With its pleasing performance-to-price ratio and familiar bolt-action pattern, this rifle in .308 WIN delivers on the bench and in the field
by Bob Campbell
The Bergara bolt action rifle has earned a well-deserved reputation for smoothness, competent manufacture, and most of all, quality barrels with excellent accuracy potential. The level of manufacture exhibited by these rifles is impressive. In a day when too many rifles are turned out as cheaply as possible to sell in the big box stores, Bergara rifles are designed with quality and performance first in mind.
The Bergara B-14 Ridge Rifle in .308 WIN (Special Purpose Short Barrel), the subject of this report, is a relatively lightweight rifle that shoots like a heavy barrel rifle. It’s affordable but not “cheap.”
The bolt action of the B-14 is smooth and locks up strong. I have heard “very smooth” to “superbly smooth” to describe this action.
The B-14 action is used on several rifles in the Bergara line. The bolt is a two-lug design with a well-finished and polished bolt for smooth feeding and extraction. While similar to the Remington 700 action, the extractor is modified for more positive function.
Among the highlight features of the rifle is a tuned trigger. My personal rifle features a clean trigger action, breaking at a crisp 3.1 pounds. The trigger means a great deal in terms of rifle accuracy. The Bergara trigger is curved in a way that allows even, straight-to-the-rear pressure. The action is consistent and breaks at the same weight with every trigger press.
The rifle uses the standard Remington 700 scope mount pattern—a wise choice for shooters since most well-stocked shops will have mounting solutions. Bergara first became well known for match-grade barrels. The B-14 Ridge rifle features a matte blue finished chrome moly steel barrel. The stocks are pillar bedded, which, combined with a free-float barrel, adds up to excellent accuracy potential. The stock is very comfortable and well designed for overall shooting comfort. The magazine in an integral unit, easy to load and easy enough to dump the load, if desired. The bolt knob is an extended type that makes operating a breeze.
The B-14 Ridge is smooth in operation and the field tests were enjoyable. The rifle was topped with a Burris Fullfield E1 3-9×40 scope—not an expensive scope but a good optic for the price. Mine was purchased on sale for $199.
The Bergara is, in many ways, an updated and highly polished Remington 700 rifle. Even the stocks are interchangeable! The barrel makes a difference, of course, and the action is a bit smoother than all but the most broken in and polished Remington actions.
I fired the rifle at 50 yards during the initial sight-in, getting the rifle on paper and then zeroing it at 100 yards with a proven handload consisting of a Hornady 168-grain bullet and IMR 4895 powder. Next, I settled into a bench rest firing position with MTM’s K-Zone shooting rest.
For consistency I used Hornady factory ammunition. I really like the Hornady 150 grain SST. For deer in my neck of the woods, this is an ideal load. I also fired a few rounds of the 178-grain ELD X Precision Hunter. After I had the rifle properly sighted, I fired several three-shot groups. The groups went 1.2, 1.25 and 1.0 inches with the 150-grain load. I fired a single three-shot group with the 178-grain load that went 0.9 inches. This dog will run! I also fired a full box of handloads at small targets at various ranges to 120 yards. I then expanded the field with affordable Winchester “white box” ammo and enjoyed good results. I also sent Federal Ascent 175-grain bullets downrange—a premium long-range load that performed well in the Bergara.
This is a super smooth, very accurate, and fast handling rifle. For some folks, a heavier rifle may have appeal. This is a great hunting rifle for use on big game. It is also a versatile emergency rifle with much merit for defending the homestead, foraging, or dusting off pests and predators. I have reviewed few rifles for which I could not offer several suggestions for improvement, and this is one of them.
What We Like
- The rifle is light and handy.
- Every part is well finished.
- Respectable accuracy for an off-the-shelf rifle.
What We Don’t Like
- The rifle is light, and after a while, recoil adds up. That is to be expected. If you want to travel to the range and fire several hundred rounds of ammunition in a sitting, you may want a heavier rifle.
What We Would Change
- I have no real problem with the Bergara safety. It works well, but it would be nice to have a three-position safety.
- If you like the Remington 700, you will love this rifle. It is far smoother than the three-hundred-dollar package guns and performs a bit better than the Ruger American.
Bergara B-14 Ridge Rifle Specifications
- Model Number: B14LM501
- Firearm Type: bolt action rifle
- Caliber: .308 Winchester
- Cartridge Capacity: 4 rounds
- Magazine: hinged floor plate
- Action: modified Remington 700
- Trigger System: adjustable
- Safety: two-position
- Barrel Length: 18 inches
- Barrel Finish: matte blued
- Rate of Twist: 1:10
- Muzzle: threaded 5/8-24 w/thread protector
- Sights: none supplied
- Overall Length: 37.5 in.
- Weight: 7.2 lbs.
- Stock: synthetic
For more info on the Begara B-14 series rifles, visit the Bergara website.