By Mike Yardley
Monday, 21 December 2009
Gun reviews: Hushpower .410 shotgun: This moderated Hushpower .410 shotgun is based on an American Mossberg 500 pump gun.
Hushpower .410 shotgun.
A long, long time ago, in a land that time forgot, I persuaded my late Grandma, Alexa, to apply to Kensington police for a .22 pistol and sound moderator for ‘vermin destruction’.
The application was not successful.
As a substitute, and because Alexa had a practical mind-set as befitted one of the first women ever commissioned, we acquired a push-on moderator for a single-barrel Cooey .410.
It might have got more use had it not disappeared into the wide blue yonder on first being fired at her country place.
Thus began my experience with sound moderators. I have since shot a great many ‘silenced’ guns, sporting and military.
These have included shotguns, rifles and pistols, and everything from .38 Mac 10s to Tikka sniper rifles.
Perfected by Hiram Maxim (to whom a patent for a ‘Silent Firearm’ was issued in March 1909), there is something fascinating about these weapons.
Though they are rarely as quiet as those seen in the movies – the ‘phut’, ‘phut’ of Bond’s PPK is mythical – it concerns the apparent paradox of silent power.
Enter the test gun, a Hushpower .410 seen on the shelves of the West London Gun Room.
Based on an American Mossberg 500 pump gun, the Hushpower is modified in England with a dedicated moderator made and fitted by the eponymous Kent-based firm.
A range of sound-moderated guns is offered including pumps similar to that tested in .410, 20 and 12, single barrels and a new over-and-under 20-bore based on an Investarm folding gun.
First impressions are very good. It is well made, with business-like looks that include no fancy embellishment, and a plain, black, anodised, streamlined, aluminium action.
The 3in-chambered and London-proofed 24in barrel (31in with the moderator) is conventionally blued and has a vented rib, the view of which is partially obstructed by the ‘can’ (a plain barrel may be available).
The magazine has been limited to two shots, giving the gun a three-shot capability with a round in the chamber (a five-shot FAC version is available).
The stock is wood, quite short (14in) and finished with a ventilated recoil pad (unnecessary for a .410 but typical of Mossberg).
The 500 is essentially an inexpensive, but extremely tough shotgun favoured by American hunters and the police and military (our police and military use them as well).
The Mossberg is the most successful modern pump design with more than a million sold in the US.
As with many repeaters, the bolt locks into a lug on the barrel, steel to steel; the alloy action is merely an envelope for the working parts.
The gun is further distinguished by a sliding safety (more commonly seen on double guns), and twin cocking bars in the action (an improvement on the Model 500 from 1970).
The trigger assembly is removed by pushing through a retaining pin in the receiver body. After certain simple manipulations, the working parts may then be removed through the bottom of the action and its front.
The moderator is 1.1/2in in diameter and is fitted forward of the barrel locating bolt.
The front section of the barrel is ported so that pressures can be reduced by means of the expansion chamber. The last section of the moderator is fitted with shaped baffles to disrupt the flow of gas from the gun and reduce the noise.
The main body of the moderator can be unscrewed from the barrel for cleaning.
The silenced gun was used by the SOE and OSS during the Second World War as an assassination tool. Heavily restricted in the US, sound moderators are popular with UK stalkers and vermin shooters.
They are usually most effective with subsonic ammunition.
This gun was great fun and most interesting to shoot. I used it with George Juer, then of the West London Gun Room, and David Hilton, an experienced shooting man, on a fast partridge stand at the West London ground.
George whipped us both, connecting with every bird from the start. I missed the first three before connecting consistently.
Nevertheless, this was a most impressive gun. It shot remarkably well once one had adapted to the extra muzzle length and weight.
There was virtually no recoil and, even with standard 2.1/2in .410 ammunition, it was very quiet (I felt comfortable using it without my normal ear protection).
This Hushpower.410 brought a smile to all our faces. It was well engineered and functioned perfectly.
The short-stroke trombone cycling of the action was effortless. There were no cycling glitches or misfeeds.
This is an outstanding little gun, which could be used for vermin or for teaching kids to shoot in a large garden with safety issues satisfied.
For another hundred quid or so, you can have an extra, non-moderated 24in barrel.
This kit would be my choice. I have not shot the over-under, but the .410 as tested is the best sound-moderated shotgun to have passed through my hands yet.
I’ve even bought one.
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