The Barrett MRAD is a $5800 precision multi-caliber bolt-action rifle, shown here with a 24″ barrel in .338 Lapua Magnum, and a $500 quick-detach LRA bipod. The MRAD sets new standards in modularity, simplicity, and compatibility by combining a number of clever design features:
- Like most modular rifles its folding buttstock locks into place over the bolt handle. It adjusts for length-of-pull with a button, cheek height with a thumbscrew, and features a bottom rail for mounting a monopod.
- The upper is a beautifully milled if oddly anodized piece of aluminum with 30MOA of cant in the top rail.
- It uses robust and reasonably priced double-stack injection-molded 10-round magazines. (However they can only hold rounds up to 3.8″ long, which may limit the reloading envelope of heavy VLD bullets.)
- Upper and lower receivers separate with one lever and one captive drift pin.
- It accepts standard AR-style grips. It is shown here with a Magpul MOE.
- It uses a traditional AR-style short-throw safety.
- The bolt has an automatic self-lubricating dust cover.
- Its barrel can be rapidly changed out the front after removing two bolts, and reinstalled without losing zero.
After pivoting the gun open the bolt comes straight out. The safety can be pushed out without tools at which point the trigger module can be lifted out. The trigger itself deserves special attention: It is as simple as can be and elegantly executed. Adjustable down to 1.5 pounds, it breaks shots consistently with no creep or overtravel — an ideal specimen for precision shooting.
And this rifle is precise! Following is the very first group shot at 300 yards after zeroing at 200 yards. Using my preferred handload with Lapua brass and 250gr Lapua Scenars this 5-shot group is right about 0.6MOA.
As shown the rifle weighs over 17 pounds, so it makes shooting the heavy .338LM quite tolerable. After several years of delays Barrett is just now bringing caliber conversion kits to market for $1500, allowing owners to switch bolt, barrel, and mags to shoot lighter, cheaper .308 or .300WM from the same gun.
The only shortcoming as delivered is that the bolt knob is a cheap piece of injection-molded plastic. Presumably it is meant, like that standard grip, to be replaced by the end user with his preferred bolt handle.
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