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EVALUATING THE MOSSBERG MVP PRECISION RIFLE AT DISTANCE

Let’s face it. When we hear the name Mossberg, the first thing that pops into our mind is the venerable model 500 shotgun, not an AR-style, semi-automatic or a bolt-action precision rifle. A peek at the history of O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., shows us that we shouldn’t be at all surprised to find Mossberg building innovative firearms.

In 1919 founder Oscar Mossberg and his sons Iver and Harold introduced the firm’s first firearm, the Brownie, a .22 caliber, four-shot pocket pistol that sold for $6. The Brownie was followed by a series of shotguns and bolt-action rifles. It wasn’t until 1962 that the popular 500 model pump shotgun was introduced. Many innovations in shotguns and rifles followed the 500. Mossberg now manufacturers rimfire rifles, centerfire rifles, Modern Sporting Rifles and many types of shotguns.

Some recent innovations are the 590 Shockwave series of bird’s head pistol grip-style defensive shotguns, the 590M series of detachable-box magazine shotguns, two new MVP bolt action rifles, and several variations of existing rifles and shotguns. All of this while maintaining their goal of providing, “More Gun for the Money.”

“BEST KNOWN FOR SHOTGUNS, MOSSBERG ALSO MAKES EVERYTHING FROM RIMFIRES TO MSRS.”

WHAT IS THE MVP PRECISION RIFLE?

The Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle is new to the MVP line for 2018. It brings a long-range, tactical platform to the MVP line of bolt-action rifles. Keys to the design of the MVP Precision Rifle are the in-house-designed aluminum chassis, slim-profile handguard and inline design.

The AR-style inline design handles recoil more efficiently by transferring energy in a straight line from the barrel and action assembly to the buffer tube/stock. This is accomplished by a unique method of attach-ing the buttstock to the chassis, much like an AR-style rifle. This design allows the shooter to better maintain sight picture after the shot.

The Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle evaluated here was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

HOW IT WORKS

Constructed of aluminum, the Mossberg-designed chassis provides a rigid platform for the action and barrel for improved accuracy and repeatability. The slimline aluminum handguard utilizes the M-LOK system for the easy attachment of accessories. A single thumb screw is used to connect the buffer tube/buttstock assembly to the chassis/action. The two must be separated in order for the bolt to be removed.

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A 24-inch, free-floating, medium-contour bull barrel made from 4140 carbon steel employs 5R rifling. The barrel is threaded 5/8”-24 TPI at the muzzle to allow for the attachment of muzzle devices or a suppressor. A thread protector is provided.

Combined with the Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F1 riflescope and the Caldwell XLA bipod, the Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle makes for a very good production precision rifle setup.

While a trigger doesn’t necessarily improve the accuracy of a rifle, it is virtually impossible to shoot a rifle accurately without a good trigger. For this, Mossberg uses its own Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger system. It can easily be user-adjusted from 3 to 7 pounds. It has a crisp break with no discernible creep or over-travel. The trigger on the rifle we evaluated broke at 2.8 pounds average for 10 consecutive pulls. Triggers on the MVP Precision Rifle come from the factory set at the lowest pull weight. They can easily be adjusted by separating the action from the chassis and turning the adjustment screw.

“Between the weight of the rifle package, its inline design and the moderate recoil of the 6.5 Creedmoor round, the rifle came back on target quickly for followup shots.”

An oversized tactical-style bolt handle, oversized trigger guard, 20 MOA 1913 MILSTD rail for better long-range capability and a Magpul PMAG 10-round magazine are provided. A unique design feature allows the MVP Precision Rifle to accept both M1A/M14 and AR-10/SR25 style magazines.

Mossberg employs its own Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger system, which can be user-adjusted from 3 to 7 pounds.

The furniture used on the MVP Precision Rifle includes a Magpul MOE+ pistol grip and a LUTH-AR MBA-3 adjustable buttstock. The MOE+ pistol grip accepts optional storage compartments from Magpul. The LUTH-AR MBA-3 buttstock has a six-position adjustment for length just like an AR buttstock. It also provides for an additional 1-1/16 inch length of pull, vertical butt plate and 1/2-inch lateral butt plate adjustment. The cheekpiece is adjustable for up to 1 inch of height using a thumbscrew. A 1913 MIL-STD rail section is also provided on the bottom at the rear of the buttstock for accessory attachment. A set screw is provided to eliminate rattle on MIL-SPEC buffer tubes. A soft rubber butt pad is also provided.

The buttstock assembly is interesting in itself. An inline adapter is inserted into the rear of the chassis and a thumbscrew draws in a wedge to secure the two components. A buffer tube, without the buffer assembly, is attached to the rear of the adapter so that an AR-style buttstock can be used on the rifle. This allows for a myriad of AR-style buttstocks to be easily installed if the LUTH-AR unit is not to your liking.

MODEL OPTIONS

The MVP Precision Rifle is available chambered for either 6.5 Creedmoor or 7.62×51 NATO/.308 Win. There are no other versions currently available. However, the MVP line includes the LR Tactical Rifle, LC (Light Chassis) Rifle, Scout Rifle, Patrol Rifle, Varmint & Predator Rifle and FLEX Rifle. Each model in the MVP line is offered chambered according to its intended purpose.

The Mossberg-designed aluminum chassis provides a rigid platform for the action and barrel.

AMMUNITION

Seven types of factory ammunition from four manufacturers were used during this evaluation. Bullet weights ranged from 120 to 140 grains. Five of the loads were match grade and two were designed for hunting.

A Mossberg designed slimline handguard uses the Magpul M-LOK attachment system for the quick and secure attachment of accessories.

One thing that became apparent during this evaluation is that while some types of ammunition shot better than others, they all shot well. There was no great disparity in group sizes between the types of ammunition like there is for many of the rifles I evaluate.

LONG-RANGE OPTICS

No sights are provided with the Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle. Only a 20 MOA 1913 MIL-STD rail attached to the receiver is supplied with the gun. For testing purposes, I installed a Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F1 riflescope using a Nightforce 34mm Ultralite Unimount with 20 MOA of elevation. This is one rock-solid, no-alibi setup.

It costs more than twice as much as the rifle, but the ATACR is an outstanding longrange riflescope. To help justify the cost, this setup can easily be moved from rifle to rifle.

Ranging can be performed at any power setting due to the ATACR’s first focal plane design. I like the MOAR reticle, but it is also available with MIL-R, MIL-C and TReMoR 3 reticles.

FROM THE SHOOTING BENCH

The Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor was very pleasant to shoot from the bench. The 12.5-pound-plus weight of the rifle system goes a long way toward mitigating the already-moderate recoil of the 6.5 Creedmoor round. Between the weight of the rifle package, its inline design and the Creedmoor’s moderate recoil, the rifle came back on target quickly for follow-up shots.

Part of the inline design, the buttstock adapter attaches to the chassis using a wedge and thumbscrew, creating a very secure connection.

The trigger broke crisply at just under 3 pounds after no take-up and no over-travel. Accuracy for the seven factory loads was very good and ranged from just under 1 inch to just over 1.5 inches. Three loads hovered around 1 inch, three loads were approximately 1.25 inches, and the last load was about 1.5 inches, all for three, five-shot groups, except for the Hornady #81491, which was for only two five-shot groups. The average for the aggregate of the seven loads was 1.21 inches.

The receiver extension is lined with the same polymer film in the body of the buffer to eliminate kinetic forces before they transmit into felt recoil.

Ammunition fed without a hitch from the Magpul PMAG SR-25 magazine. We did not test any M1A/M14 magazines. The AR-style magazine release functioned properly, but the magazine did not drop free. The bolt cycled smoothly and there was no tendency to short-stroke it. The LUTH-AR MBA-3 buttstock worked well with its adjustability, but the cheek piece had a bit too much flex in it for my liking. When the setscrew was tightened, there was no play in the stock/buffer tube interface. I really like the buffer tube design so that the shooter can easily install any AR style stock he or she desires.

All in all, an enjoyable day at the range can be had with this rifle without the shooter experiencing any ill effects from recoil.

“While a trigger doesn’t necessarily improve the accuracy of a rifle, it is virtually impossible to shoot a rifle accurately without a good trigger.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

It would have been nice if all of the ammunition used had produced average group sizes of less than 1 MOA, but that’s just not realistic on a consistent basis with a mass-production rifle like the Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle. That said, it is a 1 MOA rifle, as shown by the American Eagle 140-grain OTM ammunition. The fact that the Hornady and Winchester 140-grain loads were right behind at 1.07 and 1.10 inches, respectively, leads me to believe that with more time and more ammunition additional loads would be found that give 1 MOA or better results. It is certain that with a little effort, hand-loaded ammunition could be found that would make this rifle shoot very consistent sub-MOA groups.

The chassis, action and buttstock come together as one rigid unit. The attachment of the buffer tube to the adapter is just like that of an AR platform.

I like the way that the MVP Precision Rifle is built and how it operates. As stated previously, we especially like the stock adapter and buffer tube mounted buttstock design. At first it wasn’t clear how the chassis/ stock adapter system would work with only a thumbscrew to secure the connection, but I needn’t have worried. The connection is very secure. At first I wished for a larger diameter thumbscrew, but found the one provided to be perfectly adequate. The designers probably made it that size so that shooters would be less likely to over-tighten it.

“Anyone looking for a reasonably priced precision rifle should take a close look at the mossberg MVP.”

Another excellent feature is the adjustable LBA trigger. At just under three pounds, factory triggers don’t come much lighter than this.

At an MSRP of $1,407, the Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle represents a very good value. I would expect the street price to be closer to $1,250. Anyone looking for a reasonably priced precision rifle should take a close look at the MVP Precision Rifle.

MOSSBERG MVP PRECISION

CALIBER: 6.5 CREEDMOOR
OVERALL LENGTH: 43.25 INCHES (MINIMUM)
BARREL LENGTH: 24 INCHES
WEIGHT: 10 POUNDS
RIFLING: 1:8 TWIST
CAPACITY: 10+1 (STANDARD)
WEIGHT: 10 POUNDS

MSRP: $1,407
URL: MOSSBERG.COM

CALDWELL/ BATTENFELD TECHNOLOGIES XLA BIPOD
  • FITS EITHER M-LOK OR KEYMOD MOUNTINGSYSTEMS
  •  ADJUSTS FROM 3 INCHES TO 6 INCHESIN HEIGHT
  • PUSH-BUTTON LEG EXTENSION LOCK
  • TWIST LOCKS FOR INCREMENTAL ADJUSTMENT
  • SPRING-ASSISTED LEG SWING-UP
 MVP PRECISION RIFLE PERFORMANCE (6.5 CREEDMOOR)

 

AMERICAN EAGLE AE65CRD1 140 GR. OTM 2665 54 18.2 0.88 0.99
HORNADY #81500 140 GR. ELD MATCH 2637 66 21.2 0.86 1.07
WINCHESTER 140 GR. MATCH BTHP 2661 43 17.6 0.78 1.1
FED. PREM. 130 GR. BERG-ER OTM MATCH 2854 50 13.3 1.07 1.24
HORNADY #81491 120 GR. ELD MATCH 2839 56 20.6 0.99 1.29
SIGSAUER E65CM1140 GR. OTM MATCH 2545 30 10.3 1.22 1.29
FUSION #F65CRDFS1 140 GR 2691 24 7.7 1.37 1.52
Groups were fired from a Caldwell Rock BR adjustable front rest and rear sandbags at 100 yards. Velocity is in feet per second calculated at the muzzle using a LabRadar device; E.S. – Extreme Spread; S.D. – Standard Deviation; Sm.Grp. – size of smallest singlegroup for that ammunition, in inches; Ave. Grp. – the average group size in inches for 3 5-shot groups.
MVP PRECISION RIFLE FEATURES
  •  FEEDS USING STANDARD AR-STYLE OR M1A/ M14 MAGAZINES
  • MEDIUM BULL BARREL, 24-INCH W/ THREADED MUZZLE AND THREAD CAP
  • LUTH-AR MBA-3 FULLY ADJUSTABLE BUTTSTOCK
  • LBA ADJUSTABLE TRIGGER
  • MAGPUL MOE+ PISTOL GRIP
  • SCALLOPED TACTICAL BOLT HANDLE
  • 1913 MIL-STD RAIL W/ 20 MOA OF ELEVATION
BLACKHAWK! Stingray 2-Day Pack

 

BLACKHAWK!’s Stingray 2-Day Pack is an ideal pack for day or overnight excursions. The pack used here was coyote tan in color but it is also available in black or black and gray. One of the pack’s best features is its ability unzip and lay flat for easy access to its contents. A large outside zippered back compartment is perfect for storing larger flat objects such as a laptop computer or hydration reservoir. The fleece-lined exterior valuables compartment is perfect for storing a mobile phone and/or navigation aides. Two zippered exterior side compartments allow for access to small items. The large interior compartment has loop-lined MOLLE for the attachment of pouches and other items. A laser-cut grid panel on the exterior allows for the easy attachment of pouches or gear.

CAPACITY: UP TO 1,800 CUBIC INCHES
MATERIAL: 500D NYLON
ZIPPERS: YKK WITH PULL LOOPS
COLORS: COYOTE TAN, BLACK, BLACK/GRAY
MODELS: 2-DAY (SHOWN), EDC, 3-DAY
MSRP: $149.95/$134.95/$169.95

FENIX ELITE SERIES PD35 TAC LED TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT

The 1,000-lumen Fenix Elite Series PD35 TAC LED flashlight features a bronze multi-cam Cerakote finish. It is powered by either a single 18650 rechargeable li-ion battery or two CR123A batteries. Small but powerful, this flashlight is only 5-3/8 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. It fits comfortably in the hand.

At its full output of 1,000 lumens, the PD35 TAC LED flashlight can throw a beam up to 656 feet. What really makes this Fenix Elite Series PD35 TAC unique is its two different general modes: Outdoor and Tactical. In outdoor mode, the PD35 TAC operates as a simple, standard flashlight, allowing you to toggle between six different output modes using the side button. In tactical mode, the rubber pushbutton on the tail cap defaults to “turbo” (the full 1,000 lumens) but can toggle to strobe or low (60 lumens) through two or three half-clicks.

What we liked the best was the ability to set it up in either outdoor mode (standard flashlight) or tactical mode. This allows the user to tailor its performance to suit the need at any given time. The only problem we had was mastering the half-click push to toggle between the three outputs when in tactical mode. This just takes a little patience and practice.

  • OUTPUT LEVELS: ECO – 8 LUMENS, LOW – 60 LUMENS, MID – 200 LUMENS, HIGH – 500 LUMENS, TURBO – 1000 LUMENS AND STROBE – 1000 LUMENS;
  • LENGTH: 5-3/8 INCHES
  • DIAMETER: 1 INCH
  • WEIGHT: 3.1 OUNCES (WITHOUT BATTERIES)
  • BODY MATERIAL: AIRCRAFT-GRADE ALUMINUM
  • SEMI-AGGRESSIVE STRIKE BEZEL
  • HEAT DISSIPATION FINS
  • STAINLESS STEEL SIDE BUTTON
  • KNURLED BODY
  • POCKET CLIP
  • RUBBER PUSHBUTTON ON TAIL CAP WATERPROOF FOR 30 MINUTES TO 6-1/2 FEET
  • 1,000 LUMEN MAXIMUM OUTPUT FOR 1 HOUR AND 10 MINUTES
  • MSRP: $91.95
SOUTHERN GRIND JACKAL KNIFE _THE JACKAL, BY ZAC BROWN’S

The Jackal, by Zac Brown’s Southern Grind, is a 9.25- inch, fixed-blade hunting knife with a 4.75-inch blade. The clip-point blade is black PVD coated and comes accompanied by a black-and-tan G10 handle and a black Kydex sheath. The Jackal was designed by Mike Trull with input from Zac Brown. The full-length tang features a lanyard hole placed after the G10 material ends. Jimping on the thumb ramp at the rear of the spine provides traction for your thumb, which in turn provides greater control of the knife and keeps your thumb from slipping under pressure. This is a well-designed knife, and very well-made. All Southern Grind knives are made in the USA in Peachtree City, Georgia. Materials are sourced in the United States—with the exception of a couple exotic steels from Germany and Sweden.

HANDLE: 3D MILLED SOLID G10
GRIND: CONVENTIONAL FLAT GRIND
BLADE STEEL: 8670M HIGH CARBON STEEL
BLADE FINISH: PVD COAT
HARDNESS: RC 58-59
OVERALL LENGTH: 9.25 INCHES
WEIGHT: 9.5 OZ
HANDLE LENGTH: 4.50 INCHES
BLADE LENGTH: 4.75 INCHES
BLADE THICKNESS: 0.21 INCHES
MSRP: $229.95

NIGHTFORCE ATACR 7-35X56 F1 RIFLESCOPE

Introduced in 2017, the ATACR 7-35×56 F1 riflescope is an extension of Nightforce’s Advanced Tactical Riflescope line. This scope, as with all ATACR scopes, is built with mission critical features standard including ZeroStop, 100 MOA of elevation adjustment and a choice of illuminated MOA- or MIL-based ranging reticles. It utilizes a proprietary optical prescription in a rugged housing. Fully multi-coated ED glass results in superb light transmission, brilliant images and exceptional color contrast and delivers benchrest precision even under the harshest of conditions. Tenebraex Flip Covers are included with all ATACR riflescopes.

We find the Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F1 to be an outstanding long-range optic. It has extremely clear ED glass, 100 MOA elevation adjustment, excellent repeatability and it is incredibly rugged. It’s no wonder that many U.S. Special Forces units use Nightforce optics.

The first focal plane design of this riflescope allows ranging to be performed at any magnification setting. All adjustments have just the right amount of friction so they remain secure, but can still be readily adjusted.

The Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F1 riflescope, along with a Nightforce 34mm Ultralite Unimount with 20 MOA of elevation, has proven to be a rock-solid combination for rifle accuracy evaluations over the last year. It is an expensive combination, but worth it for precision rifle shooting.

MANUFACTURER: LIGHTFORCE USA, INC. (DBA NIGHTFORCE OPTICS)
MODEL NUMBER: C569
FIELD OF VIEW: 7X: 14.97FT.; 35X: 3.44FT. (AT 100 YARDS)
WEIGHT: 39.26 OUNCES
LENGTH: 16.0 INCHES
MOUNTING LENGTH: 6.5 INCHES
TUBE DIAMETER: 34 MM
EYE RELIEF: 3.26 – 3.58 INCHES
EXIT PUPIL: 7X:6.0MM; 35X:1.6MM
CLICK VALUE: .250 MOA
ADJUSTMENT RANGE: ELEVATION – 100 MOA; WINDAGE – 60 MOA
PARALLAX ADJUSTMENT: 11 YD.
FOCAL PLANE: FIRST
RETICLES AVAILABLE: MOAR/MIL-R/MIL-C/TREMOR3
ILLUMINATION: DIGILLUM
ELEVATION LOCK: ZEROSTOP
MSRP: $3,600

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the September-October print issue of World of Firepower Magazine.