Gun Review Barrett 98B Tactical lead
Gun Review: Barrett 98B Tactical .300 Win Mag

Gun Review: Barrett 98B Tactical .300 Win Mag

Originally chambered in .338 Lapua, the new Barrett 98B Tactical rifle packs sub-MOA precision in either .308 Win or .300 Win Mag.

Tactical precision rifles have changed so much over the years that they are almost unrecognizable from the rifles I first deployed with as a SWAT marksman close to two decades ago. There were few models available at that time, and their accuracy was only marginally better than their hunting versions. Often nothing more than hunting rifles with black stocks, heavy barrels and “tactical” in the name, they were anything but precise. If you wanted real precision you sent the rifle to an expert gunsmith. Built-in rails, folding stocks, quick-detach (QD) sling attachment points and muzzle brakes were unheard of. In essence, you had to make a few compromises, as gaining true precision was costly and time consuming.

Now precision rifles have reached new heights thanks to their increased use on tactical teams, military contracts and an exploding competitive market. While the 7.62mm NATO remains the most popular chambering for police precision rifles, it is not the only one out there. Law enforcement agencies have used everything from 5.56mm to .50 BMG, and it’s important to remember that every department, officer and soldier has different needs. The 7.62mm NATO does just fine for many, while others want a bit more range. The .338 Lapua Mag has gained significant popularity as an intermediate cartridge, but it has its issues, including the fact that .338 Lapua rifles and ammunition are expensive. Some also believe the .338 Lapua is just a bit too much bullet. This makes the .300 Win Mag a solid alternative.

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Having served our Army marksmen for decades, it is a proven long-range cartridge with bullets that buck the wind a bit better than the 7.62mm. One of my good friends, a President’s Hundred shooter, has used an Army Marksmanship Unit rifle chambered in .300 Win Mag to great effect. Because of its long history as a hunting and competition cartridge, there is a good selection of loadings available. The recoil is manageable, it works with a standard long action and, overall, .300 Win Mag ammunition/rifles cost less. In fact, my local police department chose the .300 Win Mag when it needed a rifle to cover the airport, and it’s been using this chambering for years. Precision rifle manufacturers are starting to jump back on the .300 Win Mag bandwagon, and Barrett’s new 98B Tactical is one of the best examples out there so far.

Mention Barrett Firearms and most people will immediately think of the M82 or M107 semi-automatic .50 BMG rifles. Fielded by our military and a few police agencies for years, they are also seen in movies, on television and in numerous video games. This popularity tends to overshadow the company’s other fine rifles. Of course, this has changed a bit with the introduction of the MRAD, which has become one of the most popular bolt-action rifles on the market. Barrett’s recent upgrades to the REC7 AR serve as another indication of its versatility, but the company makes some bolt guns you simply don’t hear as much about. One of the simplest and sleekest bolt actions out there is the Barrett 98B, designed by Chris Barrett. Originally chambered in .338 Lapua, the new Barrett 98B Tactical rifle comes chambered in either .308 Win or .300 Win Mag.

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