Gun Review: Barrett MRAD

One key advantage of a switch-barrel rifle is economical: barrels can be swapped to practice with cheaper ammo at the range.

One key advantage of a switch-barrel rifle is economical: barrels can be swapped to practice with cheaper ammo at the range.

Currently, the .300 Winchester Magnum is in use with all of the M24s and the M2010, which is a conversion of the M24 from .308. The military also wants to retain the ability to shoot 7.62 NATO for cost-effective training. The MRAD is offered with barrels for each caliber.

The MRAD also boasts Barrett’s new trigger module that is accessible for maintenance, adjustment and replacement. This is a match-grade trigger that is adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds of let-off. The trigger on the test gun was 3 pounds, but is adjustable from 2.5 to 5 pounds.

The MRAD’s safety is an AR-style thumb lever that can be quickly switched from left to right. For guys who like to shoot with the thumb forward instead of wrapped around the pistol grip, it’s an easy change to move the safety from one side to the other. An ambidextrous magazine release, located between the front of the trigger guard and the magazine well, drops empty magazines free while retaining the firing hand’s finger grip.

The finish on the stock is 7000 series Mil Spec 3 hard-coat anodized aluminum in Barrett Multi-Role brown. A rust preventative coats all steel components. The pistol grip is a standard A2 grip. The bolt assembly slides inside a polymer sleeve, which works well without lube.

Down-Range Performance

Barrett MRAD gun review.The best ballistic performance from the .338 Lapua comes with 300-grain Scenar bullets, so that’s what was tested. After firing 10 rounds across a Shooting Chrony chronograph, I quickly set up a 100-yard target and fired four five-shot groups. The best group measured 1.004-inch. The other groups had flyers that opened them up beyond MOA, but the other four shots in each group formed nice little clusters that averaged no more than a half-inch. Moving out to 300 yards, the MRAD really shined. I fired three sub-MOA groups, with the best measuring 1.59 inches.

A few weeks later, I took yet another MRAD to my farm to punch more paper. With the 24.5-inch 7.62 NATO barrel installed, I fired a couple of match loads at 100 yards with the rifle atop an Accu-Shot Atlas bipod.

After firing 100 rounds downrange, my worst 5-shot group with either load was in the high 0.800-inch range. Federal’s 168-grain Gold Medal Match averaged 0.608, and the smallest group went 0.293-inch. Winchester’s 168-grain match load averaged 0.632, with the best group measuring 0.340-inch.

This switch-barrel outfit is sure to cover practically any precision rifle need a shooter may have. Barrett’s MRAD is a proven long-range hammer, and its popularity among military, law enforcement and sporting circles should continue to grow every day.

Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the June 3, 2013 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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