Mossberg 500 Persuader/Cruiser 3-inch 20 Gauge 6-Shot
For home defense, the focus is usually on 12-gauge shotguns, but Gun Tests magazine recently tested a 20 gauge that for many—if not all—folks would be a better choice because of its lighter weight and reduced recoil: The Mossberg 500 Persuader/Cruiser 3-Inch 20 Gauge 6-shot No. 50452, $388.
The gun was a matte-black synthetic-stock pump with 3-inch chambers, with an 18.5-inch barrel and 5.1-pound weight.
Not to spoil the surprise, the magazine liked this 20 gauge a lot, and said it would buy it. In particular, for those shooters who already own a Persuader 12 gauge for hunting or other uses, they’d recommend staying with your "house" brand and buy the 20 gauge you’re already familiar with. The reason many shooters should prefer 20s for home defense over a bigger 12 gauge is that they’re noticeably lighter than the 12s. In the September 2005 issue, GT tested the Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic 12 Gauge Magnum No. 25077, $345, which weighed 7.25 pounds, and the Mossberg Persuader Model 590A1 12 Gauge Magnum No. 51411, $443, which weighed 6.9 pounds. The 20 they tested this time weighs nearly 2 pounds less, than its counterpart 12, which make it a better choice for women or teenagers who might want to shoot them, but it doesn’t give up much in terms of hall-clearing power or capacity.
To function-test the pump gun, they took a trip to the tactical range and fed them a diet of common 20-gauge loads. The test rounds were Remington’s ShurShot Heavy Dove 20 Ga. R20HD-S 2.75-in. 2.5 Dr. Eq. 1 oz. No. 8s; Sellier & Bellot 20 Ga. Field Load 2.75-in. 2.75 Dr. Eq. 1 oz. No. 8s, and Remington Premier STS Steel Light Target Load 20 Ga. STS20LS7 2.75-in. 2.5 Dr. Eq. 7/8 oz. No. 7s. At the firing line, the gun functioned properly, and they recorded no failures to fire or stoppages of any sort, though they had some trouble loading the Mossberg, which are detailed below. In terms of materials, the Mossberg had an aluminum-alloy receiver that really cut its weight. It had an alloy trigger guard, and the safety button for the Mossberg’s was plastic.
The gun had only the most rudimentary sights, which is fine for how they will probably be used, with shotshells. At close quarters, the shotgun would be an effective self-defense choice. Firing at 10 yards, we shot coffee-saucer-size patterns.
After the bang-bang section was complete, they moved on to other areas of function. Here’s what they found out:
In their commercial form, the Persuaders are virtual duplicates of the Mossberg Military 500 and 590 models. Persuader shotguns are available in both 18.5-inch and 20-inch barrel lengths, traditional blued or non-glare matte finishes, and some come with Ghost Ring sights. Available in .410 bore, 20- and 12-gauge models, Mossberg Special Purpose shotguns feature an anti-jam elevator, dual extractors, black synthetic stocks, and drilled and tapped receivers (20 and 12 gauge only) for scope base and optics installation. The Persuader/Cruiser models come with standard stocks, but also include a Cruiser-style pistol grip kit, which we didn’t use in our testing.
The Mossberg Persuader 20 gauge in this test had a fixed Cylinder choke blued-steel barrel, single front-bead sight, and 5+1 capacity. As noted above, in the September 2005 issue Gun Tests tested the Mossberg Persuader Model 590A1 12 Gauge Magnum No. 51411, and they’ve also checked out a similar 5+1 12-gauge 500A Persuader No. 50411 in the January 2001 issue. The major differences between the 20 and the 12s are the heavy barrel and matte-black Parkerized finish on the No. 51411 tested in 2005.
The 20-gauge 6-shot No. 50452 measured 38 inches in overall length. The receiver was aluminum. The stock and forearm were black pebbled polymer, and the buttstock had an LOP of 14 inches, a drop at comb of 1.7 inches, and a drop at heel of 2.5 inches. There was no cast. The gun had no rib, and the front sight was a simple gold bead. A plus was Mossberg’s 10-year warranty.
Operating the Mossberg, they could work both the safety and the slide release without changing the shooting-hand grip and without having to dismount the shotgun. To rack the slide, they pulled the trigger finger off the trigger and depressed the action-lock lever with the middle knuckle of the right hand. Lefties had it even easier; they could pull the trigger finger off the trigger and release the button without having to shift the hand on the grip. The Mossberg tang safety was likewise ambidextrous, positive, and easy to get to.
The stock is composite plastic. The Mossberg came with a pistol grip, which gave it flexibility. With the pistol grip on, the Mossberg measured only 29 inches in length and weighed less than 5 pounds.
The magazine thought the pebbled finish on the pistol grip and forend didn’t provide as good a grip surface as some others. When they tried to shoot the Mossberg fast, their sweaty hands would either slide off the forend or loosen on the buttstock grip. The Mossberg, however, had a noticeably better buttpad in their view. Its ventilated design was much softer, and the edges were already rounded. The Mossberg’s front sight was rudimentary, but effective, and they could see the gold bead on the Persuader easily. Also, the Mossberg’s receiver was drilled and tapped for optics.
Elsewhere, though they judged the large opening in the receiver to allow for easy loading and unloading, sometimes the nose of a shell caught on the feeder bar, causing a jam. And while they were handling the gun dry, they noticed that the forearm felt loose, and pressure on the forearm caused the action to stick. But while they were shooting live rounds fast, neither was a problem.