The inaugural Bergara Experience—a series of free events where the company assembles experts to provide shooters with long-distance tips and the ammunition to feed a small fleet of rifles during testing—took place Sat., Aug. 5, in North Carolina. The crowd was much larger than I anticipated and people were already lined up a half an hour beforehand for a chance to get behind a Bergara B-14 HMR.
I didn’t take one for a test drive, despite the fleet of 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered rifles available. Conversations with the shooters as they left the firing line were every bit as pleasant and recoil-free, though, and there were some interesting revelations.
First, perhaps foremost, people are eager to try their hand at long-distance. Roughly 60 shooters attended, and Norm McHenry drove 70 miles. When asked about the crowd, Paul Idol said he didn’t know what to expect, but “Thought we’d be first in line.” He wasn’t. Ryan Hudson said, “I kinda thought there’d be less people out here.”
Comments also make it obvious places to stretch the distance are rare commodities in some regions. Travis Wylie connected three out of three times at 550 yards, despite the fact, “I’ve never shot anything that far away.” When asked about his experience at distance, Steve Beezley declared, “This is the longest shot.” He did it with a suppressor, by the way. Only one shooter I interviewed had experience at 300 yards or beyond—a Navy veteran.
The public is hungry for events like the Bergara Experience. “This is awesome. Beautiful place, nice facility….very well organized,” McHenry said. Idol concurred. “Within driving distance on a Saturday morning is outstanding,” he said. “I couldn’t say enough good things about it.” Beezley added, “I think it’s good to get people who haven’t done it a chance to try different rifles and setups.”