Reviewed: Mossberg Patriot LR Tactical

Mossberg continues its "more gun for the money" tradition with the introduction of the long-range-ready Patriot LR Tactical.

Reviewed: Mossberg Patriot LR Tactical

For 104 years family-owned and operated Mossberg has thrived, and the values that pulled it through when others vanished shine brightly in the company’s new-for-2023 Patriot LR Tactical rifle. No, it’s not the kind of platform operators connect with at mind-boggling distances in faraway places under cover of darkness. Its mission is vastly different: provide the reliable and repeatable precision performance civilian enthusiasts deserve in package that remains true to the company’s “More gun for the money” tradition.

MSRP was not set in stone when Tactical Retailer attended an exclusive media introduction for the gun in late October, but company officials expressed confidence street price will run slightly more than $1,000. That makes it any retailer’s ideal solution whenever a budget-conscious customer expresses an interest in taking up long-distance shooting or adding to their collection. It packs all the features needed to hone skills, routinely connect at 1,000 yards or beyond, and comes from one of the industry’s most trusted names — and its racy looks are a bonus.


The Watchers

The intestinal fortitude of Mossberg’s engineers showed at the October event, which was held at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. Several were on hand, eagerly mingling with the group of more than 20 gun writers, each fresh from TSA screenings, flight delays and jet lag, ready to break something, anything, and eloquently complain while doing so.  

Turning a group of skeptical and angry scribes loose on an about-to-be-released rifle is any production team’s worst nightmare, but Mossberg’s team wanted stoppages, criticism and problems. Their up-close observation of bolt throws, safety engagements and mag drops made the Netflix series “The Watcher” seem like a family Christmas classic in comparison.

It wasn’t really that bad, but it was obvious the company was confident it had gathered an elite group capable of either boogering mechanical devices or failing to comprehend their function. There were minor problems, as with any new product, but by the time evening meals were underway, the engineers already had solutions. Mag insertion was too slow for the high-speed fraternity, for example. It came as no surprise when we learned production models would have a slightly more generous mag well, likely increased beveling as well.

Of the more than 20 testers, one pair of hands didn’t find the checkering on stock’s wrist to their liking. The engineers said plans are already in the works to make them available in alternate textures, each easily swapped by the rifle’s owner. The bolt that affixes the adjustable cheekpiece will be bulked up, too.   

Despite the best efforts of the gathered wrecking crew, that was it. Nothing broke and the complaint inventory was unusually short — very short. Yes, there were out-of-the-box operator errors, but considering where torture testing was conducted, the feat is nothing short of amazing.


Torture Test

Arizona’s dust, dirt and grime is not a hospitable environment for mechanical devices. Loaning rifles, providing unlimited ammo and requiring shots from the prone position adds to the stress. Most gun owners won’t subject themselves and their rifles to high-volume fire in that environment for three straight days just to find their gear’s breaking point. 

The guns survived, arguably thrived, during the Gunsite event. Some of the observations at the famed facility’s longer-range firing lines were telling.

One non-media member in attendance was shooting a rifle for the first time in her life. After a dozen or so rounds to sight in at 100 yards, she graduated to ringing steel at 400. Despite the distance,  she connected with eerie regularity—and it wasn’t a fluke. One shot after another resulted in a “clang.” Only unexpected gusts of wind interrupted those multiple strings.

No complaint about recoil followed, either. The loaner rifles were chambered in 6.5 PRC, admittedly not a heavy-recoiling cartridge, but she might weigh 100 pounds, after a heavy meal, when dripping wet and wearing a dive belt. The Patriot LR Tactical’s customizable fit makes it comfortable to shoot.   

Experienced shooters were printing smaller groups at that distance with ease. The platform is accurate and intuitive and comes with all the features customers need to make those long-distance connections.

The rifle isn’t a lightweight. Naked, without the scope, bipod and sling, it weighs 8 pounds. Despite that fact, several writers said they’d be eager to carry the gun during hunting season. It’s obviously not tailored for sheep hunting at altitude, but it’s an unusual virtue in a precision platform.


Different Kind of Sessions

Rifles provided for testing wore 24-inch barrels with a medium bull profile. That’s the standard configuration for the 6.5 PRC model. Rifling rate is 1:8 inches. Weight, as mentioned before, started at 8 pounds, but a Crimson Trace Hardline 4-16x42 mm MR1 MOA scope, Wheeler rings, Magpul bipod for M-Lok and Allen sling added to the heft. Ammunition provided was Hornady’s 147-grain ELD Match load.  

The event began, as all do at Gunsite, with introductions, safety briefing, review of the facilities on site and schedule of events. The marketing team and engineers from Mossberg then took the stage, explaining the rifle’s development. Shooting sessions took place daily, each followed with classroom debriefings and repeated pleas for criticism.

The approach was refreshing. It wasn’t a painful review of prepared publicity materials each day. It was an active dialogue with users known to be some of the industry’s most vocal critics. Days before, the expert instructors at Gunsite had gotten their own chance to review/break some of the new Patriots, and their comments made it obvious they were also impressed with the performance.


The Specs

The Mossberg Patriot LR Tactical will also be available in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. this year. All barrels in the line are button rifled and made from 4140 heat-treated steel. The 6.5 PRC model has a 24-inch barrel, but the other models wear shorter, 22-inch versions. Each come threaded for muzzle devices and have an 11-degree match crown. Rifling rate for 6.5 mm versions is 1:8 and .308 comes in at 1:10. Weight on all models is 8 pounds.

Spacers provided with the rifles, when inserted in front of the recoil pad, allow adjustment of length of pull by as much as ¾-inch. Cheekrest height can elevate by two inches, and thanks to at least one writer who likely used it for a midday nap, engineers are confident production versions will stay there even under fat-headed stress.

The guns come with Mossberg’s LBA trigger, adjustable from 2 to 7 pounds of let-off weight. It’s a pleasure to use, and the factory setting runs around 3 pounds.

Bolts are push-feed, twin-lug and spiral fluted and ran smoothly during testing. A Picatinny rail atop the receiver makes optic mounting a breeze, and the MDT AICS-style magazine provided has a capacity of 10 rounds in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. It’s seven for 6.5 PRC. The mag release is a generous-sized bar in front of the trigger guard. Both are large enough for gloved use.

The MDT stock with V-block aluminum bedding adds the stability to reliably make those long-distance connections. The forend is M-LOK-compatible with four slots at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. Sling swivel studs are fore and aft on the stock, and the bolt handle is oversized, with texturing for positive purchase in foul weather or cold. The safety is where you expect it, the right side of the receiver, where it’s easy to reach and intuitive in operation.


Broad Appeal

It’s a great rifle, and if that predicted street price didn’t grab your attention, there’s something else to consider. Every customer who walks through your store’s doors is unique, even those who share a passion for an identical firearm pursuit.

The spectrum spreads further when it comes to long distance. Some of the enthusiasts who can afford high-end guns are always in the market for something new. The vast majority, especially today, are on a tight budget. And then there’s an all new generation that includes that sharpshooting gal at Gunsite — only beginning the journey and at that spot where comfort is key.

Keeping a selection of rifles on hand to fit all those needs, in different chamberings and styles, is a financial burden and shelf-space challenge for retailers. Mossberg has introduced a solution for 2023 with its Patriot LR Tactical, and it looks good doing it.

It packs all the performance needed to satisfy customers and keep them coming back. After more than 100 years, it’s what we’ve come to expect from Mossberg — “More gun for the money.”


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