Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 are the two most popular pump-action shotguns in the world. While both have a proven track record after decades of use in the military, law enforcement and hunting, there are some differences between the two.
The Mossberg 500 has an aluminum receiver which makes it lighter, while the Remington 870 has a steel receiver. The safety on a Mossberg 500 is right behind the receiver, which allows for faster firing and helps left-handed shooters more compared with the Remington 870 where the safety is a little button behind the trigger guard and on the right. The price of a Remington 870 is generally $100 to $150 higher than the price of a Mossberg 500.
edit Design Comparison
The Mossberg 500 is intended for use in harsh and dirty conditions, and so was designed to be easy to clean and maintain. It has a dual action bar, a single large locking lug, a magazine tube below the barrel, and a slide release to the left rear of the trigger guard.
The Remington 870 has a bottom-loading, side ejecting receiver, tubular magazine under the barrel, dual action bars, internal hammer and a bolt that locks into an extension in the barrel.
The reviewer in the following video explains why it's perhaps wrong to ask whether the Mossberg 500 is better than the Remington 870, and why it's more pertinent to ask which one is better for your specific needs:
One of the biggest differences between the Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870 is the receiver — the Mossberg 500 uses an aluminum receiver and the Remington 870 uses a steel receiver. The Mossberg 500 also uses more plastic parts that bring the cost and weight down for the shotgun.
All Mossberg 500s have interchangeable barrels. The barrel length varies from 14 inches to 30 inches.
The Remington 870 has a barrel length between 18 inches and 30 inches.
edit Effective Range
The Mossberg 500 has an effective range of 40m, and a maximum range of 50m for shot and 70-80m for slugs. The Remington 870 has an effective range of about 40 m, and a maximum range of 50m for shot and 70-80m for slugs.
Here is a playlist of the best videos on YouTube comparing the Remington 870 with the Mossberg 500:
The Mossberg 500 can use 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410 bore cartridges. The Remington 870 can use 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 guage or .410 bore cartridges.
The Mossberg 500 has various magazine capacities. The basic model holds five 2.75 inch shells and is called a six shot model. It is also available with extended magazine tubes that holds seven rounds.
The Remington 870 can hold between 3 and 7 rounds.
The Mossberg 500 weighs between 5.5 lbs and 7.5 lbs when empty. The Remington 870 weighs between 7.0 lbs and 8.0 lbs. The use of steel in a Remington 870 adds to its weight. Aftermarket parts used to customize these guns may change how heavy the gun ends up becoming.
edit Price of Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500
At Walmart in some states, the Mossberg 500 costs approximately $210, while the Remington 870 costs $300. In general, the Remington 870 is $100-$150 more expensive than the Mossberg 500.
The Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870 are the two most popular pump-action shotguns in the US but the Remington has a larger market share. The Remington 870 is the most widely used shotgun by the US public for sport shooting, hunting and home defense. It is also used by law enforcement agencies and militaries around the world.