While Mossberg’s name is synonymous with their 500/590 series shotguns, they have also produced various rifles over the years. One of the latest is the Patriot line of centerfire bolt-action rifles introduced in 2015. The Patriot is an American made rifle that targets the entry-level hunting market.
For testing and evaluation purposes I ordered a Mossberg Patriot Youth Super Bantam Rifle chambered in 308 Winchester (model #27865). I ordered the rifle direct from Brownells, where they had it listed for $319.99 (March 2017). I used a coupon code along with the free shipping through their Edge program and ended up with the rifle delivered to my dealer for $299.99- not bad!
The Mossberg Patriot Youth Super Bantam Rifle is designed for younger shooters who are getting into hunting. The stock on this model includes a spacer to allow a 12 or 13″ length of pull making it ideal for smaller shooters. A quick note on stock length, even if a stock is too short, you can still shoot the rifle. Stocks that are too long can be more problematic. I selected this particular model as a base for a custom scout rifle project I’m planning to build. I’ve been reading posts by Richard Mann, who is a advocate of this rifle, and decided to select this model for that purpose.
The Patriot is a round actioned rifle that is influenced by the Remington 700 and Howa 1500 rifles. The round action, lowered rear bridge, and recoil lug are similar to the M700 and the cam area for primary extraction is nearly identical to the Howa 1500. If you are familiar with the Mossberg MVP 7.62 rifles, the Patriot will look familiar with a few differences in the bolt head, stock and bottom metal (note: a detailed look at Mossberg actions can be found here).
Metal surfaces on the Patriot are matte blue. This model is equipped with a 20″ fluted, 1:10″ twist barrel that is head spaced to the receiver with a barrel nut system (similar to a Savage 10/110). The barrel has a lightweight sporter contour with a muzzle diameter of .615″ and is finished with a recessed crown. Machine work on the flutes is flawless, possibly the best executed part of the rifle. Headspace was set at minimum SAAMI specification, with the rifle closing on a 1.630″ gauge, and staying open on a 1.631″ gauge.
The fluted bolt has a knurled handle, floating bolt head, spring loaded ejector and spring loaded extractor. The trigger is very good for an entry level rifle with an average break of 2 pounds 12.8 ounces over five pulls. Mossberg provides an easy to reach two-position tang mounted safety located to the right of the bolt shroud. A bolt release lever is located to the left side of the tang.
A one-piece injection molded stock is used on this particular model; however, wood stocks are available on others. As mentioned earlier, the Youth Super Bantam includes two recoil pads and a spacer to allow either a 12 or 13″ length of pull for the shooter. Contact surfaces are textured with a pebble finish, which I think is superior to molded checkering. Like other entry level bolt action rifles, the bottom metal isn’t metal. A plastic tab is used to retain the magazine. The trigger guard, like the one found on the Ruger American, is molded into the stock.
The rifle is fed through a 5-round double column injection molded plastic magazine. Typically you’ll see center feed detachable magazine designs for with use with two-lug bolt systems (think AICS), however, Mossberg went for a double-column. This allows the rifle to be easily topped off by placing rounds into the inserted magazine from an open action. A plastic tab in the bottom plastic (it isn’t metal) allows removal of the magazine. The magazine functions well, however, internal dimensions were limited to cartridges with an overall length of 2.810″ (SAAMI maximum).
Mossberg provides two extruded aluminum bases with the Patriot to attach Weaver style rings. These were simply screwed on without Loctite and the bases didn’t even match each other aesthetically (shape and finish, see image above). This was a disappointment. The entire experience was reminiscent of the 5.56 and 7.62 MVPs I own, both of which had rails that were loose from the factory. I would suggest Mossberg either use thread lock while installing the bases or simply provide them uninstalled in the box so that they get securely tightened when the scope gets put on. I’m unsure what the benefit of installing loose mismatched bases on a rifle is? It can’t help sales and my local dealer claims he gets plenty of unhappy customers who walk in with a rifle that won’t shoot because of loose bases.
The Patriot Youth Super Bantam is exceptionally quick handling. The light 6.5 pound weight, short length of pull and injection molded stock make for a nifty package.
For testing and evaluation purposes I used a TRACT Optics TEOKA 4-16x44mm scope with BDC reticle. TRACT also supplied Warne rings and bases (finished in grey to match the scope) to mount the scope. I’ve been using two different TRACT TORICs for the past six months and couldn’t be happier with the quality. The TEOKA costs slightly less than the TORIC but is equally impressive on the firing line.
All shooting was done prone, from a bipod, with a rear bag. Velocity information was collected with a MagnetoSpeed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph.
While I’ll typically hand load with most of my rifles, I decided to test this one with factory ammunition. I selected four different 308 Winchester loads, Winchester 147 gr. FMJ, Winchester 150 gr. Ballistic Silvertip, Federal Gold Medal 168 gr. Match loaded with the Sierra 168 gr. MatchKing, and Federal Premium 165 gr. Bonded.
Federal Gold Medal 168 gr. SMK (above, top) had an average muzzle velocity of 2816 feet/second with a standard deviation of 15.7 and a group size of 1.441″ (1.376 MOA). Federal Premium High Energy 165 gr. Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (above, bottom) had an average muzzle velocity of 2,794 feet/second with a standard deviation of 20.2 and group size of 1.440″ (1.375 MOA).
Winchester white box 147 gr. FMJ (above) had an average velocity of 2,816 feet/second with a standard deviation of 6.9 and group size of 2.513″ (2.400 MOA). That is a five shot group, two rounds went through the same hole.
The Winchester 150 gr. Ballistic Silvertip had an average muzzle velocity of 2,630 feet/second with a standard deviation of 22.6 and a group size of 3.271″ (3.124 MOA). That is a four shot group above, the fourth shot went high and right, just off the paper.
I shoot mostly match guns that weigh a lot, so touching off this rifle was a wake up call to how spoiled I’ve become- this thing was nasty! Switching to a lighter caliber in such a little gun would have mitigated it recoil, but this one woke me up!
So what are my thoughts on the Mossberg Patriot?
- A lot of gun for a little money! For around $300 shipped; you can’t go wrong.
- Mixed bag. Most of the budget guns get this comment. The trigger and barrel fluting were well executed (if you’ve ever machined barrel flutes you appreciate the work that Mossberg did). The stock was OK, but the scope bases and trigger guard molded into the stock were cheesy. I would have forgone the bolt fluting and put that money into something else.
- Accurate enough. Given my poor experience with a Mossberg MVP 7.62 that didn’t shoot well in the factory stock or a chassis, I had low expectations for the Patriot. However, the Patriot rose to the occasion offering sub-1.5 MOA precision right out of the box.
- Good donor for a Scout rifle. I understand why a few smiths build on the Patriot. Cut and crown the barrel, add a forward scope mount and a set of ghost ring sights and you are pretty much there.
- Poor man’s Model Seven? The Youth Super Bantam is reminiscent of a quick handling Model Seven, but for about half the price. Is it as nice as a new Model Seven? No, but for half the price it is worth a look.
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