First Look: Mossberg Model 930 12 Gauge Autoloader
Mossberg's Model 930 autoloader is notable in several respects. It is extremely affordable, it works and it is made in the United States. The most standard appearing of the line is the 930 Field, which is a blued and walnut, gas operated model chambered for 3 inch shells. It is available in 26 or 28 inch barrel lengths. Oddly, particularly for a field gun, the barrels are ported. Generally a valueless feature, all it gets you is loud. This is my sole gripe about the basic model and its sole gimmick feature. The rest of the gun is traditional with the possible exception of the thumb safety (plastic), which is a bit traditional within the confines of Mossberg repeating shotguns.
Not a super-lightweight, at 7-3/4 pounds it is a medium weight autoloader. With its gas operation, a better than average recoil pad and mid-range weight it is pleasant to shoot. With its $584 MSRP price tag, it is remarkably affordable for a walnut and blued gas-operated shotgun.
The 930's stock dimensions are 14 inch LOP, 1-1/4 DAC, 2 in. DAH throughout the entire line. The 930 was originally released in 2005 and has enjoyed a very good reputation as a reliable scattergun ever since. Perhaps the only unusual feature of the 930 is its cocking indicator, a little pin that protrudes from the front of the trigger guard. It is an odd and perfectly worthless feature, but at least it doesn't get in the way.
There has been a long list of rough, crude Turkish autoloaders introduced and then discontinued under various brand names. The Turkish ATA autoloader has been reboxed and sold by TriStar, Charles Daly, Smith & Wesson and Weatherby. If it comes with two pistons, one marked “Heavy” and one marked “Light,” you can bet it is another rendition of the immensely forgettable ATA.
A gas-operated autoloader, in my opinion, is the best first shotgun for anyone. Recoil is a big turn-off for many new shooters and a medium weight, affordable gas gun like this Mossberg makes starting with a shotgun that much more enjoyable. Unless you are very new to shotguns, you'll realize that it is only a couple of minute job to cut a dowel rod to the appropriate length to make any autoloader into a single shot for training purposes. When the time is right, you can quickly make it into a two-shot gun for the skeet field.
When Mossberg first announced the 930 they said, 930 AUTOLOADER: RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE, THIS IS THE BEST VALUE IN 3" AUTOLOADERS ON THE MARKET TODAY. Time has shown that they have pretty much nailed this one. With a cut-checkered walnut stock, good recoil pad, shim-adjustments on most models, a set of three screw-in chokes and a two year warranty, this Made in North Haven, CT shotgun beats the economy imports at their own game. It is a soft, reliable shooter with a soft price to go along with it.
Copyright 2010 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.