Sunday, March 17, 2013

Solar Cooking, Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500 and Other Stuff

Getting used to cooking on the Sun Oven is definitely a priority of mine. The weather here is very cooperative and not a lot was going on earlier today so I gave it another go. Cooked up some pinto beans with the usual spices and a bit of bacon. Used canned beans and normal bacon but you could easily do the same thing with canned dried pinto beans and canned bacon. Got the Sun Oven set up and it started heating up like crazy. In a couple minutes it was over 200 and in 20 minutes or so it was over 300. In 2 hours I figured the beans were probably done. They turned out really good.

The sun oven cooks sort of like a combination of a normal oven and a crock pot. The time is a bit closer to an oven because the temp is higher bit it retains moisture like a crock pot. The combination is pretty awesome actually. Getting it positioned so the sun is hitting as much of the inside as possible and slightly ahead of the sun (so it's going to be in the sun for awhile) takes a little bit of practice. Checking it every 30 minutes or so and adjusting about every other time seems to do the trick. I have heard of folks setting up an oven aimed to catch the mid day- afternoon heat then leaving for work to come home to a hot dinner. That seems like a pretty cool thing to be able to do. I am going to work on doing that  over the coming weeks. Cooking for free and building skills is pretty cool.

As we have been asking shotgun related questions and specifically talking Project 870 the other logical option the Mossberg 500 series has come up. Folks have mentioned them and it's time to discuss the Mossberg as well as some compare and contrast between the two. (Note I'm not going to talk the Mossberg 590 separately. They are really more of a nicer M500 variant than a new gun IMO. A fine gun but if we talked every variant of both guns this would be a 10k word post.)

Bottom line up front: Both are good guns so get whichever you prefer.

Remington 870 Positives:
-Probably the most common pump shotgun in circulation. Basically the same gun has been made since the 1950's. 
-Pretty much the standard shotgun for police and firearms professionals. This might be a marketing/ sales success thing, I don't know. In any case when the vast majority of serious users choose one option it is  worth paying attention to.
-Very adaptable with all manner of parts options including those by duty grade type makers.
-Excellent fit and smooth action.

Remington 870 Downsides:
Controls in less than ideal locations.
On the basic Express Model some issues can come up with the finish. (I will talk 870 variants another time)

Mossberg 500 Positves:
-Excellent controls with the safety and pump release (probablyy not the right technical term) in the right locations.
-Excellent value. Typically a Mossberg 500 will be $50-75 cheaper than a comparably set up Remington 870.

Mossberg 500 Downsides:
-Rougher fitting of parts.
-Limited availability of duty grade type accessories. Lots of folks make junk that can be bolted onto the Mossberg 500. Good stuff is harder to get than for an 870.

Conclusion: It is worth mentioning I did not discuss reliability or durability intentionally. That is because both of these guns are about as reliable and bomb proof as a gun can get. The damn things just last forever and don't break. They both have positives and negatives so folks have to think about what matters the most to them. Right now we only own the 870 series but that is more about parts/ accessories commonality than anything else. If a good deal on a Mossberg 500 came up I would snap it up. Hopefully this gives you some insight into how I look at these two shotguns. At the end of the day I believe either gun will serve you well.


Aesop said...

Along with 870s, I have a 590 (which is to the Mossberg 500 series what an H1 Hummer is to the HMMWV - damned near identical.)
It has only two advantages on an 870:
*the safety is where Remington should have put it.
*it has a heat shield and a bayonet lug mount, because Marine Corps and John Wayne.

Disadvantages compared to an 870:
*it rattles because the action bars fit sloppy. That may be a plus if you're in a muddy trench in WWI, but I'm not, so it pisses me off.

*that nifty-located safety is made of effing plastic. Yes, let's put a moving part on an exposed outside location, and make it out of the least durable material we can find other than glass or tissue paper, and issue it to troops with GEDs. Because we made our bid, and saved half an ounce of weight and $3 in production costs (which worked out so well on the Challenger space shuttle, too).
*as you noted, the number of good aftermarket parts are pretty slim. It sucks to be the DVD in a Blue Ray world.

As far as how well they perform, there isn't any difference between them worthy of comment, except to people who like to argue 1911 vs. Glock, or AR vs. AK, and get paid by the word.

With my vintage rarely-issued 12"-blade M-7 bayonet, that 590 looks all Go-To-War tacticool for the next Rodney King-style shindig here in Califrutopia, just like it did for the first go-around.

But at this point, only after a gaggle of 870s are broken.

Chris said...

I think the ambi tang-mounted safety on the 500/590 is a big deal but I also shoot long guns left handed.

Max said...

Sun Oven cooking means I have to check the oven every 20 minutes and keep it high enough so the dogs don't mess with it.
If I don't check on it so often the Colorado sun makes a mess out of things.

Ryan said...

Max, I have been able to get away with 30 pretty easily you do generally need to be around though.

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