Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Mossberg’s reputation has long been built on offering functional, reliable firearms at inexpensive prices. Like most shooters, I’ve had more than a few of their shotguns, and you’ll find a 500 in my truck at all times. They’re good working guns. Building on that well-earned reputation, Mossberg has released their budget bolt-action rifle, the Patriot Predator in a series of calibers.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator thread protector (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The rifle for this review came chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. I was particularly happy to see the 22-inch fluted barrel end in a thread protector, hiding the suppressor-ready muzzle. If you were a horrible person who hates America, I guess you could screw a muzzle brake on it instead of a silencer. The barrel has a matte Cerakoted finish. It looks fine, right up to the end. Most “tactical” rifles have a thicker barrel profile than the Patriot Predator, so it looks a little weird when the barrel sharply ends with the large thread protector.

The trigger is Mossberg’s own Lightning Bolt Action trigger (LBA). This user-adjustable trigger dials pull weight from 2 to 7 lbs and ships from the factory right at the minimum. Like many other modern rifles, this trigger includes an integrated safety bar.

Unlike many of those others, however, there’s a bit of squish and creep to this trigger, even at the lower pull weights. Compared to the newer triggers offered by Sauer, Savage, and Remington, the Mossberg LBA scores a solid meh.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator rail (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

This rifle ships with no sights, and there are no models or calibers in the Patriot Predator line that include them. Instead, the rifle comes with a Picatinny rail already mounted on the receiver.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator bedding (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The stock is yet another cheap synthetic semi-flexible mold job so common in budget guns. Mossberg’s is generally a better fit than some of the other rifles in this market, without the giant gap between the barrel and the fore stock that has become so common in this class of rifle. Unfortunately, “generally better” is a fairly low bar. You’ll find no bedding block and the recoil lug attached to the barrel simply slides in front of a plastic slot in the stock.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator stock (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The problem with these stocks isn’t just that they are ugly — and they are — but it’s that they move and flex too much. They tend to perform well enough off the bench, but that performance degrades sharply as the stocks are pressed against, leaned against, and generally put pressure on as you do when you’re actually hunting with them.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator barrel (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

That is certainly the case with this rifle. The fore stock is quite flexible. The barrel is free-floated, but there is a larger gap on one side than the other. On the narrow side, the stock just barely clears the barrel. It’s flexible enough that even a strong grip on the stock is enough to push it into contact with the barrel. That’s going to alter your point of impact at distance.

An inexpensive do-it-yourself fiberglass bedding job on this, or any of these types of rifles, would go a long way to ensuring consistent performance in hunting positions and varied environments.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator bolt handle (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The bolt knob is enlarged, and worked flawlessly. It’s set up well, with enough space under the bolt handle that I can quickly run my firing hand forward to catch the bolt handle in the web of my hand in order to quickly work the action.

That action also moved better than I would have expected on a rifle at this price point. Once lubed, there were no catch points along the bolt’s path. The bolt itself is spiral fluted, a nice touch which gives the gun a bit more of a high-end look.

Surprisingly enough, the entire magazine housing itself is also plastic. Upon assembly, it sits below the receiver and is attached to the receiver only when it is inside the stock itself.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator magazine housing (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I put 250 rounds through the gun over a week’s time. I lubed the gun with RemOil and passed a bore snake through the barrel a few times before shooting it. I did not clean the gun or disassemble it in any way again until the shooting portion of the review was complete.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator muzzle (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The rifle never failed to load, fire, or eject with any ammunition. The box magazine never failed to lock in place. Magazine loading was easy with any round within SAAMI maximum length. Although it was a tight fit, I had no problem loading five in the magazine and one in the chamber. In short, I had no issues with the rifle’s reliability whatsoever.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator bolt (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Ejection is consistent, but not particularly powerful. It’s really shooter preference as to whether that’s a good thing or not. Generally, a powerful ejection is great, because it clears the hot shell from under your feet or your clothing and is less likely to get jammed back into the receiver if it hit a previously un-noticed tree branch while hunting. On the other hand, chasing brass all around the floor at an indoor range or digging it out of the dirt is no fun at all.

The Mossberg Patriot Predator requires a harder pull back to eject fully, and if you decide to just ease it back with your fingers while on the line (something I have a bad habit of doing) you may very well end up with the case not fully ejecting. I had that issue a few times, but it was entirely operator-induced.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator bolt face (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I was pleasantly surprised by the precision the Patriot Predator was capable of. Mounting a US Optics 10X scope and shooting at 100 yards from a Caldwell Stinger Shooting rest, my best groups were using the Hornady 120gr ELD Match round. That cartridge printed 1/10 of an inch under 1MOA.

However, there was a considerable difference in group size using different rounds, even when bullet weights were the same. Federal’s American Eagle 120gr OTM printed 1.4″ groups under the exact same conditions. That’s still not bad for an inexpensive bolt gun, but it does, once again, prove that half the precision is in the load itself. Other loads shot between those two extremes. All groups were five-round groups averaged over four shot strings.

Gun Review: Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle

Mossberg Patriot Predator group (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The Patriot Predator prints good to acceptable groups and does so with perfect reliability. It also handles well. It’s a fairly lightweight rifle, but none of the calibers it’s built for are particularly punishing. Combined with smart caliber choices and the generous recoil pad, shooting the firearm over long strings is easy.

The Patriot Predator is not an heirloom gun. Unless, that is, you intend to upgrade it over time. One of the benefits of purchasing a Mossberg firearm is the extremely wide range of parts available, not just from the aftermarket, but from Mossberg itself. Mossberg’s website provides spare parts, different stock choices, and a lot more and at very competitive pricing. 

John Stewart over at Kiote Rifles turns these guns into solid 1/2 MOA machines with a barrel, trigger, and stock swap. After all, a budget rifle that’s slowly refined over time and passed down is a long-standing practice. This rifle’s not a bad candidate to carry on that tradition. 

 

Specifications: Mossberg Patriot Predator

Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor (also comes in .243 Win, .308 Win, and .450 Bushmaster)
Capacity: 5+1
Barrel Type: Fluted, Threaded 5/8″ X 24 TPI
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Sight: None (Picatinny rail)
Twist: 1:8
LOP: 13.75″
Barrel Finish: Matte Blued
Stock Finish: Synthetic (Flat Dark Earth)
Weight: 6.5
Length: 42.25″
MSRP: $441 (easily found online for $350)

Rating (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * *
The synthetic stock is without adornment or texture. The fluting in the barrel and the bolt are appreciated, but it doesn’t make up for the uneven layout of the barrel in the stock.

Customization * * * *
Because so many options are offered on the Mossberg website, there’s a lot you can do with this rifle. There are also lots of aftermarket choices for barrels, triggers, and better stocks.

Reliability * * * * *
I’m suspicious of the long-term durability of these light-weight synthetic stocks, but the rifle performed flawlessly for the course of the review.

Accuracy * * *
With just the right round, the gun will score sub-minute of angle groups. With most others, it’s just a bit more than that. That’s not bad at all for a gun at this price point.

Overall * * *
For what many shooters want a rifle for, the Mossberg Patriot Predator will fit the bill. It’s a perfectly reliable hunting rifle and will put rounds into the vitals of game animals well out to the ballistic capability of the cartridge it fires. The trigger is a little sub-par compared to other rifles in this category, and the stock is, sadly, right there on par with its competition.

comments

  1. avatar possum says:

    I’d have to glass bed or get an aftermarket stock. One of the draw backs to Mossberg’s new rifles. I’ve got a Mossberg 800b in .243 from 1968. It was a low end gun back then but it’s high dollar compared to some of this new stuff.
    .. well had a 800b , but it’s swimming with the rest of them, wink wink

  2. avatar Pmac says:

    Always had good luck with Mossberg firearms. Nothing fancy, but solid performance. I suppose in 6.5 the coyotes will simply surrender. Of course, in .308 and .243 it’s next to useless. I don’t think .308 and .243 are even lethal. I read where the .450 Bushmaster is an adequate squirrel round though.

  3. avatar Walt says:

    It doesn’t matter what company you like, winchester, savage, remington, ruger, mossberg, browning, T/C etc…They all offer a low cost rifle in a plastic stock. They all suck, but they keep the cost down.
    The Mossberg patriot can be found for $350, but the mossberg predator sells for a little more. I think $450 at Bass Pro. I have one in 6.5. It has brown cerakote barrel and action and camo stock. With 129gr hornady SP I get about 1 inch group at 100 yards. About 3/4 inch groups with precision hunter or match ammo.
    The good thing about these low end rifles? You’re shooting targets or hunting at a very good price. Mossberg sells a walnut stock that’s pretty nice for $249 if you want to upgrade. Boyds is also a good option. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the low end rifles today. For $350 and a $100 scope you can be out hunting. If you want a nicer Mossberg, look at the Mossberg Patriot Revere. AA grade english walnut stock with a 24 inch barrel. About $650.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Great comment, thanks.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      I have a Savage Axis which is a low cost gun that came with a Bushnell scope. 358.00 after rebates and discounts. It’s not a beautiful wood stock and it’s got a plastic magazine but it shoots well in .308
      I’m not a snob about such things as fine english wood on guns I take in the woods and rain. I got a bipod on it and that did more for accurate hits than anything.

      The beauty is in the machining and quality that goes in the business parts. Stocks can be replaced but a gun needs solid bolt and barrel to be any good. This gun fits that category.
      The stock to barrel fit looks like a QC issue I would address with Mossbery , Mr. Taylor

  4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    In the year 2032, after winning the caliber wars, all calibers will be 6.5mm Creedmoors. No other calibers will exist.

    And all restaurants will be Taco Bell…

    1. avatar Pmac says:

      I agree, but we’re going to need some really long bullets to have enough bullet weight and sectional density to take dangerous game. Everyone will have to read Bell. Wait! He used 7X57mm Mauser. Obviously .5mm too large.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        It’s important to remember what Bell had to say about hunting elephants with the 7×57. He said that is was a fine “little rifle” and a “professional’s rifle” that it required a perfect knowledge of the game animal and required surgical precision to reach a specific spot in the elephant’s skull. Even then, he said there were angles that no shot could be made, and that anything other than a frontal shot had a 70% likelyhood of penetration to the brain.
        Also, his shots were very close, always within 50 yards, and he wrote that the herds were so large and so loud that they rarely knew he was there and didn’t respond to the report of the rifle, enabling him to shoot several animals at a time.

    2. avatar Walt says:

      I really like my 6.5-06 and 6.5 PRC. 147gr eld bullets with a .700 BC. Outstanding in the wind.

      1. avatar Pmac says:

        I hope your not seriously suggesting that a 30-06 case necked down to 6.5 has any appreciable difference between it and a .270 Winchester (6.8mm) in the real world. 3/10 tenths of a millimeter and 3 grains of weight. Assuming 150 gr in .270. Really?

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Save your brass. At least you’ll be able to buy 6.5mm bullets.

        1. avatar Pmac says:

          That’s funny! Except I sold all my reloading equipment a few years ago. Premium bullets loaded by all the manufacturers, several thousand rounds of rifle ammo, hundreds of pistol and thousands of .22 LR put back in the ’80s. Saw it all coming. Besides, my time is worth something. No offense to the reloaders out there. Know a bunch of guys that love tinkering with it. It’s just for me, there’s a lot of fish that need to be caught and I’m way behind.

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Pmac, in the last 8 years, my annual round count shot averages to 32,000. Reloading is a financial necessity.
          I think there’s a whole lot of folks just like me.

        3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Damn, JWT. Keep that up and you’ll be shooting like Jerry in another 3 or 4 decades.

        4. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Gov, #everydayisrangeday ain’t just my hashtag. It’s my way of life.

        5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Well after doing the math, 87-2/3 rounds per day doesn’t actually seem like that much. For the money (25 cents per round) it’s probably better for you than smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day or drinking a case of beer every day.

  5. avatar Pete says:

    What a wonderful time we live in, when a budget rifle will turn in groups that were previously only available from a high end custom rifle.

    1. avatar Jedi Wombat says:

      Man, thats a fantastic way of looking at things. We seem to forget a lot when talking about “the good old days” how lucky we are. Kudos!

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      What we have now is decent peforming rifles at inexpensive prices, and really well performing factory ammunition. These aren’t, by any means, rifles that perform as well as high end custom rifles from days gone by, unless you mean 200 years ago. I have several stock bolt action rifles from the 1950s that well out-perform this rifle, with the right round.
      That round us at least half the reason we are seeing such good groups in these budget rifles. Factory ammuniton, especially from Hornady and the Federal Premium line, is just so much better than what we were shooting off the shelf even 30 years ago.

      1. avatar burley says:

        Maybe you could set up a comparison? Do a ’50s model Weatherby (or other high end rifle of the era) vs (your $350 rifle of choice made since 2015). It may be difficult to find the same chambering, and that would be ciritical for the review, but I’d read it.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          I’ve done something similar in the past, but not with a high end model, with the Savage 110 in .30-06. That model, made in 56, has a much better stock, better stock to metal fit, a vastly superior finish, and much more bolt lug to receiver contact than the modern 110. It also shoot MOA with multiple commercial loads.
          But go look at a Winchester Model 70 of the era, if you really want to see a big difference between “standard” back then and today.

  6. avatar Sweetpea says:

    I’m going to try this one out today. I will let you know how it handles. 😉

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