Originally Posted by F4U
I think at this point the 870 vs 500 debate is pretty much the same as a ford vs chevy debate. Both are pretty good quality shotguns or cars, both make the occasional lemon. I have had great service from 870s and Fords, your experience may be different on both shotguns and cars. We can still have fun debating and arguing the point though.
I have to side with F4U on this. i have owned Fords and Chevys, 500s and 870s, and all of them have done what I have asked of them. The current choices for me are a 1992 F-150 (300 I6\5 speed) and an 870 Express Magnum 12 ga. Here's why:
I owned a Maverick model 88 for close to 20 years before passing it on to it's current owner, who needed a cheap reliable shotgun for his son to hunt with him. In 2011, I gave him mine so he could pass the tradition on to his son, and I see no reason it will not serve him well for the next 20 years.
this left me with my current pump gun, a 2002 remington 870 Express Magnum, which I picked up in 2006. the reason I bought it was that upon losing the sight in my right eye, i had to switch to L\H shooting. i stand 5'7 inches, and I have small hands. I found the trigger to be too far forward to be comfortable for me while shooting L\H with the Maverick, and a friend of mine let me try out his 870 which fit perfectly. A week later I picked up a trade in at my LGS, and started running slugs through it. I found the added bonus of it not kicking like a mule on crack during the sight in with the slugs, and it became my new deer gun. The 870 is just a better fit for me.
I still have a model 500 in the safe (my wife's) and several other Mossberg shotguns (mostly bolt guns, but there is a model 200k and a 200 d in there as well). I do not bash them, or those who chose them over the 870. Over 10,000,000 of each made, and 90% of them are still going strong is the best endorsement for either model. As i say when others ask which is better, meet me at the range, and bring some ammo. I'll bring both, and a few of my other shotguns, so you can figure that out for yourself.
As to the elevator on the 870, I have only found it to be an issue while trying to unload the shotgun from it's underside. I still don't feel comfortable with having to cycle the action to unload it, but that's just me. Aside from that, I usually forget that it's even there.