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The Bergara BMR Carbon is a shining example of why the rimfire rifle is one of our most beloved firearms. In addition to being the king of small game, the .22 LR is a trainer, plinker, and competitor. We have .22 rifles in just about every niche configuration imaginable, ranging from bare-bones survival companions to tricked-out smallbore target rigs that cost more than my pickup. Still, the .22 rifles that resonate most are utilitarian do-alls that are just as suited to hunting beavers in an icy spring river in Alaska as jackrabbits in a Colorado chico brush patch, or plinking steel targets at 200 yards on the range. These are all things the BMR Carbon promises, and I put 500 rounds through one to see if it lives up to these claims.
- Caliber: .22 long rifle
- Other Available Calibers: .22 WMR, .17 HMR
- Capacity: 5+1 or 10+1, detachable polymer box magazine
- Stock: Black with gray splatter pattern, injection molded
- Barrel: 18 inches, carbon, 1:16 twist, threaded ½-28 with thread protector
- Finish: Black
- Length: 36 inches
- Length of Pull: 13.5 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds, 2 ounces (measured, with empty magazine)
- Trigger: User adjustable, 2 pounds, 10 ounces (measured)
- Safety: Two-position, Remington M700 style
- Price: $649
Bergara BMR Carbon Review Highlights
- Versatile and accurate
- Good value
- Reliable operation and crisp ejection
- Average Group Size: 0.928 inches (5-shot groups at 50 yards)
- Average of Best 10 Groups: 0.515 inches (5-shot groups at 50 yards)
- Most accurate ammo: Norma Tac-22 40-grain LRN (.603-inch average group)
The Bergara Micro Rifle
My first exposure to Bergara rifles, on a hunt in South Africa in 2019, left a lasting impression. After the European sportsmen in camp had their pick of the litter, I grabbed what was left—a plain, synthetic-stocked B-14 Ridge chambered in .308 Winchester. I connected on some of the best shots of my life on that trip, and the B-14 Ridge won some special real estate in my heart.
In that vein, my interest was piqued by Bergara’s BMR, or Bergara Micro Rifle. Rather than a pint-sized shooting iron for children, the “micro” refers to the sized down action that’s crafted in a likeness of the B-14 Ridge. The BMR is a rimfire action that’s sized to fit .17 HMR and .22 WMR, and .22 LR, but doesn’t encompass a full-size Remington 700 footprint like the B-14 Rimfire. I opted for the BMR carbon in .22 LR, which features a carbon-wrapped barrel with a threaded muzzle.
Ergonomics That Mimic the B-14 Ridge
The Bergara BMR Carbon is styled after the B-14 Ridge, and shares many of the ergonomic qualities that endeared me to it on that African safari. It has the same overall look, proportions, and feel as the larger centerfire rifle. The shape of the stock lends itself to handiness, but it’s stable enough for precise shooting. The build of the injection-molded stock is a step down from the centerfire models. It’s fairly pedestrian, but it’s not bad either. It has a bit of flex in the fore-end, and the barrel doesn’t sit perfectly centered in the barrel channel. But it is finished with a nice butt pad, looks good, and the action and components fit together without any unsightly gaps.
I particularly like the relatively straight, thin-wristed grip of this stock. It’s wide enough to allow a more modern style of shooting, laying the thumb behind the Remington-style two-position safety. The rifle is nimble. It’s easy to hold, maneuver, and control with one hand on the grip—an essential quality for a hunting .22 rimfire. I also found this grip angle to nicely compliment the geometry of the curved trigger shoe. The combo allowed an excellent, consistent trigger pull.
The fore-end is flat, and accepts a bipod or rides on a shooting bag satisfactorily. Prone, bagged, or off a tripod, I was able to consistently hit a 12-inch-square steel plate at nearly 350 yards with Raisin Bran-like regularity once I generated some good dope—something that is utterly satisfying with a little .22.
The Bergara BMR Micro Action
Externally, the Bergara BMR action looks like a shortened B-14 action, which is essentially a Remington 700 clone. LIke the B-14 Ridge, it has a knurled, oversized bolt handle, but it doesn’t appear to be removable on the BMR. The outside of the receiver does a great job of mimicking the centerfire’s looks, and even uses a similar bolt release latch on the left side of the receiver. The bolt shroud, cocked bolt indicator, and safety are all like they’d be on the B-14 Ridge.
Atop the action is a nice one-piece Picatinny scope base that narrows above the ejection port. It has 30 MOA of elevation built into it to aid those who want to really stretch the .22 out in competition. Internally, the trigger appears to be a Remington 700 pattern single-stage trigger. It’s user-adjustable, but I had no need to fudge mine away from the 2-pound, 10-ounce break it came set at.
Though the cocking mechanism is similar to Remington 700 clones, the bolt doesn’t have any locking lugs, and uses dual extractors and a fixed ejector. I was quite pleased with how reliably the Bergara BMR Carbon ejected spent cases, even after firing large quantities of ammo. Few things bring flaws to the surface as quickly as dirty-ass .22 long rifle ammo, and this rifle earned top marks from me. I also noted that the firing pin appears to be rounded at the end, rather than chisel-shaped like most rimfires, this will likely make it more durable, but doesn’t seem to impede ignition at all.
A point of annoyance I have with my otherwise beloved Savage Mark II is that its secondary extractor is quite rounded off and the rifle won’t extract cases reliably after firing 50 rounds (or so) of waxy .22 ammo. In contrast, the Bergara’s left-side extractor is sharper and does a better job holding onto the case until it’s flipped out by the ejector as the bolt hits the backward limit of its travel. I believe it makes quite a difference.
Other Key Features
The bottom metal of the Bergara BMR isn’t metal at all, but hard molded plastic with a fibrous look. The trigger guard and magazine well are all one piece, and the gun features an easy-operating double-paddle magazine release just forward of the trigger guard. It can be operated with the trigger finger by pushing forward, and extends out on either side of the trigger guard.
The BMR comes with two magazines, one 5-rounder that sits about ⅜-inch proud above the bottom of the stock, and a longer 10-round magazine. Both are made of the same hard polymer that the bottom metal is molded with. The action and magazines are sized for the longer .17 HMR and .22 WMR cartridges, and the .22 LR magazines have built-in spacers to fill that extra length. Magazines are easy to load and snap securely into the rifle by pushing straight in with little effort—and release just as tactfully.
Finally, as all .22 rimfire rifles should be, the Bergara BMR’s barrel is threaded ½-28-inch, so it will accept any standard rimfire suppressor. The biggest function of the carbon-wrapped barrel is weight reduction, as the .22 LR isn’t much of a heat producer. The carbon version is about half a pound lighter than the steel-barreled model.
My only real dig on the aesthetics of the Bergara BMR is the laser engraving for import, serial number, and caliber markings on the receiver and rear portion of the barrel. They clutter up the look of the rifle, and that style of engraving is prone to rust, as it penetrates the metal’s protective coating.
Shooting the Bergara BMR Carbon in .22 LR
Through quite a few trips to the range, I found the BMR to be a pleasure to shoot. It was quite the relief from pounding away groups from larger caliber rifles, and the smooth little action functioned well, even in sub-freezing temperatures.
For testing, I topped this little rifle with a Nightforce NX8 2.5-20X, giving it no excuses in accuracy. This rifle is intended to fill multiple roles, one of them being an affordable precision .22 that can be run in the base class of the NRL22 series. So it damned well better be accurate.
I recorded 39 5-shot groups at 50 yards with the BMR carbon, using six types of ammunition, both with and without a suppressor. Overall, the rifle averaged a group size of 0.928 inches, with the best 10 groups averaging 0.515 inches. The most accurate ammunition was some old Remington Eley match, which averaged .577 inches over 6 un-suppressed groups. Of currently available ammo, the Norma Tac-22 was most accurate, averaging 0.603-inch groups. Interestingly, subsonic ammo shot more accurately without a suppressor, and supersonic loads generally performed better with a suppressor—something to keep in mind when testing ammo for competition.
The rifle functioned well with a wide variety of .22 ammunition styles: from cheap, ear-wax-caked hollowpoints, to polymer-coated hyper-velocity slugs, to plain old black lead match seeds, though I noted a stiff bolt closure with one of the loads. A six hundred dollar .22 better perform pretty flawlessly to get my vote of approval, and this one did.
Pros and Cons
Here’s the hot and fast of where the Bergara BMR Carbon is strong, and where it’s not:
- Great ergonomics
- Good trigger
- Smooth and reliable action
- Suppressor ready
- I’d prefer a better, stiffer stock
- Laser engraving can rust easily
- Bottom metal is plastic
Final Thoughts on the Bergara BMR Carbon
Overall, the BMR does a great job of fulfilling its promises while remaining attainable for many shooters. I’m not blown away by the rifle for the price, but those dollars are aptly justified. For anyone who wants a super-accurate, handy .22 that feels a lot like their hunting rifle, or isn’t overtly tactical, this is a great option. It could be a great gun for getting through the door into precision rimfire competition, without sacrificing utility.