Full disclosure: I’ve always been a fan of the Remington 870. The 870 has always been a bit more refined and smoother to me. However, with Remington’s quickly deteriorating quality control, the Mossberg 500 might just be the choice for you!
Yes, I’m talking a lot about the Remington 870 in a Mossberg 500 review… that’s because it is difficult to address one without comparing it to the other. Their differences are the pros and cons of each.
It is fairly obvious that the Mossberg 500 is a bit more “clunky” than the Remington 870 and it has fewer options for upgrades. However, it is built like a tank and it just….well…works!
If you’re looking for a reliable pump action shotgun in a standard configuration, then the Mossberg 500 is for you. If you want something a bit more refined and are looking for more upgrades (especially an extended magazine or a pistol grip), then you might want to check out the Remington 870.
When you rack the action of a Mossberg 500, you’ll notice that it is a bit “clunky.” There’s clearly more moving parts in the action. Also, the Mossberg 500 is a bit sharper on the edges/less polished.
Don’t worry, though… the action of the Mossberg 500 will smoothen up a bit with use.
Differences of the Mossberg 500:
The Mossberg 500 has a unique shell lifter. This open bottom design allows the lifter to tuck up and around the bolt when the action is closed. This allows the easy loading of shells without pushing the lifter out of the way and it also allows the shooter to use new mini-shells with a small adapter. The adapter won’t fit in a Remington 870 because the lifter is solid.
The Mossberg 500 has its safety on the rear top of the receiver. This is a great place for the safety when using a standard shotgun stock. It is easy to access with your thumb and it makes it easy to see the condition of the shotgun. However, if you’re going to use a pistol grip, it is downright awkward to use.
The barrel is held in place with a barrel nut at the end of the magazine tube. This is a strong design but it prevents you from using an extended magazine tube. The capacity at which you buy your Mossberg 500 is the capacity it will stay.
The action release button is behind the trigger guard. This location makes it very easy to open the action to eject a live shell. Remington’s action release button is in front of the trigger guard and requires that you reposition your firing hand grip to access it.
Mossberg 500 Reliability:
Although slightly less refined, this shotgun works! It is beefy but that is part of why it is so reliable. Remington 870s have had numerous problems with simple operations like shell extraction or ejection… the Mossberg 500? It runs and runs and runs.
Also, the mini-shells we mention? They are super fun to use and are really only an option with the Mossberg 500 due to reliability issues with other pump action shotguns.