May 22, 2023
By Alfredo Rico
Mossberg rifles are responsible for my quest of many years to find what makes a rifle accurate and precise. No matter the model, I have shot tiny groups. They achieve a level of precision that I didn’t think a mass-produced factory rifle could attain. It’s one thing to have one rifle shoot well, but almost all of the rifles I’ve shot punch way above their weight class. That’s no accident or matter of luck. Their newest rifle, the Patriot LR Tactical, continues the streak. What makes this Mossberg a top choice for long-range shooters is that its Patriot barreled action is now married to an MDT Oryx chassis.
However inherently accurate Mossberg rifles are, consistency has been difficult in their polymer stocks. Flex undermines a rifle’s consistency. Most polymer stocks don’t have the solid foundation needed for repeatability. Mossberg’s Patriot LR Hunter was a good step in the right direction with its aluminum pillars and high-impact resistant polymer stock, but the Patriot LR Tactical stock is much better.
MDT stocks are popular among pro shooters because the company knows a thing or two about building a great stock that allows the full accuracy potential of a barreled action. The Oryx stock is a hybrid stock, meaning it has a partial aluminum chassis in a polymer body. The chassis starts 2 inches before the start of the grip panel and ends 2 inches forward of the front action screw. This provides a solid foundation for the receiver and recoil lug while minimizing flex at the grip and buttstock junction. Short of going with a full-aluminum chassis, Oryx stocks are a great way to optimize a rifle’s accuracy while keeping it price friendly.
The stock has elements that are popular to precision shooters but remains in the tactical and hunter realm. There is no ARCA-compatible rail or barricade stop magwell. Its buttstock has an adjustable cheekpiece with 2 inches of rise. A single screw loosens and tightens the cheekpiece. Length of pull is adjustable up to .75 inches by adding spacers between the stock and recoil pad. The vertical grip has removable panels that leave these ripe for aftermarket grips when they become available. Interestingly, the grip texture is a Mossberg-designed weave that can be found on their MC2 line of pistols. The pattern varies depending on where it lands on the grip.
A flat and wide forend gives ample stability when perched on a tree limb or other improvised support. M-LOK attachment slots adorn the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. Sling studs round out the stock’s ends.
The receiver is a twin-lug, push-feed action with a spiral-fluted bolt and oversized bolt handle. Although the photos show a rail with zero cant, a 20-MOA rail will be included in the final production rifles. The safety is a two-position unit that doesn’t lock the bolt.
Mossberg’s own Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger hangs from the receiver and is adjustable from 2 to 7 pounds. The LBA trigger’s safety blade must be depressed before the trigger will disengage the sear. The triggerguard is made of high-impact plastic and has a large opening for a gloved finger.
Threaded into the action is a button-rifled barrel made from 4140 Chromoly. It has a medium bull profile, which makes it a good choice for firing a long string of shots before getting overheated. The muzzle has an 11-degree crown, 5/8-24 threading, and a muzzle cap. It’s ready for a muzzle device or suppressor.
The barreled action includes a recoil lug you would expect to find on a custom action; it is thick and wide. This distributes the recoil force along a greater surface area and improves overall stiffness.
The Patriot LR Tactical is available in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 22-inch barrel and a 1:8-inch twist; 6.5 PRC with a 24-inch barrel and a 1:8-inch twist; and .308 Win. with a 22-inch barrel and a 1:10-inch twist. One AICS-style 10-round magazine is included with the 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. models. A 7-round magazine is included with the 6.5 PRC. The rifle weight is 8 pounds.
In late 2022, I spent time shooting the Patriot LR Tactical at a Mossberg-sponsored media event held at Gunsite Academy. Mossberg was one step away from cranking up the production run of the Patriot LR Tactical rifle but wanted a final test session with the rifle. They brought two of their 19 engineers to the event to address any issues we may encounter and hear our feedback.
I chatted with Derek Parker, engineer team leader, about my great experience with their rifles and asked him how they can mass produce such good shooting rifles. He explained that Mossberg is organized around vertical integration and manufactures wood stocks, barrels, and actions. The barrel and action start out as bar stock and are turned into a finished component. With their other stocks, Mossberg works with well-known aftermarket stock suppliers (such as MDT) to manufacture and design stocks to their specifications.
Parker added, “The knowledge to build an accurate rifle has been known for a long time. Square the receiver, square the mating surfaces of the bolt to the chamber, etc. We adhere to the design principles that make an accurate rifle.”
He emphasized the important roll Mossberg employees play with quality. Their barrel makers have been making barrels for 30 years. Experience is part of it, and the other is job stability. Mossberg takes care of their employees, which makes for a happy employee and quality work. An interesting piece of Mossberg history is they did not start manufacturing centerfire rifle barrels until 2005 to coincide with the launch of the ATR (All-Terrain Rifle).
The test rifle was chambered in 6.5 PRC and looked fresh out of the box. A Crimson Trace Hardline 4-16x42mm scope with an MR1-MOA reticle mounted in Wheeler Picatinny scope mounts was atop the receiver. A Magpul bipod with M-LOK served as my front support. We fed the rifle Hornady 147-grain ELD Match ammunition and shot targets prone at 100 yards.
The length of pull was just right, so I left it as it was. The cheekpiece needed to be raised, and two turns of the screw later, I was set to shoot. I dry-fired the rifle to get a feel for the trigger, and it felt like it was tuned to 3 pounds. I find the LBA trigger to be surprisingly good. If you can’t shoot tight groups with this rifle, it’s not the trigger’s fault.
From the start, I had a problem seating the metal magazine without an aggressive shove. I told the engineers about my problem, and they scrutinized the magazine well and magazine. Others had this issue, too. As the day wore on, the magazine settled in, but it was still stiff. Later, Mossberg told me they widened the magazine well in the production models. When I received the production model, the mags locked in nicely.
Once I fired three shots, I walked to the target with Gunsite instructor Aimee Grant. The group size was 1 inch. Two shots landed in the same hole, and one landed an inch below. I marked the holes to indicate that it was the first group. Grant jokingly said, “Now I want you to shoot a tight, cloverleaf group for me.” I laid down on the rifle and fired three shots. Since there were other shots on the target, I couldn’t make out the group size through the scope. When we walked up to the target, Grant screamed, “You did it!” and gave me a high five. I looked, and it was a .25-inch cloverleaf.
The rifle continued to impress. My next group was a nice triangular 1-inch group. I marked the target, laid on the rifle, and fired another three-shot group. The result was the same triangular pattern overlapping the other. Each hole touched the previous hole, and one even centerpunched a hole. Although the group size is larger than .25 inch, the repeated triangular grouping shows me that the rifle is mechanically sound. My next and last group measured .35 inches. The average group size of the four groups was .65 inch. That’s plenty for most long-range shooting I do. We ended the day by shooting steel out to 700 yards.
The Oryx tactical stock makes a great marriage to the Patriot barreled action. The rifle felt solid as I laid behind it and when it recoiled. The Oryx recoil pad did a great job, making the rifle feel as soft shooting as a 6.5 Creedmoor. The trigger was consistent and predictable, which helped make the tiny groups possible. I didn’t have time before the article deadline to do a comprehensive test with different types of ammo, but I have shot enough rifles to know when a rifle is an inherently good shooter. Right out of the box, this one is. If you’re looking for a rifle at this price point, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the Patriot LR Tactical. It has everything you need to shoot long range confidently and consistently.
Patriot LR Tactical Specifications
- Type: Bolt-action repeater
- Cartridge: 6.5 PRC (tested), 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win.
- Capacity: 7+1 rds.
- Barrel: 4140 chromoly, button rifled, 24 in., 1:8-in. twist
- Overall Length: 44 in. (tested)
- Weight: 8 lbs.
- Stock: MDT chassis
- Trigger: LBA, two-stage, adjustable 2 to 7 lbs.
- Magazine: AICS
- Safety: Two-position
- MSRP: $1,085
- Manufacturer: Mossberg, mossberg.com