Bergara BXR – An “Off the shelf” Custom?

When it comes to precision centerfire rifles, Bergara needs no introduction. But rimfire enthusiasts may not recognize the name, or the Bergara BXR. Introduced last year, the BXR is a .22 caliber semi-auto rifle, based on the familiar 10/22 platform. So it’s an entirely new rifle, with a feel that should be immediately familiar. And although it was released last year, in hindsight, it was actually a well-timed release. With centerfire ammo prices artificially high this year, more recreational shooters are turning to rimfire. Making this a good time to mention this new player in a fairly crowded field.

Overall design

There are two BXR models, and they share most of the same specs, with the difference being the barrels. BXR001 has a steel barrel, and weighs 5.2 pounds, while BXR002 has a carbon fiber barrel, and weighs 4.7 pounds. I’ll go over the individual details below, after covering the common features. Those include a Bentz chambered, 16.5″ threaded barrel (1/2×28) topped with a thread protector. The 10 round rotary magazine is patterned after the 10/22 magazine, and compatible with other factory or aftermarket brands. Charging is done via a right-side handle, and the safety along with the magazine release is in the customary location as well. Nothing surprising here.

Both rifles also have 30 MOA Picatinny rails, and 3.5 pound triggers. Overall length is 34.5″. Length of pull can be adjusted via a trio of 3/8″ removable spacers. Swivel mounts can be found on the front and rear of the stock for slings or a bipod. I’d normally be disappointed to see only a single stud up front, but they made up for that. The stocks also have integrated, flush mount QD cups. So you can have your bipod and your sling.

Bergara BXR001 photo courtesy of Bergara

Bergara BXR001 photo courtesy of Bergara

BXR001 – The Steel Barrel ($565 MSRP)

This model is easily identified by its stock, which is a subtle green, with black flecks in it. Bergara has fitted it with a fluted 4140 CrMo matte blue steel barrel. It’s an attractive combination, and goes well with the black receiver, charging handle, and trigger group. While a steel barrel might seem more suited to a bench gun these days, I don’t think that’s the case here. Out of the box, this rifle is nearly a pound lighter than the one it was inspired by. So it should be just fine for a day in the field.

Bergara BXR002 photo courtesy of Bergara

Bergara BXR002 photo courtesy of Bergara

BXR002 – The Carbon Fiber Barrel ($659 MSRP)

If the steel version isn’t light enough, the carbon fiber barrel drops another half pound. The only other visible difference is the stock. It’s black, with grey flecks. Like the steel version, the stock also has extra texturing at the fore and after touch points. Of the two, I prefer the look of this one, but they’re both good looking rifles.

Performance

Bergara says it has “Custom quality Bergara performance without the custom price tag”. Being fairly new on the market, I could not locate many reviews. A few user reviews on retail sites were mostly promising, but not at all in-depth. Hopefully, that will change soon. If they’re anything like their centerfire counterparts, they won’t disappoint.

Compatibility and Pricing

This is the part I find interesting. As I understand it, the trigger group is 10/22 compatible. It doesn’t appear the internal components interchange, but you can swap the entire group, housing and all. That part makes sense. No word on barrel compatibility, but I would like to think that the Bergara barrel shoots well enough that it wouldn’t need an upgrade. Same for the bolt – if it’s the usual match grade with pinned firing pin, enhanced extractor, and proper headspacing, no need to “upgrade”. Which leaves the stock. If this proprietary design performs as well as it looks, I see no need to swap it out either. But that’s an option.

Could Bergara have come up with a fully customizable rifle, that needs no customizing? Time will tell. Because most 10/22 users can be placed in a few different categories. There are the ones shooting bone stock $199 models. Then the ones that bought a factory rifle, and started customizing. A third category is the builder, who started with bare receiver, and went partial or full custom. Finally, there are those who want a full custom rifle, with all aftermarket parts. And the Bergaras seem to slot in above the 2nd group, but below the 3rd. Let’s hope this rifle performs, and creates a new category of users – those that get high performance from an off-the-shelf rifle. Visit Bergara’s website for more details.