The Barrett 98B is a bolt-action long-range tactical rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Mag.
Rather than modifying a hunting rifle, Barrett modified its original tactical design to create 98B. The NRA’s “American Rifleman” named it Rifle of the Year in 2010 for its lightweight, low recoil, dependability and accuracy. Its straightforward design, from muzzle to shoulder, helps direct and reduce recoil.
The 98B features an adjustable butt stock and cheek pad for personalized comfort. Also, an adjustable trigger for preferable trigger control. A rear monopod on the stock and a front bi-pod for stability. Shooters can further personalize the rifle by attaching sights, lights and grips to its rail system. The 98B has a simple design making it easier for shooters to disassemble and clean.
Barrett recommends the 98B for law enforcement, military and long-range competitive shooting, but also for long-range hunting.
|Caliber:||.338 Lapua Mag.|
|Features:||Adjustable rear monopod and front bipod stock with adjustable cheek piece; thumb operated safety, removable trigger module; two-port muzzle brake reduces recoil|
|Stock:||Tactical; adjustable butt|
|Twist:||1 in 10"|
When given the opportunity to fire the Barrett line of large caliber rifles on an exclusive range, I was like a child on Christmas morning. As I was shooting among the rich and famous, an NHL player approached me and offered me a chance to test fire his newly acquired Barrett Model 98B. Although, I was familiar with the .50 caliber Barretts, this rifle I can honestly say I had never heard of before. It is chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum—a well established long-range caliber and big game hunting round—and me being a .338 enthusiast, gladly accepted the offer.
The 98B is a handsome bolt-action that still bears the air of Barrett expense. Its owner was quite proud of it and admitted that he’d only had it about a week and was still getting used to it (read as: inexperienced shooter with expensive gun who wants to shoot with the big boys of this exclusive club). Being a fan of bolt guns, I sat down at a bench and sighted across the sand bags.
From this point forward, I was disappointed. I was told it had a 400 meter zero and according to its ballistics chart I was able to mentally calculate my holds for the shorter targets. Turns out it was hardly zeroed at all and I spent the better part of an hour helping the new owner get a true zero. Once that was accomplished, after solving the problem of a loose scope mount, we were able to squeeze out about a 1 MOA group.
Even with more tinkering and fine tuning and acquiring some higher quality ammunition, I would expect so very much more out of this rather expensive rifle. I’m not saying it’s a bad fire arm, I’m just under-impressed with it considering all of the other fine Barrett products I’d been exposed to.
While this firearm was significantly lighter than the Model 82 and Model 95, it still had the degree of “Barrett heft.” It was not light, but it wasn’t the solid battle tank of the other two. Its recoil was negligible making it easy to keep on target for chambering for the second shot.
I could see this rifle receiving a nice camouflage color pattern of maybe a Mossy Oak Obsession or Brush pattern. The attached bipod is very handy, and it is easy to operate. The magazine did need to be toyed with at first and I am not convinced there won’t be long-term problems with it (I predict a redesign in the future).
For the hunter who doesn’t mind carrying a heavy rifle, this could be a great long-range gun for shooting elk from one mountain peak to another or dangerous game like bear or lion from a distance; however I am not convinced that it would be easily allowed through customs traveling abroad. It would be an easy target for a desirous third world official.
I would best compare this round to that of a .300 Winchester Magnum or maybe a 7mm Magnum because it has similar recoil, similar accuracy and similar performance. I give this rifle three stars and will hope to get to fire this one again in the future to re-evaluate it. I am hesitant to claim it is a superior tack-driver, but maybe with some work and different choices in optics and ammunition it could be.