Mossberg 500 Thunder Ranch Shotgun

Mossberg teamed up with Clint Smith, the President of the Thunder Ranch training facility in Oregon, to design the Mossberg 500 Thunder Ranch Shotgun.

Unlike many other special editions guns, a lot of thought appears to have gone into this shotgun. It features a shortened stock with a 12.75″ length of pull (LOP) for maneuverability in a self defense situation. It includes a tri-rail on the fore-end for mounting accessories. The barrel is Mossberg’s 18.5″ Stand Off (breaching) barrel.

Caliber 12 gauge 3″
Capacity 5+1
Barrel 18.5″ Stand Off
Stock Syntheic Shortened (12.75″ LOP)
Overall Length 37″
Weight 6.88 lbs
Front Sight white dot
MSRP (Price) $460

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Torontogosh

    I think Clint Smith is the one of the best voices out there, and I have always appreciated his candor…but this feels more like merchandising than a factory produced version of his ideal home defense gun.

    Considering the lessons he has taught in his videos and articles, this gun seems odd. A door breaching tool? This is the guy who convinced me to stop putting needless accessories on a gun, but his own branded gun has a door breacher? Plus, his “you fight with what is in the gun or on the gun” mantra, I’m really surprised that it doesn’t have a shell carrier. I like the fore-end though.

    I hate to be critical, because I really do respect the man’s teaching, but somehow this doesn’t fit right.

    A quick video with his thoughts on shotguns from 2008

  • Sian

    now that’s pretty nice without being excessively tactical.

    Only thing I’d add would be capability for a red dot or ghost ring.

  • NMM1AFan

    All I want from Mossberg is a 18.5″ cylinder bore barrel with rifle sights. That’s it.


  • charles222

    Huh. I usually roll my eyes at “special edition” guns, but this actually looks pretty useful. Needs some ghost rings or a top rail, though.

  • SpudGun

    Oh Thunder Ranch, is there anything you’re not willing to sell your name to? Once again, Mossberg is ruining a perfectly good shotgun for the sake of cheap gimmickry.

    The ghost ring, non-heat shield, 590A1 is one of the best shotguns ever made. Why can’t Mossy just market this fantastic piece of kit as advertised?

    I give up, I really do.

  • They need to make a pistol grip version with the breacher barrel and all these specs on it xD rails are awesome for a flashlight 😀

  • Bob Z Moose

    Another day, another Mossberg “special edition”. Mossberg, why not rework to the safety so it can be disengaged with smaller hands without having to take the primary hand out of firing position? Why not work on smoothing out the action at the factory? Or maybe having a little better trigger pull out of the box? Or, heck, even make a ribbed foregrip standard? Any of these things would make a better shotgun that I would buy in a second. Focus on improving the product, not these silly gimmicky things…

  • JMD

    This doesn’t quite make up for the DEA special edition they did a while back….

  • Southerner

    I am very suprised the traditional Mossberg 500 pump shotgun was chosen for the Thunder Ranch Edition. The core problem with the M500 is the difficulty in accessing the magazine tube for cleaning or recoil spring replacement – the magazine tube has to be unscrewed from the receiver.

    Mossberg’s 590 series uses a conventional magazine cap for easy magazine tube cleaning and as such would have been a superior choice.

  • Cymond

    Rifle style sights would be nice, as would a shell carrier, but I don’t have a problem with the breacher barrel. I don’t really see any downside to having a breacher. It doesn’t add weight, complexity, or anything that can fail. I guess it raises the price a bit and lowers velocity a bit, but those are minor points to me. Sure, most people probably won’t ever need a breacher, but it doesn’t hurt and you never really know what you might need.

  • Sid

    Ghost rings? For what? Sights on a shotgun?

    In breaching and CQB, a shotgun is pointed. It is not aimed. I agree that pistol grips in a combo with a shoulder stock should be an option. But this package seems to be fairly appropriate.

  • I’m glad to see that it doesn’t have a pistol grip stock on it. Mossberg’s Tang safeties and pistol grip stocks don’t work well together. Better sights would be nice.

  • Bryan S

    Wow, laser etching and farkles!

  • huey148

    I dunno…since I started listening to Clint all I ever seem to need to carry is a fire extinguisher to squirt them with the white foam and then hit them with the red end…

  • Cymond

    Sid, real sights can be useful for extending the range of the shotgun with slugs. Many claim that hits are achievable out to 100 yards. It’s not an ideal weapon at that range, but sometimes you gotta use what you happen to have. How many people have multiple long guns on hand during a bad situation.
    My opinion on the rifle sights is like my opinion of the breaching muzzle; it’s probably unnecessary, but it may be handy and there’s no major drawback.

  • Huey

    seriously, rifled slug barrel, sabot slug, rifle sights, 100 yards is VERY doable with a shotty…

  • Richard_R

    I’ve put 3 rounds into a 3″ group at 100 yds. with a Mossberg 590 with rifle sights. Standard 18.5″ barrel, no barrel mods except the sights. Yeah, it was off a bench, but still…

  • charles222

    Remington’s accushot slugs provide accuracy waaay beyond a hundred meters out of a quality shotgun; 2-3 inches at 300-odd meters certainly isn’t the most beautiful grouping ever, but it’s certainly not missing, either.

  • Sid


    I carried a Mossberg 500 my last tour. The standard sights are sufficient for the range of the gun. This weapon has a 18.5 barrel with a breaching tip. It is a CQB weapon. Red dots and improved sights are not called for with this weapon.

  • JMosesB

    Why the extra expense of a breaching barrel on a defensive shotgun? Can anyone justify this?
    I agree with the others that the money should have been spent on a side saddle. As I remember from talking with Mr. Smith a few years ago, he wasn’t a fan of ghost rings as they block your field of view and he felt that with a little practice, a bead was sufficient for hits at distance.

    • Clint P.

      The break (in my opinion) looks like it could crush some skulls and vital organs if used, and if the user needed to. But i usually agree that breach barrels are useless, how many doors does a civy usually breach anyway?

  • PCnotPC

    I’d say that breaching barrel might work pretty well poking a perp in the head after you’ve run out of ammo!

  • micko77

    This is the second time I’ve run across this gun on a blog tonite. I’ve owned Mossberg shotguns for around 25 years; old rattly slick ones and newer, quieter tight ones that seriously need slicked up. I agree that the breacher is fluff unless you’re a LEO or contractor. For home, a 12″ length of pull 20 gauge with BB’s works for everyone under the roof. Yeah, I said 20 gauge; the recipient won’t know or tell anybody. As for the Thunder Ranch Special of the Week, it’s starting to get like the old Winchester Comemmorative lever guns: much ado about not all that much. This in no way is intended to deride TR or S&W or most of all Les Baer, who is the everyday guy’s surprise when you meet him; just that sticking that logo on doesn’t enhance the basic product line. I REALLY wish Mossberg would focus more on the things mentioned in these varied comments, like triggers, steel safeties and trigger groups, long forcing cones, choke-tube 18.5 barrels, etc. But that’s one of the first things inside several of the doors at our house. And one or two of those smoothbores will chew up a coffee can at 75 yds. with standard Forster slugs with just that white dot up front; one of my kids is a GM in the Navy, will do so at 100, 4/5 times.

  • micko77

    I wish Mossberg would cut it with the niche tacticool chainsaw breacher stuff for a year and work on steel safeties and trigger groups, longer forcing cones, slicker actions and choke-tube every smoothbore they make, including the 18.5″. I hold Clint Smith in very high regard, but a “defense” gun needs no breacher, but my house guns need more thought put into them. TR is going to start getting like the Winchester Comemmoration-of-the-month club with their old lever guns: much too much for not that much. This is not to besmirch the companies that have worked these deals; heck, I spoke with Les Baer last week, one of the nicest, most enthusiastic people you’d ever find in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt at a car show. S&W, Mossberg, Les, etc. make good (Les=great)products. Let’s ask them to push that instead of this short-term all-too-cool stuff. BTW, I have several Mossberg pumps, have to work on each of them for a couple of days to get them slicked up, but 2-20 ga. and 1-12 ga will consistentently bounce a coffee can at up to 75 yds. with Forster slugs and a plain white dot sight up front.

  • micko77


  • matty

    You are all whiney as hell!
    Do you need to breach things in your own home? No. It’s a CQB weapon because you don’t have time to reload or go for something else all the time up close and the bayonet thing hasn’t really caught on. So it’s got some purpose.
    In your own home are you gonna shoot more than a few yards? Probably not. You want different sights for other uses? Put em on or buy some thing made for what you wanna do! Is it really that hard?
    Shell carrier? Stock or reciever mounted?
    Not every one likes em in the same place
    A pistol grip? Are you serious? You wanna lawfully shoot some one in your own home and have some jerk Public Defender try to say it’s some sort or assult weapon to a jury who is too dumb to know the difference.
    You want the grip? Put it on! It’s only one screw. If you can’t change the stock on a mossberg then you should probably just rely on the police to protect you cause you’re obviously not helping your self out too much.

    Maybe mossberg does need to do a couple things to up quality and improve function over form. I won’t dissagree. Write the company! Point is the mossberg is rugged, reliable and gets the job done. Not only that but it’s a flexible platform that can be customized to your needs for relativley cheap compared to other types of weapons. Oh and the controls blow the 870 out of the water!
    More importantly if you buy some thing for home deffense it either needs to be exactly everything you need or you need to be able to customize it to your needs or it won’t do what you need it to.
    So shut up or don’t buy the damn thing!

  • I have a Model 500 from the late 60’s. Used it in Alaska without any problems. I think the Thunder Ranch is cool. With a good light on it, you won’t have any problem, day or night. Mossberg is a great weapon line for the money spent.

  • Jake Legg

    Very Nice ! ……… I Want One !

  • Jake Legg

    Very Nice ! ………….. I Want One !

  • jimcombatcontarctor

    i have had my mossberg since 75′, i torture tested it and other shotguns and so far the most rugged and dependable sg is the mossberg, bottom line, bug out or home defence this is the wepon to have, fully custamisable to your needs its unstopable

  • Humboldt

    Just picked up my thunder ranch and installed the pistol grip tactical stock and flashlight. I find the features that come on the shotgun aren’t overdone if this is the type of gun your in the market for. Which I was. The breaching barrel is ideal for the home should an intruder decide to get dumb and come toward me or the gun, and I need to fire with the possibility of the end of the barrel being in contact with something. It was also cheaper to buy the gun this way than to buy the 500 and add the couple touches the thunder ranch already came with. I certainly wont be taking it hunting or doing target practice, but its going to accomplish exactly what its intended to if the situation ever arises. I didnt buy it for “looks” I bought it to get the job done.

    • paul

      hey,do you want to sell the old stock from your thunder ranch?

  • chry300sler

    If you don’t like it don’t buy it. Get the real deal Mossy 590a1. 9 shot

  • michael

    OK so the tail feather rattling goes on. The Mossberg TR is fine for what I need. A home defense SG, and a hog whomper. No it’s not a $2300 assault gun. No it doesn’t please everyone( do any?). As for the features the safety is in the right place for a straight stock. It sucks on pistol grip stocks because you have to release your grip and slide your hand around to reach the safety( 870 better on this, I like it straight so.) The length is good and not so cramped even with the short length of pull. As for the breacher which there seems to be so much fuss over, I like it for two reasons, none of which are tactical. One is the intimidation factor, although if you forgot to shuck it in a holy crap moment you could use it painfully to keep someone at bay while you did. Two, is the safety factor of accidentally dragging this muther in the mud and loading the barrel. With the standoff, you would really have to bury the nose to stop her up and cause a bad day. Bottom line is.price is right, features are there, looks cool, and unless you are going to shoot a bazillion shells everyday it just plain always goes boom. I like it, and the next one will be just like it for the camper. It’s a poor mans plow, and still works the farm as good as any out there. So whine on or get one. I did, and I’m quite happy.

  • anonymous

    Everyone and his brother already has a 500. Mossberg is coming up with tacti-cool guns so people will make impulse purchases. The thunder ranch might catch on with police dept. that are under funded. I would rather put 3 thunder ranches in 3 cars than one M4 for everyone to share.

  • Marc

    I think this gun is specifically Clint’s cost-effective answer to field more cops in their cruiser/unit/patrol car(whatever it’s called) each have a breacher option, other than that it’s plain jane. It’s my perception (the common one anyway) that street cops need shotty’s more than the lone highway patrolman needs an AR style carbine

  • anderson peixoto

    hello I’m from Brazil and would like to know about the model have a Mossberg 500 Persuader pistol grip 12 ga cbc and liked the tip of the barrel, and would be possible that you send me the measurements of a piece so I can develop here in Brazil . I await contact.

    Thank you.

  • Thiago

    My roommate just got a mossberg 500 pistol grip, and it is awesome! Best addition he’s made to an already great weapon so far.

  • scott

    Just how popular is the standard Mossberg 500?