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Though relatively new to the market, Bergara rifles have earned a reputation as high-quality firearms. After a review of one of the first of the Bergara B-14 rifles, Rifles Editor Dave Petzal said they are “damned near perfect.” And, in Field & Stream’s 2022 Rifle Test, we selected the Bergara Premier MG Lite as the best precision rifle of the year. The Squared Crest sort of bridges the gap between Bergara’s traditional hunting rifles, the Ridge and Hunter B-14, and the B-14 HMR, which is configured more for competition.
Imported by BPI Outdoors—a Lawrenceville, Georgia, company that’s also the parent company of CVA, Powerbelt, Quake, Durasight, and Dead Air Armament—Bergara is a firearms manufacturing company located in Bergara, Spain. The brand has earned a strong reputation for producing high-quality rifle barrels, all of which have been engineered through consultation with legendary American barrel maker Ed Shilen.
Bergara B-14 Squared Crest: Description
The B-14 Squared Crest is marketed as a mountain hunting rifle and uses the same action as all the other B-14 rifles. The main difference is the stock, which features a new design that uses 100-percent carbon fiber and a carbon spine throughout the stock for additional strength and rigidity. The stock is adjustable for length of pull from 13.75 to 14.50 inches by the addition or subtraction of two spacers between the thick rubber butt pad and stock. The stock has a high comb, just below bolt line, and a near vertical pistol grip that fills the hand well. It’s also outfitted with three traditional sling swivel studs and four QD sling swivel sockets.
The two-lug bolt is fluted and fitted with a lunger style ejector, and a 90-degree extractor is integral in one of the bolt lugs. There’s an easy-to-access bolt release on the left side of the action, and the rifle comes out of the box with a 20 MOA Bergara scope rail. The bolt knob is large, and the handle is more than 3/4 inch in diameter, which leaves little clearance between it and some of the larger magnification throw levers that come on many modern riflescopes.
The rifle’s free-floated barrel is fluted and varies in length depending on chambering—the 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. versions have a 20-inch barrel, while all others have a 22-inch barrel. Regardless of the chambering, the barrels are reasonably trim, measuring about 7/10 of an inch at the muzzle, which is threaded at 5/8 x 24, and comes with a radial-port brake. The rifle feeds from a detachable, drop-free AICS five-shot magazine, and the trigger broke very crisp at 2.0 pounds right out of the box.
Bergara B-14 Squared Crest: Specifications
Length: 41.25-42.02 inches
Weight: 7.34 pounds, with magazine
Barrel: 20 inches, fluted, 1 in 8 twist (6.5 Creedmoor), with muzzle brake and thread protector
Action: Bolt, two-lug
Trigger: 2.0 pounds (as tested)
Finish: Cerakote sniper grey
Stock: Carbon fiber with a carbon spine and adjustable length of pull
Chambering: 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), 6.5 PRC, 308 Win., 300 Win. Magnum
MSRP: $1,699 (Sportsman’s Warehouse)
Bergara B-14 Squared Crest: Shooting Results
Like all the new rifles we tested, the Bergara B14 Squared Crest was outfitted with a 4.5-14X40 Leupold VX-3HD riflescope in Leupold rings, and multiple loads from different manufactures were fired from a sandbag rest at 100 yards. On target, the rifle was very consistent. The load with the largest group average was only 7/10 of an inch larger than the load with the smallest group average, and two loads averaged less than 1 MOA for multiple five-shot groups. The smallest single five-shot group, firing a Hornady’s 143-grain Precision Hunter ELD X load, measured 0.91 inch.
All of the bench shooting and most of the off-hand shooting was done with a suppressor. Several rounds were fired with the factory supplied muzzle brake, which did slightly reduce recoil but was also obnoxiously loud. The rifle was reasonably well configured for off-hand/field shooting, the safety was intuitive to deactivate when snap shooting, and the near vertical grip did a good job of sort of naturally positioning the thumb comfortably along the side of the stock.
We had to nitpick to find much wrong with this rifle, but nitpicking is part of our job. The rear sling swivel stud on the forend sits a bit too far back, as it interfered with the grip of the support hand, especially when a sling was in use. With the two QD swivel attachments on each side of the forend, it seems a short rail for a bipod would have been ideal, as would the elimination of both sling swivel studs. The same goes for the butt stock, which also has two QD sling swivel stud mounts—there was no need for the common sling swivel stud there, either. The stock was also very smooth/slick in hand, so some texturing at the grip and forend would have been appreciated.
The trigger was exceptional, and the ambidextrous magazine release dropped the magazine free with a simple press with the trigger finger or thumb of the support hand. The action was mostly magically smooth, but it was a bit stiff to open when shooting the Barnes ammo. We also experienced a few hang-ups when single feeding the rifle on top of the inserted magazine during the benchrest testing.
- Smooth action
- Precise and consistent shooter
- Safety doesn’t lock bolt
- Missing an adjustable comb and rail interface for bipod or tripod attachment
Backcountry hunters are conscious of every ounce, so it’s worth noting that Bergara advertises the B-14 Squared Crest at 6.9 pounds. Obviously, this will vary depending on chambering and barrel length, but our test rifle weighed 7 pounds, 5.44 ounces, with the 3.5-ounce magazine installed. With the exception of the Premier line of Bergara rifles, the Squared Crest is the one of the most expensive rifles Bergara offers, and based on advertised weights, it’s also the lightest. Clearly what you’re paying for with the Squared Crest is the new super stiff, monocoque carbon fiber stock.
Bolt-action rifles that cut weight are hot right now, and the Bergara B-14 Squared Crest is a perfect adaptation of this current trend. Game warden Will McGuire, who helped with testing, is the kind of hunter and shooter who wants to extend shooting capabilities while maintaining a manageable weight. He summed up the Squared Crest as, “Short, light, accurate, and stylish, with a great trigger and a smooth action.”
I believe that with some minimal tweaking, the Squared Crest could be one of the best factory offerings in this modern era of target-style hunting rifles. Even as is, I’d be excited to show up to any hunting camp, shooting range, or ridgeline with one of these rifles. And, if the deer, pronghorn, or elk, could vote, they’d probably attempt to ban this rifle.