Wouldn’t you rather be prepared for an eventual vehicle accident with auto insurance rather than fight the problems that arise without it? Consider summer varmint shooting that same insurance. Whether you reside in a zip code with big varmints like woodchucks or small vermin like 13-lined ground squirrels, summer outings to target these farm and ranch irritants give you real-world shooting practice.
This fact was driven home recently on a recent trip I took to central Montana to review and field-test the new line of centerfire rifles from Bergara Rifles. Winds picked up at sunrise and increased to the point of ludicrous by the time we were loading magazines for an all-out assault on a basin overrun with black-tailed prairie dogs. The field test was going to be as much of a test on windage judgment as getting a feel for the new line of rifles.
You may have heard of Bergara Barrels, a manufacturing company supplying high-end barrels to CVA for their Accura muzzleloader. Now the company has taken the step into the marketing of a complete rifle under Bergara Rifles as well as being a major OEM (original equipment manufacturer) barrel supplier for many of the major rifle companies. Bergara Rifles has three models in their line to cater to every shooter’s budget. Their B-14 line retails for less than $1,000, their Premier series retails for $2,000 and their custom line, where you call the shots, may tally $6,000 depending on your specifications.
With high winds, gusty at best, typical wind estimates were being tested and in many cases, abandoned. Using wind meters such as the new Nikon Spot On Wind Meter read the high gusts, but you still had estimate gusts across rolling hills. Still, the data the Spot On provided with integration from a smartphone delivered instant windage information along with standard trajectory data on location.
If you don’t have a wind meter you can still shoot accurately in windy conditions as long as hurricane factors aren’t in play. You can utilize swaying vegetation, man-made wind markers like a snagged Walmart sack or the movement of mirages in your optics. Each of these requires education and practice, but with time you’ll be able to estimate wind at distance and match it with your DOPE (data observed from prior engagements) card.
Prairie dogs were being tolerable during our day of shooting. Not only did the winds deaden the muzzle blast, but most of the rifles were equipped with Dead Air Armaments suppressors. This combo allowed us to creep up to elevation and shoot at the towns longer before the inhabitants realized they were under management-control circumstances.
The final conclusion after sending several boxes of Hornady Custom ammunition downrange: Bergara Rifles perform. We shot the B-14 and Premier line in .22-250, .243 and 6.5 Creedmoor with equal results of accuracy in the field. The next step is to get them back to the bench and in more tolerant conditions to verify sub-MOA assertions, but Bergara Rifles is one company to consider for your next predator rifle purchase.