Shop on

The Buyer’s Guide: Mossberg

Table of Contents

In the world of shotguns, Mossberg is not just a name, but one of the names. Alongside giants like the Remington 870, Winchester SXP, and Ithaca 37, Mossberg’s 500 and 590 series of shotguns stand tall as some of the most popular of all time. 

But Mossberg is more than just their iconic shotguns; they boast a full range of bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles for all purposes, from hunting, to tactical, to competition. They even offer a complete line of handguns for target practice and self-defense. 

As one of the preeminent All-American firearm manufacturers, Mossberg has a lot to offer, all of it backed by an incredible reputation for ruggedness, reliability, and quality. 

Shotgun blog 4914 1

Mossberg Shotguns 

Mossberg may boast an impressive product line, but they remain most well known for their shotguns, and with good reason. Their 500 and 940 series of shotguns remain some of the best in their respective classes, despite being found at very affordable price points. 

Pump-Action Shotguns 

The defining shotgun of the Mossberg lineup is the Model 500. It’s one of their longest-running products and one of the most popular pump-action shotguns in America. 

The 500 is a workhorse of a shotgun used for everything from home defense to hunting to military service. It’s currently available with a dozen or more different finishes, barrel lengths ranging from 18.5″ all the way to 28″, and three different chamberings, not to mention to array of different stock and sight configurations. 

With a borderline-legendary reputation for reliability, the Mossberg 500 has become one of the most popular shotgun choices for both hunting and home defense

Hunters will appreciate the familiar ergonomics, smooth operation, and incredible selection of barrel lengths and gauges. Hunting-oriented models like the 500 Turkey also feature fiber-optic sights for easier sight picture acquisition and interchangeable chokes. 

53270 01

For home defense, tactical models of the 500 offer an ambidextrous tang-mounted safety (If you’re not sure what that is, check out our pump-action shotgun parts guide) for intuitive operation with either hand–a rare feature amongst shotguns, and a valuable one. Tactical models are also frequently available with pistol grip stocks, railed receivers for easier mounting of optics, and side-saddle shell holders for faster reloads. 

With over 12 million models sold, there is no question that the Mossberg Model 500 is an American classic. 

The Mossberg 500 was also briefly tapped for military service, which led to the creation of the Model 590, a ruggedized version of the 500 adapted to be more resilient to the rigors of combat use. Changes include a metal trigger housing unit and controls, and in certain models, a heavier barrel and bayonet lug.  

For the more value-minded, Mossberg also offers the Maverick 88 line. While not as feature-rich as the Model 500, the Maverick 88 still offers reliable function and an excellent performance-to-cost ratio. The Maverick 88 Security is a strong option for home defense, sporting a 20″ barrel and a full 8-round capacity. The Maverick 88 Field, on the other hand, offers a 26″ barrel for greater muzzle velocity and superior hunting performance. 

Lastly, Mossberg completes their lineup of pump-action shotguns with the Shockwave, an innovative firearm that uses a specialized grip and a 14” barrel without requiring an NFA stamp or additional paperwork. With its unique form factor, the Mossberg Shockwave offers 12-gauge firepower in a pint-sized package.  

Semi-Auto Shotguns 

As with their pump-actions, Mossberg offers several different lines of semi-automatic shotguns. Chief among these, though, is the Model 940

Like the 500, the 940 is renowned not only for its function but for its versatility. While it may lack the 500’s military pedigree, it remains to this day an effective hunting and tactical shotgun and even boasts a popular competition model endorsed by Jerry Miculek. 

The 940 features the same tang-mounted safety as the 500, a popular design that ensures it can be easily and intuitively actuated with either hand. Unlike the 500, the 940 utilizes a gas-piston-driven operating system for rapid, smooth semi-auto fire. While self-loading shotguns as a category may have a complicated relationship with reliability, the 940 certainly does not, boasting an ironclad reputation for reliable feeding and function. 

Tactical, hunting, and competition models are available, each with their own unique attributes. Tactical and competition models both offer extended magazine tubes, while the competition-oriented JM Pro also features extended controls and a widened, chamfered feeding port to better permit quad-loading. 

Break-Action Shotguns 

Last, but far from least, Mossberg offers a line of break-action over/under shotguns called the Reserve Series. These refined firearms demand a premium but offer quality in spades. 

The Reserve Series is broken up into two product lines: Silver Reserve and Gold Reserve, with the former being slightly more affordable than the latter. Both lines feature a 5-choke field kit, tang-mounted safety and barrel selector, and dual locking lugs. 

Shotguns in the Silver Reserve line include black walnut or synthetic stocks. This line offers a diverse range of configurations and color schemes, including camouflage options for hunting. Unusually, the Silver Reserve line also includes a modern, tactically oriented over/under with Picatinny rails both above and below the barrels for optics and accessory mounting. 

The Gold Reserve series is more limited, featuring a few carefully curated models. Barrels range from 26″ to 30″, and all models sport Grade-A black walnut stocks. Gold Reserve shotguns also feature jeweled actions and scroll-engraved receivers with gold inlay–perfect for a heirloom shotgun or keystone piece of a collection. 

28001 01

Mossberg Rifles 

While the name “Mossberg” may be nearly synonymous with shotguns, their rifles are not to be missed either. They offer several product lines of bolt-actions, as well as two semi-automatic rimfire rifles. 

Bolt-Action Rifles 

The flagship model of Mossberg’s bolt-action lineup is the Patriot, a classic bolt gun built for hunting, long-range precision, or anything in between. 

The Patriot is offered in an array of different models, each with different barrel lengths and stock materials, as well as a stunning array of calibers. The standard Patriot model is very popular as a hunting rifle, offering an adjustable trigger and match barrel crown for improved accuracy. 

More specialized versions of the Patriot include the LR Hunter, which features a Monte Carlo stock and a full-length top rail across the receiver for greater freedom when mounting optics, and the Patriot Predator, which is threaded to make it suppressor-ready with an 11-degree match crown. 

The Patriot series of rifles also includes the LR tactical, a long-range precision machine that’s perfect for recreational target practice or competition. 

[Shop All Mossberg Rifles] 

The largest difference you’ll notice about the LR Tactical is its stock. Unlike other Patriot Models, the LR Tactical comes with a user-adjustable stock that allows both the length of pull and cheek rest height to be adjusted. The stock also allows for removable magazines to be used for quicker reloads and integrates MLOK slots for accessory mounting. 

An oversized trigger guard makes the LR Tactical a breeze to use with gloves, and the knurled, oversized bolt handle helps ensure a secure, positive grip every time you cycle a round. 

Like the Predator, the LR Tactical features a full-receiver-length top rail and a threaded muzzle for suppressors or other muzzle devices. 

Semi-Auto Rifles 

When it comes to semi-automatics, Mossberg currently offers two models, both chambered in .22LR: the 702 Plinkster, and the 715T. 

The 702 Plinkster, as the name would suggest, is a classic plinking and small game rifle. It’s lightweight, compact, and most importantly, runs reliably–which is no small accomplishment for a rimfire rifle. 

The standard model of the Plinkster features a high-visibility fiber-optic front sight and a 10-round magazine, but a version is available that takes 715T magazines, which can hold up to 25 rounds. 

Mossberg’s 715T is a more modern design based on the aesthetic and ergonomics of the AR-15, making it a perfect training rifle for new enthusiasts or anyone who wants to be able to practice without breaking the bank. 

The 715T is available with a flat-top receiver and quad rail and can be had with either traditional iron sights or in a package with a red dot preinstalled from the factory. 

SLX MD25 G2 M590A1 Shotgun 1 1

Mossberg Manufacturing 

With over a hundred years of experience manufacturing firearms, it’s no surprise that Mossberg is one of the defining names in reliability and quality. The company may have begun with a single pistol but has grown to encompass a full catalog of firearms. 

Now, Mossberg maintains a factory in North Haven, Connecticut, where each and every firearm is made to exacting standards. 

Mossberg Shotgun Reliability 

Mossberg’s best-known product will always be its shotguns, which are widely renowned for their exceptional quality and reliability. The 590 series of shotguns in particular garner a great deal of respect for their reinforced all-metal controls and trigger housings. The 590A1 model even goes so far as to utilize a heavy-walled barrel for the utmost possible ruggedness. 

With millions of shotguns sold and thousands of satisfied hunters and competitors using Mossberg shotguns every year, there’s no doubt left to be had in Mossberg’s shotguns’ reliability. 

50659 01


While their reputation may have been built on shotguns, Mossberg offers a full complement of highly capable guns. Their bolt-action and semi-auto rifles offer the same exceptional quality as their shotguns, and do so at an approachable price point. 

Whether you’re after a new shotgun, rifle, or even a handgun like the MC2c, you can’t go wrong with Mossberg firearms.