May 31st, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Gavin Gear’s .22 LR Bergara B14-R

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

The Bergara B14-R is a high-quality, accurate .22 LR rimfire bolt-action rifle. The rifle’s accuracy and functionality make it a good choice for NRL22 competition. And with stock geometry and ergonomics that duplicate a full-size centerfire rifle, the Bergara B14-R is also an excellent choice for cross-training. By training with a rimfire rifle, you can get essential “trigger time” while saving money. Good centerfire ammo can cost $1.50 per round or more. Decent rimfire ammo can be found for $6.00 per 50rd box. That’s just 12 cents per round.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire
Click above photo to load full-screen high-rez image.

To find out how well the Bergara B14-R can perform, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently tested a B14-R (carbon-covered barrel version) at his private range. Using a variety of Lapua and SK Ammo, this rig delivered impressive results. Watch this video to see the B14-R in action.

“The B14-R is a great shooter, and for me it felt very familiar. Just like shooting one of my centerfire match guns, but without all of the recoil!” — Gavin Gear

Gavin reports: “At the 2020 SHOT Show, Bergara announced the B14-R trainer. The concept? Take the B14 HMR series centerfire rifle formula, and adapt it for rimfire. The result is a .22 LR rifle you can shoot all day long without wearing out your arm or your wallet! It looks/feels like a centerfire long-range precision rifle. And that’s what makes this rifle a GREAT training platform for serious long-range shooters.”

The B14-R comes with a 18″-long 1:16″-twist threaded barrel. The single-stack .22 LR magazine is the same size as a short action AICS mag. The Bergara B14-R shares Rem 700 specs, so it is compatible with Rem 700 stocks and aftermarket triggers. Weight with standard barrel is 9.2 pounds without optics, or 8.1 pounds for the carbon version seen here. MSRP for basic version is $1150.00 and street price is $950.00.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin told us: “I couldn’t wait to get the B14-R out to my new 50-yard ridgeline range to see how it would perform with premium .22 LR ammunition. Once I shot this rifle suppressed, I didn’t want to take off the can. The 18″ barrel really works well with the SilcencerCo suppressor to help keep the overall length reasonable, and balance is spot-on.” NOTE: This rifle has the optional carbon-covered barrel.

As tested, the rifle was equipped with these components:

Athlon Midas TAC 6-14x50mm FFP Scope with MK Machine lever, Lone Star bubble level
SilencerCo Omega 300 Suppressor with 1/2×28 direct thread mount
Harris S-BRM 6″-9″ Bipod with aftermarket swivel tension lever

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Outstanding Accuracy with Lapua and SK .22 LR Ammo

Remarkable accuracy for a factory rifle earned this Bergara its Sunday GunDay selection. Shooting with bipod and rear sandbag, Gavin was able to achieve multiple, sub-half-inch groups at 50 yards. The best group shot with SK Match ammo was a remarkable 0.22″ as measured by Ballistic-X software (see below). That’s an impressive 0.42 MOA at 50 yards. If you watch the video above, starting at 14:40 time-mark, you can watch Gavin shoot that 0.22″ group.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Here are two more groups, both under 0.5″ at 50 yards. Lapua Center-X on left, SK Match on right. Gavin says that “with good conditions, 0.35″ 5-shot groups at 50 yards are easily attainable.”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

B14-R Trigger Tested with TriggerScan TS-11

Gavin tested the Bergara’s trigger with the TriggerScan TS-11 from DVORAK Instruments, a very sophisticated, high-tech device. Gavin states: “This trigger works well, and mine was adjustable down to just over 2-lb peak force for pull weight. I ran a 3-scan pass on the B14-R trigger with the pull weight set to minimum [barely over 2 pounds].”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin notes: “You can see how consistent this trigger is by how well the scan graph plots overlap! This trigger is great for an out-of-the-box rifle like this, and it’s great to know that I can always swap out triggers and use the same exact Remington 700-compatible trigger that I’m running in my match guns.”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin Gear’s Closing Thoughts — More to Come
The Bergara B14-R rimfire trainer has been a great rifle to shoot and has exceeded my expectations. The B14-R feels like a full-size PRS rifle, has the same basic features, but is chambered in .22 LR. I have been amazed by the accuracy I’ve achieved with this rifle with Lapua and SK match ammunition — it’s very confidence inspiring.

This rifle feels right and shoots great. I can’t wait to get more steel targets setup, and to go deeper into calculating dope for the ammunition I will shoot with this rifle. Perhaps I’ll think about competing in an NRL22 match at some point. If you are looking for a rimfire trainer, look at the Bergara B14-R for sure. It checks all of my boxes for this type of rifle!

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May 31st, 2020

ELR with $99 Rifle — Hitting Steel at 2240 Yards with Iron Sights!

World Record Iron Sights K31 Buffalo bison Utah
World Record Iron Sights K31 Buffalo bison Utah
Magnified 8X view looking down-range at buffalo target.

Could You Hit a Steel Buffalo at 2240 Yards (1.27 miles) … with Iron Sights?

Impossible as that may seem, that’s exactly what Ernie Jimenez did some years back at the North Springs Shooting Range in Price, Utah (elevation 5,627′). Shooting a milsurp Swiss K31 rifle chambered for the 7.5×55 Swiss round, Jimenez placed four hits on a three-foot-high, bison-shaped steel target placed a staggering 2240 yards from the firing line. Not bad for a rifle which Jimenez acquired many years ago for just $99.00. Of course he did have plenty of misses along the way (and Ernie even managed to hit the plate shielding his camera).

This video is set to start half-way through, when the shooter starts making hits:

The whole process was recorded on video and posted on YouTube. The Long-Range Shooters of Utah say this is an official Guinness World Record for longest shot with iron sights. We can’t confirm that, but it still is an impressive feat. Jimenez had to compensate for a huge amount of bullet drop. His K31’s long-range military sights helped but he still had to aim well over the pink bison. To see how far that target is, watch the video at 14:30 — a camera at the firing line zooms all the way back until the bison is nothing but a tiny dot. The photo below show the target at 8X magnification, but it’s still barely visible.

Here’s the unmagnified, “naked-eye” view from the firing line. Can you see a pink buffalo at all?
World Record Iron Sights K31 Buffalo bison Utah

Bullet Dropped Over 400 Feet along its Trajectory
To roughly gauge the bullet drop, we took a 7.5x55mm Swiss load from the Hodgdon Reloading Center. With max “book” load of H4350, a 168gr Sierra HPBT has a muzzle velocity of 2524 FPS. According to JBM Ballistics, that bullet will drop over 400 feet during its flight. That’s lot of hold-over! Assuming a 100-yard zero, 59° temp, and 5,600′ altitude, JBM calculates that the drop to 2250 yards is a stunning 210.9 MOA — that’s 4969.9 inches, or 414.15 feet!

World Record Iron Sights K31 Buffalo bison Utah

In the first part of the video, shooter Ernie Jimenez talks about his hand-loads and his K31 rifle. Here is an example of the distinctive straight-pull K31 (Karabiner Model 1931). Image courtesy AIM Surplus.

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May 31st, 2020

Wet-Tumbling Cartridge Brass with Rotary Tumblers

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series wet liquid horizontal rotary tumbler

More and more shooters are “wet-tumbling” their brass (in liquid) with reusable polishing media, rather than using dry media in a vibratory tumbler. The “wet-cleaning” method works best with a rotary tumbler fitted with a water-tight, horizontal drum to hold your brass, cleaning solution, and stainless, pin-type media. The rotary tumbler of choice has been the Thumler’s Tumbler Model B Heavy-Duty. That is a great, sturdy machine, but now you have a more affordable option.

Frankford Arsenal offers “Platinum Series” rotary tumblers designed to clean cartridge brass with liquid and stainless media. The watertight, polymer drum rides on four rollers which rotate the drum around its horizontal axis. Two filters are provided so you can quickly separate your brass and media. A built-in timer allows you to set tumbling sessions up to three hours. There is a large, 7-liter unit and a smaller, 3.3-liter tumbler. Frankford Arsenal says the big version will clean up to 1000 cases of .223 Rem brass. That’s impressive capacity.

Rotary Tumbler Sources Online
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series rotary tumblers are sold by major retailers including Grafs.com, Midsouth, and Cabela’s. Shop multiple vendors to find the best current pricing.

Amazon often has very competitive pricing on the Frankford Arsenal Tumblers, both the 7-liter unit and the smaller, 3.3-liter tumbler.

How to Wet-Clean Your Brass in a Rotary Tumbler
On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours. After cleaning be sure to inspect all your primer holes. CLICK HERE for Brass Cleaning System Review.

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass. Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers. One tip though — you should always inspect every cartridge carefully after wet-tumbling with stainless media. With large-flash-hole brass it is possible to have a pin stuck in a flash hole. This is rare, but it CAN happen.

stainless tumbling Media

stainless tumbling Media

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