With the emphasis firmly on practicality rather than good looks, the Mossberg Scout rifle is designed for getting the job done, says Bruce Potts
I tested the Mossberg Predator a few years ago and was impressed with the price and performance of the rifle, so now it is the turn of the Scout model. The Scout rifle ethos was promoted by the late Colonel Jeff Cooper, who pioneered the principle of a short, fast-handling rifle that had a multipurpose scope mounting system. Mossberg has taken this on board and offered a carbine length, .308 Winchester/7.62mm, synthetic-stocked rifle complete with low-powered variable scope and sling designed for rugged use. It fits nicely into the practical stalker category and is designed for getting the job done — not just sitting there looking pretty.
I can’t make up my mind regarding the stock. On the one hand, it handles very well; on the other it is quite plasticky to the touch and a bit hollow. But this does not impede the performance. The design has a matt-black semi-textured finish with a nice wide and rounded fore-end, which has stippled panels for grip at the sides and underneath. You also have a sling attachment and two Weaver-style accessory rails for lasers, lights and so on.
The pistol grip is similarly stippled with no palm swell and the butt section is devoid of a cheekpiece, making the Scout ambidextrous to hold. It is finished off with a very good soft black rubber recoil pad, making the length of pull 13.75in. It is a practical stock designed for the style of this rifle and is further enhanced by being pillar-bedded for a secure union to the action for better accuracy and consistency in all weathers.
Action/bolt and barrel assembly
The barrel is heavy but short, making use of the .308/7.62mm cartridges’ advantage of efficiency, and its rigid design ensures good accuracy. It is fully free-floated from the fore-end by a good margin, so fitment of a bipod will not hamper things under recoil. It has a dull blued finish in keeping with its hunter-preferred use and comes with a muzzle brake attachment that can be removed for sound moderator fitment if desired, with the foresight removed also. Diameter at the muzzle is 0.772in and it has a six-land narrow rifling profile with a 1-in-10in rifling twist rate, so can take bullet weights up to 220-gr. The foresight is highly visible with a long bright-red element that is complemented by a ghost rearsight set in the rear section of the Weaver rail. This rail is long at 11.5in and is the whole essence of the Scout rifle ethos. It allows a standard scope to be mounted or a forward-mounted low-power scope (as here) with extra long eye relief to allow that true Scout fast handling and target acquisition.
The action is tubular in profile, with a separate recoil lug sandwiched between the barrel and action face. The action is 6in long with a large ejection port and the same finish as the barrel.
The bolt is chunky and has eight shallow spiral utes on the bolt surface to help a smooth movement and less binding in operation. There is a large one-piece bolt handle that is nicely swept back with a coned bolt knob for a good secure hold. There are the traditional twin opposed locking lugs with an extractor claw insert into the right-hand lug and plunger-type ejector sited into the bolt face. Interestingly, there are two small rails under the front face of the bolt that are tapered, which pick up a cartridge from the magazine when the bolt is moved forward and allows them to travel over the remaining cartridges when withdrawn. The Predator model had a drop-down lip that performed a similar task.
Trigger and magazine
The trigger is very similar to the Savage AccuTrigger design in that it uses the inset safety trigger-blade. This extra blade is directly positioned as part of the main trigger-blade, which ensures that you have to squeeze the trigger correctly to disengage the sear and fire the Mossberg. This stops an inadvertent indirect trigger movement from foliage or brush as you stalk. It is a good system but is quite heavy at just under 4lb on test, with some creep from its single-stage travel. But for the price there are no issues with accuracy and it is adjustable with the stock removed. The safety lever has a circular knurled finish and is a simple design with safe in the back position, which locks the trigger but still allows the bolt to operate, so you can take a round out of the chamber with the rifle in safe.
The magazine is of all-polymer construction with a polymer follower that allows a smooth cartridge transition from magazine to chamber. I did have a few non-pickups from the pass of the bolt but this was due to the magazine being pushed rearward by the test sand bag. Keep your hands away from the magazine when firing.
It has a 10-shot capacity, ideal for culling, though it might look a bit “military” to some. It is released from its housing by an unusual lever that is off set in front of the magazine for easy access and, when depressed inwards, drops the magazine.
Field test results for the Mossberg MVP Scout combo
Accuracy and targets
The rifle is supplied with an AccuShot scope — a low-powered 1-4x power scope with a long relief that can be mounted much farther forward. It mounts very naturally and, on low power, allows an instant shot on target. This means that a shot at an acute angle will not have a scope coming back into the eye under recoil. With the muzzle brake fitted recoil is reduced but noise levels increase. Accuracy was good and as expected velocity was decreased due to the shorter 16.25in barrel. The Hornady SST 150-hr factory loads shot an impressive 0.85in three-shot group at 100 yards with a velocity of 2,686fps, down from 2,886fps with 24in barrels.
Reloads pep things up a bit to raise some of those velocities above the minimum Scottish large deer velocity fi gure of 2,450fps. Best reload was the 125-gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet with 44.0 grains of Alliant RL10X powder for 0.65in groups, 2,783fps velocity and 2,150ft/lb energy. A 150-gr Sierra GameKing and 46.5 grains of Alliant RL15 powder produced 2,621fps for 2,289ft/lb energy and gave 0.80in groups.
Forget about prejudices towards synthetic stocks and large magazines and look at the practical and affordable nature of this Mossberg. The shooter can concentrate on shooting and not worry about damaging a walnut stock. Accuracy was good and the choice of scope mounting and accessory positions was most useful. A good, well-priced, no-nonsense get-it-done rifle combo for hard use.
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