Mossberg 930 Tactical Shotgun Review
Part 6 - Range Test
March 10, 2013

Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

In this part of my Mossberg 930 Tactical Shotgun review, I wanted to shoot a variety of shells through the shotgun to get an idea on point-of-aim versus point-of-impact, overall reliability and to take a look at some shot patterns through this shotgun.  I selected a variety of 2.75" shells, but unfortunately I didn't plan on my local stores being out of nearly all 3" shells due to the recent run on ammunition, so I was only able to get one box of 3" #5 shot but figured this would at least give me an idea on how it cycled 3" shells.  The types of ammunition used in this review are listed and shown below.


Figure 1
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

For the patterning part of the range test, I setup on a bench to have my best chance at also showing point-of-impact versus point-of-aim.

Figure 2
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

I shot each type of ammunition at 7 yards and then moved my target back to 21 yards and shot another round of shells.

Figure 3
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

The below targets show my results at 7 and 21 yards.  In a couple of cases, I only shot at 21 yards .  The Federal 7.5 shot shown below gives you a good example of how devastating bird shot can be at close ranges.  If you consider that 7 yards is really a long shot inside your home (21 feet), the pattern would only get more dense at half that distance which is more typical for an in-home encounter.

Federal 2.75" 7.5 Shot
Figure 4 - 7 Yards                                                 Figure 5 - 21 Yards
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review   Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

Although there were a several shots in the 2" center zone of the target using a turkey load, I wouldn't consider this fixed cylinder bore choke barrel to be suitable for turkey hunting because of the larger open areas near the center the target.  If I wanted this shotgun to do double duty, I would purchase another barrel specifically for hunting.

Winchester 3" 5 Shot
Figure 6 - 21 Yards
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

I continue to be impressed with the Hornady Varmint Express #4 buckshot.  At close range, it really stays together and at 21 yards, you have a very effective spread.

Hornady 2.75" #4 Buck
Figure 7 - 7 Yards                                                Figure 8 - 21 yards
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review   Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

I also continue to be impressed with the Hornady Critical Defense 00 Buckshot.  Like the #4 Buck, it stays together well at close range and then delivers great results at 21 yards.

Hornady 2.75" 00 Buckshot
Figure 9 - 7 Yards                                                Figure 10 - 21 Yards
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review   Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

I got interesting results from the Hornady Z-Max 00 Buckshot.  The pellet pattern seemed to produce a much greater spread than their normal Critical Defense 00 Buckshot.  At 7 yards it clearly had a larger spread and at 21 yards I had to shoot twice to get the results below.  For my first shot at 21 yards I shot at the center of the target and got a single pellet in the upper left quadrant.  For the second shot, I aimed at the bottom of the target ("2" position labeled) and got another 4 pellets to hit the target.  Clearly, I needed a larger target to see the true shot pattern but that was the largest target I had with me at the time.

Hornady 2.75" 00 Z-Max
Figure 11 - 7 Yards                                                Figure 12 - 21 Yards
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review   Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

The Winchester PDX 1 Defender  contains a 1 ounce rifled slug and three 00 buck plated pellets.  At both 7 and 21 yards, I feel this would be very effective out of the Mossberg 930 Tactical.  If you wanted to prepare for shooting farther distances with this ammunition, I suggest setting up targets out to 50 yards see where the point-of-impact will be versus point-of-aim along with total spread of the buckshot.

Figure 13 - Winchester PDX 1 Defender
Winchester PDX 1 Defender

Figure 13 - 7 Yards                                                Figure 14 - 21 Yards
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review   Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

The Winchester rifled slugs shot high at 25 yards, yet had a relatively tight group with 3 shots shown on the target below.  Just as I stated above, I suggest shooting at farther ranges to get a feel for how slugs will shoot if you plan to use these with your shotgun.

Figure 15 - Winchester Rifled Slugs at 21 Yards
Mossberg 930 Tactical Review

Returned for Repair

During my range testing I wanted to evaluate how the shotgun would feed under rapid fire situations. Some of the 3" shells and buckshot didn't feed out of the magazine tube.  I thought this was strange since all the light loads would feed properly.  I also noticed that if I applied up pressure on the trigger housing, the safety would not switch from "safe" to "fire".  Since it was getting late in the day and I needed to get back to deer hunting,  I decided to stop range testing for the day.  That night I pulled the trigger assembly out of the shotgun and examined the safety mechanisms very closely and couldn't see any issue.  The thing I did notice is that as I moved the safety, the trigger housing would shift in the receiver.  The next day I decided to spend some more time and document each failure to feed and with what type of ammunition.  On this next day, the shotgun cycled everything I put through it (maybe it needed a break-in or maybe I changed something when I reassembled), but it still had the safety issue.

Since there is no reason that anyone should live with a firearm that has an issue, especially when it is still under warranty, I called the Mossberg Customer Service on 2/4/13.  Basically they said I needed to send the shotgun to their service department along with a letter describing the issues and it would take about 15 days from receipt before the repair would be complete. 

  • On 2/7/13, UPS confirmed that the shotgun was delivered.
  • On 3/1/13, I called Mossberg for status.  They explained that they replaced the Pressure Spring and Gas Piston.  In my letter to them, I had two issues.  The first was it not initially cycling high power shells and the second was the trigger housing assembly being overly loose and impacting the operation of the safety.  The customer service person said she would relay  the information about the trigger housing to the repair person to ensure it was specifically looked at.
  • On 3/7/13 FedEx delivered the shotgun to my front door.  The paperwork that returned with the shotgun shows they replaced the pressure spring and gas piston only.  There appears to be no change in the trigger housing looseness and it still binds the safety when you have up pressure on the housing.

I must be honest that I was a little disappointed that Mossberg considered the trigger housing looseness to be within specification.  In reality, as long as there is no pressure up on the housing, the safety works fine.  If you are considering this shotgun, make sure you check the looseness and safety function if you want to ensure yours is tight.



I had mixed emotions after range testing.  I loved the shotgun and after it seemed to break-in slightly, it shot all the shells I put through it.  Also, having Mossberg take a look at the shotgun and replace some parts should help reliability.  After the shotgun was returned, a second round of range testing proved the 930 would reliably cycle anything I put through it.  I was happy with point-of-aim and point-of-impact and plan to keep a supply of Hornady #4 and Critical Defense 00 Buckshot on hand for real defense situations.  The trigger housing being loose bothered me and the looseness having an effect on switching the shotgun off of safety seemed like it was a clear case of needing repair.  After sending it in for potential repair, Mossberg seemed to believe it was within spec, so they made no change to the looseness.  I decided to take on coming up with a fix for my shotgun which involved shimming the trigger housing.  I cover this shimming in Part 7 of this review.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

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