Ever since the Trench Magazine days of World War 1, detachable magazine bolt-action rifles have been a reality. Once restricted to military and police weapons, commercial manufacturers have in the past decade or so realized that your average shooter would like the capability to change out their ammunition via the common box magazine. Now Mossberg has taken the next step and produced a bolt-action .223-caliber rifle that accepts detachable magazines. The groovy thing is that they are not some proprietary box that will cost you $40 a pop for, because it uses AR-magazines. Mossberg calls it the MVP.
Why a box magazine?
Detachable Box magazines for bolt-action rifles have been around for over a hundred years, going back to the old Lee-Enfield days. They allow a fast reload and a fast unload. In states where hunters cannot have loaded firearms within so many feet of the road or a waterway due to spotlighting laws, this feature can be very useful, as the average hunter may have to load and unload ten times in a single trip (it's happened to me.) In addition, this capability allows for easy carry of several different loadings optimized for different game/circumstances/ranges. Likewise, this same feature can be useful in plinking scenarios and in varmint hunting where multiple targets can present themselves rapidly over the course of a day.
The Varmint model, with longer barrel and benchrest stock.
The Predator model with Monte Carlo stock and shorter barrel.
The Mossberg MVP
Mossberg has listened to the shooting sports community and moved forward with this beautiful new rifle introduced in 2011. Offered in two different flavors, Predator and Varmint, with two different barrels, the rifle is stocked with a nice grey laminated wood and carries several features that you would only find in rifles costing more. These features, including fluted, free-floating bull barrels, and fluted bolts are in addition to the exceptional capability to take and use an AR-style magazine without issues.
The rifle comes standard with a rather thick 1:9" twist to allow the widest range of bullet weights. As its primary use is for use in predator hunting (coyotes, feral hogs et al) the heavy 73gr BT rounds will be ideal. It's a compromise between the tight 1:7" twist of tactical rifles that allow up to a 90grain round and 1:14" twist of super varmint guns and their tiny 55-grain loadings. Hence, for most 50-70-grain lead core jacketed bullets, the 1:9" is a good choice. If you are curious, it's the same rate that the Savage Model 12, Kimber .223 Longmaster Classic, and the Ruger Mini-14 use.
Spiral fluted bolt. Note the Weaver base mounts.
Fluted barrel, this one on the Predator. I wish Mossberg fitted some emergency iron sites on these for if your optics go bad, but hey, guess you cant have everything.
So there you have it, if you already have an AR-style rifle optimized for home defense and tactical responses, and would like something a little more old school to take to the woods but still takes the same mags and ammo-- the MVP is your choice.
- Caliber: 5.56mm NATO (.223 Rem) or .204 Ruger
- Capacity: supplied with 10-round magazine, but any AR NATO style 20 or 30 will work
- Finish: Matte Blue.
- Barrel 24" Medium Bull, Fluted, and with a varmint-style crown (Varmint version) or 18.5-inch medium bull barrel on Predator version.
- Stock Benchrest-Style Grey Laminate (in Varmint) Monte Carlo style Grey Laminate in Predator.
- Twist 1:9" RH.
- Total Length: 43."
- Weight: 7.5 lbs.
- Other Features: Factory installed weaver bases, LBA (lightning bolt-action) trigger system, spiral fluted bolt. Mossberg states their retail is $649 but a look on Gunbroker shows them going new in the box for about $50 less than that and Buds has them currently for $519.