What would you be willing to pay for a rifle that has a sub-MOA guarantee, weighs 6.5 lbs., sports a match-grade chamber with a Mauser claw extractor, Model-70 three-position safety, pillar bedded stock and detachable box magazine? $1,000? $1,500? That seems to be the going rate for a rifle with such features nowadays. Kimber has stepped into the market in a big way with their new Hunter rifle wearing a price tag around $800. You can’t beat these features with any other production rifle out there at this price point.
Kimber sent me one to test, chambered in what I think is the best caliber a high country mule deer hunter could ask for, the 6.5 Creedmoor. Topped with a Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x40MM, you have more than enough to reach out and touch a trophy buck across a rugged canyon. I ran Hornady’s Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X through it and was greeted with an amazing three-shot group slightly bigger than a ½”, well within the sub-MOA guarantee.
After sighting in 3” high at 100 yards, I proceeded to hammer some kill-zone sized steel plates out to 400 yards with ease. This gun makes it almost too easy. Everyone in the office, without exception, that picked the rifle up immediately commented on how comfortable the stock is, not only in the hand but on the shoulder as well. Sight alignment is a non-issue, even for some smaller statured shooters.
So where does the value engineering come in to play? If you are familiar with Kimber rifles, immediately noticeable is the stock material followed by the integral trigger guard. To pass some cost savings on to you, Kimber opted for the reinforced polymer stock instead of the Kevlar-Carbon fiber stock. It’s still extremely lightweight but the material is more cost efficient. The integral trigger guard also reduces labor and materials for an additional savings. Beyond that (from what I can tell) everything else is still the same as their other premium rifles.
I own the Kimber Montana, have hunted with the Mountain Ascent and shot the Hunter. I honestly can’t tell you there’s any difference in the shootability between them. They are all lights-out accurate, have extremely mild recoil and each exudes Kimber’s commitment to custom quality at an economical price. If you’re in the market for a new rifle this year, the Kimber Hunter should give you serious pause. Check out all of their chamberings at www.kimberamerica.com. You won’t be disappointed.