Type: Pump action shotgun
Gauge: 12, 20, or .410; Chamber 3″ / 76 mm
Overall length: varies with different models
Barrel length(s): 355 – 500 mm (14″ – 20″) for combat/defensive versions. up to 711 mm / 28″ in hunting versions
Magazine: 5, 7 or 8 rounds in underbarrel tube magazine
Mossberg model 500 shotguns were first introduced in 1961 by the famous US-based gunmaking company O.F.Mossberg & Sons.
The fact is, one model designation covers a broad range of shotguns in four chamberings (12 gauge models 500A, 16 gauge – 500B, 20 gauge – 500C and .410 – 500D) and in a wide assortment of barrel and magazine lengths, finishes, stock shapes and materials. Other than hunting guns, Mossberg also offers a line of military / security / police guns under names of “Persuader”.
These are various riot-type guns with fixed stocks, cylinder-bored barrels of short to medium length or “Cruiser” (pistol-gripped shotguns, originally intended for storage in police cruiser cars – but boy they sure look cool in the movies as well).
In the mid to late 80’s Mossberg also produced a short-lived bullpup version of the Model 500, with polymer stock, forward sliding pistol grip and additional automatic grip safety. For various reasons this conversion didn’t live on and was soon discontinued.
Today Mossberg 500 shotguns are widely used by civilian shooters and hunters as hunting, self-defense and practice / sport guns. Many Mossberg 500 guns are also in use by various Law Enforcement agencies in USA and abroad. These shotguns also saw wide use by US Armed forces from about 1979, although today these are replaced in military service with the improved Mossberg model 590 shotguns.
Mossberg model 500 shotguns are known for high reliability and durability, combined with an affordable price. Some claim that those guns have loose construction which produces unnecessary noise when gun is cycled or shacked, but this feature in fact is intentionally built into the gun to provide maximum reliability under harsh conditions and heavy fouling, in a similar vein to the construction of the AK47.
These shotguns utilize of course, so called pump action, which is operated by a sliding forend. The forend is connected with the bolt group with dual action bars. The receiver is produced from lightweight aluminum alloy, and the bolt locks into the barrel extension using a single massive lug on the top of the vertically swinging locking piece, installed in the bolt body.
Ammunition feed is from the underbarrel tubular magazine, and one specific feature of the Mossberg 500 shotguns is that the cartridge lifter stays in raised position through most of the feeding cycle, ensuring trouble-free feeding of the cartridge into the barrel.
A manual safety is conveniently located at the rear top of the receiver (a so called ‘tang safety’) and is easily accessible by either hand. Barrels are quick changeable and could be replaced in less than a minute. There are a wide variety of barrels with fixed or removable chokes, ranging in length from 18.5 to 28 inches (470 to 711 mm). Shorter barrels are available, mostly for Law Enforcement or Military users.
Standard furniture consists of a semi-pistol gripped stock and forend, made from wood or polymer. Recently Mossberg also added a line of Tactical models with retractable-adjustable (M4 carbine type) stocks and pistol grips.