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The Mossberg 12-gauge Shotgun

Turkey season is coming soon in the Deep South, and hunters are gearing up by practicing turkey calls, working their squawk boxes, and making sure their shotguns are ready for the hunt. Whether you prefer the ambiance of the sound of a pump chambering one into the barrel, or the ease of a semi-auto, the Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun is an affordable choice for hunting and home protection.

Mossberg 500 Pump Shotguns

Mossberg makes a good shotgun that is mechanically sound. The less expensive models have a cheaper synthetic (or wood stock if you choose) and the metal parts look more sandblasted than polished, but that’s just window dressing. Because they don’t go the little bit extra in the looks department, the Mossberg is a more affordable weapon to the average person. However, you can up the polish and shine as much as you want and your pocketbook can afford.

The Mossberg was designed to function even when mistreated. The Mossberg military 500 and 590 model pump action shotguns passed all stringent U.S. Military MilSpec-3443 standards. While no one advocates mistreating a weapon, the fact of the matter is that things happen. It’s nice to know that there’s a gun out there that is affordable and will take abuse.

The Mossberg 500 is a little lighter weight than say its Remington or Browning counterparts, but that seems to be more a matter of preference than any black mark on performance. Just like there are diehard Chevy, Ford, and Dodge enthusiasts, weaponry attracts the same kind of loyalty. While I read in one review that the Mossberg wouldn’t hold up after 10,000 rounds put through it, I had to sit back and wonder who would put that many rounds through a weapon? Except for the military, skeet shooters, or competition shooters, I couldn’t think of anyone. I’ve had several of my Mossberg pumps for going on 30 years, and I haven’t had a jam in any one of them, or a broken part.

The interchangeable barrels make it easy to adapt the shotgun for whatever purpose you want. They also have barrels with interchangeable choke systems that are perfect for multipurpose use. Instead of changing out the barrels, you simply change out the choke. (The choke is located at the muzzle end of the barrel and the amount of constriction determines the width of the shot dispersion at a certain distance.) They offer a Field/Security combo that gives you a 28” ported vent rib barrel along with an 18.5” barrel for home defense purposes.

The receiver on the Mossberg is aluminum and subject to scratching. However, I’ve got three different ones and since I don’t use them to stretch barbed wire fencing, I don’t have much trouble with scratching them up. It does have a plastic cover on the safety slide, but if the thing breaks you can still push the safety off and on with the screw until you can replace the plastic cover.

All in all, in terms of affordability and reliability, the Mossberg 500 pump action is an excellent choice in an affordable home defense/hunting weapon.

The Mossberg 930 Semi-Auto

Shooting Illustrated magazine called the Mossberg 930 the “2009 Shotgun of the Year.” It received the NRA Golden Bullseye Award in 2009 as well. In addition to being a rugged and simple gun, its reliability and affordability were also factors in the awards it won.

All 930s are capable of accepting either 2 ¾” shells or 3” shells, including magnum loads. They also feature the inclusion of specially designed spacers so that you can adjust the vertical and horizontal angle of the stock to make a better custom-fit feel of the gun. The safety is mounted on the receiver (just like with the pump shotgun) so that it’s accessible to either left- or right-handed shooters.

The 930 Special Purpose Combo combines the beauty of a 3” shotgun with a 28” ported, vent-rib barrel along with a second 18.5” home security barrel that you can interchange. This offers you long-range hunting capabilities with short-range home defense needs. Many folks feel the recoil on the 930 is much less than the 500. The tube capacity on these is 5 shells.

Again, because of the large sales volume that Mossberg has, accessories for the gun are available anywhere. If you’re wondering what other folks are saying about their Mossberg shotguns, has a whole forum dedicated to Mossberg gun owners. You can find them here at

To view the different specifications on the Mossberg shotguns, go to Mossberg’s website at and click on the “Firearms” drop-down menu.

Below are a few of the specs on the combos that Mossberg offers for their 500 pump and 930 semi-auto models.

Mossberg 500 Pump Action Field/Security Comb

500 Pump Combo 12 gauge Accu-Set Ported 28” VR Blue Wood 7.5 lbs
(2nd Barrel) Cylinder Bore Security 18.5” Blue With Pistol Grip 7.5 lbs

Mossberg 930 Special Semi-Auto Combo

930 Special Combo 12 gauge 3” chamber Ported 28” VR Blue Synthetic Stock 7.5 lbs
(2nd Barrel) Cylinder Bore Security 18.5” Blue 7.75 lbs

Watch for future articles where we will be featuring reviews on other 12-gauge shotguns from different manufacturers such as Remington and Browning.

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  1. Charles Cameron

    Great job hold to your standards

  2. I have to agree completely with the author. I have had several of the 500’s over the years and have one now. The amount of aftermarket

  3. For pricing you can check on GunBroker dot com.
    Nothing against Mossberg, but I’ve been using a Remington 870 3″ pump for 14 years for
    goose hunting, laying out in the decoys in the dirt & snow & hay stubble. Not a single
    problem, but then I’m nowhere near 10,000 shells!!
    My buddy has a Rem. 870 3&1/2″ and it has problems ejecting the larger magnum shells.

  4. ..My preference at home is a .410 with an 18″ and a 24″ barrel…..

  5. As a retired law enforcement officer of 25 yrs. & having the same Mod. 500 for 20 of those 25 yrs. I can attest to Mossberg’s reliability & endurance. When I retired I was able to keep my duty weapon & Mossberg 500 (12 Ga.). Its been 4 yrs. since retirement & I’m still shooting that same old Mossberg 500.
    I use two different barrels. One is rifled & the other smooth bore. Both have a full choke. I also utilize another barrel that is 14″ w/a, what is refered to as a `reverse choke`. It has a little more bite to it than the others but, is dead accurate at 50 yrds. w/a 1 1/4 oz Remington slug. In the rifled barrel, I use only SST slugs. At 125 yrds., it will keep a 2″ groupe. Home defense `don’t ya know! I’ve got a big yard ha-ha
    Semper Fi

    • BobbyC, I’d find it very difficult to believe your Rifled Barrel has a Full Choke… If it’s a Rifled Barrel, it’s made to shoot Slugs out of for Deer hunting. A Rifled Barrel has NO choke constriction at all. Only the Smoothbore Barrell has a Choke constriction. And if you want to get the most from that gun, toss the Full Choke Barrel into the trash and buy a Barrell that has replaceable Choke Tubes. Then you can put in whatever Choke you want. A Cylinder Choke has NO Choke constrition at all, Improved Cylinder for shooting Quail or Dove. Improved Modifed (right between Improved Cylinder & Modified) for shooting Steel Shot at Decoying Mallards or LARGE Steel Shot at Geese. Modified for Heavy Lead Loads at Pheasant. and Full for Turkey Hunting. But my Benelli shoots the tightes patterns with an Extra-Full Tube and Winchester Supreme 3-1/2″ #6 Turkey Loads. Bad Medicine for a Gobbler out to Forty Yards.

      • But I DO thank you for your Service in the Marines and protecting the general public as a Law Inforcement Officer.
        Seriously, I do…

  6. In reference to Dans-in decoys: I used a Rem. 870 in Vietnam extensively. I was in a Combined Action Company with 2nd. Batt. 3rd Mar. Div. FMF. I made it through 4 operations, several Search & Destroy movements?? in 1965-66. “I never had problem #1 with it. However, some of the ammo was questionable.
    But I must say though. I likes my Mossberg with its, side saddle, folding stock (to the left side).
    Semper Fi

  7. One more thing, then I’m outta here. The humane body knows no difference between a 2 3/4″ slug or a 3″ mag. For defense I strongly suggest the 2 3/4″ shell whether, slug or OO – OOO Buck. Your body will thank you.
    Semper Fi

  8. M-79, 40 MM Grenade Launcher, M-60 machine gun, Colt 6920 AR, Mossberg 12ga. pump…..these are things big boys are made of…

  9. Thank you for the Mossberg 12ga. pump info, I do love my Mossberg 500, 18.5 and like the fact that it is so problem free..

  10. When I was 13 my dad gave me a Mossberg with a 28″ barrel and an adjustable choke. I am now 40 and this gun works as good as it did when it was new. The only mod we ever made was to put a stock cushion on it as we were using goose loads and it was leaving marks.

    I would not trade this gun for anything, and since I have been shooting it for so long, I hit everything. I would put this gun up against any 12 gauge, especially in my hands.


  11. It doesn’t look like this thread has seen any action lately, but just in case… I was looking at and considering the Mossberg 500 field & security combo on sale at Big 5 for less than $300. I have never owned a shotgun and I’ve only shot a couple over the years. The Mossberg seems like a real bargain, but I do not like the feel of the forend. The forend flexes/twists far more than the Remington 870. It feels sloppy and it does not inspire confidence in the long-term reliability department. At this point I have seen plenty of posts by people swearing by their 500. The problem is, the majority of those posters seem to be in love with their 10, 15, 25 year old 500 that is still going strong. I haven’t seen many posts by people in love with their 1, 2, 3 year old Mossberg 500s. Just because they made them great in decades past does not mean they haven’t cut corners in recent years. Can somebody speak to this concern that I have? I did see one youtube video of a guy with a recently produced 500 and he had upgraded damn near everything on it. He said the pins holding the original stock forend on had just fallen out after a little while and were lost in the weeds never to be seen again.

  12. I have heard that the FBI has received sevrael R and R Targets tricked out models. In addition sevrael rural cops I shoot 3Gun with have the option of carrying personal weapons. They keep a Saiga in the trunk because they use it so much in competition. I have NOT heard if they have ever been used socially however.I too am a happy pump gun guy and shoot all of my 3Gun matches with either a Remmy 870 or Mossy 590. My duty SG is a Remington 870 Police Magnum.

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