Mossberg 500, Maverick 88, Hawk 981/982, NEF Pardner Protector. All less than $300. The NEF can be had for less than $200.
I'm not too much of a shotgun person, but I can tell you that all of the above beats a Remington Express every time. If you're going the Remington route, don't get the Express.
"You haven't lived until you've died." - various