If my mailbag at Field & Stream is any indication, today’s Gunfight is the King Kong vs. Godzilla of shotgun fights. More than any other reader question, the one I have gotten most over the years is: “Should I buy a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500?” Both guns are inexpensive, proven designs that have been made by the millions.
The 870 was introduced in 1950, a mass-produced pump that replaced the old, hand-fitted and expensive-to-produce Model 31. The Model 500 came out in 1960 and represented a big departure and gamble for Mossberg, who, at the time, was largely known for .22 rimfire rifles. Both guns have gone on to serve in the field, in police cruisers and in battle. Each has its fans and haters. Both of these guns have been the first shotguns for thousands upon thousands of hunters, so it’s appropriate the Remington 870 is a 20-gauge youth model.
Josiah’s Mossberg 500
Right after Christmas I got a used Mossberg 500 12 gauge. I’ve wanted a pump for a long time. Before this, my only shotgun was a 12-gauge single shot I got from my grandpa. This gun has a built-in Full choke and it works great for everything I’ve tried it on so far—from clays to squirrels to coyotes.
This youth model was my son’s primary duck gun, but he recently moved up to a 12 gauge, so I camo-painted it and will use it this season as my back-up gun in case my new one fails to perform.
There are your choices: 870 or Model 500. You can argue the merits of these two particular guns, or make this into a general Model 500 vs. 870 debate. Vote and comment below.
Sharp-eyed longtime readers of Gunfight Friday may recognize Gerry’s 870 from its appearance in one of the very first Gunfights. It’s the first time I have knowingly reused a gun, and while I may start reusing pictures from time to time to facilitate particularly good matchups like this one, I’d just as soon use new pictures every week. That, of course, is where you come in. Send your gun pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.