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Mossberg 500 Retro 12ga Pump Shotgun Action Review

Feb 29, 2024
Mossberg 500 Retro 12ga Pump Shotgun Action Review

Today we're taking a look at a shotgun we've already reviewed - The Mossberg 500. Our original review was with Steve's first shotgun, a Mossberg 500 from 2007. Since, Mossberg has released a new version of this gun, well kind of...This new variation is called the "Retrograde" and it is a throwback to the look of Mossberg's first tactical pumps. Fun fact: the "500" in the title refers to the fact that these shotguns were designed to be able to handle a variety of 500 different shotgun shells. 

If you have experience with Mossberg shotguns please let us know on the TFL COMMUNITY!   



  • Specs

    • 12 Gauge pump action shotgun - The Retro is only in 12ga but other variants of the 500 offer other gauges
    • 3" Chamber
    • Comes with accuset chokes - Looking for aftermarket chokes? Check out Carlson's Chokes Use Code "targetfocused20" for 20% off.
    • The length of pull is 13 7/8" -  The only way to adjust this any longer would be with purchasing aftermarket spacer or pad like a Falcon Strike pad 
    • Drop and heel 2 3/8"
    • 28" barrel 
    • 7lbs 2oz
    • 6lbs 8oz average trigger pull weight. 
    • MSRP is $606 but we picked ours up from Reeds Sports for less than that
  • Ergonomics

    • The first thing we noticed is that this 500 has a top tang safety as most Mossbergs do.
    • The trigger guard is a very standard size.
    • The slide release is located on the left side of the shotgun.
    • The receiver is drilled and tapped.
    • The dark-stained walnut wood with dark gray hardware is a very nice look. Certainly reminiscent of its predecessors from the 1960's.
    • This gun's forend has a very distinguishable "corncob" or "ribbed" texture to it.
    • The rib is flat and vented.
    • The rib has a very lowkey brass mid-bead and ivory front bead. Love the simplicity!
    • A large difference between this new 500 and the older ones is the but pad. Our old 500 from 2007 has a rock-hard pad that you can't even squish. The new Retro isn't great, but at least it has a little more give to it. 
    • The texture all around is very basic. The forend can be quite slippery if your hands are wet.
    • The forend seems to be positioned further forward than other guns causing a slightly unbalanced/uncomfortable grip with your off hand when you slide all the way forward.
  • Recoil and Reliability

    • We'll keep it short here - There's not much reliability to talk about with a pump shotgun. The action worked smoothly and we didn't get any hangups. 
    • Recoil was pretty much as you'd expect. It overall felt pretty good to shoot though!
    • We compared the recoil head-to-head with our old 500 and found that it was pretty much the same!
    • If you can speak to the reliability of a Mossberg 500, please let us know how it's held up on the  TFL COMMUNITY!    
  • Breakdown/Quality of Build

    • The single-pin trigger group design makes taking this gun apart a bit easier, but all the other parts can make for a headache if you don't keep track of where certain parts came from and the order they were removed.
    • This is a well-built gun. For the price point, you're getting a solid pump gun that will likely never break. 
    • To learn how to reassemble this gun visually, check out the video above!
  • Speed Shooting

    • In every review, we typically do a speed shooting test. This is where we hand throw 2/3 clays and record how fast we shoot them, as well as the split times between each shot. This is a fun competitive way to see how intuitively the gun mounts, shoots, and follows up on consecutive targets. Everything comes together in speed shooting. 
    • The last time we speed shot a Mossberg 500 we got a score of 1.34 seconds on 3 clays. Spoiler alert - We beat it with the Retro!
    • The gun shot and handled just fine! The only real trouble we had was with our hands slipping off of the forend. but with the help of football gloves to get a better grip, we accomplished a time of 1.16!
    • This score may be a little bit off, but we know for a fact that we got it in under 1.34
    • Pump shotguns are always such a blast to shoot. The Retro finish of this gun makes it all the better too! 

In conclusion, is this shotgun worth the price? The simple answer is yes. For the price point, you aren't getting anything fancy by any means. But it is a good-looking shotgun that works like a tank. This shotgun is going to last a very long time. This would be a great gun to have in the field, but you could also use it for clays if you so choose.  Check out the Mossberg 500 Retro at Reeds!

Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on, so live the #targetfocusedlife   

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