Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mossberg 590: "Buy A Gun Day" 2007

Yeah, I bought the Mossberg ("Security") 590 rather than the Remington 870 shotgun last week, because of the comparisons which I cited in my original post. After a couple of range sessions, I've learned a LOT about this gun and about "Practical Shotgun" issues in general. I have a lot yet to learn, but as of today (my second Range Session with the shotty), I have some new information to bring to the table.

The first thing I have to offer is actually something of a revelation to me, although it shouldn't be.

When you buy a new gun, you have to practice with it before you can claim any degree of expertise.

Even though I've been shooting guns of all types (name a type ... I've shot it, if it was invented before 1970 and it's a man-personal firearm) for fifty + years, I've just learned that I don't know much about what I will henceforth refer to as "Practical Shotgun".

Last Monday, April 16 (the day after I bought the shotgun) I spent about an hour on the range with SWMBO and the 590. First thing I learned is that when you're shooting Buckshot (#4, #00 and #000), that stuff makes a helluva kick. SWMBO said it was 'fun' and I wasn't about to contradict her since it was the first time she ever shot a shotgun and I didn't want to contradict her. But it kicked me around pretty good. I didn't have a bruise, but I had a lot of aches that I couln't account for otherwise.

Today, I met The Hobo Brasser at the Albany Rifle & Pistol Club range and gave the Mossberg a good workout. I shot the 590 with two loads of birdshot ... my #7-1/2 downloaded from 1-1/2 oz to 1 oz of shot, and his #6 birdshot. I also shot his 1100 in 20 gauge, and his autoloader (sorry, I hope The Hobo will tell usthe make and model) 12 gauge semi-auto "Practical Shotgun".

The FIRST thing I learned was not news to me: when you have a shotgun with a rigid stock, and it's too short fora physiognomy which only can be described as a "Beer-bellied Spider Monkey", a slip-on rubber recoil pad can make a HUGE difference!

The second thing I learned is that a shotgun which is sold as a 'security'
shotgun (ie: home defense) with a 20" barrel is NOT to be compared to a Winchester Model 12 "Featherweight" with a 28" + barrel and Birdseye Maple stocks. At least, not in terms of perceived recoil and definately in terms of indexing between targets and MOST definately in terms of pellet pattern when the Model 12 is a Full Choke and the 590 is a smooth-bore no-choke "cylinder" barrel.

I'm minded of the Star Trek movie "Undiscovered Country" here, if only because everthing I thought I knew about shotgun shooting just went out the window.

The Model 12 was set up for bird shooting. It was a fine trap-gun, because with the long full-choke barrel I could take my time shooting Clay Pigeons and pick up the last bird of a double ... often a triple ... when it was no more than 4' off the ground. Back in the '60's I was pretty smug about keeping up with my father's Beretta over/under with modified/IC choke on the trap range. If my fathere was still alive today, he would be chuckling about my new-found modesty. In fact, I can't help but think that he's looking down on me and smirking about my humiliation when the parameters of shotgun shooting have changed so dramatically .... although the word "parameters" would never have occured to him.

What he would have said was: "Kicked your butt, did it? 'Bout time, Boy!"

Yeah, it kicked my butt and it was all my fault.

I wasn't PREPARED for this kind of stuff, darn it!


The thing is, the pump on the 590 is lighter than I was accustomed to (years back, when I used shotguns much more frequently than I have recently) with a much heavier forward slide grip.

With the massive Birds-eye Maple forward slide grip, it was enough just to overcome inertia and get it moving. By the time it got to the end of its travel, it just naturally always locked into battery.

With the much lighter material, you have to muscle the pump to get it to reliably lock into battery, and I haven't got into the habit of SLAMMING the pump forward.

As a consequece, I 'very often' don't have a round completely chambered when I pull the trigger.

And it shows.

The Hobo Brasser was very patient about filming me as I took on a six-plate rack, and I have to say that the first run through worked perfectly. I hit every plate just right, and my trigger speed increased from the first plate to the last.

Unfortunately, there was a 'wardrobe malfunction' with the camera so I don't have a video of a good, clean run.

What I DO have is a whole series of videos where I either missed a plate, or (more frequently) I short-stroked the slide and while I was ready to shoot, the shotgun was not.

No, it's not the fault of the gun. It's just something that I don't consistently do right. Someday I'll get it right, every time. But today, it's just an exhibition of what NOT to do with your Practical Shotgun.

Ultimately, the 'last thing' I learned (but really the 'thing' I should have already realized) is that I need to find a spot on my loading bench where I can install my antiquated Lyman Versa-Mec Progressive Shotshell Reloader.

Lucy, you gotta lot of 'splaining to do.

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