I will be the first one to admit that when I think of Mossberg’s guns, their rifles aren’t the first thing that come to mind. I’m a Mossberg fanboy. One of the three guns I keep close-at-hand is my Mossberg 590A1. It is a classic because it’s bombproof and it works. But rifles? There are so many other names that come to mind.
That’s changed now. The MVP is a solid platform. We reviewed the MVP Patrol a while back, and were pleased with it, but I wasn’t the one pulling the trigger. This time we’re looking at the MVP Patrol in 5.56. The basic nature of this rifle’s design makes it easy to use, and the various chamberings (5.56, and .308) make it a logical choice for preppers. If you’re looking for a compact rifle that shoots inexpensive ammo, and one that is surprisingly capable, you should check out the Mossbergs.
The MVP Patrol
The MVP line is easy enough to understand. All of the guns are bolt action rifles. The materials are typical to rifles of this class: wood and blued steel. Yet Mossberg has taken the concept to the next level by incorporating some common design elements that set the MVP apart. My favorite is the magazine well. The MVP line takes AR-15 mags, or AR-10 mags (depending on the caliber). We’re looking at the Patrol today, which looks more like a scout rifle than the Predator version.
Mossberg includes one 10 round AR mag with the gun, but it will take any mag that will fit in an AR. I tried all of the various brands I have kicking around. Polymer mags are tighter, but they will work. This version of the MVP Patrol has another common AR feature: the flash hider. Another version does away with it, which leaves the barrel just over 16 inches. The stock is rugged. They come in black, green and tan. The texture on them is very aggressive. While there are patterned areas at the forend, the whole stock has the feel of course sand paper. There isn’t a place on the gun that feels slick. It is almost like the wooden stock of the gun has been sprayed with bed-liner.
This may explain the neoprene sleeve over the buttstock. Without it, getting a good cheek weld would be like snuggling up to 40 grit sandpaper. What makes the rest of the rifle easy to hold makes could be uncomfortable.
Speaking of cheek welds, I’d like to spill some ink in praise of Mossberg’s adaptive use of sights on the Patrol. So many bolt guns ship from the factory with a few holes tapped in the receiver. No irons. No rail. Even AR-15s often ship without irons.
Not the Patrol. It has a large fiber optic front blade that is almost tall enough to extend over the top of a suppressor. And the rear sight, mounted midway down the barrel, is fully adjustable. These aren’t the world’s best iron sights, mainly because the actual size of the front bead is too large for long range target acquisition, but they’re going to do just fine out to 100 yards. And they are there, as a back up, if you should ever need them.
One way that the MVP Patrol is not set up like a scout rifle is the placement of the scope rail. The rail sits proud above the receiver. While this makes hand loading a bit more cumbersome, it doesn’t impede ejection. The rifle kicks out brass consistently. And the rail allows for the immediate use of an infinite variety of optics. No struggling to find matching scope mount bases. Plug and play. Mossberg sells a version that has a scope already mounted, too, for those who want to take that last element out of the equation.
The rest of the rifle’s design seems to borrow from bolt gun traditions that are well established. Strap points, the angle of the grip, the width of the forend–all of these will feel familiar to most shooters. Even the 13.25 inch length of pull is fairly typical. All of this is intentional, of course. The MVP Patrol is a pedestrian rifle. It is meant to feel familiar. And the rounds it fires, either the 5.56 or the .762 NATO are also common.
Which brings me to the prepping
When I first saw the Mossberg MVP Patrol, I was smitten. The Patrol speaks to that graphic-novel-style prepper inside me. I’ll be honest, for a moment. When we finally experience TEOTWAWKI, I’m likely to kick off pretty fast. I’ll get a sinus infection as soon as I run out of Claritin. That will progress into bronchitis, and pneumonia. Even if I survive, I’m going to be an easy and well prepared target. Who ever finds me will find a nice stash of tools and supplies.
But in my imagination, the Patrol will be incredibly useful. As the gun shoots common military calibers, there will never be a shortage of ammo. Even for those who don’t stockpile, there will be 5.56 and .762 to be scrounged up. As these rounds are available now, in massive quantities, they’re easier to stockpile than most American hunting rounds. And they’re arguably just as effective.
For those who hunt whitetail, or hogs, the .223 is a good choice. In bear country, or for moose, or elk, I’d stick with the .762. Either way, prepping or hunting, or both, this rifle is a winner. The compact length of 37 inches means it is easy to carry. It slings over your shoulder well, and doesn’t stick up so far that it is going to catch in brush. And it doesn’t weigh much, only 7 pounds.
And it is a bolt action that breaks down easily. This rifle couldn’t be any easier to clean and maintain. There’s no gas tube to foul. There are no retaining pins to lose. In a world driven by high-tech guns with tolerances down to the thousandth of an inch, the Mossberg MVP feels refreshingly old fashioned. Sometimes I take apart a rifle and I know I’d never be able to fix a serious problem. But the MVP is more like raising the hood on an old Ford, back before cars had computers. You can see how the engine works, and you could probably fix it with an old coke can, a hammer, and half a roll of duct tape.
Shooting the MVP
Have I given the impression that I’m really impressed with this gun yet? If not, it is coming. When Mossberg sent me this gun to review, I liked the fundamentals, but had no inflated expectations for its performance. It is a tool. I thought of the MVP as a hammer for a nail. As we’d already reviewed the Predator version, with its longer barrel and more comfortable stock configuration, I didn’t feel any real rush to get the Patrol out on the range. I’d shot guns like this before, and their performance was always barely acceptable. It seemed like the point of some guns like this was their utilitarian potential, and not their actual performance.
Apologies to Mossberg. I was wrong. This gun shoots incredibly well. The 16.5 inch barrel has a bit of heft. It isn’t a full bull barrel, but it isn’t a tapered barrel, either. As such it doesn’t heat up as fast as most bolt guns. And it isn’t half as prone to barrel whip.
We sighted the gun in at 50 yards, and then took it out to 100 and 300 yards. At 50, this gun is shooting right at 1 MOA. And this tight group width holds at 100 and 300 yards, too. And we were using some dusty, old 5.56. The results you see pictured were from regular 55 grain FMJ. Still, even with the tarnished brass, this rifle spit out the lead and kicked out the empties.
And accuracy was outstanding. The 100 yard group pictured above wasn’t shot for MOA group width, but for point of aim accuracy. I’d stuck that pasty dot on an almost clean yellow silhouette that someone had left at the range. I figured I could get close to the dot, close enough to see holes in the yellow paper. I was using a Nikon P223 scope. I missed consistently low with three rounds, then threaded the needle with the last two.
Moving out to 300 yards (pictured left), the rounds spread out a bit, but the accuracy was still lethal. I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a whitetail at 300 yards with this gun, even with a .223.
What more do you want?
The price, probably. That’s a deciding factor for most of us. The MVP Patrol isn’t cheap. The MSRP for this version is $726, though they are available for less than that. Still, the rifle will cost about as much as an entry level AR.
Yet think about what you get. You sacrifice the rapid fire speed of the AR platform. And you get rid of all of the AR’s headaches, too. And you can hunt with this rifle wherever you can hunt with .223. And, if you need a rifle for the back of the truck, or the cabin, or the plane, or whatever, here it is. Pack it up and set it aside for later, or pop on a strap and carry it every weekend in the fall. Either way. The MVP will be there, ready to roll.
I’d never suggest that this rifle replace your AR. Far from it. But it does make a great companion piece.