Which Mossberg is Right for Me? - An Overview of Mossberg Shotguns.
Mossberg is one of the most influential names in the shooting world. It is easy to understand why the company has a loyal and enthusiastic fan base. Known for lightweight durability, Mossberg shotguns can handle some of the toughest shooting conditions known to man. They’ve been dragged through swampy wetlands, stuffed in police cruisers, and used to breach doors in Middle East war zones.
However, you shouldn’t pick a weapon based on reputation alone. Let’s take a closer look at the Mossberg line-up, so we can better understand what makes these shotguns truly special.
Mossberg produces nearly 100 different shotgun variations. Space here is limited, so we’re going to focus on the company’s best-sellers.
The Mossberg 500 is one of the best-selling shotguns in the world. With a classic pump action, the 500 was designed to compete with the Remington 870 and it does a darned good job. These two models regularly duke it out in shooting circles in a feud as classic as the Ford versus Chevy debate.
Mossberg manages to keep the 500 lightweight by utilizing an aluminum receiver. This keeps the total weight down but still offers enough strength for rough handling and repeated use.
Unlike most pump shotguns, the shell lifter used on the Mossberg 500 (and the 590) only lowers briefly during the loading cycle. This one feature will help keep your firearm clean (it helps keep dirt and debris from entering the receiver) and makes the weapon easy to load.
The Mossberg 500 also features a prominently placed safety. Located on top of the receiver, the safety is conveniently located and totally ambidextrous.
The Mossberg 500 comes in 4 distinct models, including the original 500, 500 Hunting, 500 Tactical, and the 500 Flex. The Flex model allows you to easily swap out the stock, forend, and barrel without any tools, making it one of the most versatile shotguns on the market.
Mossberg 590, 590M and 590A1
The Mossberg 590 and 590A1 are premium tactical weapons. Offshoots of the popular Mossberg 500, the 590, 590M, and 590A1 models retain the proven pump action that so many shooters have fallen in love with. However, Mossberg goes a step further upgrading these 12 gauge shotguns with a higher capacity magazine, a heavier barrel with a tough parkerized finish, a metal safety button and trigger assembly, and a bayonet lug.
Mossberg also added some other useful tactical features to the 590, 590M, and 590A1, including a tri-railed forend (for easy attachment of accessories) and an adjustable stock (so you can quickly alter the weapon’s length of pull).
The 590A1 also features mil-spec construction, specialty sight packages, and a Plus 4 Shell Storage Stock, so you can have four extra shells right at your fingertips.
The 590M delivers all the tactical performance of the 590 in a mag-fed pump action. This makes loading and reloading faster and easier, increases ammo capacity without lengthening the magazine tube, and allows you to easily transition between loads.
Each of these models has a bit more heft than the classic Mossberg 500. The extra weight is a good thing in the recoil department, but these weapons can require some extra muscle to haul around.
Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag
The Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag includes all the outstanding features shooters expect from a Mossberg pump action. This one shoots 2 ¾-, 3-, and 3-½-inch magnum shotshells. The 835 Ulti-Mag effectively manages punishing magnum loads with an over-bored barrel. Almost as wide as a 10-gauge, the over-bored barrel that reduces recoil, muzzle jump, and improves shot pattern density.
Mossberg Maverick 88
Labeled the “Working Man’s Shotgun,” the Mossberg Maverick 88 is definitely an affordable work horse. Mossberg achieves the Maverick 88’s practical price tag by using a simplified one-piece forend, a budget barrel finish, and a polymer trigger group that includes a push-button safety (not the ambidextrous version on the receiver like the 500 and 590). Also, the receiver does not come drilled and tapped for a scope mount.
The Mossberg Maverick 88 gives you just the bare basics and nothing more. However, it's still a Mossberg, and it does a pretty good job if you plan to use it for home defense or some recreational range time.
The 930 is Mossberg’s rugged, dependable auto-loader. It features a dual gas-vent system, quick-empty magazine release button, and Mossberg’s signature ambidextrous safety located atop the receiver. It also comes drilled, tapped, and ready for a scope.
You get your choice of stock materials. However, the synthetic stock features a unique stock drop system that allows you to easily adjust the vertical angle of the stock. With this one feature, you can create a custom fit for the perfect cheek weld and an optimized sightline.
The 930 comes in a Hunting model (which feels right at home in a deer camp or duck blind), a Tactical model, and the Pro-Series model that features finishes, sights, and a Briley choke to help you bust more clays in high-stakes competition.
Modern hunters have gone gaga over 3 ½-inch magnum loads. The Mossberg 935 is a semi-automatic designed with an over-bored barrel that reduces recoil. This wide barrel also prevents pellet deformation to produce predictable, uniform shot patterns. It features everything we love most about Mossberg’s semi-auto platforms, plus it shoots 2 ¾-inch heavy hunting loads as well as 3- and 3 ½-inch shotshells, providing some serious hunting flexibility.
Summing It Up
Which Mossberg shotgun you need largely depends on how you intend to use it. Whether you need a 12 gauge for home defense, tactical applications, hunting waterfowl or big game, or fast-paced competition, Mossberg has a model to please.
If you’re in the market for a 20 gauge, Mossberg has you covered there, too. The Mossberg International SA-20 is lightweight, soft-shooting, and includes a Picatinny compatible accessory rail.