Mossberg 500 or the 590?


December 12, 2005, 10:09 AM
Which would you go with? The 590 has 9 shots vs. the 500's 6. However the 500's barrell is 18.5" long. The 590's is 20". They are both 12 gauge's. What do you think?

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December 12, 2005, 10:54 AM
I had a 590, it was cool, but muzzle heavy and a little cumbersome for home defense. Seems like that extra few inches of barrel and magazine(and shells) just does not balance all that well. If I had it to do over again, I'd go with the 18.5" 500. It all depends on your objectives though. I would handle each of them for yourself and see how they "feel" to you. Both are solid and dependable...


EDIT I didn't know about the 590A1- I'd go with that one if it is available. Mil-spec toughness, 18.5 bbl. That would be my choice. Otherwise, buy the 500 and put the money you save into shells and practice...

kage genin
December 12, 2005, 11:09 AM
I currently own a 590, and if I could do it again knowing what I know now, I would have gotten the 500 instead.

I found the 9-shot capacity to be unecessary after getting some training, and when the mag tube is fully loaded the gun is VERY front-heavy and gets extremely tiring to point in and aim. Just loading that final extra shell makes a difference in balance. The 20" barrel makes it cumbersome to navigate with in closed environments (ie indoors)

One other thing is that the 590 has a bayonet lug. I found this to be bothersome because I bought a Surefire fore-end light for my 590, and it will not fit without either cutting the bayonet lug off, or switching to a shorter (and weaker 3 volt) lamp assembly. I opted for going with the shorter lamp assembly (cost me another $60 from surefire) and it is rather disappointing to have my shotgun weaponlight be weaker than my hand-held surefire 6p. Can't bring myself to cut off the bayonet lug though :o Makes me wish I had gotten the 500 so this bayonet cut/no cut thing would be a non-issue :p

On the 'pro-590' side of the argument, the 590 has a strengthed shell-extraction system (two 'hooks' instead of one in the 500)... but I've never heard of the 500 having a problematic extractor in the first place. Maybe a fix for a non-existing problem?

I say go with the 500. Accessories are the same for both 500 and 590, but IMHO the 590 just has more unneeded things.

December 12, 2005, 11:49 AM
I got rid of a riot 500 to buy a 590.
I wouldn't go back.

The 590 seems more solid to me. I like the nine-shot tube, and the ghost ring peep sights. Mine shoots slugs well out to 100 yards, and buckshot out to 25. I also like being able to put an M16 bayonet on it.

December 12, 2005, 12:31 PM
Mainly what I was going to be using the gun for was HD & my store. My places aren't what you might call, "confined". Which gun would be best for a mob of rioters & such. Also, do they both shoot slugs?

December 12, 2005, 01:54 PM
Also, do they both shoot slugs?

Any shotgun will shoot slugs. Foster slugs are best for smoothbore and sabot are best for rifled barrels. Others can comment on choke but I've always shot them with CYL or IMP CYL.

I have a 500 Persauder (6 shot) and am converting it to a 9-shot config. The 6-shot version is a great home defense gun. I just want to try out the longer mag / barrel combo with ghost rings.

Fred Fuller
December 12, 2005, 02:02 PM
Take a look at the 590A1, stock #51411- 6-shot capacity, 18 1/2" cylinder bore barrel at if you want a shorter 590. Any worthwhile dealer can get you one if you decide you want it. The 590 is a better design than the 500 for a serious working gun IMO, since it is easy to pull maintenance on the magazine with the 590s due to the redesign to meet milspec. Gotta tear the gun down and take off the magazine tube with the 500...

No real difference in the two as far as suitability for HD or business defense goes, the 590 is easier to maintain and therefore it gets the nod IMHO. Not a lot of real difference in 18" vs. 20" barrels but the added weight out front with the extended magazine and barrel might make a difference in how the gun 'feels' and handles. Both will shoot slugs just fine, both are perfectly useful for 'repelling boarders'.

Try before you buy if possible-


December 12, 2005, 07:08 PM
good luck finding a 590-a1. I still cant. I have a down payment on one ordered but NOOOOO distributer's have any. at least until the end of the year,so Im told. I'm in no real hurry so Im waiting it out. (so much for christmas gift).I like the "military" 590-a1's over the standard 590's that where on the shelf do to the heavy barrel, metal triggerguard and safety option only available on this model. If you find any distributer's with a (ghost ring's,military spec)590-a1 ONLY , please share your info.

December 12, 2005, 11:25 PM
I've been (and soon will again be) a LEO plus I spent years as a non-commissioned officer in the Regular Army.

I cannot for the life of me understand why there are detractors of the 20" barrel just because there is an 18.5" available. How confining are the areas some of you are experiencing that being 1.5" shorter makes any kind of noticeable difference? I don't remember writing an AAR where I wished for less than a 20" barrel.

I've got a 9-shot 590 w/ ghost-ring sights and I love the extra weight out front.

#4 buck... #1 buck... slug... slug... slug... slug... slug... slug.

Extra weight is better. And I am 47-years old. My opinion, of course.

December 13, 2005, 06:47 AM
I don't know why the original poster's choice was only between an 18.5" model 500 or the 20" model 590A1.

I bought an 18.5" 590A1 with ghost ring sights. It has no bayonet lug, as the 20" does. I find the 18.5" swings and moves much better than the 20", but I lose 3 rounds capacity. If a weapon light is mounted then there'll be so much weight out front it won't swing as fast anyway, however. There's a slight difference in perceived muzzle rise with that extra weight out front.

Personally, I've found the 20" too long for me. The 20", vertically mounted between the seats in a Crown Victoria, hits the dome light when deploying. Unfortunately, I have no choice on how the gun is mounted in these work cars.
I've also desired a shorter barrel, either when slung, crossing fences, or when clearing houses, especially houses with narrow hallways. There is a trade-off in ammo capacity vs. barrel length to consider.
Again, this is my personal experience and won't pertain to others.
I really like the Mossberg. The ghost ring sights, safety, action release, weight, all combine to be a great gun.

USMC Tanker
December 14, 2005, 07:20 PM
For HD...

Remington 870...can't go wrong. I just went a "bit" further and got the P Max.

Zach S
December 15, 2005, 01:10 PM
I had an 18.5" Marinecoat 500, I replaced it with a 20" 590. No regrets.

December 15, 2005, 01:14 PM
590A1 all the way.


December 15, 2005, 01:14 PM
Could some moderator make this a poll. Which do you reccomend, the 500 or the 590?

December 15, 2005, 02:06 PM
I grew up on a Mossberg 500, so thats what's been in the safe for years.

Until I found a nice M590A1 at a local show two months ago:

It now sports a Knoxx COMPstock and points and shoots better than I can believe. It patterns Federal 00 buck better than any 12 ga I've ever seen and the Knoxx soaks up recoil like a sponge. Last month I was on the range with a buddy of mine, he was shoting an FN police model 12ga and I was using the 590. After a few boxes (15 rounds / box) of Winchester 2 3/4 HP slugs (Dicks sale) rapid fire, his shoulder was pretty tender. I loaded up another HP slug and handed him the 590 to shoot, he winced as he pulled the trigger. Then his face broke out in total shock at the difference in recoil. He immediately asked if the Knoxx stock was available for his FN.

The action is a little stiff, but I expect that from the military grade finish, it'll smooth out as it wears. The ghost ring sights are quick, and the big orange front ramp is highly visable.

The 500 has been replaced in the safe by the M590A1, and I have no regrets.



December 15, 2005, 02:12 PM
i'm trying to figure out if there are other barrels available for the 590a1...

December 15, 2005, 02:22 PM
I would honestly get the 590 myself, if not for the fact I already own two well proven 500s with sentimental value, and I don't really need another shotgun. I already have three 12 gauges and I don't use them nearly as much as I want to or should. I'm too stuck on my pistols/rifles.

If sentimental attachment were not an issue (I've hade one of them since I was 14 and the other one was my late father's), I'd get a 590 for sure given the choice. But I've used the 500s all this time and they've done fine, so get whatever feels better.

December 15, 2005, 02:59 PM
+1 on the 590A1. As Lee said,it's a working gun. If I wanted to bird hunt I'd get the 500. If I wanted a "fighter",I'd get the 590A1. I love mine.

December 16, 2005, 07:57 AM
On the subject of barrels for the 590 series. The choice come down to bead or ghost-ring sights and the different finishs( blued park. and mariner)see mossberg sight

Another option is the 7 round magazine 500a 12 gauge with 20 inch barrel.

One point against the 590/590a1 is price. In my area 500a sell for 230 to 250$ I dont remember how much the 590/590a1 go for these days.

I own a 590 if you want to know.

Does 1.5 inch make that much difference.

Just wondering which type of stocks are you considering?
Pistol-grip, folding, shoulder with pistol-grip others combs?

Dave McCracken
December 16, 2005, 09:00 AM
IMO, it boils down to personal preference. Both are good, usable shotguns.....

Get what feels best.....

December 18, 2005, 07:02 PM
I have the 20in Marine coat 590 without the bayonet lug or barrel shroud so itís probably a little bit lighter in weight than the ďregularĒ 590s. I have had it for probably 10 years or so and have no regrets. It's also much easier to clean and maintain than my brother-in-laws 500 due to the mag tube design.

December 18, 2005, 08:35 PM
I have a 590. It seems to do well enough at skeet shooting, so I think it handles ok. It's very solid and well-built. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably get the 500 and save a hundred bucks. I really love the crap-your-pants evil look of the thing, though. Enough to make any home invader set a land speed record exiting the premises.

Love the look of the 590a1 though... If I'd known they were around when I was shotgun shopping, it might have been a serious contender. I've seen the 500 in Marinecoat, but never the 590. Sure of your model there, SheepDog?

December 18, 2005, 09:12 PM
What Dave said. I had a 590 and a 500, and sold the 590. Now have two 500s in 12 gauge and another in 20. For HD, I have an 18.5" barrel with rifle sights that I stick on one of the 12 gauge 500s. But the 500 is just as comfortable afield with a vent rib barrel or a rifled slug barrel depending on game I'm after. The 590 was a great gun; I just didn't see that it had many advantages over the 500, and didn't care to have a strictly dedicated HD shotgun.

December 18, 2005, 09:13 PM
Currently, Mossberg offers an 18.5" barrelled 590A1 MARINECOTE version, model 51273, msrp $509.
Ten years ago, there may have been a 20" barrelled version, but there is not one, at present.

Mossberg's 500/590/590A1 is a bit frustrating as to what they offer under what model series. I wish they would stream-line it a bit, even getting rid of the 590 model series entirely and just having the 500 and 590A1 series. Then again, I what do I know about running a firearms corporation?

Zach S
December 19, 2005, 07:35 AM
I've seen the 500 in Marinecoat, but never the 590. Sure of your model there, SheepDog?
I saw one at the gun store yesterday. Its listed right below the 500 mariner on the mossberg website. No bayonet lug, no optional ghost rings, no heat shield, standard plastic stock, PG included.

To the best of my knowledge, its the only 590 with marinecoat available. Then again, maybe I should have read the post before mine....

Thin Black Line
December 19, 2005, 08:08 AM
I have a 590 with the factory ghost rings, speedfeed stock, etc that I
have used for deer hunting for a number of years. It's great with slugs
or buckshot. Since it was the "civilian" version the only difference was
the plastic trigger guard.

I carried a 500 in Iraq and later added a folding stock on it for making it
easier to point out the window of a vehicle. It had the aluminum trigger
guard, but I'm not sure that really would have made much difference on

Given the choice, I would still take the 590 action, ghost rings, etc,
and have added the folder. I would have gone with the shorter barrel
rather than the extended cap for vehicle use, but would have wanted
the extended model if I was going door to door.

A relative had a Rem 870 mag that I also shot extensively. I would have
taken either Moss before it......In fact, after everyone had a chance to
handle my 590, the Rem 870 was sold off!

December 19, 2005, 10:15 AM
I've seen the 500 in Marinecoat, but never the 590. Sure of your model there, SheepDog?

Yea Iím sure!! They may be making them again I have not checked, as I am an awful long way from wearing this one out. When I got mine I donít think they made them for more than a year or so before they went with just the parked ones. My dads 590 is a tricked out parked one that looks cool but is not as sleek and light as mine.

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