November 10, 2014
Mossberg has a reputation for producing quality guns at reasonable prices. Enter the refurbished Silver Reserve II. First introduced in 2011, the initial SR II wasn't what the manufacturer and, more importantly, hunters were looking for in fit and finish. So Mossberg went back to the drawing board and re-tooled the line.
The redesigned Silver Reserve II, a vast improvement over the previous offering, and at a suggested MSRP of $693, deserves a look by anyone in the market for a reasonably-priced stack.
The Turkish SR II is a standard box-lock design with robust double under lugs, with trunnions to keep the action svelte. Several configurations are offered, and there's sure to be at least one that will tickle your fancy.
Basically, there are five models: the Field, Bantam, Sport, Combo, and Side-by-Side. All have chambers and bores that are hard-chrome plated. The chambers are all 3 inch, except for the 28-gauge, which is 2¾ inches. A set of five Field choke tubes are provided with each gun, which include cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, and full. All have extractors, except for one model each in the Field, Sport, and Super Sport lines.
The Field is offered in 12, 20, 28 gauges, and .410, and both 26- and 28-inch barrels are available. The 20-gauge "Bantam" Field has 26-inch barrels and a shorter length of pull for smaller shooters.
Clay busters are not forgotten, with the Sport and Super Sport series. Both feature ported barrels and the "Sport" set of five extended tubes, thus allowing switching chokes at the drop of a rabbit target. Sport and Super Sport models are both in 12-gauge, and have ported barrels in lengths of 28, 30, or 32 inches with ventilated ribs 10 or 12mm in width, depending on the model.
Of particular interest are the two-gauge Combo models. These innovative guns come with a pair of complete barrel and forend sets. One combo is in 12- and 20-gauge with 28-inch barrels, the other in 20 and 28 with 26-inch barrels. And the cost of a Combo is much less than you'd pay for two guns. There's even an SR II side-by-side in 12, 20, and 28 gauges. These have 26-inch barrels, and also come with the Field set of five tubes. Specially-designed cases for these models (including the combos) are available.
The stocks are of "black walnut," and the checkering diamonds are smooth and rather flat on top, but they provide a good handhold. The solid black rubber recoil pad is about ½-inch thick, which is about right for the diminutive 20-gauge. The pistol grip is gracefully shaped, and correctly positions the hand for shooting. The non-automatic safety completely disconnects the trigger, and the firing pins are not bushed.
I wanted to put the new SR II through its paces, so after crunching a few hand-thrown clay targets, I bundled up and trundled off to the Claythorne Lodge near Columbus, Kan., to try for some feathered critters. Claythorne is a typical shooting preserve operation. Captive birds are released into a large area, and then you have to go hunt them. My guide introduced me to Bo, a white pointer that didn't have much field-trial style. But when he was unleashed in the field, he was all business, casting about, sniffing the air, and skidding to a stop on points that were rock solid.
I was after pheasants, and the first rooster was crumpled with a load of Winchester's Supreme load of 11/8-ounce copper-plated 6s at about 25 yards. The second bird was more challenging, as we had to negotiate some rough hills to get in position behind Bo, who was patiently waiting, confident (I hope) that we'd show up eventually. The rooster veered off to the left, and a lucky snap shot brought him to the ground. Bo was obviously delighted that I managed to hit them, as he retrieved each bird, and deposited it in my hand.
The new 20-gauge was a delight to carry, it balanced well between the hands, and from my experience, it seemed to shoot where I looked. No one is going to mistake this neat little gun for a super high-end over/under, but it doesn't cost as much, either. The SR II is a well designed, modestly-priced field gun with enough features to make it functional, but not so many to make it cost prohibitive. It is what it is...and that's pretty darn good.
Model: Mossberg Silver Reserve II
Action: Over/under box lock, dual-locking lugs, extractors
Gauge: 20 (tested), also available in 12 and 28 gauges and .410.
Trigger: 8 pounds, 2 ounces (lower), 6 pounds, 9 ounces (upper)
Barrel length: 26 inches, raised vent rib, brass bead front sight
Chamber: 3-inch, chrome-plated
Chokes: Integral Multi Choke (IMC) system, (C, IC, M, IM, and F), compatible with Briley tubes
Overall length: 43 inches
Weight: 7 pounds, 1 ounce
Safety: Tang-mounted, non-automatic, with barrel selector
Stock: Black walnut, hand-checkered 20 lines per inch
Length of Pull: 14 inches
Drop at combo: 1.5 inches
Drop at heel: 2.3 inches, ½-inch solid rubber recoil pad
Receiver finish: Silver receiver with scroll engraving