Maverick HS-12 For Hunting and Survival

Discussion in 'Maverick O/U' started by Rob Stewart, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    So I recently bought a Mossberg HS12 shotgun and I wanted to share my experience with it so far and the reason I went this direction.

    I was using an H&R single shot for hunting small game. The model I have is a 162 which has a front blade sight and a rear fold down sight similar to the setup on a 10/22. The barrel is 24" long but is a fixed cylinder bore. I love the length and weight for hiking 10-15 km through the bush. I love the break action for simplicity and the ejector to help speed up reloads. What I don't like is the lack of choke tubes and the cost of getting it machined and buying tubes was more than what I paid for the gun!

    I spent a lot of time looking for a replacement for my rabbit/squirrel gun. My wife's Mossberg 500 comes with a cylinder bore 18.5" barrel and a fixed modified choke 28" barrel. I just find the longer barrel is annoying and a pain in the butt in the woods. Keep in mind the overall length of my H&R is much shorter than the Mossberg 500.

    I looked all over for a pump with a short barrel with choke tubes. Here in Canada the options are somewhat limited. If I lived in the US I would have picked up a Mossberg 500 and bought the 20" choke tubed barrel at Walmart but the closest I could get here was a Remington 590 turkey gun with a weird stock I didn't like. I considered buying it and replacing the stock with a collapsible one but at this point the cost of building my perfect squirrel gun was spiralling out of control!

    Then I stumbled upon the Mossberg HS12. While it's marketed as a home defence gun, what I saw was a near perfect small game/backpack shotgun! While we Canadian's have access to very short barreled shotguns, too short a barrel means a loss in velocity so I wanted at least an 18" barrel. Since we are limited to 3 rounds in our shotguns for hunting here a double barrel isn't that big a problem.

    Initially I found a tacticool version with fixed cylinder bore and front rails for $600 CDN at Cabelas.ca but I also found a different version of the HS12 at another store in Toronto not far from me that has front rail and comes with interchangeable choke tubes (IC and M) that are compatible with Beretta/Benelli Mobil Chokes... for only $350!!! I ordered the gun and went to the store to pick it up last week.

    First impressions, the length is perfect for what I wanted. In fact it feels a little too short when it comes to muzzle control because it's so easy to swing around. The weight is slightly more than my H&R by less than 1/2 a pound however the balance does seem a little off. While the gun balances just in front of the trigger the balance still feels a little off.

    There are a lot of concerns about the safety sear inside the gun that prevents it from firing in a forward position. I did some testing with snap caps and found I have no problem pointing it down the stairs and shooting but when out hunting, being such a short gun, it's really easy to accidentally point it at your foot so it's actually a good added safety feature. That said trigger control is the only safety you should rely on. If you want to defeat the safety sear it is DEAD SIMPLE and there's at least one video on YouTube how to do it.

    Another concern that someone brought up online was the stiffness of the action. I'd have to agree that it is very stiff. I oiled it and even put some light grease on it. In experimenting with with it I discovered it's the friction between the receiver and the forestock plate that is causing the tightness. I expect it to get better over time however I'm probably going to sand it with fine sandpaper and then re-blue it.

    Related to the stiffness concern is that when the action is open the bottom shell is difficult to get in and out unless you apply a slight pressure down on the barrel to open the action the last little bit. The reason for this is two fold. Firstly the shorter barrel doesn't have the weight to do it naturally like the Hunter version presumably does. Secondly there is a spring loaded bar in the bottom of the receiver which is being pushed rearward and keeping the action open that last fraction of an inch. I don't imagine there is much that can be done about this except to hope it goes away over time with use.

    Several people have commmented that the lack of ejectors is a serious downfall and if I wanted this for HD I might be inclined to agree. That said, I got tired of looking for and picking up shells ejected from my H&R when I forgot to catch them. In a hunting situation it's actually advantageous to be able to just pull the shells out and dump them in your pocket.

    Now for the fun discovery! When I bought the gun I picked up sling swivels to screw into the stock. Since the butt plate is held on by a screw I decided to try just replacing the screw with the swing swivel and it worked perfectly! By doing this I now can access the hollow butt stock without a tool (I just use the sling to turn the swivel!) This means that I can store a small survival kit and/or some shells in the butt and access them easily!

    One other thing about the butt. Being hollow makes it LOUD out in the bush. I kept hitting it on the buttons on my jacket pocket and it was quite noisy. To solve the problem I opened up the butt and stuffed it with a bunch of foam I had. I don't want to permanently fill the butt since I'm going to put together a survival kit to put inside. That being said, I will try to wrap the kit in a cloth that or something that will help deaden the noise and double as a water strainer etc.

    So there you have it! I'm really happy with my HS12 considering what it is and what I want to use it for. If I get a shotgun deer tag next year I'm going to mount my red dot on it and use it as a slug gun as well.

    One other comment I have for Mossberg. They should consider making a version of the HS12 targeted to people like me who want it for backpacking/hunting. They could make it camo and include a full set of choke tubes as well as sling swivels installed like I did with the hollow butt as a feature.

    TL;DR Mossberg HS12 might not be a great home defence gun but it's actually a great backpackable hunting shotgun.
    Rossignol likes this.
  2. old mossy

    old mossy Global Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator

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    Welcome to the forum from Florida,USA and congrats on your new Mav HS12.
  3. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Sponsor Forum Moderator

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    Welcome to MO, it's good to have you here!

    I don't understand the terminology you're using to describe a couple things. If you get a chance, upload a couple photos to describe those things that are an issue for you. If we can do anything to help, we will.
  4. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    13
    Which things? ( Sorry for the delayed response. I didn't get a notification you replied)
  5. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Sponsor Forum Moderator

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    I got it figured out, no worries!
  6. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    LOL Cool... satisfy my curiosity.. what was it? :)
  7. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Sponsor Forum Moderator

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    I think it all centered around not initially realizing this was not a pump action gun. So I was thinking pump action and so things like ejectors didn't make sense.
  8. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    13
    Ah.. I've been using it for a few months and I'm pretty happy with it. I just put a red dot on it and a turkey choke in to get ready for next month. Heading out to the range today to pattern it.
  9. Bobster

    Bobster .308 Supporter

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    1,383
    Once again, a picture would be nice. And Welcome Aboard, Rob!
  10. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    13
    Elbert Garrett likes this.
  11. Elbert Garrett

    Elbert Garrett .223

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    Fine looking shotgun!
  12. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    Thanks. She's my favorite shotgun. My wife has a Mossberg 500 but honestly, I love the over under format. One thing I like about a break action is that it's easy for my to demonstrate that it's safe and clear which is useful when hunting with others or on public land where I often run into police or conservation officers.

    I think this year I'm going to replace the red dot on top with a TRS-25 since the one that's there is a really old tasco.
    Elbert Garrett likes this.
  13. John A.

    John A. I'm "THAT" guy Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator

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    I liked your link Rob.

    You did really good painting that gun and getting it set up.

    I like Over/Unders too, but those are the shortest barrels that I have seen and I much prefer them to the 28" + barrels that I am used to seeing.

    I can understand why you like the gun so well.

    That's an excellent recommendation. I have done much the same on some of my guns too.

    My savage bolt actions have some extra (subsonic) rounds in there, a lighter sealed in a vacuum seal bag, and some fishing line and hooks. It's like one of those Rambo survival kits that used to come in those old knives from back in the 80's LOL

    I also changed the butt pad screws over to straight instead of Phillips/4 way screws so I can get into it with a dime or knife blade if I had to.
  14. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    > I like Over/Unders too, but those are the shortest barrels that I have seen and I much prefer them to the 28

    I tried hunting with my wife's mossberg 500 but the barrel length was pissing me off. I'm sure it's much better as a field gun for duck hunting etc. I even tried finding a short barrel with choke tubes in 12 ga for my mossberg 500. They sell them at Walmart in the US but I'm in Canada so getting something like that is near impossible. I even considered a youth turkey gun in 20 ga but I wanted to keep it in 12 because that's my family's "standard" and I hate having more types of ammo than I need!

    > I also changed the butt pad screws over to straight instead of Phillips/4 way screws so I can get into it with a dime or knife blade if I had to

    Good idea! I was lucky and able to just replace the back screw with the sling swivel so I can open it without any tools (except the sling which I use all the time anyway)
  15. John A.

    John A. I'm "THAT" guy Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator

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    Here's something that a lot of people don't realize about shotguns.

    With modern smokeless powders, you don't really gain any accuracy or velocity with a longer barrel than you do a short one. Most all commercial powders are fully burned out by about 12-15 inches down the barrel, so longer barrels don't really gain anything.

    Originally with black powder loads they did and why you used to see 30 and 32 inch barrels so commonly, but the same isn't really true for smokeless powders.

    Chokes on the other hand can make or break an otherwise excellent shooting gun. You wouldn't want to go goose hunting with an open/cylinder choke.

    And you really don't want to use an extra extra full choke shooting squirrels 15 yards away from you in a tree either.

    I've killed squirrels just fine using an 18.5" Mossberg 500 with a cylinder choke.
  16. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    13
    > With modern smokeless powders, you don't really gain any accuracy or velocity with a longer barrel than you do a short one. Most all commercial powders are fully burned out by about 12-15 inches down the barrel, so longer barrels don't really gain anything.

    Yep. I did a lot of research on this. I still get funny looks at the clay range though! They stop laughing when I bust clays though!

    > And you really don't want to use an extra extra full choke shooting squirrels 15 yards away from you in a tree either. I've killed squirrels just fine using an 18.5" Mossberg 500 with a cylinder choke.

    I like the double barrel because of this. I didn't have a turkey choke last year but this year I'm going to have my upper barrel with a turkey choke and lower barrel IC. That way I can shoot long or close!
    John A. likes this.
  17. John A.

    John A. I'm "THAT" guy Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator

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    I have my O/U set up in a similar manner, though not exactly.

    The long story made short, I tested a bunch of my loads through each choke and each barrel (my gun came with 5 chokes, so I ended up shooting at least 20 times putting everything on paper) to see which choke and barrel put the most pellets in the bullseye and that's the choke that I left in the barrel.

    I know it looks a little odd, but the top choke is flush with the end of the barrel and the bottom choke is an extended. And even bright reflective silver :giggle:

    But what's important is what happens down range when I pull the trigger.

    I can honestly say that if I miss something with that gun, it's all my fault because that gun can turn a poker card into confetti at 25 yards. :laugh:
  18. Rob Stewart

    Rob Stewart .22LR

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    Interesting! I'm not as concerned about looks as I am about accuracy. I set up my gun for turkey with the top being my first shot because I was sighting of a red-dot but I never thought to try your setup.

    I have a question for you... when using the iron sights, what's your sight picture look like? I feel the right sight picture is to bury the front post all the way down until it's sitting on the to of the read line at the bottom of the "trench" so to speak but the more comfortable sight picture for my head and neck is to line the top of the front post up with the top of the "trench"... thoughts?
  19. John A.

    John A. I'm "THAT" guy Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator

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    Mine O/U isn't the same model as yours.

    Mine is imported by Tristar, which by all accounts is a relabeled Mossberg silver reserve II.

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