Bergara Premier LRP .308 Chassis Rifle: Custom Features, Production Value – Full Review


For more information, visit http://bergarausa.com/bergara_premier_series_lrp_rifle.php.

To purchase a Bergara rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=bergara.

In the United States, Bergara isn’t exactly a household name, but the fact of the matter is that this Spanish-based company is a large OEM provider of barrels to some of the best-known brands in the business.  Bergara started out in Spain making barrels for muzzle loaders where they became a fixture in that market and still are to this day.  However, they realized that the processes that make really good muzzle loader barrels can be adapted to make excellent rifle barrels.  Fast forward a couple of years and Bergara hit the US market with a line of high-end precision and hunting rifles with customized features.   Bergara sensed a shift in the market though and started to offer a line of rifles that had more standardized features than their custom rifles.  Those rifles can be found under their Bergara Premier line, and for review I have their LRP rifle chambered in .308 Winchester in hand for testing.

The tear drop shape of the bolt isn’t huge but large enough to allow for rapid bolt manipulations.

SPECS

  • Chambering: .308
  • Barrel: 20 inches, threaded
  • OA Length: 42.5 inches
  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Stock: XLR Element Chassis
  • Sights: None
  • Action: Bolt
  • Finish: Matte black
  • Capacity: 10
  • MSRP: $2190

Right off the bat I noticed that Bergara included some quality features that I think ups the ante over some other options in the same market category.  First off, the action is Bergara’s Premium custom action, which has a Remington 700 footprint and can use the same triggers but that’s right about where the similarities stop.  It has a nice solid bolt handle reminiscent of a Surgeon or Big Horn action with an understated but totally functional teardrop bolt knob. Like many rifles today it also features a fluted bolt that gives dirt and grime a place to go to keep action cycling smooth and reliably. It has a floating bolt head design that puts one in the mind of a Savage rifle, which is perfectly fine because this design means that the locking lugs always maintain perfect contact with the action.   When you close the bolt there is no grittiness or looseness, just the smooth throw of the bolt with a solid lock up at the end.  Like some rifles with European origins, the Bergara bolt does not require any tools to be used for its disassembly.  Like a Tikka, you simple turn the bolt shroud while holding the bolt body and the entire firing pin assembly can be removed from the back.  While technically you don’t need any special tools to remove the firing pin assembly from a Remington 700, they sure do help.  Without any special tools required for maintenance this reduces the overall cost of ownership to the end user.

Inside this discreet -type case there’s more than enough room for the rifle and accessories in the front pocket.

Since the action uses a Remington 700 footprint it in turn uses Remington 700 triggers and ships out with Timney’s excellent 517 trigger.  This trigger is mechanically the same as their popular 510 trigger, except it has a flat trigger shoe so the pad of your trigger finger can always be pressing straight back.  Overall I love Timney triggers and I was happy to see that Bergara went with this brand over some others on the market.  Timney triggers are reliable, easy to adjust triggers that provide consistent performance time and time again, that’s why I have them on my personal bolt guns.   When I received the rifle the trigger pull a little too heavy for my liking but with a little turn of the adjustment screw I had the trigger pull down to 2 ½ pounds in no time. The rifle also ships with a 20 MOA base, although I’m not sure which manufacturer is used, although I’ve heard that it is a Talley product, so it’s good quality for sure. It appeared to be properly mounted and bedded and all of the mounting screws had the proper amount of torque to secure them to the action.

From an improvised rest simulated match conditions the rifle was very stable.

The whole barreled action is dropped into a Bergara-branded XLR Element chassis, outfitted with the XLR lite tactical butt stock assembly and Ergo Deluxe Grip.  The Element chassis is made from 6061 aluminum and hard anodized so you can count on it being able to take a licking and keep on ticking.  The Element chassis has an open forend, meaning the barrel is fully free floated and the top is exposed so that it gets plenty of air flow around the barrel, similar to a traditional rifle stock.  Probably the major departure from a traditional stock is that there are large ventilation cuts and predrilled holes at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for mounting accessory rails.  The advantages to using this type of stock are that it’s insanely tough, the barrel has plenty air to cool down, and it’s modular so you can add or remove what you don’t need.  There are no integral sling mounts at the front of the stock but XLR does sell a nice low profile flush cup mounting point on their website.  The buttstock assembly does have sling attachments for use with the aforementioned QD flush cup swivels though. The stock accepts AICS compatible magazines and this rifle shipped with a Magpul PMAG 5 AICS magazine, which by all appearances seems to be an excellent, cost-effective option.

A detail shot of Bergara’s short action used on the LRP. It is patterned after the Remington 700 action. Note the Burris XTRII mounted on the rifle.

Of course, a person can’t hit what they can’t see so Burris graciously provided one of their 4-20X50 XTRII tactical rifle scopes with their very nice SCR mil-based reticle.  The scope features a 34mm main tube, illumination, parallax adjustment, zero stop, along with beefy elevation and windage turrets.  It checks all of the boxes for a scope one would use for long range shooting or hunting, except it provides all of those features for right around $1,000.  The SCR by all accounts looks to be a great reticle with additional hold points along the horizontal axis for those that like to dial their elevation but hold for wind.  I’ve been very happy with the Burris scopes that I’ve used in the past and use a Burris optic on one of my competition rifles so I doubt this scope will disappoint me.

Every Bergara rifle ships with a test target to prove it’s capable of meeting the company’s 1 MOA guarantee.

Range Time

Once the scope was mounted and everything torqued to the proper specifications with Wheeler Engineering’s FAT wrench I was off to the range.  Hornady provided a hundred rounds of their Precision Hunter ammunition loaded with a 178 gr ELD-X bullet that is a recent addition to their line-up.  Although this is a hunting bullet, the “X” stands for expanding, the construction of the bullet gives it the performance of a match grade bullet.   What this means is that you could essentially have a dual purpose round that is supremely accurate and at the same time very effective on game.  Sig also donated a hundred rounds of their new .308 match ammunition loaded with a tried and true 168 gr boat tail hollow point bullet.

That being said, it’s been my experience that every rifle is a rule unto itself and as many a long range shooter has learned sometimes what you think is going to work simply doesn’t.  As many shooters can probably attest to sometimes you have to try several types of ammunition to find the one the rifle really likes.  The Bergara LRP rifle shipped with a test target shot that had a three shot group of Norma 168 gr Match ammunition that measured right at ¾”.  This shows that the rifle is capable of meeting the sub-MOA accuracy guarantee from Bergara using that particular ammunition.  However, the rifle did not seem to like either type of ammunition that I had available for testing. The Hornady Precision Hunter ammunition performed the best and I was able to get a couple of groups that were very promising, a flier would invariably open it up to over 1 inch, which was disappointing.

I had significant issues with the Sig Elite ammunition in the form of failures to fire when the trigger was pulled and stopped using it about halfway through the testing and informed Sig about the issue. Problems such as these are not uncommon though as I have experienced the same issues with other brands of ammunition in different rifles. I suspect with more time and more types of ammo, you can find a load that works better with this rifle and more in line with its test target.

The lip around the mag well creates a perfect spot to jam the rifle into a barricade for extra stability without affecting function.

Despite the problems that I had with the ammunition I did very much enjoy shooting the rifle and gained a deeper appreciation for its features.  The Dead Air muzzle brake soaked up recoil and also did a good job at mitigating any muzzle blast back to the shooter.  The adjustability of the chassis and the Ergo grip made the rifle very comfortable to shoot and it took little effort on my part in getting the length of pull and cheek rest set up just right for the optic.  On bolt action rifle chassis systems I don’t often prefer AR-15 grips but the Ergo grip may be a lone exception because of its design and comfort.  The more vertical rake compared to a standard A2 grip puts the hand at a more natural angle when shooting, which in turn allows you to better place your finger on the trigger and be more consistent.  The palm swells and texturized rubber grip also fit the hand extremely well, making it very comfortable to shoot for extended periods of time.  As I may have mentioned before the action locks up like a bank vault and it was as smooth as butter using the Magpul AICS magazines to cycle the action to load another round.   There wasn’t a lot that I didn’t like about the rifle overall, it had everything you needed and nothing that you didn’t.

The Dead Air Keymount Muzzle Brake. This muzzle brake did an excellent job at mitigating recoil and not being concussive to the shooter.

The design of the rifle and the chassis work together well when working around barricades or other obstacles that you might have to shoot from.  The flat bottom of the chassis rides a bag or the top of a barricade well so that recoil is generally straight back allowing the shooter to stay on target better.  There is also a small lip at the front of the magazine well that works perfectly for jamming it into a barricade to help steady the rifle without affecting the feeding or cycling of the rifle.  The short, light barrel aids in being able to maneuver the rifle quickly around an obstacle without dealing with the momentum of a front heavy rifle.  If I have to move from one side of a barricade to the other in order to take the next shot, the less distance I have to step back so that my barrel clears the barricade is all the better.  I can then get in position faster and have more time to steady myself to make sure my shot is good compared to if I was wrestling a rifle with a longer, heavier barrel.

By that same token, the cost, features, and adjustability can also make the rifle a worthy candidate for a law enforcement agency that is looking to purchase rifles for their marksman/observer teams. The modular design of the rifle allows it to be configured for different roles such as the addition of a front rail for clip-on night vision or a folding stock for compactness.  A Bergara LRP with a folding stock, clip-on night sight, and Dead Air suppressor would be a force to be reckoned with in the hands of a law enforcement sniper in position during a stand-off.

The LRP by all appearances is a quality rifle and understand that this review is simply a sample of one and I believe hardly indicative of what the rifle is capable of. The ammunition that was graciously provided for testing was also by all appearances quality ammunition, the two just did not seem to like each other in this particular instance.  The Bergara LRP is available for $2,190, which is steep but when you compare it to many other long range rifles, especially custom rifles with custom actions, the LRP is a real bargain. LRP rifles are chambered in .308 Winchester as tested here but also in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 1:8 twist, perfect for slinging those 140+ grain bullets out to beyond 1,000 yards if necessary.

For more information, visit http://bergarausa.com/bergara_premier_series_lrp_rifle.php.

To purchase a Bergara rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=bergara.

The XLR Lite Tactical Stock is adjustable for length of pull and cheek height to let you get positioned correctly behind the riflescope.

The Ergo Deluxe pistol grip is my favorite for rifle chassis systems that utilize AR-15 grips. It’s very comfortable and positions your trigger finger perfectly on the Timney trigger.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Jason February 21, 2017, 1:47 pm

    I made the mistake of buying a Bergara B-14 hunter in .308. The rifle seems to be decent quality and the stock is far better than most synthetics in its price range. Those are the best things I can say about the rifle. The trigger on my rifle was terrible. When I called the company in Georgia that handles Bergara sales to request that they take a look at my trigger I was treated VERY poorly. I ended up speaking with the manager of their warranty department and he was as unprofessional as the first tech. They finally agreed to send me a shipping tag but I was so put off that I just sold the rifle.
    As far as accuracy goes, I told the tech I was unable to get the rifle to shoot less than 1.5 MOA at 100 yds and I asked if they recommended a particular bullet for this barrel (I hand load). The tech told me, “We consider 1.5 MOA to be in the acceptable range for this rifle.” I was shocked. 1.5 MOA should never be acceptable to a company who’s bread and butter is barrel production. The tech did recommend using a minimum of a 175gr bullet in their .308 and my groups tightened up some after trying the 178 eld-x but hell, if I wanted to shoot something like that I’ll reach for my 300WM.
    Save yourself the headache and pass on the Bergaras. You can get waaaaay more for waaaaaay less.

    • Jerman March 3, 2017, 9:54 am

      I called them a couple times and get good stuff every time. Sounds like they gave you what you asked for in trying to get it back for treatment. Maybe its the Indian and not the Arrow in this case. What group size did you get with the heavy pills?

  • talealukas February 20, 2017, 3:11 pm

    I don’t mind spending $2k for a 1000 yard+ hunting rifle that’s truly capable of accuracy at long range, but who the hell wants to lug around a 10 pound gun? WTFO? I just got a bighorn sheep in the Rockies in October and my Sendero about killed me…so my next purchase will be a true long range hunting rifle that’s lightweight. And $2k or under for such a gun is a bargain, especially when you can easily spend $5k-$10k on those guns at the usual suspects. Yes those companies build nice guns, but even though I can afford them, I don’t want to put that kind of dough into a hunting rifle. Call me cheap, I don’t care. 🙂 Just make me a gun that I can pack uphill on foot all day and shoot an animal with at long range if I must.

    • Mpete June 19, 2017, 8:19 pm

      Try out a Tikka 3 Lite in .308. I have the ss black synthetic. I carry it all day, no problem. The trigger and bolt action are very smooth. I have a Mike’s sling, a 5 round mag and a nice Vangaurd bi-pod. You may find what you are looking for and save some money too. Good luck.

    • Remington 700 Shooter October 20, 2017, 2:40 pm

      This one is not for hunting. It is for precision rifle competitions.

  • George york February 20, 2017, 1:53 pm

    been looking for used 7.65X5 / 308 , 40 to 44 around that time I might have one in sight but just to know what you can locate for me thank you . George

  • George February 20, 2017, 1:25 pm

    Another chassis rifle fail. Pistol grip? Check. Way to easily operate the safety while retaining a firing grip on that pistol grip? Nada. Take one of the cheapest and easiest tubular actions to machine, add a barrel that Ed Shilen taught you how to make which runs about $100 your cost, add a decent chassis, dress it up with some funky sounding suppressor mount and add over $1000 profit to the price tag then wonder why they aren’t flying off the shelves like the Ruger Precision Rifle… I just ordered a new SS match barrel for my .300WM from Shilen and with my dealer discount, its sub $300. I really doubt Bergara have that much in their barrel on this rifle.

    The RPR is the rifle to beat in this market and has it all, including a sensible price tag. I missed out on one on an auction site for $880 but regularly see them sell for around a grand. $2K+ for this reworked, overpriced hunk of Spanish Remington/Savage mismash? GTFO.

  • TinMan February 20, 2017, 10:33 am

    Everybody has jumped into the chassis game and thats great but here’s the problem with guns like this though. nearly every bolt gun that you buy now is capable of 1 MOA. So that claim is useless now. The other thing is that I have been buying Howa heavy barreled actions and bolting them into this very same chassis for 2 years and they will shoot sub half moa before they are broke in with decent factory ammo. They will one hole with handloads and to beat it all I sell them for $1,200 without optics. So how exactly can they justify mediocre accuracy in a readily available chassis for 2K?

  • RR TX February 20, 2017, 9:16 am

    Nice Rifle. Needs to be priced to compete with the Ruger Precision. My Ruger shoots better than this and with 6x24x50 mounted, rings and all is around 2100/2200 complete. Ruger hit the nail on the head with the RPR!!!

  • tony February 20, 2017, 8:33 am

    maybe I am looking at these pictures on a to high resolution to large monitor, but from my point of view it looks like a cheaply made firearm with its share of flaws in machining, that being said, this article also fails to prove the manufacturers guarantees, it seems these articles are written with the manufacturers in mind, not the consumer, I would not purchase this rifle based on this review, not that I would purchase it anyway, just really do not like how it looks, but hey Guns America, stick your hand in your pocket and buy a few rounds of different manufacturers ammo and really test what these companies boast their products can do, target shipped with the rifle, really, they could have fired that from 10 yards, I wasted my time reading this article.

  • Altoid February 20, 2017, 7:11 am

    Here we go again.
    Another $2000 + rifle.
    If manufacturers really want to sell these firearms, they need to cost in the neighborhood of $500.
    In a year, no one will have ever heard of Bergara.

    • BOhio February 20, 2017, 7:53 am

      What a ridiculous comment. $500 is less than a decent Savage will cost, e.g. a 12BVSS, but maybe you could score a Mossberg for five bills. Grow up. Times and prices change. Your dad’s $14k Honda Accord from the 1980s isn’t coming back, and neither is a $500 semi-custom rifle.

      However, a 1 MOA guarantee for 3 shots is just about worthless IMO, esp. for a rifle that costs $2k. Like the Savage floating bolt head, it looks like they copied Savage’s fugly bolt knob. Sure, it’s functional. But for $2k, it shouldn’t be fugly. The bolt handle should be threaded, so that knob could be easily swapped out.

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