The Mossberg Model 185D was the initial model introduced to the public. The change from 185D to 185D-A to 185D-B was probably very small design changes including a firing pin change. Dating these guns is not terribly hard given the number of iterations. The fact that none have serial numbers can be sort of daunting though so bear with me!
The regular 185D was made from 1947 to 1950.
The 185D-A was made for only 1950 when a probable firing pin issue arose. This is the shortest run and the rarest of the bunch since the 185D-B also popped up toward the end of 1950.
The 185D-B was made from 1950 to 1955 and it introduced that firing pin change.
Specifications: Mossberg 185D
The Mossberg 185D was a bolt-action, magazine-fed, 20 Gauge shotgun produced from 1947 to 1959. It had an exterior screw-on type of choke system and would come with an Improved Cylinder, Modified, and Full Choke Tube along with a spanner style wrench if the knurling was not enough. A rundown of the specifications is below:
Years Produced: From 1947 to 1959
MSRP In 1951: Roughly $23 ($231.40 in 2021)
Chambering: 20 Gauge 2 3/4″ shells
Barrel Length: 26 Inches including the Choke
Overall Length: 46 1/8 Inches (Including Choke)
Weight: Roughly 6.76 lbs
Operating System: Bolt Action
Safety: Manual Selector with Green and Red Indicator
Choke System: Exterior Screw-on Chokes (Improved Cylinder, Modified, Full)
Front Sight: Fixed Front Hexagon Bead
Magazine: 2-Round Detachable Box Magazine
Stock: Walnut, Semi Pistol Grip with Plastic Finger Grooves, Monte Carlo