My first shotgun was a Mossberg 500 w/28" vented rib barrel and modified choke. I bought it when I started duck hunting in the early 80's, this was before screw-in chokes. It worked OK, but felt a bit cheesy. I hated the forend rattle and the open style shell lifter that allowed swamp debris to get into the bottom of the action. The only reason I bought it was because it was cheap, so I guess you get what you pay for. I don't know how, but I managed to crack the buttstock where it meets the receiver. After 2 seasons I got rid of it. I went looking for a replacement and checked with a local gun shop that mostly dealt in military surplus arms. I bought my IBM manufactured M1 Carbine from him on an earlier visit. I asked if he had any shotguns and he pulled out a NIB Remington MP870. I had never heard of this model, but he said it wasn't a cataloged item, it was an overrun from a military contract. It had a steel receiver with an 18" ribless smoothbore barrel and a Zytel stock with a parkerized finish. As is, it wasn't exactly a duck gun, but sporter barrels with screw-in chokes were becoming popular so I went that route. The Zytel stock wasn't pretty but it proved to hold up well to the abuses of the swamp over the next 20 years, and I really beat the snot out of it, but like a timex "it takes a licking and keeps on ticking".
This is not to say that I hate Mossbergs, I actually found myself acquiring another one, but that was a deal too good to turn down. Anyone remember the company Service Merchandise? When they went out of business, they marked down all their guns 50% off. I got the last one they had for $110. I still have that one, but I hardly ever use it. I mostly use it as a loaner, and I also take it with me as a spare on my hunting trips just in case my 870 breaks. It hasn't happened yet, but it's always better to be prepared when you're far from home, because a broken gun can really ruin a hunting trip...........
"Stupidity is the most plentiful element in the universe"
.................................................. .....Frank Zappa