Let’s face it if you’re a gun guy or gal I’m not going to have to twist your arm to want or “need” a new rifle, you probably already do, if for no other reason than you enjoy them. For some time I’ve been intrigued with short handy bolt action rifles that could be loaded easily, carried without a back support brace and stow away without having to use a cargo container.
There are many nick names given to this style rifle- jungle carbine, scout rifle, or truck gun. The basic jist is short barrel, maneuverability, ease of use and loading yet accurate enough for whatever practical purpose you may need.
I’ve always been a big fan of Enfield rifles and there are some variations that were cut down and adapted which were named Jungle carbines, these aren’t the easiest to find and a true jungle carbine from its original era is pricey. Full length rifles are often cut down and made to be a look alike later hold no real appeal or value so I’ve shied away from them.
The Ruger scout rifle came along and looked to be just the ticket, a tad heavy but short, solid, loadable by magazine for quick and easy use. The down falls is its extremely pricey for a limited purpose gun and there wasn’t a large selection of calibers. The initial offering was .308 only and later .223 to be added.
The pros of the Ruger are that it’s indestructible, the laminate wood stock looks good and is as solid as you could ask for (to me nothing beats a wood laminate stock, fairly weather proof and solid as one could ask). The downfalls are its accuracy is nothing to write home about but still acceptable. Most factory guns shoot better than the average consumer anyway, so not a huge point.
In the last Year Mossberg came out with a version of this gun called the MVP and had all the attributes I’d look for. Laminate wood stock, short, stiff, fluted barrel but not too heavy. The initial chambering was in 5.56x45 accepting .223 as well. The real kicker is that the magazine well is designed to hold AR type magazines so you have the option of 5,10,20,30,100 round magazines that can be found anywhere for dollars; this in itself is simple genius in my opinion.
The little Mossberg has some high end features like an adjustable trigger (similar style made popular by savage), light weight fluted bolt, and a unique textured type checkering on the grip areas. All things that Mossberg usually skips over to save a penny.
You may be asking “why in the world would I need a rifle like this?” My thoughts are it would be the perfect farm/ranch gun. Rarely do you need the high capacity rapid fire potential of an AR. You could still have a 30 round magazine but silently load one round for that wary coyote around the hen house. Anytime you rack an AR to put a round in chamber the shear “SNAP-CLACK” is enough to spook game three counties away.
You may argue the .308 caliber is a better defensive round in which to protect your farm or property from the likes of anything from vandals to murderous villains or the ever growing career path of meth lab technicians scouting out new hides. Well if our combat soldiers can survive Iraq and Afghanistan on a 5.56 round I’m sure it will suffice on American soil as well.
If you live in an area where you can hunt some big game with rifle it might make since to keep the .308 version of these rifles, if you’re likely looking at vermin and varmints then the .223 or rather correctly 5.56 version is likely the best option.
The rifle is short and light and easy to handle, it loads and unloads easily, it stows about anywhere you could put a golf umbrella and weighs about the same as a Ruger or Marlin .22 rim fire. I’d like to find something to complain about with this little Mossberg as they are known as the El-cheapo of fire arms. That being said they are the only pump shotgun to meet mil spec needs upon initial testing.
I like the stock, it’s short but not too short, it’s light but doesn’t feel cheap, and the barrel is amazingly short but very adequate for work out to a few hundred yards. A sniper rifle it is not but in a package that size it’s more than enough for any of the purposes stated above.
The MVP comes with scope bases but an easy $20 upgrade is a picatinny base rail that covers the bolt opening allowing for any range of optics or accessories you’d ever dream of mounting. Other than the scope base upgrade I see nothing to improve on. I would opt for a variable power scope with a small optical diameter as not to make a handy tool cumbersome.
The MVP retails for the mid to upper $500 range. I’d be more pleased if this gun MSRP’d for about $450 but there are a ton of features and the adjustable trigger make a solid argument for the extra $100 above my comfort range.
You may not need this rifle, you may get by without it, but if you have one to leave in the farm truck or on the brush mower, scabbard of your horse or quad for those rare times you need a quick handy firearm to handle a nuisance, and this is your ticket. Once you play around with one you’ll soon find your “want” for one of these Mossberg’s may outweigh your “need” and you succumb to a weak moment at the gun counter. You’ll also have to withstand the urge to grind off the Mossberg name and sand off the large M on the stock and tell your poker buddies you’ve just shelled out a grand for a custom truck gun/scout rifle………though it would be believable!
Here is the Mossberg MVP with its 10 round factory magazine and fluted bolt.
Here is the aftermarket picatinny rail installed, the factory mounts were okay but his gives many more scope or laser mounting options, fits like a glove and holds a rugged pair of detachable scope rings well
If you can find a decent day and low wind get out and do some shooting, until next time, God Bless,
Matt Cheever ~ Flatlander