April 13, 2022

Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500 – Scattergun Shootout

In the world of American pump-action shotguns, two names reign supreme, Mossberg and Remington. They are the dominant companies not just in America but around the world in terms of pump-action shotguns. Their flagship shotguns are the Mossberg 500 series and the Remington 870 series. Inside the 500 series, we have the 590 and 590A1, and inside the 870 series, we have the 870 Express and Wingmaster models.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Branden J. Bourque)

This article will address all of those guns, and when I say 500 series or 870, I regard every shotgun in those series down to the firearm variants. However, we might do a bit of a TAC 14 vs. Shockwave article a little later. We are going to break down these two legends by category to see who shines in each department while taking the different models into effect.


Accuracy with shotguns isn’t ever a major category. They fire loads of shot, and we aren’t seeing 1 MOA slug gun. Shotguns still need to be aimed at, and I still think it’s a valid category, and we see a fair bit of difference between the guns.

When it comes to bead-equipped shotguns, Remington wins hands down. Remington places their bead on a slight pedestal that makes it a little higher. Mossberg goes direct to the barrel with their bead. That little pedestal makes a point of aim and point of impact the same. Still fixed iron sights are fixed iron sights.

When shooting the Mossberg shotgun, the low bead forces you to aim at an angle and gives you the appearance of shooting high. Why Mossberg doesn’t fix this, I’ll never know. When you compare Mossbergs to Remingtons with ghost ring sights, you’ll find that they aim true and are both accurate shotguns.


As far as pump-action shotguns go, both excel in the field of awesome ergonomics. However, I believe the Mossberg pulls ahead. The tang safety at the rear of the receiver is super nice and easy to use. The pump release sits right behind the trigger and allows you to manipulate the release easily enough.

Remington places their safety awkwardly behind the trigger, but the placement of their pump release is solid and right ahead of the trigger. If you want an AR-style stock and pistol grip, then Remington’s safety is easier to work with.

Remington also features a very smooth pump action. Mossberg’s works perfectly fine, but it’s noticeably more sloppy than Remington. It’s not an issue, but you’ll notice it for sure.

Both weapons come in various sporting and tactical configurations. Both standard models have long LOPs, but both offer Magpul SGA stocks that shorten and clean things up a fair bit.

Reliability and Durability

In terms of reliability, it’s tough to get something more reliable than either of these two pump-action shotguns. They both work and work super reliably. They cycle, fire, and eject without issue. In case of malfunctions, Mossberg is typically easier to deal with. Their skeletonized shell loader does allow you to reach up in the guts of the gun to free a stuck shell or to get a pair of pliers up there to do it.

Mossberg has the 590S series that allows the shotgun to work with mini shells, 2.75-inch shells, and 3-inch shells, and that bears mentioning as well.

In terms of durability, Remington does have a steel receiver, which is stronger than Mossberg’s aluminum receiver. I’ve also never seen a Mossberg receiver break, so it might be a non-issue. Mossberg shotguns tend to be easier to fix, and most common breaks can be fixed at home.

However, Remington shotguns are less likely to break, but when they do break, they tend to require a gunsmith to fix. Both Mossberg and Remington make outstanding shotguns that just keep on keeping on for years, though, so it’s almost a non-issue.


Pump-action shotguns are known for their relatively low capacity, so every extra round counts. The Mossberg 500 series features a simple barrel and magazine tube design that connects the two at the magazine cap. This means you cannot expand the magazine without an entirely new barrel and magazine tube. The standard Mossberg 500 capacity is five rounds of 2.75 inch.

Remington’s tend to be easier to add an extension tube to. Sometimes anyway. Sometimes Remington dimples their magazine tubes to permanently remains at 4 round capacity. Why they do this, and which guns they do it to seem to be up in the air. Remingtons without dimpled tubes can be expanded to hold six rounds, with the tube being flush fit to the 18.5-inch barrel.

Mossberg’s 590 series embraces a higher capacity than normal. This includes extensions and full-length magazine tubes. A Mossberg 590 with an 18.5-inch barrel can hold seven rounds. However, the Remington can be ghost-loaded with an additional round to create a total capacity of seven rounds. So, all in all, I guess it’s a tie.


A tie is like kissing your sister. But I have to do it again. A base model 500 tends to be cheaper than a base model 870 Express, admittedly, but only a bit. The Mossberg 590 series is roughly the same price as the 870 tactical models. The 590A1, which is Mossberg’s premier fighting pump-action costs about the same as Remington’s Wingmaster.

Obviously, different furniture and options will affect the price. However, when like is compared with like, the difference isn’t a whole lot.

Which For What?

Good question. Remingtons had some serious financial difficulties and tend to have a weird output of guns, so you might be forced into a Mossberg. Numerous police and military forces have used both guns, but Mossberg’s 590A1 and 500 MILS currently rule the military roost. So I guess the best news I could give is that you’d be well-armed with other, or well, both shotguns.


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