Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gear Review: Mossberg 500

When you ask most people that practice home defense about what to get and use, the answer is almost always a shotgun. They are not too technically demanding, depending on the ammo in use over penetration is not generally a worry and they make great clubs if you run out of ammo (kidding on that last one). I was able to come across this shot gun a couple of years back, a Mossberg 500a. 18 1/2 inch smooth bore barrel with 5+1 capacity.
I made some minor modifications to it in order to make it just a touch more user friendly in the home. I removed the fixed stock and added a collapsible, 6 position stock from Blackhawk (not the recoil absorbing one, couldn't afford it and didn't want to pay more for the stock than I did the gun). The addition of the stock made handling a little more comfortable for me and a lot more for my wife. The fixed stock was just a bit too long for her to feel balanced and in control but with the shortened stock she feels very much in control.
My first time shooting this shotgun was a fun trip out with guys guys from work to shoot some clay pigeons. Having been out shooting trap before this, I still had a very informative learning experience. First off...if you have followed all of the safety rules of gun handling and you are really, totally sure you are ready to matter how hard you try, you cannot squeeze the trigger on this shotgun with the safety on. I had gotten too excited to fire off my first shot, so when I called out "pull", raised the front sight to track the bird and then squeezed, and then squeezed harder and then glanced down at my gun when the pigeon hit the dirt. That's when I saw I had left the safety on. Oops!!!
The next thing I learned was how the gun felt when it went boom. I mean.... BOOM!!!!! I had been given an assortment of shells to try with the shotgun to see what I wanted to use with it. Being the rocket scientist that I am (no offense to any ACTUAL rocket scientists), I started out with solid slugs...ouch! From those miserable misses, I moved on to some 00buck, 04 buck, and finally ended up shooting bird shot.

I found that my previous experience with shooting clays wasn't helping me. I couldn't seem to hit any thing with my shotgun. Finally, I got a little jumpy and let go a shot a little earlier than I had planned and actually hit the bird. I knew I had been leading them correctly but then it hit me. Since my barrel was shorter than the 24 and 28in barrels being used by my friends, I needed to get my shot off faster. The spread pattern was much greater. Well, once I did that I started to hit more than I was missing. It was at that point I finally became happy with my choice.
I have made one other modification to my gun from the stock model. I added a one point sling attachment ring from GG&G to use with a Blackhawk Storm Sling. Later on I added a more traditional two point shoulder sling from Remington for more extended carry periods. The one point sling is great for short distance travel, i.e. walking from the car to the firing line where we shoot but I found it to be a bit uncomfortable to walk with the shotgun for a longer carry period (less shooting and more walking).
I personally like this shotgun. It's not fancy, I can tear it down and put it back together again. No matter if you agree with my opinion or not, I will still like it. I would even recommend it to those of you in the market for one since they can be found on sale for under $300. 

Some of you may have noticed the trigger lock on the shotgun in the pics. I know some of you don't agree with that for home defense but I have my reasons for it, one of which is smiling so beautifully in the pictures above. The gun does stay loaded with the safety off so that lock is the last resort safety should I somehow commit the ultimate blunder and leave the gun where the kids can get to it. I take my responsibilities towards keeping my family safe and until the day comes that the kids are out of the house, I will practice safe storage methods for my firearms. That doesn't mean I can't get to them and yes it would take a few extra seconds to deploy them. If my life depended on those few seconds though, I may as well be walking around in my own home weapons in hand and at the ready on patrol at all times. If the world has gotten that bad (it wasn't the last time I checked) then I will be glad I bought the slings. Until then, Peace be unto you and yours.

1 comment:

  1. I have the Maverick 88, which is basically a Mossy 500. It stays loaded in the gun safe but with nothing in the chamber.