Given all the shimmer, shine and performance of Kimber’s pistol catalog, it’s easy to be blinded to the company’s foundation. It’s built on a much different style of firearm.
Way back when it was “Kimber of Oregon,” the company’s focus was rifles — high-quality, sturdy-built bolt-actions. Luckily for shooters, market demands and numerous reorganizations forced the company to diversify its firearms roster, thus thrusting them to the top of the handgun market, particularly the 1911 market.
While the scrollwork, mirror finishes and downright flashy grips of Kimber’s pistols steal much of the spotlight nowadays, the company has never strayed from its original aim. Top-notch rifles still roll off the company’s assembly lines in New York and New Jersey, outfitting discerning hunters of every stripe. Kimber turned plenty of attention to this corner of its manufacturing concern this year, releasing two new rifle models and expanding the options for two of its existing classics.
Kimber’s Mountain Rifles had the most attention paid to them this year, but it’s the new Subalpine that has the greatest potential to turn hunters’ heads in this family. The ultra-light bolt-action fills the gap between the company’s Mountain Ascent and Montana rifles, offering mule deer and elk hunters a right-sized option. Built on a reinforced carbon fiber stock — decked out in Gore Optifade Subalpine camo — the Subalpine tips the scales at an inconspicuous 4 pounds 13 ounces. While the platform shaves off precious weight for humping into the hills, the laws of physics suggest this attribute could make it a thumper in the recoil department given some of the caliber choices. Kimber is initially offering the Subalpine in .308 Win., .280 Ack. Imp., .30-06 Spring., .300 WSM and .300 Win. Mag. Like all Kimber rifles, the Subalpine should be a favorite with traditionalists given its controlled feed Mauser-style extractor. And it appears to be ready to be put to the test with an all-weather fluted stainless steel barrel. Also, the muzzle is threaded, so it is suppressor-ready out of the box, and it comes outfitted with a match-grade adjustable trigger.
Open Country Varmint
Kimber’s Open Country rifle lives in the Varmint family, but it definitely appears to have the chops to handle more than just prairie dogs. Chambered in the highly accurate 6.5 Creedmoor, the new rifle certainly wouldn’t object to drawing a bead on the occasional pronghorn and such — especially at distance. It’s certainly configured to hike deep into the vast expanses of America’s interior, only adding a total of 6 pounds 15 ounces to a hunter’s kit. This is facilitated by the rifle’s reinforced carbon fiber stock, wearing a versatile Gore Optifade pattern forend to buttstock. The Open Country is outfitted with a 24-inch heavy stainless steel barrel, fluted to keep it light and finished with KimPro II to keep it impervious to the elements. It features pillar bedding in the stock, free floating the barrel to ensure it lives up to Kimber’s sub-MOA accuracy standard. For a modern touch, the rifle has a threaded barrel (5/8-24”), so a suppressor is no big deal to slap on. Also adding to it, like nearly all Kimbers, the Open Country comes with rifleman favorites such as a match-grade adjustable trigger and Mauser-style extractor.
Two of Kimber’s tried-and-true Mountain Rifles have expanded stock options this coming year. The Mountain Ascent and Montana rifles each are now being offered with a Moss Green reinforced carbon fiber stock. With their free-floating stainless steel barrels, the rich tones of the new stock give the rifles a striking appearance. To boot, it does not do anything to modify the already desirable specs of the long guns — both are as light as ever. For hunters looking for a more clandestine treatment to their stock, the Mountain Ascent still comes in Gore Optifade Open Country.
Calibers: .308 Win., .280 Ack. Imp., .30-06 Spring., .300 WSM, .300 Win. Mag.
Approximate Weight: .308 Win.: 4 pounds 13 ounces, .280 Ack. Imp./.30-06 Spring.: 5 pounds 5 ounces, .300 WSM: 5 pounds 12 ounces, .300 Win. Mag.: 6 pounds 7 ounces
Overall Length: .308 Win.: 41.25 inches, .280 Ack. Imp./.30-06 Spring.: 43.75 inches, .300 WSM: 43.5 inches, .300 Win. Mag.: 46.5 inches
Barrel Length: .308 Win.: 22 inches, .280 Ack. Imp./.30-06 Spring./.300 WSM: 24 inches, .300 Win. Mag.: 26 inches
Twist Rate: .308 Win. 1:10″, .280 Ack. Imp. 1:9″, .30-06 Spring./.300 WSM/.300 Win. Mag. 1:10″
Trigger: Match Grade Adjustable
Stock Material: Reinforced Carbon Fiber, Gore Optifade Subalpine soft touch treatment
Recoil Pad: 1-inch Pachmayr Decelerator
Length of Pull: .308 Win. 13.7 inches, .280 Ack. Imp./.30-06 Spring. 13.8 inches, .300 WSM 13.5 inches, .300 Win. Mag. 13.8 inches
Drop at Heel: .54 inches
Drop at Comb: .43 inches
Action Type: .308 Win. 84M, .280 Ack. Imp./.30-06 Spring. 84L, .300 WSM 8400 SM, .300 Win. Mag. 8400 LM
Action Material: Stainless Steel
Magazine Capacity: .308 Win./.280 Ack. Imp./.30-06 Spring./.300 Win. Mag. 4, .300 WSM 3
Open County Specs
Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Approximate weight: 6 pound 15 ounces
Overall length: 43.25 inches
Barrel Length: 24 inches
Twist Rate: 1:8″
Trigger: Match Grade Adjustable
Stock Material: Reinforced Carbon Fiber, Gore Optifade Open Country soft touch treatment
Recoil pad: 1-inch Pachmayr Decelerator pad
Length of pull: 13.8 inches
Drop at heel: 0.54 inches
Drop at comb: 0.43 inches
Action Type: 84M
Action Material: Stainless steel
Magazine Capacity: 5