May 04, 2010
David E. Petzal Reviews the Mossberg 4x4 Bolt-Action Rifle
By David E. Petzal
Before we get to the Mossberg, I would like to comment on Phil Bourjaily’s suggestion that my title be changed from “Field Editor” to “Killing Editor” on the grounds of my extreme deadliness with a rifle, and generally bloodthirsty world view. Not only am I not offended, but I think it’s a good idea. What the hell is a “field” editor, anyway? It sounds like I work for a farm journal. “Killing Editor” gets down to cases, and I would be thrilled to see this on my business cards. If the folks at F&S have the guts…
Anyway, I asked Lisa Baker, Mossberg’s head of PR, why they called it the 4x4, and she said to give the impression of something tough and useful, intended for the world of hard knocks. They got that right. The 4x4 is a using bolt-action that comes with a choice of synthetic, walnut, or laminated stocks, in .25/06 to .338, plus a couple of short magnums. It has an effective muzzle brake, an honest-to-god recoil pad, and a very good trigger that is set at 2 ½ pounds.
Its stock lines are ... unique. But the barreled action is highly conventional, which is to say it works. I tested the walnut-stocked 4x4 in .270 WSM and because I got it on short notice and didn’t have any factory ammo in that caliber on hand, I shot it with 130-grain Swift Scirocco and 150-grain Hornady Interbond handloads. The average for both was .95-inch, which is very good, and for the hell of it, I fired a 10-shot group that was one big ragged hole, which is very, very good.
Weight, with scope, was 8 pounds even. The rifle feeds out of a detachable magazine which gave no problems, even with the contrary short magnum cases. At its MSRP of $631, the 4x4 is overpriced, but in the real world you can get it for $450, which is right on the money. For that amount, you get a very accurate, good-handling working gun that you don’t have to baby. And as for the stock lines, as Elmer Keith said, “Chacun a son gout.”*
*”Everyone to his own taste.” Ol’ Elmer spoke beautiful French, which was not surprising as he held a doctorate from the Sorbonne.