November 3rd, 2018

Mossberg MVP LR — Interesting $700 Factory Rifle

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR

Mossberg has a pretty nice rifle that would work well for varminting and tactical/practical games out to 1000 yards. You may not have seen this before, but we think it offers a decent turn-key solution for around $700. Mossberg’s MVP Long Range (LR) boasts a nice adjustable stock and some innovative features. The LR model comes with a 20″ or 22″ (6.5CM) barrel in three popular chamberings: .223 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. All barrels are threaded for suppressors or muzzle-brakes and come with a protective thread cap. Street price, without optics, is about $695.00 for 6.5 CM version. The .223 Rem accepts AR15 magazines while the .308 Win accepts AR10 and/or M1A mags. The LBA trigger adjusts from 3-7 pounds — we’d like to see it go a little lower for varmint work.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR
Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR

The MVP Long Range feature an adjustable-comb stock that’s comfortable and strong. The bottom (“toe”) of the rear stock is flat and straight, so it works well in a bag — that’s notably different than most factory rifles in this price range. We like this stock for shooting prone or from a portable bench on a varmint hunt. Gun weight is pretty light, 8 pounds (without optics) for the 6.5 Creedmoor version with 22″ barrel.

The MVP LR model features a pillar-bedded OD green stock with push-button adjustable Mosscoteā„¢ cheekpiece, patented LBA Adjustable Trigger (3-7 lbs.), oversized bolt handle, and Picatinny rail. All barrels are threaded for suppressors or muzzle brakes and come with a protective thread cap.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR
Mossberg’s MVP also comes in a shorter-barreled version with a more conventional stock and back-up iron sights. See that version in Mossberg’s article about Long Range shooting.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR
READ Sniper Central Review

Function and Accuracy Field Testing
So how does it shoot? Sniper Central did a full review of the rifle, chambered in .308 Win. They praised the gun’s general build quality and liked the stock. Bench testing yielded 0.8 to 1.5 MOA groups with four kinds of factory ammo. In fairness, Sniper Central’s set-up looked very wobbly, with cheap sandbags front and rear. We bet the MVP LR would shoot better with a proper front rest, or even a quality bipod.

Sniper Central did complain about feeding from the magazine: “The most glaring [fault was] the stiffness with which the rifle feeds from the magazine when there is more than one round in it. The feeding process is rough and stiff, which we think can be attributed to those two protrusions on the bottom of the bolt that aide in feeding from the double stack AR-style magazines.” (See photo below.) Sniper Central also was not impressed with the trigger: “As we mentioned earlier, the trigger has some take up before let-off and that take up is notchy and not very smooth, so there is some improvement to be had there.” The trigger did come in about 2.5 lbs on the test rifle, “light for a factory installed trigger”.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical No Comments »
November 3rd, 2018

Smart Advice: How to Avoid Headaches at the Range

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Here’a useful article by Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant. This story, which originally appeared in the Sierra Blog, covers some of the more common ammo problems that afflict hand-loaders. Some of those issues are: excessive OAL, high primers, and improperly sized cases. Here Mr. Pilant explains how to avoid these common problems that lead to “headaches at the range.

I had some gentlemen at my house last fall getting rifle zeros for an upcoming elk hunt. One was using one of the .300 short mags and every 3rd or 4th round would not chamber. Examination of the case showed a bulge right at the body/shoulder junction. These were new cases he had loaded for this trip. The seating die had been screwed down until it just touched the shoulder and then backed up just slightly. Some of the cases were apparently slightly longer from the base to the datum line and the shoulder was hitting inside the seating die and putting the bulge on the shoulder. I got to thinking about all the gun malfunctions that I see each week at matches and the biggest percentage stem from improper handloading techniques.

One: Utilize a Chamber Gage

Since I shoot a lot of 3-gun matches, I see a lot of AR problems which result in the shooter banging the butt stock on the ground or nearest solid object while pulling on the charging handle at the same time. I like my rifles too well to treat them that way (I cringe every time I see someone doing that). When I ask them if they ran the ammo through a chamber gage, I usually get the answer, “No, but I need to get one” or “I didn’t have time to do it” or other excuses. The few minutes it takes to check your ammo can mean the difference between a nightmare and a smooth running firearm.

A Chamber Gauge Quickly Reveals Long or Short Cases
Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Size Your Cases Properly
Another problem is caused sizing the case itself. If you will lube the inside of the neck, the expander ball will come out a lot easier. If you hear a squeak as the expander ball comes out of a case neck, that expander ball is trying to pull the case neck/shoulder up (sometimes several thousandths). That is enough that if you don’t put a bulge on the shoulder when seating the bullet, like we talked about above, it can still jam into the chamber like a big cork. If the rifle is set up correctly, the gun will not go into battery and won’t fire but the round is jammed into the chamber where it won’t extract and they are back to banging it on the ground again (with a loaded round stuck in the chamber). A chamber gage would have caught this also.

Bad_Primer_WallsOversizing cases also causes problems because the firing pin doesn’t have the length to reach the primer solid enough to ignite it 100% of the time. When you have one that is oversized, you usually have a bunch, since you usually do several cases at a time on that die setting. If the die isn’t readjusted, the problem will continue on the next batch of cases also. They will either not fire at all or you will have a lot of misfires. In a bolt action, a lot of time the extractor will hold the case against the face of the breech enough that it will fire. The case gets driven forward and the thinner part of the brass expands, holding to the chamber wall and the thicker part of the case doesn’t expand as much and stretches back to the bolt face. If it doesn’t separate that time, it will the next time. When it does separate, it leaves the front portion of the case in the chamber and pulls the case head off. Then when it tries to chamber the next round, you have a nasty jam. Quite often range brass is the culprit of this because you never know how many times it has been fired/sized and in what firearm.’Back to beating it on the ground again till you figure out that you have to get the forward part of the case out.

Just a quick tip — To extract the partial case, an oversized brush on a cleaning rod [inserted] and then pulled backward will often remove the case. The bristles when pushed forward and then pulled back act like barbs inside the case. If you have a bunch of oversized case that have been fired, I would dispose of them to keep from having future problems. There are a few tricks you can use to salvage them if they haven’t been fired though. Once again, a case gage would have helped.

Two: Double Check Your Primers

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Another thing I see fairly often is a high primer, backwards primer, or no primer at all. The high primers are bad because you can have either a slam fire or a misfire from the firing pin seating the primer but using up its energy doing so. So, as a precaution to make sure my rifle ammo will work 100% of the time, I check it in a case gage, then put it in an ammo box with the primer up and when the box is full, I run my finger across all the primers to make sure they are all seated to the correct depth and you can visually check to make sure none are in backwards or missing.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Three: Check Your Overall Cartridge Length

Trying to load the ammo as long as possible can cause problems also. Be sure to leave yourself enough clearance between the tip of the bullet and the front of the magazine where the rounds will feed up 100%. Several times over the years, I have heard of hunters getting their rifle ready for a hunt. When they would go to the range to sight in, they loaded each round single shot without putting any ammo in the magazine. On getting to elk or deer camp, they find out the ammo is to long to fit in the magazine. At least they have a single shot, it could be worse. I have had hunters that their buddies loaded the ammo for them and then met them in hunting camp only to find out the ammo wouldn’t chamber from either the bullet seated to long or the case sized improperly, then they just have a club.

Four: Confirm All Cases Contain Powder

No powder in the case doesn’t seem to happen as much in rifle cartridges as in handgun cartridges. This is probably due to more handgun ammo being loaded on progressive presses and usually in larger quantities. There are probably more rifle cartridges that don’t have powder in them than you realize though. Since the pistol case is so much smaller internal capacity, when you try to fire it without powder, it usually dislodges the bullet just enough to stick in the barrel. On a rifle, you have more internal capacity and usually a better grip on the bullet, since it is smaller diameter and longer bearing surface. Like on a .223, often a case without powder won’t dislodge the bullet out of the case and just gets ejected from the rifle, thinking it was a bad primer or some little quirk. For rifle cases loaded on a single stage press, I put them in a reloading block and always dump my powder in a certain order. Then I do a visual inspection and any case that the powder doesn’t look the same level as the rest, I pull it and the one I charged before and the one I charged after it. I inspect the one case to see if there is anything visual inside. Then I recharge all 3 cases. That way if a case had powder hang up and dump in the next case, you have corrected the problem.

On progressive presses, I try to use a powder that fills the case up to about the base of the bullet. That way you can usually see the powder as the shell rotates and if you might have dumped a partial or double charge, you will notice as you start to seat the bullet if not before. On a progressive, if I don’t load a cartridge in one smooth stroke (say a bullet tipped over sideways and I raised the ram slightly to reset it) Some presses actually back the charge back adding more powder if it has already dumped some so you have a full charge plus a partial charge. When I don’t complete the procedure with one stroke, I pull the case that just had powder dumped into it and check the powder charge or just dump the powder back into the measure and run the case thru later.

I could go on and on but hopefully this will help some of you that are having these problems cure them. A case gage really can do wonders. Stay tuned for Easy Easy Ways to Save Yourself Headaches at the Range Part 2!

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 2 Comments »
November 3rd, 2018

Save Time and Bullets — Fire-Form with your Fouler Shots

PPC Fire-formingHere’s a tip for guys who shoot the 6 PPC, 6 Dasher, or other wildcat cartridges that require fire-forming. Use your fouler shots to fire-form new cases. That way your fouler shots do “double-duty” and you get your brass fire-formed without putting extra rounds through your expensive barrel.

This procedure is recommended by Joel Kendrick, the 2004 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year. After he cleans his barrel, Joel knows it takes two or three shots to foul in the bore before accuracy returns. When shooting his PPC, Joel uses those fouler shots to fire-form his new brass. Joel explains: “I like to have relatively new brass always ready. By fire-forming a couple cases after each barrel-cleaning during a match, by the end of the weekend I’ve got a dozen or more freshly fire-formed cases to put into the rotation. If you do this with your fouler shots you get your fire-forming accomplished without using up any extra barrel life.”

We thank Joel for this smart suggestion. For those who do not have a dedicated barrel for fire-forming, this should help keep your round-count down. Joel currently works as the Supplier Quality Process Engineer for MMI-TruTec, a company that offers barrel surface coatings that can further extend your barrel life.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Shooting Skills No Comments »