View Full Version : Winchester Defender Vs. Mossberg 500

March 7, 2001, 07:24 PM
Thinking about getting a home defense shotgun and don't know which to buy. Also, I'm wondering if the military features of the model 590 make it worth the extra money for a simple HD scenario.


Keith Duda
March 7, 2001, 08:13 PM
I have a winchester defender and love it. I like the fiber optic type sight. I like the position of the safety since it matches my hunting shotgun. The 590 is more of a standard, but I think the 1300 does just fine.


Bam Bam
March 8, 2001, 10:08 PM

Tom B
March 9, 2001, 06:19 AM
I purchased a Winchester 1300 and Mossberg 500 on the same day. Later sold the Mossberg (reliability problems) and kept the Winchester.

Dave McC
March 9, 2001, 07:25 AM
Any reliable shotgun of at least 2 shot capacity and of 20 ga or larger is a good HD tool.

Shoot a few different ones, find out which one you like, buy it and shoot it lots.

Forget the military lookalikes being more effective, at 3 AM nobody will be all that impressed.

March 10, 2001, 12:40 AM
to me its like comparing a yugo and a ford pinto.

they are both peices of crap..

buy a 870 or a nova and have a real shotgun that you can depend on ...

March 11, 2001, 01:31 AM
Well isn't Remington now crimping the end of the magazine tube so that mag. extensions can't be added? This limits the gun to what, 4 or 5 rounds?

Oh yeah, that makes it a truly wonderful choice. And of course, everything else is CRAP.

Well I won't be buying any Remingtons soon, since I hate the idea of a company that's ashamed at the thought that we might use their gun for legal self defense.

No, it's either a Mossberg or a 1300, and I'm leaning toward the 1300, since I've shot one of the Turkey guns and was very impressed.

My favorite HD shotgun is a double-barrel, but lately I've gotten the notion that a high-capacity shotgun, with a big ole' 8 shot mag, would be totally politically incorrect to own. Since the anti's would hate for me to buy it, well so now I just have to get one!

Dave McC
March 11, 2001, 04:33 AM
Used 870s are common,and most do not have the PC dreck neither you nor I like.A used 870 is perhaps the best value for money on the market,and the aftermarket bells,whistles, fuzzy dice and fender skirts will definitely P!$$ off the Hoplophobes. They may even improve effectiveness,on occasion...

The 870s has not only an unmatched record for reliability and durability, but one that is not all that closely approached.

My HD 870 was built in November, 1950. I started shooting it around 1958, maybe 8000 rounds through it, many of them 00 and slugs. Still waiting on the very first malf. Still waiting with the other 4 870s here also.

Buying a USED 870 and then letting Remington know why you didn't buy a new one may be the best way to get a message across. as well as acquiring one great shotgun.

March 11, 2001, 04:13 PM
Most Mossberg defenders will cite the ergonomics as being superior, though I'm not that knowledgable about the Winchester control locations. The Mossberg safety is up top where it is accessibly with the thumb of either hand. The slide release is behind the trigger guard and the lifter stays up making reloading easier.

On the other hand, 870s, the concensus seems, have a better reputation for durability and reliability having a heavier receiver though with a crossbolt safety and a slide release in front of the trigger guard.

Where are the controls on the Winchester?

I've had both 870s and 500s and never had a failure with either though I've hardly given them enough hard use to be an expert in this area.


March 11, 2001, 05:00 PM
the location of the safty of the moss is certainly in the right place and is better tactically.however,the part is poorly designed and is usually the first thing to go on the moss series..the second is the carrier..

all the respected trainers that i have talked to have told me they have never seen a moss 500 or win def make it through a class..

Captain Bligh
March 11, 2001, 05:26 PM
Grapeshot, do you really think you're gonna need more than five rounds of 00 buck in a home defense situation? If so you either need (a) a side saddle or (b) more time at the range. The 870 carries 4 more rounds than I expect to need in a home defense situation.


March 11, 2001, 05:54 PM
The larger magazine is useful even with more rounds - if you only stuff it with 4 (instead of 7) the mag spring only compresses to half of its unloaded length.

(and you DO always have the option of stuffing the rest in anyway)


Doc Hudson
March 11, 2001, 06:11 PM
Mossberg M-500

I've used Mossberg shotguns for over twenty-five years. The only malfunction I've ever had was when I got a bad case of buckfever and short-shucked the action.

I have never had a part to break on a Mossberg and my fifteen year old Mossberg Riot gun will still shoot with the best of them. It still locks up tight also.

FWIW, a co-worker once bought a Remington M-870 just a few days before dove season opened. He took it to a major dove shoot opening day. The fool probably shot nearly a case of shells. By the end of the day, he could hold the shotgun vertical by the wrist, hit the slide release and thrust upward and open the action. Pulling down briskly would close the action and chamber a shell. I did it myself so I know he was not just pulling my leg.

Tell me that is the way a good shotgun is supposed to work. Tell me that is a good example of Remington longevity.

Doc Hudson

Al Thompson
March 11, 2001, 06:35 PM
Doc, I actually think that's great. Wish mine would do that.


March 11, 2001, 07:00 PM
What did the professional trainers think of the 590, since they didn't like the 500?

And why didn't they like the Defender?

BTW, I greatly appreciate the input, guys.

March 11, 2001, 07:08 PM
590 has a litter better action but same problem with the safty.

i hear a lot of people that have had good success with thier mossys but i hear a lot more people complaining about them.when i had my shop the # 1 worked on shotgun was the mossy....# 2 was the rem 1100..

March 11, 2001, 07:16 PM
when looking through the archives here there seemed to be a few people trying to get rid of their 590's - perhaps they are bought more as a status symbol than for real use?

Or perhaps people just tire of a combat shotgun, since they can't hunt with it.

March 11, 2001, 11:11 PM
grapeshot,maybe a little more info on the mossys will help..

take a look internally at both the remington and mossy.

there is a lot of differnce in the way they are made.
mossy uses very cheap cast parts where remington uses alot of machined steel.

i have been discouraged about remington and there latest quest for a safer shotgun.i would not own a remington with the keylock safty even if they have improved and fixed them.

buy a used one and send a message to remington!!!

as for the crimped magazine tube.dont sweat that.a tac shotgun does not need alot of capacity and further more it throws off the natural balance and feel of it so dont clutter it up and keep it simple.if you must the little dents can be removed with a dremel tool or a dent tube remover available from brownells.

as for the winchester the biggest problem i see with them it the ejector slipping out for place.if you dont get it in there just so it will slip out and lock up your hole gun.it is a very poor design.

also on the winchester is that it is just like the nova.the saftey is forward of the trigger gaurd.if you have no experiance with shotguns this will be no big deal but for me its a real pain.

dollar for dallar the nova is a workhorse of a shotgun.many people are getting them in the hunting blinds and in the tac world and having good results.if i was not so set in my ways i would buy one....

Dave McC
March 12, 2001, 06:34 AM
Grapeshot, my tactical 870s make great hunting shotguns, the freezer still has plenty of venison in it.

A riot bbled, bead sighted 870 makes one H*lluva quail gun too.

Admittedly, a 10 lb Loudenboomer SP Mag with GR sights and bayonet is heavy toting in the woods, but a generic short bbled shotgun does OK for almost anything, assuming load,choke and shooter are up to it.

Red Label
March 12, 2001, 10:55 AM
gunmart - you gotta admit that a post like your first one is gonna get some people's dander up.

I've owned both an 870 with several different barrels, and now I own the 1300 Defender. I admit that the 870 I had was a little better quality. But so far I love my 1300. I considered both the HD 870 and 1300 when I bought the 1300. But the Winchester narrowly won out because of a couple of features it had over the Remington. And the main one was the 8 shell capacity. See, I didn't just buy it for home defense. I bought it for grizzly bear defense. I bought it for a serious defense weapon in any situation. And if I'm in the process of defending myself, I'm gonna feel better if I have 8 shots in the tube, than 4 or 5.

I have no opinion of the Mossberg. These things are inexpensive, I don't expect them to rival O/U's in terms of quality. But if I was in a life and death situation, I want more shots...

March 12, 2001, 05:44 PM
EEA is starting to advertise the Russian IZH 133 pump which was reviewed in the G&A this month--(over all 3 stars).

List price is $299 and I'll bet you will get them for less. They can take 3 1/2" shells interchangably and have 18 1/2" and 20" barrels.

Do you think these Russian shotguns, semi-autos and pump, will have wide acceptance for work horse and HD use?

Dave McC
March 13, 2001, 08:34 AM
Doc, while I don't do it often, one of mine will do exactly that. Any pump that smooth is a joy to own.The rest of my 870s are getting there through work polishing(G)...

Brooks, here's my take on foreign, low priced shotguns.

I'm not as down on Russian guns as the ChiCom ones, but after going through a lot of hassle with a LLama pistol many years ago,I'm less than enthused about owning anything that might have to cross oceans for warranty work. Parts may be hard to obtain also.

For less than $299, one should be able to pick out a number of good, used, US made shotguns, including 870s, Model 37s etc. And while these may be out of warranty, so little goes wrong with them that risk is near zero for problems.

General Tso
March 14, 2001, 11:27 AM
I've owned all 3 and can't say any of them were bad. The only issue I ever had with any of them was infrequent short stroking which was my fault and that was with my Rem 870 HD (with the stupid mag tube detents).

Of the 3 I actually think the Winchester had the slickest action of the ones I owned, possibily due to the rotary bolt. It seemed the easiest to shoot fast although again, none were bad.

A couple of things to keep in mind on the Mossberg 590's:

- the military 590A1's are built a little sturdier than the commercial 590's. They have a heavier barrel (FWIW), a steel safety and an aluminum trigger gaurd whereas the commercial 500's and 590's have plastic trigger gaurds and safetys.

- the 590's also beat out the Remington and Winchester in the military trials being the only pumpgun to meet of exceed the gov test criteria (3,000 rounds without a malfunction I believe it was?). It's the currently purchased and issued shotgun at least until the semi-auto Benelli M1014's work thier way into service. there are still 870's and Winchesters in inventory but all purchases in recent years have been of 590's.

In Winchester's, check out thier "Camp Defender" model. Interesting setup IMO. 22" barrel with screw in choke tubes, rifle sights, synthetic stocks and matte finish and a 7 shot mag tube. Cost is only about $250 and if it worked as well as my last Defender I wouldn't have any gripes with it at all.


Keep in mind too that, FWIW, FN markets the Winchester 1300's under the FN name in thier law enforcement line. Again, a nice setup IMO, 18" barrel, 7 shot tube, rifle sights and screw in choke tubes.


I'm sorta in a similar boat as you, I have an HD shotgun (the 870) but would like to get something with a full length mag tube (for no other reason other than I want one, I'll still probably use the 870 as my house gun). I've been kicking it around for a while and am finally ready to buy and my choice is down to either a 590A1 or a Benelli Nova Special Purpose with a mag tube extension (7+1 capacity). One bonus the 590 does have when it comes to pi$$ing off the anti's is the bayonet lug. Nothing gets Chucky Schumer and his ilk more worked up than an "evil" miltary feature :D.

In the end though Dave's probably got the best advice: shoot a variety of stuff and get what you like best as long as it's reliable. We're all going to have individual prejudices and preferences but you're the one who's going to actually end up with the shotgun so get what you're most comfortable with.

Dave McC
March 14, 2001, 11:31 AM
Amen, General, good to see you back.

And, lest we forget, it's still 10% shotgun, 90% shooter...

March 14, 2001, 12:33 PM
I hadn't really considered the Camp Defender, but I'll chekc it out.

I'm leaning toward a Winchester Defender in 20 guage - any thoughts on a 20 for defense? The reason is, I'm a wimp. Well, actually, I'm just a small-statured person at 5'7" and the 12 guages just feel huge to me. I'm thinking a 20 guage Defender would be a physically more compact weapon. Even if not, it would at least kick a lot less.

Do they make buckshot for 20 guage? What load for defense?

Dave McC
March 14, 2001, 12:53 PM
Grapeshot, I doubt any perp shot with a 20 ga in a HD scenario will be able to tell it wasn't a 12 ga.Nor shall he care(G)...

Downside, the 20 is USUALLY lighter and handles faster than a similiar 12, but oft heavy loads in a 20 kick worse than the equivalent 12. The lighter weight is the main culprit. A smaller butt on most 20s is a secondary source of trouble. Less surface area means more push per inch.

I've seen excellent work done with 12s by feathermerchants, but not often.The keys are committment and practice.

US Marshall(Formerly MD DOC Sgt) Janice Parks is comely, athletic and about 5'4", 120 lbs. She was an outstanding shotgunner, and probably still is.

There's an old thread here about proper mounting techniques, call it Serious Shotgunning 101.It may help you out.

There's also old threads on dealing with kick, lots of them. You're not the only one that's had a glitch or two.

March 14, 2001, 01:05 PM
I'll do that Dave, thanks.

If possible, I would like to stick with a 12 - accessories and ammo are easier to come by.

General Tso
March 14, 2001, 01:43 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with Dave on this one Grapeshot. I personally can't reacll ever shooting a 20 gauge (I have a bunch of 12's and a 10 :D) but I see a lot of folks using them in Cowboy Action Shooting.

Interesting thing here is that many smaller stature guys, women and the recoil sensitive buy 20's thinking they'll be easier to shoot and in many cases that doesn't prove to be entirely correct. Watching them shoot it's interesting to see that those 20's sometimes seem to have "sharper" (if that makes sense) recoil than the 12's. Mind you we're typically dealing with short barreled coach guns here.

Like Dave mentions, the 20's lighter weight and smaller size actually seems to transfer more recoil to the shooter, even with lighter loads. The guns attributes seem to matter as much or more than the gauge in my experience.

Here's an example: My 10 gauge is a behemoth double barrel with realatively short 22" tubes. Despite that, recoil with 3 1/2" mags is actually more tolerable through it than 3" mag 12's are through my pump riot gun simply bause the damn 10 is such a heavy pig and has a broad buttplate. It sucks up teh recoil better it seems even though the loads are heavier.

Keep in mind also, with a 12 you have a wide variety of loads to choose from so you can always go lighter if you want less recoil, especially for practice and general familiarization.

Going back to my CAS observations, I see small stature females using 12's with the best of them and the key seems to be practice and technique.

March 14, 2001, 03:00 PM
just got word last fall (from a real navy seal) that they are getting rid of the moss 590 because they where not holding up.they have gone back to the rem 870 and are waiting on the new benelli./..

i guess they had to find out the hard way!!!!.

why should you?

March 25, 2001, 08:52 PM
Doc: That's the mark of a "worked" pump gun. Those in the know knew that a "poor boy" action job on a pump was to disassemle, remove all lube and put valve grinding compound on everything that moved or rubbed. Then cycle the daylights out of the action a few thousand times until everything was smooth and shiny. The, clean VERY thoroughly and lube as appropriate. That was the poor boys action job that worked.

March 29, 2001, 04:56 AM
I owned a Winchester Defender in the past. When I went to buy again, I switched to a Remington 870. The 870 edges out the 1300 when it comes to quality IMHO. I like the 870s engineering a little better. I just have to get accustomed to the location of the 870's slide release. I believe the way the 870's barrel fits to the reciever is was a better idea too. But then again the $150.00 I paid for the new Winchester was hard to beat.

Katrina Guy
July 2, 2006, 01:49 PM
Hi, brand new to this forum. I have made up my mind, partically based on messages posted here to purchase a new Winchester Defender. I feel the NEED for the mulitple shotgun shell rounds, sorry, I'm from New Orleans and am never going through THAT again wherever I live, if Marlin for instance made a version that was reliable that held a dozen rounds I would be prone to that model.
Now then, my question to you good people is this, I like the compactness of the pistol grip version of the Defender, or any riot type shotgun for that matter, however I am wondering how practical this is regarding actual shooting. Not shooting from the hip like in movies but actually holding it up as a regular shotgun to fire, seems like one unless they possess the body of Grizzly Adams would end up with a face full of shotgun butt???
Please, anyone here has a riot type shotgun with a pistol grip, give me your experience firing it.
IN the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans one would be carrying their Defender everywhere they went indoors, even to the toilet, I've lived through/witnessed what most of you won't ever see in a lifetime, unless perhaps you've lived through the L.A. riots in 1990.
Next question: I have no intention of ever being, as a law abiding citizen of the United States, having some law enforcement bozo knock on my door and ORDER me out in five minutes or go to a jail with no judge to see the next day, or next month for that matter, so, will slugs, say sabot slugs eliminate this threat, i.e. bullet proof vest penetration.
I'm a white collar professional, not some yahoo gun packing clown, as were just about ALL of law enforcement from all over the world in New Orleans after Katrina. Sorry if anyone in here is with law enforcement, mean no offense just seeking help in the right defense riot gun to get.
Finally but related to the topic of pistol grip or not, would a Defender model in 20 guage equiped with a pistol grip be better?

again I'm new here and have read all of the post and am prethanking you all.
Katrina Guy

July 2, 2006, 03:23 PM
I have used the Mossberg 500 and 590 for years. I have never had a malfunction of any kind. I have not had the opportunity to use the Winchester and cannot comment on it. I will say that the 870 has a smoother action than the 500 but I have seen an 870 action bind and fail. All three manufacturers have successful histories (though Winchester no longer makes the 1300), I doubt you will be disapointed with either one.

July 2, 2006, 04:45 PM
Well, a little history here. When I was in the Marines, we had Winchester 1200s, Mossberg M590s and a couple M870s. Now in the Air Force as a CATM instructor, I see mainly M870 shotguns. Personally, I own a Mossberg M500 and two Remington M870. Here's my epxerience:

Winchester 1200: These were older shotguns probably made around the late 60's (my time was the late 80s') They were lighter and easy to carry around on post. However, they weren't a very popular gun. The main reason was that when they were fired, the slide tended to unlock and the forend would want to shoot back with the recoil. Winchester claims that this was to aid the speed of the action but the biggest gripe I heard was that it was disconcerting and if I want a slide to move backwards, I'll be the one pulling it back rather than having it shoot back out of my hands. Other complaints about the 1200 was the action release lever was pretty small making it harder to use and on those guns without the heat shields, the front bead was also on the small side.

Mossberg M590/M500 series. The Mossberg M590 for us was a lot more popular than the M1200 we carried. The ambidextrious safety was a benefit for left handers and the carrier that rode against the bottom of the bolt prevented any malfunctions caused by shells that didn't engage the shell latches. The action release was a lot larger than the 1200 making it easier to use if needed. On my personal M500, I did find that the safety lever cracked as time went by but a steel version from Brownells cured that problem with little effort. My Mossberg was for many years when I was farming my main shotgun for clearing blackbirds out of the sunflower fields and many, many, many cases of shells went through it without ever having a stoppage or malfunction. It's been said that the alloy reciever isn't as durable as the steel reciever of the M870 but with the number of rounds I've put down range with mine, I don't think this is really an issue especially when the locking block locks into the barrel extension rather than the reciever.

Remington M870: We had a couple M870s with short barrels and top folding stocks when I was in the Marines but we seldom used them outside of guarding the Admiral for CINCSouth. My main military expereince with the M870 has been in the Air Force. Now while these are older shotguns, a recurring problem I have seen on a lot of them in the armory has been loose shell latches. Unlike the Mossberg with it's loose latches, the shell latches of the M870 are staked into the reciever (the ejector is also staked into the reciever as well) and over time, they loosen up and require staking again. There are some I have come across however that are almost out of room to have this option done again. If they run out of room, it's back to depot for that weapon and we have to get a new one and the old one is destroyed. The carrier is also solid and unlike the Mossberg rests at the bottom of the reciever when not lifting a shell into the chamber. Now if you have a weak right shell catch that will allow a shell to slip past it (or as what happened with one of my 870's during unloading where it slipped past my fingers somehow) the shell will get between the carrier and closed bolt. With solid carriers, the only way to get the shell out is to take apart the magazine tube to relieve the pressure and in some cases, remove the trigger assembly to get the offending shell out. After this happened on my personal M870, I dremel cut a slot about 3/4 of the length of the carrier so now when it happens again, I can push the shell back into the magazine tube with a knife blade or key. Now supposidly the newer carriers have a"flex tab" of sorts where if this happens you bang the butt on the ground and it will clear the weapon but I've never really seen this in action. As for the safety button, it's alright for right handed shooters but for left handed shooters, it can be a bit more of a challenge. The action bar release is also larger than the Mossberg or Winchester but it's position doesn't allow you to manipulate it without shifting your grip.

Given the choice between the 3 shotguns, the Mossberg, Remington, and Winchester, my first choice would be the Mossberg. It's been dead relaible and durable in both my military and personal experinces. My next choice would be the Remington. It's a rugged and durable shotgun however, with the shell latches and ejector being staked in place I see this as an area that can cause problems when the stakes loosen up. Also, the solid shell carrier in earlier models can also cause problems if a shell slips past the latches. My last choice (and probably the reason I don't own one) is the Winchester. I just couldn't get used to the slide blowing back with the recoil and the small action bar release button. While none of the Winchesters I've fired had a problem with shells slipping past the shell latches, the solid carrier of the Winchesters also make me wonder if the same problem the Remington has of rounds between the bolt and carrier tying up the action would also apply here as well.

July 10, 2006, 03:18 PM
Neither...get a Remington 870! You can get them now with an 18" imp. cyldr barrel and 7 shot magazine extension already on them. They even have one that comes with the Knoxx recoil reducing SpecOps stock, a must have. I own several shotguns, and between my Mossberg 500 and my Remington 870, I reach for the Remington every single time.