Infographic which shows differences between Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500 shotguns.

Differences between Remington 870 and Mossberg 500

Two of the most popular shotgun models that gun enthusiasts love is the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500. Both are top selling shotguns with similarities and differences. The similarities are they’re both pump action shotguns with dual action bars (Mossberg has just one but then Remington’s patent expired and they started manufactured Mossbeg shotguns with two bars). They are also cheaper than most other pump action shotguns, despite their simple design and versatility. Over 10 million shotguns have been made for each model type. The people who like to use them include hunters, military personnel, law enforcement officers, and home defenders. The best part about the guns is they can be configured in a lot of different ways. You can upgrade the barrels, choke tubes, extensions and more.

870’s Steel vs. 500’s Aluminum Receiver

As for the differences, there is an aluminum alloy receiver in the Mossberg 500 and a steel receiver in the Remington 870. This makes the Mossberg 500 a lighter shotgun that is easier to lug around.

Remington 870’s received is milled from a solid billet of steel making it indestructible. 870 is the only shotgun which received is still made of steel. All the other shotgun manufacturers are cutting costs by making aluminum alloy receivers. Benelli Supernova has plastic receiver with steel frame. This is another way to make inexpensive shotgun but it has some serious disadvantages.

Of course, steel receiver makes 870 a little heavier than Mossberg 500 but that’s not a problem.

Safety Button Location

Plus, the Mossberg 500’s safety is located behind the receiver, allowing the shooter to disengage it faster. It even makes it easier for left-handed people to shoot the shotgun as well. The safety in the Remington 870 is a small button located in the back of the trigger guard. This makes it a little harder to disengage it.

But Mossberg 500’s safety will be very inconvenient to use when pistol grip stock is installed.


When you do fire each weapon, both can shoot birdshot or buckshot at a range of 40 to 50 meters, up to 100 meters with slugs. They both have interchangeable barrels. The barrel length can range from 14” to 30.” Barrels less than 18.5″ require Short Barrel Shotgun Tax Stamp from the ATF.

One Extractor vs. Two Extractors

Mossberg 500 has two extractors which is advertised to be more reliable. Remington 870 has one extractor. It is recommended to replace standard extractor with Non-MIM Extractor. and it improve the reliability of your shotgun.

Shell Lifter

Remington 870 has a classic shell lifter. Stays down all the time, needs to be pushed up to load a round.

Mossberg 500 has patented shell lifter which remains in raised position. Easier loading, friendlier for beginners.

Slide Release

Remington 870 has a slide release on the left side at the fron of the trigger guard. Requires to move hand to reach it.

Mossberg 500 has it on the left side behind trigger guard. Easy to reach without breaking a firing grip.

This is considered as advantage of the Mossberg 500 platform but it doesn’t really add any significant advantage to a shooter.

Bayonet Lug

Need to be purchased separately for the Remington 870. Mossberg 590 (more expensive version of the 500) has it.


Remington 870 has ejector attached using rivets. It is difficult to replace but it can withstand thousands and thousands of rounds. So this is not something you are going to do often.

Mossberg 500 has ejector attached with screws. So it is easier to replace but it is not common procedure as well.

Magazine Extension Installation

870 Police version has old style spring retainer and you can easily install a magazine extension. Many of the modern 870s require removal of two dimples in the end of the magazine tube to install the magazine extension. This procedure isn’t difficult and can be done at home but it requires some tools, time and efforts.

Mossberg 500 requires purchase of the High Capacity Shotgun Kit with new barrel.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Both shotguns have their advantages and disadvantages. Both the Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870 are really popular among shooters. These shotguns are weapon of choice by hunters, military personnel, and law enforcement officers. A big reason has to do with the reliability and durability of the weapon. In a life or death situation, it would be important to have a reliable weapon like the pump action Remington 870 or Mossberg 500.

The Mossberg 500 is little cheaper than the Remington 870 because of its aluminum receiver and plastic parts. You can expect to pay about $200 for the Mossberg 500 and around $300 for the Remington 870. It isn’t that much of a price difference but to some people that $100 difference will mean a lot. The shotgun you choose should simply depend on your preferences.

It doesn’t matter if you want to just shoot targets for fun and hunt in dirty environments or you want a weapon for home defense or life-threatening situations, both shotguns will do the job!

Infographic: Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500

Infographic: Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500

Remington Arms

Remington 870 or Mossberg 590, What is Better?

One of the frequently asked questions. Both shotguns are used by military and law enforcement. Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590 are produced in hundreds of thousands and well known around the world. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.


Shotgun Training

Shotgun Training

What is better: Remington 870 or Mossberg 590? This is very simple question if you fan of Remington 870 or fan of Mossberg 500/590 but very difficult when you try to answer it unprejudiced.

It is difficult to say which one is definitely superior over the other one. So, let’s have a closer look at advantages and disadvantages of each shotgun.

So what are the advantages of Remington 870?

-steel receiver
-all parts are tight and solid

Advantages of the Mossberg 500/590 shotgun:
-shell carrier (lifter) comes down when it need to lift a round. All the other time it is hidden and it is easier to load rounds into a magazine tube
-two extractors
-easier replacement of the ejector

Disadvantages of the Mossberg 500/590 shotgun:

-aluminum receiver
-it is impossible to isntall longer magazine tube on Mossberg 500 shotguns without buying kit with new barrel and magazine tube
-you don’t have that feel of solid shotgun when you rack it, forearm rattles
-plastic safety

Disadvantages of the Remington 870 shotgun:
-rough chamber on the newer shotguns
-two dimples in magazine tube
-difficult procedure of ejector replacement

There are also questionable features which may look like advantage or disadvantage depending on what you are looking for:

Safety button
Safety button located on top of the receiver on Mossberg 500/590. Left handed shooters find safety button on Mossberg much more convenient than on Remington 870 shotguns. But it is absolutely impossible to use Mossberg safety comfortably if you have pistol grip stock installed. Remington 870 safety is located behind the trigger guard which is good but not the best location.

Advantages of both Remington 870 and Mossberg 590

There hundreds of accessories available for these shotguns. Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590 are so popular and easy to customize so many companies manufacture stocks, forends, sidesaddles and other upgrades. Parts are easy to find and available on many sites. It is much more difficult to find accessories, upgrades and parts for less popular shotguns.