Over/under break-action shotguns are not cheap. Traditionally, these have had trouble in the market for exactly that reason: Hunters love the look of them, but the cost of producing their barrels drives the price higher than most are willing to pay. This has led to the perception of good break-actions as a luxury item, inaccessible to the average hunter.
However, the Turkish-made Mossberg International Silver Reserve II shatters all these expectations, offering an excellent gun at an affordable price.
When it comes to the barrel, Mossberg has a fine-looking blued steel it usually uses on its guns, and the over/under model comes in two lengths: 12/20 and 20/28. Both feature an aluminum boxlock receiver with old-school engraving for a more authentic feel. Mossberg’s guns all come with extractors, and the Silver Reserve is no exception — you’ll be able to peel your empties instead of searching through the grass.
Another feature that sets this model apart is the safety. Most shotguns today include automatic safety features that engage whenever the barrel is opened, and stay safe until thumbed back. For the Silver Reserve, the safety is wholly manual. The shooter is entirely responsible for thumbing his or her safety, further stepping up the old-school feel of this shotgun.
The join between the metal box lock and the wood is reasonably high quality, considering the affordability of the gun. It doesn’t look like the trigger and butt are hanging on by a thread, but the transition is clear and even. The wood is itself a beautiful black walnut color, with some checkering for texture and grip. The quality of the wood is questionable, but that is a necessary drawback for an affordable shotgun from any company, and the shooter’s experience does not suffer as a result.
The butt comes equipped with some nonaggressive rubber for your comfort, again riding that line between an everyman shotgun and something that feels luxurious. The rubber doesn’t get in the way of enjoying this gun, and shouldn’t snag on the shoulder when firing.
MSRP for this gun is a little over $770, though many can be found online for under $700. Given the quality of this gun, even a $700 price tag is an excellent deal. You will feel like an old-school hunter whenever you go to the range or the woods, and it’s hard to put a price on that. However, Mossberg has put a price on its gun, and it’s a pretty good one. For the style and quality of the gun — in addition to its excellent usability and utility — this model is a great deal.
When evaluating the price, it’s essential to do so in relation to other similar models. The cost of an over/under falls anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000, with some costly luxury models landing well over that range. Having an extra barrel will always boost the cost of a gun, and while some prices still seem exorbitant, it is an accepted truth that most over/unders come with a hefty price tag. The Silver Reserve is an excellent exception and seems to offer high quality and a great shooting experience in the process.