New Toy Mossberg MVP Varmint
I finally did it. After nearly two years of research I walked into Cabela's and pulled out the trusty visa card to buy the Mossberg MVP Varmint.
This wasn't the first trip that I have had to Cabela's to get a feel for the rifle. The first time I was amazed at how lightweight it was and how it felt when I put it to my shoulder. If I wasn't a researcher, and a cheap one at that, I would have bought it on the spot but alas it wasn't to be.
Now keep in mind I am used to 20-year-old firearms that other people have bought, and since this would be my first firearm purchase, I wanted to get it right.
The one thing that had me spooked and excited was the rifle's ability to take an AR-15 style magazine. It seemed like the ideal match up considering the rifle was chambered in 5.56 NATO and therefore gave the owner the ability to acquire "cheap" ammo. The part that did spook me was it did seem very gimmicky and if I was going to spend $600 on a new rifle I wanted it to be for all the right reasons. Not just an ability that allowed you to use cheaper magazines while target or varmint shooting.
This is where the two years of research comes in... I had been looking at different calibers such as the .17hmr as I was looking for a rifle that I could use to target shoot at a decent distance as well as not spend a fortune on ammo when I went gopher hunting. I was about to take the plunge when I realized the .17hmr wouldn't be the best against coyotes.
Then I started to read about the .223Rem. caliber and how effective it was on varmints and predators.
Originally I was looking at the Tikka T3 chambered in .223 to again take advantage of the cheaper ammo options but the price tag had me looking for something cheaper. Then I was looking at some of the Savage models as a gopher doesn't care if the bullet comes from a $900 or a $300 rifle.
Now enter the 5.56 NATO (233 Rem.) Mossberg MVP Varmint.
Price tag puts it close to the middle of the road between the Tikka and the Savage but it had all the makings of the best varmint rifle out there.
First off, weight. Coming in at 7.75lbs, the Mossberg MVP Varmint won’t break your back on a long days hike. Now there are lighter rifles out there but what I found was the lighter the rifle, either the more expensive it was or the cheaper the materials were to make the rifle. I haven’t weighed it with the scope on (I decided on a Vortex Diamondback 4-12X40 Dead-Hold BDC. I will review it separately.) So far on the short trips that I have made to walk it out to my range, I haven’t noticed the weight to be an issue.
Secondly, the stock. The Mossberg MVP is made out of a laminated material that gives it a feel that the rifle is solid and that you won’t break it if you accidentally bump it on a piece of Styrofoam. This was my biggest issue with the cheaper rifles that I had looked at. The price was right but once you picked it up it almost felt like a toy gun. The wood grain look makes the rifle stand out and I've already had a decent amount of people stop me to ask me about the rifle.
Third off, the barrel. The rifle is equipped with a 24” bull barrel. Now rarely when you are out predator hunting would the heavy barrel come in handy as you are typically only shooting a few rounds at a time, but I’m looking forward to it when I am out gopher hunting in the spring. For the shooter that still wants to have iron sights on their rifle, the Mossberg MVP is not for you. It has been strictly designed to be used with a scope and no iron sights included. This really doesn't bother me but I know there are those of you out there that do not use a scope. If that is the case this rifle is not for you.
Next on the list is the ability to take any AR-15 style magazine. This has turned out to be one of the best features of the Mossberg MVP varmint. After some research I realized that in Canada we can legally use the LAR-15 magazine in the rifle. This is a 10 round magazine which has been outlawed in Canada. Due to the fact that the LAR-15 magazine is built for a pistol, it is then legal to use in this rifle. Doesn't make any sense to me either but I’m going with it and ordered a few off of Questar International. I have found on a couple of the LAR-15 magazines the first round didn't feed properly but after that I had no issues and the magazine fed decently. At the same time I ordered a Magpul 3rd Generation 30 round magazine. While it needs to be pinned to 5 rounds, it does give the Mossberg MVP Varmint a unique silhouette. The Magpul fed every round flawlessly.
Now down to the trigger. I wouldn't say it is an exact copy of the Savage AccuTrigger but it does come awful close. Now again I am no gunsmith but the rifle can be easily adjusted down to 2lbs but still has a safety mechanism built-in so the rifle is susceptible to accidental discharges. I haven’t played with this option yet but I plan to in the next little while. When I do I will update the post.
On the shooting side of things it doesn't get any better than this. I decided to go out and buy a case of Norinco bulk 5.56 NATO ammunition to test out the rife. I figured if it will shoot the cheaper ammo consistently then it shouldn't have an issue with the box of Hornady Superformance which is the next item on my shopping list.
Turns out I wasn’t disappointed. On the picture you can see the line of holes on the bottom as I dial in the windage and the upper grouping is after everything is sighted in and locked down. I figured it wasn’t too bad for my first time out with the rifle and not being accustomed to shooting it.
That’s it for now. I’m going to try to get out this weekend and track down some coyotes. The shop is empty and it needs some pelts in it ASAP.
*** Addition to article - May 7, 2014 - I have posted a review of the Magpul 30 round magazine that I use with my Mossberg MVP Varmint. It works great with this rifle but read the full review here.