Left Turn

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Mossberg Gives The “10-Percenters” A Dedicated Gun

By Holt Bodinson

What do notables like Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Alexander the Great, Beethoven, John D. Rockefeller, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin have in common? They were all left-handed. Interestingly enough, lefties make up an estimated 10 to 12 percent of the general population. There’s even an official International Left-Hander’s Day, August 13th, so it’s not surprising Mossberg decided to serve this often neglected sector of the marketplace.

With over 10 million Mossberg Model 500’s in the field, the last, great, unorganized, sporting minority—the left-handed shotgunner—is in for a treat this year. Mossberg is going lefty with 15, great, new left-hand pump models in their 500 and 590 series.

The extent of the new rollout surprised me. The new left-handed models include Mossberg’s uniquely modular FLEX system as well as turkey, waterfowl, slug, combination, tactical and youth versions in a variety of barrel types, stock materials, adjustable combs, sight options and protective finishes. Several models like the 500 Super Bantam-Youth, 500 Slugster and 500 Cruiser/Persuader are available in 20-guage as well.

The Mossberg Model 500/590 is one of the classic shotguns designed right in the first place and it has stood the test of time ever since its introduction in 1961/62. If you’ve never owned or had an opportunity to study the Model 500, following are some of the features ensuring its enduring popularity.

The Model 500 safety is right where it should be. Just like on a fine double, the ambidextrous safety is tang mounted and right there under your thumb and not hidden somewhere down in the triggerguard. Mossberg’s thumb safety is big, ribbed and highly visible. It’s easy to see if the gun is on “SAFE.” The tang safety makes mounting the gun smooth, natural and fast, eliminating the need to first punch the head of a triggerguard-mounted cross-safety with your trigger finger. In addition, an interlocking safety system prevents the gun being fired if the bolt is not completely locked and its trigger
disconnector requires the trigger to be released and reset between shots. In short, the Model 500 is a very safe gun and ideal for training novices in safe gun handling.

In my opinion, one of the marvels of the Model 500 design is the shell lifter or elevator. In most other designs, the shell lifter is a solid piece of metal that typically must be unlocked and depressed to load shells into the tubular magazine. In the Model 500 the lifter is skeletonized and lies invisibly on both sides of the square bolt when the action is closed. It’s simply not in the way when thumbing shells directly into the magazine tube, making the Mossberg very fast to reload. It’s also fast to unload if you need to change out load types in a hurry since the slide release is right at your third finger when your thumb is on the safety.

In most pumps, the shell lifter feeds the shell at a slight angle relative to the chamber. The shell has to cam itself down into the mouth of the chamber as the bolt is closed. The Model 500, on the other hand, features a straight-inline feed system. The lifter positions the shell directly in line with the mouth of the chamber as the action is closed. It’s a low friction, positive feed system and virtually trouble free.

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The new left-hand barrels are clearly marked so there are no possible
mix-ups between portside and starboard shooters.

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The typical lifter feeds a shell at a slight angle to the mouth of the chamber.
Mossberg’s straight lifter positions the shell directly in line with the chamber.

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Mossberg’s Model 500 places the ambidextrous safety where it should be—right under your thumb.

Speaking of being trouble free, the Model 500 bolt is fitted with two heavy-duty extractors, the magazine tube has two shell releases and the action has two action bars. In fact, after the wear-and-tear of Vietnam, the government went looking for a new combat shotgun. To meet the stringent test requirements of “Mil-Spec 3443,” a pump-action shotgun had to fire 3,000 consecutive rounds with no more than two malfunctions and with the development of no unserviceable parts. Plus, it had to function under the most extreme environmental conditions. The Mossberg Models 500 and 590 were the only pump shotguns to meet or exceed those standards and that’s why the Model 590A1 tactical gun has been so popular with the military, law enforcement and smart homeowners. The Mossbergs are tough guns either in their field or tactical dress, but they’re smooth in operation.

I asked my left-handed hunting companion, Bud Bristow, the former director of both the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, to wring out the new left-hand Model 500 All-Purpose 20 gauge. After he shot a few clays, the first words out of his mouth were, “This is really a slick, smooth, short action pump.” That pretty well nails it.

The Model 500 is also light and well balanced. The Model 500 receivers are made from a forged, aircraft-grade, high-strength aluminum alloy. Making the use of an aluminum receiver possible is the design of the Mossberg bolt, which locks into a recess in the metal barrel extension.

One of the value added features of the Mossberg receiver is it arrives already drilled and tapped for the easy addition of rails, optics or open sights. Another nice feature of the whole line is each interchangeable barrel is provided with an integral magazine cap to screws into the magazine tube. No more lost or misplaced magazine caps!
In short, if you’re left-handed and want a gun designed to operate on your side, Mossberg’s diverse pump shotgun Model 500’s and 590’s will prove to be solid performers and very affordable.

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Left-handed Bud Bristow demonstrates just how slick and fast the Mod

Model 500, Left-hand
Maker: O. F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.,
7 Grasso Ave., North Haven, CT 06473,
(800) 383-3555,
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/of-mossberg-sons-inc/

Action: Pump
Gauge: 20
Capacity: 6
Barrel length: 26 inches
Choke: IC, M, F
Length-of-pull: 13-7/8 inches
Overall length: 45-1/4 inches
Weight: 7 pounds
Finish: Matte black
Stock: Synthetic
Sights: Twin bead on ventilated rib
Price: $518

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