Shotguns may not be typical military armament. It is more likely to be connected with law enforcement officers, hunters, sport shooters and even home defence. But shotguns have their role in modern militaries- as quick solution for locked doors, crowd control and guard duties, for instance.
Mossberg is manufacturer, who covers all previously mentioned applications. Mossberg’s products are equally used by civilian sector, law enforcement agencies and militaries across the world.
Application of replicas in airsoft is bit of a mixed bag. Prime feature of shotgun is spread, which is relatively hard to achieve in airsoft. Marui has used three barrelled approach, which has its advantages, but it is a spring replica. Craft Apple Works, Maruzen and Marushin also manufacture gas or spring airsoft shotgun replicas.
This model is basically a copy of Marushin M500 SSB. What is interesting is that manufacturer decided to maintain its anonymity. There is no mention of the name either on the box or in the manual. Therefore we decided to designate it as ACM (All China Made) M500 SSB.
Packaging protects replica during the transport as it comes in good old Styrofoam box. Besides a replica, it comes with a manual (written in surprisingly good English. Easily the best manual from Chinese manufacturers up to date) and small bag of 8mm BBs.
Like it or not, first impression is important. And first contact with ACM M500SSB is impressive: cold and shiny metal will impress anyone without fail. Finish on metal part gives excellent impression of chrome surface. Sadly, small blemishes (mostly abrasions) can be seen on the finish, but otherwise it looks very good. Fake wood on the foregrip and the buttstock looks convincing. As far as the visual impression is concerned, both fake wood parts are good enough, but they are lacking in the ruggedness. Stock is hollow which is revealed when you tap it. Rubber anti-slip buttcap is made out of soft rubber, ensuring excellent shouldering.
As it is standard with Chinese replicas, there is no markings or inscriptions whatsoever.
Sights are excellent. First post is fixed (but it is missing bright red insert, which would make aiming easier). Rear “ghost ring” is adjustable with small dial. This is very good solution, especially in airsoft. Why? Ghost ring sights are, hands down, the best system for combat shotguns. They allow rifle-like capabilities with slugs at extended ranges and tight patterned buckshot at close range. Mossberg’s blaze orange front sight is quick to pick up, even in low light and the rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. Gunsmith installation required but WELL worth it!
Description courtesy of Mossberg Factory
Rear sight has adjustable elevation. This is achieved with dial- which is too soft and lacks feedback. But anyhow, target acquisition is very quick.
Sling caps are there, but manufacturer doesn’t include any swivels. You will have to either improvise (which I highly advise against) or buy a set of shotgun swivels.
Overall, this is a very solid and heavy replica (approximately 3,1 kg; 6.83 pounds)- with one exception. Foregrip is flimsy. Very flimsy, actually. While it will not break or interfere with function it is annoying and cheapens the experience. Reason behind flimsiness are action bars, which appears to be only thing stabilizing the foregrip.
Loading is not exactly the quickest operation ever; giant plus is that no special tools are necessary. You have to rack the foregrip to reveal the hole in the tubular magazine (on the bottom of the tubular magazine), turn the latch on the tube, pull out the loading tube and insert BBs. It is possible to insert more than 42 BBs, but than there are problems with pushing the rod in. You have to remove BB or two, press the loading rod forward the and replica is ready for discharge.
Well, not quite yet. You still need to fill it with gas. Gas valve is hidden on the bottom of the replica, where the loading ramp is located. Valve is easily accessible, but I think it would be a good idea to protect it somewhat against dirt and other unpleasantness, which have no place near (or in) the gas valve.
Overall quality of the gas system (of the tested replica) is very good. There is no loss of gas at the valve.
Operating cycle consist of cocking (“racking”) of the replica, which is completed by sliding the fore end forward again and pressing the trigger.
Safety is easily accessible feature, as it is located on the back of the receiver. It is a simple slide button with two settings. When in the forward position, replica is ready to fire (red dot is visible); rear position locks the replica.
About cocking: “action” rack (racking with one hand) is prohibited, as you might damage your replica. Also, do not try to cock already cocked replica. There is indicator, that replica is already cocked. Indicator is protruding from the bottom of the housing on the left side behind the trigger guard, so it is possible to feel it with finger. Quick demonstration of the action (note the change of the sound in the last two shots, as we ran out of ammo):
Firing is fairly unremarkable, trigger is crisp and has good pull. Performances are within expected parameters. It is not a sniper replica and exit speeds are stipulated by temperature and gas. We tested replica in nice, sunny autumn day, with temperatures around 15 C. Exit velocities were all between 200-210 fps, which is not half bad considering heavy 8mm (0.48g) BBs and fairly weak green gas.
BBs pack a punch: three BBs fly for about 25 meters in very straight line and they form a pattern they are about feet an a half (40 centimetres) apart. We were all very surprised with performance.
There is no HopUp adjustment dial- at leas we didn’t manage to find it. Movement of the bolt is simulated with sliding plate.
Skirmish report: replica doesn’t hold a candle to a AEG replicas. You will be outgunned and outranged, but you will score points for style. CQC style scenarios are different kettle of fish altogether; range does not matter, spread is adequate and relative slow exit speeds of BBs are advantage.
First Chinese replica of the gas shotgun is therefore available. Personally, I would love to see a “militarized” version (black finish, rubberised stock, heat shield etc.). Application of ACM M500SSB is limited, there is no way around it; it is very nice collection piece, it is CQC/CQB friendly and prime candidate for shotgun BB IDPA. Price, quality, performances are all in favour of purchase. Frankly, I expected a lot of problems right out of the box, as loose tolerances and gas don’t mix very well. We were pleasantly surprised by quality of the anonymous manufacturer. You truly receive bang for your buck. It may be an awkward pun, but it is spot on. We want more!
Test item provided by RSOV