Mossberg Patriot Predator
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 08/11/2023
Pete Moore looks at an affordable rifle from Mossberg; The Patriot Predator
For many British shooters, the name Mossberg is primarily associated with pump and semi-auto shotguns. However, this famous American company goes back to the early 20th century and has produced all manner of guns.
It was around seven years ago that I tested my first modern Mossberg centrefire rifle, in the form of their MVP (Mossberg Varmint Predator) in .223 Rem. It came with a laminate stock of a loose, varmint/target configuration, with a very slim and deep butt, which was not to my liking. Feeling a bit basic, it nonetheless shot very well and later a colleague of mine bought the same model and replaced the furniture with an MDT Light Chassis system, turning it into a tack-driver. Stock aside, I was very impressed.
Recently, the UK importers, Viking Arms, sent me a Mossberg Patriot Predator in .308 Win. This model joins the seemingly never-ending tribe of cheap hunting rifles from the USA. I think a lot of us, me included, at times, can get a bit elitist with our guns. However, all a rifle has to do is shoot straight and show enough build quality to be capable in the field.
This ethos was started by Remington in 2001, with their Model 710. It offered a budget design that could be bought for a fraction of the cost of something seemingly more able. And if you don’t fancy dropping £1000+ on the more prestigious makes, then it makes good sense. So, think synthetic stocks, basic finishes and in some cases, a scope and mounts thrown in for around £500-600. A very attractive proposition for many hunters who aren’t looking for a badge.
Such a rifle is the Patriot Predator, which in truth comes out of the box as a reasonably well-made and proportioned package, that only requires scoping up to get you up and running. All for a mere £550. To be honest, if you’re not a gun snob, then its synthetic stock and basic finish engender a sense of peace of mind, as there’s no good wood or fancy blueing to worry about getting damaged.
Opening the box showed a reasonably good-looking and handy design, certainly more attractive than the Remington 710, which was ‘butt ugly!’ Most noticeable was the flat dark earth (FDE) sporter stock, the slim, semi-fluted barrel (threaded for a moderator), and a pre-fitted Picatinny rail. Also, a detachable box magazine. Please bear in mind, this is a sub-£600 rifle.
The bolt-action shows a straight handle with an integral cone end, and it offers good operation and grip. The action locks by twin lugs and shows a claw-type extractor and spring plunger ejector. The body is polished and lightly fluted, which I think is more cosmetic than functional. There’s a rolling safety (rear/right) of the action and a cocked action indicator plunger (see & feel) in the shroud. The release catch is located rear/left.
The stock is a moulded synthetic design but feels a bit more solid than some similar products. The butt shows a mid-height, straight comb with a right-hand cheekpiece, and it gives workable head/scope alignment. The pistol grip is comfortable, as is the forend. The latter shows cross bracing in the base of the barrel channel, to improve rigidity.
The magazine well, complete with 5-round detachable box mag and release catch, is a single moulding, and is sandwiched between the underside of the receiver and the action void. The recoil lug sits between the barrel collar and the barrel. There’s no pocket, as it fits flush at the rear face of the channel. Some chequering, QD sling studs, and a thick, squidgy recoil pad finish off the list. The length of pull (LOP) is medium/short at 13.75”.
The steel action is round, and the barrel attaches to it by a collar, a device doubtless poached off Savage, which allows ease of manufacture and head spacing. A great feature is the Picatinny rail that Mossberg has fitted, so no worries about scope mounting. The LBA (Light Bolt Action) trigger is again, Savage-like, with its blade-in-blade design, with both having to be simultaneously pulled to work. If the outer is tripped accidentally, the mechanism goes into lockdown, which is reset by cycling the action. It’s adjustable from 2-7 lbs, by a single screw, and the action has to be removed from the stock to do so. From the box, mine broke at 2.5 lbs, which was more than acceptable.
The 22” barrel is of light, sporting weight, plus it is semi-fluted. The muzzle section is expanded to allow a 5/8x24 UNEF thread for a brake or moderator. The twist rate is 1:10” for this .308 Win example, which should support most bullet weights. The finish is flat black. At 42.25” long and weighing a mere 6.25 lbs (bare-backed), the Patriot Predator comes up as a handy hunting package that should do the business.
I used three types of ammo. The first was some Seller & Bellot (S&B), lead-cored, 180-grain PTS (ballistic tip), which I thought might be a tad heavy for a standard .308 hunting load. For the non-lead option, Hornady’s 165-grain Full Boar, which uses their GMX monolithic ballistic tip. This has proved accurate and effective in a wide range of rifles. And finally, Norma’s 170-grain, lead-cored Tip Strike.
Glass went to two Leupold scopes. For accuracy testing I used a 4-15x50 with a medium Duplex reticle, and as I wanted to do a bit of woodland stalking, my old VX7 1.5-6x24, whose compact dimensions really suited the Patriot.
The LOP is a tad short for those with long arms, and bolt operation is a bit loose, but locks up solidly. The action cocks on opening and is easy to manipulate in the shoulder. I like the 5-round box magazine, that can also be topped up in situ, or when you need to just throw another round in quickly and close the bolt. The release catch is at the front of the well, and the mag falls free. However, it’s possible to falsely insert it, so that it appears in, but isn’t. But a good slap on the base ensures full engagement.
The LBR trigger is good and although only weight-adjustable, it gave a crisp, short, and consistent release. The safety catch doesn’t lock the bolt when applied, which is a mixed blessing, but is well located under your thumb, so doesn’t affect your firing hand position in operation. Weight and dimensions are good, and it’s an easy, all-day carry.
Calibre choice on this model is interesting and reflects changing attitudes. You get .243/.308 Win, .22-250 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 and 7mm PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge), with options on 22” or 24” barrels to suit the heavier numbers. There is no .270 Win or .30-06, doubtless replaced by the PRCs. Very niche is the 16.25” .450 Bushmaster chambering, and I doubt if Viking even bother with this one. Their website only shows three options - .243, .308 Win and the Creedmoor.
Testing was done off the bench at 110 yards, and as can be seen, all three loads shot around MOA (minute of angle), and typically were under the factory quotes, due to these figures usually being gathered using tight-chambered, 24-26” barrels. But for a .308 Win 22”, is about right, as it’s pretty forgiving on length.
The S&B impressed, as for the heaviest load, it shot well and carried energy effectively, plus being a ballistic tip, would give good expansion. Non-lead is a bit different, as effective expansion is more dependent on the velocity, but the Hornady did well with enough performance out to 200 yards, which many consider the limit. The Norma did the business as well, so another good bet. In truth, not a lot separates these three, apart from individual choice.
One aspect of the calibre, certainly in the 22” version, was recoil, as it was quite sharp. OK, .308 Win can be a bit snappy, but in the Patriot, it was certainly more noticeable. This was from an unmoderated barrel, as I did not have a suitable can, so screwing one on would doubtless tame things a bit.
My only negative was that the ejection cycle was not that positive. Work the action too slowly and chances are, the fired case will drop back into the action, as opposed to being kicked out. So, be aware, you need to be consistently aggressive in operation. Apart from that, and especially at this price point, I have no real complaints.
Make Weight (grains) Quoted Velocity (fps) Actual Velocity (fps) Energy (ft/lbs) Group (MOA)
S&B 180 2510 2414 2328 0.9
Hornady 165 2610 2513 2325 1.0
Norma 170 2543 2507 2384 1.2
Make Distance (yards) Speed (fps)
S&B 210 2070
Hornady 190 2158
Norma 193 2129