Mossberg’s Model 935 Pro-Series Waterfowl vs. The Wild Atlantic
By Holt Bodinson
If sea duck hunting isn’t on your lifetime bucket list, add it this year. Hunting the common eider while clinging to seaweed-and-barnacle covered granite outcroppings off the Maine Coast in the middle of frigid December — with the incoming tide licking up at the soles of your boots — is unforgettable. Think: watching mallards fluttering down through the treetops of Arkansas’ flooded timber to get a sense of what I mean.
It also demands a saltwater resistant shotgun like Mossberg’s hard-core, Model 935 Pro-Series Waterfowl autoloader. It’s got an anti-corrosive-plated action and a nice, long 3.5″ chamber.
Jutting out like a finger between Maine’s Penobscot and Blue Hill Bays is Deer Isle, renowned for its lobster fishing port and community of Stonington. You know you’ve arrived in Stonington because there’s a tall stack of lobster pots behind every picturesque New England home. It’s also where I met up with Linda Powell of Mossberg, Jake Edson of Vista Outdoor and our hosts, Bill Brown, Wally Martin and Ron Spencer of Ducks Unlimited. Brad Allen, Bird Group Leader with the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was there too. I love having the experts there as they are always a wealth of great info.
I noticed only I had selected a Model 935 Pro-Series Waterfowl chambered for the 3.5″ magnum. The rest settled for a sedate 3″ version known as the Model 930. I’m betting I made the right decision, though.
Mossberg’s Models 930/935 Pro-Series Waterfowl guns are Boron nitride treated to withstand the rigors of wet
days afield and tough enough to get doused and keep shooting!
Sea Duck Special
Whether you choose a Model 930 or Model 935, you’ve selected a very specialized waterfowl auto. Out on the Maine coast, saltwater, sand and the detritus of the high seas are unfriendly elements. Mossberg selected a tough, anti-corrosion Boron nitride coating to be applied to the gas piston, piston rings, magazine tube, hammer, sear, return spring plunger and return spring tube, housing a stainless-steel return spring. Special attention and finishing is given to the shell stop, elevator and bolt slide to reduce operating friction and ensure the action is feeding and firing smoothly, even in cruddy weather.
The Model 935 Pro-Series Waterfowl featured a synthetic stock finished in Shadow Grass camo, a 28″ over-bored, vent-rib barrel tipped with a fiber-optic front bead. It came with a compliment of Accu-Mag choke tubes and a complete set of stock shims to adjust drop-at-comb. I found the Model 935 — weighing a svelte 7.75 lbs. — to be lively handling and very effective on North America’s largest duck, the eider.
If you hunt sea ducks, you’ll need a retriever who willingly takes to December’s frigid Atlantic waters.
Ours didn’t seem to mind at all — just another “fun” day! Those eiders are big ducks!
Salt Spray On The Rocks
A sea duck hunt begins in the early morning hours when the tide is low. You suit up in a pair of tough, chest waders that won’t be torn open by the barnacle-covered rock outcroppings. Then you cling to those same outcroppings until the rising tide chases you off. Personally, I like the warm, 3.5mm neoprene, ArcticShield brand featuring rubberized, reinforced knee guards and seat. They’re not cheap, but they’re barnacle-tough and will outlast lesser brands.
Next comes a thoroughly waterproof gun case and a waterproof shell bag. How’s that again? It’s to protect your gun and ammo from the heavy sea spray kicked up by the bow of your open boat cutting through the waves to-and-from your little granite ledge. Not exactly like strolling out to your favorite blind, eh? I have my preferences and I’m partial to the gear turned out by Final Approach.
To feed my 3.5″ magnum, the only load available locally was Federal’s very affordable steel Speed-Shok Waterfowl shell stuffed with 1-3/8 oz. of BBs. I’ve never felt disadvantaged shooting regular steel, particularly with the advantage of the heavier payload offered in a 3.5″ shotshell.
Hunting sea ducks from Maine’s granite ledges demands specialized gear and shotguns. Mossberg’s 935 Pro Series
Waterfowl is ideal. And yes, Holt’s frozen in this pic!
Maine’s sea ducks are a hardy breed, spending their life at sea living on blue mussels, small green crabs and sea urchins. The eider hen is commercially farmed for its rare “eiderdown” in Iceland. That term ring any bells? The male weighs between 4.5 and 6.5 lbs. and has a wingspan of up to 43″. Because of its thick plumage and heavy muscles, you rarely kill an eider with one shot. You bring them down, sure, but you keep shooting as positive insurance and hope you have a stout retriever who likes North Atlantic water in December, like we did. A great dog!
There’s no hunt quite like a Maine hunt for sea ducks. It takes a lot of prep along the lines of warm clothes, waders, waterproof gear, competent outfitters, calm seas — and most of all, a rugged, seaworthy shotgun. Mossberg’s 930/935 Pro-Series Waterfowl guns were designed to meet that challenge.