Like many, I had always scoffed at Mossberg rifles because I assumed they couldn’t possibly be any good because they were “budget guns.” However, I never saw any valid reasons for my feelings. It was all conjecture.
Since the the GSR was first released I have had a love/hate relationship it. I have owned five of them and most were highly accurate, sub Moa shooters but I disliked the Mauser style safety and a few other things. So, I saw the Patrol rifle about two years ago and finally decided to try one. I’m glad I did.
As much as I like the Patrol I do still like the Ruger Scout. So, I have recently acquired my sixth GSR so that I could do a side by side comparison between the two, both in 308. The Scout was built in 2014 so it’s not one of the new models that has been reported to have QC issues.
After a full hunting season with the Patrol here are some of my observations compared to the GSR.
The Patrol receiver is milled from bar stock steel and the GSR is investment cast. Both are strong.
I give the edge to the Patrol in this catagory. For my use, a practical rifle needs to be able to easily chamber a 32 S&W/H&R adapter for small game hunting and checking zero after mishaps where the rifle has been dropped or bumped hard enough to possibly affect scope zero. This method is quick and quiet and the push feed bolt on the Patrol makes it easy. The control feed bolt on the GSR makes this more of a challenge. I have had the adapter get stuck in the GSR chamber several times because the bolt did not grab the adapter rim. I had to push it out from the muzzle with a cleaning rod. The solution is to feed the adapter through the breech into the magazine and then chamber it from the mag.
I also give the edge to the Patrol in bolt disassembly. Mossberg designed it to be disassembled with your hands much like an AR style. No tools required for basic takedown and removal of the firing pin. This shouldn’t be necessary on a hunting trip but in the event that you do need to inspect it or clean it, it will be much easier on the Patrol.
Bolt lift after firing is easier on the Patrol which makes for faster follow up shots. The GSR bolt can be cycled quickly but the harder lift and small bolt size make more difficult. At the end of the day you get used to what you have and how you train.
As mentioned, the bolt handle is slightly enlarged on the Mossberg and therefore more ergonomic and easier to operate.
The GSR bolt is more beefy but this does not necessarily mean it’s stronger. Both are plenty strong.
The barrel on the Patrol is a heavy contour which does add weight to the rifle but aids in accuracy and balance. This also allows more shots to be fired before groups start opening up.
The Patrol has a 5R Button Rifled barrel which some consider superior to the cold hammer forging of the Ruger. Here is an article explaining these processes http://riflebarrels.com/the-details-of-accuracy/
The GSR barrel is a nice compromise in diameter and weight. To me, the Patrol balances slightly better when shouldered.
The synthetic stock on the Patrol seems to be inferior to the GSR synthetic in that it is a little less rigid. Also, the action screw on the Patrol will back out over time if you don’t add thread locker to it. It took some time to get used to the "taller" (not thicker) fore end on the Mossberg but now I'm fine with it. Both have free floated barrels. Both are durable.
The Mossberg does not have spacers to adjust LOP.
The Patrol takes AR and M1A mags but this is only a plus if you have an AR10 or M1A. The GSR poly mags work fine in my rifle.
The Patrol has Williams fiber optic sights which do a nice job in low light but are more difficult to use at distance than the aperture sight on the GSR. However, in twilight hunting hours the Scout’s sights are all but useless. The Ruger’s front sight is more robust.
Both rifles are very accurate and with the right shooter, ammo and optic are sub moa capable. My Patrol rifle seems to be the more accurate of the two. It breaks the sub half moa mark more often. I have achieved that with the Scout but much less frequently.