If there is one thing that waterfowl and turkey hunters have in common, it is the passion they share for their choice of a hunting shotgun. This is especially true when the conversation among hunters focuses on their favorite brand and model. One of the more popular shotgun brands chosen by the waterfowl and turkey crowd is Mossberg. Duck, goose and turkey hunters can be tough on their equipment, and Mossberg shotguns, especially the pump-action models have stood the test of time and will stand up to being dropped, bumped, banged, submerged, covered in mud, ice and snow.
These guns are so tough that many hunters simply wipe off the exterior of the gun and swab the bore of the barrel to get them ready for the next hunt. For the most part, many hunters tend to clean their guns that way until the end of the season. At that point, a more thorough cleaning is necessary as the mud, grass, powder residue and other things that could affect the smooth operation of the gun need to be removed so the gun can be stored properly.
The “new kid on the block” of Mossberg pump shotguns is the Model 835. This model happens to be the first 3 ½ inch pump-action shotgun ever produced, and Mossberg went to great lengths to build it to stand up to performance qualities that hunters demand. This model is available in multiple Mossy Oak patterns for both turkey and duck hunting, but like any shotgun with moving parts, it has to be properly cleaned to ensure proper operation in the field.
This particular Mossberg model features dual extractors and a positive steel-to-steel lockup mechanism for handling the big 3 ½ inch loads. The Mossberg 835 also comes with dual action bars and an anti-jam elevator for easy and smooth operation. Like with any fine shotgun, there is a process to disassemble, clean and reassemble it so that it is as good as new when needed. This process needs to be performed in a specific order, and when performed correctly it allows the gun to be disassembled in less than a minute or two.
Let’s take a look at this process step by step:
1. First of all, find a clean, flat surface and cover it with a cloth or protective product to minimize oil or fluid spills and to centralize parts being removed and reassembled.
2. Make sure the gun is unloaded and the safety catch is set to ON.
3. Place the gun vertical and unscrew the barrel cap by turning it counterclockwise. Remove the barrel and lay the stock and receiver on a flat surface.
4. Using a punch 3/16” or smaller, tap out the small pin holding the trigger assembly in place
5. Remove the trigger assembly by pulling up on it, rear portion is lifted out first. There are two points to remember here. First, do not try to disassemble the trigger housing itself. It is a complex combination of parts and any work on it should be done only by an experienced gunsmith or Mossberg technician, if necessary. Second, do not pull the trigger to release the hammer on the trigger assembly. This could injure you or the trigger assembly and will not allow the assembly to be properly installed when putting the gun back together.
6. At this point, make sure you are familiar with the installed look of the other receiver parts – bolt, bolt slide, and the forearm/action slide bar assembly. These parts will need to be removed in the following progression and then properly reassembled after cleaning in the proper order. They will install easily if the relationship of the parts are the same coming out and going back in. Remember that this is a process. We’re not just yanking parts off of the gun in hopes of finding where they go later on. The Mossberg 835 has been precision manufactured and the parts will slide out easily and will assemble without stress as long as you follow the progression.
7. Next, remove the cartridge stop and the cartridge interrupter from the receiver. Sometimes you have to tap the receiver lightly to help release these parts, but they should come free easily.
8. Now move the forearm action slide assembly backward so that around three quarters of the bolt slide and bolt assembly are visible. Align the bottom of the bolt slide with the visible clearance cuts on the side of the receiver. You should be able to remove the bolt slide at that point.
9. Remove the bolt assembly by sliding it forward through the opening in the receiver.
10. Check to make sure the safety catch is in the ON position before removing the elevator. Simply lift the elevator vertically from the front and squeeze the two elevator arms together to lift it from the receiver.
11. Once the parts inside the receiver have been progressively removed, you can slide the forearm action assembly forward to expose the magazine tube for cleaning as well.
Once the forearm/action assembly has been removed, you will have disassembled the Mossberg Model 835 giving you the opportunity to clean every part in the receiver as well as the receiver itself.
Keep in mind that the gun will operate more efficiently if you use a soft cloth and soft bristled brush to clean the individual parts and inside walls of the receiver. Excessive oiling is not necessary, as it tends to attract powder residue, grass, seeds and other items that could affect the smoothness of the gun’s operation. Once the parts are cleaned, just a few drops of oil will allow the Mossberg 835 to function properly and minimize rust and corrosion.
To reassemble the gun, you simply reverse the disassembly process, starting with the forearm/slide action assembly. Place it on the magazine tube and push it into the receiver. Align the slide bars with the cuts in the front of the receiver. Once the slide bars are in place, adding the parts in reverse will be simple. Just remember that the assembly process must be in the proper progression.
Some hunters find the Mossberg 835 relatively simple to take apart and clean. Others tend to struggle at first. As discussed throughout this piece, breaking this gun down to individual pieces is a process, and once you have mastered that process, the entire shotgun can be disassembled, cleaned and reassembled in a matter of minutes.
Mossberg actually suggests that you clean the gun in this manner every 200 or so shots or when you know you have put the gun through excessive stress. You know, the everyday stress that waterfowlers and turkey hunters put on their guns through quite often – mud, ice, dirt, water, grass, leaves and saltwater exposure, etc. We hunt hard, so trust the process, do it right and enjoy your Mossberg 835.