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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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