If you have been shopping around for an AR-15, but are not sure if you are ready to drop that large chunk of cash on one just yet, I understand how you feel. Practicality dictates that spending a large sum of money on anything takes careful consideration and research. If you are like me, you spend hours trolling the Internet to read reviews, learn the product benefits, drawbacks and features. You do all this while counting your pennies and explaining to the missus why you cannot live without whatever gadget, gun, tool or gizmo some manufacturer recently released.
I own several ARs, although I remember the learning curve when I was shopping for my first. While there were many things to learn, I found it fascinating. Unfortunately, I soon learned that my budget was going to prevent me from having all the features I wanted—at least at first. I ended up buying a stripped lower at a local gun shop and purchasing most of the other parts online or from friends with extra gear. I ended up spending nearly 800 bucks, and for a first build, I think I did fairly well. The gun still runs like the day I clumsily pushed the parts together. I had help from a friend who had built several ARs in the past, and he helped me avoid some pitfalls along the way.
At the time, most of the AR-15s on the market were more expensive than what I paid for my build, and since I managed to find many of the parts used, I think got a decent deal. However, with the AR’s massive rise in popularity, first time buyers today have it comparatively easy. Companies like Smith & Wesson and Remington have made ARs for the civilian market for years and now O.F. Mossberg & Sons wants a piece of that AR pie.
Mossberg has a reputation for building affordable, high quality shotguns for law enforcement, military and hunters alike. Mossberg took forever to get into the AR market, and, when they did, they chose to do it big. They came out with the Mossberg Modular Rifle, or MMR for short. Had this rifle been on the market when I was looking for my first AR, I might have reconsidered the way I spent my money. I kept looking for places on the firearm where they cut corners to lower cost, and didn’t find much.
Mossberg’s MMR family operates on the direct-gas-impingement system. The company lists eight variations of the MMR, although in reality, there are only three major distinctions:
- It is available with or without sights.
- With or without an adjustable buttstock.
- With or without a forend rail.
The MMR hunter model, which has a 20-inch free-floating barrel and a non-adjustable A2-style buttstock, has no forend rail or dust cover. The forward assist is also missing—and you can ask me how many times I’ve actually had to use a forward assist. The leading feature of the MMR Hunter is the price.
For somewhere between $650 and $700, it stands apart from other budget ARs because it looks less tacticool.
The MMR series is compatible with most mil-spec aftermarket components. Mossberg, and exclusive Mossberg vendors in the United States, manufacture its major parts. The receiver is a 7075-T6 aluminum forging and the bolt is Carpenter 158 plastic-mold steel, which is a type of case-hardened mold steel with exceptionally high strength. The bolt is also electric-furnace melted, which provides unvarying lot-to-lot uniformity.
Mossberg included an amazingly accurate fluted, 20-inch carbon steel barrel. It is free-floating and has a 1:9-inch rifling twist rate that accommodates most 0.224-inch projectiles. This applies especially to those commonly used for hunting varmints, predators and larger game, such as feral hogs. Similarly, because of its intended hunting role, where regulations sometimes preclude using high-capacity magazines, the MMR Hunter comes with an aluminum five-round magazine. It does, however, accept any standard AR-style magazine for non-hunting situations.
For the money, the MMR Hunter is the best deal on the market for a quality built, civilian AR. It isn’t the most tacticool AR on the market, and you do get quality components which deliver top-level accuracy and dependability for less than 700 bucks.
Since it is like most other ARs, you can switch out parts to your taste, and the stock MMR Hunter gives you an affordable platform to get started in the AR world.
Like It? Want It? Buy It!
Specifications and Features
- .223 Rem/5.56 NATO
- 20″ Barrel
- Aluminum free float handguard
- Flat top upper
- Fixed A2 Buttstock
- Stark SE-1 pistol grip
- Dual front swivel studs
- Accepts standard AR-15 magazines
- 5 round capacity magazine
- Length: 39″
- Weight: 7 lbs
- Black finish