Bruce Potts reviews the Mossberg Patriot Predator .308 Win rifle
Sometimes you just want a rifle to get the job done, be that for keepering, forestry or occasional stalking. Or perhaps you are someone who is not interested in the niceties that a more seasoned rifle shooter might look for. In both cases, price, reliability and accuracy are the primary concerns. (Read our tips on best stalking kit.)
Mossberg is an American firearms manufacturer that dates back to 1919 and has always had the ethos of producing guns for working people – no airs and graces, just well-built rifles. Simple is often better, especially when the price is so appealingly low that even with the addition of a moderator and scope/mounts, it is an affordable set-up. (Read our list of popular rifles for deer stalking .)
The Patriot rifle range, introduced in 2015, offers budget-priced rifles, and this Mossberg Patriot Predator .308 Win model costs £555. Features include a dark-earth coloured, moulded synthetic stock, a one-piece Picatinny rail, an overall matt blued durable finish, a fluted barrel and bolt. Also, a detachable magazine and the Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger combine to make a practical 6.5lb stalking rifle. You can also order a walnut-stocked version, the Revere, for £925 or a Cerakoted camo model for £620.
Mossberg Patriot Predator .308 Win – barrel and action
This rifle is made for work and as such has a slim-profiled barrel that is 22in in length. The muzzle, with a diameter of 0.615in, is flared to accept the 5/8 UNEF sound moderator thread. Weight is further reduced by the addition of fluting to the barrel, which also aids with cooling. However, repeated firing will heat the barrel quickly and ultimately affect group size.
The rifling twist rate is 1-in-10in, ideal for the test gun’s .308 Win calibre. The barrel can handle any bullet weight in this calibre, and its 22in length helps the ballistics without hampering the handling. I like the rifle’s barrel securing nut, which ensures consistent head spacing for accuracy and is better than on other rifles in this price range.
The overall finish is a hard-wearing, non-reflective matt bluing to the barrel and action. At present, calibres of .243 Win, .308 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor are available, with no sights furnished – just a sensible one-piece Picatinny rail for universal scope fitment.
The action on the Mossberg Patriot Predator is well thought-out too, with a blued spiral/radial fluting, contrasting to the polished bolt body, that reduces weight and creates a smoother bolt with less chance of binding. The floating bolt head has a spring-loaded plunger-type ejector and claw extractor that work well. I also like the enlarged bolt handle, which allows for a better grip.
Construction is a one-piece injection moulding, making it lightweight but solid, with flexibility in the fore-end reduced by a matrix of internal ribbing. The barrel free-floats quite well, better on this .308 Win model than on a previous .243 I tested, so consistent barrel vibrations are assured on firing, helping accuracy. The matt dark earth colour also blends well with the metal finish. There is a moulded-in dropped cheekpiece to the left side, with stipple-effect panels to the fore-end and pistol grip that make for a comfortable hold, though are a tad short at 13.75in length of pull. Action bedding to the stock is important for consistent shots and as such we have no bedding compound, just a machine-inletted stock and large recoil lug that secures and centres the action correctly.
The LBA trigger unit utilises the safety ‘trigger within trigger’ system that prevents unintentional firing. It is adjustable from 2lb to 7lb but factory set at 3.55lb – not bad at all, with a predictable let-off. The safety is a two-position side-mounted lever, so is convenient to operate and silent if depressed a little.
I liked the flush-fitting, detachable, five-shot, all-plastic magazine, which is sturdy and weatherproof. and its double-stack design means you can refill from the top in situ when in a hurry. Nice.
Off the bench, I shot some factory loads and reloaded .308 Win ammo and was pleasantly surprised at the consistent accuracy from the Mossy. The best factory load was the Sako 123-gr Gamehead, which produced 2,924fps for 2,336ft/lb energy and consistent 0.85in groups. A good mid-range load was the Hornady SST 150-gr at 2,865fps and 2,735ft/lb energy and 1in groups at 100 yards.
One lead-free factory round was Norma’s 150-gr Eco Strike bullet, travelling at 2,757fps for 2,530ft/lb and sinking three shots bang on 1in. Not bad. Reloading the Hornady V-Max 110-gr bullet turns this rifle into a flat shooting fox gun and the best load was 44.5 grains of RL10X powder for 3,255fps velocity, 2,589ft/lb energy and 0.75in groups.
Lead free is all the rage and the best non-toxic load for this gun was the Barnes 110-gr TTSX with 41.0 grains of Swiss RS36 powder for 3,201 fps/2,503ft/lb and all shots under 1in. The lead-free 125-gr GMXs were not far behind, with 42.5 grains of RL10X for 3,008fps and 2,512ft/lb.
My old faithful load of a 150gr Sierra GameKing or switch lead free to a Barnes TSX, are also good all-round deer loads, shooting 1in groups with 45.0 grains of RL15 powder for 2,761fps/2,540ft/lb and 2,784fps/2,582ft/lb respectively.
We were finishing off some red hinds in Scotland and these are all large woodland beasts. Both the .243 and .308 Win versions of this gun performed without issue and it proved a useful companion.
The Mossberg Patriot Predator may be aimed at a budget-conscious audience, but with a cheaper gun, you are not worrying about scratching it or failing to crawl through the muddy ditch with it, so you actually become a better stalker by default. The red hinds prove the point as to its accuracy, and its reliability and weather resistance are not in question.
- Maker Mossberg
- Name Patriot Predator Type
- Bolt-action Sporter Barrel 22in, threaded 5⁄8in x 24 UNEF
- Calibre .308 Win on test
- Overall length 42.25in
- Finish Matt blued
- Stock Moulded synthetic matt dark earth Sporter
- Length of pull 13.75in
- Trigger Mossberg Lightning Bolt Action
- Safety Two-position side-lever
- Magazine Detachable five-shot in .308 Win
- Sights One-piece Picatinny rail
- Weight 6.5lb
- Price £555
- Importer Viking Arms
The Patriot may be aimed at a budget-conscious audience, but with a cheaper gun, you are not worrying about scratching it or failing to crawl through the muddy ditch with it, so you actually become a better stalker by default.