|Finishing day one, the guns were all turned over to our local staff for cleaning and a general quick check. What we didn’t know at the time was that none of the autos had been completely taken down by way of gas pistons being removed for cleaning. In effect, the guns got a quick once over in terms of a bore brush (snake) and some solvent dumped over the intact gas systems. These guns went to the field on day two skunky, and carbon filled due to poor cleaning and the dirty South American ammo.|
By that second morning I was a spent cap. My old cop shop shoulder injury was acting up big time, and the 12 bore was taking on the look of a French 75 to my tired eyes. My bird boy, however, saved the day as he came bouncing through the corn with a smile from ear to ear, and carrying a brand new Mossberg Reserve Series 20 gauge stack barrel. I was impressed with the light weight gun right from the get go, and now with a fresh case of yellow bullets to select from the new Mossberg International TM over and under was about to get some exercise.
I had known that we had several of these new stack barreled guns in camp, but I had been unaware that there were enough of them to go to almost every shooter at the same time. Shooting the Mossberg Reserve in the well designed small frame 20 gauge, being its own scaled down receiver design from the larger 12 bore Reserve was just the ticket in terms of getting the excess weight off my right shoulder. Shooting a PAST system and Limbsaver pad had all but eliminated any damaging recoil stress with the big 12 bore. It was just that moving the heavy waterfowl type gun had reached a point of stall out with me.
Shooting the 20 gauge by way of some low base 7/ 8 oz #9’s in 2 ¾” hulls was just what the doctor ordered. My hit ratio went up at once, and I was more than pleased with the performance of the great shooting double gun. Remembering this hand ejector model that retains Turkish walnut and some nice scroll work to boot will sell for about $500.00. Mossberg has just busted the back of the stack barrel market in terms of those average guys that have always wanted a twin pipe shooter, but didn’t have the high end jack to put down on the gun counter.
After lunch on that second full day we had a gun down with a broken firing pin, and a second auto with a slow elevator response. Save for the pin problem the second problem element was a direct result of a very dirty receiver. No fault of the gun design at all. Be advised, that for the most part even a very high end auto of a very major brand at three times the price of the 930 Mossberg auto is only good for about six weeks of steady shooting down in Argentina. With a fulltime gunsmith and a bag of spare parts these expensive guns can be kept shooting for a year or two at best before retiring them to the junk pile. That’s right the junk pile, because parts just won’t fit receivers any longer.
By the end of that second day even a few stack barrels had started to “double” indicating again a pile of carbon buildup in the lock work. These guns were flushed with solvent and put back directly into the field, once again in working order. However, that evening all the guns were taken down by our team, and in some cases gas pistons on the 930 autos were replaced in that they had to be pounded off the barrel housings. Steel wool was used to remove frozen crud on magazine tubes and gas housings. These guns had still been shooting, but I can say for a fact there was no reason why they worked at all! Many of the autos had well exceeded 2000 round lacking any real maintenance at all.
In terms of total rounds fired through a group of about nine guns my total based on the shooting log offered up by Paco Riestra Shooting & Hunting indicated that a total of 2,299 boxes of shotshells had been fired, which comes out to a total of 57,475 rounds. Was this a tough test on a new gun system? You bet it is, and I commend O.F. Mossberg for putting their new shotgun designed up against such a deadly gunning event in terms of possible firearms breakdown.
At no point in time did my gun fail in any way even though I was on the lower end of the rounds fired scale. My total rounds for two days and one evening’s shoot was 875 rounds. These rounds were split between the new 930 auto, and that fine little 20 bore stack barrel. Even with the lower rounds fired, the ammo was grease dirty, and the environment muddy with constant rain for the few days we were in camp, the gun still performed. Could there be a tougher test? Yes, in the lab at a machine rest gun system. But be assured this test says a whole lot about the new Mossberg gun designs.
Mossberg will market the Reserve Series over and under shotguns in everything from 410 gauge to 3” 12 gauge magnum. There will be a nice sporting clays model in the mix as well. As for the 930 auto loader, this gun is being built as a turkey gun, duck gun, deer killer, deer / field Combo package, and a general use field gun. It fits all needs with the exception of a clays gun. You can bet that’s around the corner to be sure.
With the addition of the new 835 Thumbhole, and new AR15 style Tactical Turkey Mossberg is hitting all the bases in terms of planning ahead for hunters’ needs in the next decade. I’m testing several additional guns, Mossberg shotguns at this time, and down the line I will produce additional reviews of those gun systems when that information comes together. If you are searching for a dependable lower cost fire stick, don’t pass up a hard look at the new Mossberg shotgun line. From dove to geese these new field tools can get the job done.