Mossberg 500 Mods – Beast on a budget

I bought the Mossberg 500 Tactical because I wanted a tactical shotgun. But most were upwards of $700. I did some research and actually found a friend of mine who has had a Mossberg 500 for over 26 years and it’s still running 100%. That’s all I needed to hear from a Vietnam Vet who knows what to put a firearm through for testing. So I picked one up for about $420. Throughout this review I’ll be showing you that you don’t have to spend $2,000 on a shotgun to get a completely tactical and versatile weapon.

This is how the Mossberg 500 Tactical comes stock. AR-15 style grip and collapsible stock.

The Mossberg 500 came with a lot of great features to be a great tactical weapon as it is. But I wanted more. It comes with the great AR-15 style grip and collapsible stock with a 5 round saddle, and the receiver is pre-tapped for optics or a mounted rail. It has a 5+1 capacity, and a 18.5″ barrel.

But this review is about what I’ve done to it to make it what I need. Let me touch on that first.

I didn’t want to buy an AR-15 because that’s a very specific use weapon. Not good for home defense ( especially in subdivisions with homes close together. I live in the country but I do travel to more populated areas ), not great for hunting, and it has one type of ammunition for the most part. A shotgun can have buck shot ( 00 or 00 magnum – most common ) for within 15 yards defense unless choked, slugs for getting through tough surfaces or longer range, bird shot for small game, flares, flechette, and the list goes on. I can make a shotgun whatever I need it to be.

Upon getting the Mossberg 500, it was perfect for home defense. But the first thing that bothered me was the finish on the rifle. When left in open air after having touched it, it rusts in only two days. Not really bad but I personally believe we don’t have to deal with that in 2012. There are plenty of great finishes out there. So that’s the first thing I changed. I used Duracoats shake and spray kit ( $43 after shipping ). Took two hours to apply after detail stripping the weapon and dried in 12 hours. Cured in one month. And the finish is fantastic! It doesn’t feel like a thick finish. It’s very fine smooth, and feels like metal. It doesn’t feel like it’s coated in Teflon or something.

Sorry for the bad quality here. But you can see the Duracoat didn’t fill in the print on the weapon at all. Very sharp details still.

Bottom of the receiver wasn’t filled either. Went on with 1 coat and a light mist to make sure.

At this point you’re probably wondering about wear on the finish. After running quite a few rounds in stress courses with the weapon this is the wear from the pump on the magazine tube. This is pretty good considering the finish that came stock wore faster. The finish isn’t invincible but it’s plenty durable. Went on easy, dried fast, and looks and feels great.

Next I wanted an optic. Nothing with a zoom, just a red dot. So first I mounted a rail from UTG ( $7 ). Then I put on a 30mm Red Dot from TruGlo. It is rated for .50 BMG and 12 Gauge and cost $45. It has 11 different settings for intensity and came with lens covers that are shaded for outside daytime use. So if you need it in a hurry you can still see through the lens covers.

This picture doesn’t do the dot justice. This dot on 11 is very bright. In low light situations it’s too bright. Which makes it more valuable because you can dial it down.

It comes with an integrated rail mount, and two screws to tighten to the rail. It also takes CR2023 ( watch battery ) that is included. The rail from UTG ( which came with screws to mount to the receiver. ) cost $7, and the optic was $45. Huge value for the rating on this optic. And TruGlo is a trusted name in optics.

The light is perfect. At 130 lumens it’s very bright but not so bright that you will blind yourself in a reflective surface. On top of that it’s extremely sturdy.

The next thing I needed was a light. This shotgun would operate as a home defense weapon as well and a light with/or on a weapon is a necessity is a must in my opinion. So I researched pretty hard and found the Streamlight PolyTac. It’s an LED light that is powered by 123 batteries. It’s impervious to shock, water proof, and runs for 3 hours straight before losing one of it’s 130 lumens. All that for $30.

CDM Gear BMT with 3 slot rail Shotgun Flashlight Mount ( $53 ) is what I went with for the mount. It’s incredibly sturdy and the mount makes so much sense. No smithing or drilling to attach. Simply put both sides of the mount between the barrel and magazine tube and tighten with the provided allen wrench. It also comes with pads that go between the mount and your weapon so as to reduce recoil shock and protect your finish. So that provided a rail to mount a light. I also needed a light mount to go on the rail. I went with the UTG Universal Slide-on Flashlight Ring ( $10 ). It slides onto a standard picatinny rail and tightens very securely. It receives up to a 1″ diameter light.

Nice sharp beam, bright, and easy top activate and deactivate. The light has a deep button travel so you can do a momentary activation easily.

Next I needed a sling mount. I found one from Ergo ( $24 ). Solid steel and very sturdy. I feel like this mount is bullet proof. It mounts between the receiver and the grip/stock assembly. It was a little difficult to install but it’s on there now.

The dual ring mount from Ergo is awesome. It’s low profile, and so extremely sturdy. I used a Blackhawk QD one point sling on it and I feel like I could repel off this mount.

Now the next mod was a big one. The saddle on the stock of the 500 is great but I had different plans for it than using it as a “secondary mag” saddle. I bought the Tac Star Side Saddle ( $25 ). This is one of the biggest values on the weapon. Normally you’re talking upwards of $100 for a saddle. This one comes with a steel mounting plate that mounts right to the receiver with no gunsmithing required. It uses preexisting pin holes to mount the plate, then the saddle screws right onto that and is perfectly appropriate.

I really liked this as a “second magazine” of shells because it’s 6 instead of 5. Seeing as I use 5+1 with this weapon it only makes sense. Further when I’m loading my second mag I want it close to the magazine tube. Going from the rear saddle is awkward. The shell fit in the saddle is second to none. Not too tight, and not at all loose. And the ammunition I have ( blue ) is Hornady TAP low recoil 00 Buck. A great load for quick powerful hits. These recoil less than bird shot.

This is what I use my rear saddle for. It’s “special” ammunition. The green are 00 buck magnum 3″ shells. The magnum load of 15 pellets vs the 9 give you that extra knock down power if need be. The red are 1 oz. rifled slugs. Just in case I need to get through say plywood at 30 yards. That will do the job. This load combo is even great in a hunting application. Throw bird shot into the mix and you’re ready to go.

Overall I added a great finish with Duracoat Shake and Spray, a Sling mount from Ergo, 6 Shot Side Saddle from Tac Star, Optic rail from UTG, 30mm Red Dot from TruGlo, Accessory rail from CDM, Light mount from UTG, Awesome tactical light from Streamlight, and have some great accessory ammo for almost any application.

Total cost of ammunition, the weapon, the mods, and even a bore snake for 12 Gauge came to about $675.

Shotgun – $420

Mods – $237

This is truly a versatile weapon now. I can use it in close range home defense applications, duty/tactical applications, or even hunting.

Hope you guys enjoyed this review of my personal shotgun. Again, this is to show you that you can get a great weapon, and mount some great products on it and make it something amazing for less.



9 thoughts on “Mossberg 500 Mods – Beast on a budget

  1. I’m interested in getting a shotgun for home defense as I’ve found that, according to many experts it is their weapon of choice. I’m pretty familiar with many guns having grown up hunting and being a Vietnam Veteran. Concerning shotguns, I’ve fired mostly 20 ga.for skeet shooting and did shoot a 12 ga. 00 buckshot in Vietnam a few times. I handled the recoil ok but didn’t care for it. I’m thinking about the Mossberg 500 tactical shown in your video & text. Primarily for home defense and maybe some turkey hunting back on the farm. I like the pistol grip but not crazy about the awkward access to the safety. I want a 12 ga. but need advice on lower recoil loads that still have the necessary stopping power. I will definitely add a light I live in an apartment though…no children at home. …but concerned about neighbors next doom and above.. I’m careful but still concerned. That’s a good thing.
    I really enjoyed your article “Beast on a budget” and the video on YouTube! You evidently know what you’re talking about and are highly skilled. I assume you are a Veteran and or in law enforcement so I thank you for your service.
    I would appreciate any and all of your recommendations regarding my thoughts above.
    Thank you.

    • Thanks so much for commenting!

      What I would recommend for you would be the Mossberg 590A1. It’s a rifle stock shotgun (no pistol grip – which means better access to the safety), it has an extended magazine tube, rifle sights (so no need for mounting an optic), and has a 20″ barrel. It’s the same as far as function as the Mossberg 500, but with those added features.

      As far as the lighter load, (for home defense) Rio Royal 00buck low recoil would be a good load for you. It’s a lighter load, and patterns very nicely at 13 yards. You will have all the shot on target at that distance. Further than that, you’ll still have the majority. I use this load for home defense in standard pressure.

      I hope this helped! Thanks so much for watching and commenting. And don’t hesitate to ask us if you have another question!

  2. Thanks for the information. I am planning to buy a shotgun for home defense in the near future. I am considering a maverick 88 and the mossberg you have. My plan is to slowly build up the maverick. But after seeing your review, I guess it’s cheaper in the long run to go with the mossberg 500 tactical. Do you have an idea on how much a rifle stock would go? Just in case the adjustable stock won’t work for me.
    Thanks again and keep the reviews coming!

    • Yeah I’d go with the Persuader and get a Hogue rifle stock. We have a video on changing out the AR stock to a hogue rifle stock. Dig through our pages in here and you should find it. I think in reviews.

      The persuader is a great weapons platform and comes as a made in the USA shotgun. I’d get that with a Hogue rifle stock ($45 on amazon) and a utg rail ($7 on amazon – the weapon comes pre-tapped for a rail).

      The Maverick is ok, but it’s just a super cheap version of the M500. The M500 is proven and in use by many armed forces.

      Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with brother!

  3. And with 5 in the mag and 1 in the pipe plus 11 rounds onboard your quick handling home defense weapon weighs what?
    I’m only partially kidding. I find myself losing sight of primary objectives with mods sometimes.
    Fortunately I’ve never had to defend my home but the basic mossy 500 with 5+1 of double ott, should make the bad guy the loser.

    • I hear you man! The review is only showing that you can heavily mod a weapon for pretty cheap.

      Currently the M500 isn’t this heavily modded for home defense. It is just the gun, with a light, and 5+1. I agree with the weight. I’m very particular about that. All my guns are painfully simple and as lightweight as possible. Nothing that’s not thought out and needed.

      I think a double barreled shotgun would even suffice for 90% of the time. (Obviously we don’t plan for the best case scenario) but two trigger presses and you have 18 .33″ ball bearings flying at someone. That’s a lot of firepower. All that to say, I agree. It’s just to combat the thinking that you have to put all this ridiculous expensive stuff on a gun to trust your life with it. When our enemy over seas is killing the same as we are with 40 year old weapons that are in terrible shape.

      It’s the operator, not the machine.

      A Navy SEAL with one mag of 9mm is more lethal than most with 3x the ammo.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Thanks for the informative review and video. I’m on a budget and considering my first home defense weapon and this looks like what I should be aiming for. I live in the NorthWest and enjoy camping , atv trail riding and Huckleberry picking and wonder if this would also be a suitable setup for bear defense, as they like Huckleberries also.

  5. That is exactly what I am building. You did not talk about the stock. Is that ATI with the recoil system? Other than the optic they will be twins. Good sensible build. Thanks for posting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s