Bergara BMR steel .17 HMR
Lightweight and compact, Bergara’s rimfire has a tough stock that can stand up to hard field use and is good to look at too, says Bruce Potts
Bergara BMR steel .17 HMR
Overall Rating: 85%
Price as reviewed: £640
Spanish gunmaker Bergara is well known for its quality barrels and range of centrefire rifles, primarily for stalking. It has now introduced a range of rimfire rifles, ideal for target shooting or vermin control. While models such as the B-14 R mimic the proportions of a centrefire, this new Bergara micro rifle — or BMR — is much lighter, compact and designed with hunting in mind.
Bergara BMR steel .17 HMR
You have two BMR models; the steel barrelled (on test) or the carbon-fibre barrel version, which are available in .22 LR with an 18in barrel, .22 WMR or .17 HMR with 20in barrels. All specs come with ½in UNEF screw-cut muzzles. Other key features include a Remington-compatible trigger and a polymer moulded Sporter-type stock which, on this model, comes with a grey finish and black specks.
It’s a trim little rifle — measuring 38in overall and weighing only 5.4lb — which means handling is very nimble, just what you want on a rimfire. (Read more on lightweight rifles.)
The steel-barrelled version retails for £640, and the carbon-fibre model goes for £720.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Bergara, Spain
- Model BMR (Bergara micro rifle)
- Action Bolt action
- Barrel length 20in (.17 HMR & .22 WMR), 18in (.22 LR)
- Barrel type Steel (carbon fibre option)
- Twist 1:9in for .17 HMR
- Threaded muzzle ½in UNEF with thread protector
- Weight 5.4lb
- Length 38in
- Mag capacity 5- and 10-round magazines included
- Scope mounts 30 MOA rail included
- Trigger Bergara performance trigger, Rem 700 compatible
- Stock Grey with black specks
- Price £640
- Distributors RUAG Ammotec UK, 01579 362319
The stock can make or break a rifle in terms of looks and handling; this BMR Sporter version does not disappoint. It’s strong with a dense, foam-filled, moulded composite polymer construction. This makes the stock rigid for better bedding, accuracy and resistance to harsh field use. Grip is aided by raised stippled areas to the fore-end and pistol grip, while a large black rubber recoil pad gives ample adhesion, although the length of pull is a bit short for me at 13.25in. I really like the grey background colour and black specks — it’s a bit different.
The Bergara BMR steel .17 HMR has the standard chromoly 4140 steel barrel at 20in in .17 HMR. It’s very well-finished internally and easy to clean, even with the faster .17 HMR ammunition type. The ½in UNEF muzzle thread is finer than the standard UNF type so you may need an appropriate moderator — I did. The exterior finish to both barrel and action is a non-reflecting satin blue, ideal on a sporting rifle. I like the 30 MOA Picatinny rail for scope mounting, as it allows more scope adjustment range at distance targets.
The bolt handle is straight and long with a comfortable, tapered knob, which opens to less than 60 degrees, so easily misses a large scope when fitted. The operation is both smooth and swift from the blackened bolt that has the typical twin claw extractors for positive cartridge rim grip.
Ejection is via the action-mounted spur. A red cocking indicator on the bolt shroud is a nice visual aid to a live/cocked rifle, while the trigger has a precise single-stage action with zero creep and instant let-off at 2lb 1oz.
The safety is a silent forward and back sidelever, which is only functional when the action is cocked; again, good for a sporting rifle. Bergara supplies the BMR with a five- and 10-shot magazine. The ambidextrous magazine release system is very tactile, with an extra-large lever that protrudes to both sides of the trigger-guard. There were no issues with cold hands. And better still, spare magazines are available in either five or 10 shots for a mere £24 — bargain.
Overall, the Bergara BMR steel .17 HMR is a really nice, lightweight, go-anywhere rimfire. Essentially, it has a quality trigger, safety and barrel, and there was never any concern about scratching it. The BMR was a tad fussy on ammo but with the right load it was spot on. It makes for a nice alternative rimfire, and I’m looking forward to a carbon-fibre .22 LR next.
- Accuracy 17/20 Good accuracy with the right ammo
- Handling 17/20 Perfect as a day-to-day vermin rifle
- Trigger 17/20 Light and crisp let-off, very reliable
- Stock 17/20 Tough, hard wearing and comfortable
- Value 17/20 Being a Bergara, it offers great value
- Overall score 85/100 A great alternative for pest controllers
In the field
I fitted a new Vortex Viper scope, which proved ideal for the task of reducing a few rabbits on the farm. I had six or seven loads for the Bergara and set up my usual targets at 50 yards with a 0.25in high zero so I would be dead on at 100 yards. This rifle did not really like the Winchester lead-free at 2,451fps for 227ft/lb and five shots into around 1in. The same applied to the CCI TNT loads at a spirited 2,617fps and 259ft/lb but the same spread. The Hornady 17-gr V-Max, at 2,568fps and 249ft/lb, shot nice 0.75in groups, as did the Hornady NTX at 2,555fps and 247ft/lb. The Winchester HV shot a more sedate 2,462fps and 229ft/lb with 0.95in groups, though the gusty wind did not help group sizes.
When the wind dropped, I had good groups on steel crows and rabbits at 100 yards with the Hornady 17-gr V-Max rounds. This performance prompted my son and me to wait along a hedgerow, tucked in out of sight, to ambush rabbits as they emerged to feed on the field edge.
It had been raining all night so the early morning was soggy, but the Bergara’s polymer stock and tough satin bluing shrugged off the damp conditions. (Read more on the best stalking kit.)
Being so light, the BMR was very easy to manoeuvre into position, even from odd angles when the rabbits popped out right in front of us. I appreciated the silent safety, as it didn’t spook our quarry just before the shot. The nice trigger-pull also ensured better accuracy. Our pickings were slim but we had one successful 75-yard shot and another at 15 yards.
My son and I were happy with the performance of the BMR, and the .22 LR version would make a great silent hunter with subsonic ammunition.