The MMR: Mossberg's Entry-Level AR
With a history in shotguns and rifles that goes back almost a century, O.F. Mossberg and sons has long been a standard in the gun racks of hunters and target shooters across the country. Moving forward with their line from pump action burners and lever-action cowboys guns, they broke into the AR scene two years ago with their MMR series of rifles.
(Top you see the Tactical series, bottom is the Hunter, for what seems like obvious reasons)
"Mossberg Modern Rifle."
The company's MMR series looks much like every other maker's AR-15s. However, there are some noticeable differences. The gun is produced in two separate series: the Hunter and the MMR Tactical. The first, logically speaking, is for use as a modern sporting rifle for varmint, predator and deer hunting. The second is a more practical set up for 3-gun shooters, ranch rifle, or home defense purposes. Let take a closer look at what makes these guns happen.
When you think of ARs that are less than $800 new, you invariably run into guns with polymer lowers. While I personally don't have anything against them (I have ran a NFA lower on a frankenbuild AR for years with no issues), many people just prefer all-metal lowers. Thankfully, the MMR has a lower that is made of a 7075-T6 aluminum forging and the bolt is of Carpenter 158 casehardened mold steel. No polymer there, folks.
On the Hunter model, the barrel is a fluted 20-inch carbon steel that is free-floating and uses a 1:9 twist. This gun has a very 'sporting' feel to the hand guard instead of the classic A2 plastic carried by most ARs, which is nice. Furniture varies from a MILSTD A2 style fixed buttstock to a collapsible M4 style option. The Hunter variants ship with a 5-round flush fit mag (for hunting in states that restrict mag capacity) and can be had in a black phosphate or two different Mossy Oak camo finishes. The Tactical only come in Phosphate/Anodized finish but do offer either the collapsible or the fixed stock.
(If you have just $700-800 into the platform itself, you have lots of room to add accessories such as on this nicely equipped MMR Tactical)
Never fear on that mag capacity thing, as all variants of the MMR will take all standard STANAG mags including 20, 30, and 50 round detachable box and coffin styles as well as various drums and beta mags.
The pistol grip on both styles is a Stark SE-1 one-piece type with battery storage in the grip plug, which is a nice take off from the more conventional military style grips often seen on 'budget' rifles. All MMRs are direct-impingement gas systems, which are effective but have to be kept clean.
A short review by Cookster on his own personal MMR Tactical souped up with a New Tactical RIS Fore Grip w/ Bipod Pod, single point sling, tac lite, and inexpensive optics.
Almost shockingly, the Hunter series guns do not have either a forward assist button or a dustcover. This is almost unheard of for any AR platform since the M16A1 came out in the late 1960s. Our guess is that these labor-intensive sub-assemblies (which actually weren't in Eugene Stoner's original ArmaLite AR15) were dropped to keep the price of the rifle down.
On the glass-half-full way of thinking, as long as you use good commercial ammo, keep your gun clean, and work your bolt carrier group properly, you shouldn't need either one of these items. It is notable, however that the Tactical series of the MMR does at least have a dustcover. It also exchanges the smooth aluminum checkered forearm of the Hunter series for a more optimized free-float Picatinny quad-rail forearm with plastic rail covers.
MSRP on the MMR series is $978.00 according to Mossberg's website-- although we are finding them all over the place in stock for more like $650.
For the price that you can get into a MMR for, there are few legit competitors. The ones that spring to mind (barring polymer framed entries) are the S&W MP15 Sport and the DPMS AP4. These guns, if shopping around, can be had for about the same price as a MMR and offer almost all of the same features. In addition, the AP4 does also have both a forward assist and chamber dustcover, which may prove a deciding, factor if you are looking for those features. Then there is always the happy balloon of DPMS and S&W having a longer history with the AR platform to fall back on.
(The very ergo-friendly Stark grip is a nice bonus on these series of entry-level ARs)
Still, if you can find a MMR for the right price and you like it, grab it. Mossy stands behind their products (with a 2-year warranty) and generally makes them to a rigorous standard.
With that in mind, it's hard to go wrong.