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Old February 11, 2019, 05:10 AM   #1
Roamin_Wade
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Mossberg vs Remington Pump Guns

Being that all pump shotguns are judged against the standard of all pump guns, the 870, how does the Mossberg stand up against the 870 in your opinion? I was looking at the Blue Book of Gun Values and noticed that none of their firearms have ever been prized for very much money. Why is that? My take on them as it stands now is that their shotguns are perfectly serviceable and a bit less cost than the 870 so if one wants to take a shotgun into miserable conditions and it still work, get a Mossberg, but is the action generally as reliable as the 870? Is the pump action as durable as the 870? Etc., etc.. Thanks!
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Old February 11, 2019, 06:44 PM   #2
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This is no help but I think in terms of reliability and durability, realistically speaking, there's no practical difference. I prefer the steel receiver on the Remington and the tang-mounted safety on the Mossberg-you can't have both.
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Old February 11, 2019, 07:26 PM   #3
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What is the receiver on a Mossberg made of?
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Old February 11, 2019, 07:50 PM   #4
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Light-weight, non-rust aluminum alloy.
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Old February 11, 2019, 07:59 PM   #5
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I much prefer the moss 500/590, only because of the location of the controls
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Old February 11, 2019, 08:07 PM   #6
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The Mossberg has a cast aluminum receiver and mostly stamped and some?? plastic internal parts.
The Mossberg trigger guard is plastic on the 500.

The Remington receiver is solid steel, machined from a massive block of forged steel.
The internals are heavy duty fabricated parts that seldom ever break.
Some models of the 870 have a plastic trigger guard, the Wingmaster and Police models use a trigger guard made of compressed powdered aluminum.
Some people think the 870 plastic trigger guard is actually better because it's self lubricating and won't break if hit hard.

About 95% of all American law enforcement departments and Federal agencies use the Remington 870-P Police model because it has a long record of standing up to abusive police use.

The Mossberg 500 model failed in police use and in order to make it in the LE and military contract market they made some changes to the basic Model 500 and introduced the Model 590 series.
These are still the basic Model 500 design only upgraded, mostly in the magazine assembly to copy the 870 mag assembly.
These are tougher then the 500 but most LE and Feds still buy the 870-P Police model.

The 870 is still the pump shotgun all others are compared to, and most still can't better it.
According to ultra-high volume clay shooters the aluminum guns like the Mossberg will begin to fail and crack around 75,000 rounds.
The Remington 870 will usually begin developing cracks around the ejection port at about 250,000 rounds.

I used to know a big city police department armorer and he would joke that his 870 parts supply would fit in a shoe box with enough room left for a burger and fries.
He said that almost all of his repairs were broken stocks, knocked off bead sights, and crush/bent barrels.
The 870 is said to be the only pump gun that can stand up to the police night watch version of "Hold my beer and watch this".

Many people like the top of the receiver safety of the Mossberg and some people dislike the location of the Remington slide release.

A disadvantage of the Mossberg 500 is the magazine tube is difficult to access for cleaning, and you can't install a magazine extension unless you buy another type barrel.

The 870 has an easy clean, straight through magazine tube and an extension can be mounted easily, although the Express model has to have two small lugs in the front end of the mag tube removed or pressed out before an extension can be mounted.
The Mossberg 590 series copied the Remington 870 easy-clean magazine tube assemble at the demand of the military and police.

Both will serve very well for a civilian shooter, so it comes down to which brand you like, and what type of safety location you prefer.
According to recent buyers Remington is curing the quality problems that were caused by the last owners before the company was acquired by the current owners.
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Old February 11, 2019, 08:35 PM   #7
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I prefer the Mossberg for the reason given in post #5 as well as my service experience with it.
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Old February 11, 2019, 09:01 PM   #8
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The Mossberg 590 addresses most of the 500's shortcomings and as a personal defense, LE or military shotgun I'd rate the 590 and 870 very close to equal. I still prefer the 870 though.


As a hunting shotgun I like the 870 much better than the 500. It is a more rugged, durable design. But to be fair, few people will shoot one enough to wear out either. When wing shooting balance and naturally pointing are very important. The 870 does that better than any other pump and most auto's.

The Mossberg safety is NOT on the tang. It is mounted on the top of the receiver where it is equally difficult for both right and left handed shooters to use. It is also mounted where it is easily bumped and disengaged as it is being handled and the plastic tab is easily broken. Going to a steel safety tab is one of the upgrades on the 590.

If someone likes a safety mounted in that position Browning does a much better job with their BPS pump. In fact if considering quality pump shotguns the BPS needs to be in the conversation too. I'd rate them better than Mossberg.

If operated correctly the CBS mounted behind the trigger guard on the 870 is faster to operate and more positive even for lefty's. It is about learning proper technique.

And it CAN be reversed. My brother shoots an 870 lefty and considered having his reversed. But decided that the possibility of creating confusion if anyone else used it outweighed the advantages. Using it as is doesn't slow him down in the least.
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Old February 11, 2019, 09:12 PM   #9
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I have a Mossberg 500 and a Rem 870. Like them both very much. The 870 is a bit easier to field strip but I do not like the lift gate that likes to get in the way of the magazine. If I had to chose it would be the Mossberg.
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Old February 11, 2019, 10:14 PM   #10
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That’s good info on the receiver material differences. That clues me in on why the prices are different too. The shotguns in question are actually old Western Field models from Montgomery Wards. The safety slides on both the 410 and 20 Gauge are steel, not plastic. I’ve been unable to figure how old they are. The trigger guards are both heavy duty plastic.
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Old February 11, 2019, 10:18 PM   #11
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I'm a lefty, much prefer the Mossberg because of the receiver safety. But having read through the other comments here, I will be checking into that reversible safety on the 870!
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Old February 11, 2019, 10:41 PM   #12
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I am a full time gunsmith.
I prefer the Mossberg because I see a LOT more 870s in need to repair than 500s or 590s.
It's very seldom I need to fix a Mossberg, especially the 590s.

Last edited by Wyosmith; February 12, 2019 at 09:49 AM.
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Old February 12, 2019, 05:31 AM   #13
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That's interesting! What are the most typical problems you see with Remingtons? Do you think it's due to Freedom Group quality control issues, or intrinsic problems with the design?

Personally, I just don't like tang safeties. The crossbolt safety of the 870 provides immediate tactile feedback if you try to place your finger on the trigger with the safety on since it protrudes into the finger. Then, it's a fast and almost automatic motion to disengage it.

However, I dislike the slide release on the 870. It's like a left handed version of the Ithaca 37 slide release, which makes it obnoxious for a righty. I've seen it argued that you should never have to press it if you are using the shotgun correctly, except I'm not convinced that basic controls should require removing a hand from the firearm.

I also don't like that the 870 loads with the shell lifter in the down position.
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Old February 12, 2019, 08:50 AM   #14
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First -- that tang safety on the Mossberg is the dumbest that has come down the road
ever!!!
What the guys promoting that thing is -- it falls off, the screw is not staked or loctited.
When it fall off the gun won't fire, you can not remove it from safe!!!
Many SXS & O/U's use tang safety's, but they are made so the slide won't fall off!

Second the Remington safety is can not be reversed, a new left hand safety has to be installed, not a big thing.

There are a few guns made where the safety can be reversed, which one's I don't know.
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Old February 12, 2019, 10:09 AM   #15
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I’m partial to both the Remington safety and slide release strictly because that’s what I’m used to. My step dad wouldn’t allow me to fish with a spinning reel with the handle on the right side because if you take a baitcaster and roll it around to the bottom the handle will be on the left side like all traditional spinning reels are. I thank him for that now. Funny how the brain works.

If I were to get a 20 Gauge Mossberg like the one that made me want to post this thread, I’d also get a rifled barrel for it so I could shoot those Sabot slugs. I’ve tried to locate an 1100 rifled barrel for my Rem but I’ve yet to find one. I’m not sure they’ve ever made a rifled barrel for an 1100 in 20 Gauge although one can find 1100 rifled barrels for a 12 Gauge.
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Old February 12, 2019, 10:15 AM   #16
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To answer Kozak:
The main glitch I see with 870s is the staked-in shell latches coming from the factory not always staked well enough. Not a hard problem to fix, but it takes special tools to do it right and most 870 owners do not have those tools. Next we see timing issues between the slide arm and the shell latch, but that is not near as common.

Quality control of the "Freedom group" seems to be on and off as it relates to 870s now as much as it has been in the past, so I can't say I have seen any connection. I think it just depends on who is working at the assembly line on a given day.

As far as the safety of the 500 goes I would agree the screw should be staked and secured with thread locker. That is something Mossberg should do with all of them. The 590s come that way because they have to comply with USMC specs.The 500 is a VERY simple and nearly free to fix. Any 500 owner can do it himself, but I do have to agree with Jauarxk120 that it should be done at the factory.

I do not agree that it's a dumb idea or design.

Once the screw is fixed (and especially if you get the metal safety instead of the plastic one) they are pretty much fool-proof and 100% reliable.

That very issue was addressed by the USMC in the shotgun trials 20+ years ago and was fixed in the 590 prototype that was tested by the Marines and the SEALS. The Remington was also in the trials and they submitted the up-graded 870 to try to get the contract.

The Mossberg won in all categories.

That should give us some reason to think over the idea that the Mossberg is a "poor design". And if it is, the Remington was beat by that "poor" gun, which would make the Remington "poorer".

In defense of the Remington I tell customers this:
If you get a new one the best thing you can do is to get about 250-300 rounds of heavy loads and shoot it a lot as soon as you can.
The issues with the 870 are such that if the gun doesn't fail in the first 250 rounds of hard kicking ammo it probably never will.

The problem with the Remington is NOT it's design. It's how they assemble them.

250 round of hard kicking ammo will usually loosen up anything that was not "tied down" right and if the gun fails in the first 6 months or so, Remington will fix or replace it.

That is the reason so many people can say (honestly) they have had a Remington 870 for YEARS and it's been 100% reliable. If you get a good one (you usually will) they are good guns. If you get a bad one you'll know pretty soon if you give it some good high recoiling loads.
As a gunsmith what I don't see much is old well worn 870s coming in for repair. I see the new ones! And I have fixed new 870s (some several years old but not fired much) all the way back to the 1970s, so this has always been the issue with them.

I recommend the Mossberg as a new gun purchase because they work out of the box. That doesn't make the 870 bad, it's just not as safe a bet for a new gun buy.

But if you shoot the new 870 like a mad-man in the first few weeks or months and it works great, you probably will not live long enough to see it fail. If it's going to fail, it's going to do it soon and the sooner you get a new Remington back to the Remington factory, the better they will treat you, and the sooner you'll get it back fixed right
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Old February 12, 2019, 05:30 PM   #17
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I've had/have both. I had a Remington 870 Wingmaster years ago, when the Wingmaster had nicer receiver and wood. I bought it used, shot trap with it almost every Thursday night for just over 5 years, 200 rounds every week, plus the occasional turkey shoot, skeet and sporting clays trip, and of course hunting. Put over 50k rounds thru that gun and it NEVER failed me. I bought my wife a youth model 870 express in 20 gauge, with a short 20 inch barrel. I LOVED that thing, and ended up hunting with that for years and left the old heavy 12 gauge Wingmaster at home.
That being said, there were things about the 870 that always bugged the bejesus out of me. First, was the slide release, which always seemed to be in the wrong place, I think Remington put it in the wrong place and Mossberg got it right. I also hate the location of the 870 safety which requires I move my finger away from the trigger to move the safety. My Mossberg safety can be reached with my trigger finger on the trigger guard, ready to move into position for the shot. Lastly, I really don't like the loading gate on the bottom of the 870. Any hunter who's hunted alot in winter will tell you that damn thing likes to snag your glove tip.
So, I moved years ago, sold all the guns before I moved. Got to the new home, got an itch for a shotgun again, looked around, and found a really nice Mossberg 500 in a pawnshop for $200. Over a couple of years, I found 3 more barrels for it, each $40 or less. I replaced the cheap plastic safety with a very nice metal Vang Comp Big Safety. And I removed the old Mossberg wood stock and handguard and replaced them with the Magpul furniture instead. Yes, the Mossberg has been as reliable so far as the 870, though I've only put a couple thousand rounds thru it in 15 years, not nearly the volume the 870 saw. I don't see any difference in one gun being harder or easier to clean than the other.
Visually, I think the Remington is a nicer looking gun, and to be honest with you, even though the Remington weighs more do to its steel receiver, I find I shoot better with the Remington than the Mossberg. Now, that may be due to the years and years of using one, muscle memory and all that, but it is what it is. I shoot (trap, skeet, clays) better with the 870. My Mossberg controls are all in the right place, I intuitively find them. I have to go hunting around for the Remington controls.
Is one better than the other? Probably not at this point. Its as old an argument as Ford-vs-Chevy and "which (motor oil/beer) is better"? You can't go wrong with either, there's a gazillion parts available for both, barrels are everywhere, chokes are everywhere, it comes down to which one feels better in your hands, which one shoulders naturally. Gunsmiths are familiar with both, pawnshops are loaded with both. Can't decide? Buy both, shoot them for a year or two, then sell the one that you think you can live without. It's not a Benelli, you can buy both without going broke.
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Old February 12, 2019, 08:47 PM   #18
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"The Mossberg won in all categories.

That should give us some reason to think over the idea that the Mossberg is a "poor design". And if it is, the Remington was beat by that "poor" gun, which would make the Remington "poorer".

I'm not sure what shotgun trials you're referring to.
The "trials" that Mossberg entered the 590-A1 in was not what people thought it was.

For a few years Mossberg had ads stating that "Only Mossberg passed the grueling 3000 round US Government test".
That would be because ONLY Mossberg submitted a gun for the test.

Unlike the usual process of different makers submitting test prototypes to be tested to find which was BEST, the government shotgun tests was only a pass-fail test.
If a shotgun could pass the fairly easy test they'd be allowed to submit a bid for the contract.

Since there was no possibility that Remington could make a forged steel receiver shotgun for a lower price then the cast aluminum Mossberg, there was no possibility that Remington would get the contract.
Submitting a shotgun would be a total waste of Remington's time and money.
So, Remington simply didn't bother submitting a gun for the test.
Neither did any other shotgun maker.
The great "test" was taken by only Mossberg, and only they were allowed to submit a bid, which they won.
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Old February 12, 2019, 09:14 PM   #19
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Ford vs Chevy argument. Either one you choose should outlive you with minimal care. A BPS is also in that category.
All the "arguments" provided based on personal taste prove not a damn thing. I am a retired long term gunsmith and almost every time I ever had to address an issue with either it was attributable on operator incompetence.
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Old February 12, 2019, 11:14 PM   #20
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The Benelli Nova is 20 years old this year, any design flaws or unreliability issues?
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Old February 13, 2019, 03:07 PM   #21
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The Mossberg 500 can be upgraded somewhat, if you want to spend the money.

I refuse to own a shotgun with a plastic triggerplate assembly.
You CAN buy a 590 alloy assembly from Mossberg & have it installed.
Brownells sells a steel safety replacement.

I have their Shockwave here (without intending to get into the arguments for & against those).
It's billed as a 590 by Mossberg, but it isn't.
Has the 500 plastic triggerplate & plastic safety.

On mine, I've had the gun worked over by a couple different shops.
My local guy installed the 590 alloy triggerplate and the Brownells steel safety, cleaned up the action.
He also discovered the gun had almost no forcing cone, corrected that.

The barrel went to Vang Comp for porting.

Some of the above is extraneous to the discussion, but illustrates how a Mossberg can come & how it can be upgraded.


In "utility" models with plastic furniture, Mossbergs tend to not be quite as refined as GOOD Remington 870s.
By "good" I exclude all of the Express models.

My longtime gunsmith of 30+ years says the Mossberg is a good gun, but overpriced typically for what it is.

And Cerberus/Freedom Group is gone.
Efforts are being made at Remington to upgrade quality.
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Old February 13, 2019, 06:58 PM   #22
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Chances are after all the money spent on those "upgrades"
one could have a very nice Remington Wingmaster.
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Old February 13, 2019, 09:53 PM   #23
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Quote:
Ford vs Chevy argument. Either one you choose should outlive you with minimal care.
This sums it up pretty well IMO.
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Old February 14, 2019, 12:03 AM   #24
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I’m sitting here looking at my Browning BPS 12 gauge and I really like everything about it. From the price to the bottom ejection and it can also digest those little Aguila 1.75” shells. You have to buy that little rubber thing to pop into the lower receiver, but not even the Remington can digest those. I’ve read several reviews where folks say that the BPS is more difficult to take apart and put back together but being an aircraft mechanic and seeing how smartly the BPS is built, I think it’s a better design than the Remington or Mossberg.
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Old February 14, 2019, 02:50 AM   #25
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The BPS and M37 take their design influence from the Remington Model 17. Mossberg design is borrowed from the Remington Model 31.
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