Gun Review: Mossberg 500 Turkey Holosun Micro Dot Combo

Mossberg 500 Turkey

By Paul Rackley, GunBroker Editor

Few firearms have the recognition of the Mossberg 500. Since 1961, the 500 has provided hunters and shooters with a reliable and affordable shotgun. As such, every shooter knows about the simple toughness of this pump-action, handle-anything firearm. 

In fact, Mossberg has built variations of the 500 around almost every shooting style. This includes models designed for specific types of hunting, as well as military and law enforcement. Those looking for a tactical shotgun have an option. As do deer hunters, turkey hunters, waterfowlers and even youth looking for that first sporting arm. The company even offers combo models for those wanting to pursue different species, such as deer and turkey, with the same firearm. 

Mossberg has made improvements to the design over the years, but the shotgun remains as good today as it was 60 years ago. The Mossberg 500 fires pretty much any load every time someone pulls the trigger. In fact, the 500 in the name refers to these shotguns being able to handle 500 different shotgun loads. And just because a model might be designed for a specific type of shooting or species of game doesn’t mean it is locked into such. 

These shotguns are versatile easily crossing over from hunting to self-defense and more. Mossberg even produces these shotguns in 12, 20 and 410 gauge, in adult and youth models, providing options for all shooters. This includes the Mossberg 500 Turkey Holosun Micro Dot Combo that arrived for testing. 

Changes & Improvements 

I shot my first 500 more than 20 years ago, maybe even 30 or more. I liked the gun, as it fired each time I pumped the action and pulled the trigger. And it felt rugged, like an all-around shotgun was supposed to feel. In fact, there is only one other shotgun I would put in the same class regarding toughness and affordability. 

Conversely, I never really thought of the shotgun outside of those factors. It is an ole faithful that you know is back there and steady; it doesn’t have to be worried about until needed. Then it just kicks butt. 

At SHOT Show, however, I sat down with the company’s rep. She pointed out that; one, that the 500 is still one of the best-selling shotguns on the market for a reason. Two, I really needed to try a shotgun with a micro red dot. Three, she would send one with a Holosun so I could check out both. I received a Mossberg 500 in 20 gauge the first week of turkey season. 

Going After the Gobble

The first thing I had to do was make sure the red dot was sighted in and ready. Of course, since turkey loads are expensive, I started with Remington No. 8 field loads against a turkey target. Two rounds at both 20 and 40 yards showed the Holosun was good. To ensure no problems in the field, I also popped off a Federal Premium 3rd Degree with HEAVYWEIGHT TSS Nos. 5, 6, and 7 shot at both distances. With excellent patterns at both distances, the Mossberg 500 was ready. 

Now, the last few years, getting time to turkey hunt has been less than ideal. Work and family responsibilities have interfered with pretty much everything. As such, I only got out a few times this year, and I didn’t have that good of luck. I heard birds, but most of them were pretty far off the property. The one I had working well ended up with a pretty good creek between us. That was the day I realized I’m not that mad at turkeys anymore. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have swam that creek to go after the bird. On that day, the water looked deep and cold, and I wasn’t going to do it. 

The season ended without the Mossberg 500 putting a bird on the ground. Of course, that doesn’t mean the shotgun didn’t do its job. That short, light shotgun toted well through the fields and woods near the house. The only reason it didn’t sound off in fury was because I couldn’t get a gobbler into range. 

Flying Off for Testing

While the model received was turkey specific, the 500 has always been an all-around shotgun. Because of this I knew was going to test this gun against more than just turkeys. Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to make it to a sporting clays range. Testing shotguns against clays is pretty standard, but golf with a gun provides the best variety of shots comparable to hunting. After that comes 5-stand, skeet and trap, respectfully.

A couple of rounds of skeet, followed by some informal shots taken from a hand thrower showed the Holosun to be effective at hitting flying targets. In fact, it made it quite easy to find and follow those disks through the air. My only problem was the safety. 

Located on top, where the thumb can easily disengage, I’m just not used to the location. Early in the process, I threw up on target with my trigger finger trying to release the safety. Both times, the clay got out of range before the mind could transfer to the thumb to fire. This was completely personal and quickly remedied itself as more shots were taken. 

Throughout testing, the Mossberg 500 Turkey performed exactly as expected. There were zero failures to fire or eject, regardless of load power. Also, the recoil was quite manageable, even for my 13-year-old daughter, who participated in some of the clay testing. The turkey loads had some punch, but it wasn’t bad at all.

The Mossberg 500 might be an older design. In fact, it is quite old. However, this shotgun is still a good option for both hunters and shooters. It’s reliable, affordable and available in a variety of models, from all-around to specific use. And it can handle anything more than 500 loads, just like the name suggests. 

Mossberg 500

Mossberg 500 Turkey Holosun Micro Dot Combo Specs

  • Action: Pump
  • Gauge: 20, also available in 12 and 410
  • Chamber: 3”
  • Barrel: 20” Vent Rib
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Finish: Mossy Oak Greenleaf
  • Choke: X-Full, Screw in chokes
  • Capacity: 5
  • Length: 39.75”
  • Length of Pull: 13.87”
  • Sights: Fiber-Optic Front/Holosun Micro Dot
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs. 
  • MSRP: $844
  • UPC: 015813543422

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