February 01, 2023
Lightweight and accurate are two terms that frequently get used in conjunction when talking about rifles built to carry comfortably in the most remote places on the planet. Those who spend time behind a trigger competing in PRS-style matches would likely say that the two terms should never be used together, but maybe our standards as hunters are just different.
At first glance, Bergara’s Premier Mountain 2.0 is a simple sporter that shares a similar style with most hunting rifles you might see gracing the safe of any hunter. It’s a rifle without the frills of modern-day designs. The stainless-steel barrel even lacks threading at the muzzle—one of my only dislikes, though there are reasons why it isn’t there. The rifle is plain, yet elegant.
When you pick up the Premier Mountain 2.0, it is easy to understand why the company chose to scratch out some of the added niceties seen on many competitors’ rifles. When I first lifted the rifle, I noticed how well it was balanced and how it fit comfortably in the hand and on the shoulder. At first touch, I knew this rifle would carry well in the mountains, and Alaska would be the perfect testing grounds to see just how capable it really is.
Designing a rifle, especially one for the serious mountain hunter, is no easy undertaking. The use of lightweight components can make it difficult to ensure accuracy—which is how Bergara earned their reputation in the first place. The Mountain 2.0—chambered in .300 PRC—weighs in at 6.4 pounds. So, what makes it so light? At its core is a durable 100% carbon-fiber stock designed by AG Composites. It is finished with a simple, yet pleasing, sponge paint that combines the look of raw carbon fiber with black and gray.
Mated to the stock is Bergara’s Premier action that is built around a two-lug bolt with a spring-loaded sliding plate extractor at the base of the bottom lug. The bolt has a cone-shaped nose for smooth feeding—it cycles consistently on every turn. At the rear, the bolt is threaded to accept a variety of bolt handles for customization, though the bolt handle that comes standard is comfortable and sleek. The bolt assembly is finished with a Nitride treatment for added durability. The action accommodates all Remington 700-style mounts and bases for easy optic mounting, and it has an internal magazine (4-, 3- and 2-round capacity depending on chambering) with a hinged floor plate.
Forward of the action is a stainless-steel barrel with a No. 3 taper that is very slim and cuts down on weight. The .300 PRC features a 24-inch barrel while other non-magnum chamberings are fitted with a 22-inch barrel. The barrel is finished in a tactical gray Cerakote that protects it in the toughest conditions. It is lacking a brake, but without it, both weight and length of the barrel are cut down. While I may not know what the secret sauce is that the company uses to make their barrels, I know that it works.
To wrap up the construction, the rifle utilizes the reliability of TriggerTech’s Frictionless Release Technology trigger. It is easily adjustable per the user’s requirements. I set mine to a crisp 2.2 pounds. The pull is repeatable, and the break is crisp every time, exactly what I expect in a hunting rifle.
On The Range
I received my test rifle roughly a week before my departure for a Sitka blacktail hunt in the ABC island chain of Alaska. Some might say a .300 PRC is too much for the smaller stature deer, but Sitka deer are notoriously tough and hunting in a densely populated brown bear region, the extra power of the cartridge was welcome. Fitted with Leica’s Amplus 6 2.4-15x56 scope, it was time to sight in.
With only two loads to choose from, I picked Hornady’s Outfitter line loaded with a 190-grain CX bullet. Zeroing was easy, groups were tight, right around the ¾-inch mark with some at an astonishing ½ MOA. With a 100-yard zero confirmed, I was confident in the rifles ability to head afield. While shooting, it was reassuring to know that the rifle handled the recoil of the large caliber with ease—a noteworthy attribute considering the weight and lack of muzzle brake.
After the hunt, I returned to the range for more testing using both the CX and Hornady’s 212-grain ELD-X. Both loads shared very similar group sizes with the ELD-X opening some, but staying between 3/4 MOA and one MOA. My shooting setup was simple: a bipod with a supporting rear rest on a bench—a common layout for the average hunter.
While not a major concern while hunting, lightweight barrels heat up quickly, usually causing groups to widen and throwing some shots significantly—one of the major reasons that lightweight rifles and accuracy never go hand in hand. After checking group sizes, I decided to burn some powder. In my mind, a good hunting rifle needs to maintain accuracy throughout follow-up shots if need be. After six rounds with no cooling time, group sizes stretched, but not enough to be concerning if that many follow-up shots are necessary. Flyers were present after 10 rounds.
In The Field
As I noted previously, I took the Mountain 2.0 to Alaska on a boat-based blacktail hunt. We stayed on a boat with Alaska Raven Guides and climbed the mountains from sea to summit in search of deer.
The area is rugged, steep and overgrown with old-growth trees and thick undergrowth. A lightweight durable rifle is of utmost importance in such terrain. The Bergara fit the bill perfectly. It carried well, both in my pack-mounted sling and in hand during stalks. What was most notable was the weight; it didn’t throw my pack’s balance off during the long climbs and was easy to wield when the time came. Maneuvering the rifle during an up-close encounter with a brown bear was natural and quick.
Deer were present in the middle elevations, but the most animals were found in the alpine muskeg at the summits. Glassing the long ridges atop of the mountain, we located a shooter buck. With a range of 484 yards, I dialed the scope’s turret to the appropriate adjustment and settled in. The Spartan Precision bipod found purchase in the soft soil, and I supported the rear of the rifle with my off hand. The trigger broke clean, and the bullet struck the buck with an unmistakable thwap. Impact was just behind the front shoulder. The buck soaked up the impact and started walking (yes, they are tough animals). A follow-up shot hit a little low, but the buck expired moments after.
This rifle will find a permanent place in my safe. It is comfortable to carry, handles magnum-caliber recoil with ease and is superbly accurate. If you’re looking for a new go-to Western rifle, the Bergara Premier Mountain 2.0 may just be the best fit.
Bergara Premier Mountain 2.0 Specs
- Weight:6.2-6.4 pounds
- Overall Length:41.5-44 inches
- Barrel Length:22-24 inches
- Magazine:Hinged Floor Plate
- Mag Capacity:Up to 4, caliber dependent
- Finish:Tactical Gray Cerakote
- Trigger:TriggerTech Frictionless Release Technology
- Stock:AG Composite 100% carbon-fiber
- Scope Mount:Remington 700 compatible