The first Mossberg 500s were produced in 1960, and it wasn’t long before enthusiasts discovered the reliability and performance that has kept it at or near the top in shotgun sales ever since. There’s a lot to like in this rugged pump-action, one designed before most readers were even born.
Sixty years—six decades—is a long time and an overwhelming endorsement of the Mossberg 500. Its popularity remains strong to this day. Last year it was No. 5 in GunBroker.com’s the top-10 pump-action shotgun list, ranked by sales volume. It would have claimed third, were it not for another pair of Mossberg models—the 590 and 590 Shockwave—claiming first- and second-place honors.
The 500’s design ensures reliable and smooth cycling with a pair of action rods attached to the fore-end pump. The distance between them and the receiver is generous enough to minimize wear during cycling, another feature that ensures years of fuss-free service.
It has served civilians and law enforcement and U.S. military personnel with distinction. Inside every model made today beats the heart of a 500, although their looks are often vastly different from the original.
The Model 500 ATI Scorpion, for example, features ATI components that give it a modularity and adaptability that rivals modern sporting rifles. Polymer furniture, a six-position adjustable stock, 1-inch adjustable cheek riser and side-saddle shotshell carrier are just the tip of the iceberg. American Rifleman ran the gun through its paces a while back and the review and video are available here.
If you’re a little more sporting in your firearm selection, Mossberg 500s are available in Hunting and Flex versions, wearing camouflage and black, respectively. Chamberings in the former include 12- and 20-gauge, along with .410 bore. The tubular magazines have a five shotshell capacity and barrel lengths vary from 20 to 28 inches. Flex models come in 12- and 20-gauge, most with 22-inch barrels. The youth model includes a 24-inch tube.
For home- and self-defense purposes Mossberg offers Cruiser models and a Retrograde. And there’s an entire line of 500s dedicated to young shooters.
Diversity is one reason the Mossberg 500 remains near the top of pump actions in popularity ratings. Add decades of uncompromising performance and it’s a solid choice for anyone in the market for a shotgun.