David E. Petzal Reviews the Mossberg 4×4 Bolt-Action Rifle
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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 4×4, and she said to give the impression of something tough and useful, intended for the world of hard knocks. They got that right. The 4×4 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 4×4 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 4×4 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.