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catmguy445
January 23, 2014, 16:18
I finally yielded to temptation and bought a Mossberg MVP rifle with the 18" heavy fluted barrel, chambered in .223 Remington. It has a gray and brown laminated stock which works fairly well as camo. It also has a rubber butt place, which keeps it from sliding around on your shoulder. Weaver scope mount bases were installed (I'm assuming) at the factory. There are no iron sights or provisions to mount iron sights. The barrel is free floated in the stock, which should help with accuracy. The stock also has sling swivel studs mounted.

The trigger resembles the Savage Accutrigger, both in appearance and operation. According to the factory owner's manual, the trigger is adjustable for weight of pull, and is set to the minimum at the factory. Since I didn't know what the minimum was, I tested it with a Timney trigger pull gauge, and it turned out to be 3 pounds, right on the button. I took the action out of the stock and attempted to set the trigger to a lighter pull weight.

The adjusting screw is on the front of the trigger housing, and is easy to adjust with a standard screwdriver. That's the good news. The bad news is that Mossberg really did have it set to the minimum pull weight. I backed the screw off until it almost fell out of the trigger housing, and the pull weight stayed right at 3 pounds. So I reset the screw to the factory calibration and decided I could live with a 3 pound trigger pull. Which really isn't bad for a factory trigger. There is no noticeable creep, and the letoff is very crisp. It might be possible to get a lighter trigger pull with some gunsmithing, but unless you're real persnickety about that kind of thing, I wouldn't waste the time or money taking the MVP to a gunsmith.

The rifle had been test fired at the factory, so the barrel was dirty. I decided to clean it, and took the bolt out of the action, which is very easy to do. On the left side of the receiver, on the opposite side from the safety lever, there is a small metal tab (for lack of a better description). Open the bolt, push down on the metal tab, and slide the bolt out. Very simple and easy. To reinstall the bolt, line it up with the receiver and slide it forward. Again, very simple and easy. That about all the disassembly you need to do for cleaning.

After I had cleanded the barrel, I took a look at the bolt. The bolt is pretty much a standard Mauser-type bolt with two locking lugs at the front of the bolt. The extractor sits in a slot milled into the bolt head (more on this in a bit), and the ejector is a spring-loaded plunger in the bolt face. The bolt body is fluted spirally, with the outer surface being polished and the fluting grooves treated with something like Parkerizing. Whatever it is, it gives you a nice flat black nonrelective surface on the flutes and the bolt handle. The barrel and receiver are also flat black.

After I got the bore, which has a 1 in 9" rifling twist, cleaned up and lightly oiled, I took a look at the bolt. It had some light grunge on it, probably from the factory test firing. I wiped down the bolt with a soft cotton cloth, then wiped it with a clean patch dampened with a little Mobil-1 5w-20 synthethc oil (my favorite gun oil). Then I decided to put a dab of oil on the extractor. I lube the extractors on all of my guns, and have yet to have on break or bind.

I put a tiny drop of oil on the extarctor, using one of Brownell's precision oilers, and then wiggled the extractor a little to work the oil in. BIG MISTAKE! The extractor of the MVP is not pinned like a lot of other rifles. Instead, is is held in place with a ball detent. The extractor sits in a groove in the bolt head, and there is just enough room machined into the groove to let the extractor move slightly so it will fit over a cartridge rim and hook in the extractor groove on a given cartridge. The ONLY thing holding it in place is that ball detent, with a fairly light spring below the ball.

So when I wiggled the extractor, it promptly proceeded to slide out of the groove in the bolt head, and both the tiny (about 1/8" square) extractor and the ball (about 3/32" in diameter) launched at high speed. Oh, crap! I found the extractor fairly soon, but finding the ball took a bit longer, and required the used of an LED flashlight and a pencil magnet. I won't go into all the gory details, but I managed to launch the ball another couple of times before I finally got the spring, ball, and extractor back in place in the bolt.

So when you're cleaning an MVP, whatever else you do, do NOT, repeat, DO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT WILL MOVE THE EXTRACTOR IN THE BOLT HEAD. I can just about guarantee that if you do, it will cause great anguish and may result in you inventing new and colorful descriptive terms for the extractor, detent ball, and the engineer (or engineers) who designed the bolt for the MVP.

The MVP uses AR-15 type magazines, and comes with one ten-round magazine from the factory. However, it will also accept 20 and 30 round AR-15/M-16 magazines as well. I know this because I dug out a couple and tried them, and they both work fine. When the rifle was just out of the box, the magazine release would stick after releasing the mag. I fixed this with the application of a tiny dab of Super Lube synthetic grease on the upper and lower surfaces of the mag release arm and a tiny drop of Mobil-1 on the hinge of the mag release. The tolerances are fairly tight, so a little lube helps smooth things out. I think this is something that is one of those things that will work itself out with use if it happens in an MVP that you buy. It took about ten minutes to smooth out the mag release in mine.

Other than that, I've found no issues with the rifle. I did try running some dummy rounds through the action and had no feeding, extraction, or ejection problems. Since I don't have a scope for it yet, I haven't fired it, but when I do, I'll post a range report and let you know how it shoots. I also found out that Mossberg is either planning on or has already started working on, a version of the MVP chambered in .308 that uses M1A/M14 mags. Looks like I may have to get a stablemate for the .223 MVP before too much longer if Mossberg does bring out a .308 version.

EonDresari
January 23, 2014, 23:30
Thanks for the write up, I've been on the fence about one of these for a while now. Might wait for the .308 now though ;)

mp
January 24, 2014, 03:16
If the .300 Blackout version they have been promising for 2+ years would ever show up, I would be an MVP owner too.

xtremerange
January 24, 2014, 07:56
The 308 looks to be out in the wild. There are a couple on GB right now. Only one barrel config so far though.

A1Trigger_Happy
January 24, 2014, 19:12
IHow does it shoot? What kind of groups? I've looked at em but still haven't heard how well they shoot.

olgier
January 24, 2014, 20:13
Mine runs about 1 1/2 with 62gr ball.

Have not put any other ammo through it yet.

You can load a 100rd beta mag, set at the bench with a bipod, and not have to move much for quite some time. :biggrin:

edited to add I really need to get mine threaded. mine is not the heavy version.

catmguy445
January 24, 2014, 23:30
IHow does it shoot? What kind of groups? I've looked at em but still haven't heard how well they shoot.

I don't know how it shoots yet. I need to get a scope and mount and boresight it before I can find out how accurate my MVP is. As soon as I get a scope on it, I'll post a range report.

A1Trigger_Happy
January 25, 2014, 05:47
Ok thanks.

catmguy445
January 29, 2014, 19:17
Update: I now have a Nikon P-223 4-12x40 BDC scope on the way that I ordered last Sunday (the 26th) from Optics Planet. It should be here by the end of the week or beginning of next week. I already have Warne 1" rings, and the rifle came with Weaver bases, so as soon as the scope arrives, I can get it mounted and boresighted.

Getting out to the range may be another matter. Today, the weather is 32 degrees F, with rain/snow falling, and the same kind of thing is predicted for about the next week. Guess I'll see what happens with the weather, but now that the scope is on the way, I'm getting a little antsy to find out how this baby shoots. Stand by for further developments.

Artful
January 31, 2014, 01:25
If the .300 Blackout version they have been promising for 2+ years would ever show up, I would be an MVP owner too.

Yep, I don't need another 223 - but I want a 300 blackout.

catmguy445
February 14, 2014, 13:13
Update: The Nikon scope showed up last week, and I got it mounted in Warne rings and leveled the crosshairs by eye. The weather's been crap for the last week, and seems likely to keep on being that way for a few more days.

Yesterday afternoon I boresighted the scope, then checked the scope mounting with a level, and sure enough, the crosshairs were off plumb by about 5 degrees, so using a couple of bubble levels, I got the reticle vertical and level and redid the boresighting, so when the rain finally stops, I'll be off to the range with the MVP. I also torqued the screws on the rings to 20 inch-pounds, so she should be all set to go.

Stand by for the range report.

catmguy445
February 17, 2014, 22:29
Range Report:

It stopped raining yesterday about mid-morning, the sun came out, and the weather was gorgeous all day. Today was a duplicate. Mild temperatures (mid 50's) no wind, and sunny. I took a little bit of a chance, collected all my range gear, and headed out to Black's Creek with the MVP and a 10/22, whose bolt I spent yesterday afternoon polishing.

Got to the range about noon, and there was still no wind, just a perfect late winter afternoon. I set up and posted a target at 25 yards to check my boresighting, fired a three-shot group, and as usual the boresighting was a little off, but not by much. The POI was about 4 inches high and a smidge off to the left. I cranked in about what I thought was close on elevation and left the windage alone. Another three shot group, this time about an inch high and left. I made the necessary adjustments and fired another group, and this one was right on the money, and could be covered with a quarter.

Once the rifle was zeroed, I moved the target out to 100 yards and shot another group. This one was about an inch to inch and a half high at 100, just like it was supposed to be, and just a hair over an inch in diameter. The MVP isn't a minute-of-angle rifle out of the box, but it's darn close. I was using 55-gr. FMJ ball ammo for zeroing, so after I had it dialed in, I tried a group with some Yugo M855 62-gr. ammo, probably made by Sellier and Bellot. The rifle didn't like that as well as the 55-gr., but I've heard a lot of bad things about S&B military type ammo. And the group wasn't that bad, more like about 2 MOA. It would do in a pinch, but I'm going to try some 62-gr. sporting ammo and see if it groups any better.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the MVP. The bolt feels a little rough when chambering a round, but then, the rifle's not a Tikka. The Mossberg bolt's not that bad, and I think the slight roughness will probably smooth out with use. To a certain extent, I think that may be caused by the bolt body not being lined up perfectly with the centerline of the chamber on the forward stroke of the bolt. That would come under the heading of operator error more than manufacturing tolerance problems. Mossberg leaves a fair amount of room in the bolt channel, probably for reliability in dusty or muddy conditions, and the bolt locks up nice and tight when you close it on a live round.

Speaking of that, there were no feeding problems, nor extraction/ejection troubles. The ejector throws the brass about a lane over, regardless of how fast or slow you operate the bolt. If you want to save your brass, you can also pull the bolt back VERY slowly, with your off hand over the ejection port, and the brass will fall into your hand.

Trigger operation is great. Mossberg uses a copy of the Savage Accu Trigger, and it works very well. Letoff is right at 3 pounds, and it's crisp and clean. The safety is on the right side of the action, just behind the bolt handle, and it is easy to operate and positive in engagement and disengagement. Inserting a loaded magazine is easy and it locks in very positively with little force. You don't have to bang it in, like you do on an AR-15 or M16. Just slide it in, and you can feel the click when it locks in place. The one thing I did notice regarding the magazine is that if you want to remove a loaded mag from the rifle, it's much easier to work the magazine release if you open the bolt first to take pressure off of the mag catch. However, that's a fairly minor thing, and I suspect that it's common to a lot of bolt action rifles.

All in all, I was very positively impressed with the MVP. It's a reasonably inexpensive, accurate rifle with a lot of good things going for it, especially in terms of "user friendliness". When the .308 version hits the market, I gotta have one. The MVP and the Nikon P-223 4-12x40 BDC scope make a great combination, and the total cost is still under $1000 for rifle, scope, and rings. For a bolt action in this caliber, it would be really hard to beat the MVP.

gaijinsamurai
February 19, 2014, 14:27
Once the rifle was zeroed, I moved the target out to 100 yards and shot another group. This one was about an inch to inch and a half high at 100, just like it was supposed to be, and just a hair over an inch in diameter. The MVP isn't a minute-of-angle rifle out of the box, but it's darn close. I was using 55-gr. FMJ ball ammo for zeroing, so after I had it dialed in, I tried a group with some Yugo M855 62-gr. ammo, probably made by Sellier and Bellot. The rifle didn't like that as well as the 55-gr., but I've heard a lot of bad things about S&B military type ammo. And the group wasn't that[I] bad, more like about 2 MOA. It would do in a pinch, but I'm going to try some 62-gr. sporting ammo and see if it groups any better..

Nice to hear you're happy with it. I wonder if the issues with the heavier grain bullets are due to the 1/9 twist rifling, and I wonder why Mossberg didn't make it 1/7 or 1/8, to accomodate heavier bullets.