Mossberg’s Duck Hunting Machine: 940 Pro Waterfowl Review
Only good things happen when renowned speed shooter Jerry Miculek gets involved in creating a fast-running, reliable autoloading shotgun. That’s how Mossberg’s amped-up 940 Pro line of torture-tested scatterguns was born. While they’ve been proven in competition, those same features translate perfectly to the latest hunting models, including the 940 Pro Waterfowl we tested under brutal conditions off the Maine coast in mid-December. Here’s what we learned about the gun.
All the guns utilize the cleaner-running gas system that, according to Mossberg torture testing, allows for up to 1,500 rounds between cleanings – almost unheard of among autoloaders. Internal parts use corrosion-resistant finishes, including a nickel boron coated gas pistol, mag tube, hammer, and sear. There are oversized controls, including a textured and bold charging handle and bolt release button. Receivers and barrels are Cerakoted for wet-weather protection.
Meet the 940 Pro Waterfowl
The Waterfowl wears a 28-inch barrel, holds 4+1 rounds, and weighs in at 7.75-pounds empty. The adjustable, self-draining stock is ideal for the wet conditions of duck and goose hunting. With included shims, the buttstock’s length of pull can be altered by 1.25 inches, which can make a major difference in both comfort and fit, especially in a sport that often entails dressing in waders and bulky cold-weather apparel. Rather aggressive molded checkering covers the grip and slimmer ergonomic forend.
An enlarged and beveled bottom port makes loading a breeze, even while wearing cold-weather gloves. The bright orange anodized follower makes it easy to visually check if shells are in the tube, and the elongated, pinch-free elevator assists with smooth loading.
A cocking indicator, which sits inside the trigger guard, is both visible and tactile. Like the Pro Snow Goose model, the Waterfowl is also fitted with a HiViz TriComp front fiber-optic green sight as well as the X-Factor ported choke tube. The synthetic stocks are covered in True Timber Prairie camouflage with coordinating Patriot Brown Cerakote metalwork.
On the Hunt
Waterfowlers often hunt in some of the most inhospitable conditions imaginable. A few words that come to mind are freezing, wet, muddy, and unforgiving. Throw in the bitter saltwater spray of the East Coast in December, and it’s the perfect storm for shotguns to fail. That’s where we had a chance to run rounds through the 940 Pro Waterfowl along with a knowledgeable group of local Maine hunters and a handful of brave gals targeting sea ducks.
An adjustable stock allows you to add 1.25-inches of length of pull for customization, a feature each of us hunters used as soon as we got the guns. The shims allow for a 13 to 14.25-inch LOP range. When wearing bulky waterfowl clothing, a shorter LOP can make the difference between smooth shouldering on fast-passing ducks and not getting a shot at all. Even with us hunters bundled to the max, including several pairs of gloves, controls on the guns were easy to operate and did so without fail.
Recoil is surprisingly light, even with the heaviest waterfowling loads, not that kick is ever really noticed when uncommon ducks are in the sights. Like the majority of new autoloaders these days, the 940 Pro has a 3-inch chamber, so no 3.5-inch Magnum rounds here. With the variety of specialty ammunition and shot types on the market, we never missed that larger chamber.
A Waterfowl Gun That Does It All
True Timber’s Prairie pattern may sound out of place on a waterfowl gun, but those tan and brown tones in fact blend equally well in cornfields, swamps, mud bottoms, or – of course – the upland fields of its namesake. Bear in mind that even a model named “Waterfowl” can serve many other purposes, with the Mossberg 940 Pro proving that on clays courses, pheasant hunts, and beyond.
With the 28-inch barrel, the repeater swings well, and that green fiber optic simply glows on both birds and clays. While we’d like to say it was all sunshine and roses, nothing ever goes perfectly on an offshore hunt. We experienced several failures to fire while on the hunt. After significant after-action examination, we found there were decent primer strikes on the factory shells, so it was not a fault of the firearm itself.
Since that time, we’ve run as wide a variety of rounds as we could find, including 1-ounce 2.75-inch Remington target loads, Winchester Snow Goose, Kent Fasteel, Federal Premium Speed-Shok, and Browning Wicked Blend. Significant subsequent testing included storing the gun in the freezer and testing in windy and sleeting conditions. All torture resulted in cycling rounds without a hitch.
Filling the mag with a mix of different weights and types of shells proved all good things time and again. Every 940 Pro we’ve fired, including the test Waterfowl, fires as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. Would we expect any less from a Miculek design?