Mossberg Delivers Plenty of Gun for the Money

Mossberg’s new Patriot LR Tactical bolt-action rifle provides comfort, durability and accuracy at a value price.

Mossberg Delivers Plenty of Gun for the Money

Mossberg has built an enviable reputation for quality in everything it makes. The tradition of performance started in its unfailingly reliable line of shotguns, but today it also shines in the company’s pistols and rifles. The includes the company’s new-for-2023 Patriot LR Tactical bolt-action rifle, that legend is about to grow, yet again. 

The firm is one of those rare American success stories, remaining family owned and operated for 104 years — and counting. The mission statement that launched the company, “More gun for the money,” remains squarely in focus to this day. It shows in this bolt action sporting a long list of value-added features that usually drive cost much higher. MSRP will hover just above $1,000, with street prices expected to dip slightly below that mark. 

Subtle improvements in the rifle were made shortly after I was given the chance to get behind the trigger this past October. That event was an unusual one, with several gun writers, bloggers and influencers invited to Gunsite Academy in Arizona and asked to try and break the rifle. Begged might be a more accurate term. 

Nothing broke, despite our best efforts and the torture-testing dirt, dust and grime that plague prone position at the famed firearm training facility. There were, however, plenty of suggestions for improvement. Each was minor, by the way, but duly noted by engineering staff on hand, another unusual facet of the gathering. I’ll talk about the unique attendance of the company’s technical team later, but in the meantime the rifle’s features speak volumes.

Tactical Specs

The Mossberg Patriot LR Tactical rifle tested at Gunsite was chambered in 6.5 PRC and wore a 24-inch medium-bull profile barrel. The rifle will also be available in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win., which will come with 22-inch tubes this year. Regardless of length, all are made from heat-treated 4140 steel, are threaded for a muzzle device and have an 11-degree match crown. Button rifling is 1:8 for the 6.5 calibers and 1:10 in the .308 Win. chambering. 

Comfort and repeatability are critical components for precision shooting and a key focus in this design. The rifle ships with recoil pad spacers that, when inserted, allow length-of-pull adjustment by the owner. Cheek rest elevation is also adjustable, which is where one of the requested changes in production models appears. Several of the writers took the “please break it” plea to heart and applied plenty of pressure on it during testing, causing it to slip slightly. It’s been beefed up in current models on the shelf as a result.   

V-block aluminum bedding in the MDT stock ensures a stable platform for precision, regardless of weather, and a nicely textured, oversized bolt handle makes operation easy when Mother Nature gets ugly and gloves become mandatory. There’s also plenty of room for mounting accessories. M-Lok-compatible slots are at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions on the fore-end and sling swivel studs in the usual fore and aft positions. The twin-lug, push-feed bolt is spiral fluted and provides a nice look to rifle. In the test model I was assigned it ran flawlessly, smoothly and solidly. 

The receiver has a Picatinny rail atop for mounting optics. The MDT AICS-style magazines that ship with the rifles have a capacity of 10 rounds in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. In 6.5 PRC the figure drops to seven. The mag release is a large bar in front of the trigger guard, and both have ample room for use when wearing gloves. 

As you might expect, the guns ship with the enviable Mossberg LBA trigger, with a user adjustable let-off weight from a light 2 pounds and up to 7 pounds, or anywhere between. If you haven’t tried one yet, you owe it to yourself. They are a pleasure to get behind and the average setting that ships from the factory hovers at or slightly above the 3-pound mark. 

The rifle is not a flyweight. That’s an advantage when delivering shots that stretch the distance, but at 8 pounds — without optics — it’s a consideration for hunts that chronically turn into run-and-gun foot races.

Direct Connection

Mossberg brought several of its engineers to the October event, which isn’t typical in any industry. It’s usually a marketing team rolled out in volume, leaving the pocket-protector-wearing designers behind a secret curtain somewhere back at headquarters. 

Other firearm companies have discovered, no doubt, that brief lunches with the folks crunching numbers rarely provides the kind of information worthwhile to readers. They are a scarcity — Hornady being among the exceptions. The conversations with Mossberg’s team were honest and criticisms were welcomed, sometimes met instantly with potential remedies — such as the cheek rest — and one member of that team even entered every comment on his laptop. It didn’t reduce the enthusiasm for breaking things, though. In fact, there was a reminder in the morning and after lunch to try and do so. 

The engineers didn’t spend their days back in an air-conditioned clubhouse either. They hunkered over magazine insertions and crops, bolt throws and inspected groups like they were hunting for a virus. They observed things the writers either didn’t notice or decided were too minor to mention.

  It’s a refreshing approach. The company obviously did its homework and invested thousands of hours at the firing line to finely polish the Mossberg Patriot LR Tactical into what I consider a real performer. That wasn’t enough, though. It assembled an elite team with all the right qualifications to enter the hall of fame — if there was one for folks who can break anything — provided unlimited ammo and let them loose in a place known to make guns wilt. 

Desert Survival

Mechanical devices of any sort don’t play well with dust, dirt and grime. Add an occasional Mohave rattlesnake and it’s downright fun to test a gun in Arizona, particularly at Gunsite, where the instructors are top notch and know a quality firearm when they run one. 

They’d received and tested several models before we arrived. Theirs, like ours, were loaners, so it was “No Harm, No Foul” to bind, booger and damage the Mossbergs. Run ’em like you stole ’em was the theme. The rifles passed with flying colors and the consensus among Gunsite’s staff was the rifle is reliable and delivers as promised downrange. 

That’s a lofty endorsement, but at the firing line another asset became obvious. One gal in attendance was ringing a gong at 400 yards regularly, with ease and obvious pleasure. I later learned the session was her first time behind a rifle, any rifle, and there was no complaint about recoil. Admittedly the loaner guns were chambered in 6.5 PRC, not exactly a heavy-recoiling cartridge, but if she weighed 100 pounds dripping wet it would cause me to question the scale. The rifles were not suppressed, either, and loud report has a habit of causing new shooters to flinch. The rifle is comfortable to shoot, obviously.   

Tiny groups were repeatedly produced by experienced shooters, confirming the fact the platform is deadly. The rifle might not qualify as a lightweight, but several writers said they’re eager for it to accompany them on their next hunt.


Full Kit

Crimson Trace Hardline 4-16x42mm MR1 MOA riflescopes topped out rifles for the evaluation. It’s not really the ideal scope for truly stretching the distance, but it served gallantly in the desert. Wheeler rings anchored the optic. A Magpul Bipod for M-Lok proved ideal from the prone position and when it was time to move the Allen sling made things convenient. We used Hornady’s 147-grain ELD Match load for the 6.5 PRC ammo.


Final Shot

The Mossberg Patriot LR Tactical is rugged, reliable and accurate. The rifle shines at long distance, looks racy without wearing an exotic price tag and, best of all, comes from one of the most trusted names in the industry. The team at Mossberg made it obvious in Arizona it remains dedicated to delivering more gun for the money — even after more than a century.


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