Bergara’s affordable B-14 Hunter features clean machining to tight tolerances, a no-nonsense profile, crisp trigger and accurate barrel in an elegant classic-style stock.
The first thing that impressed me about the it was its overall appearance and balance. In my estimation, at least 90 percent of a rifle’s visual appeal is determined by its stock. Obviously, the designer of the Bergara Hunter’s classic sporter stock had an eye for line because it blends beauty with general utility.
The fibreglass-reinforced, black-flecked, green-hued stock has a comb that’s rounded and straight, sloping down slightly from rear to front, so that the cheek is supported by the higher rear portion. This type of stock brings recoil back in a straight line and has the virtue of recoiling away from the face.
The gently curving pistol grip has a diameter of 135mm, which feels very comfortable in my small hand. Combined with a 338mm length of pull, the grip correctly locates the first joint of my forefinger in the curve of the trigger.
There is utility behind every traditional feature of the Bergara Hunter’s stock, which is handsome and functional. The forend is rounded and shaped to fit in the hand, so that it aids in controlling the rifle, and is thick enough to keep the fingers away from a hot barrel.
The stock has Bergara’s SoftTouch finish, giving the rifle a soft, comfortable, rubberised feel.
The stock has no cheekpiece. It doesn’t need one because the comb is thick enough to align the eye with the centre of the scope’s eyepiece.
Stock furniture consists of a pair of quick-detach swivel bases and a 25mm Crushzone recoil pad. Panels of moulded-in chequering on the grip and forend have round-topped diamonds which are hardly visible and more decorative than useful.
The B-14’s round-bottomed long action is 227mm long, based on the Remington Model 700 platform and machined from a blank of chrome-moly steel, but the tang sits on top of the stock, a la Model 70 Winchester.
The recoil lug appears to be an integral part of the receiver, but it is actually a bracket-type sandwiched between the barrel shank and receiver ring. A nice touch, it is concealed by an extended collar at the front of the receiver ring.
The bolt face is recessed and houses a plunger ejector and sliding-blade extractor. Large dual locking lugs on the push-feed bolt turn into recesses in the receiver ring and are beveled to cam up into a coned breech.
A large gas port, some 3.6mm in diameter, on the right side of the receiver ring vents escaping gas from a blown primer; any gas entering the left raceway is deflected by a large flange on the steel bolt shroud.
Internally, on the left side of the receiver, a groove has been broached to coincide with the contour of the bolt’s smooth, round body. A slot in the right locking lug engages a guide rail to ensure the bolt is controlled evenly and is wobble-free.
On opening there is virtually no jump or discontinuity as the bolt head emerges from the receiver ring, and it is controlled so closely and evenly that the bolt handle cannot be misaligned, thus there’s not the slightest chance of the bolt jamming.
An aluminium pillar encircles each action screw, pulling the round-bottom receiver firmly and evenly down onto pads in the stock.
The internal steel magazine holds four rounds, and with a length of 92.45mm, it is 7.60mm longer than the SAAMI maximum for the .30-06 cartridge. This allows bullets with long, slim points to be seated out farther.
I was impressed by how smoothly the Bergara feeds, due not only to having proper cartridge-feed angles from both sides of its staggered magazine, but the extremely slick surface of the aluminium follower as well.
The slightly curved bolt handle has a round polymer knob and a 90-degree lift. A two-position safety on the right side of the bridge behind the bolt handle is an integral part of the Bergara Performance trigger. The bolt can be cycled with the safety engaged, which allows safe loading and unloading of the rifle.
The rifle’s trigger came from the factory set to break at 3¼lb (1.5kg) and was crisp, free from any creep, and is adjustable from 2 to 4lb (0.9-1.8kg). Adjusting the weight of pull is a pretty simple process once the stock is removed.
The rifle’s barrel is made of 4140 carbon steel with a matte blue finish on our test gun. It is medium weight and measures 34mm at the receiver ring before gracefully tapering to 17mm at the muzzle, where it is threaded 5/8×24 TPI for a muzzle device and fitted with a knurled thread protector.
The kind of accuracy we achieved with the Bergara Hunter in .30-06 could only have come from a good barrel. Bergara says that each barrel starts life as a cylindrical bar of chrome-moly steel that must be straight to within .004” before drilling. The steel bar is clamped into a four-spindle machine that drills the precise diameter hole. Instead of reaming the hole, Bergara uses three separate honing spindles with diamond-tipped bits to polish the bore’s surface to a smooth finish.
The barrel is rifled by pulling a button through the bore. Groove diameter varies less than .0002” the length of the bore.
Finally, barrels are heat stress-relieved to remove any tension in the metal that might cause the barrel to warp as it heats up during shooting.
My standard practice for testing a big-game rifle with a light to medium-weight barrel is three-shot groups fired rather quickly with the barrel allowed to cool down a bit between groups.
Our testing determined the Bergara Hunter to be a highly accurate rifle, particularly in view of its reasonable price.
The company offers an MOA accuracy guarantee and an important factor in this is the quality of the B-14’s trigger, which couldn’t be faulted.
The Hunter’s nicely shaped stock also contributed by letting us do the shooting in fine style.
Rifles are often finicky and shoot more accurately with one load than another, but the Hunter shot at least three loads under an inch. The Federal 175gn Terminal Ascent shot especially well, as did Sako’s 180gn Super Hammerhead. The results are shown in the table.
This is one of the few rifles I’ve shot that has continued to shoot tight groups with no sign of the bullet holes straying around the target after the barrel heated up.
A serious hunter will appreciate not only the way the Bergara B-14 Hunter handles and shoots, but its reasonable price. I believe established gun companies will have to lift their game if they want to better the performance of Bergara’s well-crafted sporters.
- Manufacturer: Bergara, Spain
- Type: Turn-bolt action
- Calibre: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem, .308 Win, .270 Win, .30-06 (tested), 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag
- Magazine: Hinged floorplate
- Capacity: 4 rounds standard calibres; 3 magnums
- Barrel: 600mm, chrome-moly, 1:10” R/H twist
- Finish: Matte blued
- Overall length: 1050mm
- Weight: 3.2kg
- Stock: Classic-style synthetic with SoftTouch finish.
- Trigger: Bergara Performance trigger, adjustable 0.9 to 1.8kg
- Sights: None. Takes Remington 700 scope bases with 6-48 screws
- Indicative price: $1450 (2023)
- Trade enquiries: Herron Security & Sport