U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- For quite a while now I’ve been wanting to shoot a mile. A few years ago I shot a 1000 yards for the first time, and I was immediately hooked. Long range shooting is thrilling in a way that is sometimes hard to convey to those who have never done it. The skill involved in calculating the drop and wind, to make a bullet fly that far, and land on target is very rewarding. After making that first 1000 Yard shot, it wasn’t terribly long after that I started thinking about going further. Now, it’s a pretty big jump from 1000 yards to 1760, a mile, so lots of things have to be considered. Most guns and calibers that work great at 1000 yards are going to fall a little short at a mile. I also used this as the perfect excuse to check off a very big gun that I’ve had on my wish list for a very long time, The Barrett MRAD.
This is the Barrett MRAD, and that stands for multi-role adaptive design. This particular model is what they refer to as an SMR, and more on that in a minute. The MRAD is a precision rifle that has been designed from the ground up to be both modular and have extreme precision. Also, being a Barrett, the MRAD is built tough enough for military use. The MRAD itself was designed to meet the requirements laid out in 2009 by SOCOM for their new sniper rifle. Barrett made the changes for the requirements to their model 98B. The stock had to be foldable, and the barrel had to be easily interchangeable. This system allows the user in the field to just loosen two hex screws and change the barrel or caliber allowing the rifle to adapt to whatever role is required.
In 2019, SOCOM awarded Barrett the contract designating the MRAD as the M22 ASR or advanced sniper rifle. The military will be getting the MK22 and it will come with barrels for 308 Winchester, 300 Norma Magnum, and 338 Norma magnum. As I’ve always said, if it’s good enough for SOCOM, its good enough for me. So, of course the announcement of the MK22 made me want an MRAD even more. Every major long range precision rifle manufacturer competed for this highly sought after contract with the most stringent requirements for repeatable accuracy at extreme long range. Only one prevailed; Barrett.
This particular MRAD is referred to as an SMR, or single mission rifle. It is unfortunately missing a couple key features from the full on MRAD. The barrel doesn’t easily interchange, the stock also doesn’t fold, and the stock isn’t adjustable for length of pull. You could think of this as the MRAD for the poors because it is significantly cheaper than a normal MRAD. You could also think of it as the re-branded Barrett Model 98B, but at least for 2020, its the only configuration that offers 300 PRC for a chambering. Now, at first I was a little put off because I didn’t realize the differences, I just wanted an MRAD chambered in 300PRC and was a little confused when this showed up. But, after the initial shock, I’m totally happy with the SMR configuration. This rifle has done everything I could have ever wanted it to, and I saved a little money initially.
Both versions of the MRAD have this very unique enclosed polymer guide around the bolt. This does a couple things; first, it ensures a very silky smooth bolt operation, while at the same time it keeps dust and debris away from the action. There’s a completely adjustable match grade trigger, tool less adjustable cheek riser, and 45 degree throw safety located in virtually the same position as an AR, making it instantly familiar. All of that is housed in a monolithic receiver with a full length top rail, complete with a built in taper for extreme long range and MLOK slots at 3. 6. and 9 o’clock. As this one came from Barrett, it has a 26 inch barrel with a 1 in 8” twist; the overall length comes in right at 49 and a half inches, with a weight of 13.4 pounds before any accessories.
When I set out to pick a caliber for a mile shot the first thing I wanted to do was pick something I knew could reach out that far. Being my first time trying to make a shot at that distance, I didn’t want to take something that I only hoped would make it. The first round to come in mind is always 338 Lapua Magnum, and that’s a great round, but if you’ve ever priced ammo, for that, it’s a bit insane. I started looking into Hornady’s 300 Precision Rifle Cartridge. It offered several things that very much appealed to me for this application.
First, out of my barrel length 300 PRC won’t go subsonic till about 1900 yards; meaning that it will be very stable through a mile shot at 1760 yards. Also, the rounds are far more affordable than 338 Lapua Magnum. You can buy the Hornady Match ammo for just over $2 dollars a round; less than half what match grade 338 Lapua Magnum costs, and basically that’s cheaper than subsonic 300 Blackout in the current market. 2020 ammo prices are completely insane. But in all seriousness, the relative affordability of this round, when compared to 338, or some other crazy expensive rounds that some people shoot a mile with, made this possible for me and my budget. To break it down for someone who understands things at about the level I do, 300 PRC is a little more powerful than 300 Win Mag, and a little less powerful than 338 Lapua Magnum. It propels a 225 grain bullet down range at a little over 2900 feet per second, and that bullet stays supersonic to roughly 1900 yards; significantly past a mile at 1760 yards. Meaning, the trajectory will be stable, and if I can’t make the shot I can’t blame the ammo. Like 6.5 Creedmoor, the round was also designed specifically for precision shooting and accuracy.
The Barrett MRAD is an absolute pleasure to shoot, it is razor accurate, controls are perfectly placed, the bolt action is silky smooth, and the trigger is phenomenal. As it should be, this rifle isn’t cheap; you expect it to perform, and it won’t disappoint. Really there is only one complaint, and it’s not really a complaint about the rifle, but something I think you should know if you’re considering purchasing one. The Barrett MRAD in 300 PRC greatly prefers the Hornady Match 225 grain loading of 300PRC, and it doesn’t really like Precision Hunter offering. It’s easily sub MOA with the Match offering, but groups opened up a surprising amount with the precision hunter loading.
As a true testament to the superior build quality of this rifle, the accessories we used, and the great ballistics of the 300 PRC round, not only was I able to make my mile shot, but everyone that we brought with us was able to make contact with a 24×24 inch piece of steel at 1 mile. The experienced shooters present appreciated the build quality and extreme precision of the Barret MRAD, but what impressed me even more was the more novice shooters were able to make a mile shot with the Barrett MRAD. This gun flat out performs, and it is very easy to see why the Department of Defense chose this platform.
In closing, I’ll just reiterate that the MRAD and all the accessories that we had on it are absolutely top notch, and if you’re looking for something along these lines, I would highly recommend all of it. But, I want to take this moment to tell you that if someone told me a few years ago I would be shooting a mile, I would have told them that they’re crazy, and thats something Larry Vickers or someone like that gets to do. For me, this was a pretty big accomplishment, and something I quite literally thought I wouldn’t be capable of doing. I set a goal, and relentless I pursued it. While shooting a mile may not be your thing, you should set lofty goals in your own life and then pursue them passionateley. Sometimes the biggest obstacles in life are ones that we create ourselves.
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