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.
“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.”
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 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.
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 aircraft-grade aluminum. In addition to providing a stable platform for 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.
“Bergara has, for the last decade or so, been quietly earning a reputation for making great barrels from fine Spanish steel.”
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 factory-listed 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 factory-stated 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 hand-loaders 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.
“You would expect a rifle of this quality to deliver good accuracy, and the BMP did not disappoint.”
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.
Average Muzzle Velocity (fps)
|Average Group (inches)||
Best Group (inches)
|Federal American Eagle 140-grain OTM||
|Federal Fusion 140-grain||
|Federal Non-Typical 140-grain SP||
|Hornady Precision Hunter 143-grain ELD-X||
|Hornady Superformance 129-grain SST||
NOTES: Accuracy testing consisted of three five-shot groups fired in winds of 6 to 10 mph at 100 yards. Velocity is an average of five shots, measured with a Competitive Edge Dynamics M2 chronograph.
CALIBERS: 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), .308 Win.
ACTION: Push-feed bolt action
CAPACITY: Five-round detachable magazine
BARREL: 24-inch, heavy contour
RATE OF TWIST: 1:8 (6.5 Creedmoor)
STOCK: Bergara BMP chassis
TRIGGER: Bergara curved trigger
WEIGHT: 11 pounds (6.5 Creedmoor)
OVERALL LENGTH: 43.5 inches
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.