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Mossberg 100ATR Review

by Wayne van Zwoll   |  November 24th, 2011 8

ATR” stands for All Terrain Rifle. It retails for just $424. Call it an entry-level rifle, if you like. My first look at this Spartan bolt gun piqued my curiosity. How would it function? How accurate might it be? Expensive rifles bring high expectations—and too often dash them. While you can’t expect the profile and fit and finish of so-called affordable rifles to compete with the upper crust, some perform all out of proportion to their price. In an economy that’s pummeled everyone, rifles that cost less get more attention.

I requested a test rifle in a new chambering for the 100ATR. This year the 7mm-08 joins the .243 and .308 in the short mechanism (the .270 and .30-06 are cataloged for the long receiver). You can pick a walnut stock or a synthetic with one of four finishes: black, Mossy Oak Brush or Breakup Infinity, and Realtree AP. You can get a black-synthetic rifle with iron sights. The walnut stock is available only in the short-action version. It hikes weight about four ounces, to seven pounds, or the heft of a synthetic-stock long-action rifle. Mossberg lists both long and short models in packages with 3-9×40 scopes.

The test rifle arrived with Weaver bases installed. I quickly attached a Nikon Buckmaster scope, a 4.5-14×42 with a long, lean profile that afforded plenty of free tube for the medium rings. The straight comb of the 100ATR’s classic-style stock puts my eye naturally in line with the sight. The grip is long and quite open, and it is well dimensioned for my big hand. The butt wears a forgiving black pad an inch thick and nicely fitted to the quarter-sawn plain walnut. The barrel floats, if unevenly, in its channel. The fore-end is a bit deep, and there’s more wood around the action than necessary. Checkering on grip and fore-end is coarse, the diamonds not as sharp or the borders as fine as I’d like. But to be fair, proper hand checkering now costs more than Mossberg’s 100ATR rifle, ready to shoot. The checkering on this bolt gun is functional and complements the other features. There’s a small and useless spot of checkering on the outside of the bolt knob. Cosmetically, it’s a nonissue, but any checkering on the outside of a knob scars cases and scabbards while helping you not at all with bolt manipulation. Fine checkering underneath a knob can assist on opening, but the topside should be smooth for quick palming on the close.

The 22-inch barrel sandwiches a washer-style recoil lug to the receiver and wears a nut for easy headspacing. Rifled 1:9½ inches and lightly fluted on its forward half, the barrel has a matte-blue finish matched by the receiver. The bolt body is polished bright.

A blind magazine holds four cartridges in a staggered stack. The follower is polymer, the spring not the familiar flat “Z” device but a music-wire type. It works fine. The push-feed bolt slicks up rounds as if self-powered. No hitch, negligible wobble.
The two-lug bolt has a recessed face and a plunger ejector. A substantial gas shoulder on the shroud blends with the receiver in profile. The two-position thumb safety behind the bolt handle is quick to access. The bolt release, a tab at the left rear of the receiver, operates easily enough, but the test rifle didn’t want to shed the bolt without a tussle.

Mossberg’s LBA (Lightning Bolt Action) trigger, standard on all 100ATRs and the upscale 4×4, has a blade that looks much like that on the Savage trigger. Internally, the two differ. The Mossberg blade blocks the sear until the blade is depressed. Adjustable down to a break weight of two pounds, the trigger on my 7mm-08 arrived with a crisp three-pound pull.

At the range, this 100ATR delivers good accuracy—OK, excellent accuracy with selected loads. Winchester 140-grain Ballistic Silvertips have drilled the smallest groups to date (just under a half inch). A high-octane Hornady load with 139-grain SSTs prints subminute three-shot clusters. Federal’s 140-grain AccuBonds and Partitions shoot more than accurately enough for deer hunting as far as the 7mm-08 will reach. I find recoil nicely throttled by the well-shaped stock, which, incidentally, has just the right pitch.

I’ve experienced no malfunctions of any kind with this rifle. Given its low price, fine accuracy and, yes, walnut stock properly finished, it’s one of the better values out there. The 7mm-08 is, arguably, more versatile than either the .308 or .243. If you’re seeking another big-game rifle but are ashamed to ask your children for a loan, consider the 100ATR from Mossberg. It’s more than an entry-level bolt gun.

  • Micah

    I purchased this gun at Walmart in 2012. Read up on it and no one had really much on the bad side to say about it. I just really wanted to stay away from the Remington model 770 which I think are horrible. First day out at buddys range i got 2 diff. ammos. Winchester superX 180gr. and remington core-lokt 165gr. Win. shot 3-4inch groups at 100 yards but the remington shot 1-2inch groups at 100yards and by 2 different people it did this. The scope took some tinkering which is the only downfall to this gun. It came with a no-name scope but if you play with it for a while you can make it work as I did. But the gun shoots well with no issues and now i have put nearly 100 rounds through it.. Even a few 220gr. bear rounds (my gun is 30-06cal.) which kick like hell. But I couldn't be happier with what i got. Next time I go we are going to try a few dong targets at 3, 4, and 5 hundred yards. My buddy has a $2400 or so 300mag custom built so if i can hit them at this range he may get alittle upset.

  • paul hughes

    i own a verity of mossberg guns i kill deer over 300 yards with no problems my atr 100 chambers 308 win i am going for a 4×4 next in a 300 or 339 i never fired a bad mossberg they are 2nd to no one in my book

  • Rick

    I was excited to get my new ATR in 308. It is black synthetic. Didn’t come with scope, but I have scopes.
    put scope,sling and bipod on to get ready to take it to the range.
    I decided to check out the mechanics, so I pulled out a box of new 308 ammo and commenced to load the internal magazine. The floor plate caved in and flipped over on it’s side. It took several minutes to get it “right side up” as I am disabled and hands don’t work like they used to.
    So, I figured to try again ,taking the blame for not being careful enough.
    Same results three times in a row. I found out how to baby it and did o.k.
    Then I loaded a shell in the chamber, ejected it. No problem. Second shell, no problem. On
    the third round the action became somewhat stiff and the fourth was very hard to turn the bolt down so it would lock in.
    Thinking that I was the problem and giving the benefit of doubt , I tried again. It became even more stiff with friction each time I tried.
    I emailed the sales person I bought the rifle from and he said” oh, yeah, Mossberg has a some flukes with the chambering of ammo and floor plate is flimsy”.
    O.K. , so now I have a rifle I don’t want and it will cost me $85 to ship it back and get partial refund.
    I’ve had 3 Mossberg shotguns,not newer ones, that all gave me fits with jamming or not ejecting shells. A 410, 20 ga and a 12 ga. $10 and 20 ga were brand new.12 ga was slightly used. I knew better. But after reading reviews about the XTR thought surely Mossberg had it down now. NOPE.

  • Travis

    Bought the ATR 100 youth model in .243. Then ordered a Mueller scope for it. Gun shoots very sporadic. Im talking 10 inch group at 150yrds. I know its not me either because I touched 4 shots on the same target with my model 70. Going to try and replace the rings and throw on different mounts, gun doesn’t even kick enough to knock the scope loose, but ya never know. if that doesn’t work gunna put the cheapy scope it came with back on and see if I cant pull in some tighter groups. Not impressed at all with this gun. might end up tossing in straight in the trash can.

  • Gunny

    I bought the 308. It came with a 3x9x40 scope nothing fancy but for $299.00 I thought I would give it a try. Excellent value Withing 1/2 box of shells I was shooting consistent 1 1/2 in groups. Not a bad rifle for someone that needs a dependable low cost rifle for hunting season.

  • abe

    Just bought the atr in 308 and have had no problems with it. Sounds like people just don’t know how to shoot or load their rifles.

  • kens.

    my family has three Mossberg ATR. I hunt with a 30-06 my wife hunts with the 7mm-08 and my son hunts with the 243 youth all three of these guns are Mossberg ATR.I have had no problems with any of these rifles. when we pull the trigger the deer goes down and that’s all that matters. I’ve had more trouble with the remington model 770 and my Winchester then what I’ve had out of myself Mossberg.

  • Kemojr

    I first started deer hunting six years ago. ATR 100 270. Cost me $295. Killed every deer I shot at. Eight in total. This rifle will drive tacks at the range even with the scope that came with it. First three shots got a one inch group. If you shoot it too much the groups start to widen but if you are hunting you will not shoot it much. The only problem I have had was when I used oil too thick and it got in the firing pin channel and on a freezing morning it just clicked when I pulled the trigger. Got some better viscosity oil put it on lightly and no problem now.

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