@phsycle , I had a Stoeger 12ga o/u and shot some skeet with it. I always liked how it handled but sold it a few years later as my shooting interested changed. I never had an issues with it but didn't put enough shells through it to comment on reliability.
I should also mention though that I prefer the Mossberg 500 to the Rem 870. So we may have different tastes.
I would take a look at the CZ Bobwhite (double-triggers, English stock) and the CZ Sharp-tail (single trigger, pistol grip stock) if looking for a good quality but affordable side-by-side. You're not going to impress anyone who sips Earl Grey while wearing a full tweed hunting outfit, but I don't think you'll be disappointed if you're wanting a good field gun.
The Bobwhite is the more affordable of the two and the only one I can speak about firsthand. The latest model is called the Bobwhite G2 which is more CNC'ed for reliability but with less bling. I own a Bobwhite (12GA) and a Bobwhite G2 (20GA) and I have to say the first generation is just a nicer looking gun (had a color-case hardened receiver, etc) -- the G2 is rather plain but functional. However, they're both good shotguns and have been reliable for me (used mainly for dove and quail). Come in a plastic case to hold the broken down components along with 5 factory screw-in chokes (Beretta/Benelli compatible). Both have chrome-moly barrels (safe to use steel shot, won't rust, but love collecting fingerprints). My only complaint with the CZs would be that the triggers are heavy from the factory.