The Spanish company Bergara continues to make noise in the rifle industry with a reputation of good quality rifles with innovative designs, all for reasonable money. We have already reviewed one of their higher end custom Premier rifles, but with their continued popularity, we thought it would be worthwhile to review one of their more standard mass produced rifles to see how it would do. For this review we selected their B-14 Bergara Match Precision (BMP) rifle chambered in the ever popular 6.5 Creedmoor. This rifle is straight from their production line and is not part of their Premier or Custom series rifles.
One of the differences between the B-14 and the Premier Series rifle we reviewed last time, was the manner in which it is packaged and shipped. The B-14 comes in a cardboard box with nice cut out foam to keep it safe, which is a step up from other mass produced rifle manufacturers. But it was a step down from the fancy plastic hard case that the Premier rifle showed up in. The box includes an instruction manual and the other normal rifle stuff. Though a unique item in the box was a thin metal shim that can go beneath the scope base if there is a gap. The initial inspection showed a rifle that looked similar to our last review due to the chassis system and other similarities between the two rifles. We will outline the differences as we continue with the review.
In case if you have not yet noticed, the BMP version of the B-14 is a chassis style rifle with an aluminum chassis instead of a traditional wood or fiberglass stock. One of the benefits with a chassis is the adjustability of the buttstocks and that holds true on the BMP. There is a nice thick recoil pad that is mounted to an adjustable buttplate that can be moved up and down by loosening the dial and then easily sliding the buttplate around. To adjust the length of pull, there is a rectangular shaped tightening lock on the right hand side of the buttstock. Once loosened, there are several different lengths that it can be set to and then locked down. Additionally there is a long cheekrest that is also easily adjusted by loosening a similar shaped lock on the same side and then raising the cheekpiece and then tightening it back down. It is simple and the cheekrest slides up and down easily when lose, which is a good thing since it has to be removed in order to remove the bolt. While this can be annoying, it perhaps is better than having to fold the buttstock like on a Ruger Precision Rifle.
Speaking of the buttstock, it does not fold but is solidly attached to the main chassis with several screws. There are also a couple of flush cups on either side of the buttstock to provide for the use of flush cup style sling attachments. As is the norm on chassis rifles, there is an AR style pistol grip that is nicely positioned for the firing hand. The grip that Bergara has chosen has an extension at the bottom front that helps support your firing hand. The grip is a hard rubber and while it is not as comfortable as a nice Magpul MOE or other after market grip, it does just fine and works well. Of course, it places the trigger finger right where it needs to be for good trigger control.
The trigger guard is an oversized guard that is machined into the chassis system. The trigger itself is curved and is one of Bergara’s own triggers. The factory says that it comes set at 3 lbs, but our digital trigger gauge measured the trigger on this rifle at a very light 1 lbs 15 ounces (1.94 lbs). While light triggers typically help you shoot more accurately, this trigger is probably too light for serious field work. We prefer a trigger between 3 and 3.5 lbs to provide safety and a level of insurance that the sniper wants to take the shot. The shoe itself is thin and smooth and without grooves. While the trigger is light, it does have a slightly notchy takeup to it and is not the best feeling trigger we have used.
Directly in front of the trigger guard is the magazine release lever. It does not extend below that trigger guard but is wide with what could almost be described as “wings” on both sides to make operating the release lever easier by using the pointer finger of the firing hand. Due to its short length, it is perhaps not as easy to manipulate as the levers that drop down lower, but that also means it is less susceptible to accidental magazine drops.
The magazine itself is a 5-round Magpul 7.62 polymer magazine (PMAG) with all of the normal features found on those magazines. The mag well is a little over-sized which allows for easy magazine insertion as well as allowing even an empty magazine to drop free without having to pull it out. The magazine snap in with a good positive click, though they do rattle some inside of the mag well. At least that rattle is muted due to the polymer construction material.
Since we just showed a picture of the bolt along side the magazine above, lets take a moment to discuss the bolt. The bolt design is a traditional two lug design with a 90 degree bolt rotation. The extractor has a small claw machined into one of the lugs with a plunger on the opposite side. This setup has worked well on other rifles as well as on the Premier LRP we tested before.
The bolt knob is a large tactical style knob that is attached to a somewhat thin bolt handle. The bolt body is bare metal without any bluing and it is not fluted like the higher end Premier rifles. The bolt does cycle very smoothly in the action even before the rifle has been broken in. When the bolt is all the way to the rear, there is some side to side movement, but it is not excessive. The rear bolt shroud is black and has an interesting shape to it that fits nicely into the action design and style. There is also a red protrusion that is visible from the rear of the shroud when the firing pin is cocked and ready to fire.
The bolt release is a lever on the left hand side of the action and is easily manipulated by just pressing the spring loaded lever as the bolt is pulled to the rear. As we mentioned earlier, the cheek-piece has to be removed in order to remove the bolt, a slight annoyance. The rear tang of the action is shaped the same as a Remington 700 tang to allow for stock inlet compatibility. The two position safety located on the right hand side of the tang operates like the Remington as well. Forward to fire, back to place the trigger on safe.
The aluminum chassis is covered with various recesses that have been milled out to help save weight, yet it still provide stiffness to the chassis walls. The B-14 action has a shape that is similar to a Remington 700 with controls and features and a foot print that is the same making it easier to share some components with the Remington. The action is similar to their Premier actions as well, but with some marked differences, such as the top of the ejection port being more open than the Premier. The B-14 is also manufactured in Spain instead of the USA and the bolt release lever is different as well. But they do share the tang as well as the shroud that covers the recoil lug between the action and the barrel.
Bergara is known for their barrels and the BMP utilizes one of their number 6 contour chrome moly barrels with a 1:8″ twist for the 6.5 Creedmoor, 1:10″ for the .308 Win. The barrel length is 24″ (610mm) for the 6.5 Creedmoor and 20″ (508mm) for the 308 Win. The profile is similar to a Remington 700 heavy barrel profile and is probably considered a Palma style contour where it steps down to a smaller profile and then has a very gentle taper down to the muzzle. Our caliper measured the diameter of the barrel at the muzzle at 0.832″, just about the same as a Remington 700 heavy barrel. We like this style of contour as it helps reduce the weight of the barrel yet retains good rigidity for improved accuracy.
The muzzle is threaded from the factory with the 5/8″-24 tpi thread spec that has become the standard for suppressors on rifles. Many muzzlebrakes are also now available that thread onto the same thread spec as well. A thread protect cap is also provided with the rifle and it looks a little different in that it has a wider diameter than the barrel. There is some very slight serrations on it as well to help give some gripping surface in case if it is on the barrel tight. The crown is recessed to help protect it from damage, another common practice on modern precision rifles
The barrel, as well as the rest of the metal work, is finished with a matte bluing that has a pleasing and even finish to it. The forearm of the stock has lightening/ventilation holes cut into it and it too has flush cups on both sides as well as a sling swivel stud on bottom to use for mounting a bipod. Of course, the barrel is free floated all the way to the action to promote uniform harmonics.
When compared to the Premier LRP rifle, at first glance they look similar. But when you stop and notice the details, the differences are widespread. The chassis system itself is very different between the Bergara designed and built BRP chassis versus the commercially built XLR Chassis on the Premier. The actions also show significant differences with ejection ports, bolt fluting, and even the bolt release. The Premier LRP action is built in the USA and the rifle is assembled there as well. Whereas the BRP is built and assembled in Spain. The price is significantly cheaper for the BRP as well and so it’ll be interesting to compare the performance between the two rifles.
The overall feel of the rifle is good. The 24″ long barrel keeps the rifle from being too long, yet provides enough length to take advantage of the ballistics of the 6.5 Creedmoor. Overall length would be somewhat long with a suppressor attached though. With the aluminum chassis, the rifle comes in pretty heavy at 11 lbs (5.0 kg) without any accessories or optics and with scope and bipod attached it came in above 14 lbs. The rifle still handles well and is nicely balanced, though it still has the cold “erector set” feeling that most aluminum chassis rifles have. Some like that style, some do not.
The one thing that is very nice for this B-14 is that it will accept Remington 700 scope bases, even single piece bases! So it was easy to grab one of the Leupold Backcountry 20 MOA canted rails for a Remington 700 short action and mount it up. Once the base was on, it was easy to then mount a Vortex PST Gen2 5-15x50mm scope using a set of 30mm high Nightforce Ultralite rings.
With the scope mounted, the rifle was ready to head out to the range to conduct our shooting tests. If you are not familiar with how we test rifles, please read the article How We Test Rifles and Scopes. For our initial accuracy tests we gathered four different types of long range ammo to run through the rifle. Federal Gold Medal Berger 130gr VLD, Hornady 140gr ELD Match, Choice 123gr Scenar Match, and American Eagle 120gr OTM. We felt this assortment of ammunition would provide a wide variety of ammo types to see how the rifle would do. You can find out some more details about all of this ammo on our list of Commercial Sniper Grade Ammunition.
The weather was delightful out at the range with ideal shooting conditions. It was right about sixty degrees Fahrenheit, a thin layer of clouds that eventually burned off, and wind that ranged from 0-3 mph. With a quick initial boresite we had the rifle on target and began our 100 yard accuracy tests with each of the four types of ammunition. The results were as follows:
|Federal Gold Medal Berger 130gr||1.582″ (1.511 MOA)||1.343″ (1.283 MOA)|
|Hornady 140gr ELD Match||0.578″ (0.552 MOA)||0.308″ (0.294 MOA)|
|Choice 123gr Scenar Match||0.887″ (0.847 MOA)||0.726″ (0.693 MOA)|
|American Eagle 120gr OTM||0.839″ (0.801 MOA)||0.530″ (0.506 MOA)|
Bergara guarntees 1 MOA for these rifles from the factory which is about the minimum we would expect for a sniper rifle. As can be seen from our results, the rifle shot under 1 MOA on average for all but the Federal Gold Medal Berger ammo. The Hornady was the clear leader, averaging just over .5 MOA and also with the best group of the day. The rifle did not seem to like the Berger bullets from the Federal load at all as it was very consistent, just consistently not great. Both the Choice 123gr and AE 120gr ammo shot about the same on average, though the Choice was more consistent. Both were well under 1 MOA. We tried to pace our shooting to do what we could to minimize the mirage generated from a hot barrel, but it was still an issue we had to work with. Accuracy is likely slightly better than what we observed here. Recoil on the rifle was very controlled, especially for a rifle that did not have a muzzle brake installed.
The rifle fed very well either from the magazine or by single feeding the rifle. It was very smooth and we did not experience any hangups, failures, or roughness during feeding and chambering. The same goes for extraction. While it was not the most forceful ejection we have tested on a rifle, it always extracted and ejected the brass clear of the rifle without fail. We did some clandestine extractions using our fingers to pull the front of the bolt back while pulling the brass out with out hand, and that was a piece of cake as well due to the smooth bolt cycle. Functionally, we have no complaints at all. Even during rapid fire drills the rifle just functioned and functioned smoothly. Very nice.
Next up was our 300 yard head shot test. We selected the Hornady 140gr ELD Match ammo for this test based on its performance in the 100 yard accuracy tests. With 1.4 MIL of up dialed in, we began the test. As we mentioned before, the recoil was well tamed and the rifle naturally came back onto target while firing from the prone position. Everything fell into place very nicely and we fired off our three rounds in only 16 seconds, a very quick time. When we went down to check the target, we found three very well placed shots right in the kill zone of the head target with a group size of only 1.837″ (0.585 MOA). When we combined the two results we get the following.
Wow! That is a really solid score for a factory produced rifle. In fact, it handily out did the higher cost Bergara Premier LRP. Now, we need to be clear that this does not mean we feel the B-14 BMP is a better choice than the Permier LRP. In fact, if you look at the 100 yard accuracy tests you can see that the Premier out performed the B-14, but when it came to our head shot test on this particular day, everything came together nicely with the B-14 and the results showed it.
When our shooting was all done, we did notice that the locking mechanism for the adjustable length of pull had come lose and the extended stock was loose and rattling. Because of the notches in the system, it did not change the length of pull. We don’t know if this might be an issue during deployment, but we do recommend that it gets checked before and after every shooting session.
So, what is the final verdict of this rifle? These rifles are mass produced rifles, but that does not mean they are cheap, with a retail price in the $1500 range. This means they need to perform at a higher level then a run of the mill varmint rifle, and to be honest, we feel that it did. It functioned flawlessly for us and the accuracy was well under the 1 MOA guarantee. No, it is not any more accurate than a $900 Remington 700P, but it has several features that stand out nicely, including a threaded barrel, a chassis (if you like chassis rifles), a detachable magazine and solid performance. The trigger wasn’t great, and we personally prefer a traditional fiberglass tactical style stock, but those things do not keep us from giving this rifle the SC Endorsed tag! If your budget does not allow you to shop higher cost rifles, then by all means check out these nice shooting rifles from Bergara. The HMR version is the same but with a non chassis stock that should perform just as well.
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