Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Mossberg 500 project

The "before" picture. This ol' gal has shot hundreds of ducks
and geese in her day, among other critters.
A little bit of a back story first....

For as long as I can remember, there's been a Mossberg 500 layin' around our house. Dad's always had one for a primary or backup bird gun, and he's got another one rigged up specifically as a slug gun for deer huntin'.

Perhaps I'm biased for that reason, but I'm rather partial to 'em. They've got a great history and a tradition of dependability. There are other good all-purpose shotguns out there, but O.F. Mossberg and Sons does it just as good, if not better, than the others.

I'm not sure where this particular gun's story begins, as Dad bought it used after retirin' his first 500 for reasons I can't recall. Shortly thereafter, he won a Mossberg 835 from a gun drawing, so the 500 was primarily used by me and Jesse. Long story short, Jesse wound up with his own 835 as a graduation gift, so I wound up as the sole user of the 500.

A few years back though, it started actin' up. Nothin' major, but every now and then it would go into full auto mode; basically, as soon as the forearm was locked back into place after I pumped it, it would fire another shell regardless of what my trigger finger was doin'. It would have been awesome if it was controlable or predictable, but it was neither. A few months later I picked up another 500 at an auction, so the ol' warrior went to the rack and stayed there.

Since then, it's only come off for the occasional cleanin', so when I was at the gun show on Sunday and saw a tactical home defense kit for a good price, I spontaneously decided that the ol' warrior needed a new cause.

Now, don't get me wrong... I don't really live in fear where I'm at. We're in the sticks, and with my grandparents at the bottom of the hill and my aunt next door, there's almost always someone around to keep an eye on things. Alas, it seems that home invasions and overall thefts are up in the area, and there are some crazy fuckin' people out there. Havin' a reliable shotgun within easy reach is cheap security in an uncertain society.

The Ultimate Arms Gear kit I picked up is not top of the line, but from tinkerin' with it, seems to be well-built and relatively rugged. Only time will tell on that, and given the fact that I won't be usin' this gun on a regular basis, should be more than enough. The stock has five adjustable positions and included a 5-shell holder and a pretty stout recoil pad. Five minutes and two hex-head screws takes it to a plain pistol grip if that's whatcha want. The forearm has three Weaver rails, two of them removable. Installation was a cinch... it took me longer to get the old wood furniture off than it did to throw everythin' else on.

I had a buddy who does metal work whack down an old barrel we had layin' around from 26" to 18", which is the legal limit without havin' to jump through hoops. To finish it off, I picked up a new fiber optic sight to replace the bead that was cut off, and a cheap laser sight from Hellmart. And by cheap, meanin' it probably won't hold a zero after the first three shots. However, the reviews on it were decent, the price was right and a potential burglar likely won't want to take chances when he discovers the red dot on his chest, zeroed or not. Either way, I'm gonna put that 1-year warranty to the test. Last but not least, the beast needed to be fed. To feed it, I picked up a box of Federal Premium 00 buckshot.

Overall, it was a quick, cheap conversion from a rack rider to a closet queen. I won't lie, I did sleep a bit better last night knowin' that it could be in my hands and ready to roll in a matter of seconds. The gun is pretty old and worn, but it's one endearing quality is that it's never failed to fire. Ever. That's a good quality to have in a home defense gun. Couple that with a whole new look, and I'm pretty pleased with how it worked out.

Now that it's done, let's hope I never need to use it for what it's rigged up to do.


  1. I am doing the exact same project, but it is painfully hard to find any "tactical" parts living in Canada. Our government firmly believes that us law abiding citizens are just way too stupid, unreliable to own a gun. They make you jump through hoops to get a none restricted license ( about three months, a course and fees) and God forbid you mention home defense during the process, that is an absolute diqualifier. We supposed to rely on the police, even though they never stop crime ( I.e. they show up exactly 45 minutes after your heart stopped). So long story short: took me three months to find a dealer that was willing to order me the same stock and for end. And all I really wanted was a stock that adjust to my short and my sons long arm, and a for end that can handle a few attachments. But now even at that dealer I am getting the "gun nut " looks. Deep sigh, keep your rights to guns close to your heart.