A few months ago, I sold my Savage M110 30-06 to somebody who loves building rifles, he wanted a long-action Savage receiver to start a new project, and I wanted a .308. After reading dozens of reviews and customer comments on various models of rifle, I decided to take a chance on the new Mossberg Patriot .308.
Being something of a geek, I just HAD to get it in Kryptek Highlander Camo, because I very rarely buy a new rifle, and this one was going to be my go-to big game gun for deer, bear and boar for a long time.
Whenever I think about new firearms, I check prices using the Gun Genie at Gallery of Guns, it’s fast, and has inventory levels so I can really see if something is in stock or not without calling fifteen places. It’s also nice that when you purchase a firearm using this service, it’s shipped to the store you picked off of the list, where you finish paying for the firearm and fill out the BATF paperwork just like any other firearm purchase.
Of course, I’m a Gables Sporting Goods staff shooter, so last year when I noticed that Gables wasn’t showing up on a search for my zip code, I asked at the shop, and they called Davidsons and figured out what the problem was, so when it was time to order my Mossberg, that’s the shop I chose to ship to. Ordering was fairly easy, though the shopping cart system could be improved a bit on the Gallery page, and my shipment arrived in about a week. (I ordered a Taurus PT111 G2 9mm as well, and I have to say, for an economy compact 9mm, it’s very accurate and reliable so far.)
After the rifle arrived, I unpacked it at the shop and the nice folks there mounted my Zeiss Conquest 3-9 x 50mm scope on the rifle. A few people snickered, but I’d rather have a six hundred dollar scope on a three hundred dollar rifle than the other way around. Because you can have a two THOUSAND dollar rifle, but if you can’t see what your shooting at, you aren’t going to shoot very well.
The one issue I had with the rifle out of the box was the camouflage. It didn’t look very good, almost like it was dipped/applied by somebody who hadn’t had a good day. I called Mossberg and explained that while I know this is a budget rifle, I paid a bit extra for the Kryptek camouflage, and wanted to know if what I got was normal. They emailed me a prepaid FedEx label and said ‘ship it back, we’ll take care of it.’ And they did, too, about two weeks later I got the rifle back, and they must have searched for the best looking stock they had in the warehouse, because it couldn’t be any better looking.
At that point, with the holidays around the corner, I mounted the scope back on the rifle and stuck it in the safe for a month and a half. Yesterday, we tried to take it to Johns Mountain, but the range was packed, so we skedaddled.
Today, I ran up to Buford, GA, to the Georgia Gun Club. I’ve never been there before, but they have a 100 yard indoor rifle range, so I thought I’d head that way and sight in the .308 and my .243.
Now, I’ve been to indoor rifle ranges in several states, but I’ve never been in one as nice as this. I was somewhat expecting an old warehouse that had been re-purposed as a range. I was in one like that in Ohio once that was so run down and gnarly, I’m surprised there wasn’t a secret password to get in the door. *Psssst! Swordfish!*
This was a VERY nice building, with plenty of parking. The interior was very clean and open, with room to walk around and a nice lounge area for people waiting on a lane to open up. The web site had mentioned that waiting on lanes was normal, so I took my tablet with me, since that’s my portable patience generator, and signed in. The process is simple for a first-time customer. You fill out a waiver with general safety and legal statements (not unusual, you have to do that at archery shoots anymore once per year as well), then watch a National Shooting Sports Foundation seven or eight minute long Range Safety video and initial that you’ve watched it, and then you wait.
I wish I took more photos – I forgot my camera, and once you’re in the range, you are on the clock for however many hours you purchased, and I wasn’t thinking about writing this post, I wanted to get the rifles sighted in. The range was good – easy to use electronic target controls, range master in the room with you. The only thing I could complain about is my own fault – I took two rifle cases and my range bag, so navigating all of the doors was hectic, since I had zero hands to use getting through the place.
The staff were fantastic. I will be going back, soon, even though it’s about an hour and fifteen minutes from the house.
The rifles I had with me were the Mossberg Patriot .308, and a Winchester Model 70 Ultimate Shadow Extreme Weather .243. I love the Winchester, though I wish it was in 7mm-08 (I got it in a trade), and was curious to see how the Mossberg stacked up against a firearm that is almost three times more expensive.
Image Property of Shooting Illustrated
The Mossberg kicked butt. The trigger is CRISP. As in ‘activate the Lightning Bolt Action, and start to put pressure on the trigger BOOM’ crisp. For folks familiar with the Savage Accu-Trigger, the Lightning Bolt Action is similar – a light metal safety in the center of the actual trigger, the rifle cannot fire until the LBA is depressed first. After nine shots with the Mossberg, I felt like I had to work to get the Winchester to fire, where before, I thought the Winchester had the best trigger of all of my long guns.
I shot Federal Fusion 150 grain, Hornady American Whitetail 165 grain, and Winchester Hog Special 150 grain ammunition out of the Mossberg. I find it interesting that I can’t find a link to the Hog Special ammunition on Winchester’s web site, making me wonder if they still make it. I fired three rounds of each, with a few minutes between groups to let the barrel cool down, and honestly, the Winchester group was small enough at 25 yards for me to cover with a single target cover dot – but I’m NOT a professional shooter when it comes to rifles, and as far as I can tell, that could have been because I shot the Winchester ammunition last and had finally gotten used to the rifle.
I finally moved the target to 100 yards and adjusted the sights – the Hog ammunition was about an inch high with a nice group – the Fusion ammunition was about three inches high (higher listed velocity), so I readjusted for the Fusion ammunition and shot a great group, wrapping up my sight in for the day.
I can’t wait to go back to Georgia Gun Club – if I lived half an hour closer, I’d buy a membership in a heartbeat.