Mossberg MVP Review

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Mossberg MVP

NOTE: This product review was made possible by GunsForSale.com.  To get up-to-date information on where to find Mossberg rifles for sale, please visit GunsForSale.comSpecial thanks as well to J&E Guns in Bellefonte, PA for helping with the transfer.

Unveiled at the 2011 NRA Convention, the MVP caught lots of attention by having the fairly unique ability to feed from AR-15 magazines in a bolt-action rifle. Later that year it was shown at another event, with the new Surefire 100 round magazine hanging from its action, showing it could fit just about any AR-15 magazine one could jam in it. Designed with varmint hunting in mind, it has a long, heavy barrel, and a benchrest style stock. Here at TFB, we’ve been blessed by Mossberg with one to review.

Specifications

Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO (will also fire .223 Remington)
Action: Bolt Action
Finish: Matte Blue
Stock: Grey-Laminate benchrest style
Magazine Capacity:10+1 (factory magazine)
Length: 24″ (60.96 cm) fluted varmint profile
Twist Rate: 1:9
Overall Length: 43″ (1.09 m)
Weight: 7.5lbs (3.4 kg) without scope
MSRP: $649

 

The rifle itself is moderately heavy, but not absurdly so. With an accompanying piece of glass and a bipod, it weighs in at about 10lbs, which may be a bit heavy to carry around all day in the woods hunting, but is perfectly fine for a varminter to set up on a bench or the ground and cull his or her local prairie dog problem. It comes with one 10 round factory magazine and a gun lock. The combo package also includes a 4-15×50 Barska scope, and a bipod. For this review, I am using a Redfield Revolution 3-9×50 scope, and a Winchester branded bipod.

The forend's handsome stippling

The stock is a beefy, grey laminate, benchrest style stock. It has a palm swell for right-handed shooters; so unfortunately, southpaws may feel a bit left in the cold. Although the weapon can still be used by lefties, it is much harder to maintain a firm grip on the rifle. The stock has a very high comb, which when paired with a scope, offers a superb cheekweld. The pistol grip and forend are stippled to ensure a positive grip. The barrel easily floats free in an ample channel in the forend, and the action is mated to the stock via two aluminum pillars.

The action of the MVP is truly its defining characteristic. The bolt is a 2 lug design, with a small claw extractor, and a spring loaded ejector. It deviates from a standard design at this point to enable feeding from AR-15 magazine. A small arm on the bottom of the bolt face is pushed down by a spring to push the next round out of the magazine.  The arm is pushed back flush with the bolt when the bolt is in battery, or fully opened, to clear the feeding ramp and the receiver, respectively. The arm at first seemed a bit fiddly and small for its purpose, especially considering durability over the long term. However, upon further inspection, the part is quite sturdy, despite its size, and is necessary due to how low in the receiver the magazine sits compared to the bolt. Atop to the receiver, affixed by two allen screws each, a pair of weaver scope bases sit, ready for the scope of the owner’s choice.

The magazine well is quite spacious, and fit any AR magazine I put in it, including Magpul PMAGs, Lancer AWMs, and Mil-Spec aluminum magazines. Best results in feeding came from metal lipped mags, as the polymer lipped mags sat a bit lower in the well, and the bolt tended to ride over the rounds if the magazine was not firmly seated. The magazine release sits in front of the magazine, and is large enough to be easily used.

The action, up close

 

The trigger is Mossberg’s Lightning Bolt Action, similar in operation to the Savage AccuTrigger. A small blade sits inside the trigger proper, and acts as a safety. During the trigger pull, the blade is depressed easily, until it is flush with the trigger face. At that point, no further movement happens until the trigger breaks, cleanly, at about 3-4 pounds with about 1/8th inch of overtravel.

The barrel is a 24 inch long fluted varmint-profile, about 3/4 inch in diameter, and fluted from the point where it leaves the stock to just before the muzzle, to reduce weight and dissipate heat faster. It is chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO, which means it will also fire .223 Remington safely. The crown is angled inward to protect the end of the rifling from dings and dents. The rifling makes 1 twist in 9 inches, stabilizing a wide range of bullet weights, most optimally the 60-69 grain range, but will stabilize 50-69 grain and 70-77 grain bullets adequately.

Mossberg caught some flak about using 1:9, however I can see their reasoning. When using an AR magazine, you are limited in overall length to the magazine’s internal length, which only allows for up to 77 grain bullets, and those are even pushed fairly deep into the case to make magazine length. With no need to stabilize bullets heavier than that, a slower rate can be used to stabilize a wider range of lighter bullets, down to the upper range of lightweight varminting bullets, and most notably, 55 grain bullets, which are the most popular .223 loading.

 

Range Time

Shooting the MVP was quite fun, its recoil is very light, especially when shooting from a bipod. The minute recoil is further soaked up by a soft rubber butt pad, making the rifle enjoyable to shoot all day without discomfort. The rifle shot as accurately as I could shoot it, and I feel that if paired with a superior shooter, or a solid rest, more accuracy could be coaxed from it than what I could manage. Sadly, the range I shoot at has a limit of 3 loaded rounds in a rifle at a time, so I had to settle for that in the video. Feeding it in a more domestic setting with a full magazine resulted in no stoppages throughout the magazine.

Firing the Mossberg MVP

Groups were good, but not spectacular, however I am more willing to attribute it to my poor shooting than to the rifle. Other reviews have shot this rifle to sub-minute groups, and I am more willing to trust their ability than mine. (I really am a rather poor rifle shot, but I am improving). Ammo provided by Guns For Sale for this review was American Eagle 62 grain M855 5.56×45, and Federal Fusion 62 grain soft point .223 Remington, optimized for deer hunting.

American Eagle 62gn M855

The M855 shot the larger group of the two rounds at 100 yards. The sticker in the bullseye is roughly 1” in diameter.

Federal Fusion 62gn

The Fusion grouped significantly tighter at 100 yards, with the added bonus of being more suitable for deer hunting, although it may not be the best choice for small varmints.

 

Likes and Dislikes

Overall, my personal favorite parts about this rifle were the trigger and the stock. The trigger, while adjustable, comes from the factory at its lightest setting, and I was pleased with how it felt there. Adjusting pull weight is done by removing the rifle from the stock by unscrewing two Allen screws on the bottom of the rifle. A screw at the front of the trigger pack is turned to adjust the weight. I would have liked to see an overtravel stop, but with the minimal amount of overtravel as is, it isn’t particularly needed.

The stock is an excellent choice for this rifle, designed from the start to be used with a scope, so the comb is elevated. The palm swell on the pistol grip fits a right-handed shooter quite well, and allows proper finger placement on the trigger. The forend is widened, and easy to grasp, as well as sits easily and steadily on rests such as sandbags or other flat surfaces, and takes well to a bipod.

Of course, you take the good with the bad, and I have a few gripes about this rifle as well. My first gripe came as soon as I tried to mount a scope on the rifle. The bases, being weaver, will not accept Picatinny mounts, as the slots cut in the base are slightly too narrow. After borrowing a different scope and weaver rings, this became less of an issue, however in my opinion, a rifle made to accept AR magazines should also be able to accept popular AR optics without changing the mount. This isn’t a really major gripe, more of a whine on my part.

The big gripe I have with this rifle, however, is with the fit of the parts, particularly the stock to the action, the bolt to the receiver, and the magazine to action fit. The action of the rifle I was provided with sat a bit off center in the stock, so that the barrel is noticeably off center at the end of the forend. It is not enough to cause the barrel to contact the stock, but it is enough to bother me slightly.  The magazine well on the rifle held magazines very loosely, with a lot of back and forth play, even apparent with the portly PMAGs. I also found it hard to tell when a magazine was fully seated, resulting in a few failures to feed, especially with PMAGs.

A bit off-putting

 

The bolt to receiver fit bothered me a good bit. At fully open, the rear of the bolt could wiggle in any direction about half an inch. That is roughly comparable to the play apparent in my 1943 production Mosin-Nagant, not something I was particularly pleased with in a new production rifle. This made the action rough, exacerbated by the magazines already requiring more force to feed rounds than other bolt actions.

All in all the MVP is a solid rifle with a neat feeding gimmick and cheap, plentiful magazines, and at $649 MSRP, it won’t break the bank. As it stands, I feel its niche is for varmint hunters that are barred from using semi-autos due to state law, or as a fun range toy. I feel that with a bit more focus on fit and finish, the MVP will go far in Mossberg’s lineup.

Related

Nathan B

Nathan B is a software engineer living in Maryland. He graduated from Penn State University in 2012 with a BS in Information Sciences and Technology. He has been shooting for most of his life, is a sucker for a good .22 rifle, and shoots competitively in IDPA and local 3-gun matches.


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  • Trev

    Nice, it shoots minute of barn door.

  • Bill

    Rechamber it for 300 BLK or 6.8 SPC and I’ll buy one. Or even give Ruger a run for it’s money with their scout rifle and get one in .308 using M10 mags.

    • noob

      Wonder what it would be like if you rebarreled it for .50 Beowulf, .458 socom or .45 bushmaster (if anyone uses .45 bushmaster)?

      Could you buy a BFR in .50 Beowulf and go to the frozen tundra in alaska hunting for bear with a pistol and long gun on the same ammo?

      Would they function at temperatures where an AR would freeze up?

      • Nathan B

        Having it rechambered in .458 socom might bring out some feed issues, as it’s designed to feed much smaller rounds from those mags. That being said, a 16″ MVP in .458 socom would make an excellent little brush gun.

        E: I don’t see any reason why an MVP would seize up under extreme cold like an autoloading rifle would do, that’s one great advantage of manually operated rifles over autos.

      • DrewN
      • Duray

        I don’t think too many people hunt grizzlys in the dead of winter. Wouldn’t most bears be sleeping when it’s that bitterly cold? I grew up in AK, but I don’t recall when bear season was. I’m guessing fall to late fall. Of course, the whole ammo-commonality thing can already be done with leverguns, for those who care about such things.

  • Reverend Clint

    .300 blk would be perfect for this action. Move the scope forward and its a nice scout rifle

    • Other Steve

      I was thinking the same thing up until the fit and finish of the parts, very displeasing.

      • noob

        once the custom work of a new bbl in .300 blk has gone into it, your gunsmith should have it looking beautiful and solid. Expensive, but beautiful and solid.

        You might need a custom stock, or one with a rubber gusset in it to hold the mags more tightly and prevent the ingress of debris.

        Shame it’s not that way out of the box, but the idea has potential, and the little arm under the bolt is a thing of genious – I was wondering how they’d deal with the bolt dragging over the stiffly sprung rounds in an AR mag, and there it is.

      • Nathan B

        Pretty much exactly my thoughts. With more attention directed to fit and finish, this would make an excellent suppressor host for a .300 BLK rifle.

  • Other Steve

    That small arm that pulls the rounds from the mag is interesting. From the video, it feeds a ton better than I would have expected. That arm is definitely required and seems to be doing what it is supposed to.

    If they can get their quality in order or if someone else can one up them, I’d be interested to see it. A 300blk conversion that was high quality and reliably fed from AR mags would be high on my list for certain.

  • http://www.madogre.com George Hill

    A gun with a barrel that long and heavy should be shooting groups half that size. That accuracy is a NO GO on a Varminting gun. Big Magazine Acceptance is cool, but with accuracy that is worse than a 299 Savage Axis, it’s just about useless.

    • Nathan B

      Like I said in the review, I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the rifle so much as the shooter. I had some difficulty maintaining a consistent point of aim, and and in general, I am a not-that-great rifle shooter. However, I have managed much tighter (sub-MoA, not counting called fliers) groups with my father’s Tikka T3, so some of it is definitely the rifle, but not all of it.

    • G

      George Hill:

      “should be shooting groups half that size.”

      I hope you are not comparing his 9+ shot groups with other people’s cherry picked 3 shot groups because that is not a fair comparison.

      And on that subject..

      The Trouble With 3-Shot Groups:
      http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_118/279218_.html

      Statistics Is Not A Dirty Word
      http://www.shootingtimes.com/2011/01/04/ammunition_st_statistics_200810/

      • Nathan B

        Sample size, sample size, sample size. 3-shot groups look nice on paper, but they are effectively meaningless. If I had more time with the rifle, and access to a reloading press, I would have worked up 69 grain SMK loads to really squeeze the accuracy out of this thing. Sadly I did not get a chance to.

  • Lance

    Like the idea of a AR mag feed rifle good for SWAT teams in Law Enforcement snipers. Too bad the idiots in Kalifornia will ban this too.

    • B

      It is funny, the misconceptions that people have. While Kali does have some strange laws, we do have 10 round mag limits which is more than quite a few states these days. We can own handguns, unlike NYC or DC (as if that worked out well).
      I can go to the range and load up my 10 round mags and empty them (responsibly) at will, unlike Penn apparently (WTH is that about?). My 9mm, .223, .308 and .22lr all have 10 round mags (the 22 has tri-mags) and the wife just bought a Mossy MVP Varmint (still in the 10 day wait) with a 10 round mag, so they are legal here.

      LOL, I’m not bragging about the 10 round limit (although it is all that I need), I’m just pointing out that a lot of places have tighter restrictions and stranger laws, so pointing at Kali as the poster child isn’t really valid any more. The more you know… ;)
      Oh, I bought 5 round mags for the .308 for hunting. 10 rounds is dumb, cumbersome and unnecessary.

      The wife is new to shooting but is able to chew tight group holes in the 50 yard targets with the 10/22 so we discussed getting her something that allowed for more range and some practical application. She voted for a bolt action since it makes her focus more and I voted for .223 as I already stock it and it is a viable cartridge to at least 300 yards but has minimal recoil. The local store had a pretty MVP V and for under $600 out the door for an entry level gun to be used mainly for targets, I think it will work out nicely. I look forward to shooting it myself…

      Thanks for the objective review Nathan. Like you, my rifles are more accurate than I am. I am relearning the skills after a decade or two and enjoying myself as well.

      I agree with your general assessment of the rifle fit and finish, other than the one I examined didn’t have the stock/action alignment issue and while the bolt was loose at extension, it wasn’t non-functionally so, nor any worse than my Howa so I’ll work with it. The mag well is a little loose, but I can tighten that up a bit with ball end, spring loaded set screws. As a machinist, a quick drill and tap in the mag well lip will take care of that issue.

      While I haven’t fired it yet, most reviews claim it is a good shooter with a nice trigger out of the box and I won’t believe otherwise until proven. I was looking for scope mount info (seeing what I need to fit a 6-24×50) and read that I’m dealing with Weaver rails, so thanks for that info. I’m off to mossbergmvp.com to see how others have set up their scopes.

      Thanks for the honest review and good info and keep it up.

      B

  • Julio

    “With no need to stabilize bullets heavier than that, a FASTER rate can be used to stabilize a wider range of lighter bullets”

    Surely that should read “a SLOWER rate”?

    Otherwise, a good warts-and-all review. Let us know how Mossberg respond to your criticisms.

    • Nathan B

      Nice catch, you are absolutely right. Thanks for finding that.

  • http://rockinaseaofchaos.blogspot.com That Guy

    Good review on the rifle. I love oddball guns, and that one fits the niche.

    But the one thing that annoyed me as the statement:
    “Sadly, the range I shoot at has a limit of 3 loaded rounds in a rifle at a time…”

    What kind of Elmer Fudd type of crap is that? How are you supposed to check the proper feeding of ANY repeating firearm if you don’t load the mag to capacity? I’m sure that rule is there to keep the Tactitards from going nuts with a beta mag on an AR. However, it also impinges on any Mauser, Springfield, most CZ, Winchester, Remington, etc… bolt actions that you might want to make sure loads all the rounds from the mag before taking it on the hunt of a lifetime. I would tell that range they can pound sand.

    • Nathan B

      Pennsylvania Game Commission rules. 58 P.C. §135.181(b)(6) states

      “(b)[...] It is unlawful to: [...] (6) Possess, load or discharge a firearm that contains more than three rounds of single projectile ammunition, except as provided in subsection (c).”

      Subsection (c) allows 6 rounds in a handgun at designated handgun ranges.

      Breaking these laws is a summary offense, and carries a stiff fine of about 200-300 dollars, and telling them to pound sand doesn’t get you far in court.

      I use Scotia range for convenience, and I am looking for a new (not terrible) private range to join.

  • Raph84

    I really would like to see this with a polymer stock (with better fit), picatiny scope rails, and maybe a 1/7 or 1/8 twist rate. This would be an awesome jack of all trades rifle if they just made a couple of tweaks

    • Erwos

      I agree. I don’t care much about 1:7 vs 1:9 in an AR-15 carbine, but bolt guns are all about being able to make long distance shots. For those, I actually do want to be able to use longer/heavier bullets effectively. So, not sure what Mossberg thought the target market was, unless they assumed AR-15 magazines = M193 / M855 ammunition.

      I also think the stock is ugly, and the fit issue is offputting. Tighten up the fit (even if MSRP increases) and give us some decent after-market stock options, and I think this gun will be a winner.

  • Jeff Smith

    Nathan B,

    I really enjoy when a man is able to admit his own limitations. I’ve met too many guys that are too macho to admit that they aren’t the best shot in the world. Because of that, we tend to hear a lot of lines like “I own (insert random gun name here) and it’s a piece of crap! I can’t hit anything with it!”

    Also, a side note on machismo in shooting: I have yet to meet the man that is willing to admit that he was “limp wristing” while shooting. I know a guy that had a very nice S&W that he that he traded an old truck for. He put one box of rounds through it and sold it for next to nothing because it jammed every other round (but only when he shot it.)

    Anyways, It’s very refreshing to see a person willing to take the blame instead of blaming the gun. I’ve been shooting for around 15 years and I’m willing to admit that I’m not the best shot in the world. I find that I, like most people, do not have the time/money to really hone my shooting skills as much as I would like.

    Great review! Keep up to great work!

    • Nathan B

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! As a new shooter it was very hard for me to recognize my own limitations, but now that I’ve gained experience in several different disciplines, it is very easy for me to identify what is going wrong, and how to fix it, because a vast majority of the time, I’ve found, it is shooter error, and not the weapon.

      If I’m having issues with a weapon that aren’t immediately obvious, I will usually seek a second shooter to verify it. For example, my 1911 shoots a tad low. At first I thought it was shooting way low, but that turned out to be my own flinch, but it did shoot slightly low, when fired by a 1911 bullseye shooter.

  • derfel cadarn

    I own 22 Hornet rifles with more inherent accuracy. If they improve parts fit and chamber it in a real caliber they might possibly have something. What is the preoccupation with this round ?

    • JMD

      5.56 is cheap, readily available, easy to load, inherently accurate, versatile, and it feeds from cheap, readily available magazines.

  • Tony

    Now…how about a .308 bolt action that takes AR-10 mags?

    • Reverend Clint

      Id prefer g3 mags… way cheaper

    • Mike Knox

      Or how about a .308 Winchester with swappable mag wells that holds any mags in that calibre..

    • Michael

      I agree!! AR10, G3 or FAL mags, and 16 threaded barrell, Rail for lights

  • Reverend Clint
    • Other Steve

      Did you see spec sheet that says 1:10? I would avoid that particular rifle like the plaque. Ha! 300blk in a 1:10 twist.

      • DrewN

        Kinda depends on what loads you’re shooting doesn’t it? Most folks aren’t shooting a 220 subsonic. 100 years of .30 rifles has settled on 1/10 for a reason.

      • Other Steve

        No, an 18″ 1:10 makes no sense for 300blk for how it is supposed to be used. A 16″ bolt gun would complement an AR in 9-16″ making this longer with a different twist means its a whole new platform relative to a hand loader. Who ever built this had no idea what would have been most practical.

  • Mike Knox

    Neat, not a bad idea to get one of these. If I would, I’d smithy up a custom stock, stick on a supressor and a lot of subsonic rounds, and I’m a happy puppy..

    • Other Steve

      Wha? Subsonic 223 is a joke. 55-77gr at .50+ you might as well do 22lr as its a ton more practical.

      What would be needed is a 300blk barrel, definitely not a joke.

      • Mike Knox

        I meant 5.56mm NATO, .22 LR can’t reach beyond 80 metres without missing and I’ve spooked our horses with air cracks enough. Cyotes are starting to p*ss me off…

  • John Doe

    For the sake of competition, I’d love to see Savage Remington make their own STANAG-feeding bolt-action.

    Some .300 BLK or .308 (AR-10, G3 or FAL mags) love would be appreciated.

  • Ryan

    Needs to be threaded from the factory.

    • Nathan B

      This is something I would like to see as well.

  • Iziah

    I would be interested if they had a model with a 16in barrel, peep sights, and a non varmint stock

    • Michael

      I would be interested in that, how about one in 7.62×39 with AK mags

    • http://yahoo Pat

      Iziah; look at a Howa Ranchland in 223

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  • Joe

    Really don’t need all that ammo in 1 gun, unless using in tactical where use of AR mags comes in handy with others around having them for their AR, for hunting because mostly every animal hears the gun gone off and runs away. The tactical reason is only reason I would buy it to try&replace my remington.

  • michael

    A new segment of the bolt action market is here.

    Unload without cycling rounds through the action.
    Uses inexpensive and widely available magazines.
    Switch ammunition by switching magazines.

    If this thing sells in any kind of volume, watch for other manufacturers to follow suit and for the concept to be applied to in .308

    • Bill

      Hope they hear you! I would gladly buy a rifle like that.

  • Jeff

    I purchased one of these this week, took it out this morning for the first time. WOW! At 100 yrds, 10 shot group within 1.5″! I shoot a lot of AR, so was intrigued when this came up in trade. I am very impressed. Fit and finish are very good. Only dislike is the float of the bolt when open. Otherwise, very impressive rifle! My wife had a ball with it too!

  • Randy

    So why are you having a pistol guy test a rifle ? He writes good ?