By Bud Johnson
My father taught me to shoot when I was little. The Marine Corps built on that foundation. When I left the Corps, I became a mechanical engineer. All of which left a legacy of love for precision shooting.
While I have a lifetime of experience with rifles in calibers from .17 Remington Fireball to .50 BMG, I’d never shot a rifle with a Spanish-made barrel. So I jumped at the chance to precision test the Bergara B14 HMR (Hunting and Match Rifle) in 6.5 Creedmore.
Without accessories, the Bergara B14 HMR weighs-in at 9.15 pounds. It measures 41.5 inches in overall length and features a five-round AICS box magazine. The 22-inch 5/8-24 threaded barrel is perfect for mounting a suppressor.
The B14 HMR’s stock is molded with a mini chassis for consistency, with four QD flush cups. Unfortunately, those cups aren’t flush mounted. They provide otherwise avoidable inconsistencies along the stock surface.
Three quick detachable sling swivel studs are also mounted in the stock, with two on the muzzle end to accommodate both a sling and a bipod.
The stock features an adjustable cheek piece. The molded stock has enough adjustment options to accommodate shooters of almost any size and shape.
One downside, the stock is the same width as the forend. While that might not make a great deal of difference for hunting, the forend should be at least 2.25 to 3.00 inches wide for match shooting.
I removed the rear sling swivel in front to allow smooth movement on a Caldwell rest, to enable uninterrupted recoil for testing.
The B14 HMR’s receiver accepts 700 Remington short action rails and scope bases. I fitted the rifle with a Leupold 6.5-20x 50mm Long Range scope — a known quality (hence a good fit for this testing). Bergara sets the B14 HMR’s adjustable trigger at a consistent, crisp pull weight of three pounds, 13 ounces. I let it be.
This particular Bergara B14 HRM had already sent a lot of rounds downrange, so I gave it a good scrubbing. I did the same before ammunition changes. I fired two shots before data collection, except when I was using a LabRadar chronograph. I shot all group and chronograph testing rounds from a Caldwell front rest and a rabbit ear rear rest. I fired all shots over 250 yards from a pre-loaded bi-pod with no rear rest.
So . . .
Although it’s a little heavy, the B14 HMR’s crisp trigger broke cleanly. I shot the rifle to 600 yards with Federal ammunition in 12 miles-per-hour wind. Federal 140 HP performed extremely well. From a 10-shot string, the average velocity was 2753 fps; the extreme spread 68 fps; the standard deviation 28.9.
That’s a higher SD than I like, but the Federal ammo shot like the SD was a lot lower. I don’t have the ballistic coefficients for this bullet, but they are similar to a 140 grain Berger VLD hunting projectile.
I shot the target above at 100 yards. The two holes on the right represent my first group. I moved .5 MOA left and .25 MOA up to achieve a .26 center-to-center group (.276 outside-to-outside) group. That’s an exceptional result for a previously used rifle — or any rifle shooting factory ammunition.
I then shot a 400-yard target reduced for 25 yards. Firing Federal ammo with a 100-yard zero at 400 yard equivalent, the rifle delivered 2.5 inches at 250 yards, 10.00 inches at 500 yards and 13.75 inches at 600 yards. (That was a far as I could shoot that day due to range conditions.)
Next up: Hornady’s 140 ELD Match ammo.
I shot four shot groups at the above target at 100 yards from the Caldwell rest. The average speed was 2733 feet per second, the extreme spread 40 feet per second and the standard deviation 17.0.
I put the B14 through its paces to 1000 yards with the Hornady ammunition in a seven mile-per-hour right to left wind. With a 100-yard zero I achieved 2.5 inches at 250 yards, 10.00 inches at 500 yards, 12.75 inches at 600 yards, 18.00 inches at 750 yards and 26.5 inches at 1000 yards.
Bottom line: Bergara has built impressive accuracy into a rifle billed as a combination hunting/match gun, at a very competitive price.
Specifications: Bergara B14 HMR
Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Overall Length: 41.5 inches
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Twist: 1 in 8
Magazine Capacity: 5 rounds (AICS compatible)
Weight: 9.25 pounds
Length of Pull: 12.25 to 14.5 inches
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy: * * * * *
This is a surprisingly accurate rifle, especially at the price point. While it tended to scatter if shooting more than five rounds without being allowed to cool, if this is indicative of the quality of Spanish rifles and barrels, color me impressed.
Reliability: * * * * *
Zero problems, as you’d expect from a quality bolt gun.
Appearance: * * * * 1/2
It’s an attractive rifle that looks as good in the woods as it does on the range.
Ergonomics: * * * *
Excellent customization options to fit any shooter. Though slightly on the heavy side (and who isn’t?) the trigger is crisp and breaks cleanly. The narrow forend and non-flush QD mounts keep the B14 from perfection here.
Overall: * * * * 1/2
The B14 HMR performs to a very high standard, especially for the price. It’s an excellent hunting rifle. With a little work, it could be truly match-ready, too.