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I have a Remington 870 Wingmaster. It is an older model, 20 gauge, with a full fixed choke. I got the gun for hunting squirrels

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  • I have a Remington 870 Wingmaster. It is an older model, 20 gauge, with a full fixed choke. I got the gun for hunting squirrels

    I have a Remington 870 Wingmaster. It is an older model, 20 gauge, with a full fixed choke. I got the gun for hunting squirrels and rabbits, but I would really like to start grouse hunting. From what I've heard a full choke wouldn't be the preferred choice, as it is too tight. Would you recommend sending the gun to a professional to have it opened up? If so what would be the best constriction? and who would you send it to?

  • #2
    You have a great grouse gun there.
    My choice would be a modified choke. That should be an inexpensive gunsmithing job, but you might have to bring it back if it fails to pattern correctly on paper.
    If the smith opens it up too much, you would probably have an improved cylinder, which is still okay.

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    • #3
      I shoot one of them too. I wouldn't worry about changing it unless you expect to shoot skeet with it. Instead, learn to shoot it. With lead shot as used for upland game, a full choke is actually one of the best. That is because a lot of game is taken between 30 and 50 yards. If you are shooting grouse, quail, and pheasants, just let them fly out to about 30 yards before you shoot. For most upland game, getting this close is more of a challenge than occasionally letting them fly another 10 yards. The full choke and #4 shot will let you deck a grouse at 50 yards or more with no trouble. Depending on your conditions, you can shoot smaller shot. I just don't like to eat shot.

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      • #4
        Ah git mah barrel work done at Wright's...

        www.wrightsgunsmiths.com/wrightsgunsmiths_003.htm

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        • #5
          99's right. That's a heck of a grouse gun. However I agree with Dakota, leave it alone and learn to shoot it.

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          • #6
            Also, check to see what it would cost to just buy a second barrel.

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            • #7
              The shop I bought it from was nice enough to take my number and are suppose to call if they come across a modified barrel. I have heard most shots you get at grouse are close up due to the thick cover they prefer?

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              • #8
                I can make a few suggestions. Check with some choke manufacturer(Briley, Hastings) and see if they will thread it for screw in chokes - invector or Remington type. An older 870 should have enough barrel wall thickness to be able to do that. Might even check with Remington.
                If that is too costly, think about getting an after market barrel threaded for removable chokes, one that you might even get an extended rifled choke for deer hunting.
                As a last resort, leave it as it is, as others have suggested and learn to not take any close in shots. Also, don't shoot slugs through it.

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                • #9
                  In my experience, there are no really long shots at ruffed grouse, esp. early in the season before the leaves fall.
                  You have to get your shot off fast before the bird gets a tree between you and it.
                  Good luck with those 50-yard shots.

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                  • #10
                    I haven't shot grouse in thick brush too much. Most of mine have come from grass patches and thickets on the prairie. I've also spent a fair amount of time sneaking up on them after sighting them from a mile away. In stomping through the pine forests of the Rockies, they do sit and stare from 15 yards and they disappear fast but I think my average shot has still been close to 30 yards. They are not nearly as tough as a goose, a duck or a pheasant. I use #4 shot so I can shoot them further out when necessary. A 3" #4 in a 20 gauge is pretty lethal on grouse. I have seen guys go after them with #6 and #7 shot and with those 30 yards is a long shot and it takes them twice as long to clean out their shot. To each his own.

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                    • #11
                      I know this will sound counterproductive but I suggest just buying some cheap trap/skeet shells. If you can find low base 2.75" shells in 7 1/2 shot, those might do you fine. The powder loads and wads for target loads aren't designed for tightening up the pattern like most hunting loads. I think you'll do okay with them. I hunt pheasants with 12 gauge 2.75" and did the best this season with low base #6 shot STEEL. My gun has modified barrel but that still should be a MUCH denser pattern than what your 20 gauge full choke would produce with similar loads. And I wasn't tearing up the birds either. Not even when I had to switch to the 12 gauge pump with full choke barrel on the last day. One bird was taken quite close with it and hit hard but not blown up enough to kill it (though he sure wasn't going anywhere with both wings and legs broken).

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                      • #12
                        Dakota, if you are talking sharptailed grouse, that's quite a different ballgame than woodland grouse (though sharpies are also found in the woodlands up here). Exception is, of course, spruce grouse which only require a slingshot or a stick to kill. Thirty yard shots at ruff or blue grouse would be the exception not the rule. My experience anyway.

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                        • #13
                          JMO~~ Have a Poly-Chock installed, They still make them, it gives you a range of all chock setting with a twist of the Wrist. from Cyl-bor(Slug) to Ex-Full $75.00+/-

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                          • #14
                            I think the Ruffed Grouse Society still gives an award pin to anyone who scores a proven double on grouse.
                            The hunter has to provide the location, time and date of the kill, with the names and contact information for any witnesses.
                            The birds have to flush together, so "staggered doubles" don't count.

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                            • #15
                              I have heard a lot about a guy named Mike Orlen? He would open her up for about $35. That is a lot cheaper than buying another barrel. I was just wondering if it would be worth the time and the possible risk of sending it away. Really im looking for the best overall for squirrel, rabbit, and grouse?

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