As the sport of competitive rimfire continues to grab hold, more manufacturers are offering .22 rifles capable of superb precision. Many times, these guns mimic centerfire platforms to provide the shooter with an affordable means of training, as was the case for Bergara’s .22 Long Rifle-chambered B-14R and its centerfire B-14 HMR counterpart. However, sometimes a shooter just desires a lightweight, compact platform—the kind we typically most associate with rimfire rifles—and those characteristics often stand directly at odds with the potential for great accuracy.
With that in mind, the Spanish manufacturer set out to build a rifle that meets the needs of NRL22 competitors and small-game hunters alike, offering precision in a package that remains handy, and the Bergara Micro Rimfire (BMR) is the result. Two versions of the rifle are available, with either a traditional steel or carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, and our sample for this evaluation was a BMR Carbon chambered in .22 LR with an 18" barrel—although each gun is also offered in either .22 WMR or .17 HMR with a longer 20" tube.
The BMR Carbon is a bolt-action, rimfire repeating rifle built to exacting tolerances to offer the rimfire shooter the same accuracy capabilities as the company’s centerfire offerings. As Bergara has its roots in barrelmaking, it’s worthy to note the amount of attention that the company gives to this critical component. The carbon-fiber tubes are mandrel-rolled for concentricity at a No. 6 taper and are made of a twill-fabric carbon fiber. Each BMR barrel is threaded 1/2x28 TPI for the installation of a suppressor or other muzzle device.
The barrel is threaded to a chrome-moly steel receiver and torqued to 65 ft.-lbs. before being set into an American-style, black synthetic stock with gray paint flecks. This stock makes use of minimal bedding features to keep both weight and manufacturing costs down, while still providing a rock-solid fit through the use of a pair of traditional action screws. The BMR Carbon comes with a rubber recoil pad and QD sling studs—the foremost of which we used to attach a Caldwell XLA bipod for testing.
The action of the BMR is not the same as used by Bergara in the B-14R, as that gun offers a longer bolt throw designed to replicate the cycling of a centerfire rifle. The BMR’s reduced throw is coupled with a familiar 90-degree lift that enables lightning-fast follow-up shots that are critical for beating the clock or re-engaging a bouncing critter.
Dual extractors ensure smooth operation. A 30-m.o.a.-canted Picatinny rail is attached atop the receiver with screws, allowing for the installation of an optic. A forward-to-fire, two-position safety is on the right side of the receiver, just behind the bolt handle, and a bolt-release lever is opposite it on the left side.
Like its predecessor, the BMR feeds from a detachable box magazine that is released via a centrally positioned lever located just forward of the trigger guard. Bergara includes both a 10-round magazine and a five-rounder to suit the needs of both the competitor and the hunter.
The BMR Carbon uses a drop-safe Remington 700-style trigger that can be upgraded by the user if he or she is partial to a certain aftermarket unit. On average, the adjustable trigger broke at 3 lbs., 7 ozs., straight from the box, and we were able to dial it down to 2 lbs., 14 ozs., by turning a hex screw located inside of the trigger guard—without removing the action from the stock.
Our range day benefitted from calm, comfortable conditions, and we were able to sample rimfire offerings from Remington, SK and Fiocchi. Upon settling into the rifle, we all gained an appreciation for the mildly aggressive textured panels on both the fore-end and the grip.
The test BMR Carbon seemed to prefer subsonic ammunition, but the supersonic load still produced adequate results for its intended use. Our best group of the day came from the SK Rifle Match ammunition, laying 10 shots into a 0.8" group at 50 yards. The other four 10-shot groups were not much larger, demonstrating great consistency across both the rifle and the ammunition.
We also engaged a 6" Birchwood Casey Spoiler Alert steel target set at 300 yards and were impressed with the 80 percent hit rate that we achieved at that range. The canted base eliminated the need for any additional equipment in order to reach out that far with the .22. All testers found that the 36" rifle balanced exceptionally well and, at just 6 lbs., 4 ozs., with rings and a scope mounted, was effortless to shoot offhand as well as in traditional field positions.
As a whole, our testers were impressed with the BMR Carbon. It would be a great option for a plethora of applications—from smallbore silhouette competition to squirrel hunting to backyard plinking. With an MSRP of $659, it does land on the pricier side of the bolt-action .22 LR market, but our testing revealed that you’re getting quite a lot for your money.