December 11, 2017
Some manufacturers of bolt-action big game rifles have become so caught up in the synthetic stock movement they are virtually ignoring hunters and shooters who, like me, still enjoy being in the field with a handsome rifle. Mossberg is an exception.
When the Patriot was introduced in 2015, its classical styling took us back to an era when all rifles had walnut stocks. That type of stock was resurrected — not just to be different but because of requests from Mossberg's customer base. And with chambering options ranging from .22-250 to .375 Ruger, all varmint shooting and big game hunting bases were covered. The stock of the new Revere variation is an upgrade of previous stocks on Patriot rifles.
Mossberg describes the wood as Premier No. 2 grade European walnut, and the buttstock of the rifle I shot had enough contrasting figure to make it stand out among the competition in a gun shop rack.
The fore-end tip and grip cap are rosewood, with the letter "M" cut into the surface of the latter. White-line spacers transport us back to the 1960s. Something worn by the Revere — and not seen on all rifles back then — are posts forquick-detach sling swivels.
A 3/4-inch ventilated recoil pad does a good job of soaking up recoil, and the factory worker who did such a great job of fitting it to the stock deserves a raise in pay. A steel through-bolt with ends exposed in the sides of the stock reinforces the web of wood between the magazine opening and the recoil lug shoulder.
Stock and barreled action are held together by two hex-head bolts, one entering the bottom of the receiver ring just behind the recoil lug, the other toward the front of the receiver bridge. The front end of the polymer trigger guard is held in place by the rear stock bolt while its rear is secured by a wood screw turned into the stock.
At 14 lines per inch, the laser-cut checkering is a bit coarse, and while coverage on the fore-end is quite generous, it is a bit skimpy on the wrist. Inletting and wood-to-metal fit are not the best I have seen, but considering the price of the rifle, I dare not complain. An evenly applied synthetic coating should prevent fluctuations in the moisture content of the stock. The barrel free-floats in its channel in the stock.
Fit between the wood and the recoil lug is made tight all around by an extremely hard bedding compound. During my innocent youth, I picked up spending money from local deer hunters by fitting walnut stocks to Mausers, Springfields and other military-surplus barreled actions. Acraglas from Brownells made bedding quick, neat and easy.
Accuracy was usually best when only the rear surface of the recoil lug was tightly bedded against the stock. This was accomplished by applying several layers of plastic electrical tape to the front, sides and bottom of the lug and then coating the tape with release agent. I mention this because all surfaces of the recoil lug of the Revere are tightly bedded in the stock, which may explain why the rifle was not as accurate as expected.
For the benefit of those who are not familiar with design details of the Patriot action, I will begin by pointing out that some details were borrowed from rifles previously introduced by other companies. The tubular receiver will look familiar to owners of Remington Model 700 rifles, as will a washer-style recoil lug sandwiched between the face of the receiver and a shoulder on the shank of the barrel.
The two-position safety differs a bit from the Remington, but its thumb tab is located in the same handy place, just behind the bolt handle. Pushing it forward in preparation for firing exposes a red warning dot imbedded in the stock.
A bolt head machined as a separate part and then attached to the bolt body with a through-pin has been used by Savage for many years. In addition to being less expensive to manufacture than a one-piece bolt, it offers the manufacturing flexibility of using the same bolt body with heads matching cartridges with case rims of different diameters. Intentionally leaving a bit of axial play between the two parts can compensate for slight dimensional differences between dual-opposed locking lugs.
On Savage rifles, there is usually enough movement to ensure fairly uniform contact between the two locking lugs and their shoulders in the receiver. On the Patriot Revere, the movement was insufficient to allow both lugs to seat and only the left lug was making contact. And there was still no right-lug contact after 75 rounds had been fired in the rifle. This is fairly common among mass-produced bolt-action rifles, and hand-lapping the locking lugs to uniform contact with the receiver is one of the things gunsmiths who specialize in accuracy do when blueprinting an action.
Pressing a tab located on the left-hand side of the receiver hinges its blade downward and out of the path of the left-hand locking lug, allowing the bolt to be fully withdrawn. The face of the bolt is deeply counter-bored, although its wall is interrupted for the passage of a Sako-style extractor. Sharp checkering on the knob of its handle ensures a no-slip purchase by your hand.
The ejector is the ever-familiar spring-loaded plunger protruding from the face of the bolt. The surface of the bolt body is deeply fluted in a spiral pattern. Riflemen of yesteryear often commented on the exceptionally smooth bolt travel of the Krag-Jorgensen action. I have owned a couple of Krags for many years and agree with their opinion, but I will have to say the Patriot action is equally smooth.
Triggers on affordable rifles don't get any better than Mossberg's LBA (Lightning Bolt Action) trigger. The test rifle broke crisply at 42 ounces with no detectable creep or overtravel.
A polymer magazine housing is held to the bottom of the receiver by the two stock bolts. It contains the spring-loaded magazine catch. Also of a polymer material, the detachable magazine holds three magnum or four standard cartridges. During testing, all cartridges moved smoothly from magazine to chamber with only light pressure on the bolt handle. No malfunctions were experienced.
The magazine catch worked perfectly, but its finger tab should be recessed more deeply into the stock. One light bump on a pack frame and you'll finish up the hunt with a single-shot rifle.
A 22-inch barrel on a rifle in .300 Win. Mag. was a big surprise, and it explains the low velocities shown in my accuracy results chart. As I soon learned, the rifle sent to me had been put together for display at the firearms industry's big trade show, and that was the only barrel length available. The good news is production rifles of all calibers will have 24-inch carbon steel barrels. The barrel on the test rifle measured 1.18 inches in diameter over the chamber and 0.62 inch at its nicely crowned muzzle. The 24-inch barrel will be contoured the same.
Fresh from its factory box, the Revere and its included Weaver two-piece scope mounting base weighed seven pounds, six ounces. The addition of a 1.5-6X Bushnell Elite 4200 scope, Warne rings and three cartridges in the magazine increased it to eight pounds, 14 ounces. That's heavy enough to soak up a bit of recoil while being light enough to carry up the tallest sheep mountain.