Mossberg 500’s are one of the most common shotguns in America. They are inexpensive, reliable, and highly customizable. Recently I had a failure in my gun caused by custom work I did. I am very proficient with this gun. Let me explain.
I’ve had this gun for nearly 20 years. I have taken it apart hundreds of times. I’ll mention the custom work I have done to it so you understand the detail of the gun. I polished the entire action shortly after I bought it. I polished the bolt, carrier, shell stops, and cleaned up the inside of the receiver.
It originally had an 18.5″ barrel and 5 shot mag tube. I replaced the barrel, mag tube, and spring. I added a flashlight with a pressure switch. I mounted a 6 shot side saddle. I had to notch the forend to clear the side saddle. I have 5 different buttstocks for this shotgun.
On a regular basis there were some vagrants going through my neighbors trash. That’s common but they weren’t recycling plastic bottles. They had taken personal information and had it displayed on the curb. He went outside to talk them and the dude got belligerent.
My neighbor called the cops and gave us a text message. I decided to take my shotgun from the safe and put it in the hall closet close to the front door. Well obviously nothing happened that night. A week later I was headed to the range. I wanted to take that shotgun. When I cycled the action to empty the gun no shells would come out.
What was happening is the action was not fully opening. The shells were not released from the magazine tube and the elevator was empty each time I pumped the gun. This gun has been so reliable for so long that I was floored by the thought of putting my trust in a gun that wasn’t working.
The cause of the failure was the heatsheild I had recently added to this barrel. There are a pair of cleats at the base of the shield that clamp to the barrel. The inside of the forend was hitting those cleats. The action was not cycling enough to release a shell onto the elevator. The action felt normal but it was not fully extending.
I fixed the issue by notching the inside edge of the forend. This gave enough room to fully cycle the action and allow the gun to operate properly. This was a pretty important lesson to learn. Because of my experience I was complacent. I wasn’t negligent with safety but I was willing to go to battle with a gun that had not proven itself after a modification.
This could have been catastrophic. Before you are willing to put a gun in a fight make sure it works. Verify the gun will cycle ammunition. If you can go to the range and run it for a while. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. The important thing is to work that out in training. Just because you know a gun inside and out doesn’t mean you won’t forget something. Learn from lessons others experience.
If you have experiences or solutions I would love to hear them. Please subscribe to our blog to receive new posts about defense minded topics. Watch the video,” Mossberg 500 Failure” to see me explain what happened. Thanks everyone, be safe.