Mossberg 500 VS. 590 A-1 Mil-Spec

Discussion in 'Shotgun Talk' started by billt, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. billt

    billt XDTalk 1K Member

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    I've had a Mossberg 500 "Combo Gun" for some time now, and recently picked up a 590 A-1 Mil-Spec. I thought it would be helpful to do a comparision of the features / price / and value of both guns because while both may appear similar, there are a few differences worth pointing out.

    First off I'd like to point out that isn't rust you're seeing in the pics. It is just very poor color saturation from my crappy Sony Cybershot camera. The "striped" appearance of the Parkerizing on the 590 are oil absorption marks that transferred from the case I had it in.

    PRICE

    The Mossberg 500 "Combo-Gun", as it is referred to by several of the big box stores that sell it today, runs right around the $249.00 to $299.00 range. The 590 A-1 Mil-Spec runs, (as you see it configured), around $460.00 to $480.00. About $160.00 to $180.00 more.

    FEATURES

    The 500 "Combo" comes with a standard anodized receiver and 2 gloss blued barrels. The barrel you see mounted to the weapon is the 18" cylinder bore with a standard brass bead front sight that is threaded into the barrel. The gun also comes with a 28" Vented Rib standard field barrel that has a fixed Modified Choke. It does not accept screw in choke tubes. Mossberg does sell aftermarket barrels for this gun that do have them. It has the standard synthetic field stock and forend. The gun has a standard 5 + 1 capacity. Both barrels have 3" chambers.

    The 590 A-1 Mil-Spec has a parkerized finish on all exposed parts. Barrel, receiver, and bolt, as well as the magazine tube are all Parkerized. The barrel is a 20" cylinder bore with a single brass bead threaded front sight. The magazine tube hold 8 rounds for a 8 + 1 capacity. It also has a 3" chamber. Other features of the 590 A-1 Mil-Spec Model are a bayonet lug that is threaded to accept a front sling swivel that comes with the gun, a heavy walled barrel, a metal safety button and trigger group, (the safety switch and trigger group on the 500 are plastic).

    The 590 A-1 Mil-Spec also comes in an all but limitless amount of stock configurations. Standard, collapsible, as well as Speed Feed and others are offered. There is also the 590 SPX Model that comes complete with the Ontario Knife M-9 Bayonet.

    Another feature of the 590 A-1 Mil-Spec Models are the dual barrel / magazine tube attachment points. As the photographs show, the 500 Models are attached by a single ring at the end of the magazine tube. The 590 A-1 Mil-Spec has a dual attachment system with two rings that are heavily brazed to the barrel. The barrel also attaches a bit differently on the 590. The magazine cap is completely removed, then the barrel removed. This is much like a Remington 870 in that regard. On the 500 the magazine cap does not completely come off.

    The actions on both guns, while not totally identical, are very similar. The manual states that barrels and internal parts will not interchange between the 500 / 535 / 590 Models. I haven't tested this, so I'll take Mossbergs word on it.

    OVERALL VIEW

    Both of these guns exhibit excellent value and quality for the price. Both are made in the USA. If a person is looking for the most for his money, the 500 "Combo" is pretty hard to beat. It offers very good value for the dollar. Especially considering you get 2 barrels with the package. I've had around 1,500 rounds through mine total so far, and have not had a single issue or problem. These loads were a combination of low brass target loads, heavy 3" Magnums, as well as Buckshot and rifled slugs. It ate them all with zero issues. The 590 Mil-Spec I just received this past Friday, so I have not been able to evaluate it's performance. Hopefully I'll get out to the range next week to run it through it's paces.

    If a shooter is looking for a well built, solid home self defense weapon, the 590 A-1 Mil-Spec would be a pretty difficult gun to beat. It was the only pump action, combat shotgun tested by the military that met Mil-Spec requirement Mil S-3443 which consisted of 3,000 rounds of Magnum buckshot with the gun being fully operational afterward.

    The other guns in it's class are more expensive when similarly configured. It appears to be a gun that can hold up to a lot of rugged use. I think it would be a hard gun to beat in the role of a home self defense shotgun. Which is better? At this point having not yet run the 590 A-1 Mil-Spec through it's paces as of yet, I would say based on features and price, the 500 "Combo" is the better buy, while the 590 A-1 Mil-Spec is the better gun. Either way I doubt you could go wrong with either.

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  2. Mike Russell

    Mike Russell XDTalk 500 Member

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    Having used the 590 in the military, it cannot be beat. The ONLY issue I ever had with mine was a cracked stock when I "butt stroked" an uncooperative aggressor on a boarding. I'm probably going to buy one soon (with ghost ring sights & speed feed) and sell my 500 to a buddy. The 500 I have is different than yours, as it is a 8+1 (cannot use regular field barrels due to the forward attachment point) but everything else you said is spot on for it as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. billt

    billt XDTalk 1K Member

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    One other feature I forgot to mention on the 590 A-1 Mil-Spec is that it is equipped with dual extractors. It is all but impossible to get a shell stuck in it.
     
  4. richeyo2

    richeyo2 XDTalk 5K Member

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    Very well written/informative review of the two Mossbergs.
    Thanks!
     
  5. DevJames

    DevJames XDTalk 5K Member

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    I wanna say the standard 500 has them too.
     
  6. skew12

    skew12 XDTalk Member

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    Nice review, thanks!
     
  7. Tony617

    Tony617 XDTalk 100 Member

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    I own a Mossberg Maverick 88 and it has dual extractors. I also own a 590A1 as well.
     
  8. billt

    billt XDTalk 1K Member

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    I like the Remington 870's, and have had one since the mid 70's, (Wingmaster). With that said I prefer the Mossberg 500 or 590 Models for a home defense shotgun. I just think they are better suited for the task. I like the steel receiver of the 870, but I wish they would get away from that cheesy, cheap, stamped metal, double C-Clamp for attaching the barrel to the magazine tube. Especially on the Police Models. When you're paying that much for a self defense, Hi-Cap shotgun, it should have better manufacturing than that. If Mossberg can supply brazed, machined steel, double attachment points, a bayonet lug, and dual extractors for under $500.00, (590 A-1 Series), Remington should be able to for almost $200.00 more, (870 Police).

    [​IMG]
     
  9. billt

    billt XDTalk 1K Member

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    Well I decided to head out to the desert today with the new Mossberg 590 A-1 and run it through it’s paces. We got almost an inch of rain last night, so I knew it wouldn’t be too dusty, that’s for sure. I brought along a hand trap and some clay targets, and a bunch of water filled jugs, cans, and some other stuff I had lying around to shoot at. I stopped at Cabela’s this morning and picked up another 100 rounds of the Rio, 00 Buckshot they had on sale for just $2.19 for a box of 5. I also had some Federal 3” 000 Magnum Buckshot loads, and about 50 slug loads. Some Winchester, Remington, and a few Federal.
    Before we left I lubed the action up really good. I set up several water filled 2 liter bottles at about 30 feet, and filled the magazine with 3” rifled slugs. The gun ran through them flawlessly, vaporizing the bottles into nothing more than shredded plastic. The 3” Magnum 000 Buckshot loads did much the same. Recoil was stout, but it felt a bit less than the same loads run through my Mossberg 500 I brought along as well. I had a can of Miller Lite that’s been sitting in the fridge for months that I shook up real good, then smacked it with a 3” slug from about 25 feet away. It erupted like a can of shaving cream! It's amazing how accurate that single bead front sight is once you learn to settle into the same sight position every time.

    My wife shot it with both the slugs and buckshot loads, but found the recoil to be a bit uncomfortable. I had a bunch of Trap loads I brought along, so I threw several clays for her, which she had no trouble breaking consistently. Tossing clay targets from a hand trap is like shooting fish in a barrel, when compared to shooting singles from the 16 yard line, but it’s still enough of a challenge to do it with a cylinder bore riot gun.

    I had some short pieces of 2 X 4’s I brought along, and sat them against a small hill. I shot them with 3” 000 buckshot, 2 ¾” 00 buckshot, as well as Trap loads, (1 1/8 ounce of #8’s loaded with 17.5 grains of Clays). From 6 to 8 feet away the buckshot had zero trouble chewing the 2 X 4’s in half. It didn’t surprise me how much damage the Trap loads did from that distance either. They would have been extremely lethal at that close of a range. They chewed right through the wood like a spade drill. The 1-1/8th ounces of shot almost acting like a slug at that close of a distance.

    Through all of this the gun performed flawlessly. It was amazing how slick the action became after about 200 rounds or so. It was very humid, so after cleaning up after ourselves we decided to call it a day. After we got home it was humid as hell out, so I set up a fan in the garage and gave both guns a good wet cleaning with clean Kerosene, cut with a little Hoppes #9. Both barrels got a good brushing until they were spotless. While shooting I tried not to heat them up too much. This greatly reduced the plastic fouling from the wads. Afterward I gave the actions a good blow dry with compressed air, and a good oiling. The 590 A-1’s action improved immensely after the cleaning and relubrication. It’s far smoother than I though it would get from just a bit of use. The Parkerizing can be quite “gritty”, and after you wear it off the high contact areas, it really smoothens thing up.

    The only downside to the day was the high humidity from all the rain we got last night. But I can’t complain. And the way it’s shaping up, it’s looking like we’re in for some more rain later today and tonight. We don’t get much of it in these parts. All in all it was a good day, and I couldn’t ask for a better performing gun than this new Mossberg 590 A-1 Mil-Spec!
     
  10. richeyo2

    richeyo2 XDTalk 5K Member

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    Thanks for the range report.

    Sounds like a fun day w/the wife. That's hard to beat, then you throw in a flawless gun & it's the perfect day!
     
  11. inferno66

    inferno66 XDTalk 100 Member

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    Nice review now I want a 590
     
  12. kd5zmg

    kd5zmg XDTalk 100 Member

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    I've had my 500A for over 10 years now. Very reliable.

    I have been wanting to add another, and now I am convinced to spend the Extra and get the 590. Thank you for your time in putting this together.
     
  13. billt

    billt XDTalk 1K Member

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    Stories like this are all over Internet shotgun forums like this one. That in itself is a testimonial to the ruggedness and reliability of Mossberg shotguns.
     
  14. DevJames

    DevJames XDTalk 5K Member

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    Love my 500. In the fifteen years I've had it, only issue was the safety getting worn out and engaging under recoil. That's a quick, easy and cheap fix. I'd like to add a 930 spx next.
     
  15. jreXD9

    jreXD9 XDTalk 100 Member

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    I've got the m590a1 with ghost ring sights and speed feed stock. I'd say that 8+1 and 4 more in the stock should be enough for any home defense situation. With 2.75" slugs I was consistently hitting an 8x8 target at 50 yards and a 12x12 target at 100 yards. I never expected that. 3" slugs and buckshot were NO FUN AT ALL, but there was a very noticeable difference with the 2.75's. It's currently full of OO buck and next to my bed. It's a thrill shooting this thing.....what a rush!!!
     

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