"Poor Mans" Kimber Mountain Ascent
Ever since I first saw the Kimber Mountain Ascent Rifle at this years SHOT Show in January, I wanted to see if I could do exactly what the Kimber factory was trying to do, in my own way. I liked how Kimber was thinking outside the box with some of the weight saving ideas they did to the Montana, but I certainly did not like the color choice, and their idea of fluting IMO they needed to go back to the design board. They fluted it only about 10" and used only 4 flutes, it really looked odd. Then they spiral fluted the bolt body and fluted the bolt handle, again like their way of thinking, but IMO it looked terrible. And we all know if a gun does not look "cool" it ain't going to kill as good as a "cool" looking rifle.
Then the other thing the price, and we all know of the issues Kimber has for getting their products out to the general public. The sales rep and product engineer from Kimber both told me, mid to late summer before any Ascents will be available to the public. Little late I thought for the sheep and goat seasons here in Alaska.......especially if you plan on working up a decent load and getting a good feel for the rifle. Not to mention a Leupold custom CDS dial for it.
So I decided to do this myself, with the main idea of getting at or below the Kimbers Ascent Model rifles weight and to save a decent amount of money. So I bought two of the Kimber 84L Montana's, one in 25/06 and the other in 280 AI. Here is what I started with on weight:
25/06 was 5lbs 10.5oz
280 AI was 5lbs 9.5oz
Here is what I did to both:
Re-crowed the barrel with an 11 degree (similar to the factory Kimber crown), I took off only 1/32" of the barrel, I wanted to keep the rifle ballisticly the same as the Ascent model
Fluted the barrels with 6ea flutes starting 5.0" from the recoil lug face and ending 3.0" from the new finished crown. Both rifles flutes are .120" wide but the 25/06 Montana is .045" deep, and the 280 AI is .035" deep. I did this due to the larger bore and less steel in the 280 AI Montana.
Rifles now weigh:
25/06 5lbs 8oz
280 AI 5lbs 7.5oz
I purchased an aluminum trigger guard for both rifles from Kevin Weaver out of Peyton CO (Thanks Luke for the tip on this one). These are an exact match of the factory except for weight. The factory weighs 2.5oz and the aluminum weighs 7/8oz. I also made an exact copy of the steel bolt handle out of aluminum years back. It has a steel threaded insert. The factory bolt handle weighs 1.5oz and my aluminum bolt handle weighs 1/2oz
With all above items on the rifle here are the final weights:
25/06 5lbs 5 3/8oz
280 AI 5lbs 4 3/8oz
What did this cost? Well I did the fluting and I made the bolt handles, but most places would charge the following:
Same fluting will cost about $225 plus shipping
Bolt Handle will cost $50 plus shipping
Aluminum trigger guard that Kevin Weaver sells is $55 plus shipping
Total savings is about $350 over a Kimber Moutain Ascent, but without the extended wait time, and more caliber availability going this route. And my main reason, the fluting and color choice are what I THINK LOOK GOOD. Anyways thought this was an interesting project and wanted to share my results. This is a very easy rifle project for those considering a Mountain Ascent but don't want to wait the time it takes Kimber to get them out. Not to mention the cost savings.
Here are some more photos of the fluting
And a couple more photos!!!
Here is another fluting close up and weights of aftermarket parts.
Last photo of the bolt handle on the scale.
Great job...thanks for sharing.
I'm going to be shaving some weight off of my Rem 700 KS 280ai...
Can I flute the #1 contour mountain barrel with no problems other than maybe a hot barrel with repeated shots?
edit>> on second thought the brux barrel might be slightly larger than a #1....
To answer your question, yes you can flute those Remington Mtn rifle contours, but you need to be real involved with your gunsmith when getting this done. Again, like I fluted my Kimbers (which are real close to a Remington Mtn Rifle Contour) depth, width and number of flutes are real important with light contours. I would go no more then what I did on this particular build. With a .284 bore diameter, 6 flutes, .120" wide and no more then .035" in depth. Lay out your fluting job, before requesting work. First thing take your muzzle diameter "x" pie will give you the total surface area at the muzzle. Then multiply your number of flutes by the width of them, then minus that from your total surface area of the muzzle. I normally like a little more surface area that is not fluted then fluted, but that is just me.
Brux barrels and Krieger barrels are my favorite cut rifled barrels, (lately leaning towards Brux), you may already know this, but neither company will build a stainless steel barrel below a number 3 or number 4 in .284 diameter. Only chrome molly barrels in the very light contours. This is the number one reason I use Lilja barrels for my ultra light builds, as far as I am concerned they are the very best pull buttoned rifled barrels out there.
Anyways post your results after your build is complete. Take care
Wow, nice job sheep hunter that looks great. Thanks to fullkurl I have a Kimber 280 coming an now I already have some mods to be thinking about. Looks like fun!
Appreciate the compliment, I just wanted to get people thinking what is possible, this is the reason I put this up on this site. So much attention was focused on what Kimber did to make the Mt Ascent, and like I said, I liked their thinking on ways to shave oz's off their Montana's, but I thought they should have gone about it a little different. I definitely did not like the Opti Fade camo they put on the stock (I personally like it on all my Sitka outdooor clothing, but on a stock, not at all!!). What I did to these two Montana's also is a great option for those not wanting to wait, and I can't stress this enough, this was a very, very easy gunsmithing job. Just be very involved with your gunsmith if you chose to flute the barrel on your 280 AI. Use the exact dimensions I previously posted, that is about as much metal as you should remove from these thin barreled rifles.
My pictures show my rifle (I only photoed my 25/06) in kinda of an unfinished look (both rifles look the exact same presently). I am applying a titanium color Cerakote to all the metal, it is a full stainless rifle and does not need it technically, but when you cut into the barrel for fluting, you get a mismatched steel look. I also turned off the "proof" mark on the barrel shank on the left side of the rifle just in-front of the recoil lug face, so I will be doing a classy cartridge engraving between the end of the flutes and the recoil lug face, just above the stock forarm. Also the aluminum parts have a very shiny look to them, but when Cerakote is applied, you can't tell the difference from one type of metal to the other.
Before I apply the Cerakote, I bead blast all the metal surfaces with an aluminum oxide material, once finished this gives a kinda matte satin look with the titanium color coating. It looks a little darker then the factory Kimber stainless finish that comes on all the Montana's, but a heck of a lot nicer then the coating Kimber applied to the Mt Ascent. The Mt Ascent literally looks like a semi gloss grey Krylon paint color. Not my first choice for a $2000+ rifle.
Anyway, if you decide to finish your rifle and need gunsmith suggestions, let me know. Good luck on your project, take care
Sheephunter, thanks again for the great info!
I may well decide to go for the barrel fluting and perhaps skeletonizing the action and fluting the bolt as well. The aluminum bolt handle and trigger guard at that price are no-brainers! I am curious why you changed the crown profile? Also would love to find out how she shoots after the work?
Nice changes and a very detailed writeup thanks for sharing!
Yup....nice write up!
I justed picked up two kimber 84L's in 280AI for my two sons!....they are a very nice feeling gun rifle sure.."Light done right"
Hmmmm, I didn't know they also make the 84L in 25-06...I might have to slick one up, flut, A.I. and rock on!
Nice work SheephunterAlaska. Cool rifles for sure!!! But now you done ticked off 323 being forced to open this thread about lightweight sheep hunting gear and then complain about having to read it....
Anytime I use a factory barrel, I ALWAYS re-crown the barrel. Very easy to chuck up the barrel in the lathe and cheap insurance. You never know where the rifle you have was on the assembly line (how many crowns had been cut previous to your particular rifle) before sharpening was done on the cutter. I like in particular an 11 degree STEP Crown, but did not use that on these factory rifles, and left it the original style of just an 11 degree. A good sharp crown is so important to good accuracy. I will let you know how they shoot. I would expect .75 - 1.25 MOA from these two rifles, that is what my factory barreled/re-bedded action Montana's have done in the past. I can keep these light barrels under .75" MOA if I use the same contour/fluting but use a Lilja, Brux or Krieger barrel.
Originally Posted by LuJon
Good post steve...awsome details and information