Featured, Featured Firearm Friday

Featured Firearm Friday – Mossberg SA-20

On Featured Firearm Friday, I will tell you all about a firearm I either own and love or don’t own (yet) but covet. I’ll tell you about what I shoot in competition, carry, and just take to the the range for practice. As time goes on, I hope to also be able to tell you what’s new and awesome. Please feel free to ask any specific questions about what I review. I’d also love to hear your suggestions for what I should be trying and talking about on Shooting In Lipstick. Today, I will be reviewing the Mossberg SA-20 20 gauge shotgun.

It isn’t a secret I love shotguns. I won’t wax nostalgic or describe how much I enjoy a day shooting clays (again). I’ve begun telling you about my favorite gear when I am out shooting clays but I thought maybe now is a good time to start sharing reviews of the shotguns I am currently loving. There’s no better place to start than the 20 gauge I currently use for 3 Gun Competition, the Mossberg SA-20 (mine is the Muddy Girl print).

Photo shows a full length shot of the Mossberg SA-20 20 gauge semi-automatic
Photo credit: Mossberg International

How Did I End Up With the Mossberg Sa-20?

Mr. SiL wanted me to get a shotgun long before I got one. I didn’t think it was necessary but he said it was so we went back and forth awhile. Then, on our annual Valentine’s Day trip to the gun show, he informed me he was getting a shot gun and I was welcome to look as well. It was clear from my research Mossberg made reliable and well priced shotguns so I focused my search on them.

I wanted something lightweight enough for me to learn. A semi-automatic was preferred because pump action seemed so alien to me at the time. For a quick run down on the difference, read this article. I really didn’t want it to look boring and I wanted it to be at a price point that didn’t break the bank. After walking around a bit I was seduced by the Muddy Girl siren song of the SA-20. I looked at many shotguns that day. After picking them all up and closely examining them, I determined I needed that darned pink camo. So I got a shotgun.

Regrets to date: NONE!

Specifications of the Mossberg SA-20 Muddy Girl

Mossberg SA-20 Muddy Girl

Gauge 20
Action Semi-Auto
Capacity 5 (aftermarket extensions available)
Barrel Type Vent Rib
Sight Bead
Chokes Included Sport Set
Weight 6.25 lbs
Barrel Length 26″
Overall Length 46.5″
Safety Active
MSRP $598

What’s To Love About the Mossberg SA-20?

Well, mine is pink! I know I have previously poked fun and pink items obviously geared for women but something about the Muddy Girl print on this shotgun called to me. It wasn’t temporary insanity, because I still like it. Other than aesthetics, however, I like so much about this shotgun. At just over 6lbs, it is easy to carry around and not too heavy to lift over and over again to my shoulder. Clay shooting has the most up and down hefting of the firearm I do and I needed something that didn’t tire me out after 15 minutes. This fits the bill perfectly.

It is quite reliable, with one minor quibble I will mention below, and is a cinch to clean. It comes apart really easily once you get used to it and doesn’t have any hidden dirty spots. I also like that it comes with a full sport set of chokes, so you can use it for many things. The action isn’t tricky or hard to handle and the safety is easy to reach.

This is the shotgun I would use to teach someone and I have done just that. The kick against your shoulder is minimal even when you aren’t a pro at finding the best shoulder placement. Shotguns almost always bruise my shoulder but I have to shoot this one for hours before it does. The bead is basic but works just fine. I personally have no desire to upgrade it to something fancier.

What’s Not To Love About the Mossberg SA-20?

The Mossberg SA-20 has one major drawback. We found out the hard way when our first trip out with it resulted in one failure to eject after another. I thought there was something wrong but some internet research revealed the SA-20 is really picky about shells. It absolutely will not reliably run the cheap Wal-Mart Value Pack Shells with ONE exception. It you can find the packs made by Federal, it is fine. They use high brass shells, which the SA-20 likes. The 7/8 oz load in a low brass shell just doesn’t have enough power to consistently eject. Look for at least 1oz but preferably 1 1/4oz loads. Otherwise, you can look forward to a nice arm workout racking out improperly ejected shells.

The loading gate is also finicky. In the beginning, and sometimes even now, I pinched my thumb. You have to make sure to force the shell all the way in or it will snap back under the gate and trap the shell, which is a pain to get out. Remember when I mentioned in my bad day post that Mr. SiL had his thumb butchered by the ejector? This is why. It takes getting used to and can be tricky in a rush or in a high adrenaline situation.

Finally, something I found out when my bead fell off and was lost, is that the Mossberg SA-20 is very special. By special, I mean made in Turkey so it has metric threads. So the common US threading replacement beads won’t fit. I had the hole for the bead to screw into re-threaded. It is worth noting.

Overall Thoughts on the SA-20

Erin at the Sporting Clays course with her Mossburg Muddy Girl SA-20

I really love my Mossberg SA-20. However, I am not certain if this is because it is a great shotgun on it’s own or because I’m emotionally attached to it because I learned to shoot clays with it. From a size perspective, it is a great option for new shotgun shooters or people of smaller stature who might not be able to shoot for long periods of time with something heavier.

I’m not sure I would buy it again only because of the ammo issues. It would be much more convenient to have something less finicky. As for competition, I am contemplating shooting 12 gauge in 3 gun so it might be relegated to duty as a starter-shotgun for some family and friends soon. But it IS pink!