Mossberg Model 930 Max 4 Semi Auto
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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
I remember my uncle having an old Mossy “bang and clang” pump action as he called it, that he used for everything around the farm from feral pigeons, rats, squirrels, rabbits, pigeons and even propping open the potato storage door!
Upping The Game
Mossberg certainly had a typically American kudos to their makeup offering cheap yet reliable shotguns which perhaps lacked a little in the looks departments. Now however there seems to be a little renaissance in the shotgun market, especially with cheap shotguns from Europe so American scatterguns have upped their game.
The Mossberg 930 is one such shotgun. The Model 930 is a semi auto mechanism, while the Model 500 is the pump version. The Mod.930 handles cartridges up to 3 inch magnum whereas the Mod.935 is set up for 3 ½ inch magnum loads.
It’s a robust reliable semi available in either SGC or FAC rating with a gas operated mechanism, with some nice touches (such as a Max 4 camo finish on this model) and vented or ported barrel.
This smoothbore is certainly aimed at the hunting market, which suits me. I live in the woods so I wanted to really test the Mossy in its natural environment against real targets as well as pattern plates and simulated rabbit targets to get an honest appraisal of the 930.
The 930`s a solid gun and that’s its greatest asset. This is helped by its robust feeling synthetic stock that contributes to the excellent handling characteristics of the Mossy. Length of pull was just over 14 inches, a little short for me but OK, and the rubber recoil pad gives grip at the shoulder and soaks up what little felt recoil there is. The form is typically sporter, simple yet practical with semi-low comb, nicely raked slim pistol grip for a positive grip aided by the moulded in chequering. The forend too is well formed with the same chequering and plenty long enough to get a grip with gloved hand or not, but it does have a little movement at its rear end.
Best of all, this model has a Max 4 Camo finish. Black synthetic is standard and cheaper but as a pure hunting tool the Max 4 is hard to beat. It gives an almost seamless finish to not only the stock but also the action and barrel area too. This coating has a great camo effect to stop any reflections that might spook your game and makes an effective imperious skin to repel the worst weather.
Barrel and Action
The gas operating system utilises dual ported gas vents with standard metal O rings that self regulate the mechanism as to strength of cartridge used. The action is a strong alloy construction that houses the blackened bolt that locks back on the last round. The single claw extractor was very hardy and we shot a lot of rounds through the 930 and other than light loads all the regular ammo was flung from the chamber with aplomb.
I had the 3 shot version with two in the mag and one up the barrel, with a simple solid formed cartridge lifter. The action top is drilled and tapped for scope mount use i.e. slugs or perhaps red dot sight.
The barrel is 28 inches long and comes with 3 Accu chokes that fit flush to the Mossy’s muzzle. A very simple key is supplied making choke removal and insertion pretty straight forward. The barrel has a full length rib of 10mm width which on a hunting gun gives a better visual key into your game in my view and is topped off with a 15mm Day-Glo red bead.
Best of all is the vented ports to the top of the barrel. Eight staggered vents to each side 4 inches back from the muzzle are one of the reasons why the Model 930 is so smooth to shoot. It really does reduce muzzle flip.
Trigger and Safety
Safety first - I have always liked the Mossberg safety right up there on the back hump of the action. Easily accessible for manual operation and – importantly – it is highly visible. Forward is off and a red dot is visible and you are good to shoot, in the back position the trigger is locked.
An extra safety feature that is visual and tactile is that when the action is cocked a small plunger protrudes down from the trigger guard that can be seen and felt with the trigger finger. It indicates the action is cocked but not if there is a round in the chamber.
The trigger is housed traditionally for semi automatic shotgun designs as a one piece easily removed unit that pops out of the action with the removal of two cross pins. It’s not adjustable and is heavy at 7.75 lbs pull weight on my scales, but in the field with a pigeon flighting in on you it’s the last thing on your mind.
Results and Field Tests
The pattern plates were set up at 30 yards and a selection of rabbit profiles were dotted about the field for a realistic shooting scenario and shot with the modified choke fitted.
Remington Shur Shot Field load 70mm length with a payload of 34 grams of No 4 Shot gave a muzzle velocity of 1222 fps and even patterns on the plates. There was a slight left hand bias to the pattern but 92 pellets were evenly spread in the 15 inch inner zone.
Gamebore Clear Pigeon load with 30 grams of No 6 shot in a 70mm length shot consistent 1258 fps velocities cycled the action cleanly and gave 89 pellets in 15 inches. There was a definite 12 o`clock bias to the group but it proved deadly in the woods against roosting pigeons though!
The Lyalvale Express Pigeon Special 65mm length with 29 grams of No 6 functioned flawlessly at 1192 fps velocity and patterned 87 pellets of its No 6 shot centrally.
Gamebore Pure Gold 65mm has a 28 gram payload of No 6 shot that shot at 1118 fps and again consistently centred the pellets on target and yielded 79 pellets within the kill zone.
Rabbit targets set out in the grassy field were walked up to and engaged realistically as you spotted them. The Remington Shurshot No 4 shot hit hard and concentrated the shot in the head and thorax area.
The Clear Pigeons were great for flighting pigeons in the evening across the fields and when we ventured into the woods for a static position as they came into roost, the pattern was great when letting them fly into the top part of the pattern.
The Mossberg was very mild to shoot thanks in part to the weight but also the ported barrel system. The action although not billed as a fast light weight bolt system felt very quick and positive and more importantly never jammed on the loads I tested.
It was interesting when testing the Mossberg 930 that three friends and I had several semi`s on test and three out of the four of us all wanted the Mossy when it came to shooting them!
Yes the Max-4 finish is more expensive, but so what! It’s better than plain black and more practical too.
The Mossberg 930 shoots really well, absolutely no hang ups unless you put through lightly loaded 2 ½” cartridges. It patterned well in the tests and accounted for many pigeons both flighting and roost shooting. The extra weight is a bonus on this gun as it settles the gun in the shoulder and the barrel venting system did work and you could feel the reduced muzzle flip when compared to other semis tested. Mossberg are making good, practical and affordable shotguns that are nigh on impossible to break.