I've had a number of then, 12ga and 20ga. Never had a problem with them in fact I personally like them better that the Rem 870 or even the old Win mod 12. Weather they will last as long, I couldn't say but a friend of mine is still using one he got in our Sr year of high school. That was 43 yrs ago.
To me they just feel good and don't cost to much so I don't worry about dinging them up. I don't have one any more, somewhere along the line I discovered SxS's and that's where I'm at now. By the way, I also always liked the way they looked.
My son has my 500 with cylinder bore barrel. Gave it to him 14 years ago and he hasn't used it either, but it worked flawlessly. A set of weaver bases still sit on it as I like the look of it with a scope on it. Mean Looking !!!
My dept just got rid of a load and replaced them with new 590's. Anyhow they were about 20 years old and got the living crap beat out of em for all those years. Still shot and functioned fine when we got rid of em.
Every once in a while something comes along and you don't have to worry about it not working. This is the 500. I was given around ten of em in Panama and they allways worked No matter how much they were bashed or used as pry bars to open doors. The wife got me one a couple years back and shooting bird shot (steel 9 7and 4) into paper the 500 was able to make nice patterns just like the exspensive shotguns that we were comparing. I bought some 3 inch slugs for the smoothbore and they grouped like a shotgun. But I had some 2 3/4 slugs and was able to keep them in a 6 inch plate at 100 yards!! So if you get one try those slower slugs it may impress you. Winchester brand yep the gray box at Walmart. There are only two things wrong with the 500. That stupid plastic safety which every Army private somehow seems to break. The other thing wrong with the 500 is it becomes very hard to justify buying another shotgun,,,,unless it is a 20 gauge for the wife or son.
The 500 can also be used for muzzle loading if you so desire another few days of deer hunting. It is a gun that can be thrown in the canoe and realy used for hunting but I probably will not hang mine on the wall.
With the Mossberg you don't need another gun. All you need is barrels. I found mine in my father-in-law's closet after he passed away. The barrel was rusted and looked terrible. The action looked like it was brand new. I checked around and just about any gun supply store sells barrels from $50 to $150, from 18 1/2" to 28" to muzzel loader or slug barrel. For less than $1000 you could have 5 or 6 different guns.Yes, the safety button is an issue but metal replacements are readily available for around $15 and 5 minutes of your time to replace it. I don't think you can find a better bargin than the 500.
A perk of majoring in wildlife biology in college is the plethora of hunting knowledge that you collect throughout your course load. One of the most important factors in whether an area can hold large quantities of animals or produce large antlers is forage.
Most universities, state schools and even community colleges offer basic botany courses and plant ID courses. Although it might not be feasable for the average middle age hunter to pay tuition and go back to college to learn hunting...