Mossberg’s Patriot line of bolt-action rifles is growing for 2020, and the newest addition, the Patriot LR Hunter, is designed with serious long-range hunters in mind.
At the heart of this gun is Mossberg’s push-feed action with dual locking lugs, a plunger-type extractor and a spiral-fluted bolt body. The LR Hunter is also equipped with a detachable, polymer-box magazine, a two-position rocker-type safety, a one-piece rail, and Mossberg’s bladed- and a user-adjustable LBA trigger. These are features that have made the Patriot line a popular option with hunters.
The LR Hunter adds a new stock that’s purpose-built for long-range hunting. Most Patriot rifles feature injection molded stocks, but the Hunter LR stock merges a hardwood core with a gray polymer exterior and a black web pattern that looks much like a hand-laid composite stock. At the comb, there is a raised Monte Carlo cheekpiece to align the shooter’s eye with the optic. Inside, aluminum pillar bedding improves accuracy potential.
The deep grip profile allows for a comfortable hold on the rifle from any shooting position. The rather steep angle makes reaching the LBA trigger easy. At the front, the LR Hunter also features a tapered forearm with a flat bottom that bags nicely. Dual sling studs also make it easy to mount a bipod.
Like other Patriot rifles, the LR Hunter is fitted with a carbon steel, button-rifled fluted barrel complete with a threaded muzzle. A thread cap is included for those who choose not to suppress their rifle. For those who do, the Patriot’s barrel has a wide shoulder that effectively supports it.
For 2020, the LR Hunter is available in four calibers: 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .308 Winchester, and .300 Winchester Magnum. This selection should appeal to hunters and long-range shooters alike.
The .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered rifles weigh 6½ pounds each and sport 22-inch barrels, while the 6.5 PRC and .300 Win. Mag. rifles are equipped with 24-inch barrels and weigh 7 pounds. Both the .308- and .300 Win. Mag. models use 1:10-inch twist rates, while the 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 PRC have 1:8-inch twists. The 6.5 PRC we tested measured 441/4 inches from stem to stern, and the LBA trigger recorded 2½ pounds. Magazine capacity is five rounds for the .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor models, four for 6.5 PRC and three for .300 Win. Mag. rifles.
In the Field A couple members of Guns & Ammo’s staff spent the better part of a week hunting whitetails with a Mossberg LR Hunter chambered in 6.5 PRC. While the deer didn’t cooperate (none were taken in the area), the rifle proved flawless at the range. Mossberg’s Hunter LR is one of the new breeds of rifles that incorporates features found on dedicated long-range guns. Mossberg has managed to create a rifle that is versatile and shooter friendly. The bolt knob is oversized and easy to manipulate while wearing gloves, and the one-piece scope rail made mounting one simple. The primary upgrade you’ll see on this model when compared to other Patriot rifles is the new stock — and it’s an excellent upgrade. The grey polymer shell offers micro texturing that makes the stock easy to grasp and hold on to, while the flat-bottom forearm with dual sling studs is preferred for sling-and-bipod users.
Tapering on the forearm provides a comfortable grip and complete control of the gun, but our favorite feature on this new stock is the pistol grip. Its depth and angle allow for a comfortable hold on the rifle when shooting prone off the bench or in the field. The symmetrical palm swell fills the shooter’s hand and further improves control and comfort. Length of pull is 133/4 inches, which accommodates most of us, and the recoil pad feels dense with rounded edges that don’t hang up on thick jackets.
There’s a pronounced gap between the channel and the barrel, but we’d otherwise rate it among the best factory wood and composite stocks we’ve tested on a rifle in this price point. Further, the polymer exterior held up to a week of neglect in deer camp as it was hauled in and out of stands and blinds without suffering a noticeable nick.
Accuracy testing proved that the LR Hunter lives up to its billing as a long-range hunting rifle. On the bench from 100 yards, the average group sizes for the 6.5 PRC were just over an inch when using Hornady’s 143-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter load. There were no issues with cycling or feeding. The polymer magazine fit neatly into the rifle and locked securely in place, and it fell free into the hand when the release tab at the front of the magazine was pressed. With the safety engaged, the bolt could still be operated.
At 7 pounds or less, the LR Hunter is suitable for hunting in any environment, even steep country where long hikes are the norm. We think that both hunters and shooters, particularly those who want to do both with a single rifle, will be more than satisfied by the performance of the new Patriot LR Hunter. With the exception of Mossberg’s flagship Patriot Revere, it’s the best-looking Patriot model. In true Mossberg fashion, it offers rugged dependability and excellent performance at an affordable price.
Mossberg Patriot LR Hunter
- Type: Bolt action
- Caliber: 6.5 PRC (tested); 6.5 Creedmoor; .308 Win.; .300 Win. Mag.
- Capacity: 4+1 rds.
- Barrel: 22, 24 in.; fluted, threaded
- Overall Length: 42.25 in. to 44.75 in.
- Weight: 7 lbs.
- Stock: Wood core with polymer shell
- Length of Pull: 13.75 in.
- Finish: Grey (stock); matte blue (steel)
- Trigger: 2 lbs., 8 oz.
- Sights: None
- MSRP: $721
- Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons, 203- 230- 5300, mossberg.com