Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua Sniper Rifle Review

My first impression of the Barrett MRAD (Multi-Role Adaptive Design) straight out of the box was that Barrett had designed a beautiful rifle. The rifle I received for my evaluation was a bolt action chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum.

The concept behind Barrett’s MRAD system, is that it provides the shooter with an adaptable modular shooting platform. The MRAD can be re-configured to a variety of different calibers depending on the mission or application [be sure to follow link to previous Kit Up! video].

I did quite a few sniper patrols in northern Afghanistan with my partner Chris in early 2002 with SEAL Team Three ECHO platoon. And there were quite a few enemy engagements where the .338 Lapua would have come in handy for both of us. We sighted a lot of Taliban and Al Qaeda between 1200-2000 meters along the border of Pakistan but they were just out of reach of our .300 Winmag bolt-action rifles. Chris and I had to settle for calling in close air support air on most of these instances but what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and have the MRAD on patrol back then! I don’t know of any sniper that wouldn’t want a .338 Lapua Magnum in the toolbox.

I took the rifle back to just under 800 yards and it was shooting very flat and accurate.  I was punching steel silhouettes dead center and taking head shots at this distance with a 2-minute wind hold on the Mil Dot scope.  I also had my female friend Sally Lyndley with me to take pictures; she’s no slouch and is one of the world’s top fashion stylists (clients include Vogue, Love, Disney, etc.).  She has zero shooting experience and I had her on steel at 500 yards consistently and she was very comfortable using the rifle.  This speaks highly of the MRAD system in the sense that I re-configured the rifle for a female shooter in under a minute and had a beginner holding on target consistently at 500 yards with no complaints (recoil being a common issue).  I wrapped up at 800 yards out of ammo and very satisfied with the rifle.

Post shooting, the MRAD is very easy to break down and clean.  Access to the trigger housing assembly and lower/upper receiver is very simple with detailed step-by-step instructions provide in the operators manual.

I recently developed a proprietary 60-100-point scoring system for weapons that I have been using as a valuable analysis tool for people that want an honest review. My 100-point system is divided up into four major categories worth 10 points each.

1. Design/Innovation
2. Quality of Manufacturing and Materials
3. Functionality
4. Overall Professional Assessment

The Barrett MRAD system comes in at 92 points, which is a solid score. I took off minor points for a few feeding issues, gave high marks for the elegant minimalist design and quality of manufacturing. These are both something that other US manufacturers should pay attention to and learn from if they want to stay competitive in the market. Barrett did a great job with the MRAD.

The MRAD is a very well made rifle and was a pleasure to shoot. It will make a great addition to any snipers quiver as well as the long range shooting enthusiast collection.


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  • rodger

    I have to agree with the article big time and man i would love to have one of these bad boys.

  • jrexilius

    I’ve been seriously looking at a Barret in .338. Although I would need some years of training to do that round justice I think.

  • JSHJr

    .338 Lapua is an outstanding round. While I shoot the AW-338, the Barrett is an outstanding weapon. Somebody in the US military dropped the ball when they chose the 300 Win Mag in lieu of the .338 Lapua. The round is big enough to break things, but still holds the accuracy required to engage human targets.

    • 300 win mag is not in lieu of .338 Lapua, it is a stepping stone. The PSR solicitations I’ve seen all call for a .338 Lapua weapon. The Army chose the 300 win mag as a stepping stone because of the ease of upgrading the current M24 to 300 win mag.


    Could you clarify what you meant when you said “single load feeding issues”. Does the rifle have trouble shooting when loaded from the chamber rather from the magazine?

  • I’ve had the chance to handle the MRAD in .338 and the first thing I noticed was holy crap it’s light!. Barrett really has a chance to upset Remington’s reign in precision weapons, they just need to make the overall package just as good if not better than Remington’s offering.

  • Slade

    “re-configured the rifle for a female shooter”

    Exactly how is a female shooter different from a male shooter?

    • Talon


  • Talon

    Too bad the company didn’t have a longer range, Brandon could have taken the .338 round out over 1000 meters. Anyways, that is a sweet looking rifle and the boys in uniform will really love that piece of equipment.

  • Alex (not a gun nut)

    Don’t really know guns but this one looks like they followed k.i.s.s. pretty well.

  • Lance

    great except caliber if it was .300 win mag it would be a game changer to the XM-2010 sniper rifle.

    • jason

      so…. decrease the range and lethality??? is that better?

  • Johnny Quest

    For a bolt action, I would prefer the Desert Tactical Arms rifle in those suggested or any other caliber.

    338 LM: 38 5/16 in – 39 11/16 in ; Barrel 26 in ; Weight 12 ¼ lb
    300 Win: 36 ½ in – 38 in ; 12 ¼ lb : Barrel 26 in ; Weight 12 ¼ lb
    .50 BMG: 45 3/8 in ; Barrel 29 in ; Weight 19.4 lb

    MRAD: 46.9 in ; Barrel 24.5 in ; Weight 14.8 lbs

  • Every shooter is different. Length of arm, eye relief (distance from the eye to the scope)….boobs weren’t a factor but a smaller frame was…..

  • Steven R.

    Thanks Brandon for the great review. I look forward to test this gun out myself soon.

  • CavScout62

    .338Lapua and a skilled Marksman = Dead Bad Guys. What more do you need? Great work troop!

  • Roger that Steven!

  • Jerret

    Today’s school encompasses all forces and should be looked at from a team effort. Don’t get your nickers up to tight. We are all in this fight and work together. There is no room for pre-Madonna’s or animosity. If you have to wear it on your sleeve, then you’re not there yet. The Marines are a great bunch and other forces. However, it’s up to the individual what he makes of himself, Period.

    • USMC Doc

      Calm down Francis!..

  • eric

    You should take a look at some of shadowed semi auto .338LMs, I’d be really interested to see what kind of precision they’re getting as some manufacturers are staking some pretty large claims. Also, I happened to be talking with an RO the other day who is small arms instructor for EOD who works out at Frontsight near Las Vegas, were someone came to break in such a weapon that they said was going out to Team 3, and that they were running a production batch for the Group 1 teams. From best he could describe I thought it might be RND Manufacturing All my NSW contacts are out of touch so I can’t confirm, but I’m sure you can find the details.

  • Viper Driver

    Generally, females have a longer neck and shorter arms. To that end, the cheek pad would need to be raised and the stock shortened after having the rifle set up for a male shooter.

  • Ollie B. Price

    I own a 300 win mag, and I have been to a 1000 yard range, and I had a 6 inch group, That nmay not be the best group but it does just what you need to have a kill.

  • Bill Halle

    The commercial sector has the very best sniper rifle available, off the shelf. I guarantee that if unit designated marksmen (persons who fired expert in basic training) were issued this weapon for unit protection (countersniper mode) enemy spotters, etc. The Browning Safari 2 is semi-automatic feed, accuracy is better than most bolt action weapons, has an excellent feature of single round feeding (3 plus 1 magazine). Weight about 7 lbs. The action diverts about 60% of the recoil, the rest is a push instead of a sharp crack on the shoulder.
    The scope is a Shepherd Scope which mechanically and automatically adjusts for range out to 1000 yards. Just put the circle on that covers the chest area and squeeze the trigger. The Army has banned this scope from competetion because of it turned a young female who was sitting in the stands into the winner of the demonstration, no spotter, never even saw the weapon before!
    Every First Sergeant and Sergeant Major should be authorized one of these in every deployed outfit. Just one per unit, 100 rounds per month. I guarantee you the enemy will keep their distance, well out of AK range.

  • ranger sniper

    as a former sniper the 338 is a great weapon but if you cant put that little piece of lead where you want it, it wont matter what you shoot

  • Mark Are Reynolds

    Oh, what a nice piece of equipment for psychos to use on people defending their countries from invaders. You all should be so proud.

    • War is Hell

      The Taliban haven’t invaded your hometown yet? It appears our psychos are doing a good job.

  • SH

    Just been firing the Barrett along with five other types in 338LM.
    It came last unfortunately on several counts.
    Accuracy was poor in comparison to two of the five which produced .29 and .27 MOA.

  • durhm

    i am 15 and am starting to shoot match i need as much information as possible. i want to be a marsoc sniper and i have a great love for competion. what should i buy and what load should i shoot and what bullet

  • George Sibley

    I love my MRAD which I can complete when the 308 conversions become available. Would not swap it with any other rifle. Accurate enough for me and a pleasure to shoot all day. Cost of ammo only limiting factor !

  • Mark W

    Durhm, you need the Cheytac M-200 Intervention. It is the one and only long range rifle you’ll ever need. Anything less would be just a waste. I have 3 of them in FDE, black, & a custom camo job. They’re very reasonably priced and use the Lapua round. Get one, you’ll be happy you did.

    • rev

      I call bullshit. the M200 Intervention shoots .408 CheyTac or .375 CheyTac but not .338 Lapua and they cost twice as much as the Barrett MRAD (if not a bit more).