The Mossberg 500 just got smaller, lighter, and puts some serious challenge and excitement in the 2019 spring turkey woods. When Federal Premium announced their legitimate TSS Heavyweight .410 turkey rounds, it was only a short matter of time before gun manufacturers joined the fray, and Mossberg is ready with bad baby-bore intentions.
Mossberg’s First Dedicated .410 Turkey
We’ve harvested gobblers with an old single shot .410 as well as an O/U, but never a dedicated, specialized turkey guns in the baby bore. Until Spring 2019 that is, when not one, but two such tailored scatterguns have hit the market with Mossberg’s 500 pump and the Stevens-by-Savage 301 single shot. Who doesn’t appreciate the firepower of a proven platform like the 500? Here’s what you get.
The slide action Mossberg 500 Turkey .410 is fitted with a 26 inch ventilated rib barrel that ends in a fixed full choke optimized for tight patterns on gobblers. A red fiber optic front sight dresses up the business end, while the three-inch chamber is a must for hunting loads. The 5+1 capacity means ample rounds should a quick follow-up, or double-down, shot be needed.
With a synthetic stock and full Mossy Oak Bottomland camo coverage, the gun practically begs to be taken to the turkey woods. A standard Model 500 tang safety is ambidextrous-friendly. Though the .410 chambering is naturally lighter recoiling, this 500 is certainly not a youth gun. The LOP measures just over 13.75 inches, a full-size tool for all shooters, yet weighs in at a wieldy six-and-a-half pounds. Sling swivels round out the list of hunter-friendly options on a basic, get-the-job-done turkey specialist. MSRP on the new baby bore is set at an even $500, the same price as both the 12- and 20-gauge Turkey models, with online retailers already listing it around four bills.
Less is More with Hard Hittin’ .410 TSS
Sure, you can fire any ammunition through the Mossberg 500, and many of them will successfully bag turkeys as well. However, if you truly want to put out a dense, lethal, extended pattern from the baby bore .410 for bagging gobblers, there is–hands down–no better specialized ammunition on the market than Federal Premium’s Heavyweight TSS. Tungsten is all the rage for hunting shot these days, and the .410 TSS makes use of #9 Tungsten Super Shot, which is a tungsten alloy that is 22-percent more dense than standard tungsten and 56-percent greater than lead, with a much greater pellet count as well. Check out our article on the benefits of TSS, but suffice it to say, you’ll want some for your new Mossberg 500 Turkey 410. Less really is more with TSS.
For testing purposes, we fired a mix of the Federal Premium TSS, Federal Premium #6 Game Loads, Winchester #4 Super-X, and some reloads as well. It should go without saying that a Mossberg 500 in any version cycles and fires with complete reliability, and the 410 Turkey is no exception. These pump action scatterguns have been around for over 50 years and number 10 million strong. Their simplicity and price make them one of the most accessible shotguns on the hunter’s market.
Best of all, when we patterned the new .410 with TSS, even 30-35 yards is no great stretch for the sub-gauge. For comparison’s sake, I have always limited my years-earlier .410 gobbler hunting to sub-20-yard shots, with 15 yards being ideal with the limitations of both gun and ammo. Federal Premium and Mossberg, among others, have just turned those limitations upside down.
Lightweight Field Impressions
Naysayers will always claim the .410 is not enough gun for turkey hunting, but from firsthand experience, we can vouch that it is plenty for a responsible, practiced hunter, especially when paired with Federal Premium’s Heavyweight TSS loads. The Mossberg 500 Turkey 410 offers all the firepower of a repeater with five in the tube and a full choke. The tang safety is familiar to 500 fans. The two biggest benefits to the 500 in .410–and the baby bore in general–is a lighter weight, more wieldy shotgun. With its slim, downsized frame, this shotgun is a pleasure to carry afield.
Mossberg’s Model 500 Turkey 410 goes old-school with full coverage of Mossy Oak’s Bottomland camouflage, a solid pattern for both spring and fall gobbler woods. The bottom line is, the design is simple, it works, and in this particular model, is one of the first to market a specialty .410 turkey gun. Mossberg allows the hunters to focus on the hunting with zero concerns about reliability or function. Where the duo of earlier Model 500 Turkey shotguns in both 20- and 12-gauge also retail for the same dollar amount, the .410 is the only one of the three without an adjustable rear fiber optic sight. That’ s just fine with us, though, as that allows the .410 to double as a small game or bird buster.
Full Choke for Days
Though there’s not much not to like about a proven platform, there are a few points of which hunters must take note. Our only real sticking point with the new 500 Turkey 410 is the fixed full choke. Sure, we fully expect a full, or even an extra full on their line of specialty turkey guns, but it’s tough to tout a scattergun these days without the option of interchangeable chokes. Heck, even the Stevens-by-Savage single shot includes an extended extra full turkey choke on their new Model 301. This is in no way a game-breaker for the Mossberg, but threads would have been a welcome addition.
The only potential issue affects optic-favoring hunters. We were very pleased with the front fiber optic sight, without a doubt. However, because of the growing demographic of hunters wanting either red dots or turkey scopes, it is noteworthy that the 500’s receiver is not drilled and tapped. This should not be a deal-breaker, however, as work-arounds exist, even for those demanding easy optics mounting.
Aimpoint Micro S-1
The quickest—and highest quality—workaround for mounting an optic on the Model 500 Turkey 410 is the Micro S-1 from Aimpoint. This low-profile red dot optic was designed specifically for use on shotguns. The Micro S-1 is ideal for this application, as it attaches directly to the ventilated rib of most any scattergun. Interchangeable, carbon fiber-reinforced adapter plates accommodate most popular shotgun rib sizes. The 6 MOA dot size is plenty large, though the 12 brightness settings mean hunters make the sight adaptable for any kind of lighting. The 50,000-hour battery life from a single CR2032 is staggering, making reliability in the field a given. This compact optic weighs only 3.5-ounces and allows hunters to keep both eyes open, for a more complete view of those gobblers approaching from the periphery. The Aimpoint Micro S-1’s windage and elevation adjustments made it easy to get on target at the patterning board and can add to confidence in shot placement for hunters in the field.
The best turkey hunts end up with a grand ol’ gobbler on the ground, spurs and beards, and memories of a successful hunt. Few hunts are as memorable as those completed with the challenge of a small gauge like the .410. Partner the low recoil of the round with the light weight and durability of the platform, and the Mossberg 500 Turkey 410 is sure to please Spring gobbler hunters. When partnered with Federal Premium’s Heavyweight TSS loads and a little practice, we guarantee your next turkey season will be one of the best yet.