The first of Mossberg’s expanding lineup of MVPs (Mossberg Varmint Predator series) started appearing at the ranges early in 2012, with the Varmint 24-inch fluted HBAR wowing gun writers, prairie dog hunters and bench shooters with its style, grace and accuracy.
The MVP Predator is equipped with a “medium fluted bull barrel”, which can create somewhat vague connotations. To put some teeth into this title, I measured my Predator’s relatively thick mat black oxide coated carbon steel barrel at three critical points along its 18.5 inch length. She’s .75 inches at the muzzle, which features a recessed button rifling; .844 inches at the midpoint; and a full 1.00 inches thick where the barrel screws into the receiver. A six-pack of 6.5 inch long recessed flutes wrap around the barrel forward of the laminated sporter stock’s foregrip, to lessen muzzle weight and to increase surface area to promote faster cooling. The barrel is also totally free-floated in the laser-routed stock and pillar bedded via a pair of beefy hex bolts into the meat of the steel receiver. Translated, if you use a sling to steady your aimed shots, a bipod, or simply rest it on a sandbag before sending your rounds downrange, barrel harmonics and accuracy will be consistently the same throughout.
The heart of the MVP’s appeal rests in the user-adjustable Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger that’s common to all family members. This unique consumer feature allows each operator to custom-tailor the trigger squeeze to his/her precise liking, something that is just not offered on many competitively priced bolt action rifles. To dial it in, merely loosen the barreled action from the laminated stock via the front and rear action screws and turn the trigger pull adjusting screw as needed…the pull can be set anywhere from two to seven pounds.
I set my trigger for 2.5 pounds, which worked best for my hand and shooting style. That’s pretty light…but the Mossberg engineers have insured that the light trigger will not be a potential hazard when you go afield (where the possibility exists that an owner might accidentally drop a loaded weapon). Their solution is a safety bar (similar to those Glock handguns) that protrudes from a groove in the center of the LBA’s trigger, and must be fully depressed to disengage the sear. Only then will the firing pin drop on a chambered cartridge.
The MVP’s safety is a simple on/off lever design located starboard (right) and aft (rear) of the bolt handle. Its operation is simplicity itself, with the lever to the rear indicating “safe” and the lever forward exposing a large visible red dot that indicates “fire.” You can only make the weapon “safe” if the striker is cocked and the LBA trigger will indicated a visible center safety bar when the weapon is cocked and potentially loaded.