Bergara Premiere vs high-end custom actions

frost1235

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As the title states, I have a Bergara Premier action and I'm interested to see if a custom action is worth the upgrade/purchase.

I got to play with a few defiance actions,and production MPA/PVA rifles so I do have a basis of each. In terms of smoothness, running is shit/dirty conditions, and accuracy, I found no difference between all of them. The only real difference was bolt lift. (Tested via dry fire) the Bergara/Curtis/nucleus was heavier than the defiance, but not by much.

So I turn to you guys, I have bookmarked/saved in my cart an action from Lone Peak and am wondering if it'd be any tangible improvement over what I have now, (Bolt lift, ease of barrel changing, reliability, back up) any legitimate justification to purchase a custom action (and build it) vs buying a second premier rifle? (Besides bragging rights amd bling factor?)
 

Mark Watson

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My original plan was to get the premier and put it into an MPA chassis, but went with the MPA rifle instead... Still a solid choice to do the Bergara though, IMO
 
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frost1235

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After using the HMR stock in multiple courses and seeing how well it worked, I couldn't justify selling it or buying a replacement chassis. But after putting my hand on the MPA chassis, everything just... fit. It was AMAZING.

I am most likely going to do what you are doing, but I'll be keeping both stock and chassis for hunting/target shooting. If anything, I'll fall into the Vudoo action trap and have a stock for it.
 

Mark Watson

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After using the HMR stock in multiple courses and seeing how well it worked, I couldn't justify selling it or buying a replacement chassis. But after putting my hand on the MPA chassis, everything just... fit. It was AMAZING.

I am most likely going to do what you are doing, but I'll be keeping both stock and chassis for hunting/target shooting. If anything, I'll fall into the Vudoo action trap and have a stock for it.
That was why I was going to do the bergara, so I could use it hunting...
 

HMRamateur

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That's funny, I was thinking of asking this same question and just figured I would search bergara again and see what was new on the forums. I am also curious about custom actions compared to the bergara premier action. You mentioned the defiance having a lighter bolt lift than the bergara, Curtis, and nucleus actions, but how did the bergara compare to Curtis and nucleus? I have never felt a custom action, so I can only compare the bergara to factory actions. I'm starting to plan a hunting rifle build and after buying a bergara, I'm in the same boat as you and don't know how much extra performance I will be gaining.
 
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rangerlong

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The tier of ~$1000 custom actions feel more or less the same as the bergara to me. I like it better than the other high end factory actions, Seekins, Christensen, etc.
The GAP templer felt smoother to me. It’s the smoothest action I’ve felt.
I haven’t felt a surgeon or defiance or any of the really high end actions.
 

ffjoey

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I am no expert, but I kind of feel like the difference between the Bergara premier action and most custom actions is pretty minimal. I could be wrong but I happen to like the Bergara premier line quite a bit
 

frost1235

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I am no expert, but I kind of feel like the difference between the Bergara premier action and most custom actions is pretty minimal. I could be wrong but I happen to like the Bergara premier line quite a bit
This is probably the best way to put it. I didn't notice anything until I had all the actions side by side.

I will say the Bergara was a bit grittier than the Defiance IF you slide the bolt at a diagonal angle, possibly due to having the cerakote. The Curtis was also cerakoted and had a similar feeling, while the Nucleus and Defiance was just DLC/Stainless. The Defiance was Shannon Kay's, and definitely had a high round count, so that could have accounted for the smoothness. In terms of bolt lift, after I would dry fire, I'd try to lift the bolt with one finger without moving the reticle. The Defiance was the easiest, but the other three were pretty similar. Again, I know the other three had at max 1000 rounds through them.

I know the lone peak/impact actions can get pre-threaded barrels, which is a MAJOR benifit. But other than that, and possibly tighter tolerances, I'm really trying to find a reason to talk the lady into letting buy my dream action for a build. ?
 

HMRamateur

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If you want an affordable upgrade to the bergara, just grab a T3x...

;)
I have a t3 22-250. It is smooth, but I don't see a marginal improvement over most factory actions, and the bergara premier feels nicer to me. The bolt lift is way better on the bergara, but that's where I notice the most difference. Chambering a round in either action feels the same. Closing the bolt feels better on the bergara as well. When it comes to the bergara vs tikka debate, tikka only has a chance against the b-14. Would be better to compare Sako to the bergara premier.
 

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I was just kidding around folks. Sorry the sarcasm font wasn’t in full effect.

Nothing wrong with either action, but I think they’re about the same. Neither is a major upgrade over the other. I’d take the Tikka, but only because I’ve had tons of good luck with them. The couple of Bergaras I’ve seen were really smooth and accurate also.
 

Tokay444

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    I have a B-14 HMR. I realize it isn't the Premier, but it has been relegated to the safe now that I have my Nucleus screwed together with a PVA barrel and tied down in a J Allen chassis.
    The Bergara did ride in that chassis for a while, and I had contemplated a barrel swap, but they don't make a contour heavy enough for what I was after.
     

    HMRamateur

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    I have a B-14 HMR. I realize it isn't the Premier, but it has been relegated to the safe now that I have my Nucleus screwed together with a PVA barrel and tied down in a J Allen chassis.
    The Bergara did ride in that chassis for a while, and I had contemplated a barrel swap, but they don't make a contour heavy enough for what I was after.
    I handled a B14 HMR before buying the HMR pro. One thing I noticed was when the bolt was pulled all the way back, there was a fair amount of slop in it... Almost like the bolt was much smaller than the receiver. Does your HMR have the same movement? It felt nice, but that side to side movement turned me off the B14. I'm happy I went with the premier action instead.
     
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    Tokay444

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    I handled a B14 HMR before buying the HMR pro. One thing I noticed was when the bolt was pulled all the way back, there was a fair amount of slop in it... Almost like the bolt was much smaller than the receiver. Does your HMR have the same movement? It felt nice, but that side to side movement turned me off the B14. I'm happy I went with the premier action instead.
    Oh yes. Tons. One of the many things I like about the Nucleus over the B-14 is, it is almost impossible to bind.
     

    Defiance Machine

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    Real quick, here's the thing... while at first all things may seem equal, they simply aren't. We're not here to say we're better than Curtis or Impact etc, since they are all great actions. And, the Bergara it sounds like will meet your needs. However, if we're comparing "custom actions" to just a production action, then you have to examine the whole picture, the "custom," which includes the ability to choose an action with options and features that are not available from most production actions. It also includes getting the tight tolerances that most custom actions have, and productions often don't, which means when you want to say maybe buy a different bolt with a different bolt head to swap calibers later, you can be sure you're going to get that same feel or performance you did with the original bolt. JUst some food for thought.
     

    HMRamateur

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    Real quick, here's the thing... while at first all things may seem equal, they simply aren't. We're not here to say we're better than Curtis or Impact etc, since they are all great actions. And, the Bergara it sounds like will meet your needs. However, if we're comparing "custom actions" to just a production action, then you have to examine the whole picture, the "custom," which includes the ability to choose an action with options and features that are not available from most production actions. It also includes getting the tight tolerances that most custom actions have, and productions often don't, which means when you want to say maybe buy a different bolt with a different bolt head to swap calibers later, you can be sure you're going to get that same feel or performance you did with the original bolt. JUst some food for thought.
    Those are very good points regarding custom actions vs production actions. What has me wondering the difference between Bergara's premier action and other customs though is the fact that Bergara's custom shop uses the same action on all their custom rifles. So, does bergara have the same or close to the same tolerances? Maybe they are lacking certain features, but as was stated earlier, are they on the same level as low to mid teir custom actions?
     
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    Defiance Machine

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    Those are very good points regarding custom actions vs production actions. What has me wondering the difference between Bergara's premier action and other customs though is the fact that Bergara's custom shop uses the same action on all their custom rifles. So, does bergara have the same or close to the same tolerances? Maybe they are lacking certain features, but as was stated earlier, are they on the same level as low to mid teir custom actions?
    That's a question that frankly no one other then Bergara can answer, without ordering half a dozen or more, from various batches, measuring them, and then periodically measuring them again every so often to see if those tolerances are being maintained from year to year.
     

    HMRamateur

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    How does the Bergara compare to say a Tikka action?
    Comparing my bergara HMR pro to my tikka T3, I like the Bergara more. Bolt lift, and bolt close are lighter than the tikka. Bergara is a bit smoother, especially when chambering a round. That's how it feels to me at least, maybe the tikka magazine just doesn't feed as well as the magpul my HMR pro came with. When it comes to just moving the bolt back and forth in the receiver, with no resistance to it, there is zero binding with either action so I have a hard time telling which is smoother. Also not sure if the bolt lift/close is better on the T3X since I've never played with one.
     
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    Tokay444

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    That's the B14 though, right?
    Yes, but I've handled the Premier quite a bit as well. It didn't command the increase in price over the B-14, at least in Canadian dollars to justify the the fluting and floating bolt head.
     
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    HMRamateur

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    Yes, but I've handled the Premier quite a bit as well. It didn't command the increase in price over the B-14, at least in Canadian dollars to justify the the fluting and floating bolt head.
    Fair enough. I thought the premier was a good upgrade over the B14 even in Canadian dollars. If it were just for an upgraded action I would agree with you though, that exchange rate is a hard pill to swallow.
     
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    ffjoey

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    Yes, but I've handled the Premier quite a bit as well. It didn't command the increase in price over the B-14, at least in Canadian dollars to justify the the fluting and floating bolt head.
    Ok, no disrespect but the B14 and the Premier action are not in the same class at all. Your response of no was directly to a question asked about the Premier action. I have both Premier and B14. They are not comparable. So again I ask, how do you know Bergara Premier actions don’t have similar tight tolerances to other custom receivers?
     

    Tokay444

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    Ok, no disrespect but the B14 and the Premier action are not in the same class at all. Your response of no was directly to a question asked about the Premier action. I have both Premier and B14. They are not comparable. So again I ask, how do you know Bergara Premier actions don’t have similar tight tolerances to other custom receivers?
    The question was comparing a mid level custom, to a Premier. The answer is still no, there’s no comparison. It isn’t just tolerenceing that sets a production action apart from a, “custom”.
    You can compare the Premier to a trued and tuned Remington 700 action, but that’s about it.
     
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    ffjoey

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    The question was comparing a mid level custom, to a Premier. The answer is still no, there’s no comparison. It isn’t just tolerenceing that sets a production action apart from a, “custom”.
    You can compare the Premier to a trued and tuned Remington 700 action, but that’s about it.
    So what does set apart a “mid level” custom action like a Nucleus from a Bergara Premier action, specifically?
     
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    Steel head

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    So what does set apart a “mid level” custom action like a Nucleus from a Bergara Premier action, specifically?
    Besides easy barrel acquisition/swaps, easy bolt head changes, industrial grade extractors, controlled round feed, mechanical ejection, multiple rail inclination options and being made in the good ole US of A it’s also slicker than snot.
     

    ffjoey

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    Ok. Like what specifically? What is more innovative about the Nucleus action than the Bergara Premier. Please be specific, I would really like to know.
     

    Tokay444

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    Besides easy barrel acquisition/swaps, easy bolt head changes, industrial grade extractors, controlled round feed, mechanical ejection, multiple rail inclination options and being made in the good ole US of A it’s also slicker than snot.
    To be fair, the Premier take Rem700 bases, so there's plenty of inclinations available. It doesn't have anything else in common with that list though.
     

    ffjoey

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    Besides easy barrel acquisition/swaps, easy bolt head changes, industrial grade extractors, controlled round feed, mechanical ejection, multiple rail inclination options and being made in the good ole US of A it’s also slicker than snot.
    Bergara Premier is made in the USA as well. All those things you listed are nice to have and thank you for being specific. I had no idea Nucleus had all of that
     

    Tokay444

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    Ok. Like what specifically? What is more innovative about the Nucleus action than the Bergara Premier. Please be specific, I would really like to know.
    Toroidal bolt lugs. Controlled round feed. An extractor capable of pulling the rim right off a case head. Mechanical ejector. Tooless bolt head changes. Railed 3 lug. Recoil lug keyed into the scope base for perfect timing every time. I could probably go on, but is that enough?
     

    ffjoey

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    Thank you for the specific information. Much more useful than commentary . I can definitely see how all that can be a selling point.
     
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    Tokay444

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    You should look at a Nucleus. Everything listed is pretty clearly laid out in even their exploded 3D models, without even needing to read anything.
     

    patriot07

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    The Tikka might compare to the regular line like the HMR but definitely not in the same league ad Bergara Premier rifles.
    We'll have to agree to disagree. I've shot and used both and while the Bergara is excellent, I just don't think I've seen any factory rifle is better than the Tikka in terms of function or accuracy. Bells and whistles? Sure, maybe some are better.

    Been a while since I shot the Bergara - doesn't it have a 90-degree bolt throw? That would exclude it almost immediately personally. Huge improvement going to the Tikka's 70 degree throw
     

    robeast2000

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    We'll have to agree to disagree. I've shot and used both and while the Bergara is excellent, I just don't think I've seen any factory rifle is better than the Tikka in terms of function or accuracy. Bells and whistles? Sure, maybe some are better.

    Been a while since I shot the Bergara - doesn't it have a 90-degree bolt throw? That would exclude it almost immediately personally. Huge improvement going to the Tikka's 70 degree throw
    Bolt throw is not a big deal to me, I own a mouser M18 with a 60 degree throw and it doesn’t feel any faster. Don’t get me wrong, I own a t3 and I like it a lot, but it just doesn’t feel as refined as my Ridgeback. I’m blessed to own a few custom rifles as well and the Bergara is right up there, it might be because it’s built entirely by one gunsmith rather than in a production line.
     
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    ffjoey

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    Bolt throw is not a big deal to me, I own a mouser M18 with a 60 degree throw and it doesn’t feel any faster. Don’t get me wrong, I own a t3 and I like it a lot, but it just doesn’t feel as refined as my Ridgeback. I’m blessed to own a few custom rifles as well and the Bergara is right up there, it might be because it’s built entirely by one gunsmith rather than in a production line.
    I agree, I like my Bergara Premiers as much as any other rifle I have, and I have spent twice the coin on a couple of them in comparison. Tikkas are nice but I prefer my Bergara Premiers by a decent margin. The Tikkas feel, to me, more comparable to my B14 rifles. Still really nice but less refined.
     
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    SonicBurlap

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    Bergara Premier is made in the USA as well. All those things you listed are nice to have and thank you for being specific. I had no idea Nucleus had all of that
    Made in the USA, but the barrels are made in Spain by parent company DIKAR which owns Bergara Spain, Bergara USA, BPI, CVA, Quake, PowerBelt, Durasight, Dead Air Armament.
    Just some more food for thought, I own several Bergaras, B14 and Premier and I think they are very nice factory rifles but they in no way compare to my Zermatt Arms (Bighorn) TL3 or other customs.
    The TL3 is not only a more consistent build but it gave me options Bergara did not offer, such as integral recoil lug, interchangeable bolt head so with a change of bolt head and different caliber barrel I can use the same action for any short action caliber, or if I had a long action for any long action caliber, choice of pinned Picatinny rails from a variety of 0 , 20, 30, or 40 MOA rails, choice of coating, Springfield style mechanical ejector in the receiver not the bolt, choice of ejection port location and magazine cut, controlled round feed vs. push feed in the Bergara, and I could choose my own brand of quality barrel, twist, thread, and barrel length. All together there is a reason my custom action alone cost more than a whole Bergara B14, and the TL3 and PROOF carbon fiber barrel alone cost more than a Bergara Premier.
     

    BadAccountant

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    IMO, the Premier action is perfectly adequate and in my mind I don't see a huge improvement that would justify the cost to "upgrade" to another push-feed style action. As long as the barrel is good to go and is installed by a good smith, it should be a shooter if other factors are properly controlled.

    However, when we start talking about CRF, everything goes out the window. Now we're talking about a significant enough differentiation in features to justify a cost to upgrade. I prefer CRF to push feed in a high dollar build. If I'm going to spend a lot of money, I want something that functions differently and extracts/ejects more positively.
     

    SonicBurlap

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    IMO, the Premier action is perfectly adequate and in my mind I don't see a huge improvement that would justify the cost to "upgrade" to another push-feed style action. As long as the barrel is good to go and is installed by a good smith, it should be a shooter if other factors are properly controlled.

    However, when we start talking about CRF, everything goes out the window. Now we're talking about a significant enough differentiation in features to justify a cost to upgrade. I prefer CRF to push feed in a high dollar build. If I'm going to spend a lot of money, I want something that functions differently and extracts/ejects more positively.
    CRF and the integral recoil lug, as well as the interchangeable floating bolt heads, use of pre-fits, mechanical ejector, and the DLC coating were all part of my decision. The Origin, Zermatt's budget option would have given me all but the integral recoil lug, and the choice of MOA for the Picatinny rail. I can see where the Origin would be a great option closer in price to a factory rifle if paired with a steel barrel, and an upgradable chassis like a KRG Bravo, or aMDT chassis.

    All that said, if you are torn between factory and custom there is what I would call "hybrid" versions in between the factory rifle like a Bergara, or Tikka and a full blown custom such as the Badrock Southfork, the Seekins Havak Bravo, or the Ashbury Precision Ordnance Sniper's Hide Edition M700 Saber. These rifles are more budget oriented but built with an amount of attention to detail that delivers a lot of bang for the buck, and the Badrock Southfork actually features an action built by Defiance, which if I were to build a push feed based custom rifle would be my choice of manufacturer for the action but I'm a sucker for CRF.
     
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