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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
{This first post is copy & paste from an old thread on another forum from late 2013, when I first got the gun.}

Thought I’d share my initial impressions of the new shotgun I picked up & mentioned here; a Mossberg 930SPX. Gun is the standard (non-pistol-grip) stocked version, with 18.5” barrel and 7-round tube.

Not my gun; a generic pic of the same model:
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It’s supposed to be able to run all 2¾” and 3” 12-gauge shells, so for initial testing, I dug out several types; birdshot, buckshot, and magnum slugs. The birdshot were generic game loads from Federal & Winchester both (the Federal was very old stuff, the Winchester new), the buckshot was normal 2¾” Sellier & Bellot in both 00 and #4 buck, and the slugs were Brenneke Black Magic magnum. The Black Magic Magnum is an even heavier load than most 3" magnums, with more than 3,000 ft/lbs of power behind the extra-heavy 1 3/8 oz slug. I figured between that load and the birdshot, those should pretty much cover the extreme ends of the spectrum as far as what this gun is ever likely to be fed.
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Seventy-five rounds in all for this first range trip; 50 birdshot, 20 non-magnum buckshot, and 5 magnum slugs.

Short version, it fed, fired, & flung everything fine. Weather was cold at 28 degrees, which I thought might have an impact on functioning with the light loads, but didn’t. Before firing it, I only did a cursory breakdown of the gun at the store to make sure everything was intact and there were no hang-ups or blockages in the action, and then headed to the range straight from the gun shop. I figure to run it without cleaning to see how dirty it gets, and how long it takes before it starts experiencing malfunctions. I tend to do this with new pistols, so why treat this one any different…

The sights are definitely different than I’m used to on a shotgun, but do give a good picture for this kind of gun; basically an AR-style peep rear sight with a fiber-optic front sight that mates up well in the aperture without over-filling it. May change the sights, and may even put a red dot on it as it has a short section of picatinny rail that the rear sight sets on. Haven’t made up my mind yet; figure I’ll see how I get to like the stock sights as they are while I wring it out some over the next few weeks or so, and then make a decision on whether to leave them as they are.

May also make some other changes to it; likely a sidesaddle, as my old 500 has had one for 20+ years and I’ve come to like it. Will definitely put a sling on it. May or may not put a speedfeed stock and/or a small red dot on it; haven’t decided yet on those.


The short 18.5” barrel. Most shotguns with a >5 capacity in the magazine tend to run barrels more than 20”-21”; in length. This short barrel length keeps the same minimal OAL that I'm used to with the old 500 riot gun, while providing 7+1 capacity. If I want, I can always add a slightly longer barrel & magazine extension, but doubt I will. I like the compact package.

Reduced recoil compared to my old pump gun. The self-loading and reduced recoil of the 930 over the 500 made for much faster follow-up shots, even on the initial outing. As I get more familiar with it, it should get better still.

Small rail section will let me easily put a Sparc, TRS-25, etc on it if I decide to go that route.

Gives me a second 12-gauge firearm. While one of my sons is primarily a shotgun guy, I had only one 12-gauge in my possession; now I have a spare and that's a very good thing imo.

Price; was $150 less than a comparable remington 1100, and more than $500 less than the benelli M4.


The picatinny rail wasn’t completely tight. Had to loctite the screws on it. Not a big deal, but worth noting.

Slow reloading due to the tube feed, but that’s inherent in most normal shotguns whether pump or auto & just something to either accept or not.

The potential for mechanical unreliability, as with any new semiauto. Only time will tell on that; but just as I prefer my semiauto carbines over my lever-action carbines and semiauto pistols over revolvers for defensive use, I see no reason that the same couldn’t hold true of shotguns as well; as long as I take the time & expense to verify that reliability. And I plan to.

{second outing with the gun, back in late 2013 or early 2014}

Second outing - was colder at 23 degrees today, and I only took 50 rounds this time, 25 normal birdshot (remington this tiem just to mix it up) and 25 oddball target loads low recoil, low noise load from Winchester; a load Id never tried before. It’s loaded at almost ridiculously low power levels. Twenty-six grams (0.9 oz) of shot at 980fps; roughly half the muzzle energy of regular birdshot, and one-third the energy of normal 2¾” buckshot.
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The box specifically warns that it won’t cycle a semiauto, but I was curious about it as a worst-case load on the light side & wanted to try some thru the gun.

Short version, Winchester was right; it won’t cycle a semiauto. Ran ten rounds thru it and it never completely cycled the action once. It would move the bolt enough to re-cock the action, but not enough to eject the empty or load a fresh round.

Other than that, it ate the other stuff fine. Only a hundred rounds thru it so far (other than the ten oddball rounds), but no cleaning or lubing, and no hiccups.

Fwiw, the ‘low recoil’ load might be worth considering if I were an apartment dweller using a 12-gauge non-semiauto for home defense. While I’m not as big a fan of birdshot for in-home defense as some are and even though it’s loaded extremely light compared to normal 12-gauge loads, it’d definitely make for faster recovery time between shots, and the fact is it’s still putting out near .44-magnum power levels.

{end of copy & paste from other forum's 2013 posts}

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
With all that backstory behind us, mypriorities now are substantially different than they were back then. I’m looking at off-loading stuff nowadays; pretty much the opposite of the “having spares” mindset I did back then. During the early stages of the covid craziness when people were burning neighborhoods, I sold my 500 pump (and an AR carbine) to one of my brothers who didn’t have any decent defensive long guns. That left this 930 as my only 12-gauge - really my only shotgun at all, with the exception of the taurus circuit judge .410/.45Colt, that I’ve also since sold off. Short version, this 930 is now the only shotgun I own, and the idea now is to get it set up for long-term use for one of my sons, who is a shotgun guy at heart and frankly is leaps & bounds better with one than I am.

While a shotgun isn’t my first choice as a defensive long gun, it’s still a completely valid option, and this is a very good example of the breed. So I’m doing a few things to it, to maximize its potential before giving it to him. So far all I’ve done beyond the addition of a standard two-point sling is adding a sidesaddle and replacing the safety slide lever with one that has a much more positive point of contact on it, making it more easy to operate while still being fully latched & secure in either position. It also came with a new detent ball, and I went ahead & used it since it’s stainless steel (at least a magnet won’t stick to it), and the factory one is carbon steel. The safety is off ebay – paid $9.99 is all, installed it this past weekend, and so far am completely happy with it.

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Enhanced Slide Safety for Mossberg Shotgun 500 590 835 930 935 Shockwave Black . | eBay

The sidesaddle is a TacStar rigid one; I believe the same brand as the 500 had on it forever. Installed it this past weekend as well.
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The main difference between having one of these rigid sidesaddles on this semiauto gun and on the pump 500, is that if the mounting screws are over-tightened, it can can bind up the semiauto action and cause functional problems. That’s been a problem mentioned by numerous people whose reviews I found online. To avoid this, in addition to loctite on the mounting screws, I also put some smidges of lexel adhesive caulk on the backside of the sidesaddle’s mounting plate, between it and the receiver. Not a ton, but just a little to give some additional support beyond the two mounting screws.

After installing the safety slide lever and sidesaddle, ran 14-15 rounds of typical birdshot through it to test, and it did fine; no bobbles at all.

Next up is a replacement spacer tube for the action; a ventilated replacement part of the operating system designed for competition shooters, both to allow more reliable cycling with lighter loads and to allow moisture & condensation to drain away from the action & magazine tube instead of letting it remain in there and potentially inducing rust.

I’m also planning on adding a Velcro tear-away style shell holder on the buttstock. Anything to help keep more ammo with a shotgun is welcome, and if he doesn’t like it, even if he doesn’t want to go to the hassle of removing it he can just not put the shell card on there any time he doesn’t want it.

Lastly, I’m seriously considering a small red dot. We’ll see on that; haven’t decided 100% yet. The AR-style sights work fine, but just as with an AR carbine, a red dot is likely to be inherently quicker to use.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Got the shotgun set up, with the exception of the Esstac shell cards that haven’t come in yet. The cheap eBay velcro shell cards are a disappointment, which really isn’t too much of a surprise. They were $12 total for three of them including shipping, so there’s not a lot of room for quality to be built in. They held the shells okay when firing birdshot, but when I started shooting the buckshot, a couple of shells fell out, even though they were inserted with the rim facing up in the holder. Would not recommend them at all. I’m going to go ahead and give them to my son, but I’m going to recommend that he only use them playing around on the range or maybe if taking a class; not for any potentially serious use.

Really like the HS503R. The 65moa was just slightly larger than the actual pattern with any of the loads I tried; so as long as the circle was on the target, the entire pattern was on the target. That’s better than I had hoped for.


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John, I kinda understand not really being a shotgun person myself. But they sure can sling out a fair amount of destruction when used properly and stoked with the right ammo.
But the shells are bulky.
And I'm kind of reevaluating my choice. Mainly due to health issues possibly affecting my balance. I had chosen the Ultra Mag version of the 870 for two reasons: Run any type of 12ga 00buck, or other buckshot size load. And when using the 3.5" shells actually have a shotgun close to "Hollywood Movie" performance as realistically possible in a shotgun.
I know that a 25yds the buckshot pattern will start to spread in kind of oblong pattern, almost like a spreader choke was being used. That's if I use the "cheaper" ,relative term there, 3.5" shells. The Federal Premium with a flight control type wad will pattern in a tighter and more circular spread.

But cutting to the chase. Is that the recoil of a 3.5"Magnum in a pump action is fairly stout and practice with game loads isn't really much cheaper than with 00Buck as most of it is premium turkey or waterfowl ammo.
So I'm considering either a semi-auto alternative/replacement or just cutting my loses and going back to a normal 2-3/4" or 3" Magnum 12ga.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The 12-ga snap caps I ordered finally came in. They were much lighter than an actual round, so to make them feel closer to actual shells I added weight with 9mm bullets glued in place. Three 124-grain 9mm bullets stacked on top of one another and glued in place with the non-foaming version of gorilla glue turned out great. Finished product came out weighing right at 1.4 oz, the same as bird shot and less than a quarter-ounce lighter than 00 buckshot loads. That should make them much more realistic to handle than they were originally. When they came in, they only weighed 0.6 oz each.

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Anyone have any idea where I could find 6 dummy 3" 12-gauge shotgun shells? I have about 20 dummy 2 3/4" shells but I'm trying to verify the extension on a shotgun, to see if it fits manufacturers sales pitch.

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Bought mine way,few years ago.

Mossberg as a company SUCKS! Worst god damn service ive ever experienced in the industry.

The gun however has been 100% reliable, not even a single hiccup. Recently ran over 500rnds in one day and it was just a joy. Best part of all, it shoots so soft that you can actually shoot it all day like that.
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