This Old Gun: Mossberg 142K

by
posted on February 15, 2020
mossberg142k.jpg

Though today the name Mossberg is most associated with shotguns, for more than a century the company has manufactured everything from handguns to hunting rifles. It got its start, however, with .22-cal. firearms. The company, founded by Swedish immigrant and former Iver Johnson employee Oscar Frederick Mossberg, started in 1919 with the unique, four-barrel, .22 Long Rifle Brownie pistol and followed soon after with the Model K slide-action .22 rifle. Beginning in 1930, Mossberg introduced a line of utilitarian, single-shot, bolt-action rifles designed to meet the needs of the average American living through the Great Depression.

In 1938, Mossberg revamped its bread-and-butter .22 rifle lineup, with many industry firsts, including adjustable trigger pulls, quick-detachable sling swivels, a thumb safety with a “stop light” indicator of red and green dots and some of the first truly left-handed bolt-action rifles. The new rifles featured a “Mauser-type” bolt handle moved to the rear of the action. This allowed the rifles to be set up for telescopic sights, for which Mossberg supplied a line of affordable scopes. Utilizing stamped metal and synthetic parts (the stylized molded trigger guard with finger grooves would define the look of Mossberg .22 rifles and bolt-action shotguns for the next three decades) Mossberg built what it called “sound, well-engineered firearms at moderate prices.”

Mossberg 142K bolt handle and monopod

The new design was also used as the basis for an affordable line of adult-size target rifles with aperture sights. Of these, the Model 44 was adopted by the U.S. military as a training rifle during World War II. More than 50,000 of the rifles were procured by the U.S. government during the war, and, since then, many have been sold and distributed to civilians and shooting clubs through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). 

Following World War II, a slightly updated 100-series of Mossberg .22 rifles was introduced. Among them was the 142A, a bolt-action design that fed from a seven-shot detachable box magazine. A semi-automatic version, the 152, was also introduced. To appeal to the recently returned G.I., Mossberg advertised the rifles as “army-type carbines … inspired by the famous U.S. Army M1 Carbine.”

Both rifles featured sights that mimicked the M1, with a receiver-mounted rear aperture and a front post with two protective ears. Also like the M1 carbine, the rifles had sling swivels mounted on the left side of their walnut stock and came from the factory equipped with military-type web slings. A unique feature of the 142 and 152 was a molded synthetic (early models used wood) fore-end that would fold down to form a vertical hand grip or an informal monopod for prone shooting.

The K version of the 142, as pictured, was introduced in 1953 and manufactured until 1957. It differed from the A model by having a simpler sighting system—an open rear sight and unprotected front sight mounted on its 18" barrel. The 100-series of Mossberg .22s would eventually include more than a dozen different models of tubular- and box-magazine-fed semi-automatic and bolt-action rifles. While collector interest in these postwar Mossbergs is limited, they still represent a good shooting value. The 142K pictured is in NRA Good condition and includes its original sling. As such, it is worth $250.

By the late 1950s, Mossberg had once again updated its .22 rifle lineup with the 300-series. These models continued to be manufactured until the mid-1980s. The Mossberg company, still family-owned, has expanded its product line over the past few decades to include modern sporting rifles, high-powered hunting rifles and even compact self-defense handguns. Also cataloged are basic, affordable .22-cal. rifles, reminders of the company’s humble beginnings making “sound, well-engineered firearms at moderate prices.”

Gun: 142K
Manufacturer: O. F. Mossberg & Sons
Chambering: .22 Long Rifle
Manufactured: c. 1955
Condition: NRA Good (Modern Gun Standards)
Value: $250

Latest

Campbell 45 Colt 1
Campbell 45 Colt 1

The .45 Colt: History and Performance

From the Single Action Army to various other revolvers and lever-action rifles, the .45 Colt cartridge has more than a century of history and is still a favorite of many enthusiasts today.

FN PS90: The Space-Age Bullpup Carbine

When introduced in the 1990s, the FN P90 PDW was far different from more traditional carbines with its design and chambering. It design and layout are truly unique, and even two decades later the semi-automatic PS90 is still popular and futuristic.  

The Armed Citizen® July 23, 2021

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

NRA Gun of the Week: Black Aces Tactical Pro Series L

Known for coming up with some unique shotgun models, Black Aces Tactical has a stand-out shotgun with its Pro Series Lever-action shotgun design.

The Professional Hunter's Rifle

A professional hunter’s rifle is possibly the most important tool of his trade, and that which often keeps the close calls from becoming radio calls for help.

Rifleman Q&A: An Albanian SKS?

The Albanian SKS is a rather rare variant of the SKS rifle. Very little is known about its background, as compared to other versions. Read on.

Interests



Subscribe to the NRA American Rifleman newsletter