When Mossberg introduced the Patriot rifle a few years back, many thought it was just another value priced addition to an already saturated market. That opinion quickly changed when you shot the rifle. It changed permanently if you took the gun on a big game hunt. The Patriot is a solid, well-made production rifle with excellent accuracy. And yes, it is truly affordable. Mossberg then took it a step further and made it in a youth model called the Patriot Youth Super Bantam Rifle. This was great news for me as I was looking to get my daughter Tayler her first deer rifle. I chose the Patriot Youth in 7mm-08 and Tayler opted for the Muddy Girl camo pattern.
The key to making a good youth rifle is to basically make the gun lighter and smaller. But what does smaller mean? Years ago, more than one company’s solution to this was to just shorten the barrel. This might lighten the weight a bit but it doesn’t really help the small framed shooter. Mossberg knows this and the Patriot youth rifles are outfitted with synthetic stocks that come with a one inch spacer. This gives the shooter room to grow into the rifle. I really like this feature as it keeps the stock usable even when the shooter gets older. Without the spacer the stock has a 12″ length of pull and 13″ with the spacer installed. Mossberg also fluted the barrel and bolt, helping to bring the overall weight of the gun to 6.5 pounds.
In addition to cutting weight, Mossberg gave the Patriot Youth rifle a host of other great features. One of the biggest is the user adjustable LBA trigger system. You can adjust this trigger from 2-7 pounds. My daughter’s rifle came with the trigger set at 4 pounds out of the box. I would normally adjust this down to about 3 pounds but the trigger was very crisp and clean so I left it alone. This trigger shoots great and is very consistent.
The Patriot Youth also comes with a drop box magazine. While some hunters prefer an internal box magazine, I like a removable one for young hunters. I think it can be a little easier for novice shooters to learn how to load and especially unload the weapon safely. The rifle features a recessed target crown at the muzzle of the barrel. This helps ensure long term accuracy by protecting this critical area of the barrel, especially on a gun being handled by young shooters who may be more prone to banging it on a rock while hiking in the woods.
The rifle comes with Weaver scope bases already installed on the receiver. I installed a Vixen Optics 4-14x40mm scope on the gun and took it to the range. I used two loads from Hornady for my testing, the Superformance 139 grain GMX and the Custom Lite 120 grain SST. Both are excellent bullets for deer hunting but there are significant differences in recoil and bullet drop. I found both loads consistently grouped around one and half inches at 100 yards out of Tayler’s gun. The Custom Lite load had much less felt recoil but hit about three inches below the Superformance load. This is to be expected as these loads go in opposite extremes of each other. Tayler definitely liked the Custom Lite load better!
The Mossberg Patriot Youth is a great rifle for any shooter looking for a smaller sized gun. I outfitted Tayler’s with a Quake Industries Claw sling, gave her a set of Sun Optics binoculars and she was ready to hunt. She had no problem shooting the gun at the range and is looking forward to getting it out in the field.