Fighting shotgun setups: 500/590's & 870's (Pics welcome)

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by DustyGmt, Sep 3, 2022.

  1. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Not really a ***** vs ***** thread but sort of.

    How do you guys setup your combat/fighting/HD/Dual duty shotguns? Insights and preferences welcome, as well as pics.

    I shoot shotguns a lot now, used to be AR's and handguns but as of the last couple years, 90% of the time I shoot a pump action shotgun. I've grown quite fond of the Remington 870 in particular as well as the Mossberg 590. I feel the 870 is a better more durable feeling firearm and the lines and classic design appeals to me more, but I am also very fond of the Mossbergs. The mossberg is kind of a deceptive weapon in the sense that it feels very chintzy, maybe even cheap but its a proven, very durable and reliable shotgun and one other favorable aspect of the 500/590 is that it's very light if you're on the move, port loading the Mossberg is a lil easier imo, along with the ease of loading and stuffing shells up the chute into the mag tube is also easier with the absence of a spring loaded elevator/lifter in your way as is the case with the 870. What is your favorite between the M500/590 & R-870,

    What if any modifications or accessories do you guys consider to be essential on a fighting gun. I know common wisdom is a magazine capacity of at least 7+1 (in some cases requiring mag extensions), as well as a WML are two of the first and foremost, with side saddles and shell carriers, slings also being among the top recommendations. What are your preferences for gear and outfitting defensive shotgun?

    I know it's kind of subjective, but how about action jobs, gun fit, bead vs sights, etc.... Do you leave the gun as it left the factory or tailor it to your specific preferences, do you prefer/recommend a bead or rifle sights and do you actually take the time to set the gun up to fit you? Do you perform any modifications or send out to a smith for action or enhance reliability by upgrading springs, extractors, etc?

    I was watching some videos from James Yaeger and he's a lil bit of a blow hard imo but he outright dismisses rifle sights on a defensive shotgun which sounded like bs to me since I can get on with mine pretty good and fast. He was suggesting to students to get very short length of pull stocks which also struck me as odd since that seems like it would be and should be a personal choice to suit the shooter but I suppose a shorter OAL firearm is more maneuverable, etc...

    Also, if anybody has any good recommendations on literature on the subject, let me know.

    At the end of the day, I feel you could basically buy any pump action shotgun from a reputable maker, pump a few hundred shells through it and call it good. Just wanted to pick this apart a lil and see what folks around here that were worthwhile changes/upgrades to these guns.

    I've been wanting to put the magpul furniture on one of my shotguns pretty badly just to try it out because I've heard overwhelmingly positive things about how much it improves ergos and handling. I might have to refurbish my mossberg 500 that's on life support in need of basically all new springs, extractors, etc, and put the magpul furniture on that one. BTW, anybody know a good place to get parts for my mossberg?
     
  2. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    If I was to go today, I would get the short shell compatible 590A1 with similar mods as below:

    https://www.vangcomp.com/product/602/

    I have a modified 590A1 20” with a factory butt stock, Surefire hand guard, Vang modified barrel, Vang safety, Vang detachable side saddle, and hard chromed (could be a different coating, possibly an old Robar…). The bayonet lug had to ground off to mount the Surefire (if I remember correctly). No Speedfeed stock, plain butt. Heavy barrel, metal trigger assembly, and Mossberg ghost rings. My wife’s is similar except - 18”, Hogue short LOP butt stock, and no plating / coating.

    Both work wonders with Low recoil Federal 00 with Flitecontrol wads.

    https://www.mossberg.com/firearms/shotguns/590-a1.html
    https://www.vangcomp.com/
    https://www.surefire.com/products/illumination/weapon-lights/623lmg-b/
    https://www.federalpremium.com/shotshell/premium-personal-defense/personal-defense-shotshell-with-flitecontrol-wad/11-PD132+00.html (similar, but not what I bought)

    Should be at 15 yards (concerned about grouping, not point of aim / point of impact): upload_2022-9-3_17-16-24.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
  3. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    There are a lot of questions in the OP.

    I have used two defensive shotguns extensively...one is a Mossberg 500, and the other a Mossberg 590. Both have cylinder chokes, and 20 inch barrels and feed tubes. Both have velcro sidesaddles. And both wear Magpul buttstocks that are set to make overall length shorter than a normal field shotgun would be. The single-point slings are for convenience in training classes.

    Here are pics:

    500.jpg 590.jpg

    Differences between the two:

    The 500 wears an old, cheap Simmons red dot sight. I went this way for this gun because it originally came with only a front bead for sights. That sight has survived several high-round-count training classes and it just keeps working. It has a big tube, and I have found the RDS to be very fast when engaging multiple targets.

    The 590 wears the stock ghost ring sights. The ghost rings are almost as fast as the RDS on multiples. I find that I pick up the front sight just as quickly as the RDS, when first bringing the gun up to the shoulder.

    The 590 has a TL Racker forend light. I really like this light. It is much sturdier than light units that attach to a barrel or feed tube. And it is bright. And doesn't get in the way during daylight hours.

    The only change I made to the stock actions or barrels is to install a metal safety lever on the 500. And this wasn't probably necessary. I was just listening to the internet voices when I did it.

    I like both these guns as they are set up now.

    A note about ammo: when configured for home defense, the tube on the 590 contains Flite Control 00 buck, and the sidesaddle has three slugs. Ready for a slug-select drill should the need arise.


    I have not seen any need to upgrade action parts, barrel modifications, etc. Both barrels shoot well with a variety of slugs, and patterns with Federal Flite Control ammo are outstanding. See this thread:

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/rio-royal-buck-00-1-4-compared-to-federal-tactical-00-buckshot.895808/#post-12077200

    With regard to the eternal 500/870 battles, the only difference that I really see is that 870s can occasionally get a case stuck on the lifter in a way that is very difficult to clear in the field. I've seen it happen in classes. The 500/590s are not susceptible to this kind of malfunction.


    And one last comment: getting competent training on defensive shotgun handling is MUCH more important than minor differences in hardware configuration.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2022
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  4. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Interesting observation on the ease of loading a 500/590 vs an 870. I've only ever played around with a 20ga 870 (never owned one). It was hard to load, and particularly so because my thumb is wider than a 20ga shell. I've never felt the 500/590 was anything but a breeze to load. And the two Benelli Novas I have owned were also easy. I just didn't like the extra throw on the slide action because they were designed for 3.5" shells.

    Now on preference, I don't like cross-bolt safeties because I'm a lefty and they just seem like they're easier to accidentally engage than to disengage at a stressful time when lead needs to go down range. Which means I own 590s. But I do prefer the heft and the look of the 870.

    This is my current HD shotgun.

    [​IMG]

    It's a 6+1, and I only keep it as 5+0. But I do keep 4 extra loose shells very close by, and a fanny pack (set to throw over my shoulder) with plenty more in it. I'm not concerned with having such a limited number of shells in the gun, because if 5 shots can buy me the time to load more, I've probably already made a huge mistake that capacity alone cannot overcome.

    Other than ammunition: There's a simple pistol light, a sling (a.k.a. longarm holster), and nothing else.

    I have an older 20" 590 which is 8+1. I had a 6 shot sidesaddle on it, a light bearing foregrip, a Magpul buttstock set short to cut down the OAL, and a long sling so I could let it drop across my chest. That was a heavy and cumbersome setup. And since the new version was acquired and tested, this older 590 has been returned to original condition which has made it far more maneuverable.

    In the past I've tried drop pistol grip stocks, pistol grip only, an over the top folder, a birdshead. It's all junk to me. A straight stock (such as the original) in my preference. Other stock designs and even sidesaddles can interfer with disassembly, and I don't like that much either.

    So I'm now in favor of keeping it simple. Boringly simple actually. Lightweight is fast, and I like that.

    @DustyGmt if you really want one of those Magpul stocks PM me and you can have my lightly used one. I won't be using it again, but I see they're now ridiculously expensive.
     
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  5. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    (Please don't mistake this as me suggesting you've picked a poor load. That's not what I'm saying at all.)

    That Federal flight control stuff seems consistently tight, from all the testing I've seen so far. And it's much touted as a good HD load. Ironically, I'd rather select such ammunition for more extended distances (for a shotgun anyway) outdoors, where a tight patterning load would be more useful.

    If I were to sit on my toolbox at one end of my basement corridor, and a home intruder were hiding behind the Christmas tree we store at the opposite end, from barrel to bad guy would be about 15 yards. Both standard Federal Power Shok 2-3/4" and Nobel Sport LE 00 buck pattern on a human torso at that distance with both of my 590s. And whilst the combination of a wide spread and poor shot placement might mean a few pellets miss the target, individual pellets don't penetrate walls in the quite the same way as a tight cluster does.

    An individual pellet of 00 buck is a .32 caliber ball weighing about 53gr, with poor sectional density, and travelling 1100-1300fps. Having said that, I'm sure there are good reasons to prefer a tighter pattern even at shorter distances typical found in the home. I'm making observations more than anything else.
     
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  6. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Yeah, sorry bout that. Just came out in a stream, not terribly focused. Went and shot shotguns today, watched some videos on YT and kicked back a few and started typing :D. I figure most people skim and zero in on one or two pertinent things they have a comment on and disregard the rest. Certainly don't want anybody to feel obligated to take them one by one ;)
     
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  7. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Oh and chalk another one up for the Mossberg on the location of the slide release. I think the slide release on the Mossberg is in an ideal location and I am actually pretty much split on the safety location. I like the tang safety just about as much as a crossbolt safety, I like the squared off ejection port as well.

    I really don't have any really good reason to prefer an 870 that I can quantify other than maybe it just has an intangible quality that I'm unable to articulate. I like the feel of it and the looks of it more and when you get a good one, like a wingmaster, those preferences are amplified a bit more.

    Typically I'll take function over form, and in terms of function I think the mossberg gets the nod, but the 870 definitely gets the nod in form, and isn't far enough behind in function to make a difference. They are both excellent shotguns. I think the 870 might be a lil more versatile as well. If you want to use an 870 for hunting or trap, it certainly has a much better balance and swing to it and is better suited to those roles imo and with a wingmaster, the action is much, much nicer......
     
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  8. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    @WrongHanded absolutely agree. Most the work done on the 590’s (and the 500 before it), was done prior to Flitecontrol. Getting ammo to group was more challenging. 15 yards is basically the max distance I can find as a straight line in my current circumstance. Being in Suburbia, hitting is very important to me. Second, being left handed like you, the top safety matters. Emphasizing avoiding the pistol grip…either you break hold to get to the safety, or take all the recoil through the web of the hand. I would much rather ‘tuck the butt’ between my elbow and gut…likewise, I lose nothing with the shorter LOP on the wife’s…maybe bump my nose with my thumb.

    With @luzyfuerza and you have stated….get to know and pattern your shotgun, know your needs, and get trained. The rest is gravy.
     
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  9. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Pics for reference, this is my idea of a pair of perfect fighting shotguns. I have a couple other remington/mossbergs but these are my idea of the ideal fighting guns.

    Remington 870 :top
    Mossberg 590 :Bottom IMG_20220903_201215.jpg
     
  10. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    I live on 40 acres, so being able to stretch out the range of a shotgun matters to me. Hence, the more precise sights on my guns and my preference for FliteControl buckshot.

    They're much less important for those who live in suburbs or apartments.
     
  11. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    Respectfully, I want a tight group at short distances (long if required). Others brands did not give the same consistency or density. Likewise, with 10 foot property lines…hitting is really important. Add the variable of my wife (better at clays than I am…), I want the greatest chance to stay on target as possible.

    Again, I agree with both of you…you know what your needs and requirements are, and met them.
     
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  12. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Wow. Not to hijack my own thread, but not wanting to speak ill of the dead, I retract my statement about James Yeager in my OP. It's pure coincidence that after watching the man in different videos for about a decade, and mentioning him on this forum in my OP for the first time ever, I go over to General and find out he's passed.

    Pretty abrasive guy, but found him entertaining if nothing else. RIP. Weird, I just subbed to his channel yesterday even though I think the first time I ever watched a YouTube video on guns, was a yaeger vid, on a blackberry.
     
  13. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    I've posed this admonition before but I think it bears repeating: When installing a "side saddle" type shell carrier to the receiver of a Benelli Nova pump shotgun, be careful not to tighten the bolts down too hard. Doing so will distort the plastic receiver enough to prevent the pump from moving; at least it did on my Nova.
     
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  14. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    I think you can have the same problem on Mossberg’s too….
     
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  15. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Maybe so but I think an aluminum receiver might crack before it bends like polymer-but you're right, aluminum isn't steel and being judicious with torques is always a good idea no matter what the material.
     
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  16. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    Just have to spring it enough to bind…
     
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  17. Dirtybob

    Dirtybob Member

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    I'm pretty sure the stuck case happens when you don't get the shell all the way in on loading. It pops back out after the lifter drops down and you'll likely have to remove the barrel to get it free.

    +1 re: training
     
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  18. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    The first sidesaddle I installed on my 500 was solid plastic, and it used a throughbolt to secure it to the receiver. It was tricky to get enough tension on the throughbolt to secure the sidesaddle while not compressing the receiver.

    I like the velco sidesaddles MUCH better!
     
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  19. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Yes to that. Alot of people don't like the idea of a 3M industrial adhesive velcro square on the side of the receiver, myself included, but I can deal with it since a fighting gun dont have to be pretty.

    I think having multiple velcro/elastic 5rd cards are a great idea. Maybe not necessary to have if you're strictly setting up a gun for HD, but I like em better than hard ones bolted to the side of the receiver. Throws off the balance of the gun and the velcro shell placards are easy to rip off and out of the way if you want to run your gun without it on there.

    I still run a stock mounted elastic sleeve on mine and practice topping off and port loading out of them, I think the receiver carriers are easier to work with vs stock mounted ones.
     
  20. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    I went way overboard when I set up my gun for the first shotgun class I attended. I understood going in that shotguns are always hungry, so I installed a plastic sidesaddle, a buttstock sleeve, and even one of those Rambo two-point slings with 25 ammo loops.

    I'm sure the instructors chuckled when I walked on the range with that rig!

    The rounds in the sling went away really quickly. I found that the sidesaddle and the buttcuff both worked well on tactical, port, and slug select loading drills. But, for me, that the sidesaddle, with cartridge base down, was a little bit faster.

    For a while, I thought that putting six extra slugs on the buttcuff and six extra buckshot on the sidesaddle (or visa versa) was ideal.

    But as I learned 1) how to run the gun, 2) that I could hit targets quickly and reliably, and 3) how devastating a single hit with buckshot or a slug can be, I realized that carrying all that spare ammo on a home defense shotgun wasn't necessary. Now, I just keep the sidesaddle so I can quickly load a slug if distance requires it.

    A buttcuff with a few slugs would work almost as well.
     
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  21. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    493E33DB-13EB-40FE-A4BF-A9955072290F.jpeg B2286C6B-D221-441B-9CA1-8E856BE33F85.jpeg

    Stock picture, but I have a the same shotgun, with a Surefire light mounted, side saddle and vtac sling.
     
  22. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    Not to be contrarian - my wife is a righty, I am a lefty - someone is going to be challenged with a sleeve on the butt stock. I am ambi with a pistol, merely dangerous with a rifle from the right side, and a complete buffoon with a shotgun from the right…. :rofl:
     
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  23. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    So you just shoot a regular shotgun lefty? I have shot lefty a couple times and it's a painful exercise and if I was lefty it would kinda drive me nuts I think, ejecting shells into or over my arm in front of my face, etc.... I notice you still shoot a regular shotgun. Does mossberg not offer a lefty reciever?
     
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  24. Rshooter

    Rshooter Member

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    I prefer the 870 but that is what I had in the Corps. Nothing like familiarity to make you think everything is in the right place.
     
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  25. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    I grew up on a K22, 1911, and a Winchester 61. Remington 40’s and Winchester 52’s in High School. The first CF and shotgun I had was a Marlin 336 and Remington 11. The guys I learned to duck hunt with gave me so much crap about the 11, I bought a Mossberg 500. I would have preferred an 870 or 1100, but did not have the money. Others into the fold more left friendly…

    I guess the simple answer - so much has been right handed, I do not give it much thought. Fortunately through classes I learned to shoot right handed with a pistol (advice to anyone - take a beginners class weak handed…yes, you will need holsters and everything…simple on my side, use my wife’s stuff…). With rifles, generally I am ‘bedded’ into position - then it BRASS after that - no biggie. Shotguns and swing….pretty much an albatross on drugs….I can shoot a shotgun like a rifle right handed….

    Back to topic…define your needs, put together a package that fills the needs, get training, and practice (periodically reassess - does it still meet your needs)…..form follows function. What works for me, may not work for you.
     
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