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Outdoor Life prefers the Mossberg - because it's a better boat paddle. And no, I didn't make that up.  (courtesy

This website’s reviews don’t pull any punches. Why would we? Firearms are a matter of life or death. Equally, our name is a promise to our readers. A promise to tell the truth about guns that our dead tree competitors do not share. Most of the time you have to read between the lines of the gun mags turgid prose to see their editors’ pathological aversion to biting the advertiser hand that feeds. But not always. Sometimes you happen upon gems like this headline at outdoorlife.comMossberg 500 vs. Remington 870: We Settle the Debate Once and For All. Wow! Once and for all? That’s like, forever! The photo caption sets the stage for this battle of the ages . . .

We took two classic pump guns and beat the snot out them to determine which is tougher: the Mossberg 500 or the Remington 870.  Check out our Battle of the Boat Paddles.

So the contest for supremacy between the Mossy and the venerable 870 comes down to which one can better withstand a torture test? No comparison of ergonomics, shot pattern or features? Ohhh kay. As long as that test includes real world challenges like rust, dust and simple neglect (i.e. no maintenance) – the unholy trinity of gun death.

Nope. Outdoor Life subjected the guns to the:

– Dunk Test – “Both shotguns were dropped from 3 feet into a clay-mud hole with the action open. They stayed submerged for one minute, and the process was repeated three times. Afterward, each shotgun was rinsed out, loaded, and shot.”

– Deer Stand  – “We launched the shotguns from 5, 10, and then 15 feet above the ground, stock first, with the action open.”

– Speed Bump – “We placed the shotguns on the ground, action up, and drove a Jeep Wrangler over the synthetic stocks twice, then over the receiver area twice.”

– The Drag – “We attached the guns to the bumper of the Wrangler and dragged them at 5 mph for 100 yards up and down a muddy, gravel road.”

– Oar Test – “We used each to paddle a sit-inside kayak 100 yards.”

The final results will surprise no one who understands the dynamics underlying the gun mags’ business model.

Overall winner: Since both guns survived, we could easily call it a tie. But we hate the “everyone is a winner, so give little Johnny a trophy just for showing up” attitude. A champion shall be declared. We crown the Mossberg the King of the Boat Paddles because it is, in fact, the better boat paddle. That said, either of these guns will go to hell and back and keep on shooting.

The Truth About Guns is only one voice out of hundreds of thousands of firearms enthusiasts on the internet who tell it like it is. We salute all like-minded readers, writers and bloggers and thank you for keeping us honest. And, by doing so, keeping us all that little bit safer. Oh, and . . .

I prefer the Mossberg. But only because they build guns in Texas. I’ve commissioned Nick to go out and buy both guns and run a proper comparo. Watch this space.

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    • Please don’t put your Nova through an utterly useless test like this that tells us NOTHING and ruins a nice Nova.

      I’ll just declare your Nova the winner, you can give it to me!…lol.

      • “useless test like”

        Apparently you have never had a shotgun brought in to you too fix that fell off the tractor. In rural American farming communities shotguns see this type of abuse since in most cases they are treated like all of the other farm implements.

        • I do see that quite a bit in my very rural neck of the woods but it doesn’t mean those are accurate tests or that treating a firearm that way should be an accepted practice. The tests OL did also don’t address the myriad of other criteria that would be more useful to know the outcome of if your goal really is to find the “best” of the two shotguns. Those tests become even less useful to their intended purpose when neither gun fails thereby negating any actual results other than “one works better as a boat oar”.

          And I wanted to save a Nova…. I like them.

      • Actually had to use my Nova as a paddle in the field once. Worked flawlessly!
        Also knocks down ducks like a dream.

    • Nova here too. Bought as a tactical and then changed barrels to a 24″ for 3 gun. The 870 and 500’s I fondled prior to the nova purchase never felt as nice.

  1. I would like a comparison of # of ads by each company (size, location, etc.) in that issue. I bet Mossberg had just a little better, thus the positive paddle comment…

  2. I like my Remington 870 because it’s easier to take apart than a Mossy 500 and the safety is in an area that feels and looks better to me.

  3. they dirtied the gun up, then cleaned it?

    lets try:
    run them over w/ action open (test receiver & mag tubes)
    drop test
    drag through mud and gravel, action open
    1000 round (bulk birdshot) no lube firing session, load the magazine full each time- cleaning may be done beforehand IF bore or loading is obstructed.

    then commentary on which held up better, weight for barrel length, balance, SUBJECTIVE ergonomics (I do not find AR’s ergonomic at all, while AKs are quite nice to me)

    Lets try that instead of OL’s crap.

    • One other test, and I would love to see the video – Sit in that same kayak and unload a magazine from each one, dive to the bottom of the lake/stream and recover the shotgun, get BACK in the kayak and then use the gun as a paddle to get back to shore.

      • I recovered a mossberg 835 from the bottom of a lake after it had been there a month, when I surfaced I worked the action to clear it and it functioned just fine. The owner (son dropped it out of a canoe duck hunting) did a deep clean and it runs great now….

  4. I’m starting to see the same effect online ,especially with video reviews of guns.

    While I realize that everyone has different requirements, if you havent neither carried or fired the brand new gun you’re reviewing, you have no business commenting about how it shoots or how it carries.

  5. Honestly, the only differences I see between Mossberg and Remington pump guns is safety location and the mag tube. Mossberg’s tang safety is nice with straight stocks but useless with pistol-grip or folding stocks. 500’s also use a mag tube design that’s capped by the barrel, rather than extending through the barrel ring, making upgraded capacity a massive cost item. Mossberg’s more modern guns have fixed the latter issue, but a replacement trigger mechanism with cross-bolt safety would make my pistol-grip 930spx perfect.

    • The tang safety on the Mossberg is a big reason I bought the Remington. It’s completely subjective and almost certainly untrue but it seemed to me at the time that it would be easier to accidentally take it off safe.

    • Safety position is about right. I did a bunch of research online before I bought a pump, and the best way I heard it described is the 500 vs. 870 comparison is akin to a Ford vs. Chevy debate. I took that to mean that there’s really no wrong answer, just go with the one you like.

      I went for a 590 for the all-metal construction and because I like the tang safety–it’s quick and very natural with a straight stock. I also found a good price on one at a LGS. Couldn’t say no.

      • The mossberg 500 also has a user-servicable ejector. In case yours breaks, field strip it and remove a screw in the side of the receiver then simply put the new ejector in place and screw it down. In the temington it would have to be sent to the factory or a gunsmith. Methinks Dyspeptic can verify it.

  6. I didnt honestly know mossberg made guns in TX, but man I love some Remington 870s and 1187s. Grew up shooting two shotguns: a Browning Citori and a Rem 870. I still love shooting the citori but I got a new Supermag 870 before bird season (never ever even bought a 3.5 inch shell) in camo of course and am loving it for the most part. Some weird stickiness in the action at first, but other than that, it was quite the bird slayer this year.

  7. I own both a 500 and an 870 and can tell you without a doubt that the 870 was BUILT better with(seemingly) better metals and a finer fit and finish. The metal on the 870 shows much less wear than on the 500 and has seen quite a bit more use over the years. I also had to replace the safety on the 500 while doing nothing at all(ever) to the 870.

    That being said, Those are the only two I have access to which is no where near large enough to be a representative sample. The 870 is a 70’s era L.E. top folder(metal) and the 500 was bought new about 10 years ago so that may make some difference as well.

    I can also state without a doubt that the 870 top folder would make a HORRIBLE boat oar.

    • Old 870s are top notch guns and well built. I wouldn’t buy a new one though. I have heard way too many stories about poor fit and finish and guns rusting at the drop of a hat.

      • ….as has been mentioned previously, when Freedom Group bought Remington, they tried to increase the profit margins by cutting corners (and QC).

        Old 870s are fine guns. New ones are mediocre at best.

    • I’ve had the opposite experience. I have an 870 .410 express which was purchased 16 years ago when I was 8 and was first gun. I learned about cleaning guns cause no matter what every time I pull the 870 out its rusted and I hate leaving it sloppy with clp

    • Semi autos are expensive, pump guns are cheap, some people need a quality gun, but are on a budget, don’t hate.

      Yah kno’, they is som po’ folks in da world.

      • If you go for a presentation grade Browning A5 you’ll be droppin’ da big notes, yo. But Remington Model 11 (same gun) are $300-$400. Browning B2000s go about $500, Remington 1100s about the same. Beretta 1201 about $600. Saves maybe $100 buying a pump? If you’re (truly) broke you’re going break-action for the c-note.

        Not trying to be snobby, I just have never gotten the appeal of the item. I’ve got a Mossy Mariner just because, but it’s not a go-to gun by any measure. Racking a shotty is time-consuming and makes the second (or third) shot much more difficult than needs be.

        • “Shotty” is a term that has been around since the mid 1800s, that I’m aware of anyway. I picked the word up from my grandfather who used a shotgun in WWI trenches.

    • Yeah, it’s funny how simplicity, easy cleaning, and affordable price points really makes people lean in the direction of a pump gun. Why buy an H&R Pardner Pump for sub $200 pricing that can be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled in 15 minutes, and allows for clearing of a jam (that never happens) in the blink of an eye.

      An auto-loader only costs at minimum 2 times the price of it’s pump counter part, has that nifty gas system that’s a joy to clean, and all those fun fiddle bits like a bolt handle and release button.

      Hell, just buy a SPAS12 and you can do both! And Saigas never have problems.

      • If you’re stuck/committed to buying NIB, there’s a price argument. But if you buy pre-owned, we’re talking maybe $100-150 difference. Maybe.

        As opposed to the known unreliability of the Saiga, there’s a dozen other mid-priced auto shotguns, several who’s designs have been around for the better part of a century, none of which are gas operated. Browning A5/ Remington Model 11s are as reliable as dirt, and require very little maint. Mechanically, a non-gas auto is no more complex than a pump. It takes 15 minutes to bore snake, spray and lube a Model 11. On a high-end gas-op you can spend more time, but it’s hardly some day long adventure.

        If you dig ’em you dig ’em. I get the romance of racking the slide, but I just don’t understand trading every other functionality for that one sound. It’s like a car – it’s great stirring a 6 speed box, but if you’re going to race somebody, don’t you want a paddle-operated manu-matic that shifts 4 times faster and rev-matches better than Jody Scheckter ever dreamed of?

        • I think you are underestimating the value of a pump shotgun. Have you ever tried to shoot bean bag rounds, suppressed buckshot, taser rounds, breeching or any low power round in general out of a semi auto shotgun. Reliability goes out of the window when using a semi auto. And the speed of a semi auto is no faster in a tactical environment than any pump. Its doesn’t really do any good being able to fire 6 shots in a second with a semi on the same exact target.

        • Seans, As a matter of fact, yes I have. I’ve shot all manner of oddball rounds out of an A5 and a Model 11 with nary a hitch. Twist the knob to adjust if you must. If you’re judging against a very limited pool of modern hi-po-trick-whiz-gas-op semis then maybe you have a point. Against the stuff that’s been around since before any of us was born? It’s an easy argument to disprove.

          I value a pump shotgun the same as I value a revolver – there’s a one-in-a-million scenario where it’s better than a quality auto-gun. The rest of the time the semi-auto is miles better. I play the odds.

        • I am curious what you see is the advantage of a semi of a pump. Is it the faster fire rate? I don’t see any advantage in a CQC situation, I can still easily get two aimed shots off in under a second, which is something I would never need with a shotgun. I can engage multiple targets in the same amount of time if I was using it for CQC for some strange reason. Racking the slide is not time consuming at all. You will have slightly better splits on the same target, but your split between targets is going to be the same. And I have yet to see a guy hit in the chest with 00 buck need a double tap. I have used shotguns on deployments and I have yet to have a situation in which I thought a semi would have been better. The ability for me shift quickly between lethal and non lethal shells is much quicker with a pump, which is the biggest reason I carried a shotgun. Fiddling with the gas system isn’t something I want to do. I don’t feel like giving the guy carrying the 79 time to pop in a non lethal and have all the fun shooting the guy being a jackass.

        • seans, To me racking a slide is like cycling a bolt, if there is an actual advantage to be had, I’m there. I’ve just never seen it proven when dealing with shotguns. I’ll grant a bad semi-auto is not a good pump-gun, but a decent semi is better than the best pump ever made. How is it ‘good’ to have to perform a function, brain-dead though it may be? One that human error (short stroking) is a known serious factor in? Sure there’s some overpriced current stamped-steel gas-op junk that sucks, but that isn’t what I’m referencing. There’s a century of quality auto shotties.

          I’m a product of my environs, and the fam was all semi-auto by the 1920s. When I was a kid in the boonies in the 70s a bolt or a pump just meant that you didn’t have the scratch to buy what you wanted – but you were saving for it. An A5/Model 11 isn’t finicky, is easy to clean, and it’s mechanical op fires anything. That’s my reference point. I can feed it anything and it will cycle, if it doesn’t I can twist a knob and it will.

    • Yup. People also buy load-bearing pickup trucks, they wear denim jeans, and they eat their Wheaties as part of a balanced breakfast. This is because sometimes, simple and affordable does the job as well as –or better– than the flashier stuff.

  8. Ah Hell!! Why does everyone try to compare firearms like this, using a “torture test?” If you like the shotgun; the shotgun fits you; you can knock down birds or targets with it; the shotgun shoots when you pull the trigger, etc… then that is the winner! I know, its not much fun not to compare, but common… its not much fun to try and determine which one is “king” either.

    • Exactly. Accuracy, reliability and ease of use in an emergency are what sell me on a gun, and my answer to the AK and Glock fanboys is always the same: “When the hell would I expect to be dropping it in wet clay, throwing it out a 3rd-story window, or running over it with a tank?!” Being able to withstand extreme abuse I’d never subject it to makes for a great marketing gimmick and it’s definitely an asset if you work in a demilitarized, third-world construction zone, but since I don’t, it’s not much of a selling point to me.

  9. Of course, let’s judge this publication -one of the oldest sportsmens mags btw- by what is obviously supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek blog post. All the while let’s trumpet how AWESOME and NEW and EDGY we are…..

    I love ya TTAG, but stick to more meaty posts.

  10. Looking forward to a legit comparison.
    Owned both, but kept the Mossberg in the end. Just a little more bang for my buck than the 870, although the 870 got sold because of a little better resale value, so there’s that too.

  11. My only experience with either is that my AOW is a Remington 870. FWIW, straight home from the dealer, the gun would only occasionally fire. I took it to the range for it’s inaugural shoot and it only fired twice in the first five shots.

    A trip to a local gunsmith later to discover that some of the parts in the trigger pack were manufactured out of spec, he had to bend a few things and sand down a few things. Not a very confidence building start to my first Remington ownership experience. Now that he did the work, under warranty, the gun runs fine but it sure didn’t make me want to ever by any Remington gun again, unless it’s a C&R made back in the good old days when Remington was synonymous with quality.

    Maybe I should have bought a Mossberg AOW instead?

  12. Pump guns? Hell yes! Ultra dependable and the coolness factor of racking the slide gets everyone’s attention. But seriously, where are the rest? The Browning BPS, The Winchester SXP, The Nova as mentioned earlier? I see a lot of these in the fields as well. Now that would’ve been a test, not a select two (no matter they dominate the pump gun market)

    But really, what hogwash to evaluate shotguns by doing these stupid O-L tests. Hell, shoot them hard, until one fails to see what they are made of.

  13. I chose the 500 for the ambi safety. Both are good guns. But Remington’s qc has definately slipped in recent years. If I had to pick one today, it would still be the 500.

    I’ve used and abused a lot of shotguns over the years. The break actions are the only guns that will exceed the abuse level of a pump gun. But yeah, these torture tests really are useless. Fun to watch at times, tho.

    • Haven’t used either but I would (from what you are saying) take the Mossberg due to the safety, and because its Swedish and I like to annoy my Norwegian friends.

    • I know anything Freedom Group-related is anathema these days but I can pretty confidently say my year-old 870 Express is holding together quite nicely after 300+ rounds of mixed birdshot, buckshot and the rare 3-inch slug (kicks pretty brutally though). It’s no vintage Wingmaster and the finish is rather plebeian but I have no regrets over buying it instead of a similarly priced Mossberg. Well aside from Remington’s willingness to play ball in post-SAFE Act NY, but that’s a political issue and not a mechanical one.

  14. My choice was a Mossy since it could be modified with a kit to accept a 10 round detachable magazine. Kits weren’t available for the 870 ( where I live semi-autos with detachable magazines fall within the legal definition of prohibited ‘assault weapons).

  15. Imagine someone coming to a gunsmith and waving this twaddle in his face. You don’t have to image. It happens.

    Consider that the clock is ticking at $65 to $75+/hour while said gunsmith tries to dismiss this twaddle as rapidly (and cheaply) as possible.

    Now you know why I have a rep for being somewhat less than charitable towards people who read this stuff. Increasingly, I’m thinking of a instituting a price/rate schedule like this:

    – working on guns: $65/hour.
    – working on guns that required machining: $75/hour.
    – working on guns while you watch without opening your mouth: $90/hour.
    – working on guns while you watch and ask questions: $150/hour.
    – working on guns while you watch and tell me how you saw it “done right” in a youtube video: $250/hour.
    – Standing around, trying to remain polite and civil while rebutting unadulterated buffalo muffins published in glossy magazines: $500/hour.

      • I sure would.

        A good friend who ran a motorcycle repair shop once told me his most profitable customers were generally do-it-yourselfers.

        Either they bought just the parts (decent per hour profit on the parts sales), or did that then brought the bike in to get what they screwed up fixed (labor plus more parts, likely as not, both more than if they had just taken the bike in in the first place).

      • When people ask, I tell them the honest answer, which usually includes lots of explanation of details they didn’t know mattered, and about which they actually don’t care. Because they don’t actually care, that’s why they can’t fix the problem themselves. That’s why there are gunsmiths: We care about details.

        Buuut… the uber-inquisitive gun customer didn’t know that they didn’t care until someone brought all these details to their attention. Once I ‘splain the fine details, they suddenly realize that they don’t care about what goes into making a gun quite as much as they thought they did.

        This is why many people hate getting engineers, machinists, gunsmiths and technical people involved in technical discussions. There’s the old joke of asking an engineer “what time is it?” and getting a lesson on the history of time, the history of time pieces, the inner workings of your watch, the metallurgy of your watch, and so on. If you insert a gun customer into this situation, they come into the shop and they thought they wanted to know how a watch works. When someone who really knows how a watch works tells them how the customer’s watch works, why it isn’t working just now, and what has to be done to fix it, the customer realizes that all they really wanted was to look cool when they looked at their watch to know if it’s lunchtime when asking the cute gal from marketing out to lunch.

        This isn’t a new thing, BTW. The tales of how Harry Pope used to deal with inquisitive customers are the stuff of legend now…

    • DG,
      You forgot a rate for putting a customers gun back together that he took apart.
      I’m dealing with that today. But it’s a good friend, so I get to rib him for the next ten years while bird hunting.

      • I consider that just “normal business.” It happens all the time. If someone lost parts or screwed up something while they were in there, well, I explain that too, and they’ll have to pay for replacement parts, and possibly time.

        When someone thinks they’re just going to dive into a gun, then it flies apart on them and they have to come in with a “basket case,” I try to not rub it in their faces. No one likes that. I like informed customers. If a customer is honest, I’ll commiserate with them and then examine the situation and try to do right by them.

        I do, however, point out that because they could take apart and re-assemble a 1911 competently does not prepare them for doing a detailed strip on The Italian Spring Launcher of pistols… (the Beretta 9x line) – or some other pistols, like Browning Buckmarks, which can start losing parts as soon as you pull the grip panels.

        In general, there are guns that are very “informed customer friendly,” then there are guns where “only professionals should tread” and then there are guns where “the designer(s) should be horsewhipped.”

        The 1911 is an example of the first, as is something like a Ruger 10/22 or AR-15. If someone wants to build their own AR-15 or detail strip their rifle down to the detents, go to it, more power to you. Have a question, ask, and I’ll help as I can.

        Almost all double guns are in the second category, just for the sheer number of duplicate parts and timed screws that need to be tracked. Colt DA revolvers are in here, because of the number of carefully fitted parts. Here, doing things yourself and getting it wrong starts to cost money. Really informed customers can do S&W revolvers, and they do detail strip them all the time without problems.

        The Beretta 92 is in the last category. I sometimes lose parts out of these infernal things, and I have to make good on those parts and sometimes call a customer and say “I’m waiting on parts.” “But… all I wanted was a detail strip and clean…” “Yes, I know. The detail is that one of your springs launched into orbit. I’m paying for a new one.”

        • Not really. If it is really giving you trouble, then you might be trying to do things in the wrong order.

          I think it might take me all of 90 seconds to get it one back together if things are working for me that day, five minutes if not.

          Don’t be above using improvised tools. A paper clip unwound with a little hook on the end helps position spring tails. Use a bit of brazing rod as a guide pin instead of trying to get the real pins in there with all the parts lined up, etc.

        • There’s one area of a 1911 that still gets me just about every time….the damn safety plunger. I can see that being a highly replaced part by even seasoned DIYers.

          Ultimately it was ease of teardown that led me to a Marlin 336 over a model 94. I asked how easy it was to take apart:

          “Well, with the 336 you pull the two screws under the trigger, pull the lever out, and slide the bolt out the back. With the 94 you press out these pins and you’ll hear a “clang”…..that’s all the pieces inside rattling around.”

  16. SuperNova would put either of these two to shame. And if you prefer a classic action, the BPS would be a better choice as well in terms of fit and finish. Although I have a circa 1960 Wingmaster that will never leave my safe. Of course that was when Remington actually cared about the guns that left their factory.

  17. Price point and UTILITY My 500 came with 2 barrels for $320.00 I got a Hogue tamer pistol grip for $21.00 and change and a 18″ security barrel for $55.00. All parts new and have gone through about 1000 rounds without any more than a sore shoulder. A very sore shoulder. 😛

  18. Outdoor life and field and stream are both fantastic magazines. I have read them four decades. the sheer volume of what they put out means keeping it fresh is difficult as I’m sure you can understand.

    they are both general magazines that expose a lot of fishermen to gun stuff.

    neither one sucks. .

  19. It’s crap like that that makes TTAG the most popular gun blog. Because throughout the whole of the internet, the only two places I will take reviews at face value are TTAG and Tim from Military Arms Channel. The readers appreciate TTAG’s honest reviews and the site traffic shows it.

    • Tim is a buddy of ours. He does great reviews. And because we use different mediums – video versus text – I don’t even consider him competition. I really wish we could do more collaborative stuff.

  20. Been reading OL since the 50’s. Had a story (This Happened To Me) published in 1972, lost the magazine somewhere. Can’t get anyone at OL to return an email. I just want to know if they have an archive copy. If anyone has a copy…it was a moose story, published I think in the summer of 72. I’d pay for it…

  21. I own both – and I always grab the 870 only because I like where the slide release is on them, feels more natural. In regards to this test – what a waste of ink and paper.

  22. Ahhh, why feed the Dead Tree Troll?

    For decades these yellow rags have touted the endless stream of “VS” to justify their existence, if not relevance

  23. I never met a pump shotgun that I didn’t like. Probably have not met them all yet. Not sure why OutDoor Life sucks tho’. Maybe because it is competition? ( have not read an issue in years).

  24. For those of us who have unwillingly left the cash economy, a Mossberg Maverick 88 is the answer. I tried one in the gun shop, all the controls fell to hand like it was made for me. I don’t like tang safeties. The trigger guard safety is the same as a 10/22. The bolt release falls naturally under my middle finger without changing my grip at all. With short and long barrels, I’m covered.

  25. Okay … So what do people read?

    For me:
    American Handgunner (general fun)
    American Rifleman (came with the membership)
    Gun Tests Magazine

    Of these, the latter is the dangerous one for me because they don’t hesitate to really pull out the stops when something sucks – rather like here…

  26. You know something? I knew there was a reason I read TTAG and not Outdoor Life. I actually got better reviews reading the comments here than I would have gotten from the article.

  27. Eh, I originally loved the classic 870 Wingmaster. Still do. I ride with a 870 Police with 12 gauge 00 buck and a Vietnam era de-milled AR. The. I purchased a Benelli for clays. Lastly I got a 930 SPX for home defense and possibly 3 gun.

    I don’t see any big advantage between the 500 and the 870. The Nova looks nice as well. Competition is a good thing, and so is the freedom of choice.

  28. I love my Mossberg but it is a jiggly wiggly thing… shot many 25 straights with it for 10+ years but I recently acquired a 58′ Winchester model 12 pigeon grade that was never fired and in comparison, the mossy feels like a nerf toy. Have to love old model 12s

    • The model 12 is all that and a bag of chips. Until you have to hump it further than the trunk to the house. It’s a heavy beast. All quality, but heavy.

      I bought a Mossberg 500 with it’s aluminum reciever in 20 ga just to save weight as I re enter the hunting world. Cutting the weight of the gun and the shells seems like a good idea for an old fart like me.

    • People who have not handled a Winchester model 12 don’t seem to understand why I go on about them so.

      People who have handled/shot a Model 12 and also have handled/shot the cheaper modern pump guns see very clearly why I go on about the Model 12.

      People who handle/own the Pigeon Grade Model 12… well, these people now know what a really quality gun looks/handles/feels like. The Pigeon Grade Model 12 is perhaps the pinnacle of American-made pump guns, IMO.

  29. I own a Mossberg and a Benelli Super Nova. I would like a Remington next. I think they are all excellent, just depends which fits you the best.
    I would like to see a test of Top of the line products to inexpensive ones (not cheap Chinese S**t). Do we need a $3000 AR or does a $800 work just as good? Same with optics.
    Any takers?

  30. I have a ‘test’ case, at least for the M500. I have a 20 year old example that has spent the better part of it’s life in the trunk of a car or back of an SUV. It is filthy since it is occasionally fired but never cleaned properly (it does sometimes get a hit of WD-40 or whatever is at hand if it’s getting gritty). It was the cheapest iteration of either of the 2 shotguns, a Maverick 88, all synthetic 20″ cylinder bore, 8 shot tube. It is now rusty in patches, scarred and just generally abused but even though it sits through heat and freeze and dust and neglect it still cycles and shoots every single time I take it out.

    I’m not saying that the Mossy is better than an 870, rather that pump shotguns are so dead simple and robust that it’s really hard to stop one short of actually damaging it somehow.

    My example patterns horribly if you’re chasing bird with it and has about a 15″ spread at 25 yards with quality 00 buck. I suppose it’s about the worst patterning shotgun I’ve used if tighter is better but for what I use it for (defense, finishing off a wounded animal on the road, ect) it’s great. The pattern is so wide open that it almost is the magical Hollywood shotgun that doesn’t require any aiming to hit with but still delivers slugs to 75 yards with minute of bad guy accuracy.

    I think the problem of the 870 Vs M500 is just as someone above said; it’s like ford Vs Chevy, either is a flawlessly reliable reasonably accurate shotgun that is very difficult to destroy unintentionally.

    On a side note, I prefer the 500 for a reason that I didn’t see anyone else comment on: I highly dislike the feed gate on the 870. It bites my nail beds, smashes fingers and generally makes reloading the shotgun while shouldering it more difficult. It also has an annoying habit of allowing poorly inserted shells to pop back out above the gate which requires the gun to be turned and shaken until the shell falls out the ejection port, something that is impossible with the 500s design. I don’t believe I’ve ever engaged the safety on my 500 since I only chamber a round when I intend to shoot and empty the chamber as soon as I decide not to shoot so the safety location is irrelevant to me, obviously to a hunter it would be a much bigger deal. Thus, with all else being equal the feed system is the primary factor that keeps me away from 870s.

    • It would be hyperbole to say that the thumb bite from an 870 is as bad as an M1 thumb. But only just. Especially on those cold, snowy rabbit hunting mornings in Ohio, KY and WV. Something about real cold makes the digits feel the pain more.

      • Indubitably. Ohio here . . . It’s not just the pain, it’s the fact that the 870 virtually prevents reloading with the gun shouldered in a firing position. For hunting, this is seldom an issue, in a tactical shotgun it’s an Achilles heel, the low capacity means one has to feed it as often as possible and the 870 makes this difficult at best and locks the gun up at worst. Many years ago I had an 870 and running courses with it was enough to make me swear off them.

        But you’ve hit the nail squarely, 870s are literally a pain to shoot.


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