Gun Report

Mossberg Model 500 No. 55216 Turkey THUG 12 Gauge, $409 (Grade A 2012)

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This style of shotgun stock is what old-school shooters cut their teeth on during their first experiences with a pump-action, and it is still effective today. We liked the grip, feel, and function of the standard stock, particularly during follow-up shots.

Mossberg Model 500 No. 55216 Turkey THUG 12 Gauge, $409 (Grade A 2012)

Gun Details

Model Name
Model Number
Caliber Plus Cartridge
Weight Unloaded
Action Type
Chamber Length
Choke Tubes
Overall Length
Barrel Length
Rib Width
Stock Material
Length of Pull
Drop at Comb
Drop at Heel

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We pitted two popular turkey shotguns — one with a standard stock and one thumbhole model — in a head-to-head comparison to see which unit our turkey-hunting test shooters picked as the winner. The main focus of examining these two pump-action shotguns was to assess the handling ability of a standard stock compared to a thumbhole stock. Our pair of 12-gauge pump-action shotguns, both listing for under $500, were a Mossberg Model 500 Turkey THUG with a black synthetic stock and a 24-inch matte-black barrel, and a Mossberg Model 500 Synthetic Thumbhole Turkey in Mossy Oak Break Up with a 20-inch barrel.
While the barrel of the standard model was ported to help reduce recoil (arrow), firing 3-inch shells in the shotgun was not pleasant. We did like the handling ability and balance of the 24-inch barrel better compared to the 20-inch barrel on the thumbhole-stock version.û
The standard model (right) with an extended XX-Full Turkey choke at 40 yards shot impressive patterns. On average, the shotgun produced 26 hits No. 5 shot. The pattern with all three shot sizes was consistently centered on the target.û
The Lightning Pump Action Trigger System, designated by the lightning logo cut into the trigger shoe, came with a factory-set pull of 3 pounds and was a very pleasant surprise. Very little creep and a quick let off really helps prevent flinching or moving the shotgun in anticipation of recoil.
This stock was a little longer than the camouflage version, with a length of pull of 14.25 inches. The standard stock featured a drop at the comb of 1.5 inches and a drop at the heel of 2.25 inches, providing a good fit for most shooters.

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