Two great new whitetail rifles

May 28, 2013

For the last four years hunters have had to suffer a bit. One reason was because of the current political climate which elevated the demand for tactical-type rifles. Consumer demand for these rifles has been high and, in turn, manufacturers responded with new tactical — not hunting — rifles. The other source of suffering was the economy. Jobs have been scarce and paychecks have gotten smaller. Manufacturers were a bit slow in responding to the need for quality, affordable deer rifles.

Mossberg and Remington have stepped up. Not only are they ready to help hunters with thin wallet looking for a new rifle, the two new rifles they are offering deliver high performance. By pulling a few strings I was able to get some range time with both of these new rifles well before the 2013 trade shows where they were officially introduced. You’re in luck — I’ve got the scoop.

Mossberg 7.62 MVP

Two years ago Mossberg (www.mossberg.com) got the attention of riflemen when they introduced their MVP rifle. It was the uniqueness of this rifle that garnered attention. For starters, it was sized just right to fit the .223 Remington cartridge. But most importantly, the MVP was designed to feed from AR-15 magazines. Considering the AR-15 has become the most popular rifle in the world and considering AR-15 magazines are easy to find and affordable [at the time this was written in 2012], this was nothing short of a great idea.

Last year Mossberg added a new MVP to their lineup. The MVP Predator is also chambered for the .223 Remington but comes with a shorter barrel, making it a great predator/varmint rifle and even one that is suitable for deer. But the MVP line was missing a .30-caliber cartridge to further extend the range, versatility and utility of the platform. For 2013 Mossberg has addressed this need with the 7.62 MVP.

Like the original, the 7.62 MVP feeds from a detachable magazine, but there are two major differences: The 7.62 MVP is chambered for the .308 Win. and will accept an M14 or a DPMS AR-10 magazine. This gives hunters a .308 Win. rifle which is perfectly at home in both the hunting woods and a survival-type situation. In short, this is a utility rifle which could be employed in just about any way a shooter might see fit.

Like all MVPs, the 7.62 MVP comes with a laminated hardwood stock which has colors running the spectrum from light tan to black; it’s kind of like built-in camo. Unlike the earlier MVPs in .223 Remington, the 7.62 MVP was built on Mossberg’s popular 4X4 action. The only modification needed to make the rifle work was the addition of two guides on the bottom of the bolt, which push the cartridge up and out of the detachable magazine.

Two versions of the 7.62 MVP will initially be available. One will have a lightweight 20-inch fluted barrel. The other will have a heavier 18-inch, fluted barrel. With either version there are no open sights and the barrel is fully free-floated. Other standard features include a thick rubber recoil pad, steel sling swivel studs and pre-installed Weaver-style scope bases.

Aside from the fact that the 7.62 MVP will accept the two different magazines, the best feature is probably the trigger. Every 7.62 MVP comes out of the box with Mossberg’s excellent LBA trigger. This trigger has a center lever which must be depressed before the trigger can be pulled. This lever allows Mossberg or the user to adjust the LBA trigger to a desired pull weight as light as two pounds.

Essentially, what this gives hunters is trigger adjustability without a gunsmith. A simple twist of a screwdriver enables the LBA trigger to adjust from 2 to 7 pounds. A crisp, creep-free trigger helps optimize accuracy, whether you are shooting from a bench or in any field-shooting position. The LBA trigger’s center lever blocks the sear from releasing the striker unless the blade is fully depressed, even at the lightest adjustment setting.

In October 2012 I carried a Mossberg 7.62 MVP to Newfoundland for a moose hunt. Prior to the hunt, I topped the rifle with the best riflescope I could find, a Swarovski Z6i (www.swarovskioptik.us). I also ordered two boxes of Nosler Trophy Grade ammunition loaded with 165-grain Nosler AccuBonds (www.nosler.com). From a bench rest at 100 yards, shooting sub-inch groups with this combination was no problem at all.

When the bull moose stepped out at 230 yards, I could see moose steaks through the Swarovski. I put the glowing dot in the center of the reticle on the bull’s chest and squeezed the LBA trigger. The Accubond found moose heart and was recovered just under the hide on the off-side of the moose. It would only seem logical to deduce that if the 7.62 MVP will work on the world’s largest deer, it should do just fine on any whitetail.

Mossberg’s 7.62 MVP has a suggested retail price of $681, so you can expect to carry one off for about six bills. Given the versatility of this rifle platform, it should be just at home in deer camp as it would be during a zombie apocalypse, the 7.62 MVP might be the most affordable, utilitarian .30-caliber rifle available.

Remington 783

You might not be old enough to remember the Remington Model 788 rifle. It was introduced in 1967 as a less expensive version of Remington’s famous model 700. Though it was less expensive and, in fact, a fine rifle, the rear locking bolt never caught on. By 1983 Remington discontinued the 788 and the rifle immediately become more popular. In 2007 Remington tried again to offer an affordable bolt-action rifle, but the model 770 was met with a lukewarm reception.

It looks like Remington (www.remington.com) has finally got it right with the 783, which is built in Mayfield, KY, at America’s largest rifle-making factory. Remington pulled the “78” in the model number from the model 788 and added a “3” for 2013. This rifle is full of features many rifle hunters demand and has a suggested retail price of $451; street prices should be closer to $400.

The 783 Remington is built on a cylindrical action with a magnum contour barrel attached via an external barrel nut. This allows the headspace to be precisely set. The 783’s bolt features dual, opposing locking lugs, a 90-degree bolt throw and an M16-style extractor. The barreled action is attached to a modern-looking synthetic stock via pillar bedding. This results in a free-floated barrel. Cartridges are fed into the action via a robustly designed detachable metal magazine.

Other noteworthy features include a Remington Super Cell recoil pad and sling swivel studs molded into the synthetic stock. Remington’s Crossfire Trigger is similar in design to the trigger on the Mossberg MVP. Remington will offer camo synthetic stocks, integral scope rings, extra magazines, and a one-piece scope rail as accessories for the model 783. Initially, the model 783 will be available in .270 and .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and 7mm Remington Magnum. By mid-2013 Remington hopes to offer additional chamberings.

Back in September I got to spend a day on the range shooting four model 783s, all of which were chambered for the 7mm Remington Magnum. We only had one load to test, but if it is any indication of how you can expect these rifles to perform, the 783 is a real winner. Five-shot 100-yard groups from all four rifles were in the 1 to 1 ½-inch range. Most impressive was how these rifles performed at distance. I was able to ring steel targets from 300 to 500 yards over and over without a miss.

Don’t expect these rifles to sit on dealer’s shelves very long. With all these features, the 783 will be competing with rifles that cost twice as much. Most hillbillies are smart enough to know a deal when they see one, and no matter how you measure it, the Remington model 783 is a real deal.

If you are looking for a utilitarian rifle with no fancy frills, both the Mossberg 7.62 MVP and the Remington 783 fill the bill. If you primarily want a hunting rifle, the 783 is probably the best choice. But, if you are looking for a rifle that will double for whitetails and work just as well as a survival rifle, the 7.62 MVP gets the nod.

And, like real-deal whitetail hunters, both of these real-deal rifles are made right here in America!