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.