By Paul Rackley, American Hunter
The Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag is not new. In fact, it has been around since 1988. In that time, it has become known as a reliable shogun at an affordable price that can handle whatever load put through it. In plain language, it is a workhorse.
It has multiple variations designed around the specific needs of turkey, waterfowl and deer hunters. It’s also available in the standard configuration of wood and blue with a smooth barrel, or in solid black and camouflage patterns. The 835 is also availble with or without pistol grips, thumbhole stocks and rifled-slug barrels. Hunters can even choose a combo that comes with two barrels for either turkey and deer or turkey and waterfowl.
Everything about the 835 screams working-man’s shotgun, which is why every year thousands of these shotguns are carried into the woods and waters in search of game. The only shortcoming of the 835 is common to many shotguns—the trigger.
Because shotguns are designed to be pointed rather than aimed like a rifle, the trigger is yanked rather than squeezed, when a target is lined up. There are, however, times when a smooth, rifle-like trigger pull is desired in a shotgun, such as when deer or turkey hunting. For years hunters pursuing these types of game had few choices; they could either dig deep into their wallets for a shotgun with a smoother trigger or have a trigger job performed on their favorite scatterguns. With the 835, that problem is now moot thanks to Mossberg’s Lightning Pump Action adjustable trigger system.
The Lightning Pump Action trigger is designed to be creep-free and user-adjustable via a screw in the rear of the trigger housing. The trigger can be adjusted from 3 to 7 pounds for a variety of situations from bearing down on a turkey to dusting clays or birds. The LPA resembles the Savage Accu-Trigger as there is a skeletonized trigger within the actual trigger.
However, the Lightning Pump Action trigger is not available on all 835 variations. It is primarly used on deer- and turkey-specific hunting 835 shotguns. The one I received for testing was an all-black turkey model with a pistol grip, 20-inch overbored barrel with fiber-optic rifle sights and a Ulti-full choke that was pre-adjusted for a 3.15-pound trigger pull. Reducing the trigger pull requires removing the trigger group and turning a small Allen screw counter clockwise (clockwise to raise the poundage) and replacing the trigger group back into the gun. While I played with the adjustment to learn how it works, I reset it to the factory configuration as it was fine for my shooting style, providing for a light squeeze, even with a little bit of stacking right at the beginning of the pull.
Other than being turkey-specific with the LPA trigger, this shotgun was similar to every other 835 variation that I’ve ever handled, meaning it wasn’t very pretty to look at, but the action pumped flawlessly and it devastated its targets. This included turkey targets at 20, 30 and 40 yards, and it even put pellets in the kill zone at 50 yards using hard-hitting 3 1/2-inch, high-density turkey loads.
The LPA trigger is a major improvement in shotgun technology, providing a better trigger press for those situations when it is truly needed. While I haven’t had an opportunity to try the Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag with LPA in a hunting situation yet, I plan to carry it throughout the turkey season.
Thanks to the American Hunter team for this article! Visit http://www.americanhunter.org for more hunting and gear. ~Mike P.