Mossberg Duck Commander 535
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- Last updated: 19/05/2017
This is the next in the Duck Commander series, having tested the 930 semiautomatic version recently.
The 535 is the pump action version of the Mossberg’s Duck Dynasty homage and being a pump action is probably more widely used, knowing the American affinity for this genre of shotgun. It’s a no-nonsense, chuck it about sort of shotgun, especially with the camo clad synthetic stock, and with its 3.5-inch chambers, is a good performer too. You have a 28- inch multi choked barrel and the 535 is available as section 1 or 2.
I set up this 535 both as a shotgun for normal shells, as well as a spot of buckshot and slug loads with a scope rail and compact Bushnell Trophy scope.
Being a pump action, it’s a very simple system that has been designed to be quite frankly idiot proof and perform in all weather conditions and even with the lack of routine maintenance. The actual pump of the 535 locks solidly enough but with enough play to allow debris to not interfere with the cycling. There are twin operating rods connecting the forend to the bolt body running free between the barrels and magazine and then guide rails within the action body. These are steel and blued, so I would certainly recommend protective lube here.
The action is an all-alloy construction with separate trigger group beneath. The top is drilled and tapped for a scope mount, that I utilised and the back slopes down for the safety. The bolt is blackened and has the Mossberg logo etched into it and has a double claw extractor to it for really positive extraction of a spent case. This is then flung out of the action via contact with the cases rim with a sprung metal spur sited into the left of the receiver wall.
This is screwed into place and so can be replaced very easily if damaged- smart move. This is a 3-shot model and so rack open, drop a case into the chamber, rack forward the forend and then load two more cases into the magazine via the open orifice, as the 535 is laid on its back. The magazine lifter is small and only operated to lift a new case from the magazine as the forend is pumped rearward. All of the action is clad in the Realtree Max 5 Wetlands pattern, which I think is their best for any shooting environment.
The barrel is 28-inches long and comes with three Accu chokes that fit flush to the 535`s muzzle, these being ¼, ½ and full choke and suitable for steel shot too. A very simple flat choke key is supplied, so that the 535 can be slug gun, an open spreading woods walk up gun, to high birds and geese.
The barrel has a full-length rib and quite wide at 10mm with serrations along the entire top and a 15mm Day-Glo red bead with green surrounding at the muzzle. Half way down the rib is a grub screw, which can be removed and a second bead fitted if one desires. As is, it’s highly visible.
As with most semis and pumps, the trigger is housed in a group that can be easily removed from the action by knocking out some cross pins. It aids maintenance and cleaning with dirty ammo, or removal of mud or grit. It’s nonadjustable and breaks at 5.75lbs weight, so pretty standard. I like the safety being on the top rear section of the action. It’s very handy and perfectly placed to see if it is on or off.
Forward is off and a red dot is visible and you are good to shoot; in the rear position, the trigger is locked. When the action is cocked, a small lever drops down from behind the rear of the trigger guard. This is the pump action unlock lever that when pushed up allows the locked action to be opened if necessary, to remove a loaded round.
Clad in the same Realtree Max 5 camo that further enhances visually and practically the urethane stock beneath. It’s quite a light stock, with the tough outer shell over the lighter, inner form but it’s a simple pump action, you do not need anything more. There is no cast, a low comb and no cheekpiece, so the 535 will fit anyone and the length of pull is very short at 14-inches, which I found a bit alarming when shooting heavy recoiling slug loads! Although the large ventilated black rubber recoil pad, with nice grippy surface, helps tame recoil.
The pistol grip was slim, like the 935 model, with moulded in chequering but I like a bigger pistol grip but the forend with the same style chequering is fine and there are sling swivel stud to the barrel retaining nut and a moulded in loop to the butt section.
I shot the Mossy really as a slug gun for testing some reloads but obviously most will use this as a pellet only shogun. As such, I shot three loads on the pattern boards at 30-yards and as I had the slugs, the choke used was the ¼.
Very good all round load this one that has performed admirably in the past. It had a 30-gram load of No 6 shot with a plastic wad and shot some nice even patterns with the ¼ choke.
I had a total of 154 pellets hitting the board, of which 110 were in the outer sectors and 44 were within the 15- inch inner circle. A little top heavy but good spread and no real holes in the pattern.
This is a fibre wadded load with good patterns from previous guns and the Duck Commander pump was no exception. The 30-gram load of No 5 shot a total of 139 pellets, with 101 in the outer 30-inch sector and 38 in the central sector. Despite the larger shot size and less pellets than the Eley Pigeon Select, the Mossy shot very even patterns.
This load can be a nice all round round but it spread more from the ¼ choke used compared to the other loads tested. I shot a 32-gram No 6 load with fibre wad and achieved 124 pellets on the board at 30-yards, 93 of which were in the outer regions and 31 with in the inner sector. Evenly spread but a bit sparse in sections.
As I said, I used the 535 as a slug gun and had some great groups at 50 yards from the ¼ choke fitted. I shot a wide variety from Brenneke, Gualandi, Cervo slug, Remington Slugger, Winchester and S&B. The Winchester are typical Foster type slugs and shot very well at 2.5- to 3-inch groups at 50-yards. I fitted a UTG scope mount and a Bushnell 1-4 x 24mm Trophy XLT scope, which complimented the Mossy well.
The Brennekes group into four-inches, whilst the Cervo and Gualandi reloads shot as expected, with tight 1.5- to 2.0-inch groups (my reload data will be in a future article).
No surprises with any of the Mossberg range; tough, well made pretty indestructible and a good price, they also pattern and shoot well. Other than a few size issues for me (I am tall) the Mossberg Duck Commander 535 is an all-round 12g pump that gets the job done.