Bergara Wilderness HMR, Can A $1000 Rifle Make a 1 Mile Shot?
Article first appeared on Ammoland.com
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Exactly what can you expect out of a $1000 rifle? I am talking about the Bergara Wilderness HMR in 300 PRC and you should find it at a street price of just over $1000. A $1000 rifle should be capable of a lot; you should be able to take a deer, or shoot a 1 inch group at 100 yards. But some things are just out of reach for a $1000 rifle, right?For instance, a $1000 rifle could never make a shot at a mile; you need a much, much, more expensive rifle to make a shot like that… Right?
I’ve been a fan of Bergara pretty much since they first started making rifles in the US, and I was just getting into long-range shooting, and after some research, I quickly realized that Bergara was going to give me the most value for my dollar. This is now the Fourth Bergara rifle that I have had the opportunity to shoot and they have all performed exceptionally. This is a Bergara Wilderness HMR in 300 PRC. What distinguishes the Wilderness series is this really cool hand-painted camo on the stock, giving it a really unique look. The Wilderness series also has a grey cerakoted barrel and action; the rifle looks great, and let’s face it, if you can’t do it and look good, there’s really no point in doing it right?
HMR stands for hunting match rifle. Just like the name states, this rifle has been very well thought out to span the gap between hunting and match, or long-range shooting. This really makes it about the perfect rifle for the guy who wants one rifle to go out and stalk deer, while at the same time pound steel plates in the offseason. The stock has some really key features that help the long-range shooter, while not being so overemphasized that they would get in the way for the hunter. Starting towards the barrel, it has dual sling swivel studs. This means you can, of course, attach a hunting sling, or easily convert it to pic rail like I have, for more Bipod options.
Moving back, the grip is nice and it’s slightly more vertical than the more hunting oriented rifles, while not being too vertical that you would feel odd using it for hunting. There’s an adjustable cheek riser allowing you to perfectly set your eye behind any scope set up, and the butt pad has removable sections to adjust the length of pull. Inside the stock there is actually a mini chassis built-in, allowing you to have repeatable bedding and accuracy. The rifle weighs in at a little over 9 pounds, also perfectly walking that line between hunting and match characteristics. Because of these features, a Bergara HMR is usually one of the first rifles I recommend to anyone getting into long-range shooting for the first time. The rifle will excel in that format, and the HMR will also still have some functionality in the hunting season. Making this a very versatile platform.
Let’s talk about accuracy and repeatability which comes from a very high-quality barrel. We took this Bergara Wilderness HMR out and shot some shogun clays at 1000 yards. To give you some perspective on the difficulty in that shot, that is a 4-inch target at 1000 yards. That means you have to shoot better than 1/2 MOA, actually .4 MOA, but less would be better to take a shot like that. Bergara guarantees 1 MOA out of these guns, but they so far exceed that. All the Bergaras I have ever shot have been exceptionally accurate.
Recently we shot a mile at Alabama Precision with a rifle that costs four times as much as the Bergara HMR, but we also brought the Bergara and made that same exact same shot with the Bergara HMR. Several of the people present were all able to make contact with a 24 inch by 24 inch steel target at a little over 1760 yards. A mile shot is a very serious benchmark of performance, and the fact that you can do it with a rifle that is this affordable is a big deal. Most people associate a shot like that with companies like Accuracy International, Barrett, and Cheytac. But now you can also include Bergara in the line up of top-performing rifles capable of making that shot, the only difference is the Bergara is at a price most people can afford.
This remarkable accuracy is the result of absolutely exceptional barrels. Bergara originally is a barrel manufacturer, and when you think about it, that makes sense since it’s probably the most important part of a gun when it comes to accuracy. You may have heard of Shilen barrels. When Bergara wanted to get into the centerfire barrel business they tracked down the best in the world, Ed Shilen for some pointers. Then they use some of the best stainless steel in the world, manufactured to the tightest tolerances in microns; the bores are mirror polished, button rifled, stress relieved, then finished with the same expertise and craftsmanship. Then they are mated with the rest of the gun by expert gunsmiths and craftsman with years of military and real-world experience to bring you the highest quality rifle package available at various price points.
The action is also silky smooth, so smooth it just drops when you hold the rifle up. 300PRC may not be the quickest action round, but if you had this rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor you could shoot this rifle very fast. The Bergara wilderness HMR Also accepts AICS Mags and has Bergara’s Omni muzzle brake. But if you know me, this rifle has been suppressed for almost every single shot. The trigger is a Bergara performance trigger, and it weighs in at just under 2 pounds. This trigger is very good and it was more than capable of getting the job done. It is a single stage, and I kind of prefer a two-stage for this type of shooting, but it’s not like that held us back at all.
When I set out to pick a caliber for a mile shot, the first thing I wanted to do was pick something I knew could reach out that far. Being my first time trying to take a shot at that distance, I didn’t want to use something that I only hoped would make it. The first round to come in mind is always 338 Lapua Magnum, and that’s a great round, but if you’ve ever priced ammo, for that, it’s a bit insane. I started looking into Hornady’s 300 Precision Rifle Cartridge. It offered several things that very much appealed to me for this application.
First, out of my barrel length, 300 PRC won’t go subsonic till about 1900 yards; meaning that it will be very stable through a mile shot at 1760 yards. Also, the rounds are far more affordable than 338 Lapua Magnum. You can buy the Hornady Match ammo for just over $2 dollars a round; less than half what match grade 338 Lapua Magnum costs, and basically that’s cheaper than subsonic 300 Blackout in the current market. 2020 ammo prices are completely insane. But in all seriousness, the relative affordability of this round, when compared to 338, or some other crazy expensive rounds that some people shoot a mile with, made this possible for me and my budget. To break it down for someone who understands things at about the level I do, 300 PRC is a little more powerful than 300 Win Mag, and a little less powerful than 338 Lapua Magnum. It propels a 225-grain bullet downrange at a little over 2900 feet per second, and that bullet stays supersonic to roughly 1900 yards; significantly past a mile at 1760 yards. Meaning, the trajectory will be stable, and if I can’t make the shot I can’t blame the ammo. Like 6.5 Creedmoor, the round was also designed specifically for precision shooting and accuracy.
If you want absolute top tier performance without a similar price tag of a compact sedan, Bergara delivers in a big way. They make many great rifles, and I have several, but I think the HMR is the best for most people. The way Bergara has so perfectly balanced the match rifle characteristics while keeping it functional for hunting makes this a very practical gun for a broad range of consumers.
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