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Bolt Action Hunting Rifles

Review: Mossberg MVP

by J. Scott Rupp   |  October 25th, 2011 48
mossberg mvp rifle

Mossberg's new MVP is a varmint/predator .223/5.56 rifle that proved to be accurate with a wide array of ammo.

The Mossberg MVP (Mossberg Predator Varmint) is a purpose-built rifle for sure, with a fluted 24-inch medium bull barrel and wide, flat-bottom fore-end—a gun aimed squarely at those who love to hunker down over a prairie dog town or hunt coyotes in open country.

The MVP is a keeper. Why? Three reasons. One, it’s accurate. Two, it takes AR mags. Three, it’s economical.

mossberg mvp receiver

The MVP features a fluted bolt, slightly swept-back bolt handle and the LBA user-adjustable trigger. Best of all, it takes AR magazines.

Let’s take reason No. 2 first. The MVP is based on the 4×4 action, and the first iteration is in 5.56 (more on this in a bit). What makes this rifle stand out is the Drop Push bolt, which employs a device I’ve never seen before: It incorporates a small lever at the six o’clock position on the bolt face. This lever dips down and enables the bolt to strip a round from an AR magazine.

The Drop Push lever is held in place with a forged pin, and when the bolt face reaches the feed ramp, the lever simply moves flush with the bolt face—allowing the bolt to move into battery. Pretty cool.

“The design was the culmination of several design iterations,” Mossberg senior design engineer Tim Blazek said. “Extensive live-fire testing was performed, both internally and in the field.”

I tried to break it. Well, not really, but I reefed on the bolt as hard as I could while cycling the bolt as hard as I could. Not

mossberg mvp drop push bolt

The Drop Push bolt employs a lever at the front that enables it to pick up cartridges from AR magazines.

only did the lever not break (honestly I wasn’t expecting it to), it never hung up. Feeding was flawless.

The body of the bolt is fluted. I’m sure it saves a bit of weight but since this isn’t a rifle where weight is really an issue, it’s mostly for looks. The bolt features twin lugs, plunger ejector and sliding extractor. A note about that last: It is possible to slide the extractor all the way out of the bolt, and if you don’t capture the spring, well, parts fly everywhere. Don’t be that guy (me). The bolt knob is normal size and checkered.

The 10-round magazine slides effortlessly into its well. I kept expecting a click or some sort of resistance to overcome in order to seat it, but it just glides right in. An unobtrusive release is forward of the mag well, and a light push on it drops the magazine.

And now with the novelty of its feeding system out of the way, let’s talk accuracy, starting with the trigger. It was the first

mossberg mvp fore-end

The MVP's stock is a gray laminate, and the fore-end is flat for stability on a rest such as a sandbag.

Mossberg I’ve actually tested for Rifle Shooter, and I’d never had a chance to play with the LBA (Lightning Bolt Action) trigger before.

I broke out my Lyman digital trigger scale and did 10 reps, the trigger averaging 3.25 pounds, a bit heavier than I wanted. So I turned the rifle over, removed the no-nonsense hex-head action screws and pulled the barreled action out of the stock. As promised, the trigger adjustment was super easy. I simply turned a slotted screw in the front of the trigger housing, and in no time I had the LBA breaking at 2.5 pounds.

The LBA trigger is certainly a contributing factor to the rifle’s overall accuracy. The stability of a laminate stock helps too, as does the medium-contour fluted barrel. The barreled action nestles into the stock courtesy of a polymer bedding block and aluminum pillars. The barrel has a sandwich-style recoil lug

mossberg mvp stock

The wrist on the stock is deeply relieved and features a right-hand palm swell on the pistol grip.

and is attached to the receiver via a smooth barrel nut.

The barrel sports a 1:9 twist and, as mentioned, is chambered for 5.56 NATO, which is unusual in that most manufacturers build rifles of this type on the .223 Remington chamber specs. Tim Blazek told me they went the 5.56 route so that the abundant supply of military surplus ammo could be used in the MVP. Yes, we consider the 5.56 and .223 to be identical, but they’re really not, and by using the 5.56 chambering Mossberg has ensured there won’t be any problems with the hotter NATO ammo.

For the accuracy test I mounted a Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 onto Weaver-style bases via Burris ZEE steel medium-height rings. The scope proved the perfect mate in terms of power range, size and compatibility in terms of price.

mossberg mvp bedding block

The barreled action mates to the stock via a synthetic bedding block and two stout hex-head bolts.

I have to say the stock took a little bit of getting used to, but then I’m not an avid varminter. The weight distribution was a little farther forward than I’m used to due to the wide, heavy fore-end and thin buttstock, or at least it took some experimenting to get the balance on the bags the way I wanted it.

The MVP’s buttstock is a “benchrest” type, with a deep relieved area in the wrist and a stippled palm swell (sorry lefties; it’s a right-hand-only configuration). It also has a 13-inch length of pull. Funny, but as a short person I’ve gotten so accustomed to shooting rifles that are too long for me that the MVP’s stock felt weird at first. I got used to it quickly, although this attribute is something you want to take into account when you’re mounting a scope on the MVP for proper eye relief.

I put the rifle through my normal benchrest testing drill, but I also got prone with a bipod, and I found the rifle to be

mossberg mvp barrel

The barrel attaches to the action via a smooth barrel nut, and the recoil lug is sandwiched between them.

perfectly in tune with this type of shooting. With just a fist under the toe of the stock for support, I got very good groups at 100 and 200 yards (including a 2.65-inch group at 200 with a flyer where I missed the wind; had I not, the group would’ve measured 1.25 inches or 0.63 m.o.a.). Ringing gongs out to 300 and 400 was way too easy with the ProStaff’s BDC reticle.

In answer to reader demand for 200-yard accuracy testing, I also took the best shooting 100-yard load (Black Hills 50-grain V-Max) and shot that from the bench at 200. Four three-shot groups with this load at that distance averaged 1.07 inches.

For another real-world experiment, I grabbed a box of Black Hills 36-grain Varmint Grenades. Immediately following testing of another load—no cleaning, no cooling period—I commenced firing seven three-shot groups at 100 yards, one right after the next at a cadence you might use on a really good prairie dog town.

The barrel got smoking hot, but you know what? Accuracy deteriorated little. Average for all the groups was 1.46 inches. The smallest group, fired first, was 0.95; the largest, fired next to last, was 2.10. Total deviation from the average was therefore only half an inch.

Complaints? Only one, and based on the gun’s performance in the accuracy test, you may or may not care. This is one dirty gun. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a rifle that required so many patches to come clean.

The prime suspect is the bore, which I examined with a Hawkeye borescope. It’s not like I found a bunch of tool marks or anything, but it’s not exactly mirror bright either.

I think hand-lapping would solve this issue or, much simpler, a product such David Tubb’s Final Finish. I’ve not yet tried Tubb’s ammo-based method of smoothing of bore (it’s available in component bullets or as loaded ammo), but those I know who have tried it give it a thumbs-up. Or just suck it up and clean the rifle with however many patches it takes.

That criticism aside if you’re looking for an accurate, good-looking and economical rifle to take to the field for vermin large and small—or just for recreational shooting—you’d be hard-pressed to do better than the Mossberg MVP.

 Fast Specs

  • Type: twin-lug bolt-action centerfire; sliding extractor, plunger ejector
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Capacity: accepts AR magazines; 10-round supplied
  • Barrel: 24 in. medium bull, fluted, 1:9 twist, varmint crown
  • Overall length: 43 in.
  • Weight: 7.25 lb.
  • Finish: matte blue
  • Stock: benchrest-style gray laminate
  • Trigger: adjustable Lightning Bolt Action; 3.25-lb. pull from factory; 2.5-lb. pull as tested
  • Sights: none; Weaver-style bases installed
  • Price: $649; $796 w/factory-installed and bore-sighted 4-15×50 scope and supplied bipod
  • Manufacturer: Mosssberg, mossberg.com, 203-230-5300

 Accuracy Results

  • Smallest Group: Black Hills V-Max 50 gr.—0.46 in.
  • Largest Group: Hornady Superformance NTX 35 gr.—1.15 in.
  • Average of all ammo tested (7 types): 0.88 in.
  • Accuracy results are averages of three three-shot groups at 100 yards from a Caldwell Fire Control Rest.

Related Articles

200 Yard Accuracy Test

Initial Accuracy Test

Review: Nikon ProStaff 4-12X

  • Tim

    Really 1" is accurate for a varmint gun? I think there's some covering up for a rifle that still needs work with some more then liberal use of the word "accurate"

    • ar15cannonball

      Did you not see the smallest group of .46 in that's 1/2moa! accurate enough for me how about you!? With that ACCURACY the rifle should be able to shoot around a 1 inch to 1.25 200 yard group. For the money and the round given that's pretty good.

    • kyle

      i would like to see them chamber it in 300 whisper

  • Micah

    I'm seriously interested in the MVP, but for completely different reasons than most. I have a few questions not addressed anywhere, though.

    The action looks smaller than a standard "short-action", is it? If so, how long is it?

    I haven't seen a good picture of the bolt-face yet. Is there room to machine it out for cartridges with larger bases? Would it require modifying the Drop Push lever as well?

    Lastly, are the scope bases removable?

  • Buddy

    what about 300,400,500 yards. Just how good is it and the scope mount, fixed?

  • B.J. HERRON

    I HAVE NOT YET BEEN ABLE TO BUY ONE OR KNOWN OF ANY GUN STORES ABLE TO GET ONE.COULD YOU ANSWER THIS QUESTION,

    • Austin M

      Woodbury outfitters in coshocton, ohio is ordering some soon. i talked to the gun manager there and he said that he is getting ready to order some.

      • Connor J

        I actually just got one off gunbroker. Check gunbroker and gunsamerica. I havent received it yet, sorry, but I'm anxious to get my hands on it.

  • dennis ksmith

    This will be perfect for my girlfriend. She intends to shoot 300 yd. target. Santa is going to get her one for Christmas.

  • Alex

    Is this gun 5.56 or .223? or is it either because i know they are very close?

    • Evan

      The gun is chambered in 5.56X45 NATO, but it CAN and will safely fire .223 Rem ammo. The reason they chambered it in 5.56 is because the military ammunition is cheap (good for gophers) but it also has a slightly longer OAL because the bullets are seated out further. It's also slightly higher pressure, so firing military surplus 5.56 ammo through a .223 chamber will cause premature wear. Firing .223 in a 5.56 chamber will not cause any problems, but it can be slightly less accurate.

      Hope this helps.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588092395 John Daniels

        The real difference is that military 5.56 ammo is loaded with thicker brass, and loaded hotter than commercial .223 ammo, so the 5.56 chamber has a longer throat to deal with the resulting higher pressure. They're both loaded to 2.260" COAL. Both ammunition types share identical exterior dimensions.

        Chambering an autoloading rifle for 5.56 makes sense, since it's a good idea to keep pressure spikes to a minimum in an autoloader for a variety of reasons. In a bolt action rifle that is inherently strong enough to handle the hottest 5.56 loads, a 5.56 chamber is unnecessary and will possibly (probably) result in a deterioration in accuracy because of the long throat. That said, this rifle is not marketed at serious varminters (who would almost universally be using semi or full custom rigs). This rifle is marketed toward….I'm not really sure what group. Apparently, they think their customers want a 5.56 chamber on a varmint rifle. Between that and the fluting, it's sort of an odd combination, IMO.

        A .223 chambered 18" heavy profile, unfluted barrel probably would've been a better choice. For varmint use 1/9" twist is probably OK.

        Wow…tangents….

        • Scott Rupp

          You guys are going to love our March/April issue and Patrick Sweeney's piece on the diff between .223 and 5.56. Goes on sale 1/24. Remington 700 on the cover. Scott

  • Jake

    Does anyone know where to get it from? I have been looking for weeks but can not find anywhere. I have the hopes of possibly getting it by Christmas.

    • Larry

      called mossberg last week they said they are in production with the MVP for the month of Dec. and will be shipping to dealers in Jan., can't wait to get one

  • Troy

    whoever thinks that half inch groups at 100 yards is not accurate is a dope imo. the largest groups the author had in their testing was from non-lead, frangible (compressed powder core) ammunition which are by nature of their design (wont go into full detail but they are…look it up) less accurate. if this rifle had an 18 or 20 inch barrel i would buy one right now! i'm still considering purchasing this sucker because i'm a poor boy and even though still a bit out of my normal price range, this seems to be an awesome deal on a great rifle. i also hand load so i am very cool with the 5.56 chamber. a .223 chamber/barrel is rated to 50,000 cup and the 5.56 chamber/barrel is rated at 60,000 cup. long story short…..a stronger barrel is good and if you use or buy heavier/longer bullets they will seat closer to the rifling and be just as accurate as the longer 5.56. remember that every rifle is different and will like what bullets it likes. half the fun is trying different loads.

  • Steve

    They better come out in Jan…

  • Tony

    Mossberg hosed the short action feeding in atr 100, doubt this will feed well and if not get the standard mossberg response of out of luck

  • Kase

    Please build a 6.5×284. They could build a tack driver, if they would build a rifle made for long range.
    Leave it to SAVAGE to fill that nitch.
    Where is this rifle built, in USA or another country.

    • rdsii64

      While I don't know for sure, I would bet my beer money that this rifle is imported by Mossberg.

      • https://www.facebook.com/kidkaraoke Eric C. Younger

        Not to claim your beer money but, according to the Mossberg website the MVP is being made in the USA, Happy Hunting…

  • https://www.facebook.com/kidkaraoke Eric C. Younger

    I'm really hoping that one shows up at my LGS, because they have the Ruger Gunsite Rifle, I know they are different calibers (5.56 vs. .308) but they seem to want to compete with each other. I was actually hoping that Ruger would chamber a Gunsite model in 5.56, looks like Mossberg did. BTW, at last check, Budgunshop.com sell the MVP, but were out of stock as of today (1-19-12). And msrp is $769 for the model with scope and bipod, Buds is selling it for $584.00 shipped…

    • bjohnson907

      Ruger now has the Gunsite in 5.56!

  • DennisKsmith

    Come on Mossberg…Time for MVP in .308 w/M1A mags.

  • Paul M

    How about a chambering for .204 Ruger…….Now my favorite Varmint caliber….?

  • Larry

    saw one at local Big 5 store tonight they wanted $579 for the non scope equipped version,
    my local gun store said they would sell me one for $515 I will try tommorow to see if they can get one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1007926973 Buddy Shaw

    found one 2 days ago just the rifle. it will be here tomorrow im excited to get it out and on paper to see what it can do.

  • WYGUY

    Watch what magazine u buy. I got 2 of the 20's made buy thermold & it doesnt catch. Maybe I can modify IDK, just got it 30 minutes, shooting it Saturday. They should be pretty easy to get now. This one came in today, saw it, bought it. I went in for a 6.5 X 284 hoping I didnt make a mistake, not real found of 223. Wish they made an AR in 22-250 I just like em better, but in WY u cant really hunt much with either anyways

    • ar123

      they do make ARs in 22-250 dumb ass

      • WYGUY

        dumb ass???? REALLY, show me a link where one is in a 22-250 & after u cant find one, you'll need to change your name to dumbf_ck that runs his mouth without a brain….. .22, 5.56, 223, 243, 6.8, 6.5 creedmoor, 6.5 grendel, 260, 308, 300 but never saw in a 22-250!!!! I just wish we were face to face when u realize how stupid u are. 1) to slap ya upside the head & 2) so u could see how hard I'd be laughing. I didnt come on here running my mouth or acting like an ass. People like u shouldnt have a computer, but the reason u do is because face to face u have no friends bc ur an ass

  • ac35

    Pretty good accuracy. I see it at 1 inch with 35gr bullets not bad. The twist is 1in9 which is for a higher grain bullet. With around 63gr. im sure this is going to be a tac driver. Especially with it being .46inch with 55gr. Gonna get one and im sure it will be a blast to shoot. Add a 20 or 30 round mag and shoot forever with a bolt action.

    • WYGUY

      a higher twist is for a lighter bullet. You would want a 1 n 7 for like the 90gr. Thats why a lot of people get the 1 n 8 in an AR. The happy medium. I shot under a 3/4 with the Fed 5.56 @ 55 but u can shoot 69. I bought 75 but havent shot them yet. Getting ready to hand load. I'll post results because I'll try about 10 different ways. Bullet gr & powders

  • oliver stidham

    good looking rifle

  • Doc B

    I just picked mine up today. Added a Vortex Viper 6.5-20X50mm with 30mm tube. (Yes, the scope did cost more than the rifle but I wanted good glass. Total investment was just over a G. (Having mild chest pain which will continue until I fire it and know everything is OK) Everything about this little rifle seems solid. I look forward to shooting it Wednesday.

    • JeffV

      Doc B
      I have been saving my green backs so I can get me the MVP, its been the exact varmint rifle I have been looking for with the 5.56/ .223 caliber along with the 10 round AR style magazine, I have also been researching the exact same scope that you put on yours to put on mine. How have the both of them been working for you? I have read alot of good reviews on both, it seems like a perfect combo.

  • ac35

    Got mine yesterday and so far rifle seems really solid. As with other reviews, it seemed the bolt is a little rough and stiff but as i open and closed numerous times, its getting smoother. Can see where the finish on the bolt is coming off a bit where it is rubbing and smoothing out. Like anything new, just needs to be broken in. Will shoot this weekend and am sure it will be just fine.

  • ac35

    Finally shot it and man is it great. The bolt is now very smooth. Trigger is great and have not had a problem after about 80rds. It really likes the higher grain bullets. Shot some 55 gr Remington and Fiocchi and had some decent groups. Even shot ten as fast as i could and still within a 5 inch circle. Shot some 62gr boat tail and had them come out at .5 group. All touching 3 different times. My new favorite gun.

    • ac35

      And this was at 100 yds. Havnt got out any further yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1581499014 Jason Hood

    Bought one last weekend and took it out for a test run. I only had a cheep scope I bought at Walmart to put on it, but it worked just fine. I shot some American eagle FMJ 55gr and at 100 yards had sub 1 inch groups and at 250 yards I had 1.5 inch groupings. I love this rifle. Coyotes beware I'm coming for you.

  • Ron W

    Come on Mossberg…Time for MVP in .308 w/M1A mags. –DennisKsmith

    I'll second that!

    I'll trade my Remington 700 ADL .308 in on a Mossberg MVP–if Mossberg will make it in .308!

    • WYGUY

      Hmm, a trade? I dont even know why I bought the MVP having an AR. I wanted it for a year. Its awesome, but I'm not gunna take it out to prarie or coyote hunt. Got too much weight added for walkin around. I have a 6×24 on it & pretty heavy bi-pod. I'd rather have a Howa 22-250 for that

    • WYGUY

      I'll agree 110% tho on the 308. I bought the MVP less than in hour of it arriving & if they make a 308 I'll do the same. AWESOME gun tho

  • bill

    none to buy in this city of over a million people,i doubt they are in production beyond a first run.

  • Rick

    Academy Sports have them and are as low as anyone. 499.00 for the ones I've seen. Everyone else seems to be out. I talked to Mossberg yesterday, and the lady said they were going out the door everyday. And that they have not slowed production. They are available. Just have to look. Wholesalehunter.com was advertising them for 475.00…Not bad

  • Tom

    I bought one and have been shooting it up to 400 yards using m855 ammo.And averages around a three inch group.I love it. have not had any problems. I mounted a 4-30 x 50 bushnell scope and will hunt whitetails this fall. across my pastures.

  • kyle

    i would like to to see it a 300 whisper

  • YAT-YAZ

    So… military chamber- military mags- and then civilian scope mounts that NEED TO BE REPLACED with M1913.

  • DAO VU

    I want to oder abolt assy MVP VARMINT 223

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