Reviews

First Impressions: Kimber America Hunter Pro

Some folks take me to an avid rifle aficionado. While I enjoy shooting rifles very much, I consider myself more of a hobbyist. I spend most of my time shooting handguns, but on occasion I do a little bit of bolt action rifle shooting mostly for deer hunting purposes which happens with very low frequency. However, I’m lucky that every now and again I do get the opportunity to put a rifle through it paces and here we are.

Last year, after giving deer hunting ago and picking up the bug, I picked up a rifle specifically for deer hunting, set it up, and couldn’t shut up about it. It didn’t take long for my wife to express some curious interest about hunting and hinted at the idea of owning her own hunting rifle. Rather than simply going to the store and picking out a random rifle, she took the time to figure out what kind of rifle she wanted.

It didn’t take much for her to figure out she wanted a light bolt-action rifle chambered for 6.5mm Creedmoor with a muzzle break. Soon after, we went to a few different gun stores where she shouldered, tested the trigger, and worked the bolt on various rifles she landed on the Kimber Hunter Pro from Cabela’s. And now, here we are.

If memory serves me correctly, along with the purchase of the gun she received:

  • the rifle itself,
  • and a user manual
  • in a card board box.

Nothing fancy. No frills. Just a rifle. Nothing extra.

I mentioned she wanted a muzzle break. This was a make it or break it requirement. And it wasn’t just a muzzle break, it was a “removable” muzzle break. Mainly because I had already started the process of obtaining a silencer for my hunting rifle and she wanted a can for herself.

Needless to say the Kimber rifle hit all of the desired qualities. It was chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor. It was light. It had a removable muzzle break. And as such, we purchased it.

Out of the box, the rifle isn’t range or field ready. It doesn’t come stock with any sights or optics. It goes without saying, that needs to be addressed. This rifle was outfitted with a Vortex Diamondback 3.5-10×50 scope and a sling.

At the range, the rifle is a dream come true. The rifle was a nail driver. Regardless of the ammunition it was fed, it was easy to achieve sub-MOA groups. Of course, this implies that the shooter was doing their part and minimizing their contribution to the rifles accuracy.

After the first range trip, we did run into a small issue where the muzzle break was seized in place. A call to Kimber America resulted in a purchase for a muzzle break removal tool (which we paid for). Even with the tool, which was just a metal rod with a key ring, the muzzle break would not budge. After a second call, the rifle was shipped back to Kimber so they could remove the muzzle break and it was shipped back in less than two weeks. Not sure if they did anything more to it, but since that day the muzzle break has not seized even after several subsequent range trips.

At this point, we believe the rifle is field ready. But it’s yet to be taken out to field. When it is, I’m certain I’ll publish another post about it.

Generally speaking, I try to suggest who or why I would recommend a firearm at the end of a first impressions review like this one. But I’m struggling with it. There are a lot of things I like about this rifle: it’s light, easy to shoot, accurate, and the manufacturer stands behind it. On the other hand, there are a few things that are making me hesitate like:

  • I can’t load it rifle with a full magazine plus one in the chamber. Not a huge deal, but this might turn some people off.
  • The bolt (pictured above) uses an external extractor design. Not a big deal, but I don’t see many bolt-action rifles using this design which makes me pause. Also, this means the rod guide that I use for other bolt-actions chambered for same caliber cartridges doesn’t fit and I’ve yet to find one that does.
  • For the price, it’s an excellent rifle but there are others available as well.

Take that for what it’s worth. I do think this rifle is great option for anyone who is looking for light, accurate, and easy to shoot bolt-action hunting rifle with a removable muzzle break. It’s not quite an entry level rifle due to it’s price point, but it performs well compared to similarly featured and priced (and even more expensive) rifles. If that’s what you are looking for and the things that make me hesitate on recommending it don’t cause you to pause, then I will recommended this rifle to you.

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