Earlier this year I had the chance to take Mossberg’s Patriot LR Tactical (LRT) out for a spin at Gunsite Academy. The new rifle, chambered in 6.5 PRC in my case, is Mossberg’s adaptation of their previously successful Patriot line of bolt action rifles, which are now being adapted into this new long-range capable rifle. The Patriot action was intended to be Mossberg’s “budget” line of bolt actions and can typically be found starting around $550 MSRP. The Patriot LRT is simultaneously an extension of the Patriot line, being a budget-oriented rifle, but is now a whole different animal with its new long-range chamberings in 6.5 PRC, .308 Winchester, and 6.5 Creedmoor, as well as a brand new MDT stock. Today I’ll share my experiences with the rifle over the last couple of months which should hopefully give you some insight as to whether or not you’d like to pick one of these up for yourself.
Mossberg @ TFB:
TFB Review: Mossberg’s Patriot LRT in 6.5 PRC – Marksman on a Budget?
The Patriot LRT is of course based on the Patriot action. The Patriot action features a two-lug bolt and the LRT has a fairly large knurled handle (which is replaceable). The bolt features spiral flutes which make for smooth cycling, and the rifle is shipped with both a 0 MOA and 20 MOA rails. Since long-range precision is the name of the game for this rifle, the Patriot LRT also comes with an adjustable LBA trigger which comes tuned from the factory to break at 2.5 lbs. I’m not a trigger snob and at no point during the review did the trigger become an issue for me when going after groups with various ammunition.
Both the 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester variants of the rifle feature 22″ barrels, the review copy I was sent, chambered in 6.5 PRC, features a slightly longer 24″ barrel, capitalizing on the 6.5 PRC’s distinct ballistic advantage at ranges beyond 600 yards over 6.5 CM. However, all models share the same medium bull barrel which is threaded 5/8-24. This will become extremely important later in the review.
As is common with more budget-conscious models of firearms, the Patriot LRT features a lot of polymer, but that isn’t always a bad thing and I think on the new MDT Chassis that the rifle ships with, it’s a fitting place to remove some cost rather than stealing it from the already good trigger, and premium bolt components. This whole package sets you back an MSRP of $1,095 making it less than half of the budget limit for the production class of PRS matches. However, this means that the comb height adjustment isn’t all that fancy, and the LOP adjustment isn’t one that can be adjusted in the field without tools. That being said, the chassis is extremely rigid and also features sling studs and M-LOK for attaching everything from lights, to additional sling attachments, or even bipods.
I’ve had the opportunity to run the rifle quite a bit over the last couple of months and I’ve shot virtually every variety of 6.5 PRC loading that Hornady has to offer. The rifle feeds very reliably from the AICS-style magazines that it comes with, and the bolt throw is smooth in both directions and locks very firmly into place. The rifle weighs in just 8.8 pounds, combined with the Magpul bipod, and the Crimson Trace Optic, the whole rig is barely scratching at 11 pounds which is fairly light considering the average PRS rifle starts weighing in at around 18 pounds. This combined with the 6.5 PRC’s considerable recoil can make shooting the rifle without a suppressor or a muzzle device very difficult if your goal is to keep a sight picture between shots.
When I added my Dragoon 450B to the rifle, it became a much more pleasant affair to shoot, but the 12″ long suppressor ballooned the overall length of the rifle to a whopping 54 inches – simply too unwieldy. My best advice here would be to commit to shooting this rifle with a reliable brake, compensator, or short suppressor, you’ll have a much better time shooting it if you do.
The 6.5 PRC cartridge offers the shooter virtually the same performance as the much more popular and more accessible 6.5 Creedmoor at ranges within 600 yards. However beyond that, the advantages of 6.5 PRC become much clearer as there is much less drop, and the 6.5 PRC’s projectiles typically aren’t dropping below supersonic speeds until about 1,650 yards versus 6.5 Creed’s roughly 1,475 yards. This means that accuracy is more predictable nearly 200 yards further.
Our first outing with the Patriot LRT netted sub-MOA groups from a number of shooters who were also at Gunsite Academy to test out the new rifles – my compatriot Hop included. These groups were shot after a quick zeroing session using Hornady 147-grain ELD Match ammunition. Sub MOA groups are more or less expected of PRS rifles, and probably most precision rifles at this point so the Patriot LRT certainly meets that demand, but where the magic happens is much further down range than the 100-yard groups we were putting on paper.
To test out the Patriot LRT’s capabilities at longer distances, the Gunsite instructors put us through a series of target engagements going all the way out to 1400 yards with various shapes and sizes of steel targets. With our trusty Gunsite instructors calling out wind for us, we relied on our previously prepared dope cards for elevation and most of the shooters went through the entire course of fire in sequence without missing a single shot at any of the ranges, even with varying winds, and the limited capabilities and clarity of the Crimson Trace optics compared to other high magnification optics. At home, I’ve had similar experiences with the rifle being kind of boringly accurate – even with cheaper 143-grain hunting ammo – but just a bit too powerful for me to want to haul my steel far enough down range to make shooting it fun enough.
The Patriot LRT is certainly a reliably accurate gun. I was quite surprised that throughout the entire long-range session a majority of the shooters there, myself included, didn’t miss a single shot. However, the combination of the absolutely ruthless recoil and the smaller eye box of the optics we used meant that finding your target and staying on target in between shots took a lot of mental and physical labor – not something you want in a PRS rifle.
If the Patriot LRT were in a much heavier chassis, or shipped with an effective muzzle brake, I think you’d have a much better shooting experience even with some more affordable glass like the Crimson Trace optic I used for this review. If your goal is hunting, just about any variety and grain weight will do when coming from Hornady Ammunition and the rifle is accurate enough that when paired with a competent shooter, follow-up shots shouldn’t be necessary.
One thing that does work against the Patriot LRT’s otherwise budget-conscious design is that 6.5 PRC is quite expensive. If a true budget rifle were in mind, I think the .308 option would be a much better candidate if it simultaneously mirrors the 6.5 PRC’s accuracy.
In short, I think the Patriot LRT is a lot of gun for not a whole lot of money in the grand scheme of things. However, I think it could stand to be improved from how it comes shipped and that’s something that the aftermarket community is always great at. I don’t really see what’s “tactical” about it, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things that really doesn’t matter. For just a hair short of $1,100 (about $950 street price), the Patriot LRT is a great platform that is reliable and accurate but still leaves a little bit of room in the budget to make it perfectly suit your long-range shooting needs.
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