Shotgun fit is a lot like the weather; everybody talks about it, but nobody ever
seems to do much about it. Most of us know we will shoot better and be a happier person with a properly fitting shotgun. Yet most of us continue to pick up the generic off-the-rack shotgun and blast away at the clay target range, usually with disappointing results. Like ill-fitting suits, ill-fitting shotguns do not bring out the best in any of us. Mossberg decided to do something about that.
SINCE 1919, O.F. MOSSBERG has continued to deliver innovations to the gun world. The Mossberg 500 pump shotgun has reached sales numbers approaching that of Remington’s legendary 870, and the 500 is frequently seen in numerous configurations used by police and military around the world.
In recent years, the Mossberg 930 auto loader has appeared in several different models, the latest of which is the 930 Pro Series Sporting. “With the success we had developing the JM Pro-Series shotgun for 3-gun competition, we knew we had a work-horse semi-auto,” said Mossberg’s Dave Miles, “one that is extremely reliable, very comfortable to shoot, with a great recoil impulse that makes it easy to get on the next target. We knew if we paid attention to the details and sought out the right advice, we could also develop a gun that would be perfect for clay target shooting.” For help in developing the 930 Pro Series model, Mossberg worked with Gil and Vicki Ash of OSP (Optimum Shotgun Performance) Shooting Schools, two well credentialed experts in the art of teaching others how to break clay targets with a shotgun.
Gil displays a contagious passion for shooting and uses a “no-bull” approach to get to the essence of his students’ shooting problems and solutions. Mr. Ash has won numerous titles in both skeet and sporting clay competitions and has taught professionally since 1984. He was also an instructor for the Holland & Holland Shooting School of England and has studied with many great shooters and instructors. He has been featured on ESPN, TNN, and has hosted a regular spot on the television show “Pull: America’s Great Gun Clubs” on the Outdoor Life cable channel.
Known worldwide, Gil has six shooting videos currently sold in the United States and two sold in England and Australia. In short, Gil Ash knows a thing or two about shotguns. With Gil and Vicki’s help, Mossberg developed a new stock and forend that ensures that the 930 Pro-Series Sporting points naturally for most shooters right out of the box. The stock also has an adjustable drop spacer system that provides shooters with the ability to fine tune the fit of their shotgun, so shooters that need more or less drop can adjust the stock as needed. “In 25 years and over 25,000 gun fits that we have done,” said Gil Ash, “I have yet to see a shotgun that needs to be raised on the comb.
They all need to be lowered. Also, most production shotguns need to be narrowed at the comb, and this is one thing we did with the 930 Pro Series Sporting model.” During our conversation, Gil asked me what was the first shotgun I thought that I shot well. Considering my age and experience, he said, “Many shooters will say a Remington 1100 or a Browning A5. That is because the 1100 and the A5 had a characteristic lower and narrow comb; after that, the manufacturers started making stocks on shotguns with a thicker and higher comb.”
“We worked with Mossberg and came up with stock dimensions so that 90 percent of the shooters out there could shoot well with this shotgun right out of the box.” Short of having a gun custom-fitted for you, this is all you can ask for in a shotgun right off the rack.
THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS to evaluate firearms, and in addition to my personal tried and true testing procedures, I like to simply show up on a busy gun club day, hand a shooter the gun in question, and say, ‘OK, what do you think?’ Most shooters are brutally honest and opinionated, so I can usually count on them speaking their mind.
I trolled the 930 Sporting model around a crowd of clay shooters in my home state of West Virginia, and I got a lot of useful feedback. One such shooter, Mary Ann Roberts from Fayetteville, shared a written report on the 930 Sporting, and I’ll offer it here. “Yesterday at my local gun club I had the opportunity to shoot the Mossberg 930 Sporting shotgun. We were shooting a round of trap and I was not faring so well with my old 20 gauge.
I have been shooting trap for about a year and am ready to graduate to something more suited for the sport. As soon as I held the Mossberg it felt like a good fit. It is not too heavy for me, but it is sturdy enough to feel the power.”
“When I mounted the gun for some test shots,” she continued, “I immediately felt comfortable. The stock is smooth and smaller and it fits me. When I took a few shots, I felt more confident. Also, the recoil is not too over-powering. I was a little uncomfortable with reloading at first, but realized how simple it was with the push button bolt release. We tried several of the chokes and the Improved Cylinder was perfect for shooting trap. I shot other types and brands yesterday, but wanted to pack the Mossberg up in my bag and take it home.”
Coming unsolicited from a fairly new shooter, I’m not sure I can add much more than that. Following this test, she bought a 930 Sporting model of her own, so ‘you’re welcome, Mossberg.’
THE 930 SPORTING FEATURES a Cerakote finish on the receiver that seems to be almost indestructible, and the beveled loading gate and extra finishing on the elevator facilitates quick and easy reloads in the heat of competition. The Boron nitride coated gas piston, piston rings, magazine tube, hammer and sear prevent corrosion and facilitate easier cleaning.
The shell stop, bolt slide and elevator receive additional finishing, reducing friction for faster follow-up shots. The Special Sporting Clays Stock is designed to fit correctly right out of the box and its Stock Drop System provides five dropat-comb adjustments to further perfect fit for any shooter.
The shotgun also comes with a set of Briley chokes, and that is certainly nothing to sneeze at. With an MSRP of $1,062, the Mossberg 930 may not be the cheapest clay shooting shotgun you will come across, but it will certainly offer great value for the money spent to shooters hoping to improve their scores.
Photos by Mossberg
Story by Larry Case