Rifles

Bergara’s BXR 22 — The Class Act of .22 Self-Loaders

Ragged hole group shot from a bergara BRX 22 rifle

Bergara’s BXR 22 stood out from across the gun rack as soon as it caught my eye. Modern, classy, and functional, this is a great rifle that shoots as well as it looks. My rifle is the base model, although I hardly feel limited. The next step up is a lightweight rifle with carbon-fiber wrapped barrel.

My rifle is well made of good material and features a superbly designed stock with an adjustable length of pull. Hopefully, one of the grandchildren will find the length of pull adjustment a nice touch when he or she is ready to enter the rimfire world. The rifle is an original (as we will see), but compatibility with the totality of Ruger 10/22 magazines and after-market triggers is a big plus.

Bergara BXR 22 rifle with Nikon rifle scope, right profile
This is a well-made rifle with good features.

I have quite a few Ruger magazines on hand, and it is nice to be able to utilize these in the BXR. I have enjoyed excellent results with Bergara bolt-action rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester. A friend has built a couple of custom rifles using the Bergara barreled action with excellent results.

The Bergara centerfire line is well respected across the globe. They somehow were able to put forth an effort in building a superlative .22 caliber autoloader as well. I am certain, having based the action on a proven template sped up the process.

The primary advantage of the carbon-wrapped barrel is weight savings. The carbon-fiber rifle weighs but 4.75 pounds. I won’t comment further, as I have no experience with that Bergara model.

The average price for the standard model is $549 and $649 for the carbon-fiber barrel version. That isn’t much difference, for those preferring a lighter rifle.

Bergara BXR Features

The BXR is a great looking rifle and a credible performer. The stock is perhaps the outstanding feature. The rifle stock feels good and offers a good fit for most shooters. The stock offers good adhesion, exactly where a good grip is needed. The length of pull may be adjusted in increments with the aid of stock spacers.

butt pad on the Bergara BRX 22 22 rifle showing the inserts to adjust the length of pull
An adjustable stock is a good feature.

The rifle bears a close resemblance to the Ruger 10/22. The trigger mechanism and magazines are interchangeable with the Ruger rifle. However, the barrels are not interchangeable. While it appears they would be, the attachment differs. Ruger stocks do not fit the Bergara as far as I am able to determine, but aftermarket triggers and the famously reliable Ruger X magazine do fit and function.

I think most shooters will use the rifle — as issued — save for using Ruger magazines. The trigger action is superb. Take up is minimal and the action breaks clean. Reset is sharp. A good sharp reset is as important as a clean trigger break when firing in rapid fire and for absolute accuracy as well.

Trigger compression is a smooth 3.1 pounds and consistent. This is one of the triggers that really does feel lighter than the measured compression due to a well-designed, wide trigger. This is as good a trigger as I have tested on a factory rimfire rifle and especially a self-loading rifle.

extended, paddle-type magazine release on the receiver of a Bergara BRX 22 rifle
The extended, paddle-type magazine release works well.

A tuned CZ 452 beats this trigger, but not by a great margin. My rifle features a fluted steel barrel that wears a Cerakote finish. A green flecked stock sets off the barrel finish. The carbon-fiber rifle has a black flecked stock. Each is an attractive and well-proportioned rifle.

BXR 22 Specifications

Overall length: 34.5 inches (includes 3 of the 3/8-inch removable/replaceable spacers to adjust length of pull)
Barrel: 16.5 inches, muzzle threaded 1/2×28, (thread protector included)
Weight: 4.75 pounds for carbon-fiber barrel, 5.25 pounds for fluted-steel barrel
Capacity: 10-shot rotary magazine
Scope mount: 30 MOA Picatinny rail integral with the receiver
Trigger pull: Approximately 3.5 pounds
Trigger pack: 10/22 compatible
Sling mounts: 3 QD studs and 4 flush cups
BXR Base Model – BXR 22 LR semi-auto rifle chrome moly Cerakote barrel (MSRP $565)
BXR Carbon – BXR002 BXR 22 LR semi-auto rifle carbon-fiber barrel (MSRP $659)

Most good quality .22 rimfire rifles are capable of a three-shot group of 2 inches or so at 50 yards under controlled conditions. I expected a bit better from the Bergara BXR.

50-yard group from a Bergara BRX 22 rifle
At 50 yards, the author occasionally pulled a flyer. No fault of this superbly accurate rifle.

The rifle is delivered without sights. The receiver differs from the Ruger 10/22 in that the receiver is monolithic with a railed scope mount. This makes for very secure, consistent optics mounting. I had on hand a Nikon Prostaff 3–9×40, a classic deer hunter’s rifle scope. This isn’t necessarily what you would consider a rimfire rifle scope.

Given the possible long-range utility of the Bergara rifle, the Nikon turned out to be a good choice. Mounting the scope wasn’t difficult at all. I began the evaluation by sighting the BXR rifle in at a modest 25 yards. I used typical 40-grain .22 Long Rifle ammunition including Remington Thunderbolt and Winchester M22.

It was simple enough to move windage and elevation to center the groups. I sighted slightly high during the initial evaluation as I intended to fire 50 yard groups as well. I used Ruger magazines during the evaluation, including a special five-shot unit for use in less enlightened states. Most commonly, 25 yards is the small game zero. You wont miss with this combination.

25-Yard Firing

Firing from a benchrest, paying careful attention to the reticule, and especially the trigger press, accuracy results were excellent. Most of the groups were in the .5-inch range for 3-shot groups. A few were even smaller as I concentrated on controlling the rifle.

I thoroughly enjoyed this rifle. Very seldom does a firearm exceed every expectation and fire as smoothly as the BXR. I fired offhand and from braced barricade with excellent results. Firing at the 50 yard line was more challenging. A slight amount of lateral pressure on the trigger or allowing the reticule to stray will skew your results.

I carefully focused the reticle and fired several 3-shot groups at 50 yards. I had slightly miscalculated in sighting the rifle high and most loads landed about 1.5 inch low. I began firing several standard 40-grain loads. I don’t use a machine rest, but I fire groups using an MTM Case-gard K-Zone shooting rest. Results were good and interesting as well.

Nikon Prostaff rifle scope mounted on a Bergara BRX 22 rifle
The Nikon scope proved a good match for the Bergara .22.

Most of the 40-grain high velocity loads fired a 3-shot group into two inches, sometimes slightly smaller. Standard velocity loads are uncommon in .22 LR and probably won’t cycle in this rifle. Federal Hunter Match went into 1.25 inches. CCI Mini Mag solid nose centered on the target at 1.5 inches. Fiocchi’s 36-grain high speed hollow point cut a nice 1.1-inch group for one effort and with a total of three groups, the average was 1.35 inches. Increasing the number of shots to five in a group scarcely increased the size of the groups.

The rifle and optic combination delivered excellent results. During the course of fire there were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. This is an outstanding rifle well worth its price.

What do you think of the Bergara BXR 22? What’s your favorite rimfire semi-auto? Let us know in the Comment section.

  • Bergara BRX 22 rifle with carbon fiber barrel, right profile
  • Bergara BRX 22 with a carbon fiber barrel
  • paddle-type magazine release and underside of the receiver
  • closeup of the Bergara BRX 22 rifle's receiver and trigger group
  • Bergara BRX 22 .22 LR rifle with Nikon Prostaff rifle scope mounted
  • comparison of a 25-yard and 50-yard shot grouping
  • 50-yard group from a Bergara BRX 22 rifle
  • Ragged hole group shot from a bergara BRX 22 rifle
  • butt pad on the Bergara BRX 22 22 rifle showing the inserts to adjust the length of pull
  • Ruger 10/22 magazine marked with a "B" for Bergara
  • fluted rifle barrel
  • Threaded rifle barrel and thread protector end cap
  • extended, paddle-type magazine release on the receiver of a Bergara BRX 22 rifle
  • Nikon Prostaff rifle scope mounted on a Bergara BRX 22 rifle
  • Bergara BXR 22 rifle receiver, right
  • rifle stock, green speckled
  • rifle barrel with a threaded cap
  • Bergara BXR 22 rifle with Nikon rifle scope, right profile

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (10)

  1. Bob, your assumption about standard velocity not working in the Bergara is wrong. Bergara even recommends them, read your manual. I also take some issue with the statement that standard velocity is uncommon for 22. Virtually ALL quality match/target loads are standard velocity.
    I would encourage revisiting your Bergara with some standard velocity offerings. Off bench at 50 yds, my personal Bergara BX2 Carbon, setup with a Burris RT6 1-6 scope, will put 5 rounds of CCI standard velocity or Norma Subsonic under an inch, all day/every day.

  2. If I wanted precision in a .22LR rifle, I believe it might be hard to beat the Ruger Rimfire Precision, which is still cheaper than this Bergara BX22, but then too, the 10/22’s I am familiar with are no slouch when it comes to accuracy, plus the 10/22 has a rather HUGE aftermarket for accessories, which the price difference can pay for..

  3. Does it have a last shot hold open? That’s a feature sorely missing from the 10/22. There’s an after market mod made by CST for $85 that accomplishes that. If that feature is factored into the price of the Bergara I might consider it.

  4. All rifles should have two items:
    Sling studs
    Iron sights

    Not having sling studs on my 10/22 takedown is a let down. as always adapt and overcome, I have a sling on it
    A rifle without iron sights is of no use to me.

  5. I dunno, Bob… $600 for a .22LR? That’s awful expensive…. especially when you can get a Savage 64F for under $150…

  6. You would be very wrong. You cannot elevate a 10/22 to this standard, at least not economically.
    The BX 22 is a great all around rifle.

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