Home defense is a serious matter. When you’re looking for a weapon to stand your ground, you need the most dependable and accurate product on the market. Enter the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw; with an imposing shape and unusual design, it seems like a genuine powerhouse. But does its performance live up to the hype?
The Mossberg 500 Chainsaw is a pump-action, 12-gauge shotgun produced by the American gun manufacturer Mossberg. With nearly a hundred years of experience crafting rifles, shotguns and pistols, Mossberg offers innovative designs and reliable machinery to sportsmen across the country.
Unlike most shotguns, the Chainsaw is specifically designed to be shot from the hip. To that end, the gun possesses a pistol grip and the removable chainsaw-style grip for which it was named. The chainsaw-style grip was added to stabilize the gun during use and improve aim, remedying two common complaints about shotguns with pistol grips.
The Chainsaw has an 18.5-inch barrel with a 3-inch chamber. It can hold six rounds in the magazine with one in the chamber and takes 2 ¾-inch shells. This firearm also has a white dot sight and three Picatinny rails for adding accessories. The Chainsaw also boasts a stand-off barrel with teeth around the muzzle, intended to aid in breaching doors. With the standard attachments, this firearm weighs approximately 6 pounds.
Once the chainsaw-style grip is removed, the Chainsaw can be used like a standard shotgun, though the lack of a stock makes it difficult to do so. Reviewers note that accuracy isn’t necessarily improved by using it this way, and the manufacturer recommends to shoot from the hip.
While Mossberg does appear to offer a warranty on its firearms, we were unable to find the details of what it covers and for how long, even in the owner’s manual PDFs available online. Mossberg does offer to repair guns shipped to them so long as they are still under warranty, and provides a warranty registration page on its website. The company recommends customers contact their local service center for more information.
Professional reviewers describe the Chainsaw as difficult to handle, and therefore not a gun for beginners. This is mostly due to the from-the-hip design, which is a nontraditional way of shooting. While the chainsaw-style grip helps control recoil, individuals need to be familiar with kickback before they can handle the force effectively.
Most shotguns have a stock which users place against their shoulders when firing. The Chainsaw is among a number of shotguns with a pistol grip, which foregoes a stock of any kind. This is a design decision to facilitate the shoot-from-the-hip style. Stock additions are available for purchase, however, for buyers who want to try a more traditional shooting technique.
One reviewer joked that this shotgun is better suited for use in a zombie apocalypse. Mossberg seems to have taken this to heart, given a zombie version of this gun, the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw ZMB Edition, actually exists and is available for purchase. There are no design differences between the two models, but the ZMB Edition includes the ZMB brand on the stock in the form of a lime green sticker.
Prices vary by retailer, but Chainsaw generally sells for anywhere between $420.00 and $550.00. It’s possible to purchase this weapon for less during an online sale, and some retailers like Sportsman’s Guide offer a percentage off the list price to members of its paid discount program, the Buyer’s Club.
The Chainsaw can be found at a variety of gun dealers and sports retailers, including Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Center, Van’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports. A dealer locator is available on Mossberg’s website with listings in nearly every state, with the exception of Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Dealers are also available in parts of Canada, and there’s an option for those looking to buy internationally.
The Mossberg 500 Chainsaw belongs to a popular class of shotguns, most of which are produced with the traditional stock and barrel. So how does the Chainsaw’s unique structure hold up against the competition? We took a look at three guns of similar design to find out.
The Kel-Tec KSG is a pump-action, 12-gauge shotgun with an 18.5-inch barrel. Unlike the Chainsaw, it holds up to 12 rounds in its dual tube magazine and can take shells in a range from 1 ¾ inches to 3 inches. It possesses only two rails to attach accessories — but it does have a threaded barrel in the event you wish to add a suppressor. This shotgun weighs nearly 7 pounds. It is Kel-Tec’s first-released shotgun.
Some buyers initially had difficulty figuring out how to unload shells, which is disappointing given that ambidextrous ejection is listed as a specification. This issue aside, reviews for this weapon were mostly praise. The shotgun is as light as described and easy to load and shoot. A petite buyer expressed her satisfaction with its use but notes that the kick was intense, resulting in a bruise on her shoulder. Other reviews confirmed the major kick, so a recoil sleeve is recommended with this particular shotgun. Kel-Tec offers a lifetime warranty applicable if you are the original owner and can provide proof of purchase.
The Remington 870 Express Synthetic Tactical is a pump-action, 12-gauge shotgun with an 18.5-inch barrel and 6 plus 1 round capacity. It can handle 2 ¾-inch or 3-inch shells. It includes a single bead sight.
While it doesn’t have rails for accessories, the quality of this firearm’s receiver is highly lauded. Milled from a solid steel billet, the 870 model’s receiver is both durable and reliable. This does make the shotgun heavier, however, totaling 7.5 pounds in weight.
Reviews from customers were favorable across the board. Buyers sang the 870 model’s praises for strength and endurance of the material, including the black matte finish. There was also a consensus that the value is incredible for the price.
Unfortunately, Remington only offers a 2-year limited warranty. Factory defects are covered, but not damage caused by regular use or accidents. The warranty, which is only valid for the original owner, covers either the repair or replacement of the firearm. Also note that the warranty doesn’t cover any modifications made, so attempting to fix the 870 model yourself could potentially invalidate the warranty.
The Winchester SXP Marine Defender is a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun with an 18-inch barrel. It can hold up to 5 plus 1 rounds and has a 3-inch chamber. It’s very lightweight at 6.25 pounds, with a chrome steel barrel and aluminum receiver.
The Marine Defender is specifically designed to hold up in wet conditions and lives up to Winchester’s reputation as the fastest firing pump-action shotgun. This firearm has a TRUGLO fiber-optic-and-brass-bead sight, as well as a recoil pad with Inflex Technology to redirect recoil downward.
Reviews for the Marine Defender were more split but still generally favorable. One buyer had issues with the trigger group due to a part that wasn’t made properly and rendered the gun nonfunctional. There’s also the issue of Winchester not offering a written warranty. The company website assures buyers that service and repair will be offered for Winchester products, but also stipulates that there is no lifetime policy. It looks like if you buy Winchester, you’re taking your chances if your shotgun is ever damaged.
With a weapon as extreme as the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw, there are bound to be some pros and cons. We’ve collected the top three of each for you to consider.
After taking into consideration numerous reviews, we award the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw two out of five stars. Within the context of home defense, which is the use suggested by the manufacturer, the Chainsaw just doesn’t measure up to any of the other shotguns we researched. While the build quality is admirable, the fact that the Chainsaw literally doesn’t function very well as an accurate gun necessitates a low score.
It was also unpopular among a certain gun market demographic: hunters and other sportsmen expressed disbelief verging on disdain when addressing the design. Individuals of this background seemed to feel this gun was being sold as a novelty, rather than as a serious weapon.
However, there are some instances where the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw may prove useful. With the stand-off muzzle, police and SWAT may find it effective when breaching barriers. The lack of accuracy is also less of an issue when shooting into a thick crowd of targets, so military or paramilitary use could be a possibility — or defense from a horde of brain-hungry zombies, as Mossberg itself has joked.
Actual function aside, the reviews for this shotgun were overflowing with praise. We didn’t find a single customer review under four stars. Gun enthusiasts loved the power and presence of the Chainsaw and felt the lack of accuracy was worth the experience of owning and shooting this firearm. So while the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw doesn’t check the boxes as a defense weapon, gun enthusiasts may still find value in the simple act of shooting a really big gun.
Overall, we rate the the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw as four out of five stars.
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