Gun Report

Mossberg Model 500 Mossy Oak Break Up Synthetic Thumbhole Turkey Pump-Action 12 Gauge, $493 (Grade B+ March 2012)

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High-tech moving into the world of shotgun shooting does provide shooters with a steady, stable firstūshot ability, although the feature does require a little get-acquainted time. Recoil from the firing ofū3-inch shells can be felt more in both the shooter’s hand and shoulder with this type of stock.

Mossberg Model 500 Mossy Oak Break Up Synthetic Thumbhole Turkey Pump-Action 12 Gauge, $493 (Grade B+ March 2012)

Gun Details

Model Name
Model Number
Home Defense
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.
This 20-inch camouflage barrel added to the recoil factor with 3-inch loads, we thought.
The design of the thumbhole stock, with its grip and Monte Carlo–style comb, restricts the use of the shotgun to right-handed shooters.
The safety on the rear of the receiver cannot be as easily accessed with minimum movement when shooting a thumbhole stock as when a standard stock is put into play. This is a minor problem, but with a turkey’s remarkable ability to spot any movement in the brush, it is worth noting.
Admittedly, some of the veteran wing-shooters in our test group required a little adjustment time to get familiar with the thumbhole concept, but quickly adapted to the new feel and handling factors of the firearm.

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