Kimber 84M Classic Select Grade
Pete Moore gets his hands on a Kimber and is so impressed he might even buy one; now that says a lot for the large lad!
As is often the case; certain brands of rifle tend to pass us by, we are aware of them but going ‘hands-on’ never quite happens. Kimber was one such for me! By all accounts they make some stunning rimfires and centrefires, but if you can’t get one then you can’t do your job! However, all that has changed as I have just finished testing their 84M Classic, which was supplied by Riflecraft Ltd, who have also decided to bring them in. I have to say that their reputation is well deserved in what is a value for money, top quality bolt-gun that just oozes potential.
Initially the Classic looked unremarkable as to my eyes it’s a lightweight, wood-stocked sporter based around the Winchester Model 70. However, closer inspection and use revealed a lot more! The rifle came in a nice piece of hand-finished, selected French (Select Grade) walnut with hand-cut chequering (20-LPI), not my usual style but it really worked for me. Reason being that inside the timber the action is synthetically and pillar bedded, so performance is not compromised.
First impressions are of a lack of weight combined with a fit and feel that is just superb. Tipping the scale at 5lbs 13oz (un-scoped) the 84M shows a length of pull of 13.63”, which includes a 1”, Pachymr Decelerator recoil pad. The butt shows a drop at heel and comb of .54 and .43” which translates into a decent head/scope/stock relationship. The forend is reasonably deep, which offers a nice hold and is finished off with a black nose piece. QD sling studs are fitted fore and aft as standard.
Familiar but petite
The action is very much Winchester Model 70 inspired with a twin lug, forward locking bolt, external sprung extractor and a 3-position safety located on the right of the bolt shroud. So you get forward – FIRE, middle – SAFE (bolt operation) and rear – SAFE (bolt locked). Feed is from a top-loading, 5-round, all-steel, floor plate magazine system with the release catch inside the trigger guard. The handle is long, straight and angled back slightly with a medium ball end. Tolerances have obviously been kept tight with a slight firmness to the movement that translates into a rock solid lock up.
The trigger shows a broad, smooth blade and is adjustable, but comes from the box between 3 ½ - 4 lbs and offers a crisp release. The LOP gives an easy first pad finger position. Metal finish is a pleasing matte blue, which contrasts nicely with the light coloured stock. The barrel, which shows a light/sporter profile, is free floated up to the re-enforce. In 243 Win the test gun showed a slim, 22” tube with 1-10” twist, 6-groove rifling, so very standard for this calibre.
The overall feel of this short action design is light and petite, as Kimber appears to have scaled down the build to suit without sacrificing anything. Often as not with some makes something has to give in terms of barrel or stock length, which does offer performance limitations. But not here!
The rifle came fitted with one of my favourite American optics – the great Leupold 3-9x50 VX-II in a set of their mounts. On that point Kimber can also supply rings and bases.
Making the best of it
Initial testing used some garden variety, 100-grain soft tip from Remington and Winchester, which are both common, off-the-shelf choices. I followed up with some Hornady 58-grain, V-MAX molly loads and their 95-grain SST.
I did find the trigger a tad firm, but at just under 4lbs it was easy to work with, aided no doubt by its wide/smooth blade. For me I’d drop the weight to around 2 ½ lbs as that’s how I have all my guns set up. But for the less picky it’s safe and precise!
The 243 Win is hardly a kicky calibre, though it can have its moments in light guns, but the Kimber showed excellent manners. Once run in both 100-grain loads were holding a 1-1 ½” at 100-yards, with the Winchester hitting the inch, likewise the 95-grain SSTs. I thought this very good, as it highlighted the general build quality of the Kimber, as in a less well made design groups would doubtless be bigger.
Feel good factor
Switching to the V-MAX showed the 84M’s true potential as groups shrunk to a solid ½”. Given the calibre I reckon the best compromise would be something in the middle bracket. Andrew at Riflecraft told me it shoots the Federal 70-grain ballistic tips very well and I loaded up some 80-grain Nosler BTs with 38-grains of IMR4895 and they cut the ½” with ease. Though moving up to their 85-grain Partition saw groups open up to one inch…
The 84M’s light weight and good handling characteristics really does promote a feeling of oneness with the rifle and I found it very easy and instinctive to shoot. Plus it’s a doddle to carry, which is another major consideration, heck I can even put up with the woodwork; knowing what’s underneath. On that point Kimber offer a number of models/options that includes synthetic stocks, stainless finishes, big game, tactical and varmint models.
I have been promised a stainless/synthetic in 30-06 to test at a later date, which will be interesting. The Classic is one of those rifles that addresses two distinct demographics – first those who like the more traditional look and feel of a well made wooden gun. Secondly and of paramount importance to me as a demanding hunter; cosmetics aside it has been made to shoot tight groups! So in effect you have it all in one very nice package. In general terms I do not think I have been this impressed with a gun since my Riflecraft LSR (Light Sporting Rifle) which was a re-worked Remy 700.
Price-wise the Classic will set you back around a grand, which is not cheap, neither, is it that expensive if you, like me, appreciate a gun that can shoot straight and tight. After all that’s what we want them for…
Good looking & good shooting
If you like wood
If you want accuracy
|Name||Kimber 84M Classic Select Grade|
|Calibre||243 Win (on test)|
|Barrel||22” light profile|
|Weight||5lbs 13oz (un-scoped)|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates