Mossberg 500 Thunder Ranch. You Need a Breaching Barrel Because . . . ? reveals that Mossberg has introduced the $460 Mossberg 500 Thunder Ranch, a shotgun that sports the Thunder Ranch logo on the side. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.) Whereas we might be a bit cynical about this weapon, our gun blogging colleague likes the cut of the Mossie’s ballistic jib: “Unlike many other special editions guns, a lot of thought appears to have gone into this shotgun. It features a shortened stock with a 12.75″ length of pull (LOP) for maneuverability in a self defense situation. It includes a tri-rail on the fore-end for mounting accessories. The barrel is Mossberg’s 18.5″ Stand Off (breaching) barrel.” Clint “No Geegaws on my Gun” Smith signed up for that? I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you.


About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

40 Responses to Mossberg 500 Thunder Ranch. You Need a Breaching Barrel Because . . . ?

  1. avatarJames Felix says:

    “You Need a Breaching Barrel Because . . . ?”

    In case I need to, you know, breach something.


  2. avatarJoe Grine says:

    Lets face it, a lot of this type of stuff sells simply cause it looks kool, not because it is useful. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I will confess to having a few guns in my collection that are low on the “practical application” factor but score high on the “looks kool” factor. Having said that, the breeching barrel scores especially low on the practical applicability factor, and could even be dangerous if proper ballistic eyewear is not used.

    • avatarJames Felix says:

      Sounds like a good “question of the day” post: what’s the least practical gun in your safe?

      • avatarJoe Grine says:

        I have an FN Herstal FALO, which is a heavy-barrelled version of the FAL. Its really good at spitting out 20 ea .308 Win rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger, but so far I have not found any practical application for doing that. It is fun, though! Unfortunately, sending $12 to 17 bucks worth of ammo downrange in 3 -4 seconds (or so) seems to be a bit too indulgent of an activity in this new Obamaconomy.

        • avatarsdog says:

          that sure sounds fun joe, what has been keeping me away from FAL’s is their inability to digest steel cased ammo. i see a ptr 91 gi in my future me thinks….

      • avatarready,fire,aim says:

        50 cal BMG…too expensive to shoot

    • avatarLeo Atrox says:

      “…the breeching barrel scores especially low on the practical applicability factor.”

      Disagree. You ever catch one of those by way of a jab to the sternum or clavicle?

      I doubt that I will need to bust door hinges or locks away, or jab a guy for “pain compliance”; but the absense of likelihood doesn’t render the device practically unapplicable. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever have to use any firearm for self-defense; but if I do, it sure will be useful. Same goes for the breaching stand-off device.

    • avatarSteven says:

      I would say that there is a purpose behind the breaching barrel. From what I have read in changing out barrels on a Mossberg 835 it will accept a Mossberg 500 breaching barrel. I want this barrel for the sake of having a shorter ready to attach barrel and is better suited for home defense that still accepts 3 1/2” shells as opposed to having to change out the tube as well to fit a normal 500 barrel and no longer be able to use shells longer than 3”.

  3. avatarBob H says:

    I like to keep a breeching gun in the trunk for those awkward times where I have locked myself out of the house.

    Or when “girlfriends” throw me out and/or file those pesky restraining orders.

    (Note: the last line was for comedic purposes only. I am happily married to the most wonderful woman on the planet (YMMV). I do not advocate stalking or breaking and entering. No ex-girlfriends were harmed in the creation of this post.)

  4. avatarDogman says:

    I guess for the same reason there are rails on almost all of the auto pistols I’ve bought in the past 4-5 years. This despite the fact that I don’t own a laser or weapons light and never intend to.

    • avatarsdog says:

      +1, it almost makes me feel the need to get a gtl 10/11

    • avatarScottA says:

      +2 I just bought a pistol (p229r) with rails because I think it looks better with them than it does without them and maybe some day I might (doubt it) put a light there.

  5. avatarRokurota says:

    Couldn’t it serve the same purpose as the crenelated head on a “tactical” flashlight? Run out of shells? Home invader shish-kabob!

    • avatarcmd says:

      My thought exactly. Some homes may not have enough room to clear a corner. You may find yourself closer to an adversary than you like and have the shotgun grabbed. As you fight over then weapon, you might be able to smack them with the end of the barrel. I’m sure it would be a distraction at the least and maybe blood would run into their eyes from a cut scalp.

      Maybe I’m thinking to much and trying to justify the Mossberg 930 w/ breacher barrel I bought a few years a go.

  6. avatarVan says:

    When I bought my Mossberg 500 with the pistol grip the fact that it had a breeching barrel did not factor into my purchase decision. It was there, I wanted it, so I bought it.

  7. avatarpoppymann says:

    It’s as practical as a fake hood scoop.

  8. Opening beers, of course!

  9. avatarSteveOfTheNorth says:

    Yup,beer bottle opener

  10. avatarJamie says:

    “You Need a Breaching Barrel Because . . . ?”
    It’s called the Bill of Rights, not the bill of needs…!

    • avatarMagoo says:

      Exactly! The Revolution wasn’t won with a registered gun! When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns! You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms! Mean people suck! My other car is a broom!

      • avatarBob H says:

        My two favorites are “Proud Member of PETA – People Eating Tasty Animals” and
        In big letters “Jesus Loves You”
        second line in small print “Everyone else thinks you’re an asshole”

  11. avatarNobody_special says:

    Clint has said many times that when he has had signature guns made for S&W things were included he didn’t like. He says they were included for marketing purposes. One example would be the large gold TR logo on the first edition of his .44 special with S&W. I’m guessing this is the case here. If you’ve seen his Defensive Shotgun video you know he is truly “no gee-gaws,” except maybe a flashlight.

  12. avatarMr. Lion says:

    Because you can have one. And make nifty muzzle flash patterns.

  13. avatarBig Bob says:

    I would guess the fact that such an evil device is freely available would drive the leftards into a mouth-foaming frenzy.

    That in itself is reason enough to have one.

  14. avatarkiller99 says:

    The same reason I need 30 round “assault clips” and “high-powered-assault rifle with a sniper scope and a barrel shroud.”

  15. avatarGossven says:

    I find it hard to believe that thunder ranch would even want the tri rail on there. I understand a little bit of rail space on the side for a flashlight, but all you really need for an effective home defense shotgun is a weapon light, a sling, and some sort of side saddle to hold a few extra reloads.

  16. avatarThomasD says:

    Given the intended application that ‘feature’ is not going to significantly alter performance. I assume it also offers no real increase in price (these products already deisgned to meet and intended price point.) And, from a seller’s standpoint, it may drawn in some additional attention, even though largely unnecessary.

    Except for the occasional LEO demand, where it may represent a real selling point.

    If I suspect push the trigger is going to turn to shove the barrel I’d greatly prefer a bayonet lug over crenellations.

  17. avatarJLA says:

    There are reasons for the breacher on the end of the barrel. First of all, it looks cool, which will help Mossberg sell more of them. Second, one of the biggest issues with using a long gun for home defense, especially when one may have to clear his way through the house to get to other family members, is the potential for being disarmed. The teeth on the end of that breaching barrel would make a wicked impact weapon when going hand to hand. It will also provide standoff in the event that one needs to make a contact shot with the muzzle pressed into the intruder, such as during a disarm attack. Finally, these shotguns won’t only be marketed to home owners. There will likely be plenty of LEO’s & police agencies looking at them as well. They may actually need a shotgun that can serve both as an officer’s breaching tool & his primary weapon during an entry. The shotgun would do well in that roll.

    And as for rails on pistols, lights & lasers are EXTREMELY useful on a handgun, especially on kept for home defense. You can’t, or at least shouldn’t, shoot at someone who hasn’t been 100% identified, unless you like the idea of accidentally blowing you wife’s head off after mistaking her for a home intruder! Having a light on the gun helps a lot with that. (I also recommend having a separate hand-held light for searching. The weaponlight is for shooting, not searching.) As for lasers, law enforcement experience has shown that having a laser on a handgun during gunfight more than doubles the hit probability of even experienced shooters. I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want that advantage! (And yes, I’ve heard the old bullcrap line “I don’t want to bet my life on a battery”, or a variation thereof, more times than I can count. Unless you plan on removing the sights when you install the laser, it just that: bullcrap!) I have lasers on all of my carry & home defense guns & wouldn’t have it any other way!!!!!

  18. avatar24Mossberg says:

    The Thunder Ranch is just fine. I have one on order right now. JLA is correct, the breacher can be used very effectively. I have 20 years in the Army. Jab followed by a vertical butt stroke. You wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end. Further, just the site of the weapon presents a great deterent.

  19. avatarGaffle says:

    Just got a Mossberg Home and Field combo today. It has both the 28″ compensated field barrel and the 18 1/2″ breacher. Only difference I can see between it and the TR model with the breacher installed is the lack of rails on the fore end and the cool logo. Those teeth are SHARP, so there is no doubt about their effectiveness if a barrel jab is ever needed to encourage compliance from a bad guy.

    • avatarHumboldt says:

      Just picked up my thunder ranch and installed the pistol grip tactical stock and flashlight. I find the features that come on the shotgun aren’t overdone if this is the type of gun your in the market for. Which I was. The breaching barrel is ideal for the home should an intruder decide to get dumb and come toward me or the gun, and I need to fire with the possibility of the end of the barrel being in contact with something. It was also cheaper to buy the gun this way than to buy the 500 and add the couple touches the thunder ranch already came with. I certainly wont be taking it hunting or doing target practice, but its going to accomplish exactly what its intended to if the situation ever arises. I didnt buy it for “looks” I bought it to get the job done.

  20. avatarThomas says:

    Practical Application = Zombie Gun.

  21. avatarDOJORODA says:

    I added a bolt on break/breacher (Minotaur Tactical Megalodon Shotgun Door Breacher Muzzle Break)

    When it arrived, I noticed right away what a massive, well built piece of potentially life saving equipment this is. Who knows what kind of “tussle” you’ll be in. This thing is a very thick walled steel device, and it has vents on the sides which sliced my finger open when I installed it.

    I have taken many tactical weapons courses as a professional and as a novice. Hand to hand combat with a shotgun in your hands is a real possibility (21 foot rule) and in the absence of another round down range, possibly a non-lethal situation, or a bayonet, this breacher might just be the solution.

    You can thump with it, rake with it, jab with it. It adds another dimension to the firearm. Thinking in and out of the box…it’s a keeper.

    Oh yeah, it looks cool too.

  22. avatarBruce says:

    I dunno what you blokes up there in America call it but down here in Australia that breacher muzzle treatment has what we call “serious fuck off factor”.

  23. avatarGreg says:

    I have purchased this firearm and it is amazing. cycles smooth, fires great. and i need that breaching barrel because why not look at it.

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