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As you may have noticed, we’ve been running reader polls in our right side column for a few months now. The latest — a face-off between two venerable do-it-all shotguns — got the biggest response yet. After over 12,000 votes, Mossberg’s 500 edged out Remington’s 870 in a 52-48 barn-burner. OK, if that had been a presidential election result, Mossberg would be declaring it a landslide win and claiming a mandate, but that’s close in our book. Our latest poll pits two of the two most popular military movies to come out recently and it’s neck-and-neck so far. Do as you would in Chicago – vote early and vote often!

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  1. Well, I don’t do Facebook, but Mossberg would have received my vote as well – only due to location of the slide release mechanism.

      • oops, gotchya, thanks.

        Well, Mossie won anyway, so all good. I’m guessing for the same reason I stated.

      • Don’t click on those polls. Farrago and the hosting company are tracking your IP if you , and they follow yu even if you clear caches etc.

        (Every time I came back to TTAG after voting, it showed my vote, no matter how I wiped my browser).


    • Mossberg has a far superior ghost ring sight setup on their tactical shotguns than does Remington. The first thing every gunsmith that upgrades the 870 does as a defensive shotgun is slap on an aftermarket ghost ring. I wish Remington would get with the program and put as good a sight system on their 870 tactical as Mossberg or Benelli. If they want me to spend $500 on a tactical shotgun, spare me the digital camo coating and put on something better than a white plastic bead.

      • This always baffled me. If Ghost rings were the beezneez for scatter guns, you’d think they would be run in 3-gun more. I don’t see that many. Maybe Nick Leghorn can enlighten us…

  2. Well, having owned over a dozen of each, I would have to agree, simply because mossberg has two extractor/grabber things on the bolt face, and rem only one. Due to cheapening materials in commercial brass bases over the past ten years, it is not unusual for the bases, especially in 3″+ rounds! to expand enough to wedge the empty shell rendering it un-extract-able, hence the need for two extractors. Unlike a single projectile firearm, the beauty of a scattergun is down range performance of a shot shell can be made the same in a $400 gun as a $10k one.

  3. I painfully clicked Rem, love my 870s, grew up shooting a wing master when I graduated to a pump from an O/U. But after buying my last one and having such a ridiculous breakin period, I think Im going Benelli or Moss from this point.

    • vs. M&P vs. p320 vs. VP vs. FNX vs. PPQ vs. ad infinitum

      On the general subject of polls and ranking I’ll never get the fascination. It only seems applicable if you have some stake or investment in said thing to be ranked. Just being a fanboy or owner doesn’t really count as an investment.

  4. When properly configured as a shotgun (no pistol grip), the Mossberg is superior to the Remington 870 for two important reasons. It has an intuitive ambidextrous safety and a jam-free loading gate.

  5. I’m having a problem with spent shells jamming inside the barrel of my 870. Any remedies to this problem?

    • I got rid of 4 870’s in last 3 years for same reason (give away free) – very apparent with 3″-3.5″ shells. Today’s crappy brass expands too much, and a squirt of wd40 on brass before you go out and the dual extractors used by mossberg is the solution.

    • Had the same problem. After 3 trips back to Remington for “repair ” I still had the same problem. Trade it in for any other brand and you’ll be happy.

    • I had the same problem, even after sending it to Remington twice for repairs. Finally I fixed it myself doing this: and it works fine. Polishing the chamber also helps, and YouTube has vids for that also. Bottom line: I’ll never buy Remington again. You shouldn’t have to dremel a brand new shotgun just to make it work and their customer service is garbage.

  6. Wow… This surprises me… IMHO it boils down to where you like the safety. My first shotgun was a Mossberg and I trained with them in the Navy so I tend to gravitate to them… I’m still looking to purchase that Wingmaster though and have a beautiful, very old 870 in 20 ga. The action on that old 20 is smooth as ice… But hey, I also like chili with AND without beans…. 🙂

  7. In the last year or so, Remington has recalled the R51, the Model 700, the Model 7 and the Model 887 shotgun. Mossberg also had two recalls, but neither affected models made after 1996.

    With that recent track record, why would anyone buy any Remington firearm?

    • If I were a tactical operator operating in tactical operations. I’d want the added tactical beefiness of the 590.

      But I’m not. 500 is fine.

        • I think the recent production Remmy 870/Express SGs had an effect on this poll. The 870 was pretty much the yardstick for duty SG’s for decades. I hate to see slack quality and cost-cutting ruining the reputation of a top notch product.

          I’m pretty happy with my recent Stevens 520 TG replica. The heat shield/bayo lug, and period sling give it a certain cachet… And it’s pretty damn intimidating w/ an M 17 bayo affixed. Total investment was well under $200, but I got lucky.

          I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a vintage Ithaca, or a High Standard or even a Win. ’97.Or how about an Auto 5 TG?
          I like those old-timers.

          I must say that Stevens kicks like a MoFo!

  8. I’m also in the Mossie 500 camp, for all reasons mentioned above: safety location, slide release location, dual extractors, better load gate, ease of barrel change, and I’m no longer a big fan of Remmie/FG either…

    But having said all of that – and having owned both – I no longer own either. I went to the auto-loader side. I figure I have as much chance of short-shucking the slide as the auto-loader does of short cycling (especially under stress) – and my 930 SPX hasn’t choked on me yet. Auto-loader is a hell of a lot more fun too 🙂 and a lot quicker, especially from the hip.

    But… whatever works best for you is what counts. I never felt like I couldn’t defend myself with my 870 or 500.

  9. Both have positive attributes. Main pros in the Mossberg camp for me being the unobtrusive shell lifter and easily replaceable ejector…I guess an ambidextrous safety is a plus as well, though it’s not nearly as big a deal for me as it is for others. On the (non-defective)870 side it’s the forged steel receiver – as opposed to cast aluminum – and the fact that it just looks/feels like an overall simpler and more robust design. Also has a slightly bigger aftermarket.

  10. Love to see the winchester model 70 face off against the remington 700. You can debate if you want to include the pre-64 winchesters or not…

  11. Man. No Remlove.

    My 18.5″ 870 is a sweet blaster. Threw some used wood furniture on there, nice and retro.

    My new 30″ 11-87 is a fit and finish nightmare. It does, however, laser-beam clay birds. So there’s that.

  12. Well, from my perspective, this might as well have been a poll worded like this:

    “Which would you rather contract? Gonorrhea or syphilis?”

    If I’m going to spend money on a pump gun these days, I’d probably look in the used market. Early 870’s were nice enough guns, but if you put up some more money, you can find Winchester Model 12’s that are much more solid.

  13. My son saw the poll, asked for my opinions, and voted for the Mossberg. Good picking for a 7 year old.

  14. I like my 870. Been through hell, eats any load you throw at it. Still
    they are both good. Every man should have one of each.

  15. The older 870s were a better gun. I have used both the 500 and the 870 and find the 870 easier and faster to pump a new shell in the chamber. I really only use 2 3/4″ shells. Actually, the 500, 870, and 1300 will all work. I think the 1300 is sort of an underrated gun.
    Buying new, I would at least look at the SuperNova.
    Ithaca 37 is better than all of the above and I do like it better than the Model 12.

    • The advantage of the 37 is the bottom ejection, which makes it good for lefties, righties, trap/skeet as well as field use. The one impressive thing about the 37 is that they’re still making a steel receiver gun, to this day, that is truly blued steel, not painted. They have a real wood stock and forearm on it as well. So for a new pump gun, I agree with you, the 37 is the best US-made pump gun left in the market.

      The Model 12’s, however, could be had in higher grades than the standard field grade, and by the time you were up to the Pigeon grade, you were talking of a very nice gun, with fancy checkering, gold inlays, engraving, etc.

  16. Mossberg 930 why no 20ga? And no aftermarket ? Also mossberg why no semi/pump. I have always though for self defense having a semi that clears with a pump is the best option. Plus you can use less than lethat. And why no aftermarket for auto loaders.

  17. As long as I don’t have to work on them, I rate the Browning BPS tops in handling and human engineering, followed by the Mossberg 500/590/590A1, Winchester 1200/1300, Ithaca 37 (early and late models only, not the crappy in between ones), and the Remington 870. There are other guns coming out of Turkey and China that are worth considering, such as the TriStar TEC-12, H&R Pardner pump, and Savage Stevens 320, though some could argue they basically are copies of domestic designs.

  18. Had a Mossberg 500. Was goose hunting with it using 3 inch shells, and after the third shot, the cheap spot welded action bars separated at the weld. Drove into town, bought a Wingmaster and after 30 years its still running-nothing broken. Bought the better half a 20 gauge express last year with the laminated stock and forend. Nice shooter too. Easy choice for me-Remington.

  19. I have a Mossberg 500. I wouldn’t want anything else. Mossberg is the only place my money goes when I’m shotgun shopping. I actually gave my shotgun a name. I call it the Legend. Reason is it’s extremely smooth action and it’s deadly accuracy. The Mossberg 500 is the best built.


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