Today's first review will be looking at one of O.F. Mossberg & Sons' products in their Special Purpose series of firearms: the Mossberg 590A1 shotgun. (This post will be updated with pics soon.)
I bought this shotgun back in August of 2006, new in the box, for $500 and to this day, it was money well spent. After the mandatory 10-day wait the *wonderful* Republik of Kalifornistan makes me suffer through, I picked up the box of joy from the local gun shop, and trundled it home. Inside the box was the shotgun, cable lock, and owner's manual with the basics for keeping your gun a happy gun.
The basics. This shotgun comes with a 20-inch heavy profile barrel; eight-shell capacity magazine tube, plus one in the chamber; ghost ring rear sight with an orange front blade; Parkerized finish and synthetic furniture. The stock is a traditional polymer shotgun stock with a one-inch thick rubber recoil pad on the end, with a sling swivel screw on the bottom. Another screw is located on the accessory lug up front (more on that later), which lets you mount any quick-detach sling swivels you like. Every Mossberg shotgun bolt has two extractors on it, to ensure that your empties are drug out. This shotgun is no different, and they work great every time. The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope mount or Picatinny rail, although you need to remove the ghost ring sight to do so. The accessory lug located underneath one of the barrel's mag tube support rings allows for the front sling swivel screw to be mounted, but is also a bayonet lug for an M7 and/or M9 bayonet. For anyone using this shotgun as a home defense gun, a bayonet is one hell of an extra line of defense, and mean-looking, too.
Operation. All Mossberg safety switches are located on the tang of the receiver, between the top and the start of the buttstock. Press down for safe, press up for fire. This is different from Remington's crossbolt safety, which is located behind their trigger guards. A few shooters prefer Mossberg's safety over Remington's because it's easier to reach and manipulate. Mossberg's slide release is also mounted differently than Remington's, behind the trigger guard rather than in front of the trigger guard, respectively. The Mossberg's barrel is twenty inches long, and has a cylinder bore choke. What that means, is that the front of the barrel isn't choked, or constricted to get a tighter shot pattern. This has its pros and cons, but for me, it's a non-issue. The chamber is three inches long, thus allowing the gun to chamber either 2¾" or the larger 3" shells. With 3" shells, you lose one round capacity in the mag tube, so it becomes a 7+1 round capacity. Other than that, it's a standard pump-action shotgun: the shells load into the mag tube from the bottom of the receiver, the shooter racks the slide to load a shell, sight-acquire-fire, then rack the slide to cycle the action. Lather, rinse, repeat.
How it shoots. This shotgun is sweet, plain and simple. Once I put that stock to my shoulder, it was like a match made in heaven. This thing will eat anything, from the lightest birdshot to 3" Magnum 00 Buck, and rifled slugs. The ghost ring sights makes it easy to sight up your target, even at the far end of the buckshot's effective range of 25 yards. At 7 yards (the average range for a gunfight), this Mossberg will shoot minute of bad guy all day long.