We took the Barrett MRAD 308 for a spin at the recent 2018 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in Montana. It led to a greater look at the entire MRAD (Multi-Role Adaptive Design) platform.
The Barrett MRAD rifle has become a serious part of the precision rifle landscape since it launched its first round. The product of a solicitation request by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in December of 2009, Barrett built the MRAD to meet and exceed the needs of those who go into harm’s way.
Barrett MRAD Foundations
Following solicitation guidelines, Barrett equipped the MRAD with several solid features. One such feature was the folding stock, which made the rifle more easily transportable. The MRAD stock folds on the right side, reducing overall width for a minimal footprint and ease of transport.
Barrett also designed the rifle to be multi-caliber convertible where a user could change the barrel and caliber while in the field. Barrett mastered this from the start by allowing the user to simply loosen two Torx screws in the receiver; this allows removal of the barrel from the front of the receiver/handguard.
With only a simple bolt face change, and in some cases a magazine change, caliber can be changed. The factory head spaced bolt face is provided with each barrel. All told, the switch takes less than five minutes.
A single-button length-of-pull adjustment and adjustable check rest height add to a list of user adaptability. A polymer bolt guide acts as a dust cover to reduce debris entering the action. This also is one of the reasons the action on the MRAD is so smooth.
It has a user-reversible, AR-15-style safety with a 45 degree throw, an ambidextrous magazine release, and the ability to accept standard M16/AR-15-style pistol grips. Like the AR-style rifle, the MRAD upper and lower receivers are separable by pushing out the take-down pin, which allows for easy access to internals and cleaning.
Barrett MRAD 308 Build
One of the standout features of the MRAD is the monolithic upper receiver that integrates the forend with the action. The first major advantage of this is that there’s no way for the action to work loose because of the way it’s attached to the chassis. The second advantage is that it allows users to mount an optic wherever they wish. On other guns, any attempt to mount glass on both the receiver and forend would result in unpredictable shots as the two components shifted independently. A monolithic upper allows the shooter to mount a scope anywhere on the rail.
The 20-MOA bias provides the user with the adjustments necessary to reach out to extreme distances consistently.
One other solid feature that can only come from those who understand long-range shooting is the 60-degree throw of the bolt. This design allows the bolt sufficient room to clear even super large ocular housings found on today’s precision optics.
Unlike most precision bolt rifles, the trigger in the MRAD is easily removable for adjustment and cleaning. No tools are required for removal and minimum tools are required for adjustment. It is a cassette-type trigger that drops into the lower receiver of the rifle. Removing the trigger takes less than 30 seconds; you simply simultaneously rotate and pull the safety selector from the receiver. The trigger in and of itself is fantastic for precision shooting.
Barrett has both single-stage and two-stage options available.
If the phrase “modular” is echoing in your brain, good. It should be. Other modular options with the MRAD system include:
- It comes with a high-efficiency Barrett Muzzle Brake; an Adaptor Muzzle Brake (AMB30) is also available to accept Barrett AM30 Suppressor
- Match-grade barrels are available in multiple lengths and profiles
- Accessory rails can be mounted at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions
Barrett MRAD Chamberings
Chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum, Barrett designed the original MRAD for engagements at 1,500 meters and beyond.
Barrett later received a request from an overseas client looking for a more compact version of the MRAD chambered in 7.62x51mm/.308 Winchester. This would make the gun a little friendlier for urban use and ultimately law enforcement. While the MRAD is available in a variety of calibers and conversions — including .338 LM, .300 WM, .308 Win, 6.5 creedmoor and 260 Rem — it is the .308 that shines in my opinion.
Barrett also has caliber conversion kits available in .338 NM, .300 NM and .300 PRC.
Barrett zeroes the .308 MRAD using Federal M118 LR ammo with 175-grain OTM bullets. Using these rounds, the rifle easily shoots sub-MOA.
I have found though that with ammo such as the Hornady 168-grain TAP or Lapua 185-grain Scenar, a skilled shooter can approach the 1/2 MOA group size. Groups like this are part of Barrett’s DNA, which is why the gun is so sought after.
The design, which utilizes an aluminum chassis, is a tip of the hat to those who work constantly with their guns, many times in harsh environments. It is the totality of choices like this made by Barrett in the design that make the MRAD so solid.
Why the Barrett MRAD 308 Works
While the price point on the rifle pushes $6,000, it is worth every penny simply because it has the capacity to be a one-stop shop. With the ability to change calibers, the gun quickly can be adjusted to fit any mission a precision shooter may need to face.
Keeping it based out as a .308 version gives the shooter sub-MOA performance on a bomb proof reliable platform. While I can easily see this gun in .308 as an LEO tool, it’s also a great addition to any serious shooters collection.
Starting off with an MRAD in .308 gives the shooter a solid base gun with access to very affordable ammo. Down the road, they can add to their rifle collection with a much smaller investment in a caliber conversion kit; same trigger, same scope and the same chassis. This drops the learning curve on a new caliber and helps the shooter translate all of their established skills into a new caliber.
The Barrett MRAD continues to be one of the best precision rifles on the market and will hold that position for years to come.
For more information on the Barrett MRAD 308, please visit Barrett.net.
Barrett MRAD 308 Specs:
- Type: Bolt Actions; Mag-Fed
- Caliber: 308 WIN (and others)
- Capacity: 10 rounds
- Weight: 11.68 pounds
- Barrel twist: 1:10
- MSRP: $6,000