I have a mossberg 500 that's alot smoother than any 870 I've ever used.Oh man, I'm sorry if I did something to hurt your love affair. The 870 is a great shotgun in the field. "Fit" is always a bid deal with shotguns and the 870 and 1100 have something a bit magical about them when it comes to fit...the seem to "fit" most people very well. And then there's that intangible "feel" of a shotgun, and the 870 just has that in spades...they balance well, shoulder well, point well...they just FEEL very good in your hands; and that inspires confidence. But if you short stroke an 870 it really will bind that gun up but good. There is a "fix" for it that involves a flexible "tab" on the shell riser. When it binds, (IIRC) you just yank the forend hard, cycle the action and it will dump the round out of the chamber, and the bound up round, so you have to quickly cycle the action once more to get it fully back into action.
Now I don't have much experience with that "fix" so I'd recommend a bit of research. My first combat shotgun was a very nice Parkerized 870 with a mag extension and I loved that gun...until I ran into that issue for the second time. That's when I recalled that Mr. Murphy has a full time job just following me around, and he would make damned sure that if I were ever in a firefight with an 870 that he would make me short stroke that thing on the first round.
So I sold it, picked up a well used 26" JC Higgins Model 20 (Sears brand, it was the High Standard Flight King), which was a brilliant copy of the Remington model 31, and High Standard actually made the action even smoother than Remington did...absolute smoothest pump action shotgun I've ever seen in my life. Point the barrel north, hit the slide release and that action will just all open. Tilt it south just a tad and it would close right up. It's as if the action as mounted on greased up banana peel bearings. I lost the +2 in the magazine, but I gained speed and surefire reliability. I later upgraded to an Ithaca 37 Riot gun with a 20" barrel and 7+1 magazine...and I've regretted selling it every day since.
The Mossberg 500 series are VERY reliable but they really lack the "feel" of an 870 by a good margin. And when it comes to smooth pump actions...well, let's just say Mossberg kinda skipped that day in design school. The 500 series are not very smooth at all, but you can compensate for that by making YOU smoother through practice.
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