Troubleshooting Your Mossberg 500: Common Issues and Solutions

As a DIY gunsmith, understanding how to troubleshoot common issues with the Mossberg 500 is essential. This shotgun is well-regarded for its reliability and versatility, but like any mechanical device, it can experience problems. Let’s explore some typical issues and how to resolve them, ensuring that your Mossberg 500 operates smoothly and efficiently.

Failure to Feed

When your Mossberg 500 fails to feed a new round into the chamber, it’s often due to a few key reasons. First, check if the magazine tube is correctly loaded. Sometimes, the shells might not be aligned properly, causing feeding issues. Ensure the tube is fully loaded and the shells are seated correctly. Another common cause is a dirty or damaged shell carrier. The shell carrier must move smoothly to feed shells properly. Clean it thoroughly and inspect for any damage. If it’s damaged, replace it. Lastly, using incorrect ammunition can lead to feeding problems. Always use the type and size of ammunition recommended for your Mossberg 500.

Failure to Eject

If your shotgun fails to eject spent shells, it could be due to a dirty or damaged ejector. Cleaning the ejector might solve the issue, but if it’s damaged, you’ll need to replace it. A weak extractor spring can also cause ejection problems. The spring might lose tension over time and need replacing. Additionally, ensure there are no obstructions in the chamber that could interfere with the ejection process.

Failure to Fire

When your Mossberg 500 fails to fire, it’s crucial to identify the root cause. Misfires are often due to faulty primers in the ammunition. Replacing the faulty rounds usually resolves the issue. Another potential problem is an obstructed or damaged firing pin. Clean the firing pin and its channel, and replace the pin if it’s damaged. Additionally, a weak or broken hammer spring can cause insufficient striking force, leading to a failure to fire. In such cases, replacing the hammer spring is necessary.

Failure to Cycle

If your shotgun fails to cycle correctly, the issue might lie with the action. A dirty or obstructed action can prevent smooth cycling. Cleaning the action thoroughly can often solve this problem. Inspect the action bars for any bends or damage. Bent or damaged action bars should be replaced to ensure proper cycling. Incorrect assembly can also hinder the cycling process, so make sure all parts are assembled correctly.

Failure to Lock

A failure to lock can prevent your shotgun from firing safely. Ensure the bolt is fully seated; sometimes, a simple push can secure it in place. Check for any obstructions in the locking area and clear them. Inspect the bolt components for wear or damage, and replace any parts that are not in good condition.

Light Strikes on Primer

Light primer strikes can result in failure to fire. A weak or damaged firing pin spring is a common cause. Replacing the spring can restore proper function. Additionally, a dirty firing pin channel can impede the firing pin’s movement. Clean the channel to ensure the firing pin strikes with full force.

Double Feeding

Double feeding can cause jams and prevent your shotgun from firing. A weak magazine spring might be the culprit. Replace the spring if it doesn’t provide enough tension. Additionally, inspect the cartridge stop for damage or wear. A damaged or worn cartridge stop should be replaced to prevent double feeding.

Failure to Chamber

Failure to chamber a round can be due to a dirty chamber. Cleaning the chamber thoroughly can resolve this issue. Inspect the shell stop for any bends or damage, and replace it if necessary. Using the correct type and size of ammunition is also crucial to ensure smooth chambering.

Troubleshooting Steps for Mossberg 500

Here is a handy table summarizing the troubleshooting steps for common issues you might encounter with your Mossberg 500:

ProblemPossible CauseSolution
Failure to FeedMagazine tube not loaded correctlyEnsure the magazine tube is loaded properly and fully
Dirty or damaged shell carrierClean or replace the shell carrier
Incorrect ammunitionUse the correct type and size of ammunition recommended for the Mossberg 500
Failure to EjectDirty or damaged ejectorClean or replace the ejector
Weak extractor springReplace the extractor spring
Obstruction in the chamberClear any obstructions in the chamber
Failure to FireMisfire due to faulty primerReplace the ammunition
Firing pin obstructed or damagedClean or replace the firing pin
Hammer spring weak or brokenReplace the hammer spring
Failure to CycleDirty or obstructed actionClean the action thoroughly
Bent or damaged action barsInspect and replace if necessary
Incorrect assemblyEnsure all parts are correctly assembled
Failure to LockBolt not fully seatedEnsure the bolt is fully seated
Obstruction in the locking areaClear any obstructions
Worn or damaged bolt componentsInspect and replace worn or damaged components
Light Strikes on PrimerWeak or damaged firing pin springReplace the firing pin spring
Dirty firing pin channelClean the firing pin channel
Double FeedingWeak magazine springReplace the magazine spring
Damaged or worn cartridge stopInspect and replace the cartridge stop if necessary
Failure to ChamberDirty chamberClean the chamber thoroughly
Bent or damaged shell stopInspect and replace if necessary
Incorrect ammunitionUse the correct type and size of ammunition recommended for the Mossberg 500


Regular maintenance and proper handling can prevent many of these common issues with the Mossberg 500. By understanding the potential problems and their solutions, you can ensure your shotgun remains reliable and ready for action. If you encounter persistent issues or are unsure about performing any of the troubleshooting steps, consult a professional gunsmith for assistance. Keep your Mossberg 500 in top shape and enjoy its dependable performance for years to come.

This comprehensive approach to troubleshooting your Mossberg 500 will enhance your skills as a DIY gunsmith and ensure that you can maintain this popular shotgun effectively.

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