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Bergara B14R 17 HMR: one for the rabbits

Bruce Potts gives his thoughts on the Bergara B14R carbon-fibre .17 HMR rifle

Bergara B14R 17 HMR

Bergara B14R 17 HMR

Manufacturer: Bergara

Price as reviewed: £1,245

I own a Bergara B14R custom .22 rimfire as I liked the version I tested three years ago so much that I bought it and added a custom stock. Now it’s the turn of the carbon fibre-barrelled version, but this time in .17 HMR. I was interested to see how this popular calibre and rifle shot together in the Bergara B14R .17 HMR.

Background to the Bergara B14R .17 HMR

Bergara rifles are made in Spain, and the manufacturer has a global reputation as a premium barrel and rifle maker. Its venture into the world of rimfires has been so popular that it has expanded its business with further models. The B14R is designed as a scaled-down version of its bigger brother centrefire rifles; this means you have the same handling characteristics and layout as your stalking rifle but now shooting the smaller rimfire rounds.

Bergara has used a Remington Model 700 action profile (many custom shops do) as it allows myriad aftermarket accessories to be added if necessary – hence my custom-stocked version. However, the Bergara B14R .17 HMR sports the excellent HMR stock system, which allows adjustment in the cheekpiece and length of pull, and has a sturdy and durable construction. You have the option of a steeled barrel or, as here, the carbon fibre-wrap version, which is lighter. At £1,245, you get a lot of rifle for your money.

Carbon fibre is primarily used for reducing the weight of an item while retaining the rigid integrity of the unit. It is the same with the Bergara’s barrel, as you have a steel-profiled barrel that is reduced in diameter to reduce weight and then wrapped with 14in of carbon fibre to the same original diameter of 25mm. A steel end section holds the threaded muzzle, which is the finer ½ UNEF pitch, and at only 18in barrel length, this drops the weight of the model by just over 1lb over the standard steel model. The benefits are that it looks good, will not rust and also dissipates heat better, so there is less mirage, although this is not really a problem on rimfires.

Bergara B14R 17 HMR

The action is very sturdy and precisely made with good scope fixtures and an excellent trigger too.


In contrast, the action is all steel, matt blued with two Picatinny bases for scope mounting (provided), although many aftermarket one-piece mounts are excellent for night-vision (NV) and thermal usage. It’s a large action but locks in typically rimfire style by using twin mid-section locking lugs that rotate into the abutments when the bolt is closed. The bolt handle has a comfortable tear-drop end and quite a straight shank, and smoothly operates the cycling process. I like the twin extractor claws, which grip the spent cartridge well for a reliable extraction.

A feature of these B14R models is the seemingly large magazine, which mimics a centrefire model, holding 10 rounds in a single-stack feed arrangement, again making it very reliable.

Best of all is the excellent trigger, Bergara’s own Performance model, which has a precise single-stage let-off set at 2.95lb, but it is adjustable if you like. This is complemented by a side-lever safety where forward is fire and rear is safe but also allowing the bolt to rise to clear the chamber.


Stock-wise, the HMR model, as fitted to Bergara’s full-bore rifles, is instantly familiar and with a good weight for a well-balanced hold. The hybrid semi-tactical/target design is made from a dense synthetic polymer with a grey and black speckled finish. There is an elevating comb section with 5in cheekpiece on twin pillars, and a centre turn wheel that loosens or retightens on to the notches in the twin pillar supports to adjust the height by a maximum of 1in. Add to this the length of pull being altered by three removable spacers, adjusting overall length up to 1.25in, and a black recoil pad, and you have a stock to fit any shooter’s size or preferences.

Steel inserts within the stock help aid rigidity, while numerous sling swivel studs and quick-detach points allow a rifle sling to be fitted easily, making the Bergara comfortable to carry .

With a rifle chambered in .17 HMR, you have a choice between 15.5-gr to 20-gr bullets ranging from the lead-free V-Max to heavier hollowpoint bullets. I fitted a new Arken EP-5 scope, which suited the Bergara and HMR round with its bullet-drop reticle.

rifle shooting results

The lead-free NTX produced great results

Field test

First up were the standard Hornady 17-gr V-Max loads, which kick-started the HMR revolution. Accuracy at 50 yards was 0.98in with an average velocity of 2,570fps for 249ft/lb. The 17-gr CCI TNT bullets shot an average of 2,605fps for 256ft/lb and five-shot groups of 1in. A good start.

The CCI Gamepoints with their heavier 20-gr bullets shot lovely 0.55in groups and hit hard at 2,487fps for 275ft/lb; I like this loading for crows and foxes at close range.

Winchester’s HV 17-gr V-Maxes shot groups of 0.75in and achieved a slower velocity of 2,422fps and 222ft/lb compared with the 17-gr V-Max Hornady load.

Going lead-free, the lighter 15.5-gr NTX Hornady bullet shot a fast 2,692fp and 250ft/lb with consistent 0.55in groups. At 100 yards with the CCI Gamepoints, we had sub-inch groups.

It’s more a rifle to sit and wait for rabbits with as it’s comfortable to shoot but a tad heavy off the sticks or freehand. The action is totally reliable in operation and its unerring accuracy made clinical head shots no issue at all.


It’s a full-sized rifle and is quite heavy, but that carbon fibre-wrapped barrel does shave off enough weight to make it manageable with scope and moderator fitted. Accuracy was superb; the Winchester lead-free 15.5- gr NTX shot miniscule groups and is kind to the environment – but not the rabbits. A great trigger, 10-shot magazine and highly adjustable stock design makes the Bergara B14R in carbon fibre-wrapped barrel a premium .17 HMR rifle.

Tech specs

  • Manufacturer: Bergara
  • Model: B14R, carbon fibre
  • Type: Bolt action
  • Overall length 38in
  • Barrel length 18in, ½in UNEF muzzle thread
  • Weight: 8lb 1oz (steel version 9lb 2oz)
  • Finish: Blued steel and carbon fibre
  • Calibre .17 HMR (.22 LR or .22 WMR options)
  • Stock: Synthetic adjustable comb and length of pull
  • Magazine: 10 shot, detachable
  • Trigger: Single stage, adjustable
  • Options: Left-hand available
  • Price: £1,360
  • Importer Ruag: Tel 01579 362319


A great trigger, 10-shot magazine and highly adjustable stock design makes the Bergara B14R in carbon fibre-wrapped barrel a premium .17 HMR rifle.