For all intents and purposes, the whole month of September is a holiday in the state of Texas. Of course, Labor Day is the first Monday in September – three day weekend, BBQs, etc… But what September signifies to Texans is the start of dove season. It is absolute hysteria. In Texas some hunt deer, some hunt hogs, others hunt ducks or exotics, but everybody hunts dove. For reasons we’ll discuss shortly, I wanted to review the Mossberg 930, but hold that thought.
For the 2019 season, I was particularly focused on the second weekend of September. The plan: leave Dallas/Fort Worth at 4 am on Thursday with my buddy Jon, drive to Albuquerque NM, get a hotel, wake up early Friday morning, shoot all ten stages of the USPSA 2019 High Desert Classic, after the match drive to the family ranch in the panhandle of Texas where we would meet JD and Mo, predator hunt all night, get two hours of sleep, wake up, dove hunt, and repeat until we leave Sunday afternoon. We were really maxing out the schedule, but that’s just what you do on a guys weekend.
Why the Mossberg 930?
I was most looking forward to dove hunting. The other activities are awesome, but I get to do those all year. Between my personal armory, SHWAT™, and connections through the Texas Gun Experience, I can pretty much shoot any shotgun I fancy. Beretta, Benelli, Browning, Remington, and others are all on the menu. This year I decided to choose something a little bit different and went with the Mossberg 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl. I have always respected Mossberg’s 590 Series so it made sense to check out their 930.
930 Looks Matter
First things first. The 930 Waterfowl edition looks slick. Covered in a Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo pattern, it reminds me that I grew up lusting for such things. I hunted with old beat-up single shots while friends camo covered auto-loaders seemed to taunt me. Yes, “it’s the Indian, not the arrow” remains true, but it helps to have nice arrows and if they look good you get bonus points. High Schoolers like to flex with the coolest new phone or gadget, and, like it or not, dove hunters like to flex with their shotty’s. When your hunting buddy says, “Sweet shotty, bro!” life is all good. Under the camo pattern, the Mossberg sports clean, traditional shotgun lines.
930 Looks Don’t Matter
Looks don’t matter if the gun doesn’t work. My ammo choice for the Mossberg 930 Waterfowl edition was shotgun shell soup, or shell soup for short. What is shell soup? Well, I have this ammo container containing red, blue, green, yellow, and black shells. Some of these are 6 shot, some 7, some 8, and others remain unknown. That’s why I call it shell soup. Got it? Well, Mikey liked it. I put around 100 rounds of shell soup through the Mossberg and it ate everything. Not a single hiccup. I know what you’re thinking… 100 rounds can’t come close to telling us much about the Mossberg 930’s abilities. Granted, but based on past experiences I expected at least a stovepipe or two.
The Mossberg Shotgun Safety
The Mossberg 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl features something very new to me, but not new to Mossberg: A top-mounted safety selector. The majority of shotgun designs I know I know place the safety somewhere on the trigger guard. I didn’t give this much thought as the first bird came in. Flying the tree line, right-to-left, about 70 yards out it then turns, heading straight for me.
Oh yeah baby, dove season is about to get started!
I wait until the timing is right, pull up the 930, look down the raised vent rib, acquire the fiber optic red bead, and line up the bird. I have it dead-to-rights and pull the trigger. Nothing happens.
Crap! The safety dummy!
So, I take my finger off the trigger and start fumbling for the safety. I can’t find it, everything feels flush, so it must be off, right?
I quickly realign my shot and try pulling the trigger again. Nothing! I take the gun off of my shoulder, rotate it 90 degrees, and look down at the top-mounted safety as the dove flies right over my head… Yep… What’s worse than that is a couple of minutes later I repeat the entire failure process again. JD, in particular, finds great pleasure in observing my angst. I, however, do not.
After those first few mishaps, everything is smooth as a perfectly polished barrel. Maybe I should have thought about the safety position a little more to begin with, but no doubt, I’m thinking about it now. Running the gun properly throughout the next two days I think over the pros and cons of Mossberg’s placement of the safety on the 930 and other shotguns. I conclude that the top mounted safety beats the trigger guard safety design. Why? It’s safer, especially when you are flipping the safety back on.
Most safeties are less than half an inch away from the trigger when mounted on the trigger guard. When you think about that in conjunction with factors such as weather, gloves, adrenaline, and inexperience, you can start to see a host of potential problems. For this reason alone, I have pretty much made up my mind that when it comes time for my kids’ first shotguns I will go with Mossbergs.
Mossberg 930 Build Quality
Mossberg didn’t spend much money or do anything crazy with the stock or forend, but it’s a shotgun designed to live in a duck blind. The 930 is a tool that is going to get wet and beat up. Babying the thing is not something I want to worry about. Mossberg did, however, spend some money where it counts by boron nitriding the bolt and using a stainless steel recoil spring. This thing stands up to the abuse water fowlers put it though, so it should be able to survive chasing doves in a sunflower field without a problem.
Okay, we know the Mossberg 930 looks good, chugs shells, and utilizes a top-mounted safety, but it is time to get down to business. Wing hunters pay attention. The gun points nicely. When I shoulder 930 the bead is right where it needs to be. In my case, I’m not too high or too low on the rib (though it comes with a shim kit if this isn’t the case for you). The 28-inch barrel is well balanced. With a gas operated loading system, the 930 weighs 7.75 lbs, less than a gallon of water. The soft honeycomb recoil pad soaks up recoil which allows for fast follow up shots. If you don’t believe me, just look up some videos of Jerry Miculek shooting a Mossberg 930. Here’s one for you:
Final Thoughts on the Mossberg 930
What do we have when it’s all said and done? In my opinion, a good looking, no frills, down to business autoloader that is reliable and will stand up to abuse. Not really much to see here, because that is what a waterfowl shotgun is supposed to do, right? Yes, but the Mossberg 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl comes to the market with an MSRP of $794. That’s about half the price of the majority of the competition. Well done, Mossberg.