I’ve gotten spoiled on gas-operated automatic shotguns. Chalk it up to laziness, old age or the long term effects of a shoulder rebuild; I just like them. What I really wanted was one with the simplicity, reliability and durability of a Glock. I just may have found it in the Mossberg 930. Its gas system is AK47 simple, controls are in the right places and it’s generally overbuilt. This model has a lightweight aluminum receiver, but bolt lockup is steel on steel via a barrel extension. Threegun competition has proven the 930’s ability to withstand hard use.
Of course it’s a price-point shotgun. You might get one that’s essentially OK or will de-burr itself in the first hundred rounds. But serious burrs on shell catches, recoil springs, plungers, mag tubes & followers are common- and they can interfere with function. The good news is that the 930’s popularity in competition has resulted in user-mods galore- and substantial engineering toward enhancing it. If you can visit or3gun and NOT want to buy something for your 930, you’ve got more willpower than I do.
My Mossberg 930 Field/Security Combo came with a ported, 28″ Vent Rib with a Fiber Optic sight and an 18.5″ barrel with a plain brass bead. Stock pitch spacers, three choke tubes and a wrench for same complete this utilitarian package. My particular specimen came with a knurled, oversize bolt handle. It also had the standard Mossberg synthetic stock burr, guaranteed to draw blood if you don’t clean it up. My old Case XX Stockman made short work of that.
I didn’t do the ‘pre-clean’ we often hear about; I just crammed the shotgun full of shells and commenced firing. If you believe the internet, cheap field loads are Kryptonite to the Mossberg 930. This one chugged through 300 rounds of Winchester Universals, Federal’s ‘Multipurpose’ field load and another 150 assorted slugs & 00 buck in two days, with no cleaning at all and no failures of any kind. This is significant to me because we burn 600-1000 shot shells each summer. For 95% of the shooting we do, Walmart hundred packs work fine.
The field barrel patterned a little high and the short barrel printed slugs 8” high and 4” left, at 25 yards. I finally noticed I was seeing too much barrel–with both barrels–when I mounted the gun quickly. I could smash clays as long as I snapped the gun under them and fired instantly; but when I swung the bead through them as usual, I’d chip them or miss them. I was also getting smacked in the cheek when I hunkered down enough far enough to see only the bead. Something was amiss here.
I’ve never claimed to be anything more than an armorer-level gun mechanic and never concerned myself with the alchemy of stock drop, cast-off etc. Mossberg 930’s come with a set of spacers to adjust the rise or drop at the comb, so I installed the .250 drop spacer and shouldered the gun. That quarter inch of drop made the shotgun point naturally. While I was at it, I pulled the red fiber-optic sight off the sporting barrel and installed it on the 18 1/2″ barrel.
Two Winchester slugs from 25 yards and a round of 00 buck, from 15 yards, confirmed the benefits of the stock adjustment. The windage error with slugs is all but gone, probably because I’m not bulldozing the stock with my face anymore.
After several hundred trouble-free rounds, with no cleaning whatsoever, I decided to push my luck a little. A clear cold night was forecast, with lows around zero, so I parked my poor dirty automatic out in the snow for the night. A box containing a dozen Universals and a few rounds of Winchester buck & slugs, was left outside as well. We live back near the end of civilization, so don’t try that in Gotham City. It was -2 degrees at first light and my new Mossberg was sparkling with frost.
I dropped a Universal in the chamber and pushed the bolt release. The bolt crept forward and locked into battery. Oh, that wasn’t pretty. I thumbed four more shells the magazine and prepared myself for a big let-down, as I placed the first bird on the thrower. The Mossberg 930 functioned every time and five clay birds vanished from the sky. The slugs and buckshot were depleted on random targets as fast as I could load and fire them. Subzero air assaulted my teeth as I walked toward the house, grinning like an idiot. Here we have an automatic shotgun that runs with everything, runs filthy and doesn’t mind getting tossed in the snow for the night.
The Mossberg 930… a rugged and reliable automatic shotgun.