Bergara is a Spanish company well-known and respected for their barrels which are used by other rifle makers. Bergara also make a small range of rifles. The SSAA Australian Shooter/Hunter was given the opportunity to review the Bergara B14 Hunter rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor. Herron Security and Sport are the Australian agents and provided the rifle along with a generous supply of ammunition to test.
Out of the box, sans sights, and unloaded with the bolt in place, I measured a rifle weight of 3.070 kilos (6.8 lb). Overall length was 1.055 metres (41.5 inches). The rifle felt well-balanced and pointy. The stock was comfortable and a good fit.
The B14 comes in two barrel lengths, 22 inches in the short action and 24 inches in the long action. The barrels are sporter weight and profile with a muzzle diameter of 17mm. There is one exception to that in the hefty 9.3×62 which has a 19mm muzzle. Barrels are finished in matte black. The steel used is 4140 chrome-moly alloy. Open sights are available as an optional extra. The barrel of this 6.5 Creedmoor offering was 22 inches in length and had a 1:8 twist rate which is adequate for stabilising heavier projectiles.
Receiver and Bolt
Other commentators have stated that the Bergara B14 action is essentially an improved Rem 700 action, with a number of issues addressed. That is a fair statement I would agree with. The bolt is twin-lugged with a large claw extractor, a plunger ejector and a coned bolt face, all of which contribute to smooth and reliable chambering and extraction. The action is profiled and drilled to accept Remington 700 bases and rings. The bolt is a compact short action. A red-coloured indicator pin at the rear of the bolt provides a clear signal as to whether the rifle is cocked, or not.
The Trigger and Safety
The trigger looks to be a close, if not exact, copy of the Rem 700. It is adjustable for weight and pull, but Bergara recommends that any such work be done by a gunsmith. Being a Rem 700 clone, this also allows easy customisation for anybody wanting an aftermarket trigger. The factory trigger had negligible creep and a consistent and crisp 2.0 pound release, which I thought was ideal for a hunting rifle of this style.
The safety features a large knurled knob. It is a simple two-position safety which toggles positively between Safe and Fire positions. In Safe position the bolt is still free to move, allowing safe unloading if you chose to cycle the bolt for that.
The B14 can be had with a magazine as either an internal floorplate or detachable box type. The box magazine holds one less round than does the floorplate option. That is typically 4 versus 3, except for the two magnum offerings which are 3 and 2. The box magazine is a single-stack type moulded from polymer. It was easy to load and use. The test rifle had a hinged floorplate style of magazine.
The stock is a classical straight comb style. It is moulded from glass-reinforced polymer and has a SoftTouch coating for improved grip, especially in cold climates. Steel pillars are integrally moulded in with the stock, providing an excellent stable bedding platform for the action. The user manual instructed that the action screws be tightened to 7N-m (62 in-lbs) of torque. The barrel channel provides full free-floating for the barrel. I measured the length of pull at 133/8 inches (340mm). The stock was olive green coloured with a speckling of fine cream and charcoal coloured specks. The recoil pad was a Crush Zone model that was effective and comfortable to use. The stock has QD studs, fore and aft.
The rifle was fitted with a Sightron 3-9×42 scope. The optics were sharp and all adjustments precise. It only took 3 shots at 25 metres to have the rifle sighted for 100 metres. The combination of scope and rifle allowed me to shoot a batch of sub-MOA groups, which is everything you could ask for.
Off the Bench
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular calibre at the present time. It is not hard to see why. It sits mid-scale in the list of .264 calibres, is mild to shoot and well-known for inherent accuracy. It can handle projectile weights from 95 grain (at about 3300 fps) through to 142 grainers (at about 2700 fps). Its mid-range projectile of 120 grains, at a muzzle velocity of close to 3000 fps is pretty much ideal for all but the largest game animals. Bergara state that their B14 models will deliver 1 MOA, or better, using match grade factory ammo.
Apart from a broad selection of ammunition supplied by Herron Security and Sport, I also had a range of ammunition supplied by Nioa. This enabled extensive accuracy testing, with a wide variety of factory ammo, over a series of visits to my local SSAA range. All the ammo shot nicely. The most accurate were the American Gunner 140 gr BTHP.
Bergara recommends a shooting-in process for their barrels, which I followed. That was, shoot-1 and clean for the first 5 shots, then clean every 10 shots for the next 50 rounds. After that, clean as required.
The 6.5 Creedmoor falls pretty much mid-way between the 243 Winchester and the 308 Winchester in terms of muzzle/recoil energy. For anybody wanting a bit more authority than the 243 Win, but wishing to avoid the recoil of the 308 Win, the 6.5 Creedmoor would be a good choice. It would be a great performer on all but the largest Australian game. The Bergara B14 Hunter is a well-built sporter rifle that handles and functions well. More importantly, it is inherently accurate and mild to shoot. At a retail price of about $1300, it represents good value indeed.