Sunday, October 09, 2016

Guns: Mossberg 930 JM Pro review - Jerry's Jackhammer

Introduction

Jerry Miculek is one of my favorite competitive shooters. In addition to being the fastest revolver shot in the world, he's avuncular, affable, and flat-out funny (at least as far as I can tell from his YouTube channel). I won't lie - I picked up the Mossberg 930 JM Pro partly because it had Jerry's name on it:


The 930 JM Pro is designed to be an entry-level shotgun for practical shooting matches. These events favor semiautomatic shotguns with giant magazines, since you need a lot of shells to be delivered on multiple targets at blinding speed. Can the 930 JM Pro hold up to this kind of shooting?

Fit and Features

The 930 JM Pro competes with semiauto shotguns from Remington, Benelli, and numerous other manufacturers. In hand, it actually feels pretty similar to my trusty FN SLP, which is also a gas-operated piston-driven design:



At heart, the JM Pro is a gussied-up version of the standard 930. For your money (roughly $700 versus $550), you get the following bells and whistles:
  • 3-round magazine extension
  • Beveled magwell
  • Fiber-optic front sight
  • Oversized charging handle and bolt release
Now, it's important to note that Mossberg offers other models of the 930 that might actually work better for 3-gun matches, such as the 930 Snow Goose (which holds 13(!) shells out of the box). I opted for the 22" barrel JM Pro - while it sacrifices some capacity and barrel length, it's also handy enough to serve as a home defense shotgun.

Range Report

Gas-operated designs like the Mossberg 930 are a pleasure to shoot, since the mechanism spreads out recoil. I found that the JM Pro was tolerable even with 3" magnum 00 buck, such as this Winchester Super-X. Now, each shot was still a jarring event, and this is still the maximum amount of recoil I can handle for more than a few shots, but it wasn't painful patterning the gun at 15 yards:





Regular loads, like this Spartan 00 buck, were much easier to handle, and could be machine-gunned out of the JM Pro in Miculek-like fashion. Using the 930's modified choke tube, patterns were tighter than my 18" FN SLP, as you might expect:


Royal 00 buck, 15 yards:


Remington 00 buck, 15 yards:


The Federal Flite Control 00 buck (LE127 00) remains the best buckshot load I've ever tested - tight, predictable patterns at 15 yards. If I were in a fight for my life, these are the loads I would prefer in the gun:



The Flite Control load was even usable at 25 yards, though as you can see, one pellet missed the target completely and one pellet was a very low hit.


The 930 JM Pro was quite accurate with slugs - here are some 25 yard offhand groups with Remington Slugger and Winchester Super X.




The one bugaboo with the 930 Pro (and literally every semiauto shotgun I've ever shot, including expensive ones) is that it can be sensitive to ammo. Garden-variety buckshot was 100% reliable, but a particular light load of Winchester birdshot sometimes failed to eject when I shot sporting clays with the gun. Also, the shotgun requires a firm shoulder - if you run from the gun, like I did after a box of the 3" magnums, you can get malfunctions since you're not giving the system something to recoil against ("limp-shouldering," basically):


Conclusion

I think the Mossberg 930 JM Pro is one of those products that does exactly what it set out to do - the gun provides a beginner with a very good, 3-gun ready shotgun without breaking the bank. Of course, you'll need to do a lot of mods to use it for serious competition, but the same is true for any factory gun. All in all, I would have no qualms recommending the JM Pro to any shooter...even if their name isn't Miculek.

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