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Going by the name alone, you would rightly expect the Mossberg International Gold Reserve to be a higher-grade gun than the Mossberg International Silver Reserve. Introduced in 2021, the Gold Reserve comes from Turkey’s Kahn/Kayhan factory, the same maker that has been building the Silver Reserve for Mossberg in one form or another since 2005.

New for 2024 is the 20-gauge Sporting version of the Gold Reserve. As soon as I opened the hard case, it was clear that this gun was more than just a Silver Reserve with better decoration. Actually, it was more and less at the same time. It was better decorated but also light and trim, and built on an entirely different, smaller, lighter frame, giving it a feel all its own. The Gold Reserve dashed my expectations about Mossberg O/Us. There’s nothing clunky about it, nor overweight. In fact, it could stand to put on a few ounces, but we’ll get to that later.

After giving the gun a thorough inspection at home, I was able to spend some time on the range testing the new 20-gauge Gold Reserve Sporing, and here is my full review.

Mossberg Gold Reserve 20-Gauge Sporting Specs and Overview

Specs

  • Length: 47 inches (with 30-inch barrels)
  • Weight: 6 pounds (20-gauge with 30-inch barrels)
  • Barrel: 30-inch vent rib, ventilated mid-rib, brass bead, 5 extended chokes
  • Action: Break-action O/U
  • Trigger: 8.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 2
  • Finish: Engraved silver receiver
  • Stock: Grade A walnut
  • Chambering: 3-inch 12-gauge, 3-inch 20-gauge (new and tested), 3-inch .410
  • Price: $1135

Along with the hard case, the gun comes with five extended choke tubes. Overall, the fit, finish, and decoration are very good for an $1100 O/U. Scroll engraving fully covers the silvered receiver, except for a space on the bottom for a letter “M” in a gold oval and the words “Gold Reserve, Mossberg International.” Unlike some laser- and roll-engraving, this is deep-relief enough that you can see it, even at a distance.

My test gun’s walnut stock has some figure to it and a classy satin finish. The forend has a Schnabel tip with a Deeley latch on the bottom, and the checkering panels on the forend and the stock are as neat and clean as one expects them to be in these days of laser-cutting. The butt-pad is very thin and doesn’t provide much in the way of recoil mitigation, although it does have a hard-plastic insert up top to help the gun shoulder without snagging. Break the Gold Reserve open, and you’re pleasantly surprised to find that the monoblock of the barrels is jeweled, adding a bit more elegance to the gun’s overall looks. The barrels have a flat vent rib, vented mid-ribs, and a small, simple gold bead. Overall, the Gold Reserve looks the part of a sporting gun.

Related: Best Over/Under Shotguns for Any Pursuit

Mossberg Gold Reserve 20-Gauge Sporting Range Results

The author puts Mossberg’s latest sporting shotgun to the test on the range. Phil Bourjaily

My test gun weighed exactly 6 pounds. The 30-inch barrels cause the gun to balance well ahead of the action’s hinge, but it didn’t feel the least bit muzzle heavy to me. Although the gun fit me well and shot flat, 50/50 patterns to my point of aim, I didn’t shoot it particularly well at low-gun skeet. As well-balanced as I think this gun is, it didn’t weigh enough for me to move it as smoothly as I’d like. A 6-pound target gun is not easy for most people to shoot. In the Gold Reserve’s defense, I’ll put out that I do most of my target shooting with 12-gauge guns that weigh closer to 9 pounds than to 8. Another pound or so of weight would have made this an easier gun for me to swing. It may work better for you on clays than it did for me. Mossberg lists the gun at 7 pounds, so maybe mine was unusually light.

I did have a couple of quibbles with the controls. The trigger breaks at well over 8 pounds. That doesn’t bother me any, because I just don’t notice trigger pulls. If you do notice pull-weights, you might count this as a strike against the gun. Also, it is possible to leave the safety-mounted barrel selector tab between barrels, at which point, it blocks the safety. This isn’t a problem on the clays course, but could be in the field. The ejectors worked perfectly and tossed shells consistently to within a few inches of one another.

Final Thoughts on the Mossberg Gold Reserve 20-Gauge Sporting

Pros:

  • Good fit and finish
  • Light and trim
  • Handles well for upland hunting

Cons:

  • A little light for target shooting
  • Heavy trigger

While the 20-gauge Gold Reserve wasn’t the sporting gun for me, I couldn’t help thinking about what a terrific hunting gun it would make. A 6-pound, 30-inch 20-gauge is not an easy gun to come by at any price point, much less just over $1100. It’s a gun that will be easy to carry, but the longer barrels will help you hit the birds you shoot at when the time comes. The gun has 3-inch chambers, too, so it could handle a wide assortment of field duties. Hunting seasons were closed when I tested this gun, and while I always wish it were hunting season, having the lithe 20-gauge Gold Reserve in hand made me wish it even harder. Regardless of season, this gun is a good buy at its price and is worth a look.

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