View Full Version : Which Is Best Pump-gun

January 20, 2008, 01:49 AM
I'm leaning towards a model 12 Winchester but Rem 870 is maybe to be considered and what about Ithaca 37? Maybe there's others..... Which ones do y'all recommend? General purpose with walnut stocks...

January 20, 2008, 02:06 AM
love my 13oo winchester 18in 8shot, but if I had only 1 choice........Remington 870 i love mine, not a single hiccup in 14 yrs.

January 20, 2008, 03:40 AM
Always been partial to the model 12 but for general use when it comes to reliability, cost and parts availability the 870.

January 20, 2008, 10:00 AM
Love my Mossberg 500!

January 20, 2008, 10:08 AM
Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 are both good.

January 20, 2008, 11:00 AM
If you want a hi capacity (8 rounds), go with the mossberg.

If this is not an issue, and you can live with the common 5 rounder in the Remington, I'd stick with the Remington. Can't beat an 870. You can also buy an after market tube extension that adds like one or two more rounds.

January 20, 2008, 11:10 AM
I <3 my 870 :)

January 20, 2008, 12:44 PM
I love the Ithaca 37 but the most successful is surely the 870.

January 20, 2008, 04:55 PM
Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 are both good.

That's a bit like saying:

"Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears are both reasonably attractive young ladies with some minor social/legal issues."

Master of the understatement, that... :rolleyes:

January 20, 2008, 05:02 PM
Double tap...

January 20, 2008, 05:27 PM
I don't know a thing about the Model 12, but I do prefer the Ithaca Model 37 to the Remington 870.

It's maybe a pound lighter depending on configuration, cycles smoother, has a more ergonomically placed slide release, and the bottom eject is super cool.

Older models will also "slam-fire", which means that if you hold the trigger down and cycle it, it will fire as soon as it locks into battery. It's a lot of fun for rapid fire.

January 20, 2008, 06:00 PM
rem. 870 in 12 ga. wingmaster or express would be #1 for me
ithaca 37 featherlight or deerslayer in 12 ga. would be number #2

haven't shot any other pumps

the winchester model 12 was from what i heard was a "slam fire" shotgun. a few radio operators that served with my father in vietnam in 1967 carried them. my father in law had one. he found out the hard way about them one day. he figured it was too dangerous to keep so he sold it. i wouldn't mind having one myself for the reason of being able to "slam fire". my 870 won't do it. if i was told right winchester was told of the slam fire situation and made changes soon after to the other model pumps and stopped them from doing that. so if you want to slam fire a shotgun check it on an empty chamber or with a snap cap first. a shop in deptford nj has a model 12 for good chunk of money. but i think its a 30" barrel. i'd settle for an 18"-20" barrel model.

January 20, 2008, 06:26 PM
Ford over Chevy, hey! My new Pioneer stereo is better than your Blaupunkt! or, whatever vs. whatever. We all like our own individual preferences and for different reasons, too.

I like the 870, The 1100, the Mossy Mav 88, the 500, the 835, the 935, the Winchester 1300.......they are all just different tools in the toolbox. I really like the NEF single shot Pardner too!

They're all good if you know my personal definition of 'good'.

January 20, 2008, 10:31 PM
Remington 870, the best !!!

January 21, 2008, 12:50 AM
I'd like to hear more about Model 12 Winchester from those with first-hand experience. Sounds like everybody has time on an 870 under their belts. I know a decent model 12 will definately cost more. But they hold their value well.

January 21, 2008, 12:56 AM
If I can butt in with a quick question of my own:

Would people here say that a Mossy 590 can hold its own with a Rem 870, or is the latter clearly better? Thanks.

January 21, 2008, 11:01 AM
If you get a Winchester Model 12 ( real model 12) you have the best of the pump guns. An Early model 12 will last forever. I have two, one made in 1915, and one made in 1948, thousands of rounds on the trap and skeet field with them and never as breakdown.. Cant say that for a mossberg...

January 21, 2008, 11:33 AM
I would choose the 870. They are, in my opinion, the best of the pump guns currently in production. Also, there are more accessories out there for them than any other pump gun-kinda the 1911 of pumps! I believe that Remington made/hit the 4,000,000th 870 this year-kinda of hard to argue with that much success! Spare parts, barrel options, after-market accessories, milled steel receiver, ect....make the 870 hard to beat. Hope this helps! Good luck and keep safe!:)

January 21, 2008, 12:03 PM
You won't wear either one of them out.

January 21, 2008, 01:50 PM
I have a model 12 16 ga. It was my Granddad's It does what it's suppose to do as good as any pump. However I'd like a full choke barrel but they are scarce and if I could find one it'd be costly. I also have a 870 police. I bought is a few years ago when they came with oiled walnut stock and forearm. It came with an 18 in. barrel but I bought a 26 in. with rem chokes.
Best to go with some thing with readily available parts......870

Dave McC
January 21, 2008, 10:09 PM
It would be very hard for any one shooter to wear out either a Model 12 or an 870.

The 20K rounds I put through an 870TB just made it a little slicker.

A friend has a Model 12 Trap. Made in the 30s or 40s, he's put over 100K rounds through it. Only Heaven knows how many total rounds it has seen. And the only word that can describe its action is 'Butter".

The Ithaca and the Mossbergs are decent guns also.

I believe the 870 is the front runner because....

Reliability and durability are legendary. I've got at least 70K rounds through them and the total number of broken parts comes to two firing pin springs.

At the last prison I worked at, total spare parts for the 32 870s we had in inventory fit in a shoebox. There was room left over.

The modular contruction means even a ten thumbed dunce like me can strip and clean it in a twinkling.

The 870 is a fine pointer for most folks, and somehow the stocks fit an amazingly large portion of the population.

And even though I've shot lots of shotguns, I find the 870s easy to HIT with.

January 22, 2008, 03:06 AM
Thanks for the in-put everybody. Appreciate your experience.

January 23, 2008, 11:27 PM
Hands down the Browning BPS ... its the same quality as the Remington 870 WINGMASTER (and a hellava lot better than the entry level 870). but is cheaper than the Wingmaster ... I actually thing its better than the wingmaster as well.

Have a feel of won ... its pure quality, the Japs build to higher quality stds hands down !!

Quail Fat
January 24, 2008, 12:24 AM

January 24, 2008, 03:04 AM
A Pre-73 Ithaca 37.

January 24, 2008, 01:03 PM
Browning BPS 28 or 30" pump is the best in my opinion. The actions are smoother and they eject out of the bottom - so a leftie or a right handed shooter can use them. They are usually neutral for cast on or off stock.

January 24, 2008, 02:19 PM
Depends on what you want it for. Home D i would take an 870 modifyed by Wilson. For trap/hunting it would be a Wingmaster. I love my 870, it is the most versitile out of all my shotguns.

January 26, 2008, 09:54 AM
The best pump gun is the one that FITS you. You can't shoot a gun well that does not fit properly. Any of the above mentioned models...I'd add a Stoeger and Benelli in there too...

January 26, 2008, 10:19 AM
I'd like to hear more about Model 12 Winchester from those with first-hand experience.

I have owned three.

The Model 12 is ok and it has a very good trigger.

Back in the day(before the 870 came out) it was probably the best avaliable.

There is alot of nostalgia and collector interest in the Model 12.

However for use in the field and/or defense the Rem 870 or Mossberg 500/590 point just as good, pump just as fast, are less prone to breakage(if they do their cheaper to repair) and are alot less expensive.

The reason Winchester quit making the Model 12 was the cost of production was too high to compete with the 870.

Less than 2 million of the now discontinued Model 12 were sold, over 8 million 870's have been sold and their still going strong.

That fact alone speaks volumes.

January 26, 2008, 11:15 AM
The model 12 was the best back in the day I have 2 of them. The 870 is the best selling and probably the best in the 60's to 80's. But present day I think the Benelli Nova is the best in present day pumps.

January 26, 2008, 01:22 PM
I love the Ithaca 37. I would go with that if I were you.:D

January 26, 2008, 05:57 PM
I have a 870 that I had a 10 round tube installed. Mossberg 500's are a very reliable pump as is the Remington. Preference is what this boils down to.

If I had been paying closer attention...I would have gotten my hands on a Benelli Practical shotgun....to late. I really want to switch over to a auto loading shotgun. I'm still concerned about the mag compacity however.

Have you seen the price of Benelli auto loaders these days??? WHOA!

January 26, 2008, 07:24 PM
The 870 is an old reliable classic. But this depends on your mission profile. For plain ol' home defense and suchlike use anything. No rib is fine as you will discover if you actually shoot ribbed and non-ribbed guns.

For beater work a crotch Mossberg is fine. My cat pissed on a 500 or 88 or whatever it is and I did my best to remove the etching and surface damage. I'll prime and spray most of it so it's a wannabe outdoor or tactical gun. But do keep the innards in good order. A cheap gun is good to practice disassembly and service work.

January 26, 2008, 11:26 PM
mossy 500 for a good entry shotgun.

If you want to spend more then get an 835 (will need a slug barrel it shooting slugs, because they overbore the normal barrels).

I am a remington guy, but never really liked the 870 (have sever 1187 and 1100's). The 870's really are hit and miss for quality from what I have experienced. Never had a problem with a mossy pump.

January 27, 2008, 03:34 PM
I prefer the Mossberg 500/590 for several reasons.

The Mossberg safety is located on the back of the receiver. It does not require the shooter to loose contact with the trigger because it is thumb activated. The same goes for the slide release, which is operated with the second finger. This is not possible with the Remington 870, as the safety must be actuated with the trigger finger. Not only that, you must move the finger away from the indexed position to behind the triggerguard. If you’re a lefty and didn’t spring for the L-handed version, you will have to reach across underneath to go hot. I don’t use the safety, my weapons are either cleared or hot. If you use the safety, this is an uncomfortable 4 step process to engage a target. Under duress, that will take precious time. Mossberg placed the safety under your thumb on the back of the receiver finger still on (or beside) the trigger. Back is safe forward to fire, with an ambidextrous application. Genius in simplicity. On the Mossberg downside, the trigger guard and safety selector switch are plastic. I’ve never broken one but if I do I will replace it with the available steel replacements.

Same difficulties arise when you activate the Remington slide release. With the Remington you move your firing hand around in front of the trigger guard unless you have especially long fingers. Mossberg placed it behind the trigger guard. It can be depressed by the second finger of either R or L handed shooters without moving away from the trigger.

Most important though is the way the shell lifter works. On the Mossberg, it is up out of the way throughout the reload operation. The Remington 870's shell lifter remains in the down position until the slide is retracted fully to the rear and starts its journey forward to insert the shell into the chamber. The Mossberg 500's shell lifter stays in the up position until the slide is fully retracted. It only takes one time getting your thumb caught between a Remington shell lifter and magazine during a tactical reload and you to will praise Mossberg's design. The second and third time, as soreness increased, I began to curse the Remington flaw. This problem is even worse with the Benelli M1 Super 90 shotgun. The Benelli shell lifter stays down like the 870 but also has a slot cut into the shell lifter at the end closest to the magazine tube. This slot allows more space for your thumb to get caught between the lifter and the tube.

Two dimples have been machined into the 870's magazine tube, (excepting the 870 Police and Marine) preventing the installation of a magazine extension. If you add an extended magazine tube, the dimples will jam up the follower at the end of the factory magazine. Even the 870 HD (Home Defense) has these dimples. You can use a drill or rotary-type tool to remove these dimples. I know of no other manufacturer who factory installs these limiting “safe-guards.”

To be fair, Mossberg’s barrel band extends over top of the magazine tube, also limiting a magazine extension. If you decide to buy a Mossberg 500 series and want to add a magazine extension it will determine your barrel length. 18.5 inch limits capacity to 5 + 1 and the 20 inch will allow 7 + 1 rounds.

The Remington 870 Express or 870 Wingmaster slide is too long by about 1 ¾ inch if you want to use a 6 round Sidesaddle. You’ll be limited to the 4 round version. That excess will have to be chopped off if you want to accommodate a 6 round Sidesaddle. Not a factor with the Police and Marine models

The extractor hooks onto the rim of the shell and pulls it from the chamber.
The Remington 870 has one extractor. The Mossberg 500 series has two that grab from either side. IMO, two is better than one especially after wear.

The Remington 870 is a fine shotgun and Remington is a top notch manufacture. The 870’s are just not for me. Most of the above reasons are based on personal preference, I don't think you will be making a mistake if you do select a Remington 870 as your defense shotgun. If you’re dead set on a Remington 870, buy an 870 Police or Marine Magnum. You won't have to deal with the magazine extension or Sidesaddle alterations.

Support the NRA, they support you!

January 27, 2008, 05:16 PM
I think Allen did a good job of covering all the bases on the form vs function of remington vs mossberg.

I agree that the remington is top notch manufacturing. My preference though is to have a gun that I can throw off a building, dust it off, and keep firing. Mossberg is pure function. No form. It's more of a german shepard, where remington is more of a golden retriever, in my mind's eye. My main purpose is not to have an heirloom just yet- but to have a gun that will always shoot, have enough ammo to kill whatever I need to kill, and to do it as fast/reliably as possible.

Among the 12 GA's I have looked at, mossberg had the higher reliability and shell count. Remington is reliable, to be sure. There is the police model, that some police use. Most use mossberg's though. The groundpounders in Iraq and SWAT state-side use this gun when their lives depend on it. And they are still alive, so that's one thumbs up in my book. These guys are worried about protecting themselves, not an heirloom, so that's who I looked to for advice.

9 shot, 6 on the side, 4 in the stock pretty much covers what needs doing. If you shoot longer than than and you've got bigger problems than simple shell count. In any case, the saturation in the self-defense market is mossberg. Until something better comes along, thats what I will use. If you are hunting medium game or turkeys, that's a whole different discussion, and I'd go with remington for a nice hunting outing. They make beautiful guns.

January 27, 2008, 05:46 PM
The Mossberg 500/590 Military was the military issue shotgun up until very recently, having been displaced by the Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun they are no longer the primary issue shotgun.

January 27, 2008, 05:48 PM
The Mossberg 500/590 Military was the military issue shotgun up until very recently Having been displaced by the Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun they are no longer the primary issue shotgun.

January 27, 2008, 06:19 PM
I have always been fond of the top mounted safety on the mossberg for high stress situations. For me the best pump gun in a defense application is the mossberg. YMMV :D

January 27, 2008, 06:42 PM
The Mossberg 500/590 Military was the military issue shotgun up until very recently Having been displaced by the Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun they are no longer the primary issue shotgun.

Try again, the Mossberg is still the primary Shotgun for the Military. It's use has jumped dramaticly since the begining of The War Against Terror. Today there are approximately 30,000 Mossbergs serving in harms way or sitting in depots waiting to be issued. There are still a few Winchester's left over from before the Mossberg was classified in the 70's. A few years ago PS Magizine posted a notice that all Winchesters were to be turned in and replaced with Mossbergs(Army). This notice also covered the remaining Rem 870's in service, although it was not spelled out in the notice.

A few Remingtons have been procured in recent years, but they are a very small percent. The Benelli M-4/M-1014 were procured for the USMC and they just issued a Presolicitation Notice for another 5,000. That said their are several corners of the USMC that are not happy with the M-1014. Largely this is due to the M-1014 not being required to cycle less lethal or breaching round in the specification.

Of course since shotguns are being mainly used for those two roles......well you see the rub.

January 27, 2008, 08:23 PM
Thanks for the update Desert. I haven't had the opportunity to get the latest in weapon issue from the field. Last I spoke with the guys protecting my butt on a daily basis was between about 8-12 months ago.

The option of using breaching rounds, smoke, flash/bang, tear gas, or even flechette darts for jungle deployments are a nice option for me as a civilian. Not a necessity, as of yet. But for the deployed, it's not really an option. Good to know the latest. Best tool for the job gets my vote.

January 28, 2008, 10:00 AM
just saw a couple of the mossy 500 factory breacher shot guns on gunbroker. Now that is a very nice "tactical" shotgun. If I were in your situation I would get one of these.

Here is a nice desert camo version http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=90589504

January 28, 2008, 05:51 PM
Try again, the Mossberg is still the primary Shotgun for the Military.

Thanks for the correction TOP.
I've been of the understanding that the M1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun had been designated as the replacement for all existing service shotguns. I'd hate to see another Italian contract just for the purpose of Political expedience.

January 28, 2008, 06:27 PM
I have a Mossberg 500 Persuader 18.5in with an extra I believe it is a 28in barrel with screw in chokes.

If I get a rifled barrel with cantilever scope mount I could do about everthing with one gun.

Mossbergs are :cool:

January 29, 2008, 01:16 PM
One more little thing about the Model 12...
It can be taken down (but not the featherweight) just ahead of the receiver.
With a short barrel it will fit in a small suitcase. This was one reason it was so expenive to manufacture.

January 29, 2008, 06:00 PM
HMMM. The Winchester models 97 and 12 will slamfire as well as the Ithaca. The safety on the model 37 can be reversed for lefties and the bottom feed and ejection means no flying hulls in your sight plane. The Mossberg has a thumb operated safety and is cheap to buy initially with 2 barrels. The 870 has been the most prolific pump for decades; the police and military both use it. Cowboy shooters use the 1897 with great results. Hell, I like them all. Can I have one or two of each?

January 29, 2008, 10:38 PM
For classic style and grace, both the Win M-12 and 1897 would be at the top of my list.
Of the two brands that I have owned, however - R. M-870 and a 8-shot M-500, it would be the R. M-870. I fitted both w/ Choate Mk. V stocks, and the Mossy was still just too long (longer reciever, longer LOP). Short arms, I couldn't fix...

January 29, 2008, 11:36 PM
If your not into style and the like then go 870...they are the best available. Wilson modded ones are great for HD.

I have a winchester 12 as well. its more refined, but sure isnt as tough as the 870

January 29, 2008, 11:45 PM
870 then mossberg 500. thats my vote

February 3, 2008, 02:52 AM
I choose the 870...
But I say the 870 and the 500 are dead even. they are both foolproof.. have a TON of accessories avalable, can be had for cheap, equally accurite, and are both the most proven shotguns out there.
The only thing that seperates them is.. Do YOU prefer the top strap safety or the button next to the trigger???

February 5, 2008, 07:29 PM
In this order: Winchester Model 12; Browning BPS; Ithaca Model 37; Marlin 120; Remington Model 31; Smith&Wesson Model 3000; Remington Model 870; Winchester Model 1300; Benelli Nova and Mossberg Model 500. All choices unabashedly subjective. Good news: you can't go wrong with any of them!

February 5, 2008, 09:34 PM
My Model 12 16 guage mfg in 1937.

February 6, 2008, 03:59 PM
My Winny Featherweight takes down quite nicely, thank you.:p
Just turn the knurled knob, crack open action, and twist barrel 1/4 turn to remove barrel.


February 6, 2008, 04:52 PM
Your "featherweight" takes down quite nicely of course! However you still have that magazine tube attached to the reciever...quite unlike the standard M12.

February 6, 2008, 09:07 PM
nice winchester mcanders

February 7, 2008, 12:51 AM
For me its the Mossberg 590. 20in. barrel. 8+1.

February 7, 2008, 11:37 AM
I recently refinished the stock with Tru-oil, hated to do it but I plan on hunting this one in all weather conditions and it had some open spots in the factory finish. Came out nice I thought...:)




February 7, 2008, 12:05 PM
Keep in mind the Mossberg 500 series as well as the Remington 870 are well represented with aftermarket products like folding stocks, pistol grips and on and on. Anything else, and your selection goes way down fast.

February 7, 2008, 12:53 PM
My Remi 870 Marine Magnum has worked flawlessly for a few years now.