Old 01-10-2011, 01:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 120
Default Range Report: Mossberg ATR100 in .308WIN w/ Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40 mm Scope

Alright everyone, here is a range report that I have been meaning to put up for quite a while. As the review says, the rife is a Mossberg ATR 100 in .308 WIN, with a Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40 mm scope. I meant to do this after my first trip to the range, but because this is my first rifle, I have been needing some practice to make sure that any flaws in performance are attributable to the gun and not my marksmanship. However, I have to admit that my marksmanship is still (and will always be) a work in progress.

A lot of the problems in accuracy were due to two main factors—overheating and a cheap factory scope. The available models at Dick's did not have the fluted barrel, so perhaps the newer models are better at avoiding this problem, but because this rifle is mostly for hunting, it's the first shot that's important. The scope seemed to be very sensitive to shifts of my head position, with a 1 mm difference in my head position seeming to translate to a 2” difference on the target at 100 m. The new scope's objective is much less leptokurtic (narrowly skewed to the center) and is giving me the same shot patterns as my old scope but they are much closer together.

After about 300 rounds of ammunition, the rifle has broken in quite well and I am familiar with all of its quirks and sensitivities, and I have to say I am happy with my decision. I had my decision narrowed down to a Savage 111 and a Weatherby Vanguard. After playing with them all in the store, I decided to go with the Mossberg because of its trigger, the smoothness of the action, and the price ($50 less than the other two). The trigger still fires just as crisp as the day I bought it and the action is even smoother. Initially, there were some feeding errors with the first round out of the chamber jamming at a crooked angle, but running some hoppers along the side of the magazine housing the problem has all but stopped the jamming with loads of 165 gr and heavier (it's still temperamental about how you load the round, but it's at least consistent).

Of those 300 rounds of ammo, I have experimented with different brands and weights, some fed well and were accurate and others did not. From best to worst, here's what the gun liked and what it didn't like:

The Good (< 1 MOA)
1. Federal Vital-Shok (Barnes TSX) 165 gr
2. Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 168 gr
3. Federal Vital-Shok (GameKings) 165 gr
4. Winchester Powerpoint 180 gr
5. Winchester Powerpoint 150 gr
6. Federal Power-Shok 180 gr
7. Remington Core-Lokt Express 180 gr

The Bad (inconsistent or > 1 MOA)
8. Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 150 gr
9. Remington Core-Lokt Express 150 gr

The Ugly (My slug gun is more accurate than these)
10. Federal Power-Shok 150 gr
11. Federal American Eagle 150 gr
12. Hornady Superformance 165 gr

Given that I was not needing to use premium ammunition to get good results, the targets were shot using the Winchester powerpoints in 180 grain at 100 m.

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A. These are the first five shots, all within 30 seconds of each other. The first 3 are 1.25 inches, dead center above the bullseye. The shots are close together, but they already start to curve upward as the barrel heats up.

B. After a 10 minute wait, the barrel cools down a bit and the first two shots are right on target but shots 3 and 4 are already beginning to heat the barrel. Shot 5 doesn't even make the target.

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C. I take another 10 minute break and wait to change targets and let the barrel cool down. Doing 4-shot groups now (with 1 minute between shots), I hit the target in the right spot, again, but the barrel already heats back up and the next two shots are high and then low.

D. I wait 5 minutes to let the barrel cool down, but by this point the barrel is starting to heat back up again, and I'm starting to flinch, so after the next four shots I take a good 20 minute break (the range master made chili that day) so I let myself warm up and let the barrel cool down.

E. I come back from a good long break and take one more shot to see if the scope is still on target. It is, and I'm satisfied with the accuracy.

Conclusion: All in all, I am very satisfied with the rifle. I feel more than confident using this rifle for deer and I hope I get to take it to to the Rockies for some elk in the near future. Because of the ammunition feeding issues I don't know that I would take this rifle on a dangerous game hunt, but for the large-hooved and small pawed critters I think this rifle would be more than adequate. But if I had to choose a first rifle all over again, I would absolutely pick the ATR for it's cold barreled accuracy, smooth trigger, and excellent price (the laminate walnut finish doesn't look too bad, either). Unfortunately, due to school I was not able to take it out beyond 1 day during the regular rifle season, but the doe season goes until the 16th so I can post some pictures of my first deer with this rifle before I have to put it away.

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