Range Test and Review: Bergara B-14 Ridge

This rifle delivers on high-quality and performance with a price tag for the budget-minded.

Range Test and Review: Bergara B-14 Ridge

The B-14 Ridge is a solid performer built to last. It may not turn heads at the range or provide celebrity status in the clubhouse, but it’ll deliver where it counts — when your predator hunting.  (Photo: Guy Sagi)

Bergara has a well-deserved reputation for building accurate and reliable rifles. After testing, it’s obvious even the company’s modestly priced B-14 Ridge Rifle chambered in .22-250 Rem. lives up to that legacy

This isn’t the largest or best-known firearm manufacturer in the world, though, so don’t be surprised if your sporting goods dealer doesn’t stock a wide selection of its centerfires. That’s quickly changing, and not because of hype or glitz. The company has quietly assembled some of the industry’s foremost through the years, shooters one and all, and word about the firearms they produce is quickly spreading.

When the rest of the industry was caught in the doldrums of a “new normal” in gun sales, Bergara’s orders were increasing. The trend hasn’t slowed. 

B-14 Action

B-14 Ridge rifles use Bergara’s own B-14 action with a two-lug bolt. It features a sliding plate extractor and coned bolt nose and breech to ensure flawless cycling, feeding and chambering. In testing, it worked perfectly with no stoppages or problems.

In all honesty, relaxed range sessions are not an adequate torture test for any bolt-action. I have, however, been behind Bergara’s receiver during several industry events and have never encountered a problem or witnessed one. One of the multi-day sessions I attended featured an instructor who didn’t like the way I pampered the bolt. “Run it hard, fast and with authority … like you stole it,” he barked loud and often. I did. It never balked at the abuse or had a hiccup, despite shooting from the prone position in serious grime.

The bolt release is on the left side of the receiver, and a well-marked two-position safety is on the right. Their position and operation are familiar to most bolt-action owners.

Texturing on the bolt handle ensures a solid grip with gloved hands or sweaty palms. The receiver comes tapped for Remington 700 bases, another budget-friendly touch with so many options available on the market today.

When in battery, and firing pin cocked, a small band of red is visible at the back of the bolt. It’s a thoughtful safety addition and a decided advantage when working with inexperienced shooters.

The B-14 Ridge has excellent cosmetic features, too. Although, in keeping with the company’s overall approach, they are modest if not understated. The Bergara name and logo, for example, is on the left (non-extraction) side of the receiver. It’s not painted in some contrasting color to advertise the rifle five benches over. It’s matte blue, matches the receiver perfectly, hard to read unless the light strikes it right and undetectable from distance. Gaudy is the last thing you need in a predator hunting gun. 

Barrel

Bergara knows how to make accurate barrels, and the matte blue, 22-inch No. 5 contour barrel on this rifle is no exception. It’s made from 4140 CrMo (chrome-moly steel) and free-floated. You know you’ll get a good one because the company backs its rifles with a 1 MOA or better guarantee when using quality match ammo.

Unfortunately, the tested B-14 Ridge Rifle arrived when COVID-19 lockdowns began, at a time when toilet paper, face masks and guns vanished from store shelves. Finding a herd of unicorns would have been easier than scoring match fodder.

The prospects sounded grim, but the gun’s performance with hunting and budget loads were a pleasant surprise. Hornady’s 40-grain V-Max Varmint Express turned in five, five-shot groups that averaged .91 inch at 100 yards. It could have been a lot better, were it not for the sultry day, impatience on my end and lack of legal mulligans to toss out a round or two.

Sellier and Bellot 55-grain soft-point boattails came in at 1.01 inch—in the same 96-degree 70% humidity haste. Bear in mind the test rifle was factory fresh and, with time, will likely work into tighter groups. And patient owners will undoubtedly identify a pet load.

Stock

The company calls the stock “American style,” likely because its profile is relatively traditional for most hunting rifles in the states. Once again, the term’s a little understated. Yes, it has a generous recoil pad with a Bergara logo that made range sessions a pleasure and there are sling swivel studs fore and aft. There’s a lot more to it, though.

Composed of glass-fiber reinforced polymer, the molded stock is textured at the fore-end for use with gloves or in inclement weather. A section at the wrist has similar treatment. Internally, the solid epoxy pillar molded into place provides the kind of stability accuracy requires.

The internal box magazine has a four-round capacity. Its floorplate, which is metal, features the Bergara name, again in an impossible to detect at distance finish. The magazine opens by depressing a button at the front of the trigger guard. In testing, it didn’t hang up, and cartridges fed from it flawlessly.

Let’s face facts: Some synthetic stocks are downright ugly while others might be better described as homely-but-loveable. There are a few that are attractive, but nearly all of them are cold and tacky when they want to be, usually at the most inopportune time.

This Bergara’s base color of gray with white speckles atop may not be the sexiest thing around, but it’s not hard on the eyes, either. The contrasting colors break up the outline in the woods, too, whereas a continuous black tone doesn’t get it done as well.

What really sets it apart, though, is the SoftTouch coating. It’s slightly tacky, but during testing, not sticky enough to hold onto the dirt and dust that flies around the firing line. It does not exhibit the same cold and numb properties that give some synthetic stocks a bad name. 

Trigger

Bergara describes the trigger as “curved.” It’s geometrically correct but doesn’t add much sizzle to one of the tastiest parts of the gun.

Using a Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge for 10 pulls, its average let-off weight was 3 pounds 2 ounces. It came close to dipping into the 2-pound range only once and never approached 4. The deviation is slight and not noticeable in your finger — even when taking relaxed shots at paper.

Takeup is minuscule if there is any. Unlike some budget guns that will give you Halloween-like nightmares, there was no creep, grit, grime or unnecessary scares. If you take one of these rifles home, you have one less excuse if you miss.

It’s a pleasure to get behind, and if you find a Bergara B-14 Ridge on a sporting goods shelf, do yourself a favor and give the trigger a try.

It’s also here I have a complaint, albeit a minor one. Serrations or some sort of texturing on the trigger would be an advantage during hunting season, or even during hot range sessions. That said, I would not risk installing an aftermarket version, either. It’d be hard to improve on this consistency and feel.

Conclusion

Shooters in the market for a bolt-action rifle should take a close look at the Bergara B-14 Ridge. It’s not flashy or hyped — corporate policy, I surmise.

If you’re looking for something different than .22-250 Rem., it’s also available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .243 Win., 7 mm-08 Rem., 7 mm Rem. Mag., .270 Win., .300 PRC, .300 Win. Mag., .30-06 Sprg., .308 Win. and .450 Bushmaster.

Barrel length varies by caliber and model, from 18 to 24 inches. Most models run $865. Those in PRC chamberings have an MSRP of $945.

The B-14 Ridge is a solid performer built to last. It may not turn heads at the range or provide celebrity status in the clubhouse, but it’ll deliver where it counts — when your predator hunting.

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