A Sub-$450 Bolt-Action Ringing Steel At 1,800 Yards — Mossberg’s Patriot Predator

I fondly remember picking up my grandfathers old dusty, faded hunting magazines and reading about hunting rifles. Unless you were buying a rifle from Kenny Jarrett, or other custom builders, sub-MOA rifles were nary to be found. Sometime during the late 90’s or early 2000, factory rifles started to appear that could produce MOA results with factory ammunition. These days, companies guarantee MOA accuracy and owners seem to fly into a fit of panic if their new rifle fails to group 1.047 inches at 100 yards.

I recently got to spend some time behind a Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, and had no problems hitting a 24-inch plate at 1,800 yards. How times have changed.

SPECS

  • Type: Bolt Action Rifle
  • Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Capacity: 5 rds.
  • Barrel Length: 22 in. fluted; threaded 5/8×24 TPI with a 1:8-in. twist
  • Features: Spiral Fluted Bolt with Oversized Handle
  • Trigger: LBA Adjustable Trigger
  • Drop-Box Magazine
  • Picatinny Rail
  • Flat Dark Earth Synthetic Stock
  • Finish: Matte blue
  • Length of Pull: 13.75 in.
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs.
  • Overall Length: 42.25 in.
  • MSRP: $441
  • Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons

Pre-Testing

Before field testing, a dry patch was run down the bore of the rifle to clean any residual oil. I took advantage of the threaded muzzle and attached a SilencerCo Trifecta muzzle brake. I also checked the screws on the scope base and found them to be slightly loose. The scope base was removed, the screws were cleaned, dabbed with Rocksett thread lock and the scope base was re-attached. The trigger on the Predator rifle is adjustable between 2 to 7 pounds. For testing purposes, I left it at the factory setting which measured just shy of 3 pounds.  Since the majority of my testing would be done in the prone position, I built up the comb using some foam and athletic tape. Proper comb height mitigates issues related to parallax and, increases fitment and comfort.

Accuracy

Accuracy testing was done at the family ranch, in the prone position. The target, an RE Factor Tactical Hitman Target,  was 100 yards away and stapled to an old wooden shed. For testing purposes, I used a Nikko Stirling Diamond 4-14X power rifle scope. During testing, I positioned myself so that wind would be at my back. This was to mitigate horizontal deflection related to aerodynamic jump.

The results of the accuracy testing are represented in the pictures. From the pictures, you can see that the 140 grain Barnes Precision Match and the 127-grain Barnes VOR-TX LR hunting ammunition performed the best, printing .65 and .50 MOA 3-shot groups at 100 yards. Hornady’s offering also performed well. The 140 grain Hornady American Gunner held .75 MOA, while the 147-grain Hornady Match held 1 MOA. Hornady 147 ELD-X Hunter held .75 MOA. The round that performed the worst was the 130-grain OTM Match + round from PRIME. Typical groups from the PRIME ammunition were around at 1.25 MOA. For the long-range portion of testing, I chose to use the Hornady 147-grain Match ammunition, due to performance at 100 yards, and the fact that I had a significant amount available.

Field Testing

For the long-range portion of the test, I wanted to push the Mossberg Patriot Predator out to 1000 yards. I believe that a well-made rifle, regardless of barrel profile, when paired with good glass, and good ammunition should be able to hit an 18-inch target at 1000 yards. For the long-range portion of the test, I set up an 18 and 24-inch steel target. During my field test, I shot the Mossberg Patriot Predator at 100, 200, 450, 800, 1000 and 1800 yards. Field conditions for the test were less than ideal. I had a 1/2 value, 15 – 20 mph wind that alternated from 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock. The wind, combined with the dry air created a dense mirage that periodically obscured the steel targets. With that said, I had first round hits all the way out to 1000 yards, and though I was shooting at a relatively large target, the rounds were at least MOA. Things got interesting when we drove to the 1800 yard line. The mirage combined with the erratic wind would make this shot difficult. Shrugging off the perceived challenges, I took a wind reading with my Kestrel, grabbed D.O.P.E. from the Applied Ballistics mobile application on my phone and cooked off 10 rounds at the 24-inch target. Of the 10 rounds shot, 4 connected. Not bad for a thin barreled, lightweight factory rifle paired with factory ammunition!

I have done a lot of coyote hunting, and I consider the Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle to be damn near perfect for the task. In my opinion, a good coyote rifle should be lightweight, accurate and rugged. The trigger should be crisp and predictable. The straight comb, though not optimal for heavy use in the prone position, is excellent for shooting in a sitting position of a tripod or shooting sticks. Since the Mossberg comes from the factory with a threaded barrel, an end user can attach a muzzle brake or suppressor to mitigate recoil and observe hits, or misses.

The Best Caliber

What is a good caliber for hunting coyotes? I prefer a round with a high ballistic coefficient, flat trajectory and a lot of energy for a quick ethical kill. Of late, I have been moving towards the 6.5 Creedmoor for all of my hunting and competition work. 6.5 Creedmoor is accurate, has a flat trajectory and bucks the wind better than its counterparts. The round itself can ethically kill deer and antelope and would make short work of a coyote. If I wanted to merely kill coyotes, I would opt for the Barnes VOR-TX LR or Hornady ELD-X precision Hunter rounds. If I wanted to harvest coyotes for their fur, I would use a match round and punch a round through the heart and lungs. I have found that MATCH rounds do not damage the pelt as much as a hunting round, but require better-shot placement for an ethical kill. If the 6.5 Creedmoor is not your thing, pick an accurate round with a high ballistic coefficient, mild recoil, and a flat trajectory.

Lasting Impressions

The Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle is a fantastic piece of hardware. It is lightweight, well made and very accurate. As its name implies, the rifle would excel at hunting coyotes, but it would also be perfect for any large game in North America. The Mossberg Patriot predator would make a fantastic “ranch” or back-country rifle. I recommend the 6.5 Creedmoor version of this rifle, due to the inherent accuracy of the round. The rifle I tested was not made for long range shooting, but as demonstrated, you can see that I stretched the range on this particular rifle. The Mossberg Patriot Predator was a joy to shoot, and unlike other rifles I have tested,  I did not have to “fight the rifle” during testing.  These rifles retail for around $350, which for the performance you get, is a steal.

For more information about the Mossberg Patriot Predator, click here.

For more information about Barnes ammunition, click here.

For more information about Hornady ammo, click here.

To purchase a Mossberg Patriot on GunsAmerica, click here.

{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Charles Stebbins November 8, 2017, 12:53 am

    I am confused. I see two targets and four boxes of ammo. I guess this is just a “background” for the picture but it gives the impression that the groups were shot with that ammo. I think it would be more “honest” to show the box with an actual group shot with the ammo from that box, or use a different background. Otherwise I enjoyed your article.

    • Travis Ryan November 13, 2017, 9:39 am

      Charles, don’t be confused. He shot more than one group out of each box….WOW.

  • MB November 7, 2017, 6:27 pm

    Wow! I have never taken shots at 1800yards, though have shot extensively with rifles costing thousands of dollars and using handholds that are chronographed and tuned to obtain groups that measure less than an MOA out to around 1000 yards.
    You took a $300 rifle and similarly priced scope with a few select boxes of factory ammo and “rang the gong” at 1,800 yards? Granted, you were spraying and praying. What’s the point?

    • DaveGinOly November 8, 2017, 8:13 am

      Someone with experience with multi-thousand dollar rifles who has never shot at 1800 is denigrating the accomplishment of using an inexpensive rifle and scope, and factory ammunition, to get 4 hits out of 10 at that range? Get real! Spraying and praying is what was done a few weeks ago when a long-range hit “record” was made on the 37th shot (with no attempt to repeat the feat). Forty percent hits on a 24″ target at 1800 yards (under less than ideal conditions) is pretty damn good shooting.

    • Thomas Gomez November 9, 2017, 1:03 pm

      Spraying and Praying? I fired 10 rounds in the worst conditions, using a finicky scope and a cheap bolt action rifle. It was a demonstration that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to make a shot like that. I will be going to the range in the near future with fancy Howa and my $2000 scope and I am going to see if I can push the 6.5 CM to 2000 yards.
      I hope this finds you well.

  • RJC November 6, 2017, 4:37 pm

    Question regarding article, how many moa was your holdover? My ballistic calculator a 6.5 Creedmore with Hornady 147 match bullet has stated factory muzzle velocity from of 2653 FPS. This would mean you would have at least a bull bullet drop of over 950 inches ( 75 ft) at 1800 yards?
    I know the 6.5 Creedmore is a great round, but I question 1800 yards?

    • Thomas Gomez November 9, 2017, 1:21 pm

      Hello RJC
      For the shot I used the Nikko Stirling Diamon 4-14 FFP reticle. I zeroed on the top mil dot in the reticle, essentially a poor mans Horus, which gave me 19 mils of hold over in the reticle. For 1800 yards I needed about 22’ish mils. So I held 19 mils and dialed 3 mils. I did not have full value wind so I did not have to worry about Aerodynamic Jump. Density Altitude was around 8000 feet. Temperatures were around 65 degrees and my average muzzle velocity was 2,644. Due to the nasty mirage, I dialed down magnification to around 10x. Biggest issue with the Nikko was to have consistent head placement to mitigate parallax issues. I mounted the scope so there was a slight shadow around the edges.

      The 6.5 Creemoor is a fantastic round, and I recently attended a long range shooting class, and I had a higher hit percentage then a gentlemen using a custom 300 win mag cooking off fancy 215 grain Bergers. For long range, you need concentric bullets with even velocities. Hornady’s 147 grain Match round’s have a G1 BC around .6. Outstanding round. I am going to jump on my fancy high end Howa 6.5 CM and push that round to 2k in the near future.

      I hope this finds you well.

      • RJC November 10, 2017, 11:15 am

        Thanks for information. Good luck with the Howa 6.5 CM at 2000 yards. Hope you can maintain bullet stability at that distance .

  • Rogue November 6, 2017, 4:27 pm

    Great article. I have some accurate fairly long range rifles but they are also fairly heavy so it’s good to see the great accuracy of a lightweight, inexpensive easy recoil rifle. I thought I had bought my last rifle but this has me thinking.
    As to Coyotes Jim has a good point but around my neck of the woods they have become responsible for killing a lot of local dogs, including a beagle of mine. A close by neighbor had one attack his dog as well. It’s when their numbers grow and they pack up that they are the most dangerous to our pets and to small game that we like to hunt.
    I have a feeling Willie don’t understand what “Length of Pull” means.

  • william wessels November 6, 2017, 4:06 pm

    Well written and researched. Thank you. Lived in Clarkston Washington for a number of years when I was younger and met Elmer Keith in Lewiston Idaho (Just across the Snake river form Clarkston). I enjoyed his articles very much. I think that if you keep up this quality of good work you will follow in his footsteps. I am a Vietnam veteran and was recruited heavily to be a sniper and went through the quick kill program in basic training. I certainly did not wish to be a sniper (thought I wanted to be a pilot) and ended up eventually in a much worse scenario than if I had been a sniper. Live and learn (maybe).

    • Thomas Gomez November 6, 2017, 11:41 am

      Thank you for your service William. I hope this finds you well.

  • Mike H. November 6, 2017, 1:29 pm

    A while back You had an article about the 6.5 Creedmoor round. One of Your readers, I don’t remember who,said the round was anemic. I have been shooting this round for a while now. I have taken a couple of deer with it with no problem whatsoever. Maybe he needs to learn how to shoot.

  • Pitt2500 November 6, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Was your long distance shooting done prone or off the tripod?
    Great article on a nice REASONABLY priced shooting “rig”!!!

    • Thomas Gomez November 8, 2017, 4:24 pm

      Hello Pitt

      Shooting was done off a Harris bipod.

      I hope this finds you well!

  • DagoBert November 6, 2017, 12:01 pm

    I have a Mossberg Patriot in .243 Winchester and one in .308 Winchester. With the rigbt factory loads accuracy similar to Tom’s is easily achievable with both.
    I wish that he would have allowed the Patriot’s secret of accuracy and affordability to remain secret.

    • Thomas Gomez November 9, 2017, 1:23 pm

      Hello Bert

      Thank you for the comment Sir.

      I hope this finds you well!

      – Thomas

  • john November 6, 2017, 9:29 am

    I do not know what rock you have been living under, but Weatherby has been guaranteeing their rifles for a very long time.

  • Terry November 6, 2017, 8:50 am

    The article stated “1:10-in. twist”. I couldn’t believe they would put that twist on a 6.5 creed so I checked the manufactures website and indeed its “1:8 twist”.

    • Laura Kovarik November 6, 2017, 2:39 pm

      Terry,

      Thank you for bringing that our attention. It was a typo. We’ve since updated the SPEC list.

      Best,
      Laura

  • Springwater Steve November 6, 2017, 8:31 am

    Great article. One question; in the article you said the rifle you tested had a Nikko Sterling scope, but the picture shows a Vortex scope. Did the companies merge or just an ooops?
    P.s. – I have Nikko’s on more than one rifle, and for the money they can’t be beat!

    • Thomas Gomez November 6, 2017, 11:45 am

      Hello Steve,
      All testing was done with the Nikko Stirling. Good scopes, they have a few quirks, but overall they perform well. After I tested the Patriot, I pulled the Nikko off for another review. When I did the product shots, I simply threw on a Vortex and took my photos. Good eye!

      I hope this finds you well. Thanks for sharing your experiences with Nikko Stirlings!

  • Jim November 6, 2017, 8:19 am

    I find myself asking folks like you lately what is up with shooting coyotes. I am on a ranch in Oregon with a large coyote population. They don’t bother the cattle and their diet consists primarily of voles and sage rats. If the coyotes go away those two species become intolerable. In all my years of ranching I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve come across or witnessed coyote predation involving the deer or elk. Heck…cars and trucks killed 780 deer in my County alone in 2016. I mostly see younger guys shooting coyotes simply because they can. Just asking why you Do it if not just for fun. I don’t have much patience for people who just shoot animals for fun. Thanks.

    • Thomas Gomez November 6, 2017, 11:51 am

      Hello Jim.

      The only times I will kill coyotes on the ranch, is if they are actually killing calves. If they are leaving the calves alone, we leave them alone. A ranchers best friend is a pack of coyotes that doesn’t kill calves, because they keep other potential calf killing coyotes off the ranch. As soon as we have calf die from a coyote we will do a cull. From my research, the more pressure you put on coyotes the more they will breed, and their litter size will increase. Fascinating animals. I personally do not enjoy killing animals, and with the exception of coyotes, will always eat what I kill.
      I hope this finds you well.

    • Scott Schwebe November 6, 2017, 5:26 pm

      Raising prairie dogs on a 5 acre “Ranch” is not a herd partner. Anyone that grew up on a ranch or farm knows why and if I have to explain it to a so called rancher I’d say your a keyboard rancher for sure.

    • Alan November 7, 2017, 12:28 pm

      And I don’t have patience for folk that push their silly ethics on hunting and alleged “killing for fun” either.
      Perhaps you should learn about ‘conservation’, and realize that if you intend to go down that path, become a vegan.
      I can respect a vegan, I cannot respect those that allow others to kill for them (for whatever the reason, killing is killing, period)while criticizing those that kill for themselves in legal pursuit of that kill.
      Poaching and wanton waste is a different matter, and not analogous here.
      I kill Coyotes and Prairie Dogs legally all the time, for you to put your false ethics on me is insulting, and demonstrates gross ignorance of Conservation and game management.

    • ES November 13, 2017, 12:47 pm

      I find killing coyotes or anything “just because i can” ignorant of the fact that these animals serve a great purpose and do not need to be target practice. I could not agree more that if a coyote is not killing domestic farm animals then by all means let them clean out the voles and sage rats. Just my two cents and i realize this irritates Alan. As for me, I’d never shoot an animal that can assist removing the above without having to use alternative means.

      • Alan November 14, 2017, 11:15 am

        And again, you and others don’t understand Conservation, or you would understand too many of any animal is NOT a good thing for that species, nor others.
        The real ignorance is that many of you don’t think the various States Dept. of Wildlife control these animals take, if it’s LEGAL, it’s most likely because that D.O.W. has determined it’s necessary.
        Too many coyote, not enough rabbits, or other species for them to live on ALSO means not enough for certain Raptors, fox or other predator species.
        It’s an entire ECO SYSTEM, and apparently beyond some peoples grasp to understand.
        This is especially true of coyotes, an animal that has taken over in many parts of the country, and has become a problem species for many D.O.W.’s, killing too many fawns and eating themselves and other species out of house and home.
        The fact that I have to explain this to ADULTS is absolutely unreal.
        And on a gun forum no less.

  • Willie November 6, 2017, 8:05 am

    Yeah, I don’ wanna gun with:
    Length of Pull: 13.75 in.
    It’d take me forever to pull the trigger.

    • Thomas Gomez November 6, 2017, 11:52 am

      Hello Willie

      Length of pull does not relate to trigger weight, but the length of the gunstock.
      I hope this finds you well.

  • mtman2 November 6, 2017, 7:17 am

    Very interesting but not surprising.
    With almost perfect sectional density and ballistic co-efficiency of the 6.5 bullet= not needing high velocity for quite decent trajectory with a fast twist barrel in which penetratration was unequalled.
    The Swedes accomplished this science of balance 125yrs ago with their 6.5 caliber cartridge configuration’s in quality high grade rifles in
    the Mauser 94, 96, 38 + 42B Ljungman semiauto- which was the forerunner of the AR15 design,.
    Finally the US. Military woke up to the superiority and very favorable ballistics of the 6.5 caliber.

    • Thomas Gomez November 6, 2017, 5:14 pm

      Hello,
      You are 100% correct. I want to try a 2000 yard shot with a 6.5×55 Swede. I am new to the 6.5’s, but my colleague Phil Massaro has been ranting and raving about them forever.
      Thanks for the comment! I hope this finds you well.

  • Pete November 6, 2017, 6:14 am

    Great review Tom!

    • Thomas Gomez November 7, 2017, 8:23 pm

      Thank you Sir.

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