel was only marked for 2 3/4" shells. The receiver serial number does not end in "M", but rather in "V", so I know from Remington it's meant to be a 2 3/4" only receiver.

    That said, I've done some poking around on the internet (dangerous I know ;)) and found more than one instance of folks saying that really the main difference between the "M" receivers and the non-M receivers is a different extractor. I've also read that the barrel/chamber is really what determines the strength/safety of the gun with respect to which shells can be fired.

    My question is this - is it possible to safely convert a non-M marked receiver to use 3" shells, in combination with a proper 3" marked barrel, by replacing the extractor? Or is this just a bad idea? Is the 'strength' of the receiver any different in a 3" gun? Since the barrel/chamber really is what contains the force of the shot, it just seems to my untrained non-gunsmith self that as long as you have the proper barrel, it might be a possibility.

    It's not critical to me. If the gun needs to stay with just 2 3/4" rounds, I'm fine with that since that's primarily what I shoot. I just happen to like versatility in my guns, so if it can be safely upgraded to also shoot 3", well then that's just a nice extra. Regardless, safety is #1 for me, so if it's unsafe to make such a modification, then I'll stay far away from it.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Joe13

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

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    Looking to go turkey hunting?


    I've never even bought a 3" shell:D
     
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  3. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well, not at this time, who knows what may come down the road :) I do have a variety of 3" shells lying around - stuff picked up over the years. I can shoot them in my Mossberg, no problem. More of a curiosity as I do like flexibility in my guns. But really no biggie - if it were unsafe or spendy, I'll just let it stay 2 3/4"
     
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  4. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I used 3" extensively for goose and other larger waterfowl hunting!
    My HDSG is loaded with 3" #4 Buck.:cool:

    etrain, good luck, I hope you can make your conversion! I'm guessing that Velsey or Mtn Bear will know.
     
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  5. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have presented the question to Velzey since I've used him before. He's looking into it. If he thinks it can be done, I'll certainly update the thread. :)

    And yes, there is something appealing about a potential HD gun holding a 3" shell with #4 buck.
     
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  6. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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    If your mossy all ready takes a 3'' then I would not bother with the conversion. I always like the Wingmasters" because they are lighter and swing a bit faster. Unless you plan to hunt ducks and such, I would leave the 870 as is, and use the mossy. JMO. If you really want to hunt the big birds, I would go super mag with ether 870 or the big mossy 835 supers. Again, JMO
     
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  7. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    It's mostly curiosity for me. No emergent need for such a gun. But hey, it's guns, and just like AR's, etc., I'm always curious about what else can be done :cool:

    This gun will primarily be a trap gun for me and/or my wife, so 2 3/4" shells will be what it sees for most of its life.
     
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  8. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I agree, there is a warm and fuzzy glow with the magnums!
    However, I'm a big guy and can handle them, especially after decades of waterfowl hunting. A small statured person would really need to make sure that they can control it in rapid fire!:eek:
     
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  9. madmax

    madmax woodburn Active Member

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    I had my 1974 DU 870 covered to 3". It's really just the ejector that gets replaced. But on an 870 it's riveted in. To do it right, you need to refinish the receiver. I had rose action sports in Kentucky do it. In fact I have him do all my gun smithing.

    It cost me $90 plus shipping. 10 day turn around.

    If you plan to use the same barrel, my understanding is you need to cut the chamber a bit deeper.
     
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  10. madmax

    madmax woodburn Active Member

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    Just a fyi. Remington has never changed the receiver. The ejection port just gets bigger. Now after 1954, the barrels stayed the same until the early 200os when the light contour barrels came out. Basically with computer modeling, remington could prove there barrels were WAY over built.
     
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  11. madmax

    madmax woodburn Active Member

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  12. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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    This is actually a really good thread question. If its just a barrel and extractor I bet a few others could be converted like this. etrain16, I was simply pointing out that the Wingmasters are a pretty slick guns just the way they are, and I have no problem converting one. it would actually still be a bit lighter then the standard Magnum guns (maybe) but would still be pretty cool.
     
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  13. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    i just finished up doing a little work on an Ithaca mag 10 that shots 10ga (of course) but 3 1/2" shells. All parts are steel, nothing lightweight about them.. and actually the kick wasn't to bad.
    If you were wearing a heavy coat....lol
     
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  14. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The original barrel was shot, lots of rust with deep pitting. I'm replacing the barrel - it will be one with a 2 3/4" and 3" chamber, so that will be the easy part.
     
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  15. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Yep no issues @etrain16, just takes a diff ejector spring.. Possibly the mounting plate. Allot of times you can reuse the mounting rivets, but I've found its best just to install new rivets. Why reuse a rivet that is used and has just barely enough meat on it to expand and hold properly? Just to save $12 in new rivets?
    The new ones come oversized on the receiver side and require fitting flush. Lots of times I've been able to refinish the exposed head flush then swage in place, so you could barely tell it had been replaced. But in this case you want to refinish the whole receiver anyhow so no worries.

    And one nice thing for sure, no need for shipping your gun out of state...:)
     
  16. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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    That's good to know. I have had people ask if its possible to convert the 870's and I honestly didn't know. I wonder if the old Winchesters (mod 12) receivers and barrels are strong enough for that? They sure look like they could take a '3 in shell.
     
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  17. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You know, I really like how you make it sound so easy :p

    Just curious, is there any need to further open the ejection port? Or is it large enough to handle the longer shells?
     
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  18. madmax

    madmax woodburn Active Member

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    If you want to go 3-1/2. I have the complete breech bolt and complete trigger pack out of a supermag.
     
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  19. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Good to know, thanks for the offer. Not sure if I'm ready for a supermag, but that's something to think about too :rolleyes:
     
  20. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Oh man I have a Dremel tool just itching to bubba up an ejection port...but no need to do it on yours... I save it for special circumstances! o_O