Learn From The Cops: Bolt Guns
For Self Defense? You Bet!
By Sammy Reese
Photos By Joe Novelozo
My first exposure to the Mossberg MVP Patrol 5.56 rifle was on a prairie dog shoot in Wyoming a couple years ago. The rifle was in its testing phase before heading into production and we were asked to push it hard to (1) see what it could do, and (2) identify any potential flaws.
My first thought was the barrel was way too short for shooting prairie dogs at long distance. You notice I said “thought” it was too short. I’ve learned to keep the hole under my nose shut until I had something to back up my “thoughts” — good thing too — the little rifle was a shooter.
After the initial zeroing, I spent the week shooting the rifle off my Bog Pod and my bipod in all kinds of field positions. The rifle I originally thought to be too short-barreled for serious long shots was flopping P-dogs out at the 400-yard mark. The rifle shot like it was designed for precision work and it uses traditional AR/M16 magazines. Sadly, the week came to an end and I had to give the rifle back — well it was more like Mossberg’s Linda Powell had to pry it out of my hands sort of like trying to take candy away from a toddler. No, I didn’t cry, but I came close.
The rifle hit the streets running a short time later and the line has continued to grow with offerings in 5.56mm and .308 with numerous configurations to choose from.
Out the box the medium weight, bull barreled MVP patrol tips the scale at just about 7lbs. The 16.25-barrel (1:9 twist) combined with a 13.25″ length of pull brings the entire package up to a very portable and easy handling 36.25″ overall length. Topped with factory iron sights, this MVP has a scout look to it. (If you want a scout version, guess what? Mossberg has come out with one of those also.)
The fiber-optic adjustable sights — although rare to find on a bolt-action rifle that isn’t of the dangerous game variety — do serve a purpose. Although not a big-game rifle the MVP patrol is right at home in personal/home/vehicle-defense role or as more precision options for law enforcement.
If your optic is broken and you used quick release mounts, it can be removed quickly and you are still able to fight with the rifle using just the iron sights.
The heart of any rifle is the trigger. It’s the shooter’s last connection to the bullet before it’s launched at the intended target. The user can set up the patented LBA adjustable trigger from 3 to 7 lbs., so no trip to the gunsmith is required to get the trigger where you want it.
Due to the speed of life and all its distractions, I just recently was able to get my hands on the production MVP Patrol in 5.56mm. While I was waiting for the optic to arrive I decided to take it to the range and see how well it worked with just the iron sights and to try out some different magazines.
To see how the rifle ran I used some 55-grain FMJ Winchester White Box in the provided Mossberg 10-round magazine. I also used 10-, 20- and 30-round P-Mags and some older Colt 20 and 30-rounders.
At 50 yards I was in the 2″ mark so I figured I was good to go. I was able to keep the steel ringing at 100 and 200 with relative ease. What impressed me was having the ability to hit the manhole cover at 300. I put the fiber optic front sight on the top and was rewarded with a distant ding and some paint flying for my spotter to see. Between the two of us we put 150 rounds through all the different magazines on targets from 50 to 300 yards.
I would have no problem defending the homestead with this rifle using just the iron sights. It fed, fired, extracted and ejected like a precision handmade rifle.
The fixed fiber optic front sight is quick to acquire.
The rear sight is low enough to not interfere with mounting a scope.
The LBA trigger is simple in design and made this rifle a great shooter.
The fast-handling MVP Patrol needed an optic capable of solving problems from across the room to as far as you need. With this rifle riding in my truck, those chicken-stealing coyotes had better beware.
So the glass I chose for the MVP Patrol also has “patrol” in the name: Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4x20mm with the FireDot SPR reticle. The R being red-dot capable with just the touch of a button. This is a rugged compact 30mm scope and it would be my choice if I were back working SWAT.
I mounted the scope on the provided base with Leupold QD rings. Initial dope was with Black Hills 5.56 77-grain OTM at 100 yards and from the dead sled the rifle and I hovered at the coveted 1″ mark with a few groups a bit larger and a couple smaller. Since this rifle’s mission isn’t long-range precision shooting — although it could be if needed — I’m more concerned with engagements from across the room to 200 yards.
On 1.25X I did some drills from as close as seven yards out to 50 with the red dot turned on. First shots were fast and accurate as would be expected. My running-the-bolt times decreased as I got in more reps — kinda like it’s supposed to. Having the ability to use AR mags really upped the firepower — most bolt guns would be dry after the fifth shot.
I shot from field-expedient positions out to 200 and at 4X I was able to shoot clay pigeons at 200 with relative ease. I’m not saying the MVP would replace my AR’s, but if you don’t have access to an AR or are stuck behind enemy lines here in Kalifornia, the MVP Patrol would be a great option for defending the homestead. As a ranch rifle it is also pretty hard to beat. Top it with quality glass like the Leupold VX-R Patrol and you have a combo to be reckoned with.
VX-R Patrol 1.25-4x20mm (30mm Tube)
Objective Diameter: 1.20″
Eyepiece Diameter: 1.60″
Weight: 11.50 oz
Eye Relief: Low Power — 4.10″
High Power — 3.70″
Elevation Range: 90 MOA
Windage Range: 90 MOA
Mossberg MVP Patrol
Caliber: 5.56mm/.223 Rem
Barrel Type: Medium bull
Rate Of Twist: 1:9
Barrel Length: 16.25″
Length Of Pull: 13.25″
Total Length: 35.25″
Weight: 7 lbs.
Capacity: 10, 20, 30 AR magazines