This highly accurate rifle can be supplied complete or as a barrelled action to be customised to your own requirements, says Bruce Potts
I really appreciate an accurate .22 rimfire. A popular rifle for vermin control, it deserves to have a bit of thought and money spent on it. Bergara makes superb barrels as well as complete rifles, and has recently branched out into the rimfire market. The Spanish firm is usually known for the accuracy of its centrefire rifles, but the Bergara B-14R rimfire, scaled down in calibre but not size, handles just like its bigger brothers.
The model has the footprint of the famous Remington Model 700 and as such allows any Remington 700 aftermarket accessories, such as scope mounts, stocks, triggers and so on. This is why it is offered not only as a complete rifle with a superb adjustable HMR stock but also as a barrelled action so you can customise, which is a new service.
You also have a choice of an all-steel construction or a carbon fibre-wrapped barrel to reduce weight, which would be beneficial when the going gets tough. The rifle on test is the all-steel version, which retails for £1,142.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Bergara
- Model Bergara B-14R, steel
- Type Bolt action
- Overall length 38in
- Barrel length 18in, ½in UNEF muzzle thread
- Weight 9.2lb
- Finish Blued steel
- Calibre .22LR
- Stock Synthetic, adjustable comb and length of pull
- Magazine 10-shot, detachable
- Trigger Single stage, adjustable
- Price £1,142
- Importer RUAG UK, 01579 362319
Testing the Bergara B-14R
I fitted an MAE LR 22 ST sound moderator — remember ½in UNEF not UNF — and a Meopta Optika 6 scope with illuminated reticle. It was a tad heavy overall but a sling and bipod helped. I shoot off sticks, so that extra weight really helped to steady the aim.
Off a bench at 50 yards with Eley and Winchester 40-gr and RWS and Norma subsonics, all were achieving less than 0.5in five-shot groups. It is your choice which to choose — this rifle isn’t fussy. CCI Segmented went close to the speed of sound at 1,089fps but was accurate with 0.65in groups. I liked the Norma subsonics — at 1,007fps velocity for 90ft/lb energy, they were super quiet and deadly accurate.
The stock is really tough — I was crawling in and out of hedgerows and gullies with no problems.
We had torrential rain and thunderstorms while out rabbiting but still managed a haul of 13 — all head shots, with the Norma .22LR subsonics dropping each bunny on the spot for easy retrieval.
The bolt operation is smooth, the safety positive, the magazine very easy to detach and load and the B-14R just could not miss. If you are ambushing rabbits at the warren then fit a bipod, let it take the weight and enjoy pinpoint accuracy.
The fit and finish of Bergara’s B-14R is excellent and the mimicry of its HMR centrefire range is perfect. The HMR stock is identical and, despite the shorter rimfire barrel, the B-14R handles and performs just like the centrefire models.
The stock is extremely ergonomic, taking the profile of a semi tactical/target design. It is made from a dense synthetic polymer and has a grey and black speckled design. It is heavy, yes, but robust, weatherproof and has moulded-in stippled panels for extra grip.
There is an adjustable comb for optimising eye alignment via a thumbwheel on the right side of the stock, and the length of pull is altered by three removable spacers and a black recoil pad. An upright hand-filling pistol grip and rear cut-out of the stock make for a firm hold when the rifle is shot prone.
With its steel insert, the fore-end is rigid, free-floating from the barrel and has three quick detachable sling swivel studs for sling or bipod and additional attachment points along both sides of the stock.
The B-14R’s action is all steel with a matt blued finish. It is cylindrical in shape and has two Picatinny bases for scope mounting provided.
The bolt body locks in the middle via twin lugs, with the separate head section having two large lugs to smoothly guide the bolt in operation. Extraction is via twin extractor claws and ejection is by a fixed spur in the action. The bolt handle is straight with a good-sized teardrop knob and the rear bolt shroud has a red indicator visible when the B-14R is cocked.
The trigger is Bergara’s Performance model and is very good, single stage, clean breaking at 3.15lb but is adjustable. The safety is a simple side-lever — forward position is fire, rear is safe — and allows the bolt to rise. The detachable magazine is full sized with a 10-shot .22 rimfire insert that is removed by a forward press of the large release lever sited on the front of the trigger-guard.
Barrel wise, Bergara has gone for a sensible 18in and kept the barrel varmint profile to maximise accuracy due to rigidity. The carbon fibre-wrapped barrel version is the same size, but just over 1lb lighter. It is screw cut for the finer ½in UNEF thread and has a 1-in-16in rifling twist rate.
I would love to see a sleek, slimline, lightweight .22 rimfire Sporter one day…
Though the rifle may be a little heavy for some, I like it. Some of the longer/heavier 42-gr truncated ammunition was tricky to feed, but I can forgive that because the rifle was just amazing to shoot with all the other ammo. It was highly accurate, as expected, with a great trigger and stock design. Despite its relatively high price, I would say it is worth every penny.
- Accuracy: Unbelievably accurate
- Handling: Heavy but well balanced
- Trigger: Crisp and adjustable
- Stock: Solid and adjustable in all the right places
- Value: Good value — or buy a barrelled action and customise it
- Overall score: Heavy but highly accurate and amazing to shoot
Though the rifle may be a little heavy for some, I like it