Mossberg 535 ATS, a waterfowl shotgun
With its powerful 3.5" chamber, Mossberg's 535 ATS "All Terrain Shotgun" is an utterly reliable pump action shotgun, dedicated to waterfowl hunters, offering versatility and performance at an affordable price
Waterfowling is more common in north America than it is in Europe, but it's just as popular on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.
That's the main reason why the vast majority of dedicated waterfowl hunting shotguns are manufactured by the American gun industry, and the reason why they generally stand out in terms of quality and performance.
Waterfowling is not an easy hunting specialty. It includes exposing yourself, and your gun, to humidity and low temperatures, and to be ready to take some of the most challenging shots that a hunter can try to take.
Waterfowl shotguns must thus resist highly hostile environmental conditions and the stress of firing heavy loads – since the vast majority of dedicated waterfowl shotguns are chambered for the high-power 12-gauge, 89mm/3.5" shells.
It may seem hard to find a gun that will satisfy all those needs offering high quality at an affordable price – but one of America's prime shotgun manufacturers has one in its catalogue. We are talking about the Mossberg 535 ATS Waterfowl pump-action shotgun.
The Mossberg 535 ATS pump-action shotgun is a derivative of the Mossberg 500-series line of shotguns, and is thus built to rigidly comply with the high specifics in terms of reliability and toughness of the 500-series, which has been adopted and fielded in combat by countless military and Police forces worldwide.
The main technical difference is the chambering: using an 89mm/3.5" chamber (also known as a "Supermagnum" chambering in Europe), the Mossberg 535 ATS pump shotgun can also feed and use any kind of 12-gauge shotshell with the same degree of reliability, thanks to the dual action bar pump-action design.
The factory magazine tube capacity for the Mossberg 535 ATS is of five 3.5" shotshells; capacity may vary when using shorter shells. The short magazine tube also allows for a shorter and faster forend travel.
The Mossberg 535 ATS Waterfowl shotgun is available with a black synthetic or walnut forend and stock. In both cases, it includes a recoil-reducing rubber buttpad and checkered slip-proof grip.
The Mossberg 535 ATS is built around a black hard-anodized, lightweight aluminum alloy receiver that's drilled and tapped to accept optics mounts. The peculiar design of the Mossberg shotgun receivers, dubbed the Uni-Line, guarantees an optimal alignment between the stock line and the bore axis – which should in turn allow faster and easier target acquisition.
The blued, cold-hammer forged, non-overbored steel barrel of the Mossberg 535 ATS Waterfowl pump-action shotgun is 71 cm / 28-inch long for extended range, and comes with a ventilated sighting rib and a fiber-optic high-visibility front sight.
The barrel is compatible with Mossberg's proprietary Accu-Choke interchangeable chokes system – which can handle both steel and lead shots – and the 535 ATS shotgun comes issued with an Accu-Set of five interchangeable chokes.
Featuring a top tang safety and a peculiar trigger assembly that can be removed by pushing out one retaining pin and pulling downwards on the guard, the Mossberg 535 ATS is not only a very versatile and manageable firearm, but is also very easy and quick to strip for full cleaning or maintenance.
ATS means "All Terrain Shotgun", and as a matter of fact the Mossberg 535 ATS may be mainly waterfowl-oriented, but is actually more than adequate for a plethora of other hunting specialties, including turkey, upland birds, and deer.
The non-overbored barrels of the 535-series shotguns can handle slugs, and variants of the Mossberg 535 ATS shotgun exist with interchangeable barrels that come factory-issued with dedicated replacement slug barrels.
The model 535 ATS offers the proven, tried-and-true Mossberg quality at a very affordable price: the Waterfowl model you see pictured here goes for around 475 euros in Europe, and at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of around $445.00 in the United States.
In Europe, pump-action shotguns are not just as popular for hunting as they are in the United States – they're still no match for their over-and-under, side-by-side and semi-automatic rivals – but every hunter who values reliability, practicality and performance (and is willing to set aside petty questions such as classic category preferences for this or that specific kind of gun over others) should seriously consider the Mossberg 535 ATS as his or her next hunting companion.
Mossberg 535 ATS Waterfowl - Specifications
535 ATS Waterfowl
12 gauge, 89mm / 3.5" chamber
Top tang safety lever
5 shotshells in magazine tube
710 mm / 28", smoothbore
Accu-Set chokes (5 included)
Ventilated barrel rib with front fibre-optic insert
Receiver drilled and tapped for optics mount
1225 mm / 48.25"
3,06 kg / 6.75 lbs
Blued steel barrel, anodized aluminum alloy receiver
Walnut or polymer stock and forend with rubber buttpad
Consult your local dealer for availability and pricing