Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun Review

Published by the Author on October 20, 2008 at 12:25 am > Gun and Accessory Reviews > Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun Review

This is my review of the Mossberg 500, a pump action shotgun known for its low price but high quality:

Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun

The Mossberg 500 is a pump action shotgun available in 12 gauge, 20, gauge, and .410.  Factory barrels are available from 14″ to 28″ in length (although a US resident wishing to own a shotgun with a barrel under 18″ would need to take the necessary legal steps first).  Various models of the Mossberg 500 are available, for purposes including home defense, trap shooting, duck hunting, and deer hunting.  As would be expected, barrels for the Mossberg 500 are interchangeable, allowing a single gun and multiple barrels to fill an owner’s needs across different shooting disciplines.  The safety is located on the rear of the receiver, instead of the usual trigger guard location, which is a nice feature for left handed shooters.  Other variants of this shotgun include the Mossberg 505 (a youth model), Mossberg 535 (chambered for 3.5″ super magnum shells), and the Mossberg 590/Mossberg 500A1 (differences in the magazine design).

Build Quality
Mossberg shotguns tend to be some of the most inexpensive ones available, although quality does not suffer.  The Mossberg 500 feels solid, and in my experience is no less reliable than my Remington 870 XCS Marine Magnum.  It has dual action bars, which are supposed to prevent the pump action from jamming and are also standard on other high quality pump action guns. Parkerized metal components are also available for corrosion resistance.  One feature that I do not like is the aluminum receiver, as I prefer steel.  This is because aluminum has a finite fatigue life, while steel’s is infinite.  That said, I have no real fears that the receiver will fail, and object more in principle to the use of aluminum.

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No news is good news here, as I can do little but report that I’ve never had the Mossberg 500 jam or otherwise fail.  This is the level of reliability that I expect from a firearm (especially a pump action shotgun), and I was not disappointed.

The Mossberg 500 generally comes with the receiver drilled and tapped to allow for the installation of the sighting device of one’s choice.  Magazine extensions, replacement stocks, pistol grips, barrel shrouds, aftermarket barrels, side saddles and a variety of other accessories are available.  Those that enjoy customizing their guns will enjoy the Mossberg 500.

The Mossberg 500 is a high quality pump action shotgun that is available at a decidedly affordable price.  I would prefer that the receiver were made of steel instead of aluminum, but I must admit that this not really a big deal.  I also wish that the safety was located in the trigger guard, instead of on the back of the receiver, but to each their own.  Those looking for a low priced, high quality shotgun should consider the Mossberg 500 series, although I continue to prefer the Remington 870 XCS Marine Magnum when it comes to pump action shotguns.

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  • Geoff Parker

    Great sight and reviews!

    I would encourage you to keep up your reviews of additional weapons as you have time.

    I think you would enjoy shooting the Benelli M4 shotgun.

  • kt

    I’ve had the gun jam once, the bullet somehow flipped around and got caught, after one broken knife blade and a few hours of precious hunting time wasted along with a bullet I and 3 others that helped me finally got it out.

  • collinwick

    Can the Mossberg 535 shoot 2.3/4 and 3.0 inch shells interchangeably?

    • Brandon


  • BasinBictory

    I recently bought a Mossberg 500 (my very first shotgun) and so far, I'm very happy with it. It is the "home defense" model with the 8-round magazine and the 18" barrel. It has black plastic furniture (which I plan to change/accessorize) and just looks like a real business-like, no frills type of gun – just the way I like them. I plan to shoot it soon, and will post another reply once I have.

  • Klawman

    Mossberg barrels are interchangeable IF they are designed for the same magazine capacity. For example, there is no 28 inch Mossberg accuset choke barrel for the persuader, but you can use a ported 8 shot 28 inch Maverick barrel with a Mossberg persuader.

  • Jesse Casteel

    I have used Mossberg's most of my shooting and hunting life and only had 2 failures in 50 years of using them. I broke a stock on an older 835 and had bent action bars on a older 500. I had one fail the other day but that was operator error and some marsh grass stuck in the wrong area. Other than that zero problems first one 1n 1961 my first shotguns and numerous other one these past 50 years. The best bang for your buck on the market period. Made in the USA, works 99.9% of the time and as rugged as it gets….what else could you ask for. My current 500 is an older 500A camo w/28" barrel. My next two will be a 935 Auto for waterfowl and a newer 500 for everything else. The main thing with the Mossy it just fits me better than all the other. At 6'5" the lop is ideal. I love the 870 Wingmaster but I could place the barrel on my foot pull the trigger and still miss. Jess

  • Tom

    I'm new to guns and plan to buy one this month and plan to purchase a Mossberg. The shop I went to offered a good deal on a Mossberg with dual interchangeable barrels type shotgun. Is there any quality flaws with guns that have interchangeable? Less accuracy or worse quality as opposed to a gun that comes with a fixed barrel?

  • wolf

    I've had everything from the 500's, 590's, and recently shot the lower cost 88. They all workded extermely well never had a problem but just one time. It failed to eject a spent sellier and Bellot, or whatever that crap is called considering i'll never buy the stuff again. But, it works great, will take extrem abuse and keep on ticking. Mine always did, and for a home defense, defense in general, or as a all out utility gun they're perfect and in my opinion underated. For what my opinion is worth. But, i've had several of each through the years, shot hundreds of high brass everything through them and absolutely love them.

  • Barry Rudd

    The more conventional measure is reporting the interior diameter of the barrel in decimal fractions of the inch or in millimeters. Some guns—such as shotguns—report the weapon's gauge or—as in some British ordnance—the weight of the weapon's usual projectile.

  • We buy cars

    This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

  • Brandon

    I found this blog searching for information about the Mossberg 500 online, and I am glad I did. The comments, alongside the review, have been extremely helpful and have given me a lot to consider before I make a purchase.

  • consultant

    I desire for an excellent work from you and there is no doubt that this is a good work done by you. thanks to you for your great effort on this post.

  • erik

    bought my first firearm last night. Being that I am a new homeowner with a wife and 2 baby girls of my own. I have some protection to attend to. Of course everyone has their opinion on firearms but after reading this review I feel more confident that I made the right choice. Can’t wait to take it to the range and get to know it. Thanks for the review!!