Some features of the Remington 870 shotgun have changed, such as the locking safety. Let’s examine some of the main differences between the Remington 870 Police, Remington 870 Wingmaster, and the Remington 870 Express. The Remington 870 Wingmaster is the classic shotgun that is often called the “Cadillac” of Remington. The Remington 870 Police is a specially built and crafted shotgun the looks similar to a Wingmaster, but instead has a dull finish to it.

The Remington 870 Express is considered to be the most affordable of the three. Anyone who is new to shotgun ownership, and on a budget, will likely choose the Express. Remington has been able to make this shotgun more affordable because they have less manual labor going into its manufacturing. Plus, there are rumors Express shotguns are not polished or de-burred like the more advanced models, such as the Police and Wingmaster. If you’ve seen the new Marine Magnum and Tactical shotguns, you may have noticed they’re based on the Remington 870 Express model. However, the Express has similar high-quality steel components inside of it that the better 870’s have. The only difference is a different finish and that it does contain some MIM parts and plastic parts as well.

Remington 870 Express

Remington 870 Express Magnum
Remington 870 Express Magnum

The Remington 870 Express has a plastic trigger group and a new plastic magazine retention system. The magazine tubes themselves have dimples on them, while the extended magazine versions do not have dimples. Some owners say that interior and exterior of their shotguns have a rough finish, with a few burrs and machine marks on it. The bore is lightly polished and may require additional polishing. I always polish chamber of my Express shotguns to make extraction of the fired shotshells more reliable.

As for the stock, you can choose between synthetic or hardwood material for it. Most stocks will come with a sporting length forend with checkering that’s pressed-in.

The home defense version of the Remington 870 Express contains an 18-inch cylinder bore barrel and has a front bead sight on it for aiming. As for the Tactical and Marine Magnum models of the Express, their finishes are different, Marine is nickel plated to make it resistant to corrosion and water. There is even some internal metal injection molded parts in the Express, such as the extractor part.

Remington 870 Wingmaster

Remington 870 Wingmaster
Remington 870 Wingmaster

The Remington 870 Wingmaster contains an aluminum trigger group and a classic style magazine retention system. The finish is much smoother on the interior and exterior, and there are no burrs or machine marks either. It also contains a bolt that’s chrome plated, bore that’s polished, and stocks made out of walnut with the popular “Bowling Pin” finish on them. Each weapon is polished in commercial quality blue finish and it receives a thorough inspection before it is released for sale. There are a number of choices available when it comes to the length of the barrels and the chokes you want to use inside the barrel. Plus, the weapon’s extractor is milled and it contains no MIM parts whatsoever. The Remington 870 Wingmaster is truly a commercial quality gun that has remained a classic for decades because of its unique design and functionality.

Remington 870 Police

Remington 870 Police Magnum
Remington 870 Police Magnum

Law enforcement and military officers will likely use the Remington 870 Police pump action shotgun. It contains an aluminum trigger group with a classic style magazine retention system, just like the Wingmaster. It also has a smooth interior and exterior with no visible burrs or machine marks. Since this is a police-issued weapon, it receives the most thorough inspection that you can imagine. Everything from the internal parts to the finishing of the weapon is inspected for perfection. The military-style parkerized finish sure makes this weapon stand out visually from the other Remington 870 models.

In addition, the Police model has a polished bore and 18-inch to 20-inch improved cylinder barrel. You can add sights to this barrel to help with your aim such as a ghost ring, luminous and rifle sights. The weapon contains a heavy-duty magazine spring, trigger-sear spring, and shell lifter spring. The stock is made out of either synthetic or walnut stock, depending on the version you choose. The forend that comes with the stock is also short to make it compatible with Police car racks and can be pumped quickly and easily by the officer who is using it. There is even a Remington Supercell recoil pad installed which has the ability to reduce the recoil of the weapon by as much as 30%. Other optional upgrades include sling swivels, forearms with lights built into them, and magazine extenders. No MIM parts are inside this weapon, including the extractor (which is milled).


To sum up these weapons, the Remington 870 Express is an affordable shotgun, the Remington 870 Wingmaster is a great sporting gun for hunting, and the Remington 870 Police is perfect for self-defense purposes. No matter which one you choose, you are guaranteed to have a high-quality shotgun.

On a side note, here are some extra things you need to watch out for when using these weapons. Perhaps this information will help you decide which weapon you want to use. There are rumors that Express, for example, is not as well de-burred on the outside or inside. If you were to run your fingers through its interior, you could find sharp edges sometimes. The Police and Wingmaster, however, have smooth burrs because they are processed through a vibratory deburring tank. That is why more machine marks can be found on the Express shotgun and why it is a little bit rougher on the inside. On the upside, the Express should eventually get smoother as you continue to use it regularly. As for the outside of the Police and Wingmaster shotguns, the polish used on them helped remove most of the machine marks before its finishing was applied. The finish on the Express still reveals its machine marks, though.

All three models have some similarities. They all contain the same receiver that was forged and milled. All their internal components are heavy-duty material to ensure their long lifespan. This is a lifespan that lasts for about 250,000 rounds on each of the three models. But if you have a shotgun with an aluminum frame, the lifespan will likely be about 70,000 rounds instead.

Related posts:
Differences between Remington 870 Express and Remington 870 Police
Buy Firearms, Shotguns Including Remington 870 Online


  1. Several incorrect or over-simplified details here. All 870s are inspected & test-fired at the factory. All current-production 870s have MIM parts inside. Current Wingmasters use the new-style cap retention system. Sights & furniture vary by specific model, not just product line. Etc, etc. That said, the conclusion section is pretty much accurate. An 870 is an 870, and any 870 package will serve well, it’s more about what features you want/need, and how much you have to spend.

  2. rbrittne

    It would be nice to know what you’re talking about if you are going to write an article about something! Also, so which of the 870’s have an aluminum receiver???

  3. an old thread but folk still read these things….
    So, an aluminum receiver is only 70,000 rds while a steel frame is 250,000 rds?

    And, aside from internet hearsay not backed up by any citation of research, where exactly did you get those figures?

    Sounds like more internet echo chamber, to me….

    The longest lasting shotgun of known recorded rounds have been competition and military guns, and those were the Remington 31 and Winchester Model 12. The only gun known for trapping shells under bolt and above lifter is the 870, our drills for clearing them involved pile driver of butt on ground while holding by slide handle.

    The Mossberg copies the High Standard which copied the Remington 31 as for mechanical design. NONE use the receiver to carry any load whatsoever aside from compression under recoil, and only possible difference in wear would be if receivers filled with sand and run until interior of gun was destroyed, where aluminum would suffer in wear resistance.

    We did not do that with our guns in the military. They actually are periodically cleaned, believe it or not. And we used them all, the 870 the only one ever trapping a shell.

    If you are going to broadcast stuff, cite and check sources before passing along bogus info. I love my immortal Remington 31, my nearly immortal Winchester 12, the 590 is an excellent gun, and the 870 the least favorite of all. If you want a wonder, and want a Remington, buy yourself a 31.

    1. Tracy Combs

      I just bought a new 870P 24403 from armsunlimited and it has a polymer trigger housing and magazine follower. What gives?

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