The Ultimate Varmint Rifle with Bergara’s Dan Hanus
Varmint hunting has grown in popularity over the last few years, and why not? In many states, you can hunt varmints all year with no season or bag limits. Varmint hunting has become more sophisticated, and serious varmint hunters often choose custom rifles to increase their accuracy at longer ranges. To build a really-fine custom varmint rifle, I’ll start with a .22-.250 Bergara barrel. The .22-.250 has stood the test of time for a varmint rifle for many years, and I don’t see that much improvement can be made on this caliber. This caliber is also popular with benchrest shooters for its accuracy. I’ll build this custom rifle on Bergara’s BCR15 long-range hunting rifle model. I’ll include a Stiller’s action, a McMillan stock, a Badger bottom metal and a Timney trigger.
I’m often asked why I like the McMillan stock so much. These stocks come out of the box ready for a custom gun maker to build a gun. From other manufacturers, we can buy synthetic stocks, but we have to work on them to fit them to other components, particularly the action. With McMillan stocks, we can order the stock exactly the way we want it built. We can get the barrel channel cut out to the exact dimensions we need. We can tell them the action we’ll use in the stock and the type of bottom metal we intend to use. Then when we take that particular stock out of the shipping carton, we can start building the rifle immediately. Basically, McMillan will build a custom stock for your rifle. If the customer chooses a different stock, we of course can work with the one they prefer. Wooden stocks are very beautiful, but not practical, if the gun will be used for hunting. Wood can get dented and scratched. If you break a wooden stock, it’s a lot of trouble to repair it. Wood also is susceptible to the elements. It can swell and contract, squeezing pressure on your action and your barrel, causing your accuracy to be affected. A fiberglass McMillan stock may not have the beauty of a natural wooden stock, but it helps ensure accuracy, regardless of weather conditions, and can take rough treatment without showing its battle scars.
I like the Badger bottom metal, because this company has great quality control, and their bottom metal is very consistent. Their tolerances are strict, and they have a great reputation for building quality gun parts. We choose Stiller’s for actions, because they build the actions to our specific specifications. The Bergara Custom Shop is unique, since the component parts are built specifically for our rifles. For the ultimate varmint rifle, it should be sub minute of angle at 100 yards, and you should be able to engage targets at 500 to 600 yards consistently. I’ve seen some competitive shooters shooting in 1,000-yard competitions using these rifles.
To learn more about the Bergara Custom Shop and what calibers are readily available, you can go to www.bergarausa.com, or call 877-892-7544.
By Dan Hanus, who built precision weapons for the United States Marine Corps including Marine Corps sniper rifles and Marine Corps competition rifles, before helping start Bergara’s Custom Rifle Shop