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Shotgun Review: Mossberg International Gold & Silver Reserve Over/Under

At an unbeatable price point, the new Mossberg Silver Reserve and Gold Reserve shotguns are an attractive option for upland hunting.

Shotgun Review: Mossberg International Gold & Silver Reserve Over/Under

Mossberg brings the finer details of a classic over/under shotgun to an affordable price point in the International Reserve series. (Lee Thomas Kjos photo)

The Mossberg name may always be most closely associated with pump and semiauto shotguns, but Mossberg International is hoping to become a bigger player in the U.S. over/under market with the release of their new Silver Reserve and Gold Reserve shotguns. These Turkish-made stackbarrels are available in a wide range of configurations that serve waterfowlers, upland hunters, and clay target shooters well. What’s more, with MSRPs starting at just $636, these guns are more affordable than many other over/unders.

Silver vs. Gold

The new Silver Reserve Field guns (which are different than the outgoing Silver Reserve II models) are designed with hunters in mind, specifically those who want a more austere field gun at a very modest price point. The receiver comes with either a satin silver or matte blue and bears the Mossberg logo. Extractors come standard, and so does a select black walnut stock with a 14-inch length of pull and cut checkering on the forearm and pistol grip. The barrels have a matte blue finish, a single bead on the end of the 10mm rib and a set of five flush-fit choke tubes (C, IC, M, IM, F).  

Mossberg International Gold & Silver reserve over/under shotgun
The International Reserve shotgun line from Mossberg offers both a classic look and proven performance in the field. (Lee Thomas Kjos photo)

The 12-gauge, 7 ½-pound model is equipped with 28-inch matte blue barrels while the 20- and 28-gauge and .410 models feature 26-inch blued barrels. In addition to the four standard LOP models, there’s also a compact 20-gauge version with a 13.25-inch length of pull and a 12-gauge model with matte black receiver with 28-inch barrels and a black synthetic stock. All Silver Reserve shotguns come with ventilated mid ribs and tang safeties with integrated barrel selectors. The safeties are not automatic.

Gold Reserve models are available in 12- and 20-gauge and .410 and feature hand-select black walnut stocks, polished blued barrels, scroll engraving on silver receivers and a set of five extended sport choke tubes. The bottom of the receiver bears a Mossberg logo with 24 carat gold inlay. There’s a Black Label 12-gauge version available with a black receiver finish and 30-inch barrels and a Super Sport 12-gauge version available with a fully adjustable walnut stock and 30-inch barrels. All Gold Reserve guns come with auto ejectors and carry MSRPs from $983 to $1,221, and like the Silver reserves, their safeties aren’t automatic.

Mossberg International Gold & Silver reserve over/under shotgun
The Gold Reserve receiver sports scroll engraving and a Mossberg logo with a 24 carat gold inlay.

Test & Evaluation 

There’s a Mossberg International Silver or Gold Reserve that’ll cover just about every base required of a hunting or sporting shotgun, whether you’re looking for an affordable over/under for busting brush or banging around chukar country or an all-black synthetic gun for use when waterfowl or turkey hunting.

The gun that I tested was the Gold Reserve .410 model, which weighed in at just 5 pounds, 6 ounces and carries an MSRP of $983. Like other Gold Reserve guns, it features a sliding tang safety/barrel selector that must be in the safe position to switch barrels. Pressing to the right selects the under barrel, and the safety acts as a trigger disconnect.

Mossberg International Gold & Silver reserve over/under shotgun
The Mossberg International Gold & Silver Reserve over/under shotgun series is equally capable at the range and in the field.

The barrels feature chrome-lined bores and chambers. Cutouts in the monobloc fit trunnions in the action give the Mossberg a low profile. In fact, the receiver of the .410 version tested measured just over two inches from top to bottom. Trigger pull averaged just under seven pounds, and the extended choke tubes are both labeled and color coded so it’s easy to know which constriction is in place. The forearm has a Schnabel fore-end and Deeley- style forearm release lever. The .410 model comes with a 3-inch chamber and, like other Silver/Gold Reserve models it’s made by Khan Arms in Istanbul. It features 26-inch barrels and an overall length of 43 inches.

The Gold Reserve’s walnut stock is good for the price class and the checkering on the forearm and pistol grip is clean and even. The pistol grip itself is quite narrow and trim on the .410 version to blend with the trim scaled receiver. Wood-to-metal fit isn’t bad and is better than most competing guns at this price point. The scroll engraving on the Gold Reserve guns is a nice touch, as is jeweling and gold inlay on the receiver. This gun’s center balance point lies at the leading edge of the receiver, which means it’s neither whippy nor nose-heavy. While shooting clay targets with the gun, I noticed both the proper balance (perfect for crossing targets or doves) and the hard polymer heel of the recoil pad. The heel prevents the gun from hanging up and the cushioned insert in the recoil pad helps soak up setback (although the .410 model with 2 ½-inch loads is so mild that even the most recoil-sensitive shooters can handle it). Mossberg opted to offer the gun with a simple gold bead, which I find functions as well on a field gun as any front sight and better than those that divert the hunter’s attention away from the bird.

Kudos to Mossberg for including five extended choke tubes with their Gold Reserve guns. Finding aftermarket extended chokes for Mossberg guns isn’t all that difficult but having choke tubes already in the box when the firearm ships saves hassle and money. On the pattern board the Mossberg performed well: at 30 yards both barrels shot close to point of aim and produced a roughly 50/50 pattern ideal for a field gun. The action itself is stiff but the ejectors worked well in the test and the machining was clean and even. The inertia trigger was a bit heavy but not unbearably so. I was particularly fond of the trim forearm and pistol grip, and the Schnabel fore-end offers, among other things—a comfortable and secure handhold when carrying the shotgun over the shoulder with the action open.

Mossberg Gold Reserve

  • Action Type: Over/under boxlock action
  • Gauge: 12, 20, 28, .410 bore (tested)
  • Sights: Single bead
  • Stock: Grade-A Satin Black Walnut
  • Length of Pull: 14 inches
  • Weight: 5.75 lbs.
  • Barrel Length: 26-inch
  • Trigger Pull: Single, 6 lbs., 9 oz.
  • Safety: Tang-mounted with integral barrel selector
  • Chokes: Five flush-fit (C, IC, M, IM, F)
  • Suggested Retail Price: $983

Small Bore Powerhouse

TSS and other ultra-dense non-toxic loads have unlocked the potential of small bore shotguns. A decade ago, .410 over/unders were something of a novelty, perfect for killing pests and vermin around the house, backyard clays (especially with new or small-statured shooters) and preserve quail. However, with a full-power 3-inch load of TSS, this five-pound shotgun works for chukar and Huns in the big country of the West and wild-flushing pheasants in CRP fields. While duck hunting on Beaverdam Lake in Mississippi earlier this year, I watched the hunter next to me drop mallards consistently using Apex custom TSS ammunition, and most of those birds were dead when they hit the water. This new generation of ultra-dense shot adds legitimacy to the claim that guns, like the Mossberg Gold Reserve tested, are legitimate all-around upland guns that blend light weight and low recoil with ample killing power. Having a .410 makes sense as a gun dog owner and trainer, too. Introducing gunfire is critical step in your dog’s development and when you’re ready to transition from training pistols to functional shotguns the mild report of a 2 ½-inch .410 is less intimidating that a magnum 12-gauge load, and the lightweight, affordable Gold Reserve .410 is ideal for the task.

Mossberg International Gold & Silver reserve over/under shotgun
With the advancement of ammunition, the .410 is now a viable option for all upland pursuits. (Lee Thomas Kjos photo)

Regardless of what you’re after in a shotgun there’s a value-priced Reserve shotgun that will fit the bill. If you’re looking for an affordable field gun that functions well without a lot of thrills, the Silver Reserve line will fit the bill. If you are inclined to spend a little extra for added features like upgraded wood, an engraved receiver, extended choke tubes, and auto ejectors, look to the Gold Reserve line.

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