I had some time this morning, after a cup of coffee to compare the two 870s we have now. I had done some online reading about how the older 870 Expresses were simply a dulled down version of the regular 870 and how the newer ones were actually a budget shotgun. The 870s compared were manufactured in October of 1987 and August of 2005. The wood furniture on the 2005 model is not original, having been swapped from the original synthetic camo. The wood, however, is of the newer construction. Starting with the furniture, the 1987 shotgun has Maine Yellow Birch. It's heavy and solid and feels just like the wood on better shotguns, just without the heavy gloss and deep, rich brown. The 2005 has laminated wood, which is much lighter in weight and feels, well, cheaper....It doesn't feel as high quality as the birch. The trigger group/guard in the 1987 is metal. The 2005 is plastic. The action. The 2005 is still much tighter and does not have the rattle of a Mossberg 500, but has a little "slop" and looseness. It does not hamper the action of the shotgun and it performs just fine. The 1987 is tight and firm...what you would expect from a Remington. The finish is slightly different, as well. While both have the matte finish, the 1987 is smoother and much less rough. While I have no issue with the newer 870 Express, the older one seems to be built with more care and attention than the newer one. The 1987 clearly is just a simplified version of a regular 870....the newer one is very much a budget gun. As a comparison, think Mossberg/Maverick.