Mossberg Pumpgun Packages

Mixed-bag hunting muscle!

The 20-ga. combo is light kicking and utterly deadly on fur or feathers. Just load it right.

The shotgun is the most versatile firearm system ever developed. It can serve as a shotgun, an accurate big-bore rifle, a handgun and even as a flare gun. It can put food in the pot and it can protect the lives of you and your family like no other firearm. It’s the ultimate “stopper.”

So, when someone new to the sport asks me what shotgun they should buy, my initial inclination is always to recommend a “combo pump” — a 20- or 12-ga. slide-action with two or more barrels for the sake of economy and versatility.

Easy barrel swap: Mossberg barrels are secured by a thumb nut at the end of the magazine tube.

The Right Action

While we love our svelte doubles for target shooting and hunting, they are limited in their firepower, mechanically hard to access and work on, inflexible in design and almost impossible to find parts for. Typically, they’re pricey.
Well, how about semiautos? They offer lots of firepower. Their design is somewhat flexible. Their mechanisms are accessible for maintenance and cleaning although they can be complex and unique to each brand. They’re also typically expensive and probably not the best choice for a novice.

No, if push comes to shove, my choice is the pumpgun! This good old American design is simple, easy to understand, operate, clean and maintain. It’s reliable, flexible and offers as much firepower as the magazine will hold. It’s also relatively inexpensive, while the variety of aftermarket accessories for it is simply mind-boggling. Paint it red, white and blue!

It could be a Benelli, Browning, Escort, Ithaca, Mossberg, Remington, Stoeger, Weatherby, Winchester or a brand or two I may have missed, but the pump gun combos I’ve worked with the most in the field have come out of the Mossberg 500/505/510/535/590/835 and Maverick 88 series.

Holt rotated between a 24" turkey barrel and 24" slug barrel for his Texas combo hunt.

“M” for Multiple

Mossberg has made a science of offering two-barrel shotgun combos in their pumpgun lines. Currently, they dominate the two-barrel combo concept. They’ve now also added their “Tool-less Locking System” across the FLEX line to provide owners with a quick and convenient way to swap out a variety of low-priced buttstocks, forends, recoil pads and barrels in seconds. Mossberg pumps have reached a level of versatility no other maker can match.

Currently, Mossberg two-barrel combos are available beginning in the 20-ga. 500 Bantam and Super Bantam lines designed for youths, consisting of a 22″ vent rib smoothbore and a 24″ rifled slug barrel with a 12-13″ LOP spacer system fitted to the synthetic stocked Super Bantam model. Mossberg lists the combination “Field/Deer,” but you could easily expand it to a “Field/Deer/Turkey” combo with the purchase of a 20″ vent rib barrel complete with adjustable fiber optic sights and an extra-tight turkey tube. I can’t imagine a better set-up for a beginning shooter — even a small-statured one.

Moving into the adult sized 500/535/590/835 and Maverick 88 model lines, Mossberg catalogs the combo packages as “Field/Deer” (28″ VR and 24″ rifled w/integral, cantilever scope base “ISB”), “Turkey/Deer” (24″ VR and 24″ rifled ISB), “Turkey/Waterfowl” (24 and 28″ VR) and “Field/Security” (28″ VR and 18.5″). In short, you can buy a set combo package or you can mix and match your own combinations, which is why I enjoy working with the Mossberg line.

Good combo gun, good ammunition and good camo spell memorable turkey hunts.
We’re always playing the “Where’s Holt?” game …

Holt’s slug barrel generated rifle-sized 11/2" groups with Hornady’s SST at 100 yards.

Barrel Combo/Game Combo

Let me share with you briefly two hunts in which I used my Mossberg combos:

The first was a combination turkey/boar hunt near Corpus Christi, TX with Mellon Creek Outfitters. I was carrying a 12-ga. Model 500 with two barrels — a 24″ vent rib ported turkey barrel with adjustable fiber optics sights and a tight 0.670 Accu-Choke and a 24″ rifled slug barrel carrying a Swarovski Z6i 1.7-10×42 variable.

I was testing two of Hornady’s new loads — their 3″ Heavy Magnum Turkey number packed with 1½ oz. of nickel plated No. 5 shot at 1,300 fps and their 300-gr. SST Flex Tipped slug at 2,000 fps. The gun performed perfectly in either mode. The turkey was taken at 40 yards and the boar at 55.

The second combo hunt was a black bear hunt in Alberta, Canada, with W&L Guide Services in High Level. I was testing Hornady’s new 2¾” 20-ga., reduced-recoil “Custom Lite” sabot load, featuring a 250-gr. SST at 1,600 fps. Before leaving home I had swapped out the turkey barrel of my Mossberg 500 for a 24″ ported and rifled-slug barrel mounted with a Swarovski 1-6×24 scope.

I also changed out my FLEX field buttstock for an optics-compatible, high-comb, 4-position model. I took the bear at 60 yards with one shot — which gave me full penetration through the shoulders. By the way, with proper ammunition, the 20-gauge is a light-kicking, utterly deadly caliber for deer, hogs and bear.

So double or triple your fun with a pump gun combo, and you’ll most certainly get more bang for your hard-earned buck.

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