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Bergara BMR

Bergara BMR

Bergara’s full-sized B14 Rimfire has been a very successful target and precision rimfire, and was specifically scaled to share an exact fit with the B14 HMR centrefire, which is itself, Remington 700 compatible for stock inlets and trigger mechanisms. Bergara has now introduced a lighter, ‘Micro’rimfire that’s compact, portable and perfect for rimfire hunting. It is available in .22LR (18”) and .22WMR (20”) and both use a 1 in 16” twist rate barrel to stabilise the appropriate bullets. A .17HMR is also available with a 20” barrel and a faster 1 in 9” twist rate to suit the smaller projectiles.

Silence is golden

A neat, ½”x28 TPI screwcut muzzle shows a rebated, sharp-edged crown for precise bullet exit and the surrounding threads are nicely cut with no hint of any chatter. At 16.6mm in diameter, it’s an ideal profile for a hunting rifle. I like the 18” length, as it seems ideal in my experience for multi-range performance from .22 rimfire ammunition, without exhibiting crackers in cold weather from ammo that was always assured subsonic in warmer months. The barrel swells straight back to the action which is topped with a 30 MOA Picatinny rail for straightforward scope mounting and the ability to shoot longer ranges too.

There is a 60mm, conical-tipped bolt handle with moderate serration shown for grip. Bolt travel is a linear, 49mm, with rear locking lugs familiar to most rimfire rifles. It cocks on opening with a sub-90º lift. The left of the rear action bridge shows the bolt removal catch and withdrawn from the action, you can see familiar, twin extractor claws spanning a controlled feed bolt face. Bergara has continued to use a spherically tipped firing pin, while most rimfire manufacturers offer a sharper, chisel-edged tip for reliable ignition. I had a few problems with an early B14 Rimfire prototype a couple of years ago in this area but found this one to be 100% reliable on all occasions and I think projection and spring tension are now stronger.

Brass ejection is controlled by bolt speed, as there is a manual ejector claw within the action, just to the rear of the magazine, which is exposed as the bolt is drawn over it. These are reliable, impossible to break and allow you to control ejection ferocity using applied bolt speed. Some automated rimfire ejectors use weak springs and can be easily damaged, so I have no problem at all with Bergara using a sturdy manual ejector system.

Optically accommodating

The Pic rail atop the action is held on by four T15 Torx screws and at 123mm long, reaches forward of the 102mm action top, extending over the barrel reinforce. As well as the 30 MOA inclination, this is a smart move by Bergara as it allows the scope to move forward, and in these days of ever-increasing scope dimensions and assumed desire by some manufacturers for 100mm eye relief in all instances, getting a good fit is easier with a rail like this.

It also offers easy compatibility with night vision or thermal additions.

The 5 and 10-round magazines that are supplied with the rifle load in a single staggered column and are made using durable injection moulded polymers. They are quiet and fumblefree. There is an ambidextrous release lever sited at the front of the trigger guard and the mag drops cleanly from the rifle’s underside, plus the next mag clips in easily without hesitation.

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The action is smooth, fast and well-proportioned to the lighter, black/ grey speckled polymer stock, which is a great example of intelligent hunting rifle design. It shows stippling moulded in at the grip and forend for tactile assurance with cold, wet or muddy hands. The barrel shows a reliable full free float in all circumstances, so there are no worries of intermittent contact affecting harmonics. The 13 3/8” length of pull is fast, handy and well-proportioned to the forend, for a fast and pointable gun with an unscoped balance point just in front of the magazine. The forend is a minimum of 35mm tall and wide at its slimmest point and offers enough space for a good hand hold, without fingers and thumbs on the barrel. Its flat underside sits stable in or on a rest bag and if you do use a bipod on the forend stud, it’s well anchored and shows no likelihood of loosening at any time.

Rearward, the grip shape is open and totally ambidextrous, without any palm swell but acceptably grippy from the inlaid stippling. The comb is slim and fits under your cheekbone without jaw displacement. The recoil pad is a firm, 25mm thick unit that grips your shoulder well. There is no recoil to absorb or transfer but the pad is not spongey and reliably drifts across textile surfaces when mounting the gun to the shoulder for shots.

Compare and contrast

The BMR is a total contrast to Bergara’s heavy-barrelled rifles that seem to appeal to longer range shooters and tactical rimfire competition, yet I think this is a great opportunity to differentiate. The company has done a superb job creating furniture for those target and tac rifles, yet here, don’t lose track of a hunter’s needs.

I have shot the rifle seated, standing and prone from multiple rest types at both close and longer, 125m+ ranges. Accuracy was just as dependable as any other Bergara rimfire, with the ammunition at hand showing greater or lesser suitability to the gun and barrel, all of which are to some extent unique in their preferences. I have no doubts over reliability and as a hunting gun, would carry this any day without a doubt.

The 5 and 10-round magazines are a nice addition to the gun, as if you want to hunt compact, the 5 is one less projection to snag on any clothing or foliage, yet with the 10 in your pocket, you are easily backed up for more quarry or target intense sessions.

Operation is quiet, the safety catch can be rolled back and forth in silence and being fully Remington 700 compatible, there is nothing to stop you from customising should you wish. However, I see no need for such a move, this trigger is crisp and predictable with no discernible creep.

The barrelled action’s sleek blacked finish has shown no reaction to any moisture or sweat over the two months I have had the rifle, plus I detected no over lubrication to attract dirt and debris. The Picatinny rail is anodised to closely match, and this became a reliable, light and handy rifle I not only relied upon but enjoyed shooting. It’s everything a rimfire should be, with nothing additionally applied to distract from the core functional pleasure of shooting. The length of pull felt a little short when prone but that’s a factor of simple dimensions. The recoil pad showed two screws attaching it to the stock, so the addition of spacers is no challenge and for a multipurpose rifle, you cant knock dimensional compromise as long as it fits with a gun’s overall design intent - it does here! Of course, a multi-purpose stock is designed for all shooters of all sizes to find a gun accommodating and will never fit as well as a custom stock or one with multiple adjustments, but it also never suffers the weight and complexity downsides of such a stock, so you make your own choices. Remember, barrelled actions are so reliable these days, gun design is more about ergonomics.

From a tuition perspective, this makes it a superb teaching or training tool as its simplicity is appealing, non-aggressive and not functionality intimidating. The straight hand grip also allows shooters with smaller hands a more linear positional space to adapt for correct index finger pad positioning on the trigger, plus the gun is ambidextrous with no preferential stock bend.

Conclusion

An absolutely solid, reliable rifle from Bergara that meets all design intentions for a hunter to perfection, yet never compromises its ability to shoot small groups and fit smaller shooters. A superb teaching tool!

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  • Bergara BMR - image {image:count}

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  • Bergara BMR - image {image:count}

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  • Bergara BMR - image {image:count}

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  • Bergara BMR - image {image:count}

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  • Bergara BMR - image {image:count}

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  • Bergara BMR - image {image:count}

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  • Bergara BMR - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Name: Bergara BMR
  • Overall Length: 36”
  • Weight: 5.5lbs
  • Magazine Capacity: 5 or 10 rounds
  • Trigger: Single-Stage
  • Barrel Length: 18”
  • Twist Rate: 1:16”
  • Muzzle Thread: ½”x28 TPI
  • Stock Material: Injection Moulded Polymer
  • Length of Pull: 13 3/8”
  • Scope Mounting: 30
  • MOA Picatinny Rail:
  • Calibres Available: .22LR, .22WMR & .17HMR
  • Price: £640
  • Contact: RUAG Ammotec - www.ruag.co.uk

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