View Full Version : 18.5" vs. 20" Mossberg 500 for HD?

April 23, 2010, 07:26 PM
I'm considering an 18.5" or 20" Mossberg 500 for HD duty. The pragmatist in me thinks I should get the 20" for the extra two round capacity at the cost of 1.5" of extra barrel length. That said, I suspect the 18.5" would swing more quickly as it's shorter and lighter.

I also wonder whether the added weight of the 20" barrel and +2 rds would benefit my wife when shooting in terms of more mass to absorb the recoil or whether she'd feel better with a lighter, easier maneuvering 18.5" barrel. I don't know anyone who has both to compare.

To me, for an HD shotgun, it seems odd to not have the magazine flush with the muzzle. It seems like wasted space that could hold another round or two. Obviously, it's likely to be a moot point as it's unlikely that any of us will need our HD shotgun or need to empty the magazine if we do. It's more of a hypothetical argument, I guess.

My other question is, how easy is it to find longer barrels for the 7-rd mag Mossberg 500? I'm not sure I've ever seen one.

April 23, 2010, 07:35 PM
I went with the 18.5" just cause it was easier for me to find a 28" barrel for hunting to go with it.

April 24, 2010, 12:19 AM
SKILCZ, please see the thread Defense barrel length (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=398864) for a discussion on 18 1/2 vs. 20-inch barrels.

April 24, 2010, 12:26 AM
Inch and a half makes almost no difference in the average man's hands! I wouldn't likely worry about it!

Bill DeShivs
April 24, 2010, 12:43 AM
But 2 extra rounds up front sure make the gun harder to handle, especially for women!

April 24, 2010, 03:51 AM
If the gun is dedicated to HD, then I would get the 20", just because it allows the extra rounds. While swing characteristics are a BIG deal in wingshooting, I wouldn't worry about the swing of 18.5" vs. 20" unless you plan on being attacked by a gang of killer pheasants in the near future.

If you are going to have a dual purpose gun, then I would get the standard model with an 18.5" and a 28" for hunting. Don't forget to put the mag plug back in for hunting. In theory hunting barrels exist for the long magazine model, but I've never seen one.

April 24, 2010, 11:09 AM
Most 20 inch barreled guns do not allow additional round count. The VAST majority are just typical 5+1. It takes one of them Uber Cool models to get 7+1. Also, keep in mind, no 5+1 gun can be converted without a new barrel and mag tube for mossberg 500 but the 590 and 870 just need a mag extension. It can be used on an 18 inch barrel with no risk of damage when fired...

April 24, 2010, 12:37 PM
I got the 18.5 because one came up and it was too good of a deal to pass on. I would have gotten a 20" if the deal was right. I don't consider other configs on this shotgun because it just sits near bedside for only one purpose. Whether you get 18" or 20" the most important thing is to get some shooting time with it and the ammo you choose to carry. Unless you are shooting it alot it would be hard to tell the difference between two IMHO.

April 24, 2010, 02:18 PM
I would go with the 18.5", its lighter and holds 5 in the tube. If you cant hit your target inside your house with 5 shots then you need to spend some more time at the range

April 24, 2010, 02:36 PM
I would go with the 18.5", its lighter and holds 5 in the tube. If you cant hit your target inside your house with 5 shots then you need to spend some more time at the range

I agree 100%. This is simple, sound advice.

I would add that more important than the barrel is the ability to act effectively in an emergency. Controlling the fear, thinking clearly, and making good decisions will save your life, not the 1.5" barrel difference. Practice emergency response like your life depends on it.

April 24, 2010, 02:52 PM
Personally, I was waiting to pickup a Mav 88 in 20" with the 7+1 magtube. But when push came to shove, the 5+1 28" Mossberg came up at the right price and I jumped on it. I tried clearing my bedroom door with the 28" barrel, and it works well, I sometimes over swing it, which makes me think I'll buy the 18.5" barrel at some point. But, I don't think barrel length really makes a difference with the shotguns, nor does the extra 2 shells in the tube. You just gotta practice with the gun and become proficient with it, and then the barrel length don't matter as much.

But, I'd suggest the 18.5" Mossy 500, since you'd have more options for replacement barrels with the 5 round tube than the 7 round tube.

April 24, 2010, 06:53 PM
extra two rounds and a tighter, albight not much, pattern

April 24, 2010, 10:46 PM
20" plus some i.m.o.

grab resistant
works well with shot sizes , smaller than 00 buck


April 25, 2010, 10:21 AM
I went with the 18.5 inch vote. The Mossberg I bought for double duty came with that barrel and the 28", I keep it as an HD weapon, with one round in the chamber, so you can swap 'em out for anything else.
As mentioned, easier to operate in the house than a 20".

April 25, 2010, 10:44 AM
Think I saw this same poll on the High Road. As I said there, I bought the 18.5 cause of more barrel options. Afterwards I purchased a 28' vent ribbed barrel for sporting purposes. Later found out Mossy makes the same 28' barrel for the 7 shot. There's a part# for it on the Maverick website. To do over I'd go with the 20' 7 shot for the capacity and I think it just looks cool.

April 25, 2010, 11:03 AM
you can never have too many good guns, i have both and i like both. the 18 1/2" comes with a second hunting barrel which is a plus. the 20" maverick holds 2 more shells. push comes to shove i want the 2 extra rounds. the extra 1 1/2" length difference means nothing to me in handeling.

April 25, 2010, 12:10 PM
tighter, albight not much, pattern
Not measurable with the average tape measure at any distance under 25 yards I bet.
2 inches additional barrel means nothing to pattern unless that 2 inches is full choke then it still would be very negligible at home defense range.


April 26, 2010, 12:26 AM
You mention home defense, and +2 rounds is not a bad thing, but I/m not sure how essential it is for that role.

I can tell you that the near 2" shorter overall length is significant in and out of a vehicle, vessel, etc, and possibly in hallways, corners and doorways. The 18" gun will be significantly lighter also. Especially w/o an extended mag tube.

April 26, 2010, 12:57 AM
i chose 18.5". With 2.75" shells, you can run 5+1 (after shaking the dowel out of the 500 magazine), which isn't too shabby.

I wouldn't mind 2 extra shells, but given the choice, I would keep the shorter length since 5+1 is already formidable. Further, i have extra shells in a sleeve on the stock available for quick reload. With the length the shotgun already presents, 1.5" is substantial IMO.

Running Remington reduced recoil 00 buck.

patiently waiting for someone to make reduced recoil #1 buck (the supposed optimum for defense & pattern without over-penetratioin)

April 26, 2010, 11:30 AM
For the Mossy 500 I'd go with the 18.5" barrel for pretty much the same reasons as were mentioned before: Shorter overall length and more barrel options (easy to find long barrels for 500's with the 5 shot tube rather than the 7).

Try holding them both if possible and see what feels more comfortable to you. Also, barrel length probably doesn't matter as much if you are taking cover in a bedroom (or similar area) with the gun pointed at the door.

April 26, 2010, 12:33 PM
I chose the 20" Mossberg 590 because I like the idea of having more rounds, it is 8+1, it is heavy but I do not plan on carrying the thing in my pocket lol. I have practiced house drills and taken a few different shotgun classes and the 6 round guns do just as well as the 8+1 but obviously when they are reloading I am still firing 3 rounds. I have a side saddle on mine that holds six additional rounds as well. The guy I got it from built it to be a tacticooooooool safe queen but it is my trunk/home defense gun.

April 26, 2010, 12:58 PM
Another thing to consider is screw in chokes. I have an old 500 with 20" barrel that is threaded for choke tubes. Mine is 5+1 but I feel the 20" with chokes gives you HD and hunting options with out extra barrels and added expense.

April 27, 2010, 03:31 AM
If you want a dual purpose shotgun, then get a 18.5" / 28" combo. Be sure to put the mag plug back in before you go hunting!

If it's a dedicated HD shotgun, I'd go with the 20", just for the extra capacity. I realize it's unlikely that they would ever be needed, but an HD shotgun is by definition an exercise in "what if?".

The extra 1.5" of barrel will not significantly affect velocity, will not affect patterning and won't cause the gun to be taken away from you.

Uncle Ben
April 27, 2010, 11:29 AM
I voted for the 18.5", only because that is what I have. The extra 1.5" of the 20" will not make a difference, IMO.

My personal view of a shotgun for HD is that it is best only when you KNOW EXACTLY where the threat is, OR you are holding up in a room with your SG pointed at the door.

I perfer not to clear a house with a shotgun because I don't want to be turning corners with such a long weapon that "catch" a corner or be taken from me too easily. If I feel that I must clear the house, I'll do it with a handgun. If I know where the threat is and/or I do not have to search, I would greatly prefer the SG. In which case the barrel length will not matter much.

Edit to say: I know that a skilled person can clear a room/house with a shotgun, but I'd personally prefer not to.

Uncle Ben
April 27, 2010, 11:43 AM
A home defense shotgun is by definition an exercise in "what if?"

I like this statement. It would make a good sig line for you :)

May 17, 2010, 04:19 AM
I have both an 18.5" Mossberg 500A Persuader six-shot and a 20" Mossberg 590 nine-shot. I've removed the heat shield on the 590 because I think it only adds more weight I don't want and I don't need the tacticool look.

Still, fully loaded, the 18.5" 500A feels significantly more nimble, manageable, and lighter in weight than the 20" 590. And under circumstances when I wish to use the pistol grip (for maximum maneuverability in tight quarters and/or smallest size for travel) the 18.5" with PG is just that much shorter than the 20". I see a lot of benefit to the 18.5" gun.

That said, I do like both guns. I would choose the shorter/lighter 18.5" six-shot 500A when moving about the house and the 20“ nine-shot 590 if hunkered down behind cover waiting for trouble to come to me.

I don't feel that the six-shooter is at much disadvantage capacity-wise compared to the nine-shooter. If called upon to defend myself with a shotgun, I think six on board is likely to be sufficient, though nine is nice!

May 19, 2010, 05:20 AM
I have a Mossberg 590 A with a 20" Because It looks scary. But I voted for the 18.5 I think indoors it make more sense

Dave McC
May 20, 2010, 09:51 PM
Six of one, .5 Dozen of the other.