Mossberg marches on with MVP LC

Daniel O’Dea

The Mossberg MVP series is a family of bolt-action rifles developed over the past decade and at the launch the MVP moniker stood for Mossberg Varmint and Predator and the original rifle in basic appearance didn’t look unlike most varmint-style options.

It had a conventional looking laminated stock with wide beavertail fore-end, broad butt and deep pistol grip and came with a medium-heavy profile, 24” barrel and Mossberg’s Lightning Bolt-Action (LBA) adjustable trigger. The main feature which set it apart was the rifle’s ability to accept STANAG (Standardization by NATO Agreement) .223/5.56 magazines which are cheap and plentiful in the US.

Of course, ready access of cheap 10-round magazines from companies such as Magpul helped the cause and even here you can pick up such magazines for $40-$50 which means you can have several preloaded for when the action heats up, be it sitting off a busy rabbit warren or some other feral environment. Having spare magazines is just as handy for spotlighting and far easier than fumbling with ammunition in the dark.

Mossberg quickly saw openings for other shooting sports and disciplines which could take advantage of rifle platforms using universally available magazines, such as with any form of timed rifle competition. They also decided to upscale and developed the same concept for .308/7.62 action length cartridges   with rifles to accept both AR10/M14 type magazines - quite a feat as both magazines lock up in a variable fashion and are generally not compatible.

Currently the Mossberg MVP Series incorporates six rifle lines with even more subvariants and that’s before we look at calibre options. The six are MVP LC (Light Chassis), MVP LR (Long Range), MVP Scout, MVP Patrol, MVP Predator and MVP Precision and newly-appointed Australian Mossberg agent Grycol International offered Australian Shooter the chance to review a selection of rifles starting with the MVP LC.

The MVP LC is a basic design incorporating a one-piece tan MDT LSS light aluminum chassis which uses a Mil-Spec buffer tube to accept any MSR-type stock. Likewise, the MDT LSS chassis can use any standard MSR-type pistol grip. MVP LC rifles come supplied as standard with an excellent Magpul CTR stock and MOE pistol grip, the matte blued barrels of a medium ‘Bull’ profile and fluted forward of the fore-end, muzzles threaded and fitted with a knurled flush end-cap with all variants having Mossberg’s LBA adjustable trigger.

Specifications such as weight and barrel length will vary slightly due to calibre, of which for the LC there are three choices   5.56 NATO (.223 Rem), 7.62 NATO (.308 Win) and 6.5 Creedmoor, the supplied rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO, basically the military version for what’s commercially known as the .223 Remington. It has a 0.125” longer throat, cartridges are loaded to high pressures and it runs at about 58,000psi as opposed to 55,000psi in the .223 Remington.

A common fallacy is these two chamberings are compatible but that’s only partly correct as, due to the difference in chamber pressures, it’s perfectly safe to fire .223 Remington in a 5.56 NATO chamber but the same cannot be assumed in reverse as firing a 5.56 NATO round in a .223 Remington chamber can spike pressures to dangerous levels in some firearms due to the shorter throat and hotter loading of military 5.56 NATO ammunition. It should be avoided.

The bolt on the LC is of a traditional dual opposed lug design but with recessed bolt face and extractor positioned within the right bolt lug. Uniquely, the bolt head features Mossberg’s patented sh bolt design incorporating a small spring-loaded, hardened steel flap at the lower edge of the bolt face. This extends on the forward bolt stroke to collect the cartridge rim and feed the round from the magazine for perfect presentation into the chamber. The bolt also features spiraled grooves or sand cuts in the body and an oversized handle with generous knob.

Atop the action is a Picatinny rail for ease of scope mounting. Forward the barrel extends for 16.25” (413mm), six flutes cut for a length of about 125mm starting roughly 35mm back from the muzzle. Fluted barrels have increased surface area for added cooling, reduced weight and are stiffer (for barrels of equal weight) than non-fluted. The muzzle is thread ½”-28 so will accept most common .223 muzzle brakes, flash hiders and suppressors where permitted under licence.

General ergonomics are good, the pistol grip position allowing quick access to the extended bolt hand for fast and easy manipulation. At 7.5lb (3.4kg), for its compact size it’s not that light in conventional terms but this is not a conventional rifle, being advertised as ‘light chassis’ and in this sense it’s exactly that.

The stocky barrel feels solid in the hands and the package is well balanced, the fore-end short and rather narrow but the natural palm position is to grip just forward of the magazine housing. The fore-end has a QD stud for sling or bipod fitment and a series of threaded holes for fitment of a rail section. It doesn’t enclose the barrel and the top half is fully exposed and floats freely from the receiver forward. I noticed six more threaded holes, three each side of the barrel on the flat top edge of the fore-end tip and the MDT website revealed these are for fitment of a night vision hood, a section which provides a rail for direct alignment of the scope and NV equipment.

Magazine, stock and pistol grip are all Magpul. Unfortunately the LC’s adjustable stock, being collapsible, suffers the same fate of many similar rifles under NSW legislation which requires such stocks to be fixed (permanently pinned) in place. Magpul also do a fixed carbine stock which could easily be swapped out and that may be an option.

It’s tough on NSW shooters as the Magpul CTR is an excellent option with such a carbine as it allows ‘length of pull’ adjustment for different physical statures. Likewise LOP adjustment is great where shooting positions may change your relative eye relief, such as when you’re padded up for a winter night spotlighting and trying to find full field of view in your scope.

The Magpul CTR has a neat lever lock to take out any rattle or play between stock and buffer tube, the stock also fitted with Magpul’s cheek riser kit for better head alignment with scope fitment. As for other Magpul products present, the pistol grip is an MOE rubberized version with a slightly sticky feel and base cap for storage of small items. Lastly, Magpul have perfected the feed dynamics of the 5.56/.223 round in their PMAG design, the supplied magazine a 10-round Gen M3 PMAG.

If there’s any small criticism of the layout it might be positioning of the magazine release button. It needs to be where it is based on the design but it’s a long stretch to reach with the trigger finger unless you have hands like an orangutan. It would be more practical if it was ambidextrous for operation from the left with your thumb and a high beer can grip on the magazine. I found the most practical solution was to sit the magazine base against the palm of my left hand, grip the base with my thumb and, with four fingers riding up the right side of the chassis, trip the magazine release button leaving the strong hand firmly where it should be, around the pistol grip.

Shooting the Mossberg MVP LC was a lot of fun and I liked the solid feel. I mounted a Nightforce 2.5-10x32 NXS scope which fitted the compact theme and with my first shots on a wet and miserable day, on paper most ammo types hovered around 1 MOA. On a return visit in better conditions I loaded 55gr V-max projectiles with ADI 2208 and Win 748 propellants and also had some Hornady TAP 60gr factory ammo. The average of five 5-shot groups measured 0.90 MOA and with the best four from five the overall average dropped to just 0.60 MOA.

These days I find it more enjoyable having all five plates ringing and swinging on my 200m chain rack, rapid fire than punching tight groups on paper and often see it as a more practical test and had no problem doing so with this little Mossberg. More at www.grycol.com.au

Specifications

Rifle: Mossberg MVP LC (Light Chassis)
Action:     Bolt-action (with spiral fluted bolt)
Trigger: Mossberg two-stage LBA System 3-7lb adjustable (1.36-3.175kg)
Calibre: Tested .556 NATO/.223 Remington (also available in 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor)
Capacity: 10-round detectable box magazine
Barrel: Medium profile 16.25” (413mm)
Twist rate: 1:7 (5.56 NATO as tested)
Sights: Picatinny rail
Barrel finish: Matte blued
Chassis: MDT LSS (tan in colour)
Stock: Magpul CTR with riser
Stock LOP: 11.25”-14.5” (286mm-362mm)
Weight:    7lb (3.18kg) .556 NATO tested
Overall length: 33.5” (851mm) to 36.75” (933mm) subject to LOP
Price guide: $1890 RRP

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