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Best All-Around Survival Shotgun In The World?

shotgun mossberg 410

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Without a doubt the Mossberg 500 is one of the most popular shotguns in the United States. It’s one of the two big boys in the industry. The Remington 870 is the only shotgun that comes close to the Mossberg in popularity. The Mossberg serves police, the military, hunters and of course people who need a reliable weapon for self-defense.

The shotgun has always been a go-to weapon for home defense, powerful and reliable, easy to handle and devastating at close range. Since pump shotguns like the Mossberg 500 are manually operated weapons, their chance of malfunction are slim. They are also much easier to shoot accurately than a pistol. They are also affordable; a name-brand shotgun like the Mossberg 500 is about half the price of a quality pistol.

So we all know the 12 gauge is powerful and has been the go-to standard for the fighting shotgun. The 12 gauge has such a reputation that anything smaller is almost ignored in a defensive shotgun. The 12 gauge is great for fighting, but it’s not perfect for everyone. It suffers from a few disadvantages. For instance, recoil. Trying to rapidly fire, pump and acquire a target with a 12 gauge takes both training and practice.

Calibers like the .410 and 20 gauge are suitable for self-defense believe it or not, especially in the short range of most homes.

This article leans to the Mossberg 410 HS (aka the Home Security).

The .410 as a round has undergone quite the revolution. We can’t ignore the fact the incredibly popular Taurus Judge has brought new interest to the .410 round and a slew of affordable and modern defensive loads. Prior to the popularity of the Judge the .410 was pretty much limited to bird and buckshot, which was more expensive than regular old 12 gauge. These days plenty of companies are producing new and powerful rounds for the .410.

I first saw this shotgun way back when I was a kid, at a gun show, and it caught my eye because of its unique appearance.

The Mossberg .410 is built on the 500E series of shotguns, and packs a few unique features in a lightweight package. When I say lightweight I mean 5.5 pounds, making this a comfortable and easy to manipulate package.

The barrel is 18.5 inches, just toeing the limit of a non-NFA shotgun. Again, the short barrel makes it very maneuverable in close quarters. At the end of the barrel an unusual muzzle brake is what Mossberg calls a spreader choke. The term “choke” may be a little misleading since it does the opposite of choke anything. The point of this choke is to give the same performance you would get from a short-barreled shotgun with a barrel around 14 inches.

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The design of this weapon was built to be comfortable and maneuverable. Mossberg really went out of their way to design a shotgun perfect for close quarters use. Oh, did I the mention the stock pistol grip pump? I’m a big fan of forend pistol grips on rifles, but this was the first time I used one on a shotgun. It looks odd with the classic style stock and fore grip, but it is very comfortable to use. The pistol grip gives it a very firm grip, and also makes it very easy to control. Short stroking is nearly impossible with the dedicated forend grip.

The spread is quite impressive and very effective on man-sized targets with number four buckshot and double and triple ought buck. Also, the Winchester .410 PDX gives decent results with a mix of the three plates and the birdshot behind it; the Judge’s shallow rifling does seem to make the plates more accurate, though.

Now the combination of the .410 round and the spreader choke gives you a safety advantage. Twelve gauge buckshot that clings together is more likely to penetrate walls and carries a greater risk of hitting an innocent person. The .410 is a weaker round, and less likely to over penetrate, and after penetrating walls it rapidly loses velocity, making it less lethal and less likely to cause death or grievous harm. Throw in the spreader choke and it’s even less likely to over penetrate and cause harm.

Firing the weapon is very easy to do; the recoil and muzzle rise is absolutely nonexistent and rapid shots are a breeze. Engaging multiple targets is simple for my 6-foot-4 frame and my wife’s petite 5-foot-8 frame. She shudders, flinches, and closes her eyes when firing a 12 gauge but is incredibly confident with the Home Security model.

That’s where this shotgun has found its niche: smaller-framed individuals who aren’t confident with a larger caliber shotgun.

I actually took a few friends rabbit hunting shortly after buying the shotgun and took it out for a spin. The sun started to go down and we started to head in after bagging half a dozen between the three of us when two plump rabbits took off in front of us. The sun was low, and the thicket we pursued them through made our poor light situation worse.

So a flashlight in one hand and the HS in the other, we followed them. I took the first shot I had, and it was a one handed shot. Even one handed I scored a headshot, and a plump rabbit. Controlling this shotgun is a breeze.

Now besides shooting rabbits, I took it out to the dried lake I shoot in and tested some different loads. I stood 15 yards from the target, which would be pretty long in a home defense scenario. First off was some slugs, I didn’t have any superbly powerful slugs, so these were standard Winchester ¼ slugs. At 15 yards the slugs all grouped in the 10 ring. There are definitely some more powerful slugs out there, I wouldn’t advise cheap ¼ ounce slugs for self-defense.

Next was Federal Number 4, which at 15 yards covered the target from side to side. It’s doubtful this would be lethal, but it would hurt real bad. It’s also pretty hard to miss with number four. Number four could be the first round used for home defense, followed by a more lethal load.

Next was good old buckshot, a three inch load contained five pellets and the two and a half inch contained three. The 2 ½ inch had hardly any recoil, and the 3 inch had a little more, but not much. The pellets spread out to about the size of a fist with Winchester brand buck shot. I used these for some two target drills, and transitions from target to target were swift and easy. This shotgun felt very much like a point and click affair.

I’ll admit reloads are a little trickier than with the big 12 gauge rounds. It’s a training issue one has to get past if they’re used to the gripping surface a 12 gauge round gives you. Using a bandolier it’s pretty easy to grab multiple rounds when trying to pull a single one out.

For fun this gun is awesome to fire from the hip. The front pistol grip gave me a Tommy gun feeling. Shooting some number 7 1/2 in the berm as fast as I could brought a smile to my face.

The last round I tested was the Winchester PDX round. The round is three copper coated plates with 12 bbs behind it. At 15 yards the three plates spread slightly, but were close enough to all be touching. The 12 BBS were a different story. They went everywhere, six or so followed the disk and patterned around the main hole, four went high, and I couldn’t find the other two so they either missed the entire target or went through the main hole the disks created.

PDX round after PDX round created the same groups with the disk but the bbs seem to pattern randomly everywhere. First off anything that comes from the barrel of a gun is dangerous, but are the bbs lethal by themselves? Could they penetrate drywall? I doubt it, but they still pose a risk of an uncontrolled projectile. It’s a question you’ll have to ask yourself if it will be an issue in your home.

Outside of a home defense weapon it can be packed away as a trunk gun, it’s a good compromise in power and handiness. It’s small, lightweight and pretty versatile. It can be used to hunt small to medium game, as well as being a potent defensive tool. It will stay in my trunk until it warms up and hunting season ends and I can no longer bag a few rabbits along the dirt road I live on.

The Mossberg HS 410 may not be the most potent caliber for shotguns, but it’s quite effective. If you can handle a 12 gauge or even a 20 gauge, then I’ll always suggest taking a larger weapon, but if not the HS is a great shotgun, at a great price, and it’s made in America.

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  1. I have used Mossberg shotguns for over 50 years my first was a bolt action 12 gauge about 40 years ago I purchased a 500 pump and still have it today, I have harvested many game animals with it, since purchasing the semi auto 12 gauge Mossberg I have retired the 500 to home defense with a 18 inch barrel and pistol grip, I highly recommend Mossberg to all looking for a well rounded hunting or home defense weapon

  2. I have 2 twenty gauge mossbergs, one with a pistol grip and 18 inch barrel the other with a full synthetic stock 19″ barrel and a light attached to the left side of the pump action. A nice night time House gun. I shoot 20 ga. 23/4 in. # 3 buck. I don’t think a bad guy at 10 or 12 feet would not know the difference between a 12 and a 20 ga.

  3. Choate used to make a nice top folding metal stock. Best of both worlds. Short when it needs to be, and more accurate when extended. Combined with an 18 or 20″ barrel it makes a nice set up.

  4. I like the fore grip that has a light built into it. It has a trigger like a pistol that you pull to turn on the light. My tricked out home defense weapon is a Rem 870 12 gauge magnum with the fore grip light, laser, 18″ barrel, mag extension, pistol grip, single point sling, and that orange follower thing that pushes the shells (whatchacallit). You shoot it from the hip and it feels like catching a basketball. Both hands absorb the recoil without pain. Now I gotta practice saying “Get off my yard.” like Clint does in that movie, “Malibu Gran Prix”.

  5. I hope everyone who owns a Mossberg HS410 is having better luck than I seem to have.
    Having double feed issues. Contact Mossberg and they seem to be aware of the problem.
    Mossberg sends me the parts to repair the firearm. When received, I discover the parts are wrong and do not fit. Contact Mossberg again and they informed I must send the firearm in for repair.

    I send in the firearm for repair, and 3 days later the correct parts arrive! now I don’t have the gun.
    Mossberg has the firearm for two weeks and replaces the Bolt, Elevator arm, Cartridge stop, interrupter arm and ships back to me.

    Test loading and extraction of shot shells reveals only a slight improvement, but still a double feed rate of almost 40 percent, and now it also just “SPITS OUT” up to 3ea shells from the magazine intermittently.
    I have tried several different types of ammo with the same results.

    If I am depending on this firearm to protect myself in a home defense situation, I am a dead man.
    Customer service has been good so far, but quality control seems to be “OUT TO LUNCH”.

    I contacted Mossberg again to see what my options are at the moment, and await a reply.
    I have requested either a replacement HS410 of a refund for this firearm. This is my first Mossberg purchase and considering Mossberg’s reputation for quality I am somewhat disappointed so far.
    How this matter is resolved will determine if there will be any more Mossberg product in my gun safe in the future. I will keep everyone posted on the outcome.

  6. I disagree with this article on one issue. The 410 has the capability to penetrate just as far or further than a 12 guage. I have hunted extensively with both and my 410 will shoot further than any 12 guage I have ever shot. The difference in the two guages has much more to do with the capacity of the round. 12 guage is pushing alot more lead and alot of times slower in the same lengh shell.

    • In fact most loads in both 12 and 410 are mostly eqaul in speed penetration and lethality. Where The 410 fall a Little short os terminal energy due to The lighter payload. A 000 buckshot fromba 12,will penetrar same as a 410. Sometimes even less. Solid slugs like brennekes are other story. The bigger one will surely plow a lot more than the puny 115gr loads, which in turn have the ability to penetrate some decent 12″ to 18″ of gel if it’s a brenneke.

  7. Follow up with Mossberg HS410 double feed issues:

    I have made repeated attempts to contact Mossberg, as the double feed issues with my HS410 continue.
    I have sent several e-mail and made countless phone calls to Mossberg. I have not received any e-mail replies, no callbacks, and have not been able to speak to a live person to address these issues.
    Apparently Mossberg’s option for me is to: JUST DEAL WITH IT. Like quality control, customer service is also “OUT TO LUNCH” and does not want to deal with these issues, or me.

    I was sent another set of replacement parts (3rd) with “postage due”. Installed the parts and the same double feed issues continue. I have been “tweaking” this last set of replacement parts with a set of pliers, attempting to get them bent into a shape to where they will function properly.

    I am glad to say that I finally got this HS410 shotgun to be reliable enough to trust it for home defense after 300 rounds and weeks of test loading, extracting, and shooting.
    It may be reliable NOW, However I just do not have a lot of “FAITH” in this firearm. or Mossberg itself.
    I can guarantee that after this first time buying experience with Mossberg, that there will never be another Mossberg product in my firearm safe.

    The principal of this firearm is great. A low recoil shotgun designed specifically for home defense that almost anybody can use if needed.
    I still prefer a 12 or even a 20 gauge, but not everyone in my house can shoot them.
    Mossberg seems to sell a lot of these HS410’s. mostly to first time Mossberg customers I assume.

    I would like to see Remington, Browning, Winchester or some other manufactures release a rig like this one in 410 bore. I am sure the quality would be better, and they would probably sell a lot of them.

  8. Is this good for defence again bears doing to the [email protected] which bullet I can use

  9. I recently bought the Mossberg Tactical .410. I went to the range and had a problem with the ejector not ejecting the spent shell from the chamber. The shell didnt eject the shell three times. I couldn’t remove the last stucked shell. Has anyone else had the same problem?

  10. Mossberg 410 sucks

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