FLASHY CHAS­SIS

BERGARA’S AC­CU­RATE, AF­FORD­ABLE B-14 BMP CHAS­SIS RI­FLE SHINES AT THE RANGE AND IN THE FIELD ... AS ONE UN­FOR­TU­NATE TEXAS COY­OTE DIS­COV­ERED.

Gun World - - Contents - By Mike Dick­er­son

Bergara’s ac­cu­rate, af­ford­able B-14 BMP chas­sis ri­fle shines at the range and in the field ... as one un­for­tu­nate Texas coy­ote dis­cov­ered.

As a sub­scriber to the the­ory that any ex­cuse is a good ex­cuse to go hunt­ing, my in­ter­est was piqued when my friend, Bryan Wil­son, of Frio County Hunts sent me a game cam­era photo of a very large hog that had been vis­it­ing his fam­ily’s south Texas ranch. Bryan called him “Rhino”—for rea­sons that were ob­vi­ous when view­ing the photo.

Rhino, I rea­soned, would be an ex­cel­lent test medium for Hor­nady’s Pro­fes­sional Hunter 143-grain ELD-X 6.5 Creed­moor car­tridge and the new Bergara B-14 BMP (Bergara Match Pre­ci­sion) ri­fle. I had al­ready taken a big Wy­oming mule deer with that round with a dif­fer­ent ri­fle (see the Fe­bru­ary 2018 Gun World), and I wanted to con­tinue test­ing 6.5 Creed­moor ammo to see how it per­formed in the field.

The 11-pound Bergara is no spot-and-stalk ri­fle—un­less you have the physique of an Abrams tank—but it was right at home in the el­e­vated blind Bryan and I sat in, wait­ing to greet Rhino with a 6.5 Creed­moor sur­prise.

Af­ter a cou­ple of hours passed, it looked as if Rhino had got­ten a bet­ter of­fer.

We were dis­cussing our op­tions when Bryan sud­denly whis­pered, “Coy­ote!”

I looked to my right and saw a very large coy­ote (by Texas stan­dards) trot­ting straight to­ward us down a sendero. Cen­ter­ing him in the Le­upold Mark 4 scope, I could see that he had no clue we were there ... but I needed him to stop.

“Bark at him,” I whis­pered to Bryan. He did, and the song dog stopped, looked up at us and caught a bul­let in the cen­ter of his chest.

Hap­pily, the ELD-X bul­let did not exit or cause any fur dam­age. The old male, which weighed a whop­ping 45 pounds, was in prime con­di­tion. (Coy­otes just don’t get much big­ger or bet­ter than that in Texas, and his pelt will be a welcome ad­di­tion to my game room.)

As for the ri­fle, I had no doubt it would put bul­lets pre­cisely where I in­tended them to go. The gun had turned in an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance at the range.

How­ever, be­fore we get to that, here’s a closer look at what makes the BMP a great deal for those look­ing to ac­quire a good chas­sis gun with­out hav­ing to take out a se­cond mort­gage.

SILKY-SMOOTH AC­TION

As part of Bergara’s B-14 se­ries of guns, the BMP doesn’t have quite the re­fine­ment or so­phis­ti­ca­tion of the com­pany’s Pre­mier and BCR se­ries of rifles—but nei­ther does it have their prices. Rifles in those high-end se­ries start at roughly $2,000 and $4,000, re­spec­tively, and go up from there, de­pend­ing on the op­tions se­lected. The BMP, in con­trast, be­gins to look like a bar­gain, with an MSRP of $1,699 and a street price below that.

It may be a poor man’s com­pe­ti­tion ri­fle, com­pared to its more ex­pen­sive sta­ble mates, but that doesn’t mean it lacks qual­ity. Bergara has, for the last decade or so, been qui­etly earn­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for mak­ing great bar­rels from fine Span­ish steel.

The com­pany’s ap­proach was to com­bine but­ton ri­fling—an old, but proven, tech­nol­ogy—with modern ma­chin­ery, ro­bot­ics and ex­act­ing pro­cesses to pro­duce af­ford­able, cus­tom-qual­ity bar­rels. That part of the equa­tion is well known. What isn’t widely known is that Bergara suc­ceeded, in part, with some help­ful guid­ance from the late Ed Shilen, a leg­endary master bar­rel maker.

While high-end Bergara rifles are built in the United States us­ing Bergara bar­rels from Spain, the B-14 se­ries of guns is pro­duced en­tirely at the Span­ish fa­cil­ity.

In the 6.5 Creed­moor cham­ber­ing, the BMP has a 24-inch, 4140 chrome-moly steel bar­rel in a No. 5 con­tour. I would de­scribe it as moder­ately heavy. (Rifles cham­bered in .308 Win. have 20-inch bar­rels and weigh 10.15 pounds). The but­ton-ri­fled bar­rel is honed to a mir­ror-like fin­ish us­ing a pro­pri­etary process and mates to the ac­tion via a bar­rel nut that al­lows for pre­cise headspac­ing and for re­plac­ing or chang­ing bar­rels. The muz­zle of the matte-blued bar­rel is threaded 5/8-24 for at­tach­ing brakes or sup­pres­sors. It comes with a knurled thread pro­tec­tor.

The ri­fle is built on the com­pany’s own B-14 ac­tion, which uses a two-lug bolt and slid­ing ex­trac­tor. It has a coned bolt nose and breech for smooth feed­ing and ex­trac­tion.

THE RI­FLE IS BUILT ON THE COM­PANY’S OWN B-14 AC­TION, WHICH USES A TWO-LUG BOLT AND SLID­ING EX­TRAC­TOR. IT HAS A CONED BOLT NOSE AND BREECH FOR SMOOTH FEED­ING AND EX­TRAC­TION.

Bolt cy­cling was silky smooth, and I could eas­ily work the over­sized, knurled bolt han­dle and cy­cle rounds us­ing just a pinky fin­ger. A two-po­si­tion safety is lo­cated atop the re­ceiver just be­hind the bolt han­dle. When en­gaged, the safety does not lock the bolt down.

The top of the re­ceiver is drilled and tapped for Rem­ing­ton 700-style bases for mount­ing optics.

Al­though the BMP doesn’t have the Tim­ney trig­ger you’ll find on high-end Bergara rifles, I was quite pleased with the trig­ger on the ri­fle I tested. Bergara says the ri­fle ships with the trig­ger pre­set to a 3-pound let-off, but I mea­sured the break at a con­sis­tent 2 pounds, 12 ounces on a Ly­man trig­ger gauge.

GIVEN ITS SOLID PER­FOR­MANCE WITH A VA­RI­ETY

OF FAC­TORY AM­MU­NI­TION AND ITS REL­A­TIVELY

LOW PRICE COM­PARED TO OTHER CHAS­SIS GUNS, I SUS­PECT THIS RI­FLE WILL

EX­CEED YOUR EX­PEC­TA­TIONS,

AS WELL.

There was ab­so­lutely zero take-up or creep in the trig­ger, and it had a min­i­mal amount of over­travel. The trig­ger is ad­justable within a range of 2.8 to 4.4 pounds, and Bergara ad­vises against ad­just­ing the trig­ger to a set­ting below the 2.8-pound min­i­mum.

The ri­fle’s bar­reled ac­tion is bed­ded to the Bergara BMP chas­sis stock, which is ma­chined from 7075 T6 air­craft­grade alu­minum. In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing a sta­ble plat­form for

BERGARA HAS, FOR THE LAST DECADE OR SO,

BEEN QUI­ETLY EARN­ING A REP­U­TA­TION FOR MAK­ING GREAT BAR­RELS FROM FINE SPAN­ISH STEEL.

YOU WOULD EX­PECT A RI­FLE OF THIS QUAL­ITY TO DE­LIVER GOOD AC­CU­RACY, AND THE BMP DID NOT DIS­AP­POINT.

ac­cu­rate shoot­ing, the chas­sis is en­gi­neered to pro­vide a cus­tom fit for each shooter. It has an ad­justable cheek­piece for op­ti­mal eye po­si­tion­ing be­hind a scope and is ad­justable for length of pull. The gen­er­ously sized rub­ber re­coil pad and butt plate are ad­justable for both cant and ver­ti­cal po­si­tion­ing. The setup is es­pe­cially ben­e­fi­cial to those who like to shoot from a prone po­si­tion, and all ad­just­ments can be made eas­ily and quickly with­out tools.

The forend of the chas­sis has M-LOK slots for mount­ing ad­di­tional ac­ces­sories, with four slots each at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock po­si­tions, and there are QD flush cups in the stock for at­tach­ing slings.

The BMP was de­signed to be some­what mod­u­lar. You can, for ex­am­ple, swap out the AR-style pis­tol grip for one of your own pref­er­ence. Like­wise, you can re­place the rear part of the stock with a buf­fer tube and AR-style stock. A side-fold­ing adap­tor is re­port­edly in the works.

The ri­fle ships with a five-round Mag­pul PMAG AICS de­tach­able mag­a­zine that fed rounds smoothly and with­out is­sue in test­ing. You’ll find a pad­dle-style mag­a­zine re­lease lo­cated just for­ward of the trig­ger guard. I found that I could just reach the am­bidex­trous pad­dle with the trig­ger fin­ger of my av­er­age-sized hand with­out hav­ing to al­ter my grasp on the pis­tol grip; and, of course, you can also op­er­ate the pad­dle with your other hand.

EX­CEED­ING EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

For test­ing, I mounted a Le­upold Mark 4 6.5-14x50mm scope—which I’ve come to rely on as a ded­i­cated test scope—on the ri­fle us­ing a set of Tal­ley light­weight rings. Un­less you mount an op­tic un­usu­ally high atop the re­ceiver,

you won’t have to raise the cheek­piece of the stock very much to achieve op­ti­mal eye po­si­tion be­hind a scope. You will need to re­mem­ber where you po­si­tion the cheek­piece, be­cause you have to loosen the lock­ing knob and lift the cheek­piece out of the chas­sis com­pletely in or­der to re­move the bolt from the ri­fle for chores such as clean­ing.

Ve­loc­i­ties of tested ammo, mea­sured over a Com­pet­i­tive Edge Dy­nam­ics M2 chrono­graph, were quite close to the fac­to­rylisted speeds for five rounds tested. The hottest of the bunch was Hor­nady’s Su­per­for­mance 129-grain SST load, which clocked in at 3,015 fps—or 65 fps faster than the fac­to­rys­tated ve­loc­ity out of 24-inch bar­rels.

You would ex­pect a ri­fle of this qual­ity to de­liver good ac­cu­racy, and the BMP did not dis­ap­point. The ri­fle comes with a sub-MOA ac­cu­racy guar­an­tee us­ing premium fac­tory match am­mu­ni­tion, and it de­liv­ered on that prom­ise in test­ing while shoot­ing three five-shot groups per load. All five tested loads de­liv­ered sub-MOA best groups, and two loads turned in av­er­age groups mea­sur­ing un­der an inch. It’s a safe bet that hand­load­ers who know what they’re do­ing will be able to wring even more ac­cu­racy out of the gun.

What’s re­ally im­pres­sive about the ri­fle’s per­for­mance is that only one match load was used in test­ing. All the rest were hunt­ing rounds. That sin­gle match load, a 140-grain Fed­eral Amer­i­can Ea­gle OTM round, pro­duced its best group of 0.65 inch, which was slightly bested by the Hor­nady Pre­ci­sion Hunter 143-grain ELD-X load I’ve been us­ing lately for hunt­ing, with great suc­cess.

It’s worth not­ing that all test­ing was done—de­lib­er­ately on my part—with­out the ben­e­fit of any bar­rel break-in. I wanted to see if the ri­fle shot as well dirty as it did clean, and the ri­fle ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions on this score.

Given its solid per­for­mance with a va­ri­ety of fac­tory am­mu­ni­tion and its rel­a­tively low price com­pared to other chas­sis guns, I sus­pect this ri­fle will ex­ceed your ex­pec­ta­tions, as well. GW

This five-shot group, mi­nus the au­thorin­duced flyer, gives a hint of the BMP’s true ac­cu­racy po­ten­tial. The car­tridge was Fed­eral’s Amer­i­can Ea­gle 140-grain match round. I

The front of the mag­a­zine well has a de­sign that’s friendly to the use of shoot­ing sup­ports. A fiver­ound Mag­pul PMAG AICS de­tach­able mag­a­zine is pro­vided with the ri­fle.

The forend of the chas­sis has four M-LOK at­tach­ment slots, each at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock po­si­tions. The au­thor was able to eas­ily op­er­ate the over­sized bolt han­dle with just a pinky fin­ger and found ac­tion cy­cling to be ex­ceed­ingly smooth.

Test­ing of the BMP was done with a Le­upold Mark 4 6.5-14x50mm scope in Tal­ley light­weight rings. The top of the re­ceiver is drilled and tapped for Rem­ing­ton 700-style bases.

The stock of the BMP has an ad­justable cheek­piece and length of pull, and the butt plate is ad­justable for both cant and ver­ti­cal po­si­tion­ing.

The BMP’s clean­break­ing, ad­justable trig­ger has a fac­to­ry­set pull weight of 2 pounds, 12 ounces.

A quiet, two-po­si­tion safety does not lock the bolt down when en­gaged. A fir­ing pin cock­ing in­di­ca­tor is vis­i­ble in this photo.

De­tach­able mag­a­zines are dropped via ma­nip­u­la­tion of a pad­dle-style mag­a­zine re­lease lo­cated just for­ward of the trig­ger guard.

The BMP’s ac­tion uses a two-lug bolt with a Sako-style ex­trac­tor and plunger ejec­tor. The au­thor found that the push-feed ac­tion cy­cled with silky smooth­ness.

The stock of the BMP has an ad­justable cheek­piece and length of pull, and the butt plate is ad­justable for both cant and ver­ti­cal po­si­tion­ing. Be­cause it is a some­what mod­u­lar de­sign, the BMP’s ARstyle pis­tol grip can be swapped out for an AR grip of...

The muz­zle, which is threaded 5/8-24, sports a lightly knurled thread pro­tec­tor.

While com­plete Bergara rifles are rel­a­tive new­com­ers to the Amer­i­can shoot­ing scene, Bergara al­ready had a rep­u­ta­tion for mak­ing cus­tomqual­ity but­ton-ri­fled bar­rels from the finest Span­ish steel.

The B-14 se­ries of rifles is pro­duced at Bergara’s fa­cil­ity in Spain, com­bin­ing an old, but proven, tech­nol­ogy—but­ton ri­fling—with modern ma­chin­ery, ro­bot­ics and ex­act­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses.

The stock of the BMP is de­signed to pro­vide a cus­tom fit for each shooter. I

This large (by Texas stan­dards) coy­ote made the fa­tal mis­take of show­ing up while the au­thor was hunt­ing hogs with the BMP.

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