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Bolt Action Rifles

Everyman Rifle: Mossberg MVP in 7.62 Review

by Jon R. Sundra   |  January 29th, 2013 24

Sundra found the MVP to be pleasant to shoot from the bench and more than acceptably accurate. The 7.62 chambering means you can shoot both 7.62 and .308 ammo in it.

At the NRA Show in mid-2011, the Mossberg folks came up with an innovative twist for the company’s flagship 4×4 bolt action rifle. Designated as the MVP (Mossberg Varmint Predator), they took a 5.56 NATO version and modified it to accept AR-15 magazines. RifleShooter featured the gun on its November/December 2011 issue, and the gun was enough of a success that in 2012 the firm expanded to an MVP series by adding 18.5- and 20-inch semi-bull barreled Predator versions to join the original 24-inch iteration. The Varmint version sports a bench/prone style stock with a vertical grip, while the newer Predator models wear a traditional classic-style sporter stock perfectly suited for general use.

To get a traditional twin-lug bolt action rifle like the 4×4 to accept AR magazines is not as simple as one might think, for it entailed what was essentially the redesigning of a rifle around an existing magazine—one that’s been with us since the M14 service rifle of the mid-1950s. To do so required extensive modifications to the trigger guard/bottom metal unit, the stock’s magazine mortise and receiver bedding surfaces, and to the bolt face.

The MVP line was successful enough that Mossberg again looked to the 4×4 but this time to explore the feasibility of converting a 7.62 NATO (.308 Winchester) example to accept the DPMS/M14 style magazine used by the various AR-10 rifles such as offered by Bushmaster, DPMS and Remington to name a few. The result is the newest member of the Mossberg MVP lineup, and prior to its introduction I had the opportunity to use this gun on a moose hunt in Newfoundland—an adventure on which the gun acquitted itself nicely. But more about that later.

Like the Predator, this version of the MVP features the same black-hued wood laminate stock and the choice of 18.5- or 20-inch semi-bull fluted barrels. My test gun—the same one I used in Newfoundland—sported the shorter spout.

In order to get the original MVP Varmint to work with AR-15 magazines, Mossberg engineers came up with what they call a “drop push” bolt; a small, hinged, spring-loaded lip at the bottom edge of the bolt face drops down about 1/8 inch to strip the top round from either side of the staggered column magazine.

When the bolt begins its rearward travel, the lip is free to recede as it passes over the top round in the box, be it on the left or right side. Only on the forward stroke of the bolt does the lip drop down to strip the top round and chamber it.

The bolt on the 7.62 version has also been modified but in a much simpler way. Instead of a drop-lip arrangement, there are two small projections at the five and seven o’clock positions just below and flush with the rim of the recessed bolt face. Apparently, this was all that was necessary to get the 4×4 compatible with AR-10 type magazines. Each projection engages the rims of cartridges stored on alternating sides of the magazine. Simple.

Other than the aforementioned modification, the rest of the bolt is quite conventional, as is the receiver. The bolt starts out as a simple tube, to which a separate bolt head and handle are attached. A one-inch long tenon at the rear and integral with the bolt head slips into the bolt body and is held there by a cross pin, which has a hole through its center to allow passage of the firing pin.

At the rear, the handle is collared onto the bolt body. Other than in minor detail, the overall design of this bolt is virtually identical to that of the Savage 110 series, right down to the plunger-style ejector and an extractor that slides radially in a T-slot in the face of the right-side locking lug. The same can be said of Marlin’s X7, for it too is assembled in the same way and with similar components.

And like so many other domestic bolt actions, the 4×4’s receiver is also a simple tube that employs a separate, washer-type recoil lug sandwiched between the face of the receiver ring and the barrel lock nut. Again, it’s the same basic design as found in the Savage, Remington and Marlin.

For a nice cosmetic touch, the bolt body is spiral fluted. Prior to assembly, the already fluted body tube is blackened, then put through a radial grinding operation that polishes the outside diameter but leaves the flutes blackened.

As for functionality, the flutes are very shallow, so there’s no weight reduction to speak of. The flutes do, however, reduce frictional surface area by about 40 percent, which enhances bolt glide. Also, the flutes collect dirt and keep it off frictional surfaces. And they do look cool.

I’m sure anyone who’s ever examined a 4×4 has wondered what the hell the goiter-like projection on the left side of the bolt shroud is for, because it appears to have no function whatsoever. Without going into the historical and legal aspects of it, suffice to say that this unsightly protuberance is there to prevent a decocked bolt from being reinserted into the receiver.

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