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The Magnificent Mossberg

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(Ran across this article while researching shotguns and thought you guys might like it.) smile.gif

 

The Magnificent Mossberg

 

Solid, reliable and hard-hitting, the 590 soldiers on in Iraq.

 

* By Jeremy Stafford

525

Marines and sailors from Alpha 1/5 practice mob control using 12-gauge pump guns. USMC photo by L/Cpl. J.J. Harper

 

 

The Del Mar Area Armory, Camp Pendleton, January 16, 2003.

I was arguing with the armorer, trying to finagle some long guns for the major and myself, and I was getting nowhere; my pleadings were falling on deaf ears. After about five minutes, an unnamed lieutenant colonel snarled, "Stafford, you and your buddy Coast are going to be advising in the rear, you don't need a damn long gun."

 

A Rescue by MPs

Those words will forever be seared into my mind. About two weeks later at Camp Commando in Kuwait, I was approached by Lt. Col. Pete Zarcone (a finer officer of Marines you could not find). He asked me in his own sweet way, "Hey, dumbass, where's your long gun?"

 

I related the previous colonel's comments, to which he replied, "Well you better [expletive deleted] one up because you're going in with 3rd Tracs--welcome to the armored infantry." Luckily, I had been conducting quite a bit of training with the MPs, and a Lt. Hoffman took pity on me. I was provided with three very worn Mossberg model 590s and one "much loved" M16A2 for my team. It was decided that I would take one of the Mossbergs and Maj. Mark Coast (my boss, another fine officer) would take the M16. We came to this as a matter of practicality; I teach shotgun at my real job at the Los Angeles Police Department, and Coast is a federal agent who teaches the M16 to other feds. The other two shotguns would be held as less lethal munitions systems, but more on that later.

 

Getting Familiar

My small civil affairs team was attached to an Amtrac Battalion and tasked with keeping the main supply routes cleared and gathering what intelligence we could. I had become intimately familiar with the 590 and was very impressed with its inherent ruggedness. I also came to really appreciate the tang-mounted safety, which simplifies the manual of arms because it allows right- and left-handed shooters to access the safety while keeping all fingers clear of the triggerguard. Because the desert environment in Iraq is so unforgiving--think of brown talcum powder--I had my team cleaning their weapons every day. This gave me plenty of chances to appreciate the fact that the 590 seemed to collect less filth on its innards than the other weapons on my team, including my issue Beretta M9.

 

The 590 broke down easily for cleaning, and its rock-solid firing mechanism cleaned easily with a GP brush and an old sock (hey, you use what you got). Just as important, it went back together easily. The gun mounted easily even with my Interceptor vest in the way, and it balanced well while coming onto and tracking targets--eventually targets with AKs and bad intentions.

 

Various Loads

I had taken some of the LAPD duty ammunition with me to the sandbox just in case (yes, I am that paranoid), so the Mossberg was stoked with a mix of Winchester Ranger slugs and Federal Tactical 9 pellet 00 buckshot.

 

The trusted Mossberg was carried either support side, muzzle down while on foot or across my lap with muzzle to the door while seated in the Hummer. During our operations involving the locals, I would usually draw quite a crowd of wide-eyed civilians, usually small children, who would point at the Mossberg and yell, "Poomp akshun! Poomp akshun!"

 

When I asked my Free Iraqi Fighter, Bakir, about this, he told me that the locals did not have a word for pump action shotgun, so they just approximated ours. I thought this was pretty interesting, as I still couldn't understand what they were saying even when they were trying to speak English. The first week or so of the war was pretty uneventful--lots of driving and prisoner taking, some sniper fire and mortar rounds but nothing I would consider combat. That changed on April 2, 2003.

 

525

A Mossberg 590 with some items from the author's collection: The flag was captured from a military college.

 

Lights, Ba'athists, Action

 

Sumar, Iraq: We had received some information from a kid that our MP buddies had caught carrying an AK bayonet at a checkpoint outside of town. He told us that he carried the bayonet for protection against Regime Death Squad members that were holed up in the town's Ba'ath party headquarters. The thugs had been terrorizing the locals, torturing some of them and telling them that anyone caught talking to U.S. troops would be killed along with their families. They had also beaten the kid's father pretty badly last week, so he'd just love to show us where the cowards were hiding.

 

Finally, we thought, a chance to be proactive. Maj. Coast made the command decision to move into the town and attempt to take some prisoners and gather some hum-int. We gathered up a couple of Hummers full of our 1st Mar Div MP friends and sandboxed our plan of action. We got lots of good info from our new friend, including ingress, egress and specific structure information. The briefing went well, and we were soon moving in a convoy toward the town. There was only one way into the town, and that would prove to be to our disadvantage, as the enemy had posted a lookout.

 

By the time we reached the town proper, the enemy was moving into a hasty ambush position at a school building. As we moved into the town, I saw a man with an AK running across a courtyard to the convoy's left side. I called out the ambush and jumped from the Hummer to head him off at the mouth of the alley that he was running toward. In retrospect, I probably should not have moved away from the convoy, but I knew that the front of the convoy needed protection until the MPs could get their crew-served weapons into action.

 

I made another tactical mistake as I rounded the corner of the alley at full speed. As I came around the corner, the bad guy had me dead to rights. His finger was already on the trigger, and as I came into view he squeezed off a full-auto burst.

 

I didn't even stop. I ran right at him as I brought the Mossberg to bear. I remember everything seemed to slow down as I brought the Mossberg to my shoulder. The front bead came into my field of view, and I pressed the trigger a little too soon. The big Winchester slug slammed into the left side of the Ba'athist's pelvis, spinning him around and slamming him to the ground.

 

I'll give this to him--the guy was tough. He started crawling away and tried to shoot his AK behind him as he went. The next big Winchester slug tore through his spine between his shoulder blades, ending his hostile actions. The ensuing firefight only lasted about 10 minutes, but when it was over, 12 Fedayeen lay dead with only one minor injury to the good guys. The Mossberg's performance was predictably spectacular. During the firefight, several weapons went down temporarily, including one of the big M2 .50s. Not an issue with the 590: As long as I kept it fed, it kept working.

 

My Little Friend

Where I feel the Mossberg shines, and what is probably going to keep it in the Marine T/E for a while, is its versatility, especially in regard to less lethal situations. The Mossberg is able to digest any type of 12-gauge shell, three inches or shorter. This is regardless of the energy of the shell. It relies on the muscle of the shooter, not the muscle of the round, so low-power, less lethal rounds are mechanically a non-issue.

 

This is not the case with gas- and recoil-operated semiauto shotguns. They can be (and usually are) picky about what they like to digest. In fairness, the Marines' new Benelli seems to do fine with lower-powered rounds, but I have personally seen many gas guns unable to reliably function with the low-powered specialty rounds, especially when they're dirty. This is just a personal observation, and maybe the new Benelli will eventually prove me wrong. Until that time I will stick with a manually operated shotgun for less lethal work. I had the opportunity to see what the Mossberg could do in a less lethal situation on April 10, 2003.

 

525

The author and his teammates on the way to Baghdad. The chem suits are as hot and uncomfortable as they look. After a month in one, the smell was barely tolerable.

 

Option LTL

 

We had just moved into position at the Al Rasheed Military College on the outskirts of Baghdad. It wasn't long before we got word that there was some looting going on at one of the warehouses on the perimeter of the school. This turned out to be a typical Marine understatement. By "some looting," the lieutenant who gave us the information meant 300 to 400 Iraqi civilians in a feeding frenzy.

 

There were mothers with children stealing bags of rice, old women stealing fake plants and there was even a teenage boy stealing an empty filing cabinet drawer. Bakir got on the PA system that we had appropriated from the Army (thanks, guys) and jerry-rigged to one of our Hummers. He gave the order to cease and desist, and we gave a five-minute time limit.

 

The civilians seemed somewhat underwhelmed with the three Marines standing on line holding Mossberg shotguns at the low ready. They made the mistake of thinking that since we were kind enough to give a time limit, we must be weak. We made sure it was the last time they made that mistake. We moved on line shoulder to shoulder and began launching beanbag and fin-stabilized projectiles with withering accuracy.

 

Over the next 24 hours, eight Marines with three Mossbergs controlled the perimeter against at least 300 determined looters. Each Mossberg digested between 200 and 300 assorted rounds of beanbag and fin-stabilized LTL shotgun rounds. Accuracy was superb with both types of projectiles, with 20-yard beanbag hits and 30-yard fin-stabilized hits made with regularity. There was not a single malfunction between the three.

 

I later found out that one Mossberg had been riding around dust-encrusted in a Hummer for three days, and it didn't matter. The 590 just kept going. As an aside, this was the first time that the Marines had used dedicated LTL devices as a force multiplier during combat operations. I think it speaks volumes about the Corps' flexibility and Maj. Coast's foresight in insisting on having these resources available.

 

Observations

While writing this article, I borrowed a Military Model 590 from my good friend and the world's best armorer Randy Ojena. Upon picking up the gun from Randy, I was struck by how well the gun looked. The phosphate finish was uniform and evenly applied. The all-steel construction gave it a reassuring heft, and the speed-feed synthetic stock felt solid and strong. The gun was a little different than the one I carried, as it had a perforated heat shield, extended magazine and speed-feed stock.

 

It was still beautiful in its own Spartan way, definitely a far cry from the warhorse that I was used to. On the range, the Mossberg provided no surprises. The action locked up tight, and all controls operated crisply. I was again struck by how much I really like the tang-mounted safety, especially since I shoot with my primary thumb on top of the tang rather than around the stock. The trigger was more than up to the task and broke cleanly at about six pounds. The cylinder bore patterned well with everything I put through it, including some old Winchester 12-pellet 00 Buckshot that I had laying around. The 590 absolutely loved the new Federal Tactical 9-pellet 00 with the Flite Control wad. Using this innovative new round, I could keep all nine pellets in the head of a silhouette target out past 17 yards with monotonous regularity. As expected, there were no malfunctions of any kind.

 

This old warhorse's capabilities are going to keep it in the Marines' inventory for some time, and anyone looking for a versatile, capable home-defense shotgun would be hard pressed to do any better. I know that if I were going into harm's way, I'd stoke up this gun with some of that Federal Tactical and feel very good about my chances.

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View Post(Ran across this article while researching shotguns and thought you guys might like it

 

Observations

While writing this article, I borrowed a Military Model 590 from my good friend and the world's best armorer Randy Ojena. Upon picking up the gun from Randy, I was struck by how well the gun looked. The phosphate finish was uniform and evenly applied. The all-steel construction gave it a reassuring heft,

 

 

Does the 590 have a steel or aluminum receiver?

I've been told it was steel.

Others say it's aluminum.

Is the 590 that I can buy at a gun store available only as a "civilian model" w/ an aluminum receiver?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="

name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="
name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

 

best mossberg demo vid, complete with exploding cabbage head and duke nukem sound effectscwm27.gif

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No offense to the guys with mossbergs but thier receivers are pretty weak.

 

Stick with a nice machined receiver like Remington.

Heck the Ithica 37's are also alot nicer then the Moss.

 

peace..........

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View PostNo offense to the guys with mossbergs but thier receivers are pretty weak.

 

Stick with a nice machined receiver like Remington.

Heck the Ithica 37's are also alot nicer then the Moss.

 

peace..........

 

If the Marines don't break 'em, I don't think I would. smile.gif

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ALways thought of the Mossbergs as a rattle box. Have to shim slide against mag tube with a small stick to keep forearm from rattling,quiet and stealthy. I only have experience with the 500, 835 ultimag, but don't like em. To many parts to slide arm bridge, and carrier. Aluminum recievers just don't hold up on any gun.

 

I'll take the Remington 870 anyday!!

Mossbergupck.gif

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Gun videos are always a little fun, but .... considering how little I liked the recoil of a cheap Turkish double the one time I fired one, I doubt I'd like the recoil of a pump any better. I'll see about a semiauto when I finally go goose hunting.

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View PostIf the Marines don't break 'em, I don't think I would. smile.gif

 

 

 

I hear you Capwink.gif

 

From what i remember they had a single pump action slide bar which gave the pump a pretty loose feel.

 

I wasnt a big fan of the safty bieng on the top of the receiver either.

 

Im just saying this because i was a Rem guru and fell love with the 870, and 11-87. I know the Moss was always reliable and my buds took down some big whitetail shootong slugs of out them..icon14.gif

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I have used the mighty Ithacas while with LASD and the Remington 870. They are both fine weapons. Burbank PD (Southern California) switched to Mossbergs several years ago. We mounted ours vertical between the front seats of the patrol cars, so the barrels were sawed off to 13". Our armor, a Viet Nam Vet, put on ghost ring sites. We only use slugs. Well a new model was born. The guns were indistructable. The range gun has gone YEARS without cleaning. It started out as a test to see how long it would go before it would jam or just stop working. IT NEVER STOPPED. This is with THOUSANDS of rounds through it. Mossberg head of our gun. They came out and copied what our rangemaster had done and made it one of their models (for LEO only).

I have a 590 at home.

 

Matthew

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