March 3, 2009

Mossberg 500 Persuader/Cruiser 3-inch 20 Gauge 6-Shot

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 we noted above, in the September 2005 issue we tested the Mossberg Persuader Model 590A1 12 Gauge Magnum No. 51411, and we’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, we 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, we 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 stocks are similar in that they are composite plastic with the same basic measurements, but there are differences. The pistol grip on the Mossberg is about an inch shorter than the Remington.

We preferred the longer grip area of the Express; mainly because it allowed the shooter to have a flatter reach to the trigger, rather than having to cock the hand down to reach the trigger. However, the Mossberg came with a pistol grip, which gave it flexibility the other gun couldn’t match. With the pistol grip on, the Mossberg measured only 29 inches in length and weighed less than 5 pounds.

We thought the pebbled finish on the pistol grip and forend didn’t provide as good a grip surface as the Remington’s checkering. When we tried to shoot the Mossberg fast, our sweaty hands would either slide off the forend or loosen on the buttstock grip. The Mossberg, however, had a noticeably better buttpad than the Express, in our view. Its ventilated design was much softer, and the edges were already rounded. The Mossberg’s front sight was rudimentary, but effective, and we could see the gold bead on the Persuader better than the gray bead on the Express. Also, the Mossberg’s receiver was drilled and tapped for optics. This was a nice touch the other gun lacked.

Elsewhere, though we 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 we were handling the gun dry, we noticed that the forearm felt loose, and pressure on the forearm caused the action to stick. But while we were shooting live rounds fast, neither was a problem.

Mossberg 500 Persuader

Courtesy Gun Tests

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.

Reader Comments

Is the receiver scaled down for the 20 gauge? Will Mossberg be adding other 20 gauge versions of their defensive shotguns?

I have been a fan of the 20 gauge for home defense for some time. Better for the smaller, lighter members of the family. Still very effective. Remington's #81100 is my current favorite. It's an 870, 6+1 capacity, scaled down shotgun.

Comment by: RICHARD H | March 5, 2009

I actually use a 500 12ga for my home. I didn't want to spend $500 to have it customized so I just did it myself. A surefire forend light assembly, a truglo front sight and a sidesaddle ammo holder. It is 100% reliable, which took some work with the new forend, which was sticky. It kicks hard with the ammo I chose, so this 20 might be just the ticket for smaller folks though I doubt in a pinch anyone of any size would notice the kick... the muzzle flash and noise will be the problems.

Comment by: Markbo | March 5, 2009

Wondering about the .410 do to shoulder problems I can not handle much recoil anymore. Would the .410's recoil be soft enough for me and would the .410 be strong enough to do the job?

Comment by: stagger t | March 5, 2009

Richard S,

You have 2 ways to go on the .410 shotgun; the .410 Cruiser and/or the .410 sport model 500. The Cruiser comes ready to go, but the sport model has a stock that you can tuck under your arm. If you go the sport model, just cut the barrel down to 18.5". You will have a 5+1 capacity. Get the OOO Buck loads in 2.5" and you have a formidable home defense gun. I got the .410 Cruiser for the wife; she loves it!

The OOO Buck loads contain 3 pellets in the 2.5" and 5 pellets in the 3". The little 2.5" load has 50% more power than my .40 Glock.

Richard H

Comment by: RICHARD H | March 5, 2009

I think just fine for home defense but the .410 version of Mossbergs do not eject properly if the forend is pumped rapidly as in a emergency situation I've seen this problem several times. Yes Mossbergs use a unique frame size for each guage the Remington .410 shotgun is based on the 28 ga.frame and has severe feed reliability issues.Any firearm by any maker MUST be tested thoughly before you bet your life on it.

Comment by: Elliot Hansen | March 5, 2009

I have the model 500 in 12ga. To date I've had no feed / eject or any sort of problems... EVER. I find it easy to shoot with the pistol grip or with the stock. I'm not a big man but I find no problems with it. I think my wife would prefer the 20ga though. They are however quite LOUD and that can just make you poop yourself if you're not ready. Add that to the psychological aspect if you're being shot AT. Mossbergs are great shotguns and I'd trust it with my life.

Comment by: Ethan S | March 5, 2009

Ah yes, ... the Mossberg 500. I've owned a gaggle of these guys in both 20 and 12 gauge. Have trained my wife, sisters, and nieces on both ... all more confident and secure with these crowd pleasers in their homes. As a Police Officer in the 80s we were required to carry the Rem 870 - which I wasn't comfortable with, but a good firearm all the same; however, these Mossbergs tend to spoil a shooter delivering all that and a bag of chips, AND at an affordable price. I currently have the Mossberg Bull-pup taking residence next to my side of the bed - ready for service. Just reading this report, my wife saw the lil' .410 comments and has that 'look' in her eye, so,... I better pry my wallet open and start patrolling for one of these. Gotta keep Momma happy so my stream of toys aren't scrutinized too heavy.

Mossberg 500 Persuader

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The Persuader/Cruiser models come with standard stocks, but also include a cruiser-style pistol grip kit. The Persuader had more stock pitch than the Express and had a ventilated recoil pad, both of which helped reduce recoil.

Great article on a well made shotgun!

Comment by: GREG L | March 6, 2009

Greg L - tell me about this bullpup version. Where can I find more info on it? Mark

Comment by: Markbo | March 6, 2009

Markbo: The Mossberg Bullpup was available during the 80s. I purchased one in '87 for @ $250 which was a retail price out of a Phoenix gunshop. I sold that one to a fellow Police Officer the next year. Fast forward to 2008, ... I visited Phoenix from California, went to a Crossroads of the West Gun Show and purchased a pristine, near perfect condition Mossberg Bullpup in 12 gauge w/ vertical foregrip from a private seller. He was desperate and let it go for $400. It is actually in better shape than the one I sold in '87. Researching this shotgun after I got back home, it appears this hasn't been in production for some time. While searching for any Mossberg Bullpups, I did find just one with a damaged carrying handle for $750, ... which would make mine in the $1000 range for a collector. But I won't give this one up. If you've never seen one of these, do a net search and article will come up w/ pics. Best of luck to you.

Comment by: GREG L | March 7, 2009

how about the mossberg model 590a1 with 9-shot mag AND bayonet mount. same size, more rounds. I agree on the bullpup, i shot some 20 rounds at a trapshoot, and after the first five, it was fine. anyone making 20gauge in 3.5" shells? when u need power, u need it bad!

Comment by: longarm45 | March 9, 2009

The MB 500 in a 20 guage is a great home defense gun - if you can get your hands on one. As all gun dealers will tell you, all tactical aka "Black guns" are in high demand and difficult to obtain. I settled for the MB 500 in a 12 guage ($369.00) @ Big Al's in Hallendale, FL and will most likely equip it with a Knoxx SpecOpts recoil suppressor available from Cabela's catalog for $109. With over 4" of adjustment, these adjustable stocks can be made to fit a shotgun to any shooter; felt recoil is claimed to be reduced as much as 95%. The combination of fit and recoil reduction should result in increased accuracy, reduced muzzle flip and quicker follow-up shots. There is also a NRS (No Recoil Suppression) model does that does not include the Knoxx recoil suppression system, and brings adjustable length-of-pull to your pump shotgun at a lower price = from $69. It can be quickly adjusted from 11-1/4" to 15-1/2". The below address should to take you to the demo video site - if not go to cabela's web site.

Comment by: jgrove73 | March 10, 2009

95% recoil reduction, huh? I'll believe that when ... well never mind. I don't believe it.

Comment by: Markbo | March 10, 2009

just got my mossberg pump 20 ga. pistolgrip. any issues i might be unaware of? ammo choice is 2-3/4" #3 buck, or 3" #2 buck.strictly HD- longest shot line of sight about 25'

Comment by: houdani | November 26, 2010