Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870

For a first firearm, you must compare the Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870.

In the USA it is easy for people to buy handguns, so they often do for their first gun.  Plus they are able to carry it with them if they are in the right state and have the correct permit. But in Canada, pistols and revolvers are more difficult to get.  So your first gun should likely be a shotgun.

For my first firearm, I will likely be getting a Mossberg 500, Mossberg 590 (HD military verison of the 500), or a Remington 870.  These are such versatile weapons, allowing you to hunt and protect your home from intruders.  Load in a 1 oz slug and you can take down a deer.  Bird shot will take down birds.  Buck shot will take down medium game and two legged rats (i.e. home intruders).  Finally, you can have a heck of a lot of fun shooting targets or skeet with a shotgun.

The following videos will help you to decide the eternal battle of Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870.  But a couple of the points that I noted were:


– Passed some strict US military durability test.  This is good but not a point agains the Remington 870.
– The ejector is installed with a machine screw – allows you to easily replace the ejector yourself
– Aluminum receiver
– Plastic trigger guard
– I like the safety position and slide release better
– There are two shell extractors instead of one
– Widely used by the military


– All Steel receiver and alloy finger guard
– Seems to be more heavy duty if you abuse it
– Ejector is installed with rivets.  You have to drill out the rivets or send to a gunsmith to change.
– Better unit if using a pistol grip






Do you have one of these shotguns?  Any advice for myself or others as we decide which one to buy?

8 thoughts on “Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870

  1. Cal

    So, I have owned both. And I now solely own a Remington 870.

    I had several issues with my two, yes two Mossberg 500’s. Both had constant FTE and jamming problems. Also, the spring retainer in the mag tube allowed unfired shells to drop out when firing the gun. Extremely aggravating I have to say.

    I have to give a shout out to Wholesale Sports in Langley…they were fantastic to deal with on the customer service side of my problems. They replaced my first Mariner 500 one year after purchase, no problem at all. The new one failed miserably as well and they took that one back no questions asked and I traded for my 870 Super Magnum…and got store credits to burn in the trade as well!!

    However, the 870 was not flawless either. I thought I might have a stroke or a serious jammer at this point…my blood pressure was through the roof. But, a little polishing with my Dremel inside the breach near the edge of the chamber did the trick. My 870 has functioned flawlessly since…I gotta be pushing 800-1000 rounds through her now. Not a single hiccup.

    To be totally fair, I loved the look and feel of my Mossbergs. They have a strong, loyal following and for good reason. The Mossberg employs dual extractors in the breach and dual action bars on the pump which should deliver superior performance…even over an 870, which only utilizes a single extractor. I do not know why my Mossbergs were both miserable POS’s. But, what other logical choice did I have at that point but to say “no thank you”?

    I liked my Mossbergs enough that I might try again in the future….but I’m not sure. Once bitten, twice shy? How ’bout twice bitten….then what?


    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Thanks Cal, this is exactly the type of real experience that I’m looking for with my own research. I’m quite sure that others looking for a first – or subsequent – shotgun will appreciate this.
      A good friend of mine has had good experience with Wholesale Sports as well. Let’s give some positive reinforcement on this type of great customer service with that link and the shout outs!

      It’s like choosing a pick-up Ford/Chevy/Dodge — Remington 870 / Mossberg 500-590 / Winchester.
      Some actually have better experience with some than others, some choose what their daddy & granddaddy always had, and some just like the shiny marketing.

      I still think I can’t go too wrong with either of the models – likely the best course of action will be to watch the sales and specials until I find one that’s irresistible.
      Likely valid advice when shopping for trucks too…

      On paper, the Mossberg ‘wins’ – but I would also have to try before I buy as well. Only had a chance to fire the 870 at DVC Gun Range.
      In an ideal world I would have the means to get one of each and do a side-by-side over the next 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10 years. But that’s a lot to swing.
      Also looking to see which of the models with interchangeable barrels would be useful. An 18″ and a 26″/28″ with chokes would be a nice option to have.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences! Have you been just shooting stuff at gravel pits, hunting, shooting skeet or visiting the rod&gun clubs, or loaded for bear on backcountry treks?

  2. cal

    There is definitely a Ford vs. Chevy mentality out there regarding these two shotguns. I did my research prior to parting with my hard earned dollars and settled on the Mossberg. Who wouldn’t really? All my research pointed to a reliable, no nonsense, no frills, and reasonably priced, yet highly modifiable shotgun platform. There are tons of accessories available for the 500.

    I liked my 500 so much it took me a year to finally part with it and send it back for repair or replacement, I put up with the defects because I just loved the damn thing!!

    All that said, I am very happy with my 870 now. I would definitely recommend getting an interchangeable combo if you do not plan on owning more than one shotgun.

    Can’t say enough good things about Wholesale…they were just awesome. There are many companies out there and Mossberg is one of them that could use some customer service schooling from Wholesale Sports.

    No hunting as of yet. That is my next hurdle to conquer. I want to learn from someone who really knows their stuff. I had planned to tag along on a bear hunt last spring with an experienced friend but unfortunately the trip fell through. Again this fall, was so busy with work I didn’t have an opportunity to get out for deer season. I will go on my own if I have to and learn by trial and error. However, plenty of hunting info available out there…its the little nuances to stalking prey and tracking that will probably hinder me. That’s where experienced advice and training would really pay off.

    Lots of trap shooting, both out in the great outdoors with a buddy of mine and also at a gun club over on one of the gulf islands. Also some target shooting with my hunting rifle and 22 plinker. I used to pack my 30-30 for hiking, then switched to my 18″ barrel 500 while I had it. Now I haven’t been for a while and am loathed to pack my new Remington 700 and get her all scratched up for nothing. I’m gonna have to take a piece of game to be okay with scars on my newest acquisition! My 870 has the 26″ barrel and she’s just too big for the bush. So I’m looking at either a second barrel for her or another tactical / short barrel defender style shotgun.


    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Good to know that I’m not the only guy wanting to get into hunting later on. Most of my hunting friends started at 14. Not me. As you said, a patron/mentor would be very helpful.
      What’s your Remington 700 chambered in?
      A quality hunting rifle is obviously on my list as well.
      The lever-action 30-30 is a nice piece. A buddy has a Marlin one and likes it!
      If I were to get just one for hiking, I think a pump 500 or 870. 18″ barrel.

  3. Cal

    Yup, same with me. Come from a non-hunting, but not non-gun family…thank goodness!! I only wish I had the sense to dive into this earlier in life too.

    My left hand 700 is chambered in .270 Winchester the faster, flatter shooting little brother of the 30-06. It uses the same powder charge as the 30-06 but uses a slightly smaller bullet. Typical projectile is 130-150 grain. I had an older, but absolutely mint Bausch & Lomb Balvar scope put on it. A gun becomes a precision instrument when you add a quality piece of glass to the top. The .270 has taken every species of large game on the North American continent…it is a smaller, but formidable cartridge.

    Of course who wouldn’t want at least one shoulder cannon in their collection? I’d really like to have another Remington 700 chambered in .338 Lapua, .35 Whelen or .375 H&H. All would be more than adequate for any dangerous, large predators here in North America. The .375 H&H is known as a great all around cartridge…there isn’t any game you can’t take with it in the world. I believe it is the minimum caliber allowed in some places in Africa for hunting big, thick skinned game.

    Love the lever action rifles. My Dad has a beauty Winchester Model 94 in 30-30 that I can’t wait to inherit. Its the short barrel model – 20″ I think. Called a Trappers’ Model…great bush gun. He carried it for years while backpacking the Hope mountains in the 70’s. Still carries it with him on every trip to the cabin…he’ll be 77 this coming year.

    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Wow, ya those sure do look like shoulder cannons to me.

      Mine is a non-hunting family too. But I had a job on our farm with my .177 pellet and .22LR. Was open season on pigeons, starlings, varmints, and predators of our chickens, etc.

      Lever actions are just plain cool. Plus if you like revolvers, it makes sense to have a lever action rifle in your round of choice (i.e. .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum)

    1. Andrew Post author

      Hi Dewey, Both are good options.
      Personally I’m leaning towards a Remington 870 for hunting (camo, polymer, 24-28″ barrel) and a Mossberg 590 for Tactical purposes.

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