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Mossberg 930 Autoloader

Product Tests

O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.
7 Grasso Ave.
North Haven, CT 06473

A few months ago after hearing about Jerry Miculek adopting the Mossberg 930 as his go-to-gun for 3-gun competition, I decided I wanted to try one. It turns out, that was the really easy part of the decision. When you visit the Mossberg site§ion=products you’ll find that there are some 15 models of this gun! Mossberg has gone all out to offer a model to meet your needs, no matter what type of shotgunner you are.

My hunting mainly revolves around waterfowl and turkeys and my recreational shooting is in the clays sports and still target shooting. For that reason I selected the “Waterfowl” model with a 28” barrel, a matte finish, black synthetic stock and a fiber optic front site. That gun has all the desirable features that I like in a shotgun. It even comes drilled and tapped in the event that I decide to mount some optic sight.

One of the first things that I do with any shotgun and the 930 was no exception, is to strip it down to its basic component parts for a thorough cleaning and inspection. This helps me to become familiar with the gun and also make sure that any packing grease or excess oil is removed prior to shooting it. I always “deep clean” the barrel after that and take a good look at the quality of the finish of the bore.

I have a number of Mossberg guns and have shot them for years. In the last couple of years I’ve added a 20 gauge 500, a 535, a 935 and now the 930 to my collection. I’ve been very impressed with the barrel quality that I’ve seen in the last few years. After a good deep cleaning, I’ve seen really “slick” barrel finishes on these guns. The 930 had an especially good looking bore.

The fit and finish of the gun overall was excellent. Amazingly, it even had a good wide and soft feeling recoil pad. The metal to stock fit was good and the metal finish was excellent. All of the features of the gun were pretty straight forward and everything seemed to work smoothly right out of the box. I like the wide ribs on the new Mossberg shotguns and as previously mentioned, the 930 is already drilled and tapped for an optical sight.

One real surprise was the trigger. I’ve read a good bit about the LPA trigger available on selected models of the 12 gauge Mossberg pump shotguns. That trigger is not currently available on the 930 but frankly, it was just not needed on my gun. The trigger had absolutely no creep, was very crisp and a had pretty light let-off for a brand new gun.

The proof of any gun is however in the field and at the range. Since I was not able to schedule some time at the clays course, I took the 930 to my range. I wanted to run some shells through it just to test function and reliability so I loaded it up with some inexpensive field loads that I keep on hand for that purpose. These are low brass 2.75” shells with 1 oz. of lead shot. I ran a box of those as quickly as I could fire and reload them without a hitch.

Next, I moved to my bench to test the point of aim and the point of impact. I normally try this first with the factory full choke. I placed a large sheet of corrugated board with a 2” aim point at 20 yards and centering the beads at 6 o’clock, fired the first shell. It was dead on. I moved the target out to 30 yards and then 40 yards with the same results. That’s always a good thing when the gun’s POA and POI are the same. That means that an add-on sight for turkey hunting or still target shooting is an option and not a necessity.

Since the 930 had functioned well and the POI was dead on, it seemed that it would be a good time to try some turkey loads with a couple of turkey chokes. The spring turkey season is always a busy time for me and quite often I just take whatever gun I’ve been working with most on my hunts.

The still target shooting season will also begin soon and Doris and I will be on the circuit in just a matter of a few weeks. I’m always looking for another gun that’s a good shooter for that sport and hoped the 930 would qualify.

I took a good supply of 3” Hevi-13 “Bronze” shotshells with 2 oz. of #6 shot to the range along with 3 different turkey chokes. What I’m looking for in a turkey gun or competition gun is one that consistently throws good even patterns at 40 yards.

I’ve learned that good even patterns are much more important than any particular number of “hits” in a circle of a given size. Consistency is my primary objective.

To remove as much of the human element as possible from the initial patterning of a turkey gun, I shoot using a front rest but off my right shoulder. Later I’ll shoot from a sitting position, just like a turkey hunter or still target competitor to see if the pattern changes or shifts when shooting from this position.

In both of those shooting positions, I’m leaning into the gun and taking the full force of the recoil.

We all know about recoil. It’s unpleasant and can negatively influence our shooting, if not controlled. Stock design, gun fit, gun weight, type of action and the recoil pad are just a few factors that effect “felt recoil”. Light clays loads are not too bad, even after a 100 or so but whenever you fire 3” full power turkey shells, it can be a tooth rattling experience. With a new gun, you just don’t know what to expect.

The 930 I selected had the 28” barrel and longer barrels tend to add just a bit more weight and that longer barrel also lessens muzzle whip. Muzzle whip finds its home in the stock comb by slapping your cheek which can be very painful and can cause you to raise your head from the stock and shoot over your target. The 930 comes with a ported barrel to lessen muzzle whip and combined with the longer barrel, I hoped it would not be a painful gun to shoot with full power loads.

Leaning into the 930 with a 3” turkey load in the chamber and sighting down the rib, I squeezed of my first round. There was a thump as you’d expect but nothing painful and I was able to keep the target in sight throughout the process of shooting and follow-up. With that first shot out of the way, I was able to really concentrate on my sight picture and put several more shots down range.

I was very pleased with the patterns that I shot and found the gun, ammo and choke to be very consistent performers.

Patterns through the 3 chokes I selected were all quite dense and with evenly spaced pellet hits. Most were in the 190 - 200 range in 10" at 40 yards with good fringe patterns out to 20". That's a good pattern no matter what your sport is.

So, how would I rate the Mossberg 930? It’s a lot of gun for the money, with all the features that I look for in a autoloading shotgun. It functioned flawlessly, shot to point of aim, produced excellent patterns and seemed to absorb a lot of the normal recoil from 3” full power turkey loads.

I was most impressed with the obvious quality and pride of workmanship that the 930 shows. Fit and finish were excellent and that was especially evident in the very smooth bore and excellent trigger pull. I also really like the drilled and tapped receiver that will allow me to use an optical sight  with very little work and no gunsmithing needed.

I will be very happy to take this gun to the clays field, on an upland hunting trip, to the goose pits, to the turkey woods or to a still target shoot. The Mossberg 930 is a winner in my book.

To read more about the 930 or other Mossberg firearms just visit the site above.

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