Kimber Hunter .308 Deer Rifle (vs. Wild Florida Hogs) – New Gun Review

Kimber Hunter
Find one on GunsAmerica!

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.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Tom C. March 4, 2017, 1:53 am

    With ANY Kimber bolt action rifle make DARN SURE you degrease the trigger mechanism when it is cold out.
    If you leave ANY lube on the trigger the rifle will not cock and will be rendered useless until it is warmed up.
    Kimber will tell you the trigger is designed to be run DRY. Learn from a person that learned the hard way. I would like
    to add that I have never seen a Kimber that wouldn’t shoot well under an inch groups at 100 yards with the right reload.
    Would add also they have controlled round feed. A real plus when it comes to dependability. I have standard Leupold rings and bases on my Kimbers and they fit just fine. I hate the “L” engraved on the top ring on Leupold ring mounts. Cheap looking
    ring to put on a classy rifle. I think the folks at Leupold must be smoking dope or something to do that to their fine rings.

  • Herb December 27, 2016, 2:34 pm

    I have a Kimber 84 Mountain, .308cal.synthetic stock. With a leupold VXL 3.5-10 X 50, low ring mounts, it weighs in at 6lbs,5ozs. Shoots sub minutes, (quarter size) groups all day long. One draw-back, a blind 4-round magazine. Fit, finish, smooth action, controlled feed, (no damaged tips on those soft-tipped bullets if that’s what you shoot), and really comfortable to shoulder and carry anywhere. I’ve had many bolt-actions, the Kimber is my “go-to”, period. BTW, one shot, one kill, always.

  • mrpski December 12, 2016, 7:46 pm

    Some weapons are just works of art. If you can’t afford the custom shop jobs then just pick up a Kimber. The wood, the action, just how good they feel when you take them in hand. What tops it all is how well they work not just how well they look and feel. Most of my weapons are definitely not Kimbers but the ones I just really like to both shoot and look at are. God bless them I hope the company and their mindset about making a fine weapon continue for many more generations.

    And no, I do not sell nor represent the Kimber company but if I wasn’t enjoying the retired life I sure would consider it!

  • William Talaber December 12, 2016, 12:40 pm

    While you may like the more expensive, prettier rifles, even an AXIS rifle from Savage, in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, can amaze! Right out of the box, with a fast bore sight to check the factory mounted scope, took out a coyote at 125 yards, in .223. I’ve had two H&R single shot, heavy barrel .223’s(admittedly with huge scopes) clip one inch slats at 100 yards consistently. That’s like bird hunters who have to have an $1,500.00 shotgun to hunt doves….here’s another bit of text lingo: LMMFAO!!!

  • Michael October 20, 2016, 1:40 pm

    I own one of these in 7mm-08 and let me tell you that this is one sweet little deer rifle. It weighed out of the box at 5.45 lbs on a postal scale – so I know that the weight is correct. I sold a Remington AWR II in 7mm Mag to buy this rifle – why? Because my Remington with scope, sling, bipod and loaded weighed over 12 lbs!!! in the last 8 years or so I have not shot any game over 100 yds. so why carry all that weight for no reason. I put a Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 scope on it and a light weight sling and the rifle weighs only 6.5 lbs and it does shoot under 1 MOA 3 round groups from a cold barrel. This season it was awesome to carry into the mountains here in South Central Idaho and never bothered me a bit and I took a nice 5 point mule deer with it to boot at 50 yds! No need for a “cannon”. As for “plastic” trigger guard I own a Beretta A400 Unico Xtreme and it is a $1800 gun and its trigger guard is “plastic” too! quit whining about polymer guns – I like classic wood too, but polymer is where the future of firearms is at and the future is now.

    • KBSacto December 12, 2016, 3:44 pm

      Another light weight option is a Tikka Superlite for about $750. It weighs 5.5 lbs without a scope, has a stainless fluted barrel, synthetic fiberglass reinforced stock, detachable mag and comes in multiple calibers. Several outfitter stores carry them (e.g., Sportsman’s Warehouse, Cabelas). Very nice & accurate rifle made by their parent company, Sako. Several of my hunting buddies have Tikkas and will not part with them.

  • Buckup August 26, 2016, 1:47 pm

    Kimber…a company that calls a rifle a “Classic” sporting a flat head screw on the back of its bolt and takes manufacturing shortcuts resulting in the goofiest looking screwed in bolt handle junction I’ve ever seen. One piece plastic stocks and trigger guards…what’s next plastic bolts?

  • Greg August 22, 2016, 8:26 pm

    I thought it was a very good review on a gun i might not of thought of ever buying. Now I might. Its kinda petty to crack on the Author for his use of Texting ‘lingo’ . It didnt occur to me that he did anything but write a good article in His style. If the use of those types of “shortcuts” or whatever you call em bugs you then dont read em i guess.

  • Jordan Wood August 22, 2016, 9:40 am

    Concerning “lol” (and I’m sure most of us aren’t too concerned), it’s part of modern English and so passes muster to me. I liked the light touch and I was even a little surprised that a salty old graybeard would use it. To each his own, I suppose.

  • Winchesterman August 22, 2016, 8:55 am

    I recall an article where Tom Gresham and Dwight Van Brundt, a former employee of Kimber, were on a hunt in Africa with Kimber 84 rifles. It got dusty and the trigger mechanisms locked up from the dust. Luckily Dwight knew how to take them apart and clean them. My point is: if you want a Mauser style rifle, then buy an older Winchester Model 70, when Winchester was in New Haven or a Montana Rifle Company copy of the venerable Model 70 with the ORIGINAL OPEN STYLE Model 70 trigger. Those are fully adjustable and the open design will not be bothered by a bit of dust. The Kimber trigger is an enclosed box type. Nice rifle, wrong trigger! Why do companies hire young upstart engineers to change what works? Even the remake Winchester MOA trigger is not an improvement on the original. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix or redesign it, PERIOD…..

  • J Byrne August 22, 2016, 7:25 am

    6th paragraph down: “They send those out for the print writers who review guns without shooting them lol.”

    Lol? Is that the kind of writing I can expect from Guns America now? I get that this isn’t the most formal of journalistic documents, but this truly aggravates me. A writer should understand how to express humor without using “lol”. If I wanted to read a text message, I would do that instead. I might be overreacting a bit, and I apologize for that, just please understand how disappointing it is for me to stumble upon such a deeply unprofessional piece of writing.

    Maybe this is an attempt to seem more like more an approachable piece, and come off to the reader as a conversation more than a polished bit of writing with tons of flowery adjectives. I get it… but this can still be accomplished without allowing our written language in a published article to fall to the level of pre-teen text messages.

    • David August 22, 2016, 5:32 pm

      The thing is, language changes over time. 10+ years ago, LOL and its ilk was something only ever seen in text messages between youth. Today it has found its way not only into many written forms, but even verbal. I literally hear people say “ell-oh-ell” now in conversation.

      It used to bother me, but not so much anymore. I’ve come to accept it as part of modern language and colloquialism. I even find myself writing it in business emails from time to time. Now one thing I don’t like and can’t get used to is “u” for you and “ur” for your. But the LOL and BTW and OTOH and other such things I use daily now.

    • Pseudo August 23, 2016, 7:41 pm

      I will take “LOL” anytime over the inane, “my bad.”

    • Pseudo August 24, 2016, 7:10 am

      “My bad” I left out “Ax me” “LOL.”

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