I was invited to deer hunt on a lease in the Texas hill country. The loaner rifle I had previously used on such occasions wasn’t going to be available. I needed my own deer rifle, but I had precious few dollars to allocate toward that cause. An advertising flyer caught my eye offering a Mossberg Patriot .308 with a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 premium optic for under $500.
I bought that Mossberg and had a very successful hunting trip that season. I still have the Mossberg and every year, whether I’ve hunted or not, I’ve confirmed the sights. If I’m not going to use it, someone else in my family may. And to be honest, who doesn’t appreciate an excuse to go shooting?
Mossberg Patriot Features
The Patriot’s button-rifled fluted barrels are free-floated and have a recessed crown for maximum accuracy. At 22 inches in length, the barrels are built to achieve full velocity from every caliber, yet they are short enough for quick handling in the woods. The Patriot’s spiral-fluted bolt looks really cool and is at just the right angle for quick follow-up shots without banging up your hands. It’s easy to load cartridges into the box magazine and the magazine into the gun.
The Mossberg Patriot features the Lightning Bolt-Action Adjustable Trigger, which is user-adjustable from 2–7 pounds. The stock design is streamlined and checkered for easy, efficient operation. The walnut and laminate stock has a stippled pistol grip and forend that provide a steady grip during wet weather.
Mossberg has a long-standing relationship with Vortex that results in an excellent scope match for the Patriot rifle. The scope that was in my package, and the one still offered in the popular scoped hunting rifle package, is the Crossfire II 3-9×40 Riflescope with Dead-Hold Bullet Drop Compensator Reticle. Once your rifle is zeroed in at 100 yards, the BDC allows you to compensate for other distances using hash marks on the reticle.
For hunters who really appreciate a fine scope, this one appears to have it all. It boasts a long eye relief, fast-focus eyepiece, fully multi-coated lenses, and resettable MOA turrets. The hard-anodized, single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum tube is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed for waterproof/fog-proof performance. The Dead-Hold BDC Reticle’s customized hashmark design helps eliminate guesswork on holdover and windage corrections — good at varying ranges where estimating holdover is a concern. I know people spend thousands of dollars on riflescopes, but for my needs, this one worked perfectly.
This rifle weighs right at 8 pounds and is 43 inches long. It balances beautifully. With its 22-inch barrel, it is easily maneuvered in the brush and well-balanced. That barrel has a 1-in-10 right-hand twist, by the way. Even though I shoot left-handed, where the cheekpiece does me no good, the gun is still very comfortable to shoulder.
My rifle is a .308 Win. with a 5-round magazine capacity. The combo is also available in the following calibers: .243 Win., .270 Win, .30-06 Springfield., 6.5 Creedmoor, 22-250 Rem, 7mm-08 Rem, .25-06 Rem., .300 Win. Mag, 7mm Rem Mag.
I’ve hunted with rifles costing three times what this Patriot package costs, but with the Patriot, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. It’s sweet to bring to the shoulder, the bolt operates smoothly, and the set trigger clicks to give you a chance to verify everything is correctly aligned, before just a touch and downrange your target drops. Or if it’s a non-game target, holes appear to let you know you and a superb rifle have done a superb job of getting off a shot.
Accuracy with the Vortex
Recently, my grandson and I checked the zero on the scope at 60 and 100 yards with some 150-grain Remington Core Lock and several weights of Norma Whitetail. The scope was still on from when we last zeroed it. Interestingly, there was very little difference between our 60-yard impacts and our 100-yard impacts.
We got our best groups using the heavier bullets such as the Berger Juggernaut OTM and Berger Classical Hunter. We were shooting the rifle from a bench with no support except our elbows on the table. Neither one of us are serious hunters, but it was a fun afternoon.
Since I bought my Mossberg Patriot .308, I reviewed Mossberg’s website to see what they were currently offering. I was pleased to see my package was still in the catalog. Mossberg is also offering the Patriot rifle in various other packages such as Hunting, Night Train, Youth, Predator, and Long Range Hunter. It certainly appears that there’s something for everyone, all very reasonably priced.
Mossberg is still family-owned, and a large part of its business is shotguns used by military and law enforcement. Although the company headquarters is in Connecticut, most of the firearms are made in Eagle Pass, Texas, with a dedicated workforce of something close to 500 people.