What to look for in a used shotgun? - Pistolsmith

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Old 08-23-2001, 05:56 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 15
I am thinking about purchasing a used Remington wingmaster shotgun. I was wondering if any of you guys and gals might have some tips for me. What should one new to used gun buying look for? Any and all tips would be appreciated.

Beyond general info on used shotgun buying, could someone give any specific advice on Wingmasters. Any design changes worth looking out for. I realize it has been on the market for some years. I am looking to purchase a shorter barrel for defensive purposes and use the longer barrel for varmit control and harvesting game. I have read in other forums that the wingmaster is much slicker than your average 870. Has that been your experience? I look forward to your responses.
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Old 08-24-2001, 12:21 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 11
Smooth action. Fore-arm should still be nice and tight ( I mean side to side not front to back ). Take out the choke and check to make sure that the threads have not been worn out.
It has been a while since I have stripped down an 870, but most of the failures I see on the line are a result of the extractors, so you might want to look real close at them.
Old 08-24-2001, 03:31 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 658
Also check to make sure that the trigger and safety function smoothly and properly. I don't know if any of the early Wingmasters had fixed barrels, but that is something to check for. Also, the earlier barrels did have a built-in choke instead of the current style of usually having screw-in chokes.

If they will let you take it apart, check the bolt for any strange looking wear (scratches, peening, etc).

Wingmasters are a tried and true design, and with normal maintnenace will last a loooooong time.
Old 08-25-2001, 02:37 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 326
Checklist from Remington 870 Armorers Manual:
1). Check headspace with "MAX" heading plug.
2). Check action & function w/dummy shells
3). Remove & check magazine end-cap
(detent hole depth,condition of threads)
4). Condition of barrel (straightness,sights,
bulges,dents,chamber condition,etc).
5). Check fore-end assembly (open action then
twist fore-end to check for loose fore- end nut,remove and check for bent action
bars,cracked fore-end,etc).
6). Check bolt assembly (extractor and
spring tension,firing pin,flexi-tab cut)
7). Check slide assembly (solder joint,wear)
8). Check receiver assembly (mag tube &
barrel support condition, ejector
assembly for broken or missing parts)
9). Check mag spring retainer and follower
10).Check shell latches (secure,positioned
properly, proper tension)
11).Check trigger assembly (hammer pin washer
is present,action bar lock is positioned
under trigger connector,hammer plunger
spring has proper tension,sear spring not
weak or altered, trigger ears not broken,
safety works freely and properly)
12).Check stock assembly (tightness,stripped
screw holes,cracks,chips,bent bolt)
13).Re-assemble and perform final checks
(magazine loads easily,.015 clearence between
shell in tube and end of carrier, fore-end
does not rub barrel, carrier lifts shell to
proper height, shell extracts easily and
smoothly, shells do not double feed, and action cycles smoothly).

[EDIT: PeterL: Just turned off smilies for ya...]

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Loron on 2001-08-27 16:11 ]</font>
Old 08-25-2001, 02:44 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 326
Also, Remington's newer 870's feature their "Flexitab" carrier. This is a three-sided rectangular cut-out on the carrier. It prevents a shell that pops out of the mag-tube from advancing too far and jamming the action. This is available as an in-expensive
upgrade from Remington for older 870's.
Old 08-27-2001, 10:29 AM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 15
Thank you all for your very in depth responses. I have a lot to chew on.

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