Dwayne Powell – Kissimmee River Hunt & Fish
With deer season just around the corner, I thought that now would be a good time to review the Kimber Hunter, which is their entry level deer rifle of a very high-end line. If you are a regular here at GunsAmerica, you’ve probably seen the ad for the rifle running on our homepage, and they sent me a review rifle a few months ago. Now that summer is pretty much behind us, it’s time to start thinking new deer rifle, and if you have the budget, the $885 MSRP Kimber Hunter is an option you should seek out. Most people think 1911 when they think of Kimber, but the company started with rifles, and it is still a core component of Kimber Firearms today. The Hunter is the same action as the $1,400 Kimber rifles. If you have been looking for an upgrade this deer season, please watch the video.
To some degree, a bolt rifle is a bolt rifle is a bolt rifle, as long as it works, so when I look at an “entry level” gun like this, at an ~$800 pricepoint, I have to first ask, what is the difference between this rifle and a $300 entry level rifle I can get at Walmart?
First of all, see if you have a local Kimber dealer near you. We have asked the Kimber dealers on GA to post their rifles for sale so you can see if there is one available locally, but unfortunately most of them don’t listen. Kimber has a dealer locator on their website, so you can check that as well.
The reason I say go see the gun is that you really should go see the gun. The difference between a $300 deer rifle and a “real” deer rifle is half performance and half elegance. Several manufacturers these days even have two lines; one that is inexpensive and utility, and one that is more of an heirloom, lifetime purchase. Kimber really only builds heirloom quality, lifetime purchase guns.
For performance, the Kimber Hunter, which is just a new name for a specific package of the Model 84M (Medium, .308-sized action), is advertised as a sub-MOA gun. As you can see in the video, it ships with two test targets of 3 round groups, so I assume that this is a guaranteed 3 round group. For deer hunting, you really don’t need or expect to test more than that, but I like to run my test guns and see what they can do when they are hot as well.
My cold bore test groups were not quite as good as the targets that came with gun, which made me really wish I had some of that Federal ammo with the 168-grain Sierra Matchkings. As my regular readers know, I’m a devotee of Hornady Ammo, whether they are currently advertising with us or not, and my secret weapon in the .30-06 has been their American Whitetail 150 grain. For this gun, I got a couple boxes of the .308 version of the same ammo, and I came in just over what the guys at Kimber were able to get out of it. My shooting chops haven’t been tuned up for a while, and you’ll hear me whining about mirage in the video, but my cold bore groups were all under 1 inch at 100 yards, and the average was about the one you see, .8 or so. Your gun won’t come with test targets. They send those out for the print writers who review guns without shooting them lol.
Cold bore is how you want to test a gun like this, because that is how it will be used in the field. You want to be able to zero your scope, then replicate the point of impact as precisely as possible should a game shot come available. On this Kimber Hunter, I can say that with premium ammo, it will consistently replicate point of impact to within a good bit under an inch at 100 yards. As our old time writer Ross Seyfried once said, “in my experience most people can’t shoot within a minute of basketball,” but at least the gun won’t let you down.
I don’t find a lot of “cool factor” in this gun, but for what it is, a lightweight Mauser action polymer-stocked deer rifle, the fit and finish and just overall smooth functions are really excellent. That is why I think your best bet is to try to hold one in your hands and run the bolt, feel the positive and sure click of the safety, feel the finish, take out the mag, then compare that to a $300 deer rifle.
Don’t get me wrong, I love some of those guns too, but the Kimber is just in a completely different world. If you go to a Kimber dealer, try the $1,400 guns as well. It could be that you will fall in love with those gorgeous deep-grain wood stocks they put on those guns, and decide right then and there that this year Christmas can run a little light without many people noticing.
Our friend and resident hunting guide Dwayne Powell at Kissimmee River Hunt & Fish took this particular Kimber Hunter rifle out to shoot a hog for us as you can see, which is different for him because usually it is the clients doing the shooting. Dwayne’s specialty is to make a hog hunt a real hunt, or as he calls it, a “stalk hunt.” As I’ve explained in a prior article, Dwayne hunts on open range, and the hogs are not penned up. It makes it a lot like deer hunting, because you have to know the behavior of the game, and they may just not be there today. A light, reliable, accurate rifle is a must, especially in the exasperating Florida heat this time of year. He liked the Kimber.
I think you’ll like this Kimber too, and I can tell you that it is really hard to review a gun that is advertised on your homepage without looking like a shill. Don’t take my word for it. Go walk into the gunshop before the real deer rifle season hits and compare rifles at this price range head to head. You’ll be impressed by the Kimber.
And I have to say, if you are one of our 800,000 subscribers who clicked on this article from our Monday GunsAmerica Digest and you are not a hunter. Soooooo many of our readers here these days are shooters, not hunters, but there is a huge part of our gun enthusiast world that you are missing if you haven’t at least looked into and tried hunting. We are running a special Deer Camp series this year, and don’t discount hiring a guide to go shoot hogs for your first try. That’s cheap, and the success rate is pretty high even for Dwayne’s stalk hunting. With penned hogs there is often a guarantee. Well, assuming you can shoot within a minute of basketball.