A few years back I wrote in another publication about a bear hunt where I used a Mossberg rifle topped with a Swarovski scope. In the comments section, I got a wisecrack from an Internet expert about putting a $1,000 scope on a $100 rifle. The perception was that because many Mossberg shotguns are affordable, that their rifles were cheap. Well, I’m here to set the record straight—they’re not. In fact, their full-featured MVP LC has a suggested retail of almost $2,000.
That’s a bit above my pay grade, but Mossberg has other more affordable rifles and I recently had the opportunity to give a Mossberg Patriot rifle in .25-’06 a thorough workout during a Gunsite Hunter Prep course. With a suggested retail price of $499, it’s more of a lunch bucket price, but it’s well made and full featured.
The course had us firing 300 rounds over three days. While that’s not much for a carbine or pistol course, it’s a lot for a hunting course and I suggest if you ever take one, you use a lighter-recoiling rifle and not your super magnum or you’ll definitely be flinching by the end of the first morning.
Features I liked begin with the walnut stock. Usually I’m a synthetic kind of guy because my guns are tools, but Mossberg puts nice wood on these guns that are a huge step up from the “walnut finished hardwood” on other guns in this price range. Other nice cosmetic features include the fluted barrel and bolt. The barrel is lighter while retaining stiffness and the bolt just looks cool.
Feature-wise, I liked the detachable box magazine that can also be top-loaded while it’s in the gun. Gunsite’s Hunter Prep course has several scenarios meant to challenge your ammunition discipline, and if you’re not keeping topped off, you’re going to go empty. The course of fire is not meant to be realistic unless you’re being overwhelmed by a hoard of zombies, but it does give you a lot of great practice quickly loading and reloading to the point it becomes second nature.
Mechanically, these guns have robust plunger ejectors and adjustable Lightning Bolt Action triggers that anyone who can turn a screw can tune to between 2 and 7 pounds pull and still be safe. The safety is in the right place on these guns, and as for accuracy, I was regularly making kill shots out to 400 yards. The guns held up great in the hot, dusty desert conditions even though we didn’t clean them the entire time, with the only malfunction being when one gun developed sluggish ejection from dust accumulating around the ejector, and cleaning corrected that.
Bottom line, you get a hell of a lot of rifle for the money from Mossberg. They may be affordable, but they aren’t cheap.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”