Mossberg 500 good for new shooter buying first shotgun

The Mossberg 500 is a pump shotgun assembled in the United States.

The forearm, stock, and trigger guard on our test model were made from synthetic material. Wood is available on other models.

The chamber in the test shotgun could handle either 2.75 or three inch long 12-gauge shells, though 20-gauge and .410 bore are available in other models.

They have capacity of up to six shells, though an easily removable magazine tube plug limits them to two when purchased new.

The combo package came with an 18.5 inch barrel with a fixed cylinder choke and a 28 inch vent rib barrel with a fixed modified choke.

Both were smoothbore barrels.

Changing between barrels is a simple matter of releasing the forearm, sliding it midway and undoing the barrel screw cap at the front of the magazine tube. The barrel is ready to be removed when the screw cap is fully undone.

Operating the Mossberg 500 is straightforward. The tang safety allows for easy left- and right-handed use. The release for the forearm is behind the trigger guard. Sliding the forearm completely forward allows the magazine tube to be loaded through the underside loading port. Alternatively, a single shell can be loaded through the right side ejection port when the forearm is fully in the rear position.

There are excellent bird and target shotguns on the market, but they can be expensive. The Mossberg 500 allows a newcomer to own a basic but reliable shotgun without spending a lot of money.

The shotgun is one of the most versatile firearms. There is a shot load for almost every situation, and a shotgun and shell load can be easily adapted to accommodate small to large shooters.

Having two barrels in the Mossberg 500 combo package adds to its flexibility. The longer barrel gets a shooter started in game and target shooting, while the shorter barrel makes the firearm accessible and manoeuvreable for close encounters.

The Mossberg 500 performed dependably on the range. I think of our test model like a quality made shovel: easy to use, reliable, simple and strong. It withstood quite a bit of abuse without problems and was easy to maintain.

The Mossberg 500 platform has many aftermarket parts available, so owners can easily customize their firearms.

The only drawback to this particular model is that the forearm often needs to be replaced when doing aftermarket modifications. However, the cost to do so is inexpensive.

New shooters looking at buying their first big bore firearm may want to seriously consider the Mossberg 500 combo for the money. The versatility of the shotgun platform cannot be overstated, especially when this package comes with two barrels.

Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column content suggestions at

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