November 05, 2020
“Dad, I want to go hunting.”
I did a double take as my son, Jack, stood there with a serious expression on his face. I am not an avid hunter, and I was surprised that he had brought this up. I enjoy the occasional fall grouse hunt with my father and brother in Michigan. Finding the time to do that, however, has become more difficult as we’ve all gotten older and have families and other responsibilities. Consequently, we had not made that trip for the two years prior to this conversation, so I didn’t know where Jack’s statement came from. After some prodding, Jack said that one of his classmates was hunting deer before school that fall, and he thought it sounded exciting and wanted to give it a try.
So last Christmas my wife and I decided to give Jack his first gun. I figured it should be a shotgun, and I thought 20 gauge would be best. Jack is 11 years old, so I didn’t think he would enjoy the heavier recoil of a 12-gauge gun, and I knew he could do any sort of hunting we wanted to do with the 20 gauge. He and I took the hunter safety course together, and during it he got to handle a few different types of guns. Together, we decided a pump gun would be the way to go.
It just so happens that my favorite shotgun is a Remington Model 870 pump gun, and as art director of Shooting Times, I’ve worked with a lot of different guns, but I wanted Jack to get his hands on as many different shotguns as he could before settling on one. We started frequenting local gunshops and trying out several brands and models. Jack chose the Mossberg 510 Youth Mini Super Bantam in 20 gauge. It was a good selection because its reduced dimensions and light weight are sure to make his shooting experiences more enjoyable.
The 510 Youth Mini Super Bantam has a synthetic buttstock with a 1-inch-thick recoil pad that’s nice and soft. But the really important aspects of the buttstock are that it has a smaller grip size, a reduced trigger-to-grip distance, and a shorter length of pull (10.5 inches) that can easily be lengthened with a spacer as the shooter grows. It can go up to 11.5 inches. The gun also has what Mossberg calls an “EZ-Reach” forearm, which is located closer to the receiver, making it easier to operate for shooters of smaller stature. And the 510 Youth Mini Super Bantam comes with sling-swivel studs, one on the buttstock and one on the end of the magazine tube.
At 18.5 inches, the barrel is pretty short, too. And it comes with a vent rib, dual bead sights, and three screw-in Accu-Set chokes (Full, Mod, and IC). The two-position safety is located on top of the receiver within easy reach. The trigger pull on Jack’s gun is consistent and averages 6.5 pounds, according to an RCBS trigger pull scale. It varied from 6 pounds to 6.75 pounds over five measurements.
Overall length is 34.75 inches, but of course that will change when length of pull is increased. The gun weighs 5.0 pounds, unloaded. And the magazine tube will hold three rounds. It’s offered in a couple of camo finishes (Mossy Oak Break-Up and Muddy Girl), but Jack chose the all-black model.
Maybe best of all, the 510 Youth Mini Super Bantam 20-gauge shotgun didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The current retail price is listed at $431.
Jack still has a dream to hunt bigger game, but we agreed to start small. He can’t wait to use it on grouse this fall. And neither can I!
Mossberg 510 Youth Mini Super Bantam 20 Gauge Shotgun Specs
- Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons; mossberg.com
- Type: Pump-action shotgun
- Gauge: 20, 3-in. chamber
- Magazine Capacity: 3 rounds
- Barrel: 18.5 in.
- Overall Length: 34.75 in.
- Weight, Empty: 5 lbs.
- Stock: Synthetic
- Length Of Pull: 10.5 to 11.5 in.
- Finish: Blued barrel and action, black stock
- Sights: Dual bead
- Safety: Two position
- Trigger: 6.5-lb. pull (as tested)
- MSRP: $431