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Mossberg ATR™ NIGHT TRAIN™ 27204 .308 Bolt Action Review

I have been provided the materials needed for this review. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Normally I don’t put the model number in the title but with the number of different options Mossberg offers  for the rifle I want to be specific on which rifle I reviewed.



Caliber: .308 WIN
Capacity: 5
Barrel: 22” Fluted
Rail: 6” Picatinny Rail
Scope: UTG 6-24x50MM w/ Illuminated Reticle, Sun Shade and Lens Protectors
Twist: 1:10
Length Of Pull: 13.25″
Finish: Matte Blue
Stock: Synthetic (Multi-Cam Camo)
Weight: 9.5 lb
Overall Length: 42″
MSRP: $891


LBA Lightning Bolt Action Adjustable Trigger
Free-Floating Button-Rifled Fluted Barrel
Scope and Bipod Included
4+1 Capacity, Top Load Magazine
Free Gun Lock/2-Year Limited Warranty

First Impressions

Growing up in the Boy Scouts, I knew Mossberg for two reasons. They made the Mossberg .22 bolt action rifles my troop owned for shooting sports and we had a Mossberg 500 12 Gauge shotgun we would use. When I was in the market for a new 12 Gauge I contacted Mossberg because they make the Mossberg 500 Flex which lets you customize your shotgun for your shooting needs.

You can pick up a wide range of different parts to make your gun more tactical or more home defense. If you want to keep it a normal bird gun, you can change the length of pull with different recoil/length of pull pads that snap in and out of the buttstock.  After a year of shooting the Mossberg 500 Flex 12 gauge, I wanted to do more work with Mossberg.

I requested the Mossberg ATR™ NIGHT TRAIN™ 27204 .308 Bolt Action Rifle for review. The gun, out of the box, makes you feel like you were just handed a sniper rifle and you are going to be able to take down all the bad guys from 4 miles* away. The scope is over a foot and a half long (w/ sun shade) and it has a the multi-cam stock fluted barrel and bipod.

Man, this Mossberg ATR looks like it can hit a dime from miles away*. (* The GEARs Crew understands that the max effective range of a .308 Win is 800-1000 meters. The distances named are for this writers dramatic impact only and should not be the expected results.)

Shooting and Feel

After getting the Mossberg ATR sighted and realigned I started out shooting 20 rounds at the 100 yard range getting the rounds to go through the same hole. When I felt comfortable, I moved on to the 300 yard range and noticed that the optic was fuzzy in the beginning. I had expected this, since it is not a very high end scope.

I had the steel gong as my target which I figured I would hand load each round and do a rapid engagement of 10 (3-5 seconds per shot to reload) back to the 300 yard target, even with my speed the rifle maintained about a 6 inch grouping. After about 80 rounds my shoulder was not fatigued. The rifle had the right length of pull for my size, making this rifle rather enjoyable to shoot with all day.

The barrel is threaded into the action and not one solid piece. This is normal, however the chamber is not as forgiving to someone who is hand loading each round vs. using the magazine to load the rounds. I would have liked to have seen a feed ramp on this, but for the price of the Mossberg ATR, it still feeds like it should.

The bolt does have good play and good flow when manipulating the bolt to load rounds.

The recoil as mentioned above is not overwhelming so if you shot more than 100 rounds you shouldn’t be running for the ice pack.


The UTG scope is good if you are not planning to shoot past 100 yards. The scope that Mossberg mounted on this rifle was fuzzy until we shot about 20+ rounds. The scope prisms must have moved to the correct spot and cleared up enough to shoot the 200 yard range. It was still fuzzy and hazy at 300 to the point you could not see your hits on high visible targets.

When we first took the rifle to the range the scope had not been zeroed and it took about 20 rounds to zero in. I never used the Illuminated Reticle since it was a bright sunny day every day we went to shoot.

With this being said, if I am able to continue reviewing this rifle, I would look at a relatively inexpensive scope upgrade to a Redfield Revenge 6-18x44mm scope with an MSRP of $314.  This upgrade keeps the look of the rifle and scope package with a better optic.

Bipod and Rail

The Caldwell bipod is “adjustable” however, when I tried adjusting the height, the legs never matched up enough to give a stable shooting platform. Thankfully, I did most of my shooting off the bench and not from prone, so the short legs were at the correct height.   I personally feel that Mossberg would have been better suited to have the bipod attached by picatinny rail verses the “permanently” mounted Caldwell. In keeping with how I would upgrade this rifle, I would unmount the bipod and have a gunsmith mount a 3” picatinny rail on the flat bottom of the stock allowing for a bipod and other types of sling mounts.

The scope rail is a 5” picatinny rail. This is nice, but in terms of upgrading this rifle I would change to Leupold dovetail scope rings and so I would have to change the rail. Mossberg does make this possible as the rail is not wielded to the action.


Mossberg introduced the Mossberg flex line of shotguns and MVP rifles. Although this rifle doesn’t need to be changed into a pistol grip rifle, I would have liked to have seen the buttstock length of pull modularity added into the design of the of the ATR™ NIGHT TRAIN line of centerfire rifles.

I think Mossberg is really onto the next gen of designs by adding features like the modularity they have already introduced. It would be great if companies like MAGPUL who already make stocks for Mossberg shotguns started adding new stocks and parts to Mossberg Flex line of modular rifles and shotguns.


For those of us who are trigger snobs, you should like the Mossberg’s no gunsmith needed adjustable trigger. I didn’t mess with this trigger adjustment as I was having issues with the scope and my review focus changed.

Final Thoughts

The Mossberg ATR was designed for someone getting into the art of distance shooting. This gun is for someone who doesn’t want to spend $800 on a bolt action rifle that won’t have a long life and then drop another $400 or $500 on scopes and rings and bipods just to get your first shot down range. This gun has it all for $891 MSRP.

Out of the box, this rifle is ready to be sighted in and taken on a hunting trip or just to the distance range. The upgrades I have talked about are not something you will have to get if you are starting out and learning how to shoot. As a shooter gets more proficient at shooting longer and longer ranges that is the time to start thinking about upgrading.

I have loved shooting the Mossberg ATR. As a proficient distance shooter, I would love to be able to report back with my findings after some simple upgrades to an already extremely well built bolt action.

POLL: What is your MAIN sight you use on your go to MSR?

Nikki With Leupold Scope | Gearsofguns.com

While in the gun shop this past week I overheard a conversation between a new AR-15 owner and his friend asking about what his main optic should be.

I have been asked this question a lot over the years and I always ask them a few questions before I give them my opinion.

  1. How often do you plan to shoot this rifle?
  2. You have just dropped $1000+ on a rifle what is your optic budget? Also what other accessories do you plan to use on this rifle and what is your budget for that?
  3. What kind of shooting do you intend to do with this rifle? Bench rest (distance), short range (100yds max/ home defense) or a mix of both?
  4. Do you plan on taking any shooting classes with this rifle?

After hearing their responses I have a better idea as to what kind of shooter they are and what they might want.

What kind of questions do you ask yourself before you make a decision on your optic choice?


Aaron – Muzzle breaks and compensators


Muzzle breaks and compensators are accessories that can help aid the shooter. When you are choosing what to put on the end of your muzzle, you need an idea of what your goals are. Do you want to hide the flash, enhance the flash, compensate for muzzle rise or recoil to allow for quicker follow up shots?

Science of Muzzle Brake and Compensators

The science behind muzzle brakes and compensators is quite simple. Muzzle brakes and compensators redirect the gasses coming from the barrel in the effect to counter muzzle rise and recoil from the actual firing of the firearm or trying to achieve the least amount of barrel movement. While shooting an automatic firearm, muzzle brakes will drastically help keep the muzzle pointed down range at the target. Muzzle brakes are commonly used for firearms using large cartridges, automatic guns, tank guns, and artillery.

Newton’s 3rd Law of Physics

Shooting any firearms, especially pistols, you can see that most firearms recoil back into the shoulder and straight up. Having a compensator with the ports that redirect gases upward helps it dampen the recoil to a degree. Muzzle brakes and compensators use Newton’s 3rd law of physics. “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body.” in layman terms the muzzle climb is being fought back downwards from the gases escaping upwards.

Pricing Brakes and Compensators

The price of these brakes and compensators can vary. Anywhere from $40-$100 is normal and depends on the material used to make the accessory and how crazy of a compensator they are. Competition brakes can bring up the price over $100 and would do a much better job of fighting muzzle climb and recoil from one around $40-$50. Naturally one specific brake wouldn’t be the best for every situation or firearm. You need to find one that is specifically designed for the intended situation and or firearm.

Porting vs. Brakes

Porting is another way to do what brakes and compensators do. There isn’t anything put on the muzzle of the barrel but has precision drilled holes in the forward section of the barrel that diverts a portion of the gasses in a direction that reduces muzzle climb.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages on the range

While muzzle brakes and compensators have many advantages to shooters and their firearms with reducing recoil 10%-50% (while some manufacturers report greater numbers), there is also a list of drawbacks. The shooter or other bystanders in the vicinity of the gun being fired may observe an increased level of sound pressure, muzzle blast, and possible lead exposure exiting from the muzzle break holes. Without the gasses being redirected in different directions from the brake, firearms without them have all the gasses, blast pressure, and sound pressure exiting straight forward away from the shooter. With the brake holes now pointed outward and with some brakes pointed back towards the shooter, your hearing and eye protection may not have adequate protection.

Noise Levels

Some muzzle brakes can add 5-10dB on rifles which increases the total noise levels to 160dB (painful discomfort occurs around 120-125dB). Another disadvantage is the weight to the end of the firearm as well as the fact that it adds to the total length and diameter which will change the overall handling of the firearm. If shooting in the prone position, the escaping gasses could kick up dirt, sand, and other debris into eyes or impair the shooters visibility of the target. The large escaping gas pressure could also cause a blast induced sinus cavity concussion. So depending on what your performance needs are, there is most likely a muzzle break or compensator that is right for you just be sure the use adequate protection for these muzzle accessories.


ProMag 30-42 round magazines

A few months back ProMag sent us out a few magazines to test and see how they’d perform under more intense handling. We had opted for the high drop test, Drag test and a crush test as seen in the following videos.

As I am not military I will never say that the testing done proves any kind of battle worth. I can say that it does prove it it can hold up against some more impractical and improbable abuse. While these magazines typically shouldn’t ever go through this kind of abuse it is nice to see that they still will function.

After all the testing was done we took the magazine apart to see if we had damaged any of the internal components like we had in the Lancer review, much to my surprise nothing was damaged.

I own about 12 ProMag AR-15 30 and 42 round magazines which I use in all of my AR style rifles (The ZA-15, Kel Tec SU-16CA and our 2 SIG556 rifles) the magazines just work….   Plain and simple. I load the magazines to the correct number of rounds for the magazine (30 and 42) put the magazine in the gun, chamber a round and shoot until it is empty. They have never given me any feed problems even after we tried to see if they would break under our testing.

The ProMag 30 round AR-15 magazines are not a fancy magazine, they don’t come with dust covers, they don’t have metal feed lips, they don’t carry the infamous shoulder thing that goes up on them and they can’t carry 10,000 rounds per magazine (I was shocked when I tried loading the magazine and this standard capacity magazine only held the STANDARD 30 rounds as spec’d). They do one job and one job only… They feed ammo into your rifle.

The look and feel is very close to the MAGPUL PMAGs. It has a similar subtle waffle texture and rounded out base plate. The spring holder that connects to the base plate has two round tabs that have to be depressed to take the base plate off rather than the the long single button on the MAGPUL.

ProMag Base Plate JPG

Overall I like the ProMag 30 and 42 round AR-15 style magazines. They have worked well for the GEARS crew for over a year now and I foresee them being used for years to come.

A nice little reminder: Clip vs. Mag

A nice little reminder: Clip vs. Mag

Othais over at TheFirearmBlog.com helps those of us who sometimes forgets the proper definition of Magazine vs. Clip.

mag vs. clip

We have been enjoying a spirited debate over the use or misuse of the term “clip” for generations.  I firmly believe that we can blame this entire argument on the adoption of the M1 Garand rifle as it was the last of the clip loaders.  Former soldiers and Hollywood popularized the the expedient term.  Much like saying “Kleenex”, clip has gained widespread use.  But what should we say?

Magazines are storage systems for ammunition that feed the cartridges into the action systematically by means of a spring-driven follower.

To read the rest of this article head over to The Firearm Blog

Guest post over at Ammoland.com

I wrote a guest post on Ammoland.com as a guide to buying a modern sporting rifle case

GearsofGuns.com recently did a poll about different types of Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) cases to get a take on what the general population of shooters carry their MSRs in.

This article was written as a guideline to help anyone in the market for a new Modern Sporting Rifle Gun Case.

Here are the stats of the GEARS followers and how they carry their Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs):

  • Soft Case: 47.37%
  • Foam Fitted Hard case: 21.05%
  • Hard Case (Low price range – Thin plastic basic case): 18.42%
  • Hard Case (Higher price range): 7.89%
  • Other: 5.26%

Read more: http://www.ammoland.com/2013/06/gun-cases-for-your-modern-sporting-rifle-or-ar15/#ixzz2WsFQQNmJ

Forbes.com: Meet The ‘Liberator’ (Full 3D printed gun)

Forbes.com: Meet The ‘Liberator’ (Full 3D printed gun)


“Alright. One…two…”

Before “three” arrives, a shot reverberates across the overcast central Texas landscape. A tall, sandy blond engineer named John has just pulled a twenty-foot length of yellow string tied to a trigger, which has successfully fired the world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun for the very first time, rocketing a .380 caliber bullet into a berm of dirt and prairie brush.

“Fuckin’ A!” yells John, who has asked me not to publish his full name. He hurries over to examine the firearm bolted to an aluminum frame. But the first to get there is Cody Wilson, a square-jawed and stubbled 25 year-old in a polo shirt and baseball cap. John may have pulled the trigger, but the gun is Wilson’s brainchild. He’s spent more than a year dreaming of its creation, and dubbed it “the Liberator” in an homage to the cheap, one-shot pistols designed to be air-dropped by the Allies over France during its Nazi occupation in World War II.

[Read the full article HERE]