[Review] Mossberg MMR: Best Budget AR-15?

Mossberg. Great shotguns, right?

I own a decades-old Mossberg 5500, a lesser-expensive version of the 550 autoloader shotgun meant to be sold in box stores. I bought it long about 1986 or so and paid $199 for it, if memory serves. I got it a long-gone retail store called Service Merchandise. At any rate, I still have it and it goes “bang” every time it should. Why mention that? Well, a whole lot of shooters don’t know that Mossberg makes rifles – they even make a handgun. I reviewed the Mossberg MC1sc 9mm – that is one handy little pistol. Another rifle, among others that they make, that you may not know about is a variation of the Winchester 1892 lever-action carbine in .30-30. They sell a lot of those. So, what’s up with this AR? A lot, it seems.

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Shooting The MMR – A Good Experience

I normally save the target(s) for the end of my reviews, but let’s go there first this time. I really enjoyed shooting this carbine and I’m more of a handgun guy so that said something to me.

I carried the carbine to my back yard shooting bench before the rain came – not complaining, we need the rain – but didn’t want to get it or myself too wet. Anyway, I am down on .223/5.56 factory ammo at the moment, along with every other caliber I shoot. This is a product of the times, as we all know. Hopefully, it will get better before long. Anyway, I had a handload ready that had performed well in my Del-Ton carbine. It consists of a Sierra 55-grain SP bullet ahead of 26.0 grains of W844, a military pull-down powder I bought from an AR shop that, unfortunately, is no longer around. I got this 10-shot group at about 40 yards – only having open sights, I didn’t want to push the range. I am not the best shot on the block. At any rate, the load liked the gun and vice versa. It hit just a touch left with a center hold but it isn’t my gun so the sights stayed put. I do believe that if you scoped this beast (or at least put a red dot on it), you would have an M.O.A.-or-close shooter on your hands. Given some factory loads to choose from, this gun would really shine. The rifling would support heavier bullets, as well. The 6-pound-plus trigger pull didn’t aid my accuracy attempts. Add in a modified trigger and you would really be good to go. Even given that, this is one sweet shooter.

target shot with MMR carbine

Nuts & Bolts

The MMR uses a direct-impingement gas system. I had done a round-up of some of the best ARs out there and I talked a bit about gas systems – you can read that here. I do not claim to be an expert on such things but do know a bit about what makes these guns tick. You can see in the following photos some of the inherent features of this gun. I liked most everything about it except for the trigger – at 6-pounds-plus, it was a mite heavy for precision shooting. But, triggers are easily swapped out in these guns so that’s not a deal breaker.

Photo Gallery

Now, let’s look at some photos and talk a bit about the gun.

Mossberg MMR right side
The MMR with butt stock collapsed.

Note, no forward assist or dust cover. The bolt is grooved and is ready for a forward assist but many ARs are coming out today without these items, as many manufacturers choose not to include them on their new builds.

mossberg branding on the MMR

No mistake who made this gun, to be sure. It’s nice seeing an old, trusted manufacturer’s brand on guns.

Mossberg MMR handguard
MagPul M-Lok handguard.

Nice furniture was used throughout the construction of this gun.

Mossberg MMR front sight and muzzle brake
Front sight and muzzle flash hider, A2-variety.

MMR-branding

The mag release was sure in its function, no slop here.

Mossberg MMR front sight side
Front sight from the side.

Both sights are easily-removed via a large screw. I left them alone and didn’t attempt to add other sights.

Mossberg MMR front sight

Mossberg MMR rear sight other side
Rear sight and its adjustments.

The large round knurled wheel is for gross adjustments and the smaller wheels are for dialing adjustments in finely.

Mossberg MMR rear sight side

Mossberg MMR rear sight aperture
Rear sight – it needed no adjustment.

It comes with two apertures, a large one for short-range shooting and a smaller one for longer distances, according to the owner’s manual.

large sight aperture of the Mossberg MMR

Mossberg MMR muzzle front
Muzzle – flash hider.
pistol grip compartment of the Mossberg MMR carbine
Pistol grip compartment – it is meant to store a battery or two.
Mossberg MMR buttstock
UTG Pro collapsible butt stock with integral sling mount.
made in usa on the rifle
Buttstock extended
Mossberg MMR upper separated
Swinging the upper away from the lower – captive takedown pin.

takedown pin of the MMR Carbine

mag branding on the MMR Carbine
Steel magazine with prominent branding

Reliability And Features

I had zero problems with the gas system. Reliability was excellent, with no feeding or extraction failures. The gun handled very well – the M-LOK handguard allowed the gun to sit on the shooting bag with no problems. I used a military 20-round magazine in order to shoot the gun off my bench, but the factory one allowed cartridges to be loaded and removed with no issues. I would trust it implicitly. Every detail about this gun just seems to yell “quality” – from the excellent handguard and other furniture to the steel sights, I could detect nothing that would steer me away from this. If Mossberg could simply adjust the trigger pull downwards a bit from the six-pounds-plus that it is now – even four pounds would help – that would go a long way to making this carbine ready to go out of the box.

Forward Assist – Needed Here?

The omission of a forward assist plunger is something that might concern me if I hadn’t already seen so many new ARs without that feature. Given the fact that the assist was added to aid in the gun’s functioning in the jungles of Vietnam, I’m not so sure that its omission is such a bad thing. Only you can decide if this is a deal-breaker or not…for me, it wouldn’t be. It was useful when it came out but after barrels began to be chrome-lined and guns were cleaned and lubricated properly, its necessity was not as great. The same philosophy applies to the lack of a dust cover…in the majority of uses, one is not required. If you want these features plus other upgrades, you could always opt for the MMR Pro version. Retailing at $1435, this gun is set up from the get-go for 3-Gun Competition and includes a forward assist, dust cover and many other upgrades. You can explore that gun here. For a lesser-expensive, more basic AR, there is nothing at all wrong with the MMR – only you can decide what features you want on your gun.

Specs

Caliber:5.56 NATO
Capacity:30 + 1, one steel magazine included
Barrel Type:w/ A2 flash suppressor
Barrel Length:16.25"
Sight/Base:Top Picatinny rail, rail-mounted adjustable sights
Barrel Twist:1:8
LOP Type:Adjustable, 10.5"-14.5"
Barrel Finish:Phosphate/MilSpec hardcoat anodized, free-floated
Stock and Furniture:
Furniture:Magpul M-LOK forend/hand guard; MOE grip and trigger guard
Lower:Black phosphate/anodized aluminum finish
Gas System:Direct impingement
Weight:7 lbs, 2 oz. weighed
Trigger Pull:6 lbs, 6 oz. average, measured
Length, buttstock extended:35.75"
MSRP:$967
“Real-World” Price:$600 - $770

If I Had My Druthers…

The main improvement that I would make to this gun would be to replace the trigger. The Pro model touts a 4-lb. trigger – I don’t see why they can’t put that trigger in this gun. I do understand that companies like to offer features “above and beyond” what comes on the standard-model gun in order to sell the upgraded one, but the trigger is something that has to be right or the rest of the gun’s build doesn’t really matter. At any rate, that’s my take on it. The gun shoots pretty well the way it is, but if it were given a better trigger, then it would shoot even better.

To Sum Up

Looking for an entry-level AR in 5.56 or maybe a second one to stick other-caliber uppers on? Here you go. I have seen guns that cost more than this one that do not have the feature set that this carbine possesses. From the iron sights to the fully-functional collapsing stock, I do believe that you could do much worse when you buy an AR. Buy this gun and stick a decent scope or other optic on it and head to the varmint fields – many coyotes and other critters would be in trouble. Or, use the sights that are on it. Flip the aperture to the large-diameter opening and take targets up close & personal all day long. Change the aperture to the smaller opening and test your marksmanship skills at 100-plus yards. Or, swap out the upper for one in .350 Legend or .300 Blackout and head to the deer woods. You have many options with this carbine. The one option that I really enjoyed was the pleasure I got just shooting paper. As I stated above, I’m more of a handgun guy so I don’t spend a lot of time with long guns of either the rifle or shotgun variety. To be sure, I know my way around such guns but I tend to specialize in revolvers and pistols. Having said that, I could see adding this gun to my collection. It seems to be very accurate, and its reliability is beyond question.

Did I like the MMR? Sure did. Would I like to add it to my collection? Sure would. If I did that, it might be worth exploring adding a different upper to it. I am interested in the .350 Legend but there are other calibers out there, too, that look worth my time. At any rate, this carbine is worth its cost in my opinion. If you’ve had experience with a Mossberg AR, please feel free to comment below. As always, keep ‘em in the black and stay safe!

Written by Mike

Mike has been a shooter, bullet caster and reloader for over 40 years. Never one to be satisfied with the status quo, he is often found at his reloading bench concocting yet another load. With a target range in his backyard and after 40 years of shooting, his knowledge of firearms and reloading is fairly extensive. He is married, with four sons and daughters-law and 9-and-counting grandkids.

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