April 05, 2023
By David Draper
When Mossberg released the 940 Pro Waterfowl shotgun a few years ago, Petersen’s HUNTING was one of the first outlets to give a true in-the-field review. Contributor Sam Forbes put it through its paces on a combination early season goose hunt and dove opener, which are two very different hunts. Forbes was impressed with its ability to do dual duty, particularly noting the Mossberg 940 Pro’s reliability when shooting both light dove loads and magnum goose offerings. Like any good gun manufacturer, Mossberg has since built the line out, adding several task-specific models, including the new Mossberg 940 Pro Turkey shotgun.
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of “favorite” shotguns that I use specifically for turkeys. These included an old Remington 870 I retrofit with camo thumbhole stock and red-dot optic, as well a 20-gauge Mossberg 500 Flex that was my current go-to gun for gobbler. But after using a Mossberg 940 Pro on a high-volume dove/pigeon hunt in Argentina last summer, I was impressed by both its reliability and its soft-shooting demeanor. So come spring 2023, I decided to carry the turkey version on a hunt to finish my World Slam down in the Yucatan.
The 940 Pro Turkey comes in two models, with the hunter’s choice of either an 18- or 24-inch barrel. I opted for the former as my ocellated hunt would be from a ground blind and the short barrel is a lot handier in those tight conditions. Back home, most of the turkey hunting I do is run-and-gun style, covering miles of public ground chasing far-off gobbles in the West. I also like the shorter barrel here for the reduced weight that it brings to the table over the longer, heavier 24-inch version. Mossberg lists the shotguns bare weights at 7 ¼- and 7 ½-lbs. respectively. The barrel is fitted with a Mossberg X-Factor choke tube for tight patterns. The tube is also ported to help reduce recoil and muzzle flip when shooting those magnum turkey shells.
All 940 Pro shotguns run on the same redesigned gas-operated system that places the piston and corresponding sleeve on the outside of the magazine tube. Mossberg claims this is a cleaner and more reliable design capable of cycling up to 1,500 rounds without the need to clean it. I can say during my testing in Argentina, in which I shot for four days, cycling several thousand rounds through a 940 Pro without cleaning, the gun did not fail to function due to a dirty action. (I did have an extractor issue on the first morning of the hunt, but that was quickly resolved.) The action is designed to fire most 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells, from light target rounds to heavy magnum loads, without fail. Alas, you masochists, there is no 3 ½-inch option.
The receiver, barrel and stock of the 940 Pro Turkey have all been coated in Mossy Oak Greenleaf, which has become the preferred pattern for spring turkey hunters. Speaking of the stock, the 940’s synthetic version is easily user adjustable to achieve the perfect length-of-pull from 13 to 14 ¼ inches. Drop and cast is also adjustable. Other notable, hunter-friendly features include oversized controls (charging handle and bolt-release button), a beveled loading port and a new shell catch and carrier that eliminates any chance of painfully pinching a finger when pushing rounds into the magazine.
Optics are all the rage in turkey hunting, so of course Mossberg made sight mounting simple. The receiver is drilled and tapped to add a rail and scope, but most notably, it also features a top cut to accept direct mounting of a microdot sight. This allows for a lower-profile mounting setup, better aligning the eye with the optic. I added a Holosun, but the 940 accepts any red dot with a Shield RMSc footprint. The shotgun also comes fitted with a HiViz Compsight up front for those hunters who still like to aim a shotgun the old-school, open-sighted way.
Mossberg 940 Pro in Mexico
This was my second hunt in the Yucatan for an ocellated turkey that would complete my World Slam. Unfortunately, no turkeys were harmed on the first adventure, so there was a lot riding on this return trip. If a garish ocellated tom did show itself, I was confident the Mossberg 940 Pro would do its job, but still wanted to confirm zero before going afield.
After placing a target at 30 yards, I centered the red dot of the Holosun on the turkey’s wattle and squeezed the Mossberg’s crisp trigger. The shot printed a little high and right for my taste, so I adjusted the site with just a few quick clicks and the second obliterated the target. For this hunt, I opted to shoot Federal Heavyweight TSS in No. 9 shot, knowing it would go the distance if necessary. Tungsten shot has quickly become a favorite for turkeys, and Federal is making some of the best.
The jungle was quiet the next morning, and so were we, as I was joined by my guide Pedro Antonio. This early in the season ocellated turkeys are still in their winter flocks, much the same as the wild turkey here in the U.S. Trying to lure them with an electronic song would likely have the opposite effect—warning toms not yet ready to start the premating pecking order to stay away. So, Pedro and I sat in silence, waiting and hoping the bird we saw the previous evening would return.
Even though it was only February, the sun still beats hot in the jungle, and turkeys usually flee for the cooler shade of the jungle not long after the sun rays reach the field. I was the shadows shorten, figuring we’d end our morning hunt not long after they disappeared altogether.
Suddenly, I saw Pedro stiffen and point to his left, where I could just make several neon-blue heads emerge from the jungle. Soon, there were at least ten turkeys on the field, jumping, running around and generally playing grab-ass like a pack of jake turkeys would do back home. It was fun to watch, particularly as the turkey clucked closer to our hide to inspect the blind that wasn’t quite as well hidden from a turkey’s keen vision.
Trained to not move a muscle when I turkey is nearby, I sat frozen. Pedro had apparently learned at a different academy as he moved his head around to find an adult bird among all the juveniles. He pointed at one that has just passed my window and whispered the magic word I had learned on other turkey and deer hunts in Mexico. “Macho.” I repeated the word as question. “Macho?” Pedro nodded and said it again. “Macho.”
With two of us in the blind, it was a little cramped, so I really appreciated the short barrel of the Mossberg as I eased it into position. I centered the red dot on the turkey’s wattle. He was just a few yards away and I briefly wondered if I should wait until he walked a bit farther. But I wasn’t about to miss this opportunity. When I pulled the trigger, the bird flipped backwards, its flapping wings stirring up the red dust of the Yucatan. As it was, I didn’t need the extra killing power TSS provides, but I was glad it was there in case the ocellated hung up at the edge of shotgun range.
MSRP: $1,189 | mossberg.com
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