I was heading to the most remote wilderness in the United States — a place far closer to the Arctic Ocean than it is to the nearest fast food restaurant. Everything we needed would have to be flown-in and carried on our backs. Once the Piper Super Cub lifted off the tundra valley floor, we would be on our own for 12 days. Sheep hunting is the toughest of hunting pursuits and it demands the most of both the hunter and his or her gear. The rifle that I chose to carry would have to be durable, lightweight, accurate, and reliable. My choice was simple: the Kimber Montana.
Kimber has been a market leader in creating specialized rifles for nearly every hunting niche, as well as general-use models that can be used for a wide-variety of species and terrain. If you're wondering which Kimber rifle fits your needs, the names are a good guide: Montana, Mountain Ascent, Open Country, Adirondack, Talkeetna — you get the idea. We'll explore each of the product lines, but let's start with a feature that every Kimber rifle has in common — the controlled round feed action.
The heart of all Kimber rifles is the action: a unique hybrid of some of the most successful bolt actions in history. The action's round profile is conducive to precision manufacturing and lends itself well to providing a solid bedding surface with the stock — two factors that are key to accuracy. A hunting rifle must be reliable to be useful and that ability to feed, extract and eject can mean the difference between success and failure. More importantly, it could even be the difference between life and death in some situations. Kimber's reliability is aided by a full-length non-rotating extractor that controls the cartridge during its path both into and out of the chamber; hence the term "controlled round feeding." I test dozens of rifles per year from various manufacturers and reliability is an all too uncommon virtue. I have never, however, seen a Kimber rifle fail to feed or extract.
It makes sense to divide Kimber's diverse product line by the type of hunting each rifle family is designed for. We will begin with the niche where Kimber built its legacy among American hunters — the mountains.
Mountain hunting can be the toughest pursuit in the outdoors, but also the most rewarding. Hunting in remote and difficult terrain can be challenging to both the mind and body and has the potential to be downright dangerous. No matter the quarry, the terrain alone makes these hunts a serious undertaking. This type of hunting is almost always "spot and stalk," where many hours are spent glassing and hiking. Weight becomes crucial as altitudes rise and Kimber virtually owns the lightweight production rifle market thanks to offerings such as the aforementioned Montana, as well as the Adirondack, Subalpine and Mountain Ascent.
These rifles combine stainless steel barreled actions with durable ultralight carbon fiber stocks. They don't waist an ounce on fluff. The Montana weighs under six pounds and the Subalpine, Adirondack and Mountain Ascent each weigh less than five! Despite their unrivaled portability, Kimber's mountain series of rifles are chambered in potent cartridges that are ideal for taking game up to and including elk and moose, and are guaranteed to be sub-MOA accurate.
When we drop down out of the high country and enter the plains that hold much of our nation's game animals, we sometimes run out of places to hide. This open terrain that stretches from the Rockies to the Appalachians is home to everything from pronghorn antelope to elk, as well as whitetail and mule deer. It holds abundant wildlife, but can be challenging to stalk in. This is the part of the world where we crawl on our bellies to close the distance. Longer shots are common, but the more gentle terrain allows for a slightly heavier rifle. For this task, Kimber gives us the Open Country.
Thanks to a fluted match barrel mated to Kimber's carbon fiber stock, this rifle weighs in at a well-balanced six pounds, fifteen ounces and gives hunters an excellent combination of portability and precision. Clad in Optifade Open Country camouflage, this rifle is just the ticket for everywhere from Texas' senderos to Wyoming's sage country.
Not all hunting means chasing big game. Calling varmints such as coyotes and bobcats is exciting, and in many locations can be done year-round. In the summertime, setting up over a prairie dog town with an accurate rifle is a fantastic way to hone one's precision shooting skills. For these pursuits, Kimber offers three options — each of which are built for a specific role. The Pro Varmint and Long Master are built for hunters who move and call.
The Pro Varmint wears a stainless steel bull barrel and a rigid laminated stock and the Long Master is available in a traditional, and beautiful, walnut stock. Both are capable of the accuracy needed for long shots thanks to their excellent barrels and pillar bedding. The Pro Varmint is available in .204 Ruger, .223 Remington and .22-250 Remington and the Long Master Classic in .223 and .308. The compact but sturdy SVT is intended for static hunting where accuracy reigns supreme and is exclusively chambered in .223.
Not all hunting occurs at the extremes of terrain and distance, and many hunters prefer a single rifle for all of their pursuits. For this very useful niche, Kimber offers choices at both ends of the price spectrum. The Kimber Hunter gives users nearly all of the features that have made the company's rifles a success in the field, but at a lower cost. Combining Kimber's proven stainless steel barreled action with a honeycomb composite stock and a detachable box magazine, the Hunter is a pile of rifle for the money.
The utilitarian Hunter is available in eight versatile cartridges, ranging from the .243 Winchester to the .30-06 Springfield and is ideal for anything from stand hunting for whitetails to chasing elk in the timber.
At the opposite end of the general big-game rifle category, we have two models built with both form and function in mind — the Classic and SuperAmerica rifles. These rifles balance out at just over seven pounds and come in a wide range of calibers. They mate highly-figured walnut stocks with matte blue metal work, making them both beautiful and useful for nearly all North American game. The actions are scaled to the cartridge chosen, making them sleek and well-balanced.
Some animals hunt back. Whether we are talking about brown bears on the Alaskan Peninsula or cape buffalo in the wilds of Mozambique, dangerous-game hunting demands a highly-specialized tool that a hunter can stake his or her life on. For these extreme hunts, Kimber offers the Caprivi and Talkeetna. As its name suggests, the Caprivi is a walnut-stocked classic African express rifle designed for pursuit of the "Big Five."
The Talkeetna's stainless steel and carbon-fiber construction is intended for the rain-soaked country that big bears call home. Both rifles wear iron sights and barrel band sling swivels, features that are considered standard for dangerous game. The Talkeetna is chambered in the powerful and versatile .375 H&H while the Caprivi is available in .375, .416 Remington Magnum and the mighty .458 Lott.
Whether you're searching for one rifle to do it all or a specialized tool for a specific hunt, Kimber's diverse product line has you covered. Check out their website for specific information on each model: KimberAmerica.com