Yup, the calendar says it's Groundhog Day, but here at Gun Digest, we know this isn't about old Puxatawney Phil, but rather what can you shoot besides groundhogs?!
Ah, welcome to February, where temps keep dropping and the geese are flying higher than ever before. And they are flying somewhere, even if the weather nearly everywhere this winter is simply bananas (I'm writing this from our offices in Wisconsin, where the average overnight temp is 9 degrees, but we haven't dipped below freezing for the last two days–talk about a warm spell!). If you’re all about the pass-shooting and getting your limits on snows and specks in some of the roughest waterfowling conditions around, then this month’s series, Late-Season Goose Hunting Guns, is just for you.
I can think of no better way to start out this series than with a gun from a maker dedicated to functionality in harsh conditions. Mossberg certainly fits that bill in spades, so if you find yourself freezing in some gawdforsaken muddy ditch on the edge of an ice-edge river or perma-frosted corn field, then its 935 Magnum Waterfowler is a natural choice for taking wary ganders. The 12-gauge handles the 3 ½-inch shells, a better choice for been-there-done-that geese trekking their way back north, but unlike some larger-chambered shotguns, this one has a slim, straight-line design Mossberg claims instantly aligns the eye to the bead. Good thing—long shots are tough enough as it is, and a good sight picture can be an advantage if you shoot a pull-through method to build enough barrel speed and connect at distances you don’t normally shoot at. Matte black and three camo patterns are available, the latter all in high-def: Mossy Oak New Break Up, Advantage Max-4, and Mossy Oak Duck Blind. Magazine capacity is a generous five, good for many late-season snow goose hunts, where plugs aren’t always mandated, the gun is overbored to reduce pellet deformation, and both 26- and 28-inch barrels are available. A special Flyway Series in Adavantage Max-4 gets the addition of a padded sling and ported choke tubes.
MSRP: The Mossberg website lists this gun at $644 in the matte black, $769 in the straight camos, and $821 for the Flyway Series.
Federal caused quite a storm, when they introduced their high-velocity Black Cloud waterfowl loads. The branding was marketing genius, to be sure, but the loads have proven to be out-and-out deadly in the field. What I like most about this line of shells, though, is the company developed two loads specifically for we-ain’t-never-comin’-in-for-a-landin’ snow geese. The shot size is available in No. 2 or BB steel only, but this isn’t just any everyday steel, but a mix of proprietary 40% FLITESTOPPER steel and 60% regular. Combined with a unique, rear-braking wad Federal calls its FLITECONTROL, potent patterns at distance are the norm. The three-inch shells bear a shot payload of 1 1/8 ounces.
The Author Recommends: Mossberg makes a dizzying number of shotguns and rifles these days. Want to know what yours is worth? Then you need Mossberg Pricing and Values, Standard Catalog of Firearms. All your favorite models are here, plus dozens you probably didn't even know about. Check this out before you head to your next gun show or brick-and-mortar dealer. Plus we've got Groundhog Day specials running today, and for anything you buy this month by clicking through my blog, you'll get a FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of any of our “Exploded Drawings” downloads, your choice. Just click on link for this post's “Author Recommends” section, shop around, and then use promo code HUNTBLOG2 when you check out to activate your free download selection!