Mossberg Patriot Bolt-Action Rifle Review

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Editor’s note: A bolt action rifle in February? Absolutely. There’s no better time. There are clearly more relevant times, like just before the fall whitetail season, but this is the best time to buy a bolt gun. Most hunters are just now getting sick of venison in their chili. The gun stores have all cut the prices on the hunting guns they didn’t sell last fall, and GunsAmerica is full of kickass deals. Steals, really. And this Mossberg Patriot may be an even bigger steal as most people don’t associate the Mossberg name with rifles.

A Box Full of Promise

The last time we met at the range, my editor limped over and handed me a box that obviously contained a rifle. We often get to choose the guns that we review, but sometimes we’re selected because we are the best person for a particular gun. Occasionally we are handed a gun because someone fell off the ladder going up to their attic and can’t operate a shoulder-fired weapon currently… which is exactly what happened with this one.

As soon as I got the rifle home I began the unboxing process. Inside the box was a fresh Mossberg Patriot Bolt-Action Rifle in 30-06 Springfield. This one has thin, fluted barrel with a recessed crown. The action is set in a polymer stock. The Weaver mounting rails on either side of the chamber will be familiar to almost everyone. The action itself has a feed ramp for reliability, and the gun is runs from a detachable box magazine. The bolt has a spiral-flute bolt and two locking lugs.

This version of the Patriot has a humble, no frills, aesthetic.

This version of the Patriot has a humble, no frills, aesthetic.

All-told, this is a utilitarian hunting rifle. The 30-06 is a fantastic round for whitetail. The polymer stock is incredibly light. It is easy to carry, almost indestructible, and–as we’ll get to–it helps with the absorption of recoil. The box mag is useful, too, as it allows (if you have more than one) to carry a variety of different loads for different distances, or types of game.

The fluted bolt is the only obvious adornment.

The fluted bolt is the only obvious adornment.

This trigger reminded me more of a Glock trigger than that of a bolt-action hunting gun. I don’t mean that it’s made of plastic, but the safety release in the center of the trigger reminds me of a Glock. I quickly gave the trigger a couple of pulls, and it was noticeably light. I measured it at a consistent 2 lbs., 1 oz. with my digital trigger gauge. There was some creep to the pull, but nothing intolerable.

I topped the gun with a Leupold VX-2 3-9 X 40 scope and rings. While the 3-9 isn’t nearly enough to maximize the long range potential of the .30-06, it is ideal for the Ozarks, where I hunt. I very rarely get terrain that opens up beyond 300 yards, and most of the hunting we do is at close range.

After a little research, I was shocked to learn that the suggested retail price on this nicely-adorned hunting rifle was a mere $386. I think we all know that after the initial rush, the price of a new gun tends to come down considerably, especially for those of us who are dedicated shoppers. Even so, at full retail price this gun is a bargain if it can shoot anywhere close to as good as it looks.

The flutes on the barrel help reduce weight and disperse heat.

The flutes on the barrel help reduce weight and disperse heat.

The forend offers a pebbled texture for a good grip.

The forend offers a pebbled texture for a good grip.


Caliber.30-06 SPRG
Round Capacity5
Barrel TypeFluted
Barrel Length22
SightWeaver Style Bases
LOP TypeFixed
Barrel FinishMatte Blued
Stock FinishSynthetic (Black)
The back end is equipped with enough rubber to keep the polymer from eating up your shoulder.

The back end is equipped with enough rubber to keep the polymer from eating up your shoulder.

The accuracy that the Patriot offers is rock solid.

The accuracy that the Patriot offers is rock solid.

On the Range

In preparation for a trip to the range with the Patriot, I selected several brands and weights of ammunition. I think it is important to let a rifle tell you what kind of ammunition it prefers. By taking multiple brands and types of ammunition, I was hoping to give the Patriot a plethora of sweet spots to choose from.

When I got to the range, I set my target up at 50 yards and gave it a quick bore sight. It took me about six rounds to align the point of aim with the point of impact. Once everything was in sync, I set out to try the rifle for accuracy. I decided that my methodology would be to fire no more than a total of six rounds before allowing the barrel to cool to the touch. There are some who would prefer to let the barrel cool between every shot–and that may be the most honest assessment. Pencil thin barrels are easy to carry, but heat up fast. This is a lightweight hunting rifle–not a heavy-barreled bench gun. Odds are you will only get one shot that really matters on a hunt. Maybe two.

The heavier Wolf spread out a bit more.

The heavier Wolf spread out a bit more.

I started off with some Hornady Reduced Recoil 125gr SST to establish a good baseline. The gun quickly demonstrated its ability for accuracy. I was able to consistently shoot 1 MOA groups from the bench–not a bad start at all. I switched to some heavier Wolf 180gr copper soft-point brass-cased ammunition, and the accuracy of my shots was greatly diminished. I’m still not sure whether this was an issue with ammunition quality, or with the weight of the bullet. The rifle was still producing accurate groups, but they were much wider than those shot with the lighter rounds.

This is where the box mag could come in useful. Sitting in a tree-stand, waiting for that trophy buck? Rack in a round you know will drop a deer when placed with precision. And if a sounder of swine should saunter out under the feeder, pack in the heavier Wolf rounds and try to pop off as many pigs as you can before their flight instinct wins out.

The light rifle is very easy to carry, and stabilizes well on a sturdy surface.

The light rifle is very easy to carry, and stabilizes well on a sturdy surface.

Let’s take a moment to discuss the Patriot’s recoil. I found the rifle to be light-recoiling, and not at all as punishing and I had expected. Some light 30-06 rifles kick hard, but the polymer in the stock must be flexing and absorbing some of the impact. And the butt pad is thick enough to take out the shock. I had somehow managed to forget my Caldwell lead sled, and was using a range bag in its stead. All told, the whole package seems ideally suited for the caliber, and wasn’t at all hard on the shooter.


Whenever I see a gun with a value price but a load of features, I always wonder, “Can they repeat this? Or is this configuration a one hit wonder?” Well, when it comes to the Patriot, Mossberg produces way more flavors than the mere 31 that Baskin-Robbins offers. I stopped counting at 60 different variants based on caliber, finish, stock and optics. That’s a lot of options for such a modestly-priced rifle!

My takeaway from all this is that this rifle deserves a look no matter what your application is for a bolt-action gun. Whether the environment is hunting or tactical, the Patriot must be seriously considered among the bolt-action candidates. This is coming from someone who’s always equated Mossberg strictly with shotguns: not any longer.

Final Thoughts

If you’re in the market for a rifle, can you spend more and get more than the Patriot offers? Certainly. Is this gun going to compete with guns at ten times the cost? I don’t think so. But is the Mossberg Patriot going to go toe-to-toe with rifles that cost twice as much? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

The box mag.

The box mag.

Branded well, so there won't be any confusion with other mags.

Branded well, so there won’t be any confusion with other mags.

The safety is easy to access with the thumb.

The safety is easy to access with the thumb.

The Hornaday was the clear winner with the rounds we tried.

The Hornaday was the clear winner with the rounds we tried.

Velocity held steady in the 2,600+ FPS range.

Velocity held steady in the 2,600+ FPS range.

This is three shots, but it is the first that counts, and it was almost dead on.

This is three shots, but it is the first that counts, and it was almost dead on.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Larry Lile August 30, 2017, 7:49 pm

    I bought a new 308 this week in their kryptek banshee finish, then i mounted a old bushnell thropy 6×16 on it.
    I just came in from our farm range where I put my first few rounds thru it, and I am well pleased, it shoots acceptable for a hunting rifle.
    This makes 4 308 rifles for me, I have savage 110 fp tactical, 12vlp dbm, and a weatherby back country, the mossberg shot 1 inch groups today from my bench resting on a range bag using federal blue box 150 grain, also ran winchester pp 150 this ammo spread out into a two inch group, lastly I ran some tula 150 gr, that was all over the paper,
    Tomorrow I am going back with some 168/180 grain rds. And taking the leadsled, I will find the best factory ammo then that’s what I will use in it.
    My older brother was witb me today, and has shot a 722 in 257 roberts for 40 years in our ky woods today after shooting the mossberg he stopped by and bought an identical.rifle

  • Preston Gravely January 8, 2017, 3:09 pm

    I bought one chambered 308 Win, with a polymer stock just before Christmas, 2016. Took it to the woods for the first time the week after, Emptied eight rounds into a cutout plywood wild hog target I made, and all eight slugs made a 2 to 3″ grouping just behind the target’s ear, indicating a kill shot every time. No hangups in the bolt action, no misfires, no nothing I found to be negative about this bargain-priced rifle. I owned years ago a Weatherby Mark V 300 Wby. Mag. which was much more in price, but to be honest, I have to say that my new Patriot performed in every way possible as goods did my Weatherby.

    • Preston Gravely January 8, 2017, 3:14 pm

      PS..I forgot to mention my range test on that boar target was a 50 yards.

  • Zach December 28, 2016, 2:55 am

    My experience with the patriot 270 is I would say impressed with the accuracy.I’m not impressed with the swivel for the sling pulled out I had to gorilla glue it back which is now fine but still. Not so impressed with the stock as far as durability, it scratches very easily. Especially the checkered handling. I also have experienced not just 1 but 2 misfires. On different occasions. Which I am a fast bolt handler so it’s possible the bolt was not shut all the way. For hunting the accu trigger I found to be less appealing. I do like the self set trigger pull. The bolt does have a lot of slop in my opinion. In which can cause your 2nd or 3rd shot to have delay. Compared to a 700. The 700 action is really taken lightly, it’s tight action makes loading and unloading much easier and faster. Kinda a comparison between apples and oranges. But like I said accuracy, I’m very pleased. I even shot 130- 140-150 gr , in hornady, Remington, fusions, Winchester. They all shot the exact same nearly. At 100 yards. I will say that the 270 , 130 gr Winchester black silver tips was hands down best killing round. Your 140 gr is probably most accurate. But all shot a 1″ group. Some tips I have found to help with the recoil for kids or women… Which i thought recoil was not bad at all. If you go with a lighter load and your scope on higher mounts takes away a lot from the recoil.. The action does get a little better after couple boxes of shells. Keep the action oiled well after a half box by the time you reach your 2nd box at the end spray a lot of solvent through the bolt and action. Oil again. And you will see and notice the difference. It’s still not no 700 but I can get used to it I believe. My 8 year old son shot his 1st deer in the head no joke at 75 yards. I shot deer at 400 and never took a step.

  • BK December 17, 2016, 3:49 pm

    Any gun that shoots 5″ groups at 50 yards….well either the barrel is bent, ur shooting the wrong cartridge thru it, or your scope mounts and base are loose!!! There is no new gun on the planet that will shoot that bad, i dont care the brand, caliber, or setup! I can shoot a 5″ group at 50 yards with a snubnose….

  • Barry December 6, 2016, 7:18 pm

    Daughter bought a Mossberg Patriot in the .243 caliber. Put a Cabelas 3×9 scope on it. Went to the range with Hornady 100 grain American Whitetail ammo. Shot it in and I can tell you this thing shoots as good as my Remingtown 7600 .243. This is lighter and easier to carry then my Remington. I would buy one in a heartbeat.

  • Jack Harris November 29, 2016, 8:11 pm

    I have 4 of the Patriot, 375 Ruger , 338 Win, 3006 and 308 all are tack drivers and represent a great value for the dollar.
    I would not hesitate to purchase them again.

  • BRAD bYRD November 28, 2016, 3:04 pm

    Just returned from elk hunting in eastern Oregon, yes my wife and I both filled our Cow tags. The gun did shoot good but I experienced these problems along the way. While walking with gun sling over shoulder the bolt fell open and ejected the round, also while crossing a creek deep in a canyon I grabbed the gun around the forend of the stock, the magazine fell out and disappeared in the creek. Bad luck I guess but that has never happened with any other gun in 37 years of filling tags.

  • Tom Allen November 22, 2016, 5:21 pm

    have a Patriot in .308. Cheap scope on it. Shoots a variety of loads, 1.25 to around 1.5 MOA, nothing special (I own a Savage .223 that I have shot a 6 shot group .358 MOA outside edge not center to center). This all being said, for some reason the Patriot is my favorite rifle. For hunting out to 300 yards it shoots more than good enough. It fits well, it is rugged enough (plastic stock on my model) it is simple, were I to design a bolt action rifle this is what I would design. Now, on the fellow with the two foot groups, I just have to comment – I have a Russian M-Nagant that I can put all shots inside a paper plate at one hundred yards with surplus ammo, no scope, open sights. And that was before cataract surgery. I do not consider myself an especially good shot – old and jerky. Two feet groups? Really?

  • joe October 29, 2016, 10:43 am

    If you really meant 2 foot groups (vs 2 inch) then I’d be looking at operator error….. Two feet is what….24 MOA or some large number. NO rifle shoots that without it usuallb being operator error or scope error……

  • Ray October 27, 2016, 5:07 am

    I bought one of these from budsguns and love it. I put a Burris 3-9×40 Full field scope on her. Broke her in properly with Winchester super x, 150gr psp and get 3 round grouping within the black center of a shoot n C target at 100 yds. What’s that about a dime or nickel size bulls eye? I’d recommend it without a doubt!

  • Dustin October 22, 2016, 3:18 am

    To those having trouble with Mossberg rifles, I seriously don’t understand what you’re doing wrong. I have a 100 ATR in .308 (which looks like it shares many parts with the Patriot) and it groups sub MOA at 100m every time. I clover leafed my first 3 shots after bore sighting. It does not get any better than that. I live in Australia and I’d like to be a loyal Lithgow Arms (Aussie made rifles) buyer, but I love my ATR.

  • Brian October 16, 2016, 1:29 pm

    Bought one in .30 06. Shot poorly from the beginning. Wouldn’t group any brand or weight ammo. put new scope still want group shoots all over the place. Just about ready to sell this one off and chalk it up a learning experience. I will NEVER buy another Mossberg product.

    • joe September 4, 2017, 1:01 am

      Without you providing grouping size I chalk your post up to trolling…. if you badmouth a product and if you want to have any credibility, you MUST provide data. So…what was the grouping????

  • David October 6, 2016, 2:55 pm

    I own 2 of them. One in 300 win mag and one in 30-06. They are both great rifles… the only negative I have noticed is the mags are all plastic, and the bolts are not exactly the tightest around. I did notice that the bolts would feel a little gritty and felt sticky if not operated smoothly, but it does become smoother after about 50 rounds or so… not a deal breaker… I think the coating in the fluting on the bolt may create edges that are a little sharp, but they do smooth out… still a great product and I am looking to get on in 375 ruger next

    • karl August 22, 2018, 3:50 pm

      Any suggestions on what ammo your 300 win mag likes?

  • WVhunters 23 September 28, 2016, 10:24 am

    Got this with the wood stock in 300 win mag it shoots like cap with any ammo 2 feet groups at 100 yards I went to the American

    • Fred Cerutti March 24, 2017, 8:42 am

      Seems odd, given all the glowing reviews and my own experience. BTW, chuckhawks site gives the American a Cannot Recommend after multiple failures.

    • joe September 4, 2017, 12:52 am

      Who are you trying to fool???? 2 foot groups at 100 yards??? That’s 24 MOA…….. Newsflash: There is NO modern rifle anywhere on the planet, and I mean NONE, that shoots 24 MOA at 100 yds…….

  • Paul August 12, 2016, 11:20 pm

    Bought one in .308. Shot poorly from the beginning. Wouldn’t group any brand or weight ammo. Sent it back to Mossberg. They put another stock on it (the camo finish was worn off the cheek piece on the new one), put a new magazine box and magazine in it and re-barreled the action. It still shoots the same. Just about ready to sell this one off and chalk it up a learning experience. I will NEVER buy another Mossberg product.

    • joe October 29, 2016, 10:48 am

      Before you trash a rifle because of inaccurcy you didn’t like, please tell us what groups you were getting out of it. It may be a case of “unrealistic expectations” vs what any gun can realistically deliver in which case all rifles will dissappoint……

    • joe September 4, 2017, 12:56 am

      What were your groups????? If you’re going to trash a product you need to provide (in this case) the grouping that you claim is so bad. If you refuse to provide that information that makes one a troll…..

  • SteveK June 8, 2016, 6:14 pm

    I purchased one in 243 and I own rugers, rem. Savages,Winchesters all different calibers and I would put this up against any of them for accuracy and stock fit. When you can put 5 rounds in less than a size of a quarter for under 300 dollars for a hunting rifle that you be go though woods and mountains what else can I say !

    • Mark Bouchard November 6, 2016, 11:14 pm

      What kind of ammo do you use cause i have the ecact same gun with a vortex crosfire 2 as a scope

      • stevek March 19, 2017, 6:10 pm

        I used 243 Winchester 100 gr. at 100 yards. I also purchased a patriot in 22-250 with the polymer stock. This will shot 3 shots in a .5 circle at 100 yards. With 45 gr Winchester. Pretty much in the same hole. You can’t beat these guns for the price!

  • Tom Horn February 29, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Was wondering if you noticed a lot of play/slop between bolt and receiver? I know Mossberg’s earlier rifles seem to have sloppy actions, compared to a Rem 700, Win mod 70, or Browning X Bolts, etc. Why the sloppy actions?

  • JohnT February 29, 2016, 10:46 am

    I bought one last year. I find it hard to rack a round into the chamber when the mag is full. Maybe that’ll get better as the mag spring softens over time. Second there is a small vertical slot cut into the top of the ramp that leaves a distortion on the tip of a lead tipped bullet as it’s racked into the chamber. I can’t help but think this affects the accuracy because, from a bench, I can’t do better than a 5″ group with this rifle at 50yds. I’m not a great shot but I can do much better than that with my other rifles, so….

  • Rick Krick February 29, 2016, 9:55 am

    Dunham’s was running a special on this Patriot rifle with scope for $270 just a few months ago. Hard to beat at this price point. I bought the 308 Winchester combo with the wood stock online for $390+tax. It’s classic looking, shoots tight groups, and very economical. It comes in many different calibers and variations. I highly recommend the Mossberg Patriot to any shooter/hunter on a budget.

  • Joseph February 29, 2016, 5:50 am

    Looks like a home run to me !!
    I love the bolt, but that trigger style is something I never cared for.

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