Can You Fix a Problem Rifle?: Mossberg Patriot Problem Kickoff

Have you ever had a rifle that just doesn’t shoot and wonder if it’s fixable? In this video, we take a first look at Jim Harmer’s troublesome .308 Mossberg Patriot


Ultimate Reloader LLC / Making with Metal Disclaimer: (by reading this article and/or watching video content you accept these terms). The content on this website (including videos, articles, ammunition reloading data, technical articles, gunsmithing and other information) is for demonstration purposes only. Do not attempt any of the processes or procedures shown or described on this website. All gunsmithing procedures should be carried out by a qualified and licensed gunsmith at their own risk. Do not attempt to repair or modify any firearms based on information on this website. Ultimate Reloader, LLC and Making With Metal can not be held liable for property or personal damage due to viewers/readers of this website performing activities, procedures, techniques, or practices described in whole or part on this website. By accepting these terms, you agree that you alone are solely responsible for your own safety and property as it pertains to activities, procedures, techniques, or practices described in whole or part on this website.

About Jim Harmer

Jim describes himself as a “Hunter, Recovering Attorney, Gun Rights Advocate, and Lover of All Things Outdoors.” His hunting-focused content is available @backfire on YouTube and

Also be sure to watch Jim in the 2023 Rock Chuck Olympics! He was a bit apprehensive as the field was stacked with world-class competitive shooters, but he greatly enjoyed learning from everyone.

About the Rifle 

I’ve previously talked with Jim about what to look for in a bolt-action rifle. This particular gun is not it. He’s published several stories including the gun, starting with a quest for the best hunting rifle under $350 (pre-inflation).

He couldn’t get the Mossberg Patriot to stay on paper, much less group.

Terrible Groups from Jim Harmer’s Patriot Rifle from his Original Review

He tried a variety of ammunition and changed the scope, but nothing seemed to fix the issue. Jim sent it back to Mossberg for a barrel replacement and they returned it with a test target of three shots in a nice, tight cluster. When Jim took it back out on the range, the same issue resurfaced. This gun showed the worst accuracy he’s ever seen from a hunting gun — making it hard to believe the test target. Due to the popularity of Backfire TV, someone from Mossberg came out to try the gun with him, who also agreed the gun doesn’t shoot, but couldn’t figure out why. He also brought out another .308 Mossberg Patriot with a synthetic stock that shot better, but still not great. Upon reviewing footage from other YouTube channels, it seemed he was not the only reviewer who observed poor accuracy with the .308 Patriot. Keep in mind that this was several years ago. He has since seen a number of reviews of Mossberg Patriot bolt-action rifles in other calibers that shoot well. (Check out Who-Tee-Who’s 7mm PRC Mossberg Patriot video.) Something just isn’t right with this rifle. 

My Turn

This rifle interested me as it is an opportunity to review a rifle step-by-step and diagnose it. 

I don’t have many Weaver-mount options, so I landed on a Weaver Grand Slam scope. Using a rear bag, bipod, Hornady Black 168 grain .308 Winchester ammunition, and Longshot’s LR-3 system, I was able to confirm Jim’s experience, shooting 2.5 to 3” groups at 100 yards.

Gavin’s 100 Yard Results with the. 308 Mossberg Patriot

I also had some feeding issues. I would have expected better results and more consistency from a rifle that had been sent back to the factory. The trigger broke at approximately two pounds as measured with a Lyman digital trigger pull gauge. I was happy with this for a hunting rifle. 

I took the gun apart and reviewed my findings with Jim via videoconference. The design has similarities to a HOWA and Remington 700. The barreled action looked typical.

Bolt lug to lug seat contact was excellent. What surprised me was the plastic magwell sandwiched between the stock and the action.

Magwell Plastic Insert with Ribs

I originally wanted to preserve the original stock, but the plastic bottom “metal” and the amount of material on the forend posed potential roadblocks to my plan for a heavier bull barrel. 

Possibilities are near endless. I have some basic upgrade ideas, starting with a Picatinny rail, but there are a number of directions we can go.

First off, isolating variables is key to uncovering the root of the problem. Most commonly, a problem with a gun traces back to the shooter. In a case like this, it’s helpful to “sanity-check” yourself by shooting a rifle you know is a proven performer. For me, it is my  .223 trainer with Berger 77 grain OTM factory ammunition


Buying a troublesome rifle can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you check all the basic things — screws, ammunition, optics, and there is seemingly no solution. Stay tuned for my diagnosis of this gun!  What do you think is wrong with it?

 If you’re interested in learning more about gunsmithing, consider attending the Colorado School of Trades. If not, consult a qualified gunsmith! 

Get the Gear

Subscribe to @backfire on YouTube and to keep up with Jim’s adventures! 

Jim has also developed a cool recoil-reducing rifle buttpad called the Backstop. Check it out HERE.

Ultimate Reloader Rifles

Colorado School of Trades

Longshot LR-3 2 Mile UHD – $899 MSRP

Hornady .308 Winchester 168 Grain A-Max Black Ammunition at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge at Midsouth Shooters Supply

EGW Mossberg Patriot Tactical Scope Mount

Berger .223 77 Grain OTM Ammunition at Creedmoor Sports

Don’t miss out on Ultimate Reloader updates, make sure you’re subscribed!

Gavin Gear

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *