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 SMR Rifle, and MRAD 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.
n 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, it’s 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 extremely long ranges. Only one prevailed; Barrett.
This particular MRAD is referred to as an SMR or single-mission rifle. Unfortunately, it is missing a couple of 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, it is 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 of 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.