I fondly remember picking up my grandfathers old dusty, faded hunting magazines and reading about hunting rifles. Unless you were buying a rifle from Kenny Jarrett, or other custom builders, sub-MOA rifles were nary to be found. Sometime during the late 90’s or early 2000, factory rifles started to appear that could produce MOA results with factory ammunition. These days, companies guarantee MOA accuracy and owners seem to fly into a fit of panic if their new rifle fails to group 1.047 inches at 100 yards.
I recently got to spend some time behind a Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, and had no problems hitting a 24-inch plate at 1,800 yards. How times have changed.
- Type: Bolt Action Rifle
- Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Capacity: 5 rds.
- Barrel Length: 22 in. fluted; threaded 5/8×24 TPI with a 1:10-in. twist
- Features: Spiral Fluted Bolt with Oversized Handle
- Trigger: LBA Adjustable Trigger
- Drop-Box Magazine
- Picatinny Rail
- Flat Dark Earth Synthetic Stock
- Finish: Matte blue
- Length of Pull: 13.75 in.
- Weight: 6.5 lbs.
- Overall Length: 42.25 in.
- MSRP: $441
- Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons
Before field testing, a dry patch was run down the bore of the rifle to clean any residual oil. I took advantage of the threaded muzzle and attached a SilencerCo Trifecta muzzle brake. I also checked the screws on the scope base and found them to be slightly loose. The scope base was removed, the screws were cleaned, dabbed with Rocksett thread lock and the scope base was re-attached. The trigger on the Predator rifle is adjustable between 2 to 7 pounds. For testing purposes, I left it at the factory setting which measured just shy of 3 pounds. Since the majority of my testing would be done in the prone position, I built up the comb using some foam and athletic tape. Proper comb height mitigates issues related to parallax and, increases fitment and comfort.
Accuracy testing was done at the family ranch, in the prone position. The target, an RE Factor Tactical Hitman Target, was 100 yards away and stapled to an old wooden shed. For testing purposes, I used a Nikko Stirling Diamond 4-14X power rifle scope. During testing, I positioned myself so that wind would be at my back. This was to mitigate horizontal deflection related to aerodynamic jump.
The results of the accuracy testing are represented in the pictures. From the pictures, you can see that the 140 grain Barnes Precision Match and the 127-grain Barnes VOR-TX LR hunting ammunition performed the best, printing .65 and .50 MOA 3-shot groups at 100 yards. Hornady’s offering also performed well. The 140 grain Hornady American Gunner held .75 MOA, while the 147-grain Hornady Match held 1 MOA. Hornady 147 ELD-X Hunter held .75 MOA. The round that performed the worst was the 130-grain OTM Match + round from PRIME. Typical groups from the PRIME ammunition were around at 1.25 MOA. For the long-range portion of testing, I chose to use the Hornady 147-grain Match ammunition, due to performance at 100 yards, and the fact that I had a significant amount available.
For the long-range portion of the test, I wanted to push the Mossberg Patriot Predator out to 1000 yards. I believe that a well-made rifle, regardless of barrel profile, when paired with good glass, and good ammunition should be able to hit an 18-inch target at 1000 yards. For the long-range portion of the test, I set up an 18 and 24-inch steel target. During my field test, I shot the Mossberg Patriot Predator at 100, 200, 450, 800, 1000 and 1800 yards. Field conditions for the test were less than ideal. I had a 1/2 value, 15 – 20 mph wind that alternated from 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock. The wind, combined with the dry air created a dense mirage that periodically obscured the steel targets. With that said, I had first round hits all the way out to 1000 yards, and though I was shooting at a relatively large target, the rounds were at least MOA. Things got interesting when we drove to the 1800 yard line. The mirage combined with the erratic wind would make this shot difficult. Shrugging off the perceived challenges, I took a wind reading with my Kestrel, grabbed D.O.P.E. from the Applied Ballistics mobile application on my phone and cooked off 10 rounds at the 24-inch target. Of the 10 rounds shot, 4 connected. Not bad for a thin barreled, lightweight factory rifle paired with factory ammunition!
I have done a lot of coyote hunting, and I consider the Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle to be damn near perfect for the task. In my opinion, a good coyote rifle should be lightweight, accurate and rugged. The trigger should be crisp and predictable. The straight comb, though not optimal for heavy use in the prone position, is excellent for shooting in a sitting position of a tripod or shooting sticks. Since the Mossberg comes from the factory with a threaded barrel, an end user can attach a muzzle brake or suppressor to mitigate recoil and observe hits, or misses.
The Best Caliber
What is a good caliber for hunting coyotes? I prefer a round with a high ballistic coefficient, flat trajectory and a lot of energy for a quick ethical kill. Of late, I have been moving towards the 6.5 Creedmoor for all of my hunting and competition work. 6.5 Creedmoor is accurate, has a flat trajectory and bucks the wind better than its counterparts. The round itself can ethically kill deer and antelope and would make short work of a coyote. If I wanted to merely kill coyotes, I would opt for the Barnes VOR-TX LR or Hornady ELD-X precision Hunter rounds. If I wanted to harvest coyotes for their fur, I would use a match round and punch a round through the heart and lungs. I have found that MATCH rounds do not damage the pelt as much as a hunting round, but require better-shot placement for an ethical kill. If the 6.5 Creedmoor is not your thing, pick an accurate round with a high ballistic coefficient, mild recoil, and a flat trajectory.
The Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle is a fantastic piece of hardware. It is lightweight, well made and very accurate. As its name implies, the rifle would excel at hunting coyotes, but it would also be perfect for any large game in North America. The Mossberg Patriot predator would make a fantastic “ranch” or back-country rifle. I recommend the 6.5 Creedmoor version of this rifle, due to the inherent accuracy of the round. The rifle I tested was not made for long range shooting, but as demonstrated, you can see that I stretched the range on this particular rifle. The Mossberg Patriot Predator was a joy to shoot, and unlike other rifles I have tested, I did not have to “fight the rifle” during testing. These rifles retail for around $350, which for the performance you get, is a steal.
For more information about the Mossberg Patriot Predator, click here.
For more information about Barnes ammunition, click here.
For more information about Hornady ammo, click here.
To purchase a Mossberg Patriot on GunsAmerica, click here.