Seems to be at least one of these threads floating across the web at any given time. They always start out the same, somebody looking to get a pump action shotgun and asking the what of the two would be a better choice. They usually also end the same. More often then not the thread boils down to people arguing various pros and cons of each one. In an attempt to put this argument to rest, here's an unbiased thread showing the pros, cons and part by part comparison of each one side by side. First is the 870, arguably the most famous pump action in the world. -The trigger group is shared in 90% of all Remington pump and self-loading weapons and uses a connector/disconector -Single Sako style extractor. -Ribbon Ejector permanently attached to the inside of the receiver. -Slide release located on front of trigger guard -Button safety on rear of trigger guard. -Pivoting shell lift attached to trigger guard. Next, the 500. It is the flagship pump action shotgun from mossberg. The 590 being a beefed up version of the 500 with a few upgrades. -Twin claw extractors. -Ejector attached inside receiver with screw. -Slide release located rear of trigger guard. -Tang safety on top of receiver. (Added by dak0ta: Mossberg refers to the safety as an ''Ambidextrous thumb-operated safety'', not tang) -Shell lift attached to receiver and rests under bolt carrier. The primary flaw of the 870 is the ribbon ejector that is attached to the inside of the chamber. It works very well, but is quite fragile (more so in newer models) If it breaks (like this one) your only option is drilling out the rivets and through the receiver. Then you have to rivet in a new one, file down the rivets and re-blue the receiver. About 300$ in total. Here is the other side of the gun showing the rivets needing to be drilled out. All 870's have these, they are just very hard to see on some models. The ejector on the 500 can be replaced in a matter of seconds with only an Allen wrench if broken. About 15$ Better yet, a screwdriver. Got mixed up with a different part. Both the 870 and 500 have a tilting locking block in the bolt the attach to the barrel extension. Meaning the entire barrel needs to be replaced if this wears out. Base of the 870 showing control locations and the pivoting shell lift. That 'U" cut was added in intermediate models so a knife or screwdriver can be pressed through it to dislodge jammed shells. 500 bottom. Becuase the shell lift rides under the bolt, it is more easy to load then the 870. The lift system is also much more simple then the 870. 870's offer more choices in terms of barrels and magazine extensions due to the way the magazine tube is designed. If you want a 18" barrel for HD and 28" for hunting, the 500 and 870 are good choices. However only the 870 can take magazine extensions.