Practical test and video: Bergara BXR Carbon .22 semi-automatic rifle, super light reliability

It’s probably fair to say that in the semi-automatic .22 rimfire world, a Ruger 10-22 is somewhat of a rite of passage. For better or worse, these guns were functional, reliable, and easily modified. But now Bergara have set out to make their own, the BXR, which is available with a plain steel barrel as well as the carbon wrapped, tensioned barrel version seen here.

The Bergara BXR Carbon semi-automatic 22 rimfire during the test.

The barrel is threaded ½”x28 with a recessed crown ensuring crisp bullet exit. A blued steel threadcap is supplied to match the muzzle and breech surfaces of the barrel at the ends of the carbon fibre, which is parallel, 21 mm in diameter throughout the 16”/410 mm length. This super light rifle weighs just 5.1lb/2.3kg. 

The barrel is free floating within the black/grey polymer stock that shows a speckled matt finish for effective grip with additional stippling inlaid along the forend walls, and pistol grip for security. 

The forend is stiff and maintains the barrel’s full free float in all conditions.

t’s square in profile with plenty of space for your hand without fingers or thumb contacting the barrel. QD sling anchor points are recessed on the left and right sides as well as a conventional stud underneath for a bipod. 

These are all securely anchored to the stock which itself shows significant webbing within the injection moulding to assure stiffness. The forend’s underside is flat to ensure stability without rocking.

Bergara have offered an ambidextrous magazine release and larger bolt handle to speed up manual action operation.

A 30 MOA Picatinny rail is machined as part of the receiver, extending forward over the barrel providing additional mounting space for larger optics. 

The cocking handle on the right side of the receiver has recesses to aid fingertip grip, and straight from the box the cyclical nature of the bolt’s motion was smooth without undesirable friction. 

Bergara have used a polymer bolt stop rather than steel, to reduce mechanical noise. The bolt shows right side extractor, ejector operation and I shot over 500 rounds through this gun over three days with just a single misfeed on a round I had not quite pressed fully into the magazine – I was very impressed.

Bergara BXR Carbon, compatible with Ruger 10-22 magazines

The integral Picatinny rail extends over the barrel and has 30 MOA inclination for longer range capability.

Bergara’s magazine system is compatible with Ruger 10-22’s and the supplied standard unit is a familiar polymer 10-round rotary magazine that can be dismantled for cleaning if required. They are reliable if kept clean, low cost and compact, the main benefit though is that 15- and 25-round Ruger, or other aftermarket magazines are fully compatible. 

The vertical pistol grip with stippling allows for greater tactile reassurance.

The wide ambidextrous magazine release sits to the front of the trigger guard and the underside of the rifle is recessed to allow a fingertip to grasp the empty mag. Bergara advertise 3.5 lb trigger pull on this rifle but mine broke at a reasonably crisp 24oz/680 grams.

There is a crossbolt safety above the trigger, pushed right for safe, pushed left for fire. The pistol grip shows almost vertical geometry and is a fantastic version of the company’s own B14 HMR unit. The comb is tall and slim, easily aligning your head to the optic and although length of pull is short at 13.5”/347 mm, it is compatible with Bergara’s spacer system. 

There is a bag rider and butt hook as well as additional sling anchor points.

Three spacers are supplied, each adding approximately 10 mm under the recoil pad. This is a great system, making the gun easily adapted for shooters of all sizes. The recoil pad is medium firm with two anchoring screws that also hold the spacers in position. Finally, the stock’s underside shows a butt hook with bag rider for elevation support with a removable sling stud and two more QD sockets for easy sling fitting flat to your back.

At the range, Subsonic Hollow point ammunition showed the largest group size yet with 10 rounds at 50 metres, bullets designed for expansion on quarry, rather than ballistic purity and ultimate target capability. RWS Match showed slight improvement, lower extreme velocity spread contributed to reduced vertical dispersion. 

More focussed R50 target ammunition showed superb performance with a single cloverleaf group 10 mm centre to centre with extreme velocity spread below 10 fps. Velocity was just below supersonic speed in the air on a hot day for the UK. RWS R100 was supersonic at 1,138 fps and would have shot the smallest group of 8.5 mm, but for a single flyer that was probably my fault. Quite simply, the gun shoots really well!

RWS ammunition for the new Bergara .22 BXR Carbon - accuracy

Bullet weight (gr)
Average velocity recorded (fps)
Muzzle energy (ft-lbs)50-m 10-shot group (mm/MOA)
RWS Subsonic Hollow Point
RWS Rifle Match
RWS R100
The BXR is fully compatible with Ruger’s 10-22 magazines or aftermarket versions.

I shot the rifle prone, benchrested, from a tripod with the gun clamped as well as bag rests on improvised supports. It was reliable and fun, no point of impact shifts from different positions with extremely reliable accuracy and precision. 

The 30 MOA rail makes scope mounting simple – lots of space for correct eye relief, even on big scopes. The action is retained in the stock with a single screw ahead of the magazine and when tensioned, sits firmly in the inlet with a flat base to ensure consistency without stress applied. 

This, and the barrel’s stiffness even with such light weight, and free float is all part of that versatile consistency.

Our test summary for the Bergara BXR Carbon

Ten round groups shot from 50 metres with each RWS ammunition type.

This is a very competent rifle with smooth, fast semi-auto action and very reliable with the clean burning RWS ammunition. The stock is a perfect partner to a more tactical, precision rimfire yet with such light overall weight, ideal for hunting too. The steel barrel is tensioned within the stiffening carbon fibre, but temperature never created any problems on a 25-degree day. Bergara have thoroughly impressed me, and I only cleaned the rifle AFTER 500 rounds to return it in good condition. The barrel cleaned easily, and it was noticeable how little lead or lubrication debris was left on the breech face or aluminium feed lips on the magazine which is often a weakness of semi-auto rimfire reliability. The bolt shows a friction reducing gold finish that doesn’t accumulate lead or lubricants and this significantly improves cycling efficiency without full disassembly/cleaning.

Bergara BXR Carbon technical specifications and price

.22 LR
Overall Length: 
34.5”/880 mm
5.1 lb/2.3kg
Magazine Capacity: 
10 round rotary, Ruger 10-22 compatible
Single stage, 24 oz/ 680g pull weight, with two position safety catch
16”/410 mm long, 1:16” twist, fully free-floating tensioned steel/carbon fibre
Muzzle Thread: 
½”x28 TPI
Stock Material: 
Injection moulded grey/black speckled polymer
Length of Pull: 
13.5”/ 347 mm including 3 supplied (10 mm) spacers
Scope Mounting: 
30 MOA Picatinny Rail
Prices (GBP):
Bergara BXR: £960; Meopta Optika 6 4.5-27x50 SFP riflescope: £777

RWS ammunition was supplied by RUAG UK 

Also used: Sportsmatch Picatinny rings, DPT sound moderator,