Comment(s)

There is no doubt  that in the world of patrol rifles, the 5.56mm AR-15 of some sort or another is the norm, not the exception, in the 21st century. Compact, reliable, accurate and effective for most situations, it is the standard against which all police long guns—and that includes the 12 gauge shotgun—are judged.

While the AR can handle most situations well, there are times when more horsepower is needed. Barricaded suspects in heavily fortified structures, suspects at distances greater than an iron- or red-dot-sighted AR can handle or encounters with large, unfriendly, four-legged predators need a solution in .308/7.62mm NATO—a round that can sling a projectile downrange weighing nearly three times as much as the 5.56mm with a roughly 50-percent larger diameter.

There are 7.62mm AR-platform rifles available, but for smaller agencies such as mine, they are a bit pricey, and semi-automatic operation is not always called for. With the 7.62mm’s power, it is not often that rapid follow-up shots are needed to do the job. The effect of a controlled-expansion 7.62mm round on dangerous targets is usually quite dramatic.

In the North Hollywood shootout in 1997, the LAPD found that its 9mm handguns and 12 gauge shotguns loaded with buckshot were woefully inadequate against two robbers wearing body armor and firing fully automatic, illegally modified 7.62x39mm rifles. Two of the officers involved were given AR-15s by a local gun store to deal with the threat. When one of the officers tried to use his AR, he found that he could not—he didn’t know how to operate it.

I believe the officers in that shootout would have been better armed with any bolt-action hunting rifle with a telescopic sight than an AR-15. An ideal bolt-action rifle—had it been available then—would have been the new Mossberg MVP Patrol rifle.

Gun Details

Based upon the late Colonel Jeff Cooper’s “scout rifle” concept—sans the forward rail for mounting a long-eye-relief scope—the MVP Patrol epitomizes a handy bolt-action repeating rifle designed for multi-tasking. It is capable of taking any animal on the North American continent with the right ammunition, and its compact 37.5-inch overall length, smooth bolt action and 10-round magazine capacity make it a capable defender against two- or four-legged predators in particular.

Mossberg’s MVP Patrol rifle is designed to thrive in rugged and low-maintenance conditions. The barrel and action are given a durable matte blue finish. The sturdy synthetic stock is available in black or tan, and it has a tacky feel to it on the forend and pistol grip areas—an important feature in rainy, hot or snowy weather. There is an effective recoil pad on the butt, and sling mounts are included on the front and rear for adding a carry sling.

Compact, reliable, accurate and effective for most situations, it is the standard against which all police long guns—and that includes the 12 gauge shotgun—are judged.

While the AR can handle most situations well, there are times when more horsepower is needed. Barricaded suspects in heavily fortified structures, suspects at distances greater than an iron- or red-dot-sighted AR can handle or encounters with large, unfriendly, four-legged predators need a solution in .308/7.62mm NATO—a round that can sling a projectile downrange weighing nearly three times as much as the 5.56mm with a roughly 50-percent larger diameter.

There are 7.62mm AR-platform rifles available, but for smaller agencies such as mine, they are a bit pricey, and semi-automatic operation is not always called for. With the 7.62mm’s power, it is not often that rapid follow-up shots are needed to do the job. The effect of a controlled-expansion 7.62mm round on dangerous targets is usually quite dramatic.

In the North Hollywood shootout in 1997, the LAPD found that its 9mm handguns and 12 gauge shotguns loaded with buckshot were woefully inadequate against two robbers wearing body armor and firing fully automatic, illegally modified 7.62x39mm rifles. Two of the officers involved were given AR-15s by a local gun store to deal with the threat. When one of the officers tried to use his AR, he found that he could not—he didn’t know how to operate it.

I believe the officers in that shootout would have been better armed with any bolt-action hunting rifle with a telescopic sight than an AR-15. An ideal bolt-action rifle—had it been available then—would have been the new Mossberg MVP Patrol rifle.

Gun Details

Based upon the late Colonel Jeff Cooper’s “scout rifle” concept—sans the forward rail for mounting a long-eye-relief scope—the MVP Patrol epitomizes a handy bolt-action repeating rifle designed for multi-tasking. It is capable of taking any animal on the North American continent with the right ammunition, and its compact 37.5-inch overall length, smooth bolt action and 10-round magazine capacity make it a capable defender against two- or four-legged predators in particular.

Mossberg’s MVP Patrol rifle is designed to thrive in rugged and low-maintenance conditions. The barrel and action are given a durable matte blue finish. The sturdy synthetic stock is available in black or tan, and it has a tacky feel to it on the forend and pistol grip areas—an important feature in rainy, hot or snowy weather. There is an effective recoil pad on the butt, and sling mounts are included on the front and rear for adding a carry sling.

Mossberg offers the MVP Patrol in 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO, which weigh 7 and 7.5 pounds, respectively. I was able to test the latter in 7.62mm NATO. While I am sure that the MVP Patrol could have been built to weigh less in this chambering, I was happy to have the extra weight to help mitigate recoil, as the recoil energy generated by the 7.62mm is significantly greater that that generated by the 5.56mm.

Mossberg uses a medium-bull profile for the MVP’ Patrol’s 16.25-inch barrel, which is one of several factors critical for accuracy, since it is not the length of the barrel (generally) that determines intrinsic accuracy, but its stiffness. The Mossberg MVP Patrol’s medium-bull style barrel is an excellent compromise between benchrest accuracy and portability. The barrel’s twist rate is 1 in 10 inches. The free-floating barrel is also threaded for suppressor use and comes equipped with an AR-style birdcage flash suppressor. The flash suppressor is critical for preserving some semblance of night vision considering the amount of burning powder exiting the short barrel in a cartridge as large as the 7.62mm.

Lightning Bolt Action

The MVP Patrol is intended to be used as a compact, multi-purpose precision rifle—not a CQB rifle—regardless of the caliber used. Its compactness is critical considering the cramped nature of any of the new sedan-style police cruisers currently available. In order to fulfill the precision aspect, there is a segment of Picatinny rail on top of the receiver for mounting optics, and backup iron sights are included.

The MVP Patrol’s bolt action is very smooth for a production gun, and the spiral fluting on the push-feed bolt—a feature once found only on expensive custom rifles—allows for more rapid heat dispersion in extended firing strings and imparts a custom look. While the spiral fluting is not a feature that enhances the ability of a good shooter to deliver precision shots, the patented Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) adjustable trigger system certainly is.

The LBA trigger uses a passively activated safety lever in the face of the trigger. The gun will not fire unless the lever is compressed as part of the trigger stroke. This provides an extra margin of safety for a trigger that can be adjusted by the user anywhere within a range of 2 to 7 pounds by removing the stock and turning a screw in the front of the trigger mechanism. At a time when some companies have no such provision available for their precision guns, it certainly gives one another reason to select Mossberg over other choices that are available.

The MVP comes equipped with a 10- round magazine. When seated, the magazine protrudes just below the bottom of the triggerguard. The 10-round magazine is just about the right combination of capacity and compactness. The folks at Mossberg really did their homework when they designed this feeding system because the 7.62mm MVP Patrol accepts both M1A/M14 as well as LR-308/SR-25-style magazines. The 5.56mm MVP accepts all standard
AR-15 magazines. If you want to use 20- or even 10-round magazines in your 7.62mm MVP Patrol, you won’t be dependent on proprietary magazines supplied by Mossberg.

The magazine release, while perhaps not ideal for lightning-fast magazine changes, is still excellent. Mossberg wisely recessed the release button inside the stock, thus making it nearly impossible to accidentally drop the magazine. This is a great design that contributes to a very smooth stock contour. Swapping magazines becomes very quick with just a bit of practice. It’s easy to pull the magazine clear with your index finger pressing the release and your thumb supporting the rear of the magazine. If I were deploying the MVP as a precision rifle in a rural area where I had to traverse a fair amount of brushy territory or low-crawl to get into position, I could do so with the utmost confidence that I would reach my observation position with the magazine and ammo intact.

Range Time

In keeping with the compact size of the MVP, I decided to mount a compact yet effective optic. I chose the Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x scope with an illuminated reticle. The NXS covers a wide range of deployment situations, both near and far. I obtained three different loads for the test: Federal American Eagle 150-grain FMJs, Winchester 147-grain “White Box” FMJs, and Federal Premium 168-grain Sierra MatchKing rounds. To test out the MVP Patrol’s versatility, I brought along one of my department-issued M14’s 20-round magazines to see if it cycled as well as the Mossberg-supplied magazine.

There were no surprises operationally in the entire range session. The MVP Patrol functioned well right out of the box. However, I had forgotten what the recoil from a relatively light, manually operated, 7.62mm repeater was like. I’ve spent most of my trigger time of late with various permutations of the 5.56mm AR-15, with most of my previous sniper rifle time behind a 6.8 SPC rig. My most recent experience with true high-powered .30 caliber rifles has been with my department-issued M14 and my personally owned M1 Garand. Both of these rifles weigh around 9.5 pounds. Their extra weight, combined with gas-operated, semi-automatic operation, really mitigates the felt recoil of these heavy hitters. Even with its well-designed synthetic stock, it took some time to adjust to the MVP’s recoil.

I found seating the loaded MVP Patrol magazine was easier than inserting a magazine in any rifle I have recently tested. It slid into place smoothly and locked into the well without the need for undue pressure being applied—very nice. I was concerned at first that the 20-round M14 magazine might not insert so easily, but as soon as I began to insert it my concerns disappeared. The M14 magazine slid in and locked into

place just as smoothly as the Mossberg 10-round magazine and ejected just as easily. Having the capability to accept three different magazine styles really adds to the overall versatility of this type of rifle.

I was able to obtain groups of 1.5 to 2 inches with both the Federal American Eagle and Winchester loads, while the Federal SMK loads gave me a 1.25-inch best group. The factory trigger was set a bit too light for my tastes—right around 2 pounds. If I were utilizing the MVP for patrol duties, I would increase the pull weight to around 4 pounds. Even on my sniper rifle I prefer a trigger in that same range.

The “surprise” break at 2 pounds was almost too much of a surprise. I also ran a full 20 rounds from the M14 magazine in fairly rapid fire. If I were keeping this rifle for ranch and perimeter defense, I would definitely opt for the 20-round magazines. Even though they are longer than the 10-rounders, they aren’t so long that they interfere with handling or operation of the carbine.

The Mossberg MVP Patrol is more than accurate enough for patrol and perimeter duties. If you are in the market for a scout-type rifle, the Mossberg MVP Patrol or one of its variants could be right for you. If the 7.62mm has too much “oomph,” perhaps you should check out the 5.56mm NATO version.

For more information, visit mossberg.com or call 800-363-3555.

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