I never got to shoot a large amount of 22’s when I was younger, I kind of skipped towards centerfire stuff. So it has been very refreshing in the last year or so to revisit a good spread of rimfire rifles, and today I’m here to tell you about yet another one; the Bergara BMR.
The Bergara Micro Rimfire (BMR) is a bolt action rifle in a synthetic stock, it utilizes either a five or ten-round detachable box magazine. The model I tested here is all steel, but there is also a carbon fiber barreled version. The BMR seems to have been designed with the competitive rimfire shooter in mind, and as such competitions rage across the countryside it should come as no surprise. It features an eighteen-inch barrel, threaded 1/2-28 at the muzzle and came with a steel thread protector installed. The magazine is released by a paddle type lever at the front of the trigger-guard, very reminiscent of centerfire competition rifles. It also utilizes a bolt-release similar to many centerfire competition rifles, built into the left rear of the bolt raceway.
The trigger on the BMR was outstanding, I was surprised at how clean and free the sear dropped. There was little left to do other than get this handsome little rifle to the range.
If this BMR shot as good as I’d hoped, I wanted to give myself an edge with a great scope to go on top of it. I have a bunch of good scopes, but was torn as which one to use. I would feel almost silly mounting a two or three thousand dollar scope on a rimfire rifle with a street price between five and six-hundred fifty dollars (depending on what features you order). I ended up using my Vortex Gen2 PST 3-15X44, and I’m glad I did because they are a perfect match for each other.
I mounted up the Vortex into a one-piece mount and leveled it up on the BMR’s 30 MOA scope mount. A quick and dirty boresight job was all that was left before heading to the range. I also added a bipod to aid in steady shooting while I zeroed the rifle.
Time to burn some powder
With a fine selection of ammo from Federal, Winchester, and CCi in hand, I made my way out to the dry desert where I intended to shoot. My boresight had put my point of impact a foot or so high, so after making a few adjustments the rifle was hitting right where I wanted it to. Within the first few shots after confirming my zero, I was absolutely in love with this rifle. I was picking out smudges on my steel target, and covering them up with shiny lead circles. I could quite literally aim for the previous impact, and hit the same spot with amazing consistency. After leading up the steel at fifty-yards, I decided to take it out a bit further.
I know that there are plenty of people who shoot their 22’s to some incredible distances, but I figured that for my purposes a 22 would not really be utilized much beyond a hundred or so yards, and certainly not beyond two-hundred.
Shooting targets at two-hundred yards quickly made me reconsider my envelope. Even with some wind on the range, I found hitting pop-can sized targets pretty repeatable at the two hundred yard line. I knew that I was going to need to try some additional tasks with this little rifle, there were definitely some varmints that could use some diet pills.Continue Reading Here…
The first time I heard the name Phantom, I assumed like many of you probably did that the name implied a ghostly illusion of anonymity while shooting. Having shot quite a bit of suppressed rifle-fire over the years, and having heard other’s shots from various angles and distances gives the name more credence in my mind.
The latest suppressor to join my NFAmily is the Phantom 22 suppressor from Yankee Hill Machine, and another Phantom it surely is.
The Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 22
The aggressive suppressor market is doing an outstanding job of giving end users the great gift of choice, and the Phantom 22 is an excellent example of giving customers what they want. The Phantom 22 is constructed of both aluminum and stainless steel, the outer tube being made of aluminum and the baffles themselves being machined from stainless steel. The attachment to the host-threads utilizes a stainless steel threaded insert as well for robust mounting and durability. The suppressor uses a threaded end-cap at the muzzle, and the main tube is comprised of two sections that thread together just ahead of the blast chamber. Inside the main-tube is the baffle stack, with indexing tabs to keep them all aligned in the same orientation. The blast chamber also has a stainless steel liner that slips into place at the back of the baffle stack. The short section of the main tube at the rear features all the serial numbers and identifying marks.
The Phantom 22 weighs in at a miniscule four ounces, which is a good two ounces lighter than most twenty-two suppressors on the market. The diameter of 1.1 inches and only five and a half inches long make it not only light but less intrusive into your shooting. The suppressor is rated at 114 decibels (which I assume was with a 22Lr), because the suppressor is also rated for 22 magnum, 17 HMR, and even 5.7×28.
All this at a street price not far from three-hundred dollars makes the Phantom 22 a great option for those looking to get quiet in the rimfire game.
Opening the box
I managed to get my hands on one of the very first production model Phantoms, with a single digit serial number I knew it was at the head of the line. I couldn’t believe how light it was as I lifted it from the box, before I even got it opened I was worried I had been shipped an empty box. But there it was, the beautifully anodized little tube I had been anticipating for some time. After admiring the exterior of the suppressor for a moment I decided to get right into the guts of what makes it so light. The front and rear tube sections are undone by hand without tools, the compression and friction of the assembly keep it quite snug.
Upon removing the rear section of the tube I noticed that the breach of the suppressor has an embossed tool as part of it to be used in loosening the end cap which I also threaded carefully out. The smooth stack of baffles slid smoothly out the front, making one of those soothing metallic slipping sounds. I took a couple of them off the stack, to see exactly how it was that they went together. And at the back of the stack was the blast chamber sleeve. Basically the liner and stack of baffles contain the entirety of the gasses and rimfire debris, the outer tube is simply there to align and hold it together. It was immediately apparent that the idea was to keep all carbon and lead buildup contained inside the blast chamber sleeve. This would keep buildup from locking the assembly together as carbon builds up, which it of course it will, at an impressive rate. So even if you shoot thousands of rounds through this can, and stack the crud deep into it, you will still be able to disassemble it for cleaning.
Another feature that quickly manifest to me was the location of the legal markings, they were all part of the short portion of the main tube at the breach end. This made a lot of sense to me, in the unfortunate event that the can should come loose under fire, and you suffered the dreaded baffle strike, it would be very unlikely to damage the serialized part of the can. This would make repair or part replacement very easy, with something like 85% of the suppressor being easily swapped out for a new part.
Head for the hills!
I couldn’t wait to get the Phantom mounted on a rifle and outside, but it’s first host actually turned out being my Taurus TX 22 pistol. I had shot thousands of rounds through my two TX pistols with various suppressors so I figured it would be a great place to start my comparison. I installed the 1/2-28 thread collar on my pistol, an threaded up the Phantom onto it. Two ounces doesn’t seem like much, but it sure seemed like I could feel a difference between the Phantom and the Dear Air Mask that had been on it last. And it was definitely a noticeable difference from the SiCo can that also frequented the muzzle of my TX’s. There are lighter suppressors sure, but who wants a suppressor that looks like anal beads?
I wasted no time burning through a paycheck’s worth of ammo, a couple mags later I needed to swing by the house to pick up more. Shooting the TX with the Phantom installed was similar to what I was used to, the increased backpressure caused by suppressors was noticeable. Particularly when dumping large quantities of ammo through the gun I could see and feel plenty of gas and debris in my vicinity. (Note: always wear the appropriate safety equipment when shooting)
I will say that with this pistol, you better be wearing glasses when shooting suppressed because you WILL feel stuff hitting you in the face.
I don’t recall how many rounds I’ve put through that pistol/can combination since, but it is no insignificant number. And yes there tends to build up carbon and other crud around the breach and ejection port of the pistol, but not so much as to deter me from keeping them married.
I’m more of a rifle guy than a pistol guy though, so I really wanted to see how it would do on a rifle.
The first rifle I was able to use with the Phantom was a Tikka T1X in 17 HMR, a very smooth little rifle you can read about here shortly. The rifle was fairly heavy for a rimfire, making recoil non-existent. The noise was still there though, the higher velocity of the 17HMR obviously creates quite a bit more racket than a 22Lr. But it was plenty quiet for my ears, shooting with the Phantom in the open country of the Rocky Mountains needed no hearing protection. The cold winter snow seemed to help soak up some of the sound as well. The Tikka saw no decrease in accuracy with the Phantom installed, which I expected to be the case.
Next I threaded the Phantom onto a Ruger RPR 22Lr to give it an additional workout. The Ruger shot outstanding with the Phantom installed, watching all my impacts one-hundred and fifty yards away was beautiful, and the icing on the cake was the thud sound every-time I pulled the trigger. I tried both super-sonic and sub-sonic ammunition through it and the results were outstanding. The anonymity that comes with shooting that quiet can certainly inspire the sensation of a Phantom presence.
Shooting long strings of fire barely heated the Phantom 22 up at all, though that could have something to do with the below freezing temperatures around here.
I’ve shot a few cans, but the other two rimfire cans I have are in the same competitive league as this one, so I think they are a great comparison.
I have to give the Phantom all high marks, it is just as if not quieter than my other cans. And the significant weight reduction cannot be ignored when compared to the others. And the price on the Phantom is hard to beat, if you can find one they are priced around $325 up to near the $400 mark.
The sound is outstanding, and the ease with which you can disassemble and clean this can makes it a perfect suppressor for just about any rimfire need.
As usual with YHM cans, this one is an obvious winner in my opinion, at least when compared to those that I’m familiar with. There may be better cans, there may be lighter cans or some other feature that outperforms this one. But I’ll have a hard time justifying to myself looking for a better one with this spectacular little suppressor in my stable, it is an absolute joy to shoot.
I have long wanted a 22LR pistol, if nothing else just to have some cheap shooting fun for myself and the kids. Its hard to beat the 22 for teaching kids the responsibility that firearms demand, and they are so fun to shoot that anything less than a brick of ammo just wont do.
The only thing that kept me from buying one over the years were concerns of performance. There always seemed to be issues with 22LR pistols, be it malfunctions like a jam, or being finicky when it came to ammunition. All I wanted was a gun that ran perfectly every time, and one that I didn’t have to worry about what to feed it.
The Taurus USA TX22 pistol caught my eye at SHOT Show 2019, I immediately fell in love with the feel of the pistol, the grip did not feel like many of the 22 auto pistols I had held before. It felt like a full size gun in my hand, the grip texture gave an almost sticky feeling in your palm. The well balanced and lightweight TX22 felt much like an M&P, or maybe a Sig Sauer P320.
Another great feature of the TX22 is it’s 16 round magazines, and it comes with two. Most 22 auto pistols are single stack 10 round magazines, it is refreshing to see that barrier being broken.
For the many patrons to the NFA, adding a suppressor to your favorite pistol is a must. Many of the 22 pistols available today come with threaded barrels for suppressors, but the TX22 even comes with the adaptor collar needed to mount the suppressor.
When I picked up my TX22 from my FFL, I already had a box of ammo and suppressor in hand. So it should come as no surprise to you that I didn’t even make it home before shooting this handsome little Taurus.
A quick stop by my local shooting spot armed with 100 CCI Mini Mags was just enough to wet my whistle. It was the fastest five minutes of my life if I recall, those hundred rounds burned through the TX22 like grain through a goose. I was now addicted to this thing, I temporarily left my range to get two important things; More ammo, and my son. I knew he would love this thing as much as I did.
A few hours later, after Junior and I had stopped by Cabelas, we were ready to go for round two. I had purchased an assortment of ammunition, a pretty good spread in my estimation. I wanted to try everything, from the cheapest bulk ammunition to the ritzy high end stuff. I even bought a couple different boxes of subsonic ammunition, to see how the TX22 would handle it.
The next few hours of shooting turned out to be some of the funnest we’ve ever shared, magazine after magazine of plinking fun. We tried every kind of ammunition I brought, the cheap bulk stuff from Remington, the Winchester 333 pack, CCi subsonic, Remington Hornets, and even some Aguila Eley Prime. I was ecstatic with the performance, after shooting six or seven hundred rounds, we hadn’t experienced a single failure (but for the 730 fps subsonics, they will not cycle the gun, even suppressed). My favorite ammo for the TX22 would have been both the CCI subsonic 1050fps, and the Winchester 333 pack. Both of them shot very accurate from the TX22, at least more so than the rest.
The pistol runs flawless whether suppressed or not. There is of course a bit more back-pressure when shooting suppressed, this causes the gun to foul a little more aggressively but that is no surprise. I loved shooting the gun without the suppressor too, it is balanced perfectly, and fit me so well that I found myself hardly using the sights.
The very mild recoil of the 22LR is soaked up nicely by the recoil spring, the gun hardly moves in the hand when fired. Follow-up shots are easily made, and can be done so very quickly.
The trigger of the TX22 features a trigger safety, but utilizes the whole shoe vs. a blade safety like many are accustomed to. The striker fired TX22 trigger is very clean, and resets are pretty short as well. I would love to shoot this gun in some kind of three gun competition or something similar, the inexistent recoil and fast shot to shot time would be a blast.
The sixteen round magazines were nice to have as well, one thing about 22’s is you spend a lot of time reloading. So having sixteen rounds to shoot prolonged the time one spent at the shooting line. The magazines have a small circular pin through the follower that you can pull down slowly as you add rounds to the feed lips until it is full.
The gun is easily disassembled following the directions in the owners manual. With as much ammo as you will go through, you will need to clean it often. Especially as dirty as most 22 ammo is. No tools are needed, except for removing or installing the suppressor collar. And I would suggest removing it after every range session, if only to clean it. I’d hate to see it get stuck on the barrel by all the 22 gunk.
The TX22 has a single magazine release, though it can be switched from side to side. It comes configured for a right handed shooter, but the simple directions in the manual allow lefties to switch it over to their liking. I initially found the magazine release to feel a bit small and perhaps difficult to purchase with my thumb. However I quickly withdrew that observation after shooting the gun, at no point during all my shooting did I find it to be a problem. Mag changes were done quickly and without any issues.
The easily adjustable sights were another welcome feature. There are two screws you can adjust with a micro flat blade screwdriver, one is for elevation adjustment, and the other for windage.
The TX22 also features an ambidextrous safety, with familiar positioning and function. Up for safe, and pulling down with the thumb puts the gun into the firing mode.
The front of the polymer frame features an accessory rail where you can add you favorite light, laser, or other device.
As it turns out, the Taurus TX22 is everything I hoped it would be when I first held it in a Las Vegas casino. It shoots as good as it handles, it’s function matches it’s handsome looks. It brings some great new features that were long overdue.
I love this little pistol, its been hard to put down. I even left my usual CCW at home, just so I had an excuse to have the TX22 with me so I could look at it, and show it to friends. Not that I would recommend a 22LR for a carry gun, but it sure was nice to have such a light and narrow pistol inside my belt for a change. We had fun shooting the pistol at the range, as well as a little squirrel hunting. The SilencerCo Spectre II made the gun so quiet, we could sneak into acorn distance.
The only negative things I have to bring up about the TX22 is regarding the magazine design. As I removed them from the box, the floor-plate of both magazines was easily pushed off. The first time resulted in my magazine guts getting shot out across the floor. They aren’t big pieces, so it took a bit to find them all. When I tested the second magazine for the issue, I found it to be the same, the floor-plate retainer didn’t seem to have enough of an anchor to keep them in place.
Oddly enough though, the problem never reoccured. After shooting the gun a few times, I again tried to get the floor-plates to slide off. But even with aggressive pressure they stayed in position. Perhaps the vibration of shooting helped seat them better? Either way, the problem has never been repeated.
Another concern is more of a user problem than a design one. When loading the magazines, it is easy to want to just pull the follower down well ahead of the cartridges you are feeding into the lips. This can cause cartridges to tilt inside the magazine, causing an obvious malfunction which usually requires emptying the magazine and starting anew. This problem is easily remedied by only pulling the follower down to allow the next cartridge to be fed into the magazine. One at a time until all sixteen rounds are loaded.
These are minimal complaints, and surely not something that would inhibit my purchase of another one. The Taurus USA TX22 is a fantastic pistol all around, it is simply done right. It wouldn’t surprise me if its a design they continue to build on for additional pistols, and I will be watching and waiting for it.