A Bolt Action for the Backcountry

Bergara’s New B-14 Squared Crest is a smooth, lightweight rifle built to cover distance.

A Bolt Action for the Backcountry

On the second day of testing out the new Bergara B-14 Squared Crest rifle, my first three shots with Hornady’s MATCH 7mm Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC) rounds hit high and right on the bullseye. Not surprising as I had been shooting Hornady Precision Hunter the day before, with my scope zeroed to that ammunition. New ammo, new point of impact.

Through the Trijicon Credo HX 2.5-15x42 rifle scope, I saw that my first two shots were touching, and the third one wasn’t more than a half-inch from the initial pair. The group later measured at .80 inches.

I made the needed elevation and windage adjustments to the Trijicon, got back into shooting position and proceeded to peg a three shot group of the Match ammunition at .70 inches.  

Bergara guaranteed the B-14 Squared Crest models as SUB-MOA rifles when using quality ammunition. Both Hornady rounds, and two more 7mm PRC options from Federal Premium, proved that guarantee.

As with their other rifles I’ve used, Bergara had the Crest working just fine. 

Smooth Operator

Bergara rifles are manufactured in Bergara, Spain, and are available in the United States  through Bergara North America, of Lawrenceville, Georgia. Long known for its high-quality rifle barrels, Bergara produces a half dozen rifle lines (five centerfire, one rimfire) of which the B-14 Squared is one.  

The B-14 Squared Crest is designed as a lightweight, mountain-style hunting rifle, one that can be carried for hours without wrecking your shoulder and yet can still reach out long-distance to make that all-important shot.

The fluted, 22-inch barrel on my test unit was made from 4140 CrMo steel. The  fluted barrel was finished in Sniper Grey Cerakote. With the muzzle threaded at 5/8-24, the rifle arrived with a Bergara Omni Muzzle Brake, and the Omni did a fine job of smoothing out the 7mm PRC recoil. The brake was aided by a recoil-absorbing rubber butt pad.

The threading, of course, means the Crest can easily take on a suppressor, too.

The Crest featured Bergara’s B-14 action, based on the Remington 700 two-lug action, and the rifle featured one of the smoothest bolt actions I’ve ever used. The B-14 action consists of a two-bolt system with a sliding extractor and a tapered bolt and breech stop to ensure smooth cartridge insertion and extraction.

The bolt itself was fluted and operated with a snappy 90-degree bolt throw.  

Features, Options

The adjustable Bergara Performance Trigger on my Crest arrived with a very, very crisp pull weight of 14 ounces. I’d been testing an AR-10 the day before and it took me several rounds to acclimate myself and my index finger to this new pull weight. But once I did, it was clear to me that the minimal pressure needed to activate the Crest greatly aided in my accuracy.   

The Crest does not have open sights, but the receiver is drilled and tapped for a rail. Mine arrived with a 20 MOA rail already mounted atop the receiver, though that rail is not standard.

The 7mm PRC model I tested is the newest Crest model. In 2023, Bergara introduced the Crest in .22-250 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .308 Win, and .300 Win Mag. The 7mm PRC and .300 Win Mag models sport 22-inch barrels, while the other calibers are made with 20-inch barrels.

My evaluation Crest shipped with a detachable AICS 5-round magazine made of steel. Other calibers ship with a 5-round poly magazine.   

The two-position tang-style safety was located at the right, rear of the bolt and was easily operated with my shooting hand thumb. The safety also allowed me to unload the rifle with it in the SAFE position. 

High-Tech Stock 

The stock on the Crest was extremely comfortable. Credit a nicely raised cheek piece and a generous grip, plus the afore-mentioned butt pad.

The stock was made nearly completely of carbon fiber and featured what’s known as a “monocoque” shell construction. Monocoque refers to an external skin, in this case carbon fiber, which is extremely strong and light. Information provided by Bergara has that stock “manufactured using CF-RTM technology, a state-of-the-art method in high demand in the automotive and aerospace industries. This manufacturing process consists of assembling dry carbon fibers by hand with an injected resin.”

Additionally, Bergara built the stock with a carbon fiber “spine” running down the center to provide additional rigidity and strength. Stiff foam fills the spaces between the spine and either side of the stock.

All of which means the Crest’s stock can take on extreme weather conditions and will shrug off the inevitable dings, bangs and outright drops which can and will occur during difficult hunts. 

MOA and Better 

At my outdoor range, I ran the Crest using the two Hornady 7mm PRC rounds, and the Federal ELD-X load. 

Hornady’s Precision Hunter featured a 175-grain ELD-X bullet rated at a rather blistering 3,000 feet per second at the muzzle. The Match option’s 180-grain ELD Match bullet left the barrel at 2,975 fps.

Likewise, Federal’s 175-grain ELD-X bullet screamed out of the muzzle at 3,000 fps. More on 7mm PRC ballistics below.

Once the Crest and Trijicon were zeroed, and I felt familiar enough with the rifle and scope, I shot five, three-round groups at 100 yards with each ammunition. I shot from a sandbagged rest and all rounds produced groups of 1.0-inch and under. Best of the best included:

--Hornady Match: .70- and .85-inches.

--Hornady Precision Hunter: .90- and 1.0-inches.

--Federal ELD-X: .70- and .80-inches. 

I placed larger groups, too, some up to 1.5-inches. Averaged out, my Crest set up was right at 1 MOA.  

The 7mm PRC

Created by Hornady and launched in 2022, the 7mm PRC was Hornady’s “mid-range” PRC, essentially filling the gap between the previously introduced 6.5 PRC and the mighty 300 PRC. 

What set it apart from previous 7mm rounds like the Remington 7mm Magnum is that it used longer, heavier bullets, but did so in a long-action format. Though it doesn’t  require a magnum action, a hunter can have magnum cartridge performance in a shorter, long-action package. 

The 7mm PRC generates more pressure and roughly another 100 to 150 fps than the 7mm Rem Mag and stays super-sonic somewhat further out. 

None of which means the 7mm Rem Mag is a dud. The 7mm PRC has superior ballistics, and that’s enough for many customers. But those better numbers are unlikely to show up in any practical way when the shooting is under 1,000 yards (based on the ballistic charts I’ve examined).

Still, the 7mm PRC does benefit from using the standard long action versus magnum action, creating a somewhat shorter and more maneuverable rifle.  

Selling the Crest

No doubt, Bergara offered the Crest in the 7mm PRC to make the rifle appealing to both the long-range hunting crowd as well as the long-distance precision rifle shooters.

Yet, no matter which of the six calibers your customers may be considering, make sure those customers know of the Crest’s super-tough stock.

“This 100% carbon fiber stock is designed with industry-leading technologies to withstand anything you throw at it,” said Steve Mullinax, Bergara’s National Sales Manager. “The Crest stock also incorporates length-of-pull spacers and our M5 cutout which provides users with a unique versatility to seamlessly transition from AICS magazine to a traditional floorplate.”

He added that Bergara offers sales staff training for all direct accounts. Bergara sales representatives actively work with Bergara’s dealers to help them move product.

For the independent FFL retailer that wants to carry Bergara rifles like the Crest?

“We sell to major buying groups and wholesalers, and to all the major industry distributors,” Mullinax added. 

Bergara Marketing

“Bergara supports marketing efforts through print and web articles, television shows, and YouTube reviewers,” said Chad Schearer, Bergara’s director of advertising and media relations.   

“There will be a number of big-game hunts on various television shows featuring the B14 Squared Crest rifles. Plus, publications including American Rifleman, Gun Digest, Petersen's Hunting and more have both rifle reviews and hunting articles. There are also a number of influencers reviewing the Crest and other Bergara rifles.”  

A Carbon World 

Schearer noted that the Crest is also available as the Crest Carbon featuring Bergara’s Cure Carbon Barrel. The Cure Carbon Barrel better manages heat and heat dissipation with its unique design that mates a carbon weave with embedded stainless strands. The result is a lighter and extremely stiff barrel, better able to reduce the effects of a hot barrel. 

Yes, it is increasingly a carbon fiber world for hunters and long-range shooters, with  carbon fibers making their impact felt in rifle stocks or barrels or both. For those customers who feel the need to enter that world, Bergara offers a number of first-rate options in the Crest and the Crest Carbon. 



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