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Five Quality Shotguns for Under $500

Hunters have said it loud and clear: We are tired of reading about shotguns that cost more than a monthly mortgage payment. We heard you, and we’ve delivered.


I grew up in a place where deer hunting—and most hunting for that matter—was limited to the use of shotguns, where the old scattergun was a staple and most hunters owned and used only one for virtually all of their hunting needs. Shotguns were tools that got beat around and used hard. They had to be durable, perform well and for the majority of us, they had to be affordable. Somewhere along the line, shotguns became like cars and trucks, with more high-performance features that, while certainly making for awesome results, also ran up the cost.

Not all of us need or want a King Ranch package F-350, when a good ole basic F-150 will get us where we need to go.

 Brand new, these shotguns will run you less than $500. Best of all, when the moment of truth arrives and the ducks, deer, turkeys or whatever slip into range, they’ll deliver the same results as a gun three times the cost.

Mossberg Model 500
Mossberg defines affordability with its shotguns and delivers workhorse performance for the budget-conscious sportsman. While looking to shave costs off of most shotguns, a buyer will often have to forego the camo (licensing costs for camo patterns typically run the price of a gun up between $40 and $70).


But not with Mossberg. Even in Mossy Oak New Break-Up or Advantage Max-4, the Model 500 cruises in just above the $400 mark. Capable of handling 3-inch shells, these pump-guns also boast ported barrels, synthetic stocks, an ambidextrous safety and six shot (5 + 1) capacity. The Model 500 is available in nearly 40 different configurations, running the gamut from as low as $375 up to $521. ($435)  
The Stoeger Model 2000
Want Benelli performance for less? Look no further than Stoeger, which doesn’t force the buyer to choose a pump-action just to keep the price in the $500 ballpark. In fact, Stoeger’s matte black Model 2000 semi-auto cruises in just under that mark. The 2000 employs the high-performing, yet simplistic Inertia Driven operating system perfected by sister company Benelli, which allows a slimmer fore-end for optimal grip and balance.

               stoeger 2000

Because gases don’t power the action, it tends to stay cleaner for those who cycle a lot of rounds. The gun accommodates loads up to 3 inches. I’ve had friends who have bought these guns, and I’ve used them myself, and for what they spent on their Stoegers, these guys are all smiles, particularly when posing in pictures with their game. ($499)
Remington Model 870
With more than 10 million sold since its introduction nearly a half century ago, the Remington Model 870 is arguably the best selling shotgun in history. And for good reason. It works and shoots with unfailing dependability, yet it is still priced right. The 870 Express in a classic satin and walnut finish utilizes twin action bars for smooth cycling and is available in both 12 and 20 gauges.

                Remington 870

Barrel options include either a 26- or 28-inch vent rib barrel with a Modified Rem Choke and single bead sight. While the suggested retail price for this shotgun comes in at just over $400, stroll through a Wal-Mart or other retailer during sale time and you can find this top-performer well into the low $300 range. I’ve even seen synthetic models for under that amount. Other 870 variations, including models tailored for turkeys, waterfowl and even slugsters for deer, all cruise below the $500 radar. ($411)
Benelli Nova Pump
Who says you can’t get genuine Benelli quality as well as the name at a cost that doesn’t range into four figures? The Benelli Nova in matte black boasts the same lightweight, slender styling of the company’s high-dollar, highly sought semi-auto offerings by incorporating a polymer stock and light receiver into a single unit.

                    Benelli Nova

Dual-action bars and rotary head locking lugs ensure reliable performance with load capability running the gamut from light target shot shells to 3 ½-inch magnum shoulder breakers. Twenty-gauge models tip the scales at a mere 6 ½ pounds, while 12 gauges weigh in at a pound and a half more. The shotgun comes with three chokes: improved cylinder, modified and full. ($439)
H&R Tracker II Slug Gun
Not every shotgun hunter is looking to spray and pray. For those deer hunting diehards that know the first shot is truly the one that counts, Harrington & Richardson is known for its single-shot tack drivers. The Tracker II, like all H&Rs, is built stout with a strong break-action lock-up and heavy barrel with Utragon Rifling that is created using six oval lands and grooves minus the sharp corners common to traditional rifling.

HR Tracker

The end result is accuracy out to the farthest performance limits of modern slug loads. The Tracker II comes with a hardwood stock in walnut finish, adjustable rifle sights and prefixed sling swivel studs. It is without peer in the affordability department. ($223)

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46 Responses to Five Quality Shotguns for Under $500

Ben Reese wrote:
January 21, 2015

My first pump was an 870. Traded it for an Ithaca 37. From there went auto for years. When I bought my grandson his first gun it was a 20g Mossberg 500. Was impressed enough that now I own 4 in different gauges and configurations. Very reliable. My granddaddy always said 'Son, a cheaper gun will always kill game just as good as an expensive gun'. Over the years I've owned both cheap & expensive and the ol' man's adage has always held true.

Scott D wrote:
July 01, 2014

Didn't want to include the Weatherby SA-08? Got mine new for 450. Semi-automatic, 3 inch shells, removable chokes, reliable as all get out.

Neil Selbicky wrote:
June 29, 2014

Sorry to see that the Remington 887 isn't listed here. I love mine, and as I remember back, the price was danged good.

Bob Perez wrote:
June 29, 2014

H&R great gun ,I got 20gauge great to 250yards!!

Mike wrote:
June 29, 2014

Good article.

Christopher wrote:
June 29, 2014

The Weatherby PA-08 is around the $300 mark, and is phenomenal. Excellent shotgun in 12 or 20 gauge.

Ralph Jolly sr wrote:
February 27, 2013

I recently purchase a Mossberg 500 12 gaug shotgun pump action with the pistal grip ,Home defence ,under $400.. It's a monter 7 + 1 =8 shot :-( rough !!!!

Shootinsince16 wrote:
February 24, 2013

I love the one odd hater in the thread....also an 870 made 30years ago and a wingmaster are different birds than the current 870 express. The newer express is a little more cheaply made. Sure it is a good gun, but it is not the well built tank of the wingmaster or the guns made before the express was introduced. Mossber is a tough one to beat in the price and function category. Just good guns at a entry price. Winchester makes awesome shotguns and always has, especially the pumps! And though not listed, the H&R Pardner line of pumps are built like tanks! Thicker recievers, thicker barrels and heavier duty than an 870 express, and about 100 dollars cheaper to boot! Not pretty guns, fit and finish are so so, but they will work, will always work and won't wear out! Brownings BPS and Benelli's pump are good guns, but I do not care for the lightweightedness of the Benelli. I'd take a BPS first. And if you want to poo-poo Stoeger, well, then that"s your hard luck, your missin out on a workhorse! And for the most part, I'd bet most of the folks that hate these guns are the guys with 2200 dollar guns that can't hit the side of a barn and some buddy with a 200 dollar wonder gun regularly out shoots them....

Kyle Dadniels wrote:
February 18, 2013

The Remmington 870 is still used by Law Enforcement today, most agencies I know use this as their choice of Shotgun.

Cody wrote:
January 07, 2013

I have owned my 870 for about 8 years its the youth model. I have pounded a lot of rounds through it but the more I do the better it shoots and reloads. I have never had it jam or quit working. Put the 28 inch barrel on it and its awesome. My dad has also owned a mossberg 500 for about 15 years also a good gun. Mud seems to affect it a little more than my 870 but no real complaints although Im not a fan of the safety on the top of the gun but I grew up shooting the 870!

B.B. wrote:
December 30, 2012

I just shot my first box of ammo through my 870...and it jammed on the 22nd. shell. I've heard the new 870s have issues with cheap ammo, so it may just be the ammo in this case. I sure hope so..., but I've also heard that the older 870s are the way to go. Wish I'd known that before I bought this new one.

Don wrote:
November 14, 2012

Never had a failure of any kind with my 870, but then I've only had it for about 50 years.

Dale wrote:
November 02, 2012

Anyone used the tracker 2 for deer hunting , just like to her som reviews

James wrote:
October 03, 2012

Great writeup... I really like the mossberg 500.. Shot a few 870's and like them too... Always had better luck with the mossberg... When it gets clean it's because it's dirty but still working, not like the 870 I've shot... When they get cleaned its because they were messing up... In a skeet shoot either one.. Every day in the field my mossberg...

adam wrote:
September 14, 2012

Love my 870 express got it for 12th bday over 13 yrs and only one incidence mag tube cap and mag guts blew out when shell agent off in tube after tube was re threaded for cap still works amazing no damage to me or the gun. Gonna check out that stoeger for my first auto

Ian wrote:
September 13, 2012

Mossberg 500 is where it's at. Great gun! I also own a model 12 of course, the original. Can't go wrong with an 870 either, don't own one but I've shot them plenty of times. As for the rest on the list I can't say but it's a great article, I may look into one of these others mentioned just for fun... You can never have to many shotguns

Jeremyrose wrote:
July 22, 2012

Maybe you should learn to clean your gun better on the 870 you have to clean behind the extractor if you don't it won't catch well and also I have had more trouble especially duck hunting I think because of more moisture with the Remington shells over any other brand I think do to the ridges on Remington's shells.

BuddyinLouisiana wrote:
January 16, 2012

I thought the remington 870 would be the best choice at $299. not so. It will not eject the shells properly, no matter what I do. And don't think I'm an isolated case. google it. Going to buy a Benelli now. Should have done that in the first place

mikeintexas wrote:
December 27, 2011

I bought an 870 Wingmaster in the early 80's and it is still working fine. I bought the Stoeger 2000 in camo in 2005. I have put thousands of rounds through each and no trouble from either.

bryand wrote:
December 17, 2011

Hey you forgot the winchester SXP, I got one and love it, only wish I could get a rifled slug barrel for it

JIm M wrote:
November 27, 2011

Picked up a Stoeger 2000 a few years ago to use strictly for dog hunting deer, which puts heavy abuse on your gun. Not only does it get thrown in and out of the truck a hundred times a day, it gets thrown up on the dogbox, sometimes forgetting it and driving off, thereby throwing it off on the ground or into the mud. Now you see why I do not take any of my high priced "B" guns dog hunting. Well, the Stoeger 2000 has taken everything that has been thrown at it in stride. I call it my little Timex. "It takes a licking, and keeps on shooting".

kenneth Y wrote:
October 06, 2011

Thanks for the great articles. This is exactly what I was looking for. I want to get my first shotgun and in today's day and age it is definitely a plus to find an article concerned about quality as well as price! Perhaps some advice from Doug or anyone else? My local Gun store sells the 870 express. Is that drastically different from the 870 in your article? can get it for 259 with rebates. I like the Beneli mentioned (cant afford the SBE) but am torn you informed me the stoeger was an semi for basically the same price...Any thoughts guys?

John R. wrote:
July 30, 2011

I am on my 2nd 870. For the price and performance, you can't beat it.

Chuck K. wrote:
June 25, 2011

I owned a Mossberg 500A for almost 20 years ($200). Great gun - no issues. I then moved to an autoloader, a Traditions ALS2100 ($350). Again, no issues. I also now own a Remington 870 and Smith and Wesson Autoloader - both won at gun raffles, all $500 or less and all great guns.

Will wrote:
June 21, 2011

I have had my 870 for many years pumped alot of shells through it,takes a beating been worth every penny.

Glen wrote:
May 29, 2011

I purchased a Mossberg 500 Deer/Upland combo for my brother in 1992 for $199. He still has that same gun and has used it every deer and pheasant season since. I've never known a person to kill more pheasants, quail, partridge than him. I bought one for myself 7 years ago ($285) mainly for deer hunting and between my brother and I we have killed more deer than the other 7 guys in our camp combined. I'll match my Mossberg 500 up against any slug gun in the market. It defines true value for the money. I also bought a 935 for waterfowl. A few years ago it was the only gun in the blind that didn't misfire. The other 3 guns (2 Benelli's and a Beretta) all misfired at least twice. I'm a Mossberg guy for life.

Spirit of '76 wrote:
May 28, 2011

My 870 is the worst piece of crap l've ever owned. lt doesn't feed or eject, and the gunsmith said it'd cost more to fix than it's worth. Which ain't much. Oh, and the stock is loose. Except when it's raining and it swells up.

Sam wrote:
May 26, 2011

Bought my first 870 in 1954. I've tried other guns but keep going back to the 870, for everything, skeet, quail, turkey ducks, etc. I've owned at least 15 over the yrs. but I'm down to 5 now & own nothing but 870's.

Brent wrote:
May 23, 2011

I know my camo 535 was only $319 at dicks with a red dot and 2 barrels(waterfoul and cantilever turkey) last year. How can you beat that? It's very similar to the 500 but I can shoot 3.5" shells. For the price of that combo, I have nothing to complain about.

Ro wrote:
May 23, 2011

don't forget about weatherby's pa-08's. msrp synthetic $329, upland model $409!

Bo wrote:
April 19, 2011

The BPS is a better made gun than most of these, and on par with the 870. It should have not been omitted. I don't own one, but my buddies do, I'm impressed with it and I think it's a great shotgun. I own one 870, made while they were still under DuPont. The newer ones, particularly the Express, are cheaply made with plastic triggerguards and MIM parts. I'd rather pick an older used shotgun any day of the week over those noted in this article. Give me an old Ithaca M37, a used Model 12, or an older 870 any day. They will all last a few generations if cared for. I learned decades ago that if you buy a cheap gun, you get a cheap gun.

Danny Garrett wrote:
March 25, 2011

I am one of the 10m who bought the Remington 870. I purchased it back about 1968. I used if for deer, squriel, quail and rabbit. I could pump out buck shot as fast as any auto. Or just just one when it was only needed. I havent used it in years hoping to keep it for one of my son's. I am so glad I purchased this shotgun.

Doug wrote:
March 24, 2011

Thanks for the comments everyone. I just wanted to point out that this list is by no means exhaustive. More guns under $500: the Winchester Super X Pump Black Shadow Field, Stevens 350 Pump Field, and the Maverick 88 Field Model among others. And as JJ points out, while the BPS doesn't list price for under $500 (most inexpensive version is $590 on their website) no doubt you could find one retail right in that $500 mark.

Zack wrote:
March 23, 2011

I used my dads old 20 guage Remington 870 wingmaster then a couple years later I begged them to get me an 870 now I have a 12 guage Remington 870 Express and it is hands down my favorite shotgun

Zermoid wrote:
March 22, 2011

Only problem I've ever had with a Mossberg 500 is it's cheap plastic safety selector. Otherwise it's about as durable as a tank! Even if the plastic thingy breaks the selector can still be used with only the screw remaining, altho it is a bit hard on the thumb that way.

Chuck Stevens wrote:
March 22, 2011

I purchased my 870-TB in 1968 for $170.00 after around 25,000 rounds it still shoots trap very well. Very little signs of wear. Great gun!!!

JJ Pluta wrote:
March 21, 2011

How could you guys leave out the best lefty righty pump shotgun in existence? The Browning BPS and in a plain jane version can be had for less than $500.00

scott lizio wrote:
March 21, 2011

my dad was high over all 3rd in the world skeet shoot in 1972 he shot all gauges with remington 1100's i think they went for less than $200 then

Gregg Bates wrote:
March 21, 2011

Still shooting my remington 11-48 12 guage semi auto with 30" full choke barrel. 1950's vintage.

P.J. Perea wrote:
March 21, 2011

Thanks for the great information on quality affordable turkey guns.

Rok wrote:
March 21, 2011

Still using my Dad's 870 wingmaster from the late 50's

Don wrote:
March 21, 2011

I love my Mossberg

Errol wrote:
March 21, 2011

You just can't go wrong with a Mossberg 500! I've owned and used them for years.

D.J. wrote:
March 21, 2011


Eric Lahti wrote:
March 21, 2011

How about some double barrel models?

John wrote:
March 21, 2011

Nice to see some good stuff at reasonable prices.