Mossberg 500 .410 Review

After emigrating from Sweden to the United States in 1886, Oliver Frederick Mossberg served in a bicycle plant with another name familiar to gun lovers, Iver Johnson (who would later become famous for his revolver). Mossberg had two sons, Iver & Harold, & together they formed O. F. Mossberg & Sons in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1919. It is still a family affair, & Mossberg is always the most significant family-owned firearms manufacturer in America.

It’s impossible to discuss shotguns without mentioning Mossberg. The well-known company has been at the top of the field for around 100 years & is continually introducing new & exciting products. To cater to a broader audience of hunters, Mossberg released the .410 Pump-Action, part of the legendary 500 series which has achieved world-renown since its inception in the 1960’s.

Since then, the Mossberg 500’s have been used around the world by law enforcement agencies & even attained military & war experience. This American group has such an extensive history & lineup, which, unfortunately, we can’t get into here. However, I recommend getting a glimpse at our summary of the 98-year-old Mossberg & their impressive collection of firearms.

As specialized hunting shotguns go, this Mossberg is just about average. Using a .410 rifle on big game like deer would be a big mistake, but it is ideal for a smaller set of rabbit & vermin. Overall, this isn’t Mossberg’s most excellent work, but will still get the job done. It’s not the most beautiful shotgun out there or even the best handling, but it’s a decent bang for your buck weapon.

Today, the firm offers a diverse line of rifles & shotguns, even including modern sporting rifles as well as bolt-& lever-action big game centerfires. But guns have been Mossberg’s bread & butter for decades, & here we find pumps, over-under, side-by-sides, & a plethora of semi-autos that collectively provide a specific model for just about any shooting sport.

The name “Mossberg” has always represented quality & value, & the Model 500 pump-action is a good example. & with more than 10 million M-500s made (& counting), you can’t argue with success. It has proven to be one of the most versatile & reliable shotguns ever produced.

The Shotgun Alternative

At close series such as those encountered in a home, a shotgun, even a small-bore rifle like the .410, is an undeniably deadly weapon. Shoot a cantaloupe at 15 feet, & you’ll underst& instantly. A shotgun puts multiple pellets downrange with each trigger pull versus, apparently, one bullet per trigger pull of a handgun or long rifle. This suggests there exists a margin for error inherent in a shotgun that’s not there in a single-projectile weapon. Consider the actual & psychological elements of a home invasion for the average citizen—low light, adrenaline, fear, unsteadiness, mind racing, heart pounding—& this margin of error becomes a major player in the outcome of the situation. With its multiple pellets, the shotgun has the potential to place various hits on-target; better to hit the bad person with, say, three out of nine bullets simultaneously than the miss with one.

So why a .410 instead of a more critical gauge? They’re lightweight & short–my Mossberg Model 500 HS410 weighs about 5 ½ pounds & measures 37 inches—meaning they’re maneuverable in the often-tight home environment. By the fact it’s a .410, recoil is very easy for the recoil-conscious or those slight of frame. Low recoil also allows for an accurate, fast, well-placed follow-up shot if necessary. Today, a variety of .410 ammunition is available, including specially designed home/personal defense shotshells.

Mossberg 500 Field .410 Shotgun Specs

Model: Mossberg 500 Field .410 Pump-Action
Gauge: .410 Bore
Overall Length: 43 ½”
Barrel Length: 24”
Chamber Length: 3”
Magazine Capacity: 5+1
Length of Pull: 13.875”
Weight: 6.25 lbs.
Sights: Twin Bead
MSRP: $419.00

Mossberg 500 Field .410 Shotgun Build

Mossberg 500 Field .410 Shotgun

The Mossberg 500 shotgun, designed in the 60’s, has developed over time & has since seen dozens of variants & models produced. There is, however, a few things which unite the different 500’s, & those are their receivers & actions. Conversely, the Mossberg variants can differ in barrel length, mag capacity, stock, sights, bore size, & choke options. After carefully examining the Mossberg .410, I realized that it’s one of the smaller shotguns in its class.

Firstly, to ensure its smooth performance, Mossberg outfitted the .410 with Quiet Carry dual action bars. Similarly, for a boost in durability, the shotgun has a solid wood stock. That being said, even with a low pressure round, recoil will be felt. The only impressive feature on this pump-action is the ambidextrous, thumb-operated safety. Furnished with a set full choke & a 24-inch, vent-rib, non-ported barrel, Mossberg .410 shotguns are built field-ready. I trust Mossberg, so although this gun doesn’t seem so good on paper, I’m inclined to give it a try.
Mossberg 500 Field .410 Shotgun Shooting & Performance

So… as expected, the Mossberg .410 Pump-Action Shotgun was nothing spectacular. However, I didn’t have any troubles cycling & the 3” chamber offered a very smooth operation. Additionally, the control of the lightweight design was perfect even for my 12-year-old nephew.

Also, I should mention that although it’s not the best shotgun out there, it is mightily accurate. Besides for the light build & comfortable length of pull, these Mossbergs have easy to use twin-bead sights to boost your accuracy significantly. It’s a decent tool for hunting small game around your property.

Mossberg 500 Field .410 Shotgun Accessories

Mossberg HS410 Home Security Model

The aftermarket options available for the Mossberg .410 shotgun are honestly pretty weak. However, that’s only true by the hunting variety; if you go for the Mossberg 500 Tactical chambered in .410 Bore, you have some interesting choices. The HS410 Home Security model has a cool foregrip to speed up cocking & give better control. Besides for the ability to switch from a field to a st&ard barrel, Mossberg .410 Tactical owners can also opt for a new pistol grip kit for under $50.
Mossberg 500 Field .410 Shotgun Pistol Grip

Mossberg 500 Field .410, Pistol Grip

A pistol grip means that there’s no stock on the butt end, which can lead to serious injury if you’re not careful. You can easily break your nose or jaw, so it’s not for newcomers to shotguns. One of the main things that a pistol grip limits you in is the use of high power loads –they’re not designed to handle them & can, therefore, hurt your wrists, tire you out more quickly, & wreck your handling.

One of the significant benefits of adding a pistol grip to your Mossberg is that they make your shotgun more tactical by giving it a more compact build. Due to this, the .410 Tactical becomes a great addition to personal security in more confined areas places such as a car or truck.
Mossberg 500 .410 vs. 500

Mossberg 500 Hunting All-Purpose Field Shotgun

You can’t accurately compare the Mossberg .410 to its predecessor, the 500. The latter is an all-around better weapon, ideal for multiple purposes with infinite more options. The .410 is a decent gun for a specific market, similar to the Maverick 88. While most Mossberg owners will use a 500 for shooting trap & even hunting big game, the .410 is only useful for small pests & vermin.

The Ammunition

In recent years, ammunition manufacturers have jumped on the .410 home defense b&wagon. Hornady has their .410 Defense round, consisting of a .41 caliber FTX (FlexTip) slug over a pair of .35 caliber round lead pellets. Remington features four-pellet load of 000 Buck in a 2-1/2-inch .410 format called Ultimate Defense. Federal makes a 3-inch hull containing nine No. 4 buck pellets in their Premium Personal Defense load, in addition to 2-1/2- & other 3-inch platforms holding larger 000 Buck. All offer either a 2-1/2- or 3-inch rifled slug, or both, in the .410.

The Guns

Any shotgun can be mentiobed a home defense weapon; whether or not the piece is justifiably worthy of wearing that title is another matter. But there are specially designed tactical &/or home defense shotguns chambered for the .410:

• Mossberg’s Model 500 HS410 Home Security has an 18-1/2-inch barrel featuring a unique vertical forearm/slide arm, full-length stock, & close-quarters spreader (cylinder bore) choke.

• Saiga (Izhmash) has a semi-automatic AK-47-style weapon chambered in both .410 & 12-gauge.

• A sure winner for the most pleasing .410 home defense gun, the Stoeger Coach Gun is a classic side-by-side sporting 20-inch fixed full-&-full barrel, double triggers, & a gorgeous walnut stock.

• Remington offers both a Model 870 Wingmaster pump-action as well as a gas-operated Model 1100 Sporting Series in .410 bore.

• Several manufacturers – Rossi, Harrington/Richardson, Baikal—offer break-action .410 single shots, with Baikal putting their name on a utilitarian side-by-side. (However, the terms “single shot” & “home defense” are seldom used together these days.

Gun options aren’t limited to long guns, either. The Taurus Judge & Raging Judge revolvers are capable of handling 2-1/2 & 3-inch .410 shotshells as well as they’re intended initially .45 Long Colt ammunition. Smith & Wesson makes the six-shot Governor, chambered in.410/.45 ACP(with moon clips)/.45 Long Colt.

The Results

Results on the range proved interesting. I used the following ammunition from Federal Premium, all Personal Defense loads:

Load 1: Shot size -Format: 2-1/2″ : No. 4 – Pellet count: 60 -(approx) – Velocity: 950 fps

Load 2: Shot size: No. 4 Buck/.24 in. -Format: 3″ – Velocity: 950 fps – Pellet count: 9

Load 3: Format: 3″ – Shot Size 000 Buck/.36 – Velocity 775 fps – Pellet count: 5

Distances, to replicate what is to be expected in a home-defense situation, were 10, 15, & 20 feet.

For testing purposes, I used the Mossberg Model 500 HS410 mentioned above. My bad guys? A partial sheet of 1/2-inch OSB (oriented str& board) & a dry fir 1-1/2 by 4. If a projectile can pass through that, it’s going to have a substantial effect on a bad guy wearing only a Death Metal T-shirt & jeans.

I can authoritatively address the reliability & durability of the M-500. On Aug. 3, 1982, I bought a 3-inch 12-gauge M-500 ATP, with a 20-inch cylinder bore barrel. In the intervening 22 years, it has served as the “house gun” in the corner by the front door, ready for anything. It has taken care of many garden raiders, vineyard pests, marauding crows, & small game for the table. You name it, & this M-500 has probably killed it.

My results told me that I’d fill the M500 with 3-inch 000 Buck, put it in the corner next to my pillow, & be surrounded by a warm & fuzzy feeling. All five 000 pellets consistently fell in a 5-inch circle from 10 to 20 feet; some patterns vertical, some horizontal. Still, all were within 5 inches, providing an excellent margin for aiming error, yet not so full to allow holes in the pattern through which a Bad Guy might slip through. The 000 load fully penetrated both the ½-inch OSB & the 1-1/2-inch fir board, with what I would consider exceptional deformation in the recovered copper-plated pellets. Distortion in lead pellets means expansion, & expansion translates into increased shock in another form of transferred kinetic energy, as well as upgraded on the target trauma. The copper plating provides a hardness factor, without nullifying the capacity of the pellets to deform. A “controlled expansion,” as the bullet guys say.

Patterns with the No. 4 shot ranged from 4 inches at 10 feet to 5-1/2 inches at 20 feet—acceptable, & not too different from the 000 Buck. There was full penetration of the ½-inch OSB at both 10 & 20 feet, but only partial penetration of the 1-1/2-inch fir board at 20 feet.

Patterns with the No. 4 Buck (9 pellets) were inconsistent, with clusters ranging from 1-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 (10 feet) to 5-1/2 inches by 10-1/2 inches at 20 feet.

The Takeaway

I like the thought of five solid projectiles headed downrange simultaneously, each possessing almost 100 foot/pounds of energy, or nearly 500 foot/pounds total should all five pellets strike home. A 9mm with quality ammunition can hit that 500 foot-pound mark; but my sons or I want to put that one projectile on-target in the dee[ dark, while nervous & afraid.
Another consideration is firearm manage. My wife is 5 feet 2 inches tall, 120 pounds, & intimidated by semi-automatic & big bore handguns. Shotguns come more natural to her, but the recoil & the weight of a 12-gauge home defense piece—Remington’s VersaMax Tactical semi-auto tips the scales at 7.5 pounds, two pounds heavier than the Mossberg HS410—is a concern.

Everything in moderation
In the past, the single way to sound moderate this model was to retrofit a Hushpower tube that fixed snugly up the end of the barrel.

The disadvantage here was the process added extra length to the gun, making it unwieldy & challenging to move in confined spaces.

With this new conversion, the moderator is much longer, but it comes back over the barrel almost to the fore-end.

There is a 2in increase in length to the barrel, but this is quite manageable & you soon get used to the gun’s said forward ‘lean.’

Moderators work by dissipating sound waves from behind the shot load & this Hushpower conversion does it via a series of carefully cut corners towards the barrel’s muzzle end.

These are placed at precise distances to ensure the maximum amount of noise can pass into the moderator’s baffle system for dissipation before the shot exits the muzzles.

It has to be said shotgun mediators are rarely quite as efficient as rifle moderators because a rifle only has to cope with a particular projectile – not a shot load carrying wadding materials & numerous lead pellets.

Even so, this gun & system muffle the crack of a shot very efficiently. But if you want to improve performance in the sound moderation, then Saddlery & Gunroom have loaded subsonic .410 cartridges which significantly reduce noise levels.

The Mossberg is about as ugly as you can get but there’s no doubting it’s a very useful gun for pest control especially in areas where noise is likely to be a problem such as nearby residential areas or farm livestock.

I call the ATP-8 my “zero maintenance” gun because it never gets cleaned. The barrel might have been snaked clear once or twice, but that’s it. The hardwood stock has mildew on it, & the bluing has rust here & there. But it has nevermore failed to fire nor has it malfunctioned in any way for over three decades. If it’s loaded & you pull its trigger, it’s gonna go “bang.” That says a lot of the gun (if not its owner).

The M-500 is about as practical a gun as you can get. It is offered in at least 39 varieties, & that doesn’t include six two-barrel sets.
Of interest to us for this spring puppy issue of GUN DOG is the M-500 “All Purpose” in .410. Light, handy, & priced right, the M-500 .410 is just the ticket to introduce a youngster to the joys of shotgunning…& without getting their socks kicked off or breaking their piggy bank.

The lithe light gun weighs in at a delightful 6¼ pounds, & balances nicely with its 24-inch, ventilated rib barrel, chambered for 3-inch shells. A white front & brass middle bead sights sit atop the rib. Unlike the other bore sizes in the M-500, the .410s have a fixed full choke.

An improved cylinder or even a modified choke might make it a bit better field gun, but it works fine as issued, & will teach a young hunter lead for sure. If the choke ever became an issue, a competent gunsmith could fix that in a jiffy. The magazine holds six 2¾-inch shells, & five of the 3-inches.

The manual safety is installed on the tang (lefties will appreciate this), & the action release is right where it should be in the left rear of the receiver. The receiver itself is lightweight & durable aluminum. This doesn’t affect the strength of the gun as the steel bolt locks up solidly in the steel barrel extension. If unlike me, you decide to clean your M-500, it’s a snap. The barrel is easily removed by unscrewing the knurled magazine cap, & the trigger group pops out by driving out one pin.

The nicely proportioned hardwood stock has a full-sized 14-inch length of pull, & (blessedly) a beautiful, squishy 1-inch recoil pad. There is functional machine-cut checkering on the pistol grip, & around the forend. A gold-plated trigger combines a classy touch to such an economical gun.

Purists decry the value of a .410 to teach kids the ways of shotgunning, but most, if not all, of us, read with one. (I shot my first quail with a single-shot .410. how about you?) Besides, modern-day 3-inch .410 ammo is very useful.

OK, I admit it: I liked this Mossberg .410 pump, too. Squirrel season was on, & I hadn’t had a mess of fried tree rat for quite a spell, so I grabbed a handful of 3-inch 6s & headed for the woods west of the house. It wasn’t long before the curiosity of a fat bushy tail got the better of him, & he peeked over a tall oak limb for a look. Big mistake. “Pow!” One shot from the M-500 & it was time to remember how to dress a squirrel. It was a fun hunt evocative of the more straightforward times of my youth. The fried squirrel wasn’t evil, either.

If you have a kid who needs to get into shooting, the Mossberg Model 500 in the light-kicking but still useful .410 bore is a viable alternative for a “first gun.”

After he or she gets the ropes, you can always graduate to another M-500 in, say, 20-gauge. The natural learning curve for safety & shooting will be a boon, &, if you talk kind to the youngster, he or she force let you borrow their Mossberg .410 for some retro fun of your own.


Although it may seem like I’m bashing the Mossberg .410, that’s not my intention. Mossberg is still a legendary company with an insane reputation for producing some of the best shotguns on the planet. That being said, the .410 IS a well gun, but for youngsters probably just starting to shoot rifles. I likely wouldn’t begin a novice shooter with a full-powered Mossberg 500, but the .410 is an excellent introduction to the type. Training these young shooters to shoot pests with a .410 could also be a unique way to introduce them to hunting.
Mossberg .410

Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.,
Receiver: Aluminum alloy
Action type: Pump-action repeater

Gauge: .410
Barrel length: 24 inches, ventilated rib
Overall length: 43¾ Inches
Choke: Fixed full choke
Capacity: 6 rounds, plus 1 in case (2¾-inch shells)
Length of Pull: 14 inches
Weight: 6 pounds, 4 ounces
Safety: Tang-mounted, non-automatic
Trigger: Single-stage (pull weight 5 pounds, 3 ounces)
Stock: Hardwood stock & forearm, cut checkering, with 7/8-inch black rubber recoil pad

MSRP $414.00

It scores low for styling, but this is a working tool, not a thing of beauty.

Build quality: 6
handling: 4
Value for money 6
Styling: 5

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