Remington 870 or Mossberg 590? Which shotgun is best for you?

If you surf around gun forums you’ll see that “discussions” about “the best” shotgun can get pretty emotional. It’s like guys arguing about Fords or Chevys; not always objective.

Here’s a collection of observations by shotgun users that I found helpful, not just guys ranting, but helpful information that may make your decision a bit easier.

As always, understand this is opinion and anecdotal information, bear that in mind. We’re not making any claims on accuracy of info, just passing along some discussion.

(spelling and text formatting kept as it was on the forums)

I have never shot the 590 but I can’t imagine using anything other than my 870. It has never malfunctioned in the 15 yrs of shooting it. I’m sure I cleaned it once or twice in those 15yrs 🙂 To me it would be like using a 9mm just because everyone else is…nope…I will keep my .45 too. It ain’t broke….


I have had both shotguns and the remington is my favorite.18 inch barrel black synthetic and digests everything I put in it. The Mossberg 500 didn’t cycle as clean and I had several jams.


I own the Mossberg 590 with ghost ring sights, I can tell you it is as smooth as an 870 and has a built in bayonet lug.

I have fired everything from birdshot to 000 buck and pumpkin ball (slugs)through mine for the last 9 yrs and have almost never had a problem with it.

About two or three times out of thousands or rounds it failed to eject the spent shell completely from the receiver,however there is no stationary feed flap on the bottom of the Mossberg so this problem is easily remedied by simply pulling the pump all the way back and allowing the shell and any live round that may have become jammed fall out the ejection port and simply reloading the live round into the magazine.

You cannot solve this problem so easily with an 870 should it occur, because of the feed design of the weapon; it is harder to load without turning the gun upside down to look at the loading port.

Also the 590 comes with the speed feed stock option if you like to carry extra ammo or a snap cap.

The Remington has an integrated magazine witch requires an extension and often a separate bracket that must be removed for barrel removal.

Both weapons have the same upgrades available but the rem seems to be cheaper on the bells and whistles than the moss.
I wouldn’t trade mine for any Remington pump!

However the safety switch is in a poor location when using a pistol grip stock.


After shooting an 870, the Mossberg feels like a 2×4 because of the thick grip.

A steel receiver beats aluminum any day of the week.

We have both on the dept. The Mossbergs will kick the crap out of you with 3″inch buck but the Remingtons seems to soak up the recoil a lot better.

Mossberg catered to the Police market whereas Remington seems to have lost interest.

I’ll take an 870 first. Mossberg second.


I personally have been shooting a Remington 870 Express Magnum since 98 and I have never had a problem with it. The recoil is nothing compared to many others. And as far as malfunctions go, even after a day of dove hunting when a LOT of shells are used it has preformed flawlessly.

My best friend on the other hand shoots a Mossberg, I don’t know exactly what it is, only that it is a Mossberg. Last Sunday was opening day in my neck of the woods. Seems like all I ever heard from him that day was cussing at his gun jamming and very little firing. Of course, it could have been the operator.


My personal favorite is the 870. One thing I did notice at quarterly qualifications was that most people preferred to wait on a 870 rather than shoot the 500’s. We have some synthetic stocked 500’s that will stomp you in the dirt compared to the 870’s.


There aren’t as many sweet add ons for cheaper prices for the Mossberg as there is for the 870


The safety location on the Remington is better if you want to run a tactical/pistol grip stock.

I had a Knoxx stock on my Mossy and the top mounted safety was as useless as the heat shield.


870s are a lot smoother all around, but I think the Mossberg is more built to endure extreme situations and a heavy round count. 870 failed military standards.


Don’t put too much stock in milspecs. The 870 only “failed” because it didn’t come with certain arbitrary and unnecessary features, like dual extractors. The 870 is the preferred shotgun for police agencies, who rely on shotguns a lot more than the military does, all over the country. It’s been that way for decades, too, so Remington has to be doing something right.


The 870 IS the standard by which every other pump shotgun is measured. I do recommend staying away from the el-cheapo Express/Tactical models and get an 870P, the Police model.


One better than the other on this comes down to opinion, and every one has one. If you can shoot one of each, and see which one fits you better. Which safety do you like better, ETC. You can’t go wrong between these two.


Remington 870. Better yet. the Super Mag version. Reliable, strong, and all steel.


You have NEVER heard of a 590 “locking up” because it’s not physically possible. There are no parts in the gun capable of jamming. Anyone that you might have heard that from is an outright liar, plain and simple.

The 870 Express, on the other hand, has had *bad* quality probs for the past three years and yes, the gun jams. The chamber is often so rough on new guns that fired shells require a wooden dowel down the barrel to knock them free. The gun also suffers from a well known design flaw that allows shells to sometimes pop out of the magazine between the lifter and the bolt carrier….and as anyone that actually has *used* an 870, as opposed to the myriad posers, can tell you, that’s a fun jam to try to fix in a hurry. If it happens, your gun becomes a club.

The 870 “solid steel receiver” so many “experts” harp on these days….try doing a search on “870 Express rust” and read the opposite side of that story.


The Remington 870 is built like a tank, and since 1950, has earned its stripes. The Mossberg 590 is not constructed of such fine material, but is reliable. My choice, the Remington 870


I prefer the 870’s steel receiver over the 590’s aluminum receiver. The steel gives me more tactile satisfaction and theoretically should last longer than aluminum (but I’ve never heard anyone complain that their aluminum receiver wore out).

The 870 is a bit easier to reassemble after cleaning, in my opinion.

Good supply of “tactical” accessories for both, but you may have to look a little harder for the 590 as there are a lot more 870’s out there and retailers therefore tend to give it more inventory room.


Assuming a 20-inch-barreled 870 to compare with the 20-inch-barreled 590, you could add a 3-shot extension tube ( to bring the 870 up to 7+1 versus the 590’s 8+1. If you don’t care about a tube being longer than the barrel, TacStar makes an extension that can give the 870 a 9+1 capacity.

My 18-inch 870 has a 2-shot extension that ends flush with the barrel for a capacity of 6+1.


I had 2 of each…now I only have 1: the 870. Both guns are reliable. It all boils down to where YOU want the safety. The safety is the key.. they ONLY real difference (IMHO)….figure that one question out and you’ll know which gun you want.


I much prefer Mossberg’s placement of the action release button. On the Mossberg, it’s located just behind of the trigger guard on the left side. This means that you can simply press up with your middle finger to release the action. You don’t have to move your trigger hand at all.

On the Remington, the catch is located to the front of the trigger group.


if you want to use optics (i.e. red dot) on your shotgun, you should get an 870. Right now, there are 2 people/companies making an AR-15 buttstock adapter and rail for the 870, which mounts a rail on top allowing easy mounting of optics and iron sights, and it allows an AR-15 buttstock to be used instead of a standard shotgun stock, changing the cheek weld so as to give more comfort for optic use. Pretty cool stuff. Not to mention, there are plenty of retractable buttstocks that can be used with these products too.


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