Tired of decently priced bolt action rifles? Me neither! Today I’m looking at a Mossberg 4×4 with a walnut wood stock. This is a detachable magazine, mid-range priced ($500), bolt action, centerfire rifle in 30-06, but the 4×4 is available in many other popular hunting cartridges. When you first pick up this rifle, I think the most striking piece is the contrast between the whip-thin barrel and fat stock forend. It gives the rifle a kind of mean, close to the body look to it and makes it a bit unique looking compared with all the other very similarly styled bolt action rifles.
Video Review of the Mossberg 4X4
Same as any of the other value priced bolt action rifles: excellent. Test with a few different types of ammunition and like me, you’ll likely find one that shoots under 1 MOA. This rifle liked Federal Fusion 165 grain bullets.
Again, here’s where we find some differences between this and other value-priced bolt-action rifles. The trigger uses the Mossberg LBA system. Very little creep, low trigger weight, and it has a lightning bolt on the trigger shoe/lever. What’s not to like? The magazines use a somewhat innovative, cost saving system. The magazine well is all plastic and the magazine release built into the front of the mag well, which is in my opinion the best place to put it. It allows for easy releasing and grabbing of magazines. The magazine itself is a testament to a low-price point design. Pretty much all plastic. Is that such a bad thing? I think not, because you could buy several spare mags to keep loaded on yourself. Keep in mind that one of the most popular, and reliable magazines for the AR-15 is the Magpul, a plastic magazine. Because it’s plastic on plastic, the mag glides into the well and clips in very quickly. It wouldn’t be the ideal system for the apocalypse, but it’s fine for a deer rifle. The action is pretty much the same as the other bolt actions out there. The bolt is very slick in the action, but not so much that you’d confuse it for a much higher grade bolt action rifle. It offers a pretty usable bolt release shoe on the left hand rear of the action, better than the Savage bolt release system, but considering how rarely you need to release the bolt, somewhat unremarkable.
I wanted to put comments about the stock in their own section, because it’s such a dichotomy of parts. On one hand, you have a stock that’s got some great new tech feel to it on the checkering, OK forend cutouts, and then on the other hand, you’ve got the craptastic plastic bottom inserts and rough bolt cutout. The stock is so close to hitting that mid-range look and feel, but gets kicked down by a few big negatives.
The barrel is also a bit of a strange combination of parts. On one hand, we’ve got these cool flutes in the barrel, which are rarely seen on a rifle at this price point, and on the other hand we’ve got a muzzle brake, which has no place on a hunting rifle like this. Brakes on tactical or range-oriented rifles are fine, but this is a thin, hunting profile barrel! It’ll overheat quickly, and has no place blasting away dozens of rounds at the range, so why add a noisy muzzle brake?? Now you have to consider wearing hearing protection while hunting to avoid damaging your hearing, and you can’t hunt in pairs or your hunting buddy will have to wear ear-pro too. On a long range, heavy kicking rifle like a 338 Lapua, sure. On a 30-06, there’s no reason for a muzzle brake for the majority of shooters. Recoil sensitive shooters can add a muzzle brake, change out the (stiff) recoil pad, or pick a lower recoil caliber.
One of the things I disliked most about the Weatherby Vanguard S2 was how crappy the stock felt in hand. This stock is much better in my opinion. That said, the mag/magwell system is just so cheap feeling. On a $300-$400 rifle, that could be forgiven, but with this rifle clocking in at ~$500, it’s just too low quality. I could handle that, but the killer for me is the muzzlebrake. It adds length (this is a LONG rifle), and just knocks the practicality out of it for me as a hunting rifle. If Mossberg were to fix a few of the corners cut on this rifle, and remove the brake, I’d think it’d make for a strong contender in the medium price bolt action rifle category.