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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.