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Mossberg Maverick 88 vs. 500 | Detailed Comparison

When comparing popular firearm models, it can be difficult to sift through all the opinions out there. One person says one thing, while another seems to completely contradict the other. Therefore, I have written this article to cut through the noise and focus on the important question. Who is each gun best for? But first, lets establish the most basic differences.

The price is the most significant difference between the Mossberg Maverick 88 and the 500. However, the Mossberg 88 has a shorter barrel than the 500 and is far less customizable, while the 500 has more features and stock options. 

So, let’s look at all of the subtle differences between these shotguns. I’ll walk you through the details and compare the Maverick 88 and 500 and help you determine which one might be better for you.

What’s the Price Difference Between Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500?

The price difference between the Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500 is typically about $180. The Maverick 88 is less expensive because it doesn’t have some features that make the 500 expensive. That includes things like a vent rib and different stock options.

The Mossberg 88 retails for around $190, while the 500 retails for about $350. This significant price difference may be a deciding factor for some people, as the 88 is significantly cheaper.

With the 88, you get lower-quality materials, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad purchase. It only means you will not get some of the more admirable features. The barrel, for example, does not come with a heat shield like in the 500. However, you can find this accessory and fit it as a DIY project in minutes!

You also get a cross-bolt safety on top of the half-cock protection on the 88, a design that most people don’t like. They say it can be an inconvenience, especially when hunting.

The 500, on the other hand, ships with a standard threaded cap so you can attach your accessories. It is also made of slightly better materials than the 88 to make it more appealing to the high-end client. So, is the Mossberg 500 worth the extra money?

In most cases, yes. You are getting a better-quality gun with more features. However, if you are on a tight budget, the Maverick 88 may be a good option. I provided links below to each model on so that you can compare prices for yourself.

Related Pump Action vs Semi Auto Shotgun for Hunting | Pros and Cons.

What Are the Similarities Between Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500?

The Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500 have similar safety features, action, cylinder bores, and cross-bolt safety. These similarities mean that both shotguns are equally safe and fire similar ammunition. 

So, let’s look at the things that these two fantastic Mossbergs have in common in deeper detail: 

  • Safety. The Maverick 88 and the 500 have a manual safety that you can engage when the gun isn’t loaded. Safety is an invaluable feature to have if you have small children in the house or are worried about accidental discharge.
  • Action. Both guns are pump-action, meaning that you have to chamber a round before you can shoot. The pump-action is another safety feature that makes it difficult for children to fire a gun without your permission.
  • Cylinder bore. That means that both guns shoot a wide range of ammunition. So you don’t have to worry about buying a specific round for your rifle. 
  • Capacity. The Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500 both have a capacity of five rounds in the tube magazine and one in the chamber.
  • Polymer trigger. The 88 and 500 come with a standard polymer trigger group notorious for snapping. If this happens, the weapon becomes completely useless. So, be aware of this before making your decision.

What Are the Differences Between Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500?

While these shotguns are similar, a few key differences could make or break your decision on which one to buy.

The differences between the Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500 are that the 88 has a shorter barrel length and a lower quality trigger group. In addition, the 500 comes with a vent rib and some additional stock options for a more customized shotgun. 

So, here are the key differences between these guns:

  • Barrel Length. The Maverick 88 has a shorter barrel length than the 500. That makes it slightly easier to maneuver in tight spaces. However, that also takes away from the overall range you can shoot. That’s because the round does not burn as well as it would on a longer barrel.
  • Trigger group. The 500 has a better trigger group than the 88. The 88 has a pistol grip form, while the 500 has a standard trigger group. It is easier to pull the 500’s trigger, and it won’t break as easily. This trigger isn’t a make-or-break feature for most people, but it is something to consider if you’re looking for the best possible shot.
  • Vent Rib on the 500. Only the 500 has a vent rib, which means it has tiny holes along the top of the barrel to help dissipate heat, keeping your barrel from overheating. These vents are a handy feature if you shoot for an extended period.
  • Stock options. The 500 has a few stock options that the 88 doesn’t have. That includes a pistol grip and a thumbhole stock. These might be helpful if you are looking for a specific feel or want to add accessories to your gun.
  • Top-Mounted vs. Cross-Bolt Safety. The 500 also comes with a top-mounted safety instead of a cross-bolt safety. This difference is negligible, but it is something to consider when deciding. Some people like the top-mounted safety because it is easier to use, while others prefer the cross-bolt safety.
  • Scope Mount. The Mossberg 500 comes with a pre-threaded scope mount, while the 88 does not. 
  • Customizability. The 500 is a clear winner when it comes to customizability. There are various barrels, stocks, and accessories that you can buy to make this shotgun your own. The 88, on the other hand, does not offer as much customizability. You can purchase different barrels, stocks, and triggers, but that’s about it.

Related The 5 Best Scopes for a Mossberg 500

Which Shotgun Is Right for You?

The Mossberg Maverick 88 and 500 are both very capable shotguns. But they are not suitable for everyone.

If you are looking for a gun that you can use for home defense and take out to the range, then the Maverick 88 might be right for you. It is less expensive and has most of the same features. However, if you are looking for a gun that you can use for hunting, the 500 is a better option. 

The 500 has a longer barrel, which means that you can shoot your game further away, and it has a few stock options that the 88 doesn’t have. These differences can make a significant difference if you are out on the hunt, but they aren’t necessary for range-shooting.

The Mossberg Maverick 88 is a great option for home defense

Related 6 Best Shotguns for Beginners

Can You Swap the Barrel on the Mossberg 88 with a 500 Barrel?

You can swap the barrels on the Mossberg 88 and 500, but doing so is never recommended. The 88 barrel won’t fit properly on the 500 rifles.

So, if you are thinking about swapping the barrels on your shotgun, make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. You might be able to find a better use for the extra barrel than just putting it on your 88.

Still, we have seen people do it, and you can do it too if you are careful. But it is not an easy process, and you might damage your gun while doing it. So be sure to do your research before you try it.

Will a Mossberg 500 Grip Fit on Your 88?

Mossberg 500 Turkey in Camo
The Mossberg 500 is an amazing weapon, but a bit pricy

A Mossberg 500 grip will not fit on your 88. The Maverick 88 uses a smaller receiver than the 500, which means the grip won’t work correctly. So, if you are looking for a new grip for your gun, make sure that you are getting one made specifically for the 88. 

Mossberg 88 vs. 500: Which Gun Is More Popular?

The Mossberg Maverick 88 is more popular than the 500. That is likely because it is less expensive and shares some features with the 500. People use it for various purposes, including home defense and hunting.

It is also not unusual to see people who own both the 88 and 500. They offer different features that might be useful to you, depending on how you use the gun. So if you are undecided on which one to buy, it might be a good idea to try out both firearms.

When Should You Choose Mossberg Maverick 88 vs. 500?

You can use the 88 and 500 for a variety of different purposes. They are both great for hunting, home defense, and target shooting, but they each have strong and weak points for possible applications. 

You should choose Mossberg 88 when you want a reliable shotgun for home defense or target shooting. On the other hand, the 500 is better for clay target shooting and hunting. 

The 500 is better for clay shooting because of its recoil pad and overall design. The 88 is not as comfortable to shoot, so it is not as ideal for clay shooting.

The 500 is also better for hunting because it is easier to use. It also has a pistol grip form that makes it comfortable to hold for long periods.

It can also take on being bumped, dropped, and beaten up, making it an excellent tool for the working man.

People also use the 88 for home defense because it’s affordable and more reliable than most options. It is also powerful and can take down coyotes with one shot. We are talking about a shotgun that can do some severe damage!

In the end, both guns are good options for different purposes. It just depends on what you are looking for in a shotgun. So, decide what is important to you and choose based on that.

I recommend buying firearms, ammo, and accessories at a reputable online dealer, like my top pick, Palmetto State Armory. They are well-respected in the community and provide a 100% lifetime warranty on every weapon they sell. Just click here to see their latest inventory.

Related The 9 Best Shotguns for SHTF

The Verdict

The Mossberg 500 is more expensive than the 88 and is popular with hunters. It has a longer barrel and a few different stock options that the 88 doesn’t have.

The 88, on the other hand, is more of a range rifle that can also double as a home defense gun. If I were to choose a shotgun for a day at the range or hunting, I would choose the 500. If I were choosing one for home defense or general target shooting, the 88 would be my choice.

For more, don’t miss Pump Action vs Semi-Auto Shotgun for Hunting | Pros and Cons.