Firearms

Hard to Beat a Mossberg AR-15

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.

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

The MMR Hunter sounds like a great buy, wouldn’t you say? What does yours look like? Share in the comments section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (32)

  1. M16 o AR15 is a cheap rifle that bears much margin the manufacturer, bad government contract. He never won combat in history. use an American rifle M14 .308

  2. I know Mossberg makes fine weapons but, this AR Platform is overpriced just like all the others out there. The .556 or .223 is big enough for whitetail hunting yes but, the 6mm (.243) is far better and the .308 is even better yet. As for the AR platform itself, after 27 years of Military service I still don’t like it’s dirty operating system design and truth be told neither did Gene Stoner. He preferred his AR-18 or as some of you may know it the AR-180B which was a gas piston designed rifle he developed at the same time he did the AR-15. I would always have preferred an M-14 in a composite stock over the “Poodle Shooter” any day as I have used both in firefights and can tell you that there is no comparison in the effect that the 2 rifles, in their respective calibers have on an advancing enemy. If you must have an AR platform rifle do yourself a favor and buy or build one in 7.62X51/.308Win caliber. Due to the buffer system inherent to the design the .30cal has very little recoil and is a much more effective caliber weather hunting or in a real SHTF situation. Of course this is just my humble opinion and we all know what opinions are worth.

  3. I don’t care what anyone thinks they are all over priced. They have been making the same gun for many years and the price just goes up. The fact that so many more companies are now making them and the price dose not go down tells you so if and when a company makes one a little cheaper its a big deal and really it should not be but the quality has come up so my opinion is neutral. The current administration is fueling the fire that consumes us all .Don’t get me started on the price of ammo

  4. Jim in Ga. The place I bought mine from still has them and as a matter of fact has a sale on now for the same price I paid last year $649 + Tax. shoot-straight.com their located all over the state of Florida, but I’m sure you could get one shipped to you.

  5. For those that are waiting for another caliber, thats just a simple change out of the upper receiver, put your search engine to work, you’ll find loads of them for sale by quality gun makers online. chk out the alexander 6.5 grendel as an example, same goes if your lower is a 308, I’ve seen uppers that will fire a 50 caliber.

  6. Build your own, not only will you know your firearm inside and out,but you can build(assemble)an AR of greater quality per dollar spent. The only thing I’ve up graded since completing my AR was the gas system, I went to a long stroke gas piston, since they weren’t available when I built mine, and I would highly recommend considering one as an upgrade. I’ve lots of friends purchase complete ARs then spend a lot of money changing parts out such as furniture, triggers,sights,etc. While it did take me a little longer to complete, The extra time did allow me to buy pricier custom parts, I did save in the long run by not spending twice to replace with upgrades.

  7. sounds like the adams needs to be traded off the only time i ever used a forward assist was in training not becuase i needed it and those were nam era rifles

  8. I guess I just see things a little different. I know folks will always argue about the best AR platform, but think about the optics you buy, it’s always “You get what you pay fot” well, the same goes for the rifle. I bought a Colt LE6920 for 1100 bones, it’s everything I needed and wanted, and the best thing is reliability. Yes you can build a cheaper rifle, but why. I’m serious about having a reliable weapon system and its ability to possibly save my life someday. I carried the M16 in the Corps for 3 years, and it never let me down. C’on guys, everything is always advertised as being as good as a Colt, Save some money up and buy a quality weapon and never look back.

  9. What a great article, and not owning an Ar platform, but being interested in one in the future, it was informative, especially the comments section, thanks for the various opinions,,, I’m sorry to have to say that Mossberg is missing the boat without offering the hunter in a hunter caliber,,, 308, and yes you can load it down to a varmint load with lots of bullet weights.

  10. I have basic Bushmaster M4 and tough I don’t use it much, I have never had to use the forward assist. I wouldn’t consider it not being there a deal breaker at all. I read somewhere that Eugene Stoner did not intend it to have a forward assist, that it was put in at the insistence of the army.

  11. Well I’ll chime in on the forward assist. Over 10 years in the military and have owned an ad for another 7 years. I have never needed it. I have used all kinds of different ammo in 5.56 and 223 and never had a need for forward assist . But if you think you need it then get one that has it. As far as the price anything under 800 for an ar is a decent deal. Now as far as mossberg I love there shotguns but if I was gonna try and break into the ar arena I would focus more on a 308 cal especialy for a dedicated hunting rifle. If they make one of those ill be first on the list to get one

  12. Who do you think you’re kidding? The gun companies are backlogged with orders so they are taking advantage of the demand and raising their prices to ridicoulus levels. As for S&W let’em go who cares, they have been over-priced for years but apparently there are those who just gotta have S&W and are willing pay those extravagant prices. ALL guns are overpriced!!! Bring the price DOWN!!! If so, maybe the rest of who want to buy a new gun could actually afford one. Don’t give me that you get what you pay nonsense either. I work in retail in a hardware that sells a few guns. I can’t believe what the manufacturer’s suggested price is on some guns. Buyers are getting shafted anytime they buy firearms of any kind and brand. Some may say it’s the law of supply and demand or, it’s what the market can bear. I submit to as a Christian man that this is nothing more than GREED and greed is SIN. Yes Christian folks are guns owners and hunters too, and we enjoy shooting target as well. Proudly to cling to my guns and my religion!

  13. No fwd assist… Deal breaker! I have an Adams arms ar and have needed it a few times both in .223/5.56 and with my .22 conversion kit. I have fired thousands of rounds through my rifle, I love it, I meticulously clean it after EVERY trip to the range and still have needed the fwd assist. If your spending your hard earned $$, why not get a rifle that has the features that came stock on the origional predecessor to these modern interpretations of the same gun?!! The only thing I would stray from the origional on is the gas system; go with the gas piston INSTEAD of the direct gas impingement system, it’s cleaner and easier to clean. IMHO. Do your research and get what you want, but understand that while mossberg is a well known name, you still get what you pay for.

  14. After reading alot of the comments on here from actual non users of this particular rifle, i figured i’d chime in. As some of you noted of it’s “flaws”, It does not have a forward assist! How many of you that actually have an AR, or ever been in the military like me have ever , just one time, used a forward assist for anything? If you need to use a forward assist, and force the round in…well, you have a problem! Mossberg has made one of the best shotguns ever produced next to the 870. They have had their share of lemons just like other major manufacturers. But this rifle is not designed to be a “taticool” rifle, it is designed as a “hunter” , hence the free-floated forend and heavy barrell. It is not a combat rifle, and neither is your taticool semi-auto $1400 “ar style” rifle in your safe either. Given the cost of other manufacturers with a similar set-up, this is about 600 cheaper than any other heavy barrell, free floated dedicated hunting rifle. You can get remingtons version for twice as much, which by the way, is just a overpriced dpms built rifle.

  15. Gun sounds fairly decent.Mossburg makes good weapons,I have Mossberg model 500 pump shotgun that I have had for years,they are good quality guns.As for a forward assist,I doubt that unless you have been in the military using an old Vietnam era M-16,you have probably never had to use a forward assist anyway.Just my opinion.I have researched this weapon and looks as good as any.But price is a little high.Again just my opinion

  16. This is a nice entry grade AR and it is not a big deal that it does not have a FWD assist. After firing thousands of rounds and never having to use the FWD assist both as a civilian or military, I dont think its needed. Your average hunter will never fire enough rounds to get the rifle that dirty. Keep it clean and it will work perfect for years and years. The price is a bit high for it though, it should be 500 max.

  17. $700 and NO forward assist? Not for this guy! I’m sure a lot of AR buyers purchase their weapons to hunt with (of course) but also for that “what if” scenario. I can guarantee you when things get hot and heavy with “zombie” hoards swooping down on you and you are firing a direct gas impingement rifle on semi or full auto, they get dirty quickly. Having no fwd assist to fully seat the round in a dirty chamber when it is needed most can have deadly consequences. I believe the decision to omit the fwd assist on this rifle to be, quite literally, a fatal flaw.

  18. I note a reticence re using the .223 as a hunting round. While it will never be the equal of the 30-06 (and a 30-06 will never be a 470 NE etc.) it is great for deer hunting. I use a Barnes X in my .223 round and it is devastating to whitetails. I wouldn’t try a Texas neck shot but when broadside or quartering away I have great confidence in it.

  19. New Frontier armory has good offering from the 600-800 range I have their LW-15 with the polymer lower. It has a surprisingly good single stage trigger very little creep.

  20. The Mossberg sounds nice, but I have a DPMS Lite 16 (AR-15) and it only cost $599.00. I have put over 2,000 rounds through it and have had NO issues at all. Fires better and is more accurate than the Service M16 is I was issued in the Military. The DPMS Lite 16 is well constructed, easy to clean, and its weight is only 6.5 pounds. You can carry this rifle all day without getting tired.

  21. “Mossberg’s MMR family operates on the direct-gas-impingement system.” Russia’s AK-47 to AK-10x to AK-12/AK-200 and variants use a gas piston. They use a gas piston because direct-gas-impingement fails in real world use. Direct gas impingement fouls the breech and its bolt’s camming mechanism.

    Shame on Mossberg. Reality is what does not go away when you stop believing it.

  22. i agree with some of the otheir post. if they really wanted to make a hit it needs to be in the 500.00 range i also have a m&p sport paid 550.00 out the door new. their really needs to be a choose on the barrel or maybe just do 1/8 twist best of both worlds anyway just my 2cents but i can build ars for around 450-550 range all day and get it anyway i want it

  23. I have a CMMG in .223\5.56 18″ bull, collapsible stock, they are made in Missouri and I love it, paid $750 for it new.

  24. I do quite a bit of varmint hunting with a 22.250 (cal.) with scope, in the winter. I always wanted a Ar, the Mossberg sounds like a rifle I need for those coyotes.

  25. I’m glad to see Mossberg getting into the AR game (finally), but I’m not sure this entry will get them much traction this late in the game. Yes, it’s cheap, but there are other cheap ARs of decent qualtiy. And if you are indeed looking for an inexpesive hunting rifle of small caliber (varmint, hog etc., though you could concievably take deer with it, I don’t think I’d recommend it) why elect to use a 1:9 barrel? Wouldn’t you want the ability to stabilize long/heavy rounds? For the stated purpose of this gun, it seems like a 1:7 barrel would have been a much better option without any additional cost.

  26. Tommy…I also have a S&W M&P 15 Sport and it’s a tack driver. My wife loves it so much I wanted to get her own for Christmas but they’ve become scarce as hen’s teeth. One of my local dealers has 68 of them on order and all backorders were to be cancelled on 11/1/12. He was told S&W makes little profit on them and was concentrating on building higher end models.

    So I bought a DPMS Lite 16A3 that had a chrome lined barrel, dust cover and also a forward assist, all features missing from the S&W. It has no rear sight but I add a scope anyway. And the DPMS was cheaper. Both guns have been equipped the same by adding a scope, a bottom rail on the fore-end, a but stock pad and a Leapers bipod. I have been breaking it in for her so it’ll be ready to go on Christmas day (what a sacrifice, right?) and I love it. I may just try to convince her to switch rifles.

  27. YAWN!
    Imagine if Mossberg put this effort into a US TAVOR TAR-21?
    Or maybe did this rifle in an alternate caliber, one better suited to… hunting?
    Well, at least it’s another “Traditional” manufacturer making an AR platform. That drives the anti’s nuts.

  28. I have the S&W M&P15 Sport model and it only cost $649 + tax. It is every bit the equal of the Mossberg Hunter and deserves a look for anyone in the market for a low priced AR. IMHO

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