Unless you’ve been living in a cabin in Siberia your entire life, you’ve probably heard of the two long-running greats of the pump-action shotgun world, the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500. These two shotguns quite literally revolutionized the pump-action shotgun market upon their introduction, and any competitors in the field just don’t seem to be able to break into the market and stay.
The Remington 870 has been a stalwart in the field and defense market since 1950 or so, and until recently, you’d be hard pressed to find a police cruiser without an 870 present, doing duty as a force multiplier. There are millions of 870s afield and at sporting clays stands as well. Though the 870 has had a couple minor redesigns sine the 50’s, you can’t mess with success and it appears the 870 is here to stay.
The Mossberg 500, likewise, came as a surprise to the shotgun market in 1960, since Mossberg was previously known for producing mostly rimfire target and sporting rifles. But the low price, sturdy, no-nonsense quality, and top tang safety called to buyers, (including the US military, who has many 500s and its bitchin’ cousin, the 590, in service) and people have flocked in droves to have a Mossberg 500 for hunting and defense.
But which is better? Aye, there’s the rub. I’ve used and abused both platforms extensively. Both are brutally reliable, and both platforms boast an outstanding aftermarket support for customizing your shotgun to your needs. The 870 gets the nod for ease of accessory adaptation, but the southpaws amongst us have the top safety of the Mossberg 500 to love, and the twin extractors of the Mossberg give the 500 an edge in down-and-dirty functioning.
What do you say? What platform do you use? Or did you choose to roll a different way? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to check out this article from Range365 that gets more in-depth on these two greats of the shotgun world.