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Mossberg 930 SPX Range & Bench Report

BigslugBigslug Posts: 9,875 Senior Member
In case you missed the last post, I've been helping a relative with a new HD shotgun. Wrist deterioration issues are rendering the continued safe operation of a pump action questionable, so a semi-auto was deemed necessary. The Benelli M4 was considered, but as this will be strictly an "In case of emergency , break seal" weapon, it was deemed to be an excessive expense. The Mossberg got researched and chosen. The gun got picked up and I continued my assistance by carrying out the initial break in and zeroing. We ended up going with the 18" version with ghost ring sights and the standard, hunting configuration stock.

First off, I am very impressed with the handling of this shotgun. My major issue with semi auto shotguns in the past has been the feeling of a lot of reciprocating mass creating extra movements in the firing cycle. With pumps and break opens, you get recoil and any other motion is generated by you in a time and manner of your choosing. With some of the semis I've fired previously, there's a lot of disorienting "click, clack, thud" going on. This thing is very smooth with both low recoil and magnum 2 3/4" rounds. More on what I perceive to be the reason for this in a little bit.

Zeroing was a fairly simple process. The gun came with the rear sight's elevation cranked up a bit. Since LPA sights provide some elevation adjustment on the front sight, I bottomed that out for maximum elevation, which allowed me to drop the back down a few clicks. Windage was spot on from the factory at the sight's mechanical center and it was putting slugs at the 25 yard point of aim in about five rounds. With buckshot, no real surprises. It seems to have a decently patterning barrel with old school rounds, but since even a Pilgrim's blunderbuss would pattern tightly with the super-slick Federal Flight Control ammo this thing will be running on, I didn't get overly scientific about it.

The magazine loads with an amazing amount of smoothness - very little resistance to the shells going in, regardless of whether it's round 1 or round 7. The gun unloads very simply as well; push up the carrier and press the bolt release and it spits out a shell. Repeat until the magazine is empty and then jack the round out of the chamber. No need to reach inside and fiddle with shell latches. From an operator's perspective, the gun couldn't be simpler.

Tear down is uncomplicated, though a little busy in the gas system department (typical of semi auto shotguns), and as with any disassembly of a new weapon, it's a good idea to lay stuff out in the order and orientation it came off the gun until you fully understand what goes where. The barrel is extremely stout, following the lead of Mossbergs beefy, 590A1 government contract guns. The barrel ring is equally beefy, as is the piston it contains. Behind that is an aluminum tube acting as a pusher that bears on a synthetic housing containing two metal rods with go back into the receiver to shove the bolt back. Behind that is a coil spring which serves to push the same parts forward back into battery. The initial impression is that this is a little cheesy, but then you realize that it was built this way to cut down on reciprocating weight, adding to the smoothness of the gun's operation. Since these parts are merely going back and forth along the magazine tube and are protected externally by the forend, they don't take a lot of stress.

The bolt assembly is pretty much a copy of what Remington has been doing in their pumps and autos since 1950. The bolt rides on a slide plate containing a cam block. The bolt moves into battery and the cam block shoves a locking block up into a recess in the top of the barrel. The extractor is likewise heavily borrowed from Remington (or Glock, Sako, Sig, etc..). Simple and bombproof.

The trigger guard/housing is a sturdy aluminum casting, and the whole trigger unit is beefy simplicity. I expect all one would ever need to do to take care of it would be give it an occasional bath in gentle solvents and oil the spring pistons. Since the trigger is held in with two push-pins, I expect to see side-saddle options very soon.

My negatives are fairly minor. The magazine spring is very long and therefore difficult to compress enough to get back into the magazine and extension. Fortunately, the magazine extension has a small hole in the front. My solution was to straighten out a coat hanger, run it through this hole and through the center of the spring and into the magazine. This keeps the spring from launching out to the side while guiding it back into the gun.

I'm not a fan of tang safeties for combat shotguns. There is a valid market for shoulder stocks with pistol grips that allow an operator to run the gun more easily while the support hand may be busy opening doors. A pistol grip makes rapid access to a tang safety (on or off) problematic. I wish they had gone to a Garand-type safety, which would solve both the location and southpaw issues in one fell swoop. I'm also not crazy about Mossberg's plastic safety, but seeing as Vang Comp makes inexpensive metal replacements, I won't lose a lot of sleep over it.

The magazine cap/extension bears directly against the plastic forend with no form of locking detent that I could detect. I would be comforted by the presence of something there to generate a "lock washer" effect. On this particular gun at least, the back of the forend has a little up and down play - not a functional issue, just a little distracting.

My overall assessment is that while the Benelli M4 is unquestionably the Bugatti Veyron of combat shotguns, the Mossberg 930 is 90% or more of the gun for about 30% of the money. Like the Benelli, you can hang a lot of empty cases in the air before the first one hits the ground, and one does not appear perceptibly harder to keep on target than the other while doing so. The gas system of the Benelli is what truly sets it apart from the crowd in terms of simplicity, ease of maintenance, and general lack of maintenance required, but for the extra thousand bucks, one can buy an awful lot of cleaning supplies. Mossberg has marketed one hell of a good shotgun, it's made in the U.S., and it's cheaper than any of its real competition. Daddy like!

"Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee


  • Big ChiefBig Chief Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Good review Bigslug. You get one fer yourself yet?

    BTW about what do they cost?
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • BigslugBigslug Posts: 9,875 Senior Member
    This one was on sale for about $600.

    One for me? Probably not. Another short shotgun is rather far down my list of priorities.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Posts: 5,463 Senior Member
    Glad you like it. Now when you get stocked up on goodies for it, give me a call!
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • cappy54cappy54 Posts: 269 Member
    Very good report but as to the Benelli the SPX will out run it any day as i have stated based on personal experience for half the price, Good Choice. :cool2: :worthy: :applause: :applause:
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Posts: 5,463 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »

    BTW about what do they cost?

    I paid a little over 400 for my plain 930 with a 28" and 18.5" barrel. Field and security combo it was called if I remember correctly.
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • Uncle BSUncle BS Posts: 380 Member
    This one got me thinking. Is there anywhere that offers an affordable short barrel for my Benelli Nova. It would be nice to keep an 18" or so on it until duck season. So far all I have found are barrels that cost almost as much as a new gun, and I don't want one that bad.
  • temmitemmi Posts: 230 Member
    Good review Thanks a LOT
  • BigslugBigslug Posts: 9,875 Senior Member
    One minor update: The re-installation of the magazine spring was easily simplified. The front of the steel magazine tube is closed off with a plastic cap. The original hole in that cap was easily drilled out to a slightly larger diameter that allowed insertion of a .22 caliber cleaning rod. MUCH easier than trying to get a coat hanger straight enough, tough that's still an acceptable field-expedient.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
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