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A lot to the aid of those that despise listening to concerning the 6.5 Creedmoor, every single day and on a regular basis, proper now the most popular rifle cartridge is the 7mm PRC. As a result of this cartridge barely outperforms the 7mm Remington Magnum—among the best huge sport cartridges worldwide—hunters are keen to present it a attempt. And the quickest and least costly means to try this is with Mossberg’s Patriot Predator rifle—among the best 7mm PRC rifles for 2023.

Mossberg really presents two Patriot Predator rifles chambered in 7mm PRC. One has a tan-colored artificial inventory and blued metal (catalog #28170) and a instructed value of $536.00. The opposite (catalog #28171) prices $100 extra and has a Strata camouflaged artificial inventory and Cerakoted metal. Actual-world across-the-counter costs ought to be lower than $500 and $600, respectively, and primarily based on my experiences, shooter satisfaction ought to be excessive.

In early 2014, I took one of many first Mossberg Patriot bolt motion rifles to Africa. Throughout that safari, my son and I used it to take numerous critters. Since then, I’ve hunted with variations of the Patriot in america, Canada, Mexico, and on a number of return journeys to Africa. All variations of the Patriot depend on the identical, cylindrical, two-lug Mossberg bolt motion. They range largely in barrel size and contour, and inventory design.

Mossberg Patriot Predator 7mm PRC Specs

Mossberg Patriot Predator

  • Producer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons
  • Mannequin: Patriot Predator
  • Chambering: 7mm PRC
  • Motion: Bolt
  • Barrel: 24-inch, fluted and threaded, w/ 1 in 8 twist
  • End: Matte blue #28170, Patriot brown Cerakote #28171
  • Journal: Removable, three-round capability
  • Size: 44.25 inches
  • Size of Pull: 13.75 inches
  • Sights: None. Ships with Picatinny optics rail
  • Inventory: Artificial tan #28170, Artificial Strata-camo #28171
  • Weight: 6.5 kilos (marketed) 6.625 kilos (precise)
  • Set off: Consumer-adjustable Mossberg LBA (2.25 kilos as examined)
  • Security: Two-position
  • Worth: $536 (#28170) $636 (#28171)

The Patriot Predators in 7mm PRC characteristic a threaded and fluted, 24-inch barrel, capped off with a thread protector and an 11-degree goal crown. Mossberg threads the barrels on Patriot rifles into the receiver, and when the headspace is about as precisely as doable, they lock them in place with a barrel nut. The barrel on the Predator has what I’d name a sporting contour, it tapers from 1.172 inches simply ahead of the barrel nut, to only 0.620 behind the enlarged threaded part on the muzzle.

The Predator ships with a 15-slot Picatinny scope rail, already put in. These rifles are suppressor and optics prepared, proper out of the field, and include Mossberg’s Lightning Bolt Motion (LBA) set off, which is person adjustable from 2 to 7 kilos. One other characteristic I actually like on these rifles is the outsized bolt deal with. With a knob diameter of solely 0.873, it’s not overly giant, but it surely extends out from the bolt physique a couple of quarter inch additional than the usual Patriot bolt deal with. I believe it makes the motion a lot simpler and sooner to cycle.

Hunter showing the bolt handle on a Mossberg Patriot Predator Rifle in 7mm PRC.
The bolt deal with on the Patriot Predator is bigger than on normal Patriot rifles. It’s sized nearly completely for quick operation. Richard Mann

Nonetheless, this bigger bolt deal with additionally amplifies the one characteristic of all Mossberg Patriot rifles that annoys me. There’s no approach to lock the bolt within the closed place on these rifles, and I’ve discovered this may be problematic. On multiple event I’ve been carrying a Patriot with a sling and the bolt deal with has turn out to be snagged by some brush. As a result of these spirally fluted bolts function so simply, this could trigger the motion to open. In case your rifle is loaded when this occurs, the spherical within the chamber might be ejected. This bigger bolt deal with will probably improve the chance of this taking place. It’s one thing to remember as you maneuver within the woods.

The inventory on the Patriot Predator is a straightforward artificial inventory with impressed textured areas on the grip and forend. It’s fitted with a thick and mushy rubber butt pad and two sling swivel studs. The set off guard is molded into the inventory, which is reduce out for a removable field journal. I believe these Patriot magazines are among the best options of those rifles. They’re fabricated from polymer and solely weigh 2.3 ounces. They usually’re launched from the inventory with a recessed lever simply ahead of the journal. I’ve by no means had {a magazine} in a Patriot rifle launch except I pushed that lever. The magazines for Patriots chambered in 7mm PRC maintain three rounds, and with an empty journal put in, the rifle suggestions the scales at six kilos, 10 ounces, which is simply about two ounces greater than the marketed weight.

Learn Subsequent: Hornady 7mm PRC: Examined and Reviewed

How the Mossberg Patriot Predator Carried out on the Bench

Mossberg despatched me the lesser costly Patriot Predator with the tan artificial inventory. When it arrived, I utilized some thread lock and reinstalled the optics rail—one thing you need to all the time do with any new rifle shipped with a rail—after which mounted a Swarovski Z8i 2-16X50 P riflescope in Leupold Mark 4 medium-height rings. With the reticle centered within the scope—that is straightforward to do by holding the scope up in opposition to a mirror and adjusting the 2 pictures of the reticle till they overlap—bore sighting at 100 yards confirmed the reticle was only some inches astray. That is usually a superb signal that the barrel is put in in keeping with the scope mounting holes.

A target with a group and 7mm PRC cartridges.
The primary three-shot group the writer fired with the Mossberg Patriot Predator. Richard Mann

I fired one shot, made one adjustment, after which fired a three-shot group with the Hornady 175-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter load. That group measured a minuscule 0.268 in. I then fired three extra three-shot teams and the common for all 4 teams was solely 0.62 in. I additionally examined the Hornady 180-grain ELD Match load. Both the rifle didn’t prefer it as nicely, or I didn’t shoot as nicely; three, three-shot teams with this load averaged solely 0.94 in. On the time of this writing, the one different manufacturing facility load supplied for the 7mm PRC is the Hornady Clothes shop load with a 160-grian CX bullet, however I didn’t have any of that ammunition to check.

Searching With the Mossberg Patriot Predator

Mossberg despatched me this rifle so I might take it on a nilgai hunt in Texas. We had been searching free-range ranch adjoining the King Ranch, which is the place these Indian antelope had been initially launched in 1920. Now their inhabitants in Texas is estimated at practically 40,000. I used to be accompanied by three different hunters additionally utilizing a Patriot Predator just like the one I had or the Strata-camo model. We spent a bit of time on the vary earlier than searching, and the opposite hunters all advised me they too had seen wonderful precision from their rifles.

My hunt didn’t take lengthy. My information mentioned he needed to slide into a bit of glade the place he’d been seeing a pleasant bull. As we quietly crept via the comb, he noticed the brute throughout the opening within the fringe of the comb. We needed to maneuver a bit to seek out a gap for a shot, and once we did, I obtained the rifle prepared on the sticks. About 5 minutes later the bull—unaware we had been in his world—stepped into the clear, and I put a 175-grain ELD-X bullet excessive via his lungs. He hit the bottom in a cloud of mud and my hunt was over.

I spent the remainder of that night and the following morning following one other hunter. We managed to sneak up on a nilgai bull feeding within the brush. The vary was solely about 45 yards and when the bull alerted, he was quartering arduous towards the hunter. The hunter fired and the bull took off like a rocket. The hunter shortly bolted the rifle and smacked the bull once more earlier than he’d gone 30 yards. We had been each satisfied the outsized bolt deal with aided his fast motion, nevertheless, we didn’t want the second shot—the primary bullet had handed via the center and the bull was down in 60 yards.

Man shooting a rifle.
Although chambered for a flat taking pictures, long-range cartridge, the Mossberg Patriot Predator in 7mm PRC is configured like a conventional, sporting, bolt-action huge sport rifle. Richard Mann

Closing Ideas

This can be a moderately light-weight rifle, and admittedly the barreled motion is housed in a really cheap polymer inventory. Nonetheless, it delivers extra precision than needed for giant sport searching out to the bounds of what the 7mm PRC cartridge is relevant for. If you wish to give this cartridge a attempt, and also you don’t need to lay our a fortune on a rifle, the Patriot Predator is the most suitable choice. In spite of everything, you’re going to need to get monetary savings for a superb riflescope, and, thus far, 7mm PRC ammo isn’t low cost.

In case your curiosity lies extra in long-range competitors taking pictures, this isn’t the rifle for you. It’s a bit too mild for extended-range classes, you’ll should mount a bipod by way of the sling swivel stud, and because the barrel heats up after greater than 5 speedy pictures, you’ll in all probability see a little bit of stringing. In fact, this gained’t negatively influence the large sport hunter.

Given the areas I hunt, and the truth that I don’t take pictures at huge sport at distances many would contemplate long-range, I don’t have numerous curiosity within the 7mm PRC. I’ve obtained nothing in opposition to the cartridge—it’s a improbable ballistic development—it’s simply not one thing I would like. Nonetheless, I take a look at numerous rifles, and once I come throughout one that may persistently cluster three pictures in a half-inch circle, it’s damned arduous to not prefer it or purchase it. Particularly when it’s solely 5 hundred {dollars}.

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