New Shotgun Day - Mossberg 590A1 Retrograde!

Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
4,604
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
If you saw my recent thread about the Mossberg Mariner Marinecote you knew I was looking at shotguns.

Well, seeing that Mariner on sale spurred me into doing some research into what else was available, and by the time I got ready to buy, Sportsman’s Warehouse was all sold out.

But after doing some research, I found that what I really wanted was a 590A1 anyway (the ones that Sportsman’s Warehouse had on sale were the standard 590).

If you’re not familiar, the 590A1 differs from the standard Mossberg 590 in that it has a heavy-walled barrel, metal trigger guard and safety, Parkerized finish instead of matte blueing, and some people claim that the action of the trigger is better.

One article I read even claimed that the heavier barrel actually results in a tighter pattern, due to different barrel harmonics, despite the fact that it’s a cylinder bore shotgun (no choke). And that may even be the reason behind the heavy barrel, as part of the MIL-S-3443G spec that this gun was made for defines how tight the pattern has to be at a certain distance from the muzzle (see below).

Oh, and it has a bayonet lug. And yes, I’ll definitely be getting a bayonet for it! (How could you not, right?!)

But, the biggest thing is that the “A1” version of the Mossberg 590 is supposedly the only shotgun to have officially passed the so-called MIL-S-3443G specification, created to define the characteristics desired in a military fighting shotgun.

I found the “cliffnotes” version posted on another forum. Theres more to it than this; I found the complete downloadable specs, but it’s 33 pages. You can find it easily if interested.

Here’s the abbreviated spec:

TARGETING AND ACCURACY (PATTERN):

At a range of 40 yards (+/- one foot) aim shall be taken at the center of a pattern sheet not less than 40 nor more than 60 inches square. The shot pattern shall be such that not less than 33 1/3 per cent of the shot pellets shall be within or cut the edge of a 30-inch diameter circle for accuracy (pattern), drawn entirely on the pattern sheet so as to enclose the most shot. Five patterns shall be fired from each gun and the average must be as specified. The guns shall be hand held during firing, or mounted in a fixture that simulates hand firing. Ammunition shall be as specified in 3.17.3.

ENDURANCE TEST (LOT ACCEPTANCE)

Shotguns shall be capable of withstanding the firing of 3,000 rounds with no unserviceable or broken parts and no more than three (3) malfunctions using standard commercial 12-gauge, 2 3/4 inch, 00 buckshot (9 pellets), maximum load shells. Type I shotguns shall include M7 bayonet and scabbard as specified in 3.3.1.a.

ROUGH HANDLING

After completion of the performance test, three weapons shall be chosen and subjected to the rough handling test. Each weapon will have the safety "on", a primed cartridge case in the chamber, and a fully loaded magazine. One weapon shall be conditioned at -20 degrees F, one at ambient, and one at +120 degrees F for a minimum of four hours prior to the test. The weapons shall be dropped a minimum of four feet (lowest point on the weapon to the drop surface) in each of the following five modes:

Butt end down

right side down

left side down

top side down

45 degree angle with verticle plane- butt end down

The drop surface shall be 85 + 5 Durometer (Shore A) rubber mat, one inch thick, backed by concrete. At the test conclusion the weapon must be safe and serviceable and the primed shell shall not have fired.


INTERCHANGEABILITY TEST:

Shotguns shall be tested for interchangeability of repair parts (see 3.18) by disassembling the shotguns and placing parts of each kind in the same container. The ten shotguns shall then be reassembled using repair parts taken at random from each container and subjected to the functioning test of 4.6.3 and the headspace test of 4.6.2.

HEAT SHIELD EFFECTIVENESS

Type I shotguns shall be tested for heat shield effectiveness (see 3.3.3.e). The shotgun and its ammunition shall be conditioned at 78 degrees +/- 8 degrees F for a minimum of four hours. Then 25 rounds of standard, commercial, 12 gauge, 2 3/4 inch, 00 buckshot (9 pellets) maximun load shells shall be fired in not more than 3 minutes (rate of fire is to be approximately 1 shot every 5 seconds). Immediately after completion of the firing, the temperature of representative ares of the heat shield shall be measured. No measurement shall exceed initial temperature plus 40 degrees F. Areas to be measured and measuring equipment used shall be approved by the Government representative. At the discretion of the contractor, this test may be performed in conjunction with the endurance test (4.6.5).


And, always having been a big admirer of firearms made of traditional wood and steel, when I saw the “Retrograde” model of the 590A1, which comes with walnut stock and “corncob” walnut forend grip, I decided that was the one I wanted.

2854C0B3-95F4-4CAE-85B2-F88C1C48BA92.jpeg


I really like the Mariner version of the A1, also, and I like the “riot gun” look of the shorter barrel. But what made my decision in favor of the Retrograde was the fact that the Mariner Marinecote version of the 590 only comes with the 18.5” barrel instead of the 20” barrel, and mag capacity is only 6 instead of the 8 of the 20” barrel models.

I started looking around, and apparently the A1 Retrograde is one of the most highly desirable shotguns in the world.

A few days ago, I went to the websites of several online gun shops who had the Retrograde listed. Nobody had one, but they all offered to take your phone no or email, and they’d let you know when they got one.

Tuesday morning, KY Gun Co. got a shipment, and texted me around 11:00 that morning. But, because I work nights, I didn’t get the text until about 11:45, and all the ones they received had already been spoken for. Not a surprise - they had them listed for $779 - a good price that would seem to be well below what they’ve been going for.

We were leaving that day to head to the Memphis area to visit my mom, and it just so happened that a shop here, Guns and Ammo, had one of the 590A1 Retrograde models in stock with $869 on the sticker. Not a great price, but less than the $1000 and up that they’re going for on GunBroker. So I drove over with cash and offered $860, which was what the one from KY Gun Co. would have cost with tax. No dice - “what’s on the tag is what it is”. I said “let’s write it up”.

(BTW these used to go for substantially less during the Trump era - around $700 before tax is what I’ve read.)

Oh well. I’ve gotten a few smoking deals in the past. This wasn’t an exceptional deal, but not a horrible deal, either.

It was strange, as I drove back to my mom’s house, to think that one of my kids will own this one day! Getting old, LOL. Never used to have thoughts like that on the way home from the LGS!

Picked up a couple boxes of Federal Flite Control 2-3/4” 00 buckshot. Never know when you might need 9 rounds of 12GA, right?

Can’t wait to shoot it.

017ADACE-B808-44AD-A2F5-86B741A9C078.jpeg
8A1ACF5B-E926-4D01-BE32-2EF2BE5CA8C6.jpeg
7FFEE3E3-ABDA-45B5-9BA8-9DC2166F19C4.jpeg
 

john_pifer

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Joined
Jul 8, 2012
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Nashville, TN via Memphis
Like the wood stock with the heat shield! Nice choice
Thanks! I like that WWI “Trench Gun” look.

Inland collaborates with Ithaca in building a Trench Gun version of the Model 37, also. Really cool looking shotgun. But, as more of a boutique shotgun, it’s far more $$$ than the Mossberg, isnt milspec, and only holds 4+1.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
48,383
Location
New Jersey
Nice. Ive seen lots of military carrying these shotguns at bases, but can’t say I’ve ever observed one with the heat shield. Not sure it does much but add weight for a civilian gun…

but that wood on the shotgun looks awesome!
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
Messages
3,962
I fell in love with that retro the first time I saw it. The walnut furniture for an SD shotgun was a great move by Mossberg. If you do intend to use for home defense, I recommend patterning the FED Flight control at the longest (reasonable) distance you would use it in your home.

All I can say is, at 15 yards Rem 870 pump and 11-87 semi will pattern the buck at an amazingly tight pattern. I'd love to hear back on how your Mossberg does, but I have no reservation it will be a very tight group!
 

john_pifer

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
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Is it just me or are the Mossy‘s more of a PITA to reassemble after cleaning than the 870?
Not sure on that one. Never disassembled either. I think I might have heard that the Remingtons are a bit simpler to disassemble than the Mossbergs, but that it‘s still not a huge undertaking.

But one advantage people talk about with the Mossberg is that the extractor is easy to replace, while it’s not on the Remington.
 

SammyChevelleTypeS3

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If you saw my recent thread about the Mossberg Mariner Marinecote you knew I was looking at shotguns.

Well, seeing that Mariner on sale spurred me into doing some research into what else was available, and by the time I got ready to buy, Sportsman’s Warehouse was all sold out.

But after doing some research, I found that what I really wanted was a 590A1 anyway (the ones that Sportsman’s Warehouse had on sale were the standard 590).

If you’re not familiar, the 590A1 differs from the standard Mossberg 590 in that it has a heavy-walled barrel, metal trigger guard and safety, Parkerized finish instead of matte blueing, and some people claim that the action of the trigger is better.

One article I read even claimed that the heavier barrel actually results in a tighter pattern, due to different barrel harmonics, despite the fact that it’s a cylinder bore shotgun (no choke). And that may even be the reason behind the heavy barrel, as part of the MIL-S-3443G spec that this gun was made for defines how tight the pattern has to be at a certain distance from the muzzle (see below).

Oh, and it has a bayonet lug. And yes, I’ll definitely be getting a bayonet for it! (How could you not, right?!)

But, the biggest thing is that the “A1” version of the Mossberg 590 is supposedly the only shotgun to have officially passed the so-called MIL-S-3443G specification, created to define the characteristics desired in a military fighting shotgun.

I found the “cliffnotes” version posted on another forum. Theres more to it than this; I found the complete downloadable specs, but it’s 33 pages. You can find it easily if interested.

Here’s the abbreviated spec:

TARGETING AND ACCURACY (PATTERN):

At a range of 40 yards (+/- one foot) aim shall be taken at the center of a pattern sheet not less than 40 nor more than 60 inches square. The shot pattern shall be such that not less than 33 1/3 per cent of the shot pellets shall be within or cut the edge of a 30-inch diameter circle for accuracy (pattern), drawn entirely on the pattern sheet so as to enclose the most shot. Five patterns shall be fired from each gun and the average must be as specified. The guns shall be hand held during firing, or mounted in a fixture that simulates hand firing. Ammunition shall be as specified in 3.17.3.

ENDURANCE TEST (LOT ACCEPTANCE)

Shotguns shall be capable of withstanding the firing of 3,000 rounds with no unserviceable or broken parts and no more than three (3) malfunctions using standard commercial 12-gauge, 2 3/4 inch, 00 buckshot (9 pellets), maximum load shells. Type I shotguns shall include M7 bayonet and scabbard as specified in 3.3.1.a.

ROUGH HANDLING

After completion of the performance test, three weapons shall be chosen and subjected to the rough handling test. Each weapon will have the safety "on", a primed cartridge case in the chamber, and a fully loaded magazine. One weapon shall be conditioned at -20 degrees F, one at ambient, and one at +120 degrees F for a minimum of four hours prior to the test. The weapons shall be dropped a minimum of four feet (lowest point on the weapon to the drop surface) in each of the following five modes:

Butt end down

right side down

left side down

top side down

45 degree angle with verticle plane- butt end down

The drop surface shall be 85 + 5 Durometer (Shore A) rubber mat, one inch thick, backed by concrete. At the test conclusion the weapon must be safe and serviceable and the primed shell shall not have fired.


INTERCHANGEABILITY TEST:

Shotguns shall be tested for interchangeability of repair parts (see 3.18) by disassembling the shotguns and placing parts of each kind in the same container. The ten shotguns shall then be reassembled using repair parts taken at random from each container and subjected to the functioning test of 4.6.3 and the headspace test of 4.6.2.

HEAT SHIELD EFFECTIVENESS

Type I shotguns shall be tested for heat shield effectiveness (see 3.3.3.e). The shotgun and its ammunition shall be conditioned at 78 degrees +/- 8 degrees F for a minimum of four hours. Then 25 rounds of standard, commercial, 12 gauge, 2 3/4 inch, 00 buckshot (9 pellets) maximun load shells shall be fired in not more than 3 minutes (rate of fire is to be approximately 1 shot every 5 seconds). Immediately after completion of the firing, the temperature of representative ares of the heat shield shall be measured. No measurement shall exceed initial temperature plus 40 degrees F. Areas to be measured and measuring equipment used shall be approved by the Government representative. At the discretion of the contractor, this test may be performed in conjunction with the endurance test (4.6.5).


And, always having been a big admirer of firearms made of traditional wood and steel, when I saw the “Retrograde” model of the 590A1, which comes with walnut stock and “corncob” walnut forend grip, I decided that was the one I wanted.

View attachment 93188

I really like the Mariner version of the A1, also, and I like the “riot gun” look of the shorter barrel. But what made my decision in favor of the Retrograde was the fact that the Mariner Marinecote version of the 590 only comes with the 18.5” barrel instead of the 20” barrel, and mag capacity is only 6 instead of the 8 of the 20” barrel models.

I started looking around, and apparently the A1 Retrograde is one of the most highly desirable shotguns in the world.

A few days ago, I went to the websites of several online gun shops who had the Retrograde listed. Nobody had one, but they all offered to take your phone no or email, and they’d let you know when they got one.

Tuesday morning, KY Gun Co. got a shipment, and texted me around 11:00 that morning. But, because I work nights, I didn’t get the text until about 11:45, and all the ones they received had already been spoken for. Not a surprise - they had them listed for $779 - a good price that would seem to be well below what they’ve been going for.

We were leaving that day to head to the Memphis area to visit my mom, and it just so happened that a shop here, Guns and Ammo, had one of the 590A1 Retrograde models in stock with $869 on the sticker. Not a great price, but less than the $1000 and up that they’re going for on GunBroker. So I drove over with cash and offered $860, which was what the one from KY Gun Co. would have cost with tax. No dice - “what’s on the tag is what it is”. I said “let’s write it up”.

(BTW these used to go for substantially less during the Trump era - around $700 before tax is what I’ve read.)

Oh well. I’ve gotten a few smoking deals in the past. This wasn’t an exceptional deal, but not a horrible deal, either.

It was strange, as I drove back to my mom’s house, to think that one of my kids will own this one day! Getting old, LOL. Never used to have thoughts like that on the way home from the LGS!

Picked up a couple boxes of Federal Flite Control 2-3/4” 00 buckshot. Never know when you might need 9 rounds of 12GA, right?

Can’t wait to shoot it.

View attachment 93197 View attachment 93198 View attachment 93199
That is really nice looking.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2022
Messages
118
Location
Florida
Almost $1000 for a pump shotgun. Ouch. Looks nice though.

I would highly recommend the Benelli M2 or Beretta 1301 for a tactical shotgun. Not much more money than you spent already, but far better tactical shotguns.
 
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Oct 10, 2021
Messages
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Iowa
I still have a 1970's Model Winchester 1200. Served me well for years, hunting deer and birds. Probably around $200 new back in the day, I forget.
 

john_pifer

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Messages
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Nashville, TN via Memphis
Almost $1000 for a pump shotgun. Ouch. Looks nice though.

I would highly recommend the Benelli M2 or Beretta 1301 for a tactical shotgun. Not much more money than you spent already, but far better tactical shotguns.
You’re not the first person who’s said that!

Worth it? It was to me. Just the cost of entry for what is one of the most sought-after shotguns currently on the market. Mossberg can’t make enough of them for the demand.

I’m into it for less than market value, but it doesn’t matter anyway, as it’ll never be sold, and will be passed down to one of my kids eventually.

I watched reviews on YouTube on those autoloaders. Very cool!
 
Last edited:

john_pifer

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 8, 2012
Messages
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Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
Almost $1000 for a pump shotgun. Ouch. Looks nice though.

I would highly recommend the Benelli M2 or Beretta 1301 for a tactical shotgun. Not much more money than you spent already, but far better tactical shotguns.
I’m curious what makes you say that the Benelli M2 or Beretta 1301 models are “far better tactical shotguns”, beyond the obvious point that they’re semi-automatic.

Are they more accurate? More reliable? More durable?

To use a cliche that someone else here used recently, books have been written on the subject of pump vs semi-automatic shotguns for defensive use.

Im certainly no expert on shotguns - just trying to learn.
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2005
Messages
191
Location
Georgia
Good choice! Great looking shotgun. Congratulations on finding one. I just read a review on these a week ago or so. I have 2 590A1s. They are great guns.
 
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