My first shotgun and .22 rifle were both Mossberg firearms. “Value for the money” means a lot, and the first firearms I personally owned certainly gave good value for the money. A good quality bolt-action rifle, at a fair price, should be a good seller. Among the most interesting of the modern “affordable” bolt guns is the Mossberg Patriot.
The Patriot features a round-body receiver as often used by Mossberg. The bolt locks up with dual lugs. The magazine is detachable. Mossberg uses an adjustable trigger that offers excellent all-around utility.
Mossberg Patriot Features
This isn’t a fancy rifle, but standard fare gets the job done. A close look at the barrel attachment shows a barrel nut that is similar to the cost-saving barrel nut pioneered on the Savage 110 rifle. The rifle features a standard plunger-type ejector and heavy locking lugs.
The bolt handle is easily manipulated. The safety is a standard two-position type. The bolt is attractively spiral turned. This spiral turning is attractive and perhaps offers a positive surface that sends foreign material into the slots and avoids tie-ups. Fluting adorns the barrel. Maybe, it would help cool the barrel a bit, but heating this barrel would take a lot of shooting! The barrel crown is nicely done.
Interestingly enough, the standard synthetic stock is well proportioned — even attractive. The comb is thick and level; drop at the heel equals the drop at the comb. The raised cheekpiece is ideal for most of us. The recoil pad is well designed.
The adjustable trigger is a nice touch on a modestly priced rifle. I originally set the trigger for three pounds during testing and fired off a benchrest. After I became more comfortable with the Mossberg Patriot rifle, I adjusted the trigger down to a crisp 2.5 pounds. For my use, this was an ideal pull weight. The Mossberg system worked well for accurate shooting. I like the Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger and found no drawbacks. The rifle was light enough at 6.5 pounds.
I originally used a different rifle scope, but I had an interest in testing the TRUGLO Buckline. I wanted to set up more than one rifle with the same scope. The Buckline is affordable, yet it features a duplex reticle, generous eye relief, and fully coated lenses.
I mounted the Buckline before doing serious benchrest work. The rifle was chambered in .30-06 Springfield. This is among my favorite rifle cartridges. The .30-06 hits hard and responds well to a careful handloader. With proper load practice, you may load the .30-06 to .308 or even .30-30 WCF recoil and energy levels. This makes for pleasant practice. With careful loading, you may produce handloads that tag at the heels of the .300 Winchester Magnum — with greater efficiency and less recoil — while burning less powder.
I set up the MTM Caseguard K-Zone shooting rest. I fired a few rounds of a favorite handload using the Hornady 150-grain SST to sight the rifle in. Once on paper at 25 yards, I settled down at 100 yards for accuracy testing.
I have observed excellent accuracy from the Mossberg Patriot rifle. It seems my experience wasn’t out of the norm. At the Patriot’s price point, you can afford a good scope and plenty of practice ammunition. When firing the rifle, I usually grasped and saved the cartridge case as it was ejected — I handload my ammunition. The ejection port was generous, offering plenty of room for loading and unloading cartridges.
The stock fit the action well. I think the wrist is a bit thin in many rifles, but the Patriot was ideal. Handling was good, and the rifle — a .30-06 example — was never uncomfortable to fire. The bolt-action was smooth in operation.
At one time, I did not prefer the detachable magazine. However, I have come to like this design better than the en-block type. Most of the loads I have fired have been handloads. These handloads use IMR 3031 powder and the Hornady 150-grain SST.
I had the rifle sighted, in short order, to strike an inch high at 100 yards. The TRUGLO scope was easily adjusted and offered a crisp, clear sight picture with nothing to be desired. Using this handload, the rifle grouped three shots into 1.5 inches at 100 yards.
Next, I moved to factory ammunition. I used the Hornady 150-grain Interlock American Whitetail loading. This is the ideal hunting load — for all but the largest — deer-sized game.
Settling into a careful rhythm, I was able to register an excellent 1.45 inches at 100 yards. I also used the Hornady Superformance, and I have fired handloads with the 168-grain Hornady bullets. Accuracy has been good.
I found the rifle comfortable to fire. However, .30-06 recoil adds up after a long firing session. Recoil was there, but so was accuracy. At this point, I could easily see how a shooter might sight the rifle in and retire the piece until hunting season. I left the rifle sighted for 150-grain loads, and the 150-grain Interbond load will be the choice for hunting.
I fired the rifle in offhand fire at 50 and 100 yards. I have worked up a practice load that is sensibly below factory standards with the Hornady 150-grain JSP and enough 4064 for meaningful practice. Results were good in offhand fire.
The Mossberg Patriot is accurate, reliable, smooth in operation, and offers good performance at a fair price. The .30-06 cartridge offers enough power for anything on the North American continent. This is a great combination.