Shotguns were the gateway firearm to my hunting addiction. As an adult, I started shooting shotguns at a trap field with a rented shotgun, after that, I couldn’t get enough of making tiny clouds of clay. My pangs were so strong that I borrowed shotguns until I saved enough money to purchase a nice semiautomatic upland scattergun. The great thing about shooting a shotgun is that an inexpensive, no-frills shotgun can be as fun and effective to shoot as an expensive shotgun with exotic wood and engraved receiver. Once I shot sporting clays with a home-defense shotgun. Despite having a barrel 8 inches shorter than a typical wing shooting shotgun, I knocked down a lot of clays. My friend’s eyes bugged out watching me hit clay after clay. Fun is fun.
- Type: Gas-operated, semiautomatic shotgun
- Gauge: 12; 3-in.
- Stock: Synthetic Stock
- Overall Length: 48.5 in.
- Capacity: 5 rds.
- Weight: 7.75 lbs.
- Barrel Length: 28 in.
- LOP: Fixed at 14 in.
- Sight: Fiber-optic (front)
- Finish: Mossy Oak Shadwograss Blades
- MSRP: $874
- Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons
Having the right tool for the right job helps eek out the most enjoyment of the sport. When I was invited to go waterfowl shooting, I didn’t want to risk water damage to the wood on my upland shotgun. Falling in the water or being pelted by hours of rain is not uncommon when waterfowl hunting, so I knew I needed a shotgun designed for the wet environment of a waterfowl blind.
Enter the Mossberg 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl, a 12 gauge, gas operated semi-automatic shotgun designed to take the abusive environment of waterfowl hunting. The 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl is an evolution of Mossberg’s JM Pro-Series Shotgun, but is purposefully built to tackle the wet conditions of waterfowl shooting. The most obvious visual distinctions of the Mossberg 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl from its forefather are the Mossy Oak Shadwograss Bladed pattern from stock to muzzle, 28-inch barrel length, and 5-shell capacity.
The more important features and the reason to consider the 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl lay under the hood. Knowing water’s corrosiveness, Mossberg protected some of the critical components with anti-corrosive finishes and materials. The recoil spring housing has a nickel boron finish while the recoil spring is stainless steel. Underneath the forearm the magazine tube, piston, piston seals, all receive a boron nitride finish. After repeated use in a dirty blind, grime can bind the piston and cause cycling problems. The boron nitride coating is a lubricious finish which will reduce grime’s ability to establishing a firm foothold on your parts, thus making it an easier surface to clean.
The vented 28-inch barrel is chambered for 3-inch shells, has a five-round magazine, and is shipped with 5-inch wooden dowel which reduces the magazine capacity to three. At the muzzle, sits a red fiber optic front sight. The 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl comes with three flush chokes: Improved Cylinder, Modified, and Full. A steel stamped choke key is included. Mossberg’s famous thumb safety sits atop the rear of the receiver, making it easy to engage or disengage regardless if you’re a left or righty. Push it forward and you’ll see a large red dot indicating its ready to fire. The receiver is pre-drilled to accept a Picatinny Rail/Scope Mount. To sling the 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl, attach a sling swivel to the magazine cap and stock and you’re ready to head afield.
The black trigger is crescent shaped with a tiny bit of takeup and breaks softly but cleanly. The trigger press felt light and this was confirmed by the Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge; five presses averaged 4 pounds, 8 ounces. A small pin on the interior the front of the trigger guard serves as the cocking indicator. If it protrudes into the interior of the guard, the action is cocked. The length of pull is fixed 14 inches and comes with two additional stock spacers to raise or lower the drop of the stock.
One of the first things I check when I get a new shotgun is how well it fits me. I typically fine tune the length of pull and drop-at-comb. Since the length of pull is fixed, there isn’t any adjustment. Fortunately, my nose landed in the right spot on the comb. When checking the drop at the comb, there was no need for adjustment either. The 930 was dead on for me and this showed in the field.
The Pro-Series Waterfowl weighs 7 pounds, 12 ounces and has an overall length of 48.5 inches. Its balance point sits at the junction of the barrel and receiver. While not a featherweight, the shotgun is easy to point and has just the right heft that it makes tracking a bird steadily and controllably without overswinging easy. The stock shoulders nicely and the Mossberg branded rubber stock pad is thick enough to soften felt recoil considerably.
Take a look at Mossberg’s firearms line and you’ll notice that their firearms are not overly designed. There is nothing fancy about them, utility and functionality are the focus — which is a good thing. We see this in the forearm design, the simple shallow groove running length-wise on both sides is large enough for fingers to roost while the underside fills the palm. A 5/8-inch wide strip of checkering is found on the underside of the forearm while a swath of checkering is found on each side of the grip. There are no swooping contoured angles in the forearm, it’s boxy and linear but it works well. The checkering offers the right amount of traction allowing the shotgun to stay firmly planted in my hands as it recoils and I swing wide from one flying target to the next.
Loading shells into the magazine port was easy and without trauma to my thumb. I can’t believe how many quality shotguns I’ve loaded where I must shove my thumb forcefully to overcome the stiction of the follower or spring tension to feed a shell into the magazine or find sharp, protruding edges that mangle my thumb. Fortunately, Mossberg has this figured out, the magazine spring was very compliant when accepting shells.
For this evaluation, I shot 350 rounds of shotshells over three trips to the range. Shotshells included light target loads and high-velocity waterfowl loads. Through my evaluation. I had zero hiccups. The shotgun just wants to keep running. Operation of the shotgun was effortless with or without gloves. The bolt handle is grooved and large enough to grab without slipping. The trigger guard accommodated gloves without feeling cramped.
The only issue I had with the shotgun occurred after 270 rounds when the front fiber optic rod fell out of its housing. This is not unusual for a fiber optic sight. Once you get to know your shotgun, a front sight isn’t necessary, but I like having one for quick reference. It would be handy if Mossberg includes one replacement fiber optic rod.
Cleaning a gas-operated shotgun can be messy compared to blow back systems since the gases get redirected from the barrel to the internals of the piston. Carbon quickly builds up on the exterior of the magazine tube and piston. With the Pro-Series Waterfowl, field stripping is easy and cleaning the piston and magazine tube is not a big headache thanks to the boron nitride finish. You’ll have to use a nylon bristle brush to remove some of the baked-on carbon, but with a good cleaner it will break it down easily.
Overall, the 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl shotgun was easy to point and shoot out of the box. From the onset, I shot this as well as any other shotgun that I’ve spent a lot of time with and some that were twice as expensive. It’s a testament to the Mossberg’s design philosophy of providing a well-functioning shotgun at an affordable price. Their reputation for building rugged, reliable shotguns instills confidence that the 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl is a smart choice for waterfowl shooting.
For more information about the Mossberg 930 Pro Series Waterfowl, click here.
To purchase a Mossberg 930 on GunsAmerica, click here.