Hunting can be expensive, and finding the right rifle for the hunt is crucial. I prefer a rifle that is tough as well as accurate, and it helps if it is affordable.
I have always chosen function over looks, but it was hard to not love the fit and finish of this $499 Mossberg Patriot bolt-action rifle with its walnut stock, stippled pistol grip, and spiral fluted bolt. The matte-blued, fluted barrel has a 1:10 twist at a length of 22 inches, and the rifle will hold five rounds of ammunition. The Patriot also features the LBA, or Lightning Bolt Action, user-adjustable trigger. The company makes the gun in youth sizes as well.
This rifle was my choice for my very first bear hunt. Using Weaver-style scope mounts, I installed the Bushnell Trophy scope in 3-9X40 and zeroed the rig at 50 yards for close-range shots at bears in heavy cover. Climbing into the stand at 6:00 p.m. on the first night of five, I knew I might have a good chance at seeing my first big bear.
I checked and rechecked my Mossberg Patriot chambered in .30-06 before hanging it on a hook to prepare for the long wait. It was then that I knew I had to trust this rifle – possibly with my life – because black bears soon began roaming around the base of my treestand! Let me just say it got a bit intense!
I was able to confidently take my first Alberta bruin with this rifle (photo above), and plan to get great use of the same setup for years to come on whitetails and other big game. The Patriot is very accurate, operates smoothly and doesn’t break the bank. And my first bruin is proof that the rifle works well even in the hands of a rookie bear hunter.
To learn more about the Mossberg Patriot, check out the video below.
Image by Rick Sosebee