Within the past few years the scout-rifle concept has become quite popular. Conceived by Col. Jeff Cooper, the scout rifle was to be a utility rifle capable of being used for hunting or personal defense. Without intending to take anything away from semi-automatic or lever-action rifles, Cooper preferred a bolt-action rifle, actually a carbine, chambered in .308 Win. or a similar cartridge capable of being run through a short action. Today, a number of rifle manufacturers are marketing their version of the scout-rifle concept. One such offering is the Mossberg MVP Scout Rifle.
The Mossberg Scout is a push-feed bolt gun based on its popular MVP action. It also makes good use of the company’s LBA adjustable trigger. In keeping with Cooper’s concept, the rifle is chambered in .308 Win. The 16.25-inch barrel sports a flash suppressor and, according to a Mossberg representative, the Scout is fed via a 10-round AR-10 or M1A detachable-box magazine. To keep the weight down, Mossberg offers the rifle with a pillar-bedded synthetic stock, complete with a recoil pad.
Topside, the Mossberg MVP Scout has an extended Picatinny rail that is suitable for mounting a variety of optics and accessories in either the typical forward scout-scope position or a more-conventional location, depending upon the user’s preference. That rail also incorporates a ghost-ring sight aperture at its rear that integrates with a ramped front sight featuring a red fiber-optic insert. In addition, the stock contains two small accessory rails, one on each side of the forearm, that are perfectly located for laser-aiming devices, weaponlights or other small accessories. Finally, the bolt handle is of the large-knob variety that is popular with many utility and tactical-rifle shooters.
The model I received for testing was topped with a UTG 1-4X Accushot extended-eye-relief scope and quick-detachable mounts. In addition to its variable power, the optic also allows the shooter to choose between a green- or red-illuminated crosshair, or a black crosshair, at the push of a button. Since this particular scope adds 2 pounds to the rifle, Mossberg also offers the Scout Rifle without a scope, so the user can mount the optic of his or her choice
The Mossberg MVP Scout was tested with ammunition on hand, namely Barnes 150-grain VOR-TX load, Black Hills 168-grain Black Gold round and Hornady 150-grain Whitetail. Accuracy was tested by firing five five-shot groups with each cartridge from sandbags at 100 yards. All three of the loads averaged slightly more than 1 MOA, with the slight nod going to the Black Hills.
Following the accuracy testing, the rifle was turned on some steel targets at 50 and 100 yards to test its defensive application. Under rapid fire, it was noted that the stock design of the MVP Scout kept muzzle flip to a minimum, while the effective buttpad reduced the amount of felt recoil. This makes the rifle a natural for defensive work or still-hunting where the only shot might be a quick one on running game.
Throughout testing, the MVP Scout functioned flawlessly. Particular note was taken of its smooth-functioning action along with the LBA trigger. The large bolt knob was easy to get hold of and cycled smoothly during rapid-fire strings. It was also noted that the Scout features the patented dual-latching system, which allows for straight insertion of either AR-10- or M1A- style magazines. Such innovation makes using the latter more intuitive and easier.
The Mossberg MVP family of rifles utilizes a thumb safety that locks the trigger, yet still allows the bolt to be cycled in order to safely remove a chambered round. Due to this design, if the bolt handle is only slightly out of what would be its lowest position, the trigger will click, but the rifle will not fire—giving the impression of a misfire. The bolt must be lifted and the action cocked again before the rifle can be fired. Once the shooter is aware of this, it is a simple procedure to ensure the bolt handle is all the way down before attempting to fire the rifle again.
The whole concept of a utility scout rifle is a good one, especially for the person who may only own one centerfire rifle. Familiarity often breeds performance. And the same rifle that one becomes familiar with in the hunting field will give good service as a defensive proposition, as well, if for no other reason than it is a gun that the shooter is used to handling. As has been proven in numerous hunting fields and military actions, the .308 Win. is up to that task. In addition, a short, handy rifle is quick to maneuver within the confines of a house or a vehicle.
Mossberg has done a great job with its MVP Scout Rifle, providing an accurate bolt-action, along with the accessories needed for the shooter to add optics, lights, a bipod or other equipment of choice. As time goes by, it is likely that other chamberings will be added, bringing even more versatility to the MVP Scout, along with perhaps a left-handed version. It is entirely possible that Col. Cooper would be pleased with this rendering of his innovative concept.