October 2011

Corrosion-Resistant Shotguns: Mossberg Duels Remington

The Mossberg Model 500 Mariner is a stainless-and-aluminum pumpgun that has a special purpose — resisting poor or no maintenance. The nickel-plated Remington 870 jumps in, too.

Most self-defense shotguns have a few traits in common—short and maneuverable, high capacity, and simple to operate. In the dead of the night, or, increasingly, in the middle of the afternoon, you need to be able to pick up your shotgun, make it hot, and get to the spot in your house or property where you and several of your friends named Buck will treat intruders pretty ugly.

At Gun Tests, we have reviewed dozens of guns made for such unpleasantness, and our staff shooters have liked many of them, as a poke through the online archives at www.Gun-Tests.com or www.GunReports.com will show. One of the assumptions that we made in those reviews is that the guns are well maintained, which for blued steel means enough attention and love to keep them from corroding closed. But for tens of millions of Americans who live on or near coastal areas with salt air or inland on rivers or lakes with attendant high humidity, blued steel might not be the right choice. Something more inert might be better.

Toward that end, we recently acquired two shotguns made of stainless steel, nickel, polymer, and aluminum that promised, and delivered, much of what we want in a self-defense shotgun plus low, low maintenance. One was Mossberg’s Special Purpose Model 500 Mariner 50273 3-Inch 12 Gauge, $571, a six-shot Marinecote-finished pumpgun with stainless barrel and aluminum receiver. We paired it against the Remington Model 870 Special Purpose Express Marine Magnum No. 25012 3-inch 12 Gauge, $772, a handsome shotgun crafted from a steel billet and all its metal parts are nickel coated, including the inside of the barrel and the receiver. There is no toehold for corrosion on this shotgun.

We gave our testers the charge of deciding which gun we’d stow in the cabin of a Hunter 50CC for an extended trip asea, or along for the ride in a bateau headed out to a fishing cabin, or tucked in the corner of the bedroom as a life insurance policy.

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