Remington 870 vs. Mossberg 500 – Informational Review


In this article, we will compare two legends of the American shotgun industry, the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500. Both have sold tens of millions globally and have been in continuous production for decades.

They have enjoyed enduring popularity for good reason, including their design and effectiveness which has been proven in the field and in combat. 

So what makes one better than the other?

Comparison of Remington 870 and Mossberg 500

  • Barrel measured at 14 inches
  • Chambered to fire 20 gauge shots
  • Magazine capacity of 4 + 1 rounds
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  • Ambidextrous safety equipped
  • Handles up to about 6 to 8 rounds
  • Barrel measured at 18.5 inches in length
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  • Pistol grip included
  • The capacity of 6 shells
  • Chambered to fire 12 gauge shots
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  • 6-round capacity
  • Chambered to fire 12 gauge shots
  • Chamber size measured at 3 inches in length
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  • Designed to fire 12 gauge shots
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Barrel measured at 14 inches in length
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  • 6 + 1 round capacity
  • Fires 12 gauge shots
  • Barrel measured out at 18.5 inches
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What is a Remington 870?

The Remington 870 is a pump-action shotgun manufactured by Remington Arms Company and designed in 1950. It became popular in the 70s and has enjoyed great success since then, with the ten millionth model produced in 2009.

Remington 870

The Remington 870 has a bottom-loading, side-ejecting receiver, a tubular magazine under the barrel and a plug for hunting, which allows three shells instead of six.

The Remington 870’s action, receiver, fire control group, safety catch, and slide release catch are similar to those of the Remington 7600 series pump-action centerfire rifles and carbines.

Remington 870 Models

The Remington 870 comes in several variants, three of which are discussed below. These variants are meant for different purposes, like tactical uses, hunting game, or home defense.

Remington has designed these models for functionality, cost, and aesthetics, and many are frequently further modified by their owners.

The models we’ll be looking at here are the classic 870 Wingmaster, the 870 DM, and the 870 Express.

Remington 870 Wingmaster

The Remington Wingmaster is the classic version of the 870. It sticks to the original design of the first Remington 870 and comes in 12-gauge 2 3/4" and 3", 20 and 28 gauge, and .410 bore.

The stock and forend both have a satin finish and the woodwork is American walnut. The receiver and barrel are blued and polished, and the barrel and choke are both customizable.

Remington 870 DM

This version differs from the others because of it’s detachable magazine system. The fire mechanisms are designed from scratch and available with three and six-round magazines. It has the fastest response time of any pump shotgun and is well-suited for home defense.

Remington 870 Express

The Remington 870 Express is a less expensive variant than the Wingmaster. It comes with the Standard Express finish on the barrel and receiver, as well as a 26" or 28" vent-rib, bead-sighted barrel.

It shoots both 2 ¾" and 3" shells, and is offered in .410, and 12-/20-gauge. Generally, this model has lower-end parts compare to the Wingmaster, including plastic trigger guards, weaker springs, a MIM (metal injection molded) extractor, and a magazine cap retention system that uses a plastic plunger forcing itself against the magazine cap to secure the barrel.

The magazine has dimples that must be removed before a magazine extension can be installed. The Express has non-reflective black matte metalwork and a no-frills hardwood stock and forend.

What is the Mossberg 500?

The Model 500 series is designed to be easy to clean while also withstanding harsh conditions. It is based on a design by Carl Benson and was introduced in 1960.

Since 1970, it has featured the double action bar design for reliable pump action. Its magazine tube is located below the barrel, which is screwed into the receiver.

Barrels are interchangeable and can be removed without tools. The slide release is located to the left rear of the trigger guard, and the safety is located on the upper rear of the receiver.

Different models offer different sight options, from a simple bead sight, to a receiver mounted ghost ring, or even an integrated base for a telescopic sight.

The Model 500s use lightweight aluminum instead of steel, and the trigger housing and safety button are made of plastic to minimize cost.

Mossberg 500 Models

The Mossberg 500 is available in three main variants, and each of them bring something different to the table.

There is a hunting model, one designed for law enforcement, another for tactical, and a Flex model that is ideal for swapping out parts.

Let’s take a look at the hunting, tactical and Flex variants of the Mossberg 500 and what they offer.

Mossberg 500 Hunting

This model features a variety of useful qualities pertaining to hunting. It has dual extractors, positive steel to steel lockup, twin action bars, and an anti-jam elevator to ensure smooth operation.

The top-mounted safety allows ambidextrous use, and some models offer the revolutionary Lightning Pump Action (LPA) adjustable trigger for added control.

Mossberg 500 Flex

The FLEX LTS model is perfect for individuals looking for a system that allows them to easily switch from one shooting application to another at a moment's notice.

It’s compatible with various hunting and tactical accessories including pistol grips, butt-stocks, forends, and recoil pads.

The TLS (Tool-less Locking System) consists of three connectors that allow users to switch these parts and accessories.

Mossberg 500 Tactical

This rugged model is designed for military, police and law enforcement usage. It features dual extractors, positive steel-to-steel lockup, twin action bars, and an anti-jam elevator to ensure smooth operation.

The top-mounted safety facilitates ambidextrous operation and other special features increase suitability for low and no-light conditions. These include Center Mass Laser equipped models, tri-railed forends to favor accessory lights and lasers, and adjustable stocks for rapid adjustment of length of pull. It also works with a broad range of accessory barrels.

Review of the Best Remington 870 and Mossberg 500

Best Remington 870 Overall:
Remington 870 TAC-14 20-GA 14" M-LOK 4+1


  • Reliable firepower
  • Great for hunting purposes
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Easy to operate pump action
  • Durable and solid construction


  • Recoil is a bit higher than other options
  • Pistol grip may be a little large for some hands

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were looking for an affordable, reliable shotgun that would work in most hunting and target shooting situations. They certainly were not disappointed when they came across this Remington 870 shotgun. A lot of new users said the accuracy was pretty dead on and shooting groups were tighter when they hit targets ranging from about 50 to 75 yards out. They also reported the pump action is easy to handle and smooth to move back and forth. Also, they have reported reduced recoil with almost every shot fired. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The Remington 870 is a shotgun that’s just as reliable as a Mossberg 500. So there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to deal with any jamming or malfunctioning. While some will prefer it over the other (and vice versa), it’s the designs of the Remington 870 that are somewhat eye-catching. This one, in particular, may not look like an actual shotgun but it just might be the pistol grip that could throw you off. Rest assured, it won’t allow your shots to be thrown off though. So long as you get a good handle on this shotgun, you’ll have straightforward, accurate shooting almost every time you fire it. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be an excellent shotgun used by seasoned hunting or target shooting vets, especially when they want something with less recoil right out of the gate. It’s a shotgun that will maintain reliability and won’t jam up on you for as long as you use it and take the best care of it. If you need an upgrade from a Remington 870, Mossberg 500, or some other shotgun that might have just had enough with the long-term use, this Remington 870 shotgun might be something worth considering for an upgrade model. 

Bottom Line

The Remington 870 Tac-14 20 Gauge M-Lok Shotgun has just four rounds for you to work with, but that might just be enough for those looking to use a shotgun for small game hunting. It’s built like a brick house and can fire shells pretty good without the pesky recoil to deal with. If you want a shotgun that is either an excellent upgrade to an old shotgun or if you are interested in trying out one of the many Remington 870 models available on the market, this one might be a good one to consider investing in. 


  • Easy to load
  • Powerful shooting
  • Light in weight, even when fully loaded
  • The pump action is smooth and reliable
  • Excellent for home security and self-defense


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new buyers were pretty confident that this shotgun would come through in the clutch in a life and death situation. When trying this out at the range, they were able to hit their shots with accuracy from a good 25 to 30 yards out. And since it was light in weight, new buyers have said they won’t have to struggle with maneuvering around dark corners because of a heavy shotgun. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This shotgun is built to be lightweight, tough, and rugged enough for anyone stupid enough to invade a person’s home or threaten a homeowner’s life. It’s easy to use and easy to load up shots so you are able to aim and be ready to shoot if and when the situation warrants it. You won’t have time for heavy trigger pulls or hard to slide pump actions. Every bit of movement and action is smooth and fluid. And it can save your life. If you are looking for a shotgun that will be easy to use in a self-defense situation without any hard to pull triggers or the like, this might be the go-to option for you. 

Who Will Use This Most

A home defense shotgun should be reliable and easy to use. If that’s what you are looking for in a shotgun that will protect you and your home, this is the obvious choice. It’s no secret that Mossberg 500s are the most reliable shotguns in the world. So why would you not want to use it in a life-threatening situation? It’s easy to load, easy to pump, and easy to shoot. Timing is everything and the last thing you want to do is struggle with your shotgun when life is on the line. 

Bottom Line

The Mossberg 500 Tactical has proven to be one of the most trusted shotguns on the market bar none when it comes to home defense. You’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to give this shotgun a closer look if you are looking for a shotgun made for keeping you and your family safe. On top of that, it’s reliable and will work when you need it the most. 


  • Aesthetically sharp
  • Solid and durable construction
  • Powerful shooting and reliability
  • Allows for quick magazine change-outs
  • Excellent for hunting and clay shooting


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report 

A lot of new buyers were looking for an excellent shotgun that would be reliable across many common applications. Most new users were hunters using this for bird hunting, small game hunting, and some deer hunting. One user said he was quite confident in the shotgun’s ability to hit his targets with such accuracy and precision from 100 to 150 yards out that he decided to keep it as his primary shotgun for hunting purposes. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This shotgun may have an unusual design to it, but rest assured, it’s still a shotgun. What might have thrown you off is the magazine attachment that sticks out a bit. The design is pretty unusual, but interestingly enough, it’s one of the most reliable and powerful shotguns on the market. The included pistol grip allows you to maintain more control over your shotgun if you need more stability that will result in more accurate and precise shooting. Sometimes, it can come in handy when handling it like a normal shotgun tends to be a little too much.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will definitely be put to good use for the purpose of hunting. But there may be a good number of users that will depend on this for target shooting purposes. It doesn’t matter what your application is, what you’ll get out of this is some pretty serious shooting power and six rounds that will make it a whole lot more fun to use. So if you have 12-gauge shots you’ve been dying to fire off, this bad boy might just be the shotgun to use. 

Bottom Line

The Remington 870 DM 12-Gauge Tactical Shotgun is perhaps one of the best Remington 870 shotguns you can find on the market. Yes, the design might throw off some users. But you can definitely put it to good use in a hunting or target shooting situation as you so choose. Find your favorite 12-gauge rounds, load those suckers into the magazine, and get ready for the best shooting that you’ve experienced in your lifetime.


  • Exceptionally reliable firing
  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • The pump action is nice and smooth
  • Great for hunting and target shooting
  • The pistol grip allows for excellent support and stability


  • Sights may be a little tough to adjust
  • Some found it a little heavy when loaded

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were pretty happy with the shotgun overall. The pump action was nice and smooth and made feeding and cycling really smooth. On top of that, the shotgun’s firing ability packed a bit of a punch. One user said he loved how it could still fire with so much “oomph” even with reduced recoil right out of the box. He added that he was able to knock down many varmint targets with this shotgun since buying it, making it one of his favorites for taking on targets situated from up to 100 yards out. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This shotgun has a pretty decent design that many will rave about. But more often than not, the Mossberg 500’s legendary reliability is why so many will flock to it. Even after many rounds fired, you won’t have to deal with any kind of jamming or malfunctioning. So if you want something that will stay reliable for as long as you use it (as long as you take good care of it), this just might be what you’ll need for a shotgun for all your hunting needs. You want the hunting buddy that will kick in the clutch and work with you when the time comes to land that big game target or when you are ridding any varmints destroying your property. 

Who Will Use This Most

If reliability is a make or break deal for you when it comes to shotguns, the Mossberg 500 just might be the no-brainer choice. Rarely will it malfunction and almost all the time, it will work to your advantage in a hunting situation. With smooth pumping and feeding and a light trigger pull to boot, you can get your shots off quicker and easier than most shotgun models. Don’t let malfunctioning shotguns slow you down.

Bottom Line

For the best in reliability and performance, there could be one shotgun that just might stand out as one of the best possible options. Make no mistake, the Mossberg 500 is one of the most reliable shotguns on the market. And yes, there are some others that can hang with it. But if you’re a fan of excellent firing power, smooth operation, and precise accurate shooting, the Flex Tactical just might be the best solution to all your shooting needs. 

Best for the Money Remington 870:
Remington 870 Marine Magnum TAC-14 12-GA 14"


  • Smooth and easy operation
  • Superior durability and quality
  • Accurate, tight groups from 50 yards out
  • Excellent for hunting and target shooting
  • Reliable, with very few malfunctions to speak of


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were not disappointed at all with this 12-gauge shotgun. They were able to put this to good use in both hunting and target shooting situations. Most hunters were using this against targets like small game, birds, and even varmints, as well. One user said he was able to knock down his hunting targets from as far out as 50 yards. He also added that he managed to get excellent control over this rifle since there was little recoil right out of the box. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This shotgun was made for hunting applications. But it can certainly be used for others. Surprisingly, this shotgun is useful for target shooting and even tactical situations. It’s tough, reliable, and has a smooth moving pump action that will make loading up your shots a breeze. On top of that, the trigger pull weight is decent and good enough to pull off a quick shot or two. 

Who Will Use This Most

This solidly built shotgun was made for multiple purposes. But no matter which one you go for, this Remington 870 will certainly stand out as the real deal. If you want reliability and accuracy out of a shotgun that is built to last and easy to use, you’re going to have a good time firing off every single shot with this Remington 870 model. It’s almost a certainty that any other shotgun that is not a Remington 870 will fall short nor give it a run for its money (while there are a select few that will). 

Bottom Line

The Remington 870 Marine Magnum TAC-14 shotgun might be one of the best multi-purpose shotguns in the Remington 870 group. It’s tough, reliable, and will be able to give you the accurate and precise shooting you deserve. You can hit your bullseyes or make your kill shots with speed and ease with one pull of a trigger. If you need more shots, the pump-action certainly won’t mind making it quick. 


  • Excellent overall quality
  • Easy to handle and grip
  • Lightweight, even when loaded
  • Smooth and easy to slide pump action
  • Superior reliability with very few jams or malfunctions


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were able to handle this shotgun pretty well. The shotgun wasn’t too heavy nor was it too hard to handle. They were quite happy with the overall size and even the easy to use operation. The pump action was smooth, never jammed, and did a good job feeding the chamber each and every time for quick, smooth cycled shooting. A majority of the new users were mostly hunters focused on birds, varmint, and other small game targets. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This shotgun might just be one of the best-designed on the list. The stock is quite large, but it does a great job absorbing shock and reducing recoil like nothing else. On top of that, the entire design is simple and doesn’t look too oversized. It is for this reason that it is light in weight (even while loaded) and is one of the best shotguns any shooter can handle. And with little recoil to deal with, you’ll be able to get a good amount of accurate and precise shooting across many distances. Simply put, it’s just a pretty good shotgun that can be used across so many applications. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a hunter or a target shooter (casual or competitive), this might be an excellent shotgun for you to use. In fact, if you are a newbie shotgun user, you may want to consider purchasing this shotgun, in particular, for the purpose of starting out with shotgun shooting. Needless to say, you can keep using this for a long time or make an upgrade if you are getting sick and tired of it. But rest assured, this will give you consistent, reliable shooting each and every time you’re out in the field or on the range. Load a few into this bad boy and have a ball. We promise this won’t disappoint you.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a Remington 870 shotgun that will be easy to use, easy to fire, and just plain fun to fire off, this Express Tactical 12-gauge shotgun might just be the answer to whether or not you are able to hit a bullseye from 75 yards out or knocking out that partridge from an equal distance. Don’t be shocked if you are getting some sharpshooting out of the whole deal. 


  • Superior firepower
  • Aesthetically sharp
  • Solid and durable construction
  • Easy to load, takes a couple of minutes
  • Perfect for target shooting (casual and competitive)


  • Heavy when fully loaded
  • Trigger pull may be a bit heavy at first
  • Wood stock may easily damage if exposed to oils or solvents

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were happy with the shotgun for a few good reasons. They were quite happy with how accurate it was from distances ranging from 50 to 75 yards out. The barrel was quite long but it was responsible for probably some of the tightest shooting groups they have seen from such distances. Overall, they loved the classic wooden look, as it reminded them of an old-school shotgun from ages past. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This shotgun is the longest of the bunch but it is perfect for those looking for a shotgun that will be dangerously accurate and precise at the range. It might be a good hunting rifle for you if you intend to land kill shot after kill shot, but this shotgun is built mostly for the range. The classic, wooden stock look is definitely something that makes it stick out even more. If you are looking for a shotgun that has a look that you might appreciate, you’ll probably want to snag it for the sentimental value. But granted, looks shouldn’t be that important if you are looking for a shotgun that will perform very well in your intended application. With 4 + 1 rounds at your disposal, this shotgun will make your visit to the range a fun one, especially when you have so many shotgun shells at your disposal. 

Who Will Use This Most?

This will, in all likelihood, be a shotgun used mostly for target shooting. Whether you do it for fun or for competitive purposes is entirely up to you. But you’ll definitely want to put it to good use if you hold accuracy to a high standard. The long barrels will typically give you a slight accuracy boost compared to other shotguns and the velocity might just be a bit faster. If quick, accurate shooting is what you look for in a shotgun, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything like this shotgun anywhere else on the market. 

Bottom Line

The Remington 870 Classic Trap 12-Gauge Shotgun might be the best possible option if you are in need of a shotgun that will be your sidekick at the range for the fun of it (or when you are tuning up for the next competition). Either way, you get accuracy, reliability, and a classic look that might remind you of your dad or granddad’s shotgun. It’s good looking and all, but the performance is pretty good, as well. For a longer, more accurate shotgun, this might be the best option for you. 

Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500 - Similarities and Differences

Mossberg 500


Remington 870

Now that you know the different kinds of Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 models, it’s time to look at the similarities and differences between the two.

Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870 Differences


The placement of the triggers is different for both manufacturers. While the Mossberg 500’s ambidextrous safety is located at the top of the receiver, the Remington’s safety is located behind the trigger in the rear of the trigger guard and favors right-handed shooters.


The Mossberg 500’s aluminum receiver makes it lighter, but the Remington 870 uses a steel receiver, making it a bit heavier. This increased mass means less felt recoil, which is suitable in a home defense shotgun.

Magazine Capacity

Depending on the Mossberg 500 model, the magazine capacity is 6+1 or 8+1, while the 870’s magazine capacity is 4+1 or 6+1.


The Mossberg’s Flex model allows users to quickly swap out parts of the 500 for hunting or tactical usage without any tools.

A traditional stock can be replaced with a pistol grip, or a traditional fore-end can be swapped for one with a tactical light.


The Remington 870 has an edge in power with Express models that accept larger 3½-inch shells for greater payload, power, and range.

Shell Lifter

The Remington 870 uses a classic shell lifter that needs to be pushed up to load a round, whereas the Mossberg uses a shell lifter that stays in the raised position. This feature makes it easier to load and beginner-friendly.

Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870 Similarities


Both the Mossberg and Remington were designed for use with interchangeable barrels. The Remington’s barrel can be replaced by loosening and/or removing the magazine cap, while the Mossberg’s barrel can be replaced after loosening the magazine nut.

Similar Components

Each model uses dual-action bars for a smoother and more reliable pump action. With this, the bolt of both shotguns lock in the rear of the barrel and do not use the receiver.

Both guns disassemble in a similar fashion and their trigger groups are easily taken out for cleaning by removing the trigger housing pin(s).


Both shotguns use tubular magazines that can be plugged to abide by hunting laws or removed to have extra round capacity for home defense.

Both are available in 12 or 20-gauge. In the 12-gauge option, they both accept 2¾ and 3-inch shells.


The final similarity with the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 is the vast number of aftermarket parts that allow the user to customize these shotguns to better suit its needs.

Top Pick Between Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500

When deciding which of these guns is better, it makes sense to figure out whether one gun is more suitable for you. Keep in mind your budget, your shooting needs, and your personal preferences when choosing one.

In general, the Remington 870 is $100-$150 more expensive than the Mossberg 500.

The 870’s pump action is smoother, but the Mossberg’s reloading system is faster and easier. Both guns have comparable effective ranges, but Remington’s steel receiver gives it an edge in longevity and toughness.

The Mossberg is made for rough and rigorous use, so it is the best gun for dirty and muddy conditions like hunting and skeet shooting.


So there we have it. We’ve covered the differences and similarities of both legendary shotguns and discussed why you might choose one over another.

While you really can’t go wrong with either gun, the Remington 870 is slightly more expensive and built from more costly and durable materials.

The Mossberg is lighter, easier to load, and the Flex option makes swapping accessories a breeze.

Consider your shooting preferences and needs when selecting the gun. The Flex is great for people who plan to use the gun in multiple situations such as hunting and home defense.

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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