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Thread: My "Pre Owned" Kimber Montana 325 WSM

  1. #1

    Default My "Pre Owned" Kimber Montana 325 WSM

    I wanted something different and in my search for the ultimate NA big game rifle, a used but described as "Pre Owned" Kimber Montana in 325 WSM caught my eye for sale on GB. I simply could not resist as the photos of this rifle called out to me. So it spoke to me, even though I hate muzzle brakes. Yes it has one and I intend to have it removed... perhaps?

    This 325 does not look like it has been shot much, but it has been hunted and has the beauty marks to prove it! Marks of character and it was also described as "Used but not abused". I like it! More than I thought I would. I've had light rifles built around standard Rem 700 actions, like a Classic in 375 H&H with Brown Precision stock. I've also owned a few semi-custom jobs and am somewhat picky when it comes to my rifles. I'm never 100% happy with any factory gun and have always thought things like... if I could only put this trigger on that action... I have a couple Tikka stainless T3's. Nice guns but I do not like the safety and a few other things. I can live with that small stuff on a T3. I've never sprung for the $3,000 and up rifles, like the very nice Forbes NUA's.

    But with this Montana, I'm having a tough time finding something that I do not like about it, except perhaps the brake? OK, I'll try hard... perhaps the trigger should have been a Winchester style for cold weather hunting? Or, the stock might slick-up when wet? On one of these forums I read a fellow thought the Montana looked like a toy gun. I see nothing but 100% quality, the best production rifle I've ever owned! It just feels right, not too heavy- not too light. I do not like hunting with heavy rifles. Yes I can carry them all day, but their weight distracts me from the hunt, especially while still hunting. I should have bought a Montana years ago and sure hope this one shoots!

    I have some questions and appreciate all advice here:

    1, What are the inch pounds to torque the action screws?
    2, The rifle came with Leupold PRW bases. Should I stick with those? I was thinking about a Game Reaper 1 piece mount instead?
    3, OMG, what scope to use? I was favoring either a Leupold 1.5-5X, their 4X, or 2-7X. I've shot most of my big game on 4X... even some very long shots and that power seemed fine. Only not that great at the range. I do have a new Bushnell Elite 3-9X40 with RainGuard. On my scale it weighs 14 oz, so it is heavier than my other choices. I took a photo of it lying above the action to get an idea for looks. Is this too much scope for the gun? I could mount it on another rifle I originally bought it for. I'm leaning towards the 2-7, but sure like the idea of RG!
    4, I see factory Nosler and Winchester both load 2 very different 200gr 325 Accubonds. Who actually ownes the name? I'll see if my Montana likes factory fodder first.

    I'll be using this Montana here in Washington State for Elk, bear... but also in Alaska and Canada for Moose.
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  2. #2
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    If you do a search here, you'll see your gun is pretty popular. I have one in 300 WM. Besides getting rid of the muzzle brake, I would use Talley light weight scope rings (they are integral base and ring units made of alloy aluminum). Also, check the trigger weight. Kimber sets theirs at 4 pounds, I like mine a bit lighter. Great guns and a great caliber.

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    What GD Yankee said is a very good start on tweaking a Kimber Montana, especially losing the muzzle brake. I would also recommend the Talley light weight scope mounting system. The trigger on mine is now set at 3 pounds and it works for me. Might or might not for you. Skim bedding is another suggestion that has given good results with a Montana.

    The chart that came with my Wheeler Fat Wrench says that "wood, fiberglass, or synthetic stocks WITHOUT bedding pillars" should be torqued to 40 inch pounds.

    Good luck with the Pre Owned Kimber. It should be a lot of fun.
    NRA Life Member since 1974

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    Accubond bullets are Nosler bullets. Winchester puts a spin on it and calls it a combined technologies bullet (Accubond CT). Winchester coats the bullets with Lubalox and puts a red tip on the end but they begin life as a Nosler bullet. I couldn't tell you if the 2 perform any differently as I have always used the Winchester loads. Try the Winchester XP3 200gr bullets too if your looking to see what your rifle likes. For all my rifles the coated bullets just seem to out group the non coated ones.

    Good Luck!
    John
    Life is too important to be taken seriously.

    Chinese proverb

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Nice rifle!

    As mentioned- I'd lose the brake. Not required for the .325. I like the WSM cartridges very much and I think the .325 is the best of the bunch. When the barrel on my .300WSM goes it will come back to life as a .325.

    A fixed 4x or 6x in Talleys would be superb in my book- although I prefer the steel vertical split rings to the LW. I've had great results from the Accubond bullet on both paper and critters. I prefer the Nosler version over the moly coated Winchester one.

    Don't overlook Nosler's "Trophy Grade" ammunition if you can find it... my rifle is scary accurate with it.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    FYI - the "lubalox" bullet coating has had some reported accumulation troubles, it is not "moly"

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    That's the first I've heard of that. Not to highjack this thread but would you care to expand on that?
    Just curious.

    Thanks!
    John
    Life is too important to be taken seriously.

    Chinese proverb

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    one of the guys at the Nosler pro shop told me that (in a low voice) don't know anymore about it because I don't use them ... sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    one of the guys at the Nosler pro shop told me that (in a low voice) don't know anymore about it because I don't use them ... sorry
    Interesting.

    Thanks,
    John
    Life is too important to be taken seriously.

    Chinese proverb

  10. #10

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    Lots of good info here- thanks! I'll shoot this Montana first with the brake on. I want to see how loud it is. My guess- too loud! Good money was paid for the brake... too bad! I do not see this Kimber as my Mountain Rifle, but rather as a do-all gun. The lighter weight is nice, but I feel a Mountain Rifle should be even lighter along with a flatter shooting caliber, like 7 Mag, 300 Ultra...

    As an all-around rifle I'm not concerned about every ounce on this 325. But I should keep accessory choices light. I'm going to mount a Leupold scope, because they are lighter in general and their 2-7X may be a good compromise. I do like the Talley 1 piece rings, and those are certainly made for light rifles! Though, I'm leaning towards the DNZ mount in camo... (to help the rifle stand out a bit). I just received their mount for an A-Bolt project, and it is light and looks strong! Plus with the DNZ there is no need to lap rings. Which I normally do. Chopping the brake will reduce weight a bit.

    The trigger pull has been adjusted light and I would not want it any lighter! This is not a target gun. I still expect decent hunting accuracy, and the 40 inch pounds on the action screws is a good starting point. I will try calling Kimber and see what they say, as I once cracked a Lone Wolf stock with too many pounds. (will post if Kimber answers) I wonder how many rifles in the field suffer poor accuracy, because screws are loose or too tight? I always experiment a bit with such things. I also set all scope mount screws to inch pound specs. What's nice with the DNZ mount is, they give you the specific inch pounds to use. I'm not an "Accuracy Freak", but do like to make sure there is a foundation for hunting accuracy.

    Thanks for pointing out the Accubond mystery... Combined Technology... Duh! Must have been sleeping on that one!

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    as far as "inch lbs" of stock screw torque, when a stock is pillar bedded it should not matter (in general) since the screws bottom out metal on metal - "rule of thumb" is 60 in. lbs. on the recoil lug and to whatever still allows the bolt to slide freely at the tang I believe - I use both the DNZ and Talley and neither will need lapping IME - the difference in weight between a Leupold 2x7 & 2.5x8 is a couple of ounces and ALOT of optical quality (YOU be the judge) - "IF" you get a 325 WSM load to shoot at near optimal velocity with a good 200 grain bullet in the 325 you'll not be enough closer to "dead on" with any other cartridge(when zero'd at 200 or 300)to not have to hold over and the 8mm will hit harder out to any range a hunter "should" be shooting at game - try to find a 300 RUM, 300 win mag, 340 wthby, yada yada that weighs anywhere NEAR what that Montana 325 weighs and let us know what you find .....and for what cost ...... you have a VERY nice hunting rifle in hand, see what she'll do

  12. #12

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    back country- thanks for the good tips. I will take a close look at the Leupold 2.5X8. But where does it end in the name of better optics?... might as well then check out the Swarovski 3-9X36... a fairly light 3X9. The Leupold 2X7 has a balanced look that I like on lighter guns.

    I guess a Mountain Rifle could be defined differently. To my mind a light rifle in a flat shooting round, like 7 Remington Mag, with 400 yards a long shot in possible windy conditions. Lots of rounds can do it, but my Mt. gun would also have to slice through a cross wind way out there. A combo of trajectory, cross wind and bullet/energy all in a lightweight shootable package. It does not have to be a fly-weight, but should be lighter than average. My local gun shop has a beautiful Rem 700 TI in 270 Win hanging on the wall and it just looks like a Mountain Rifle. If only I were in love with the 270! But interestingly the Hornady Superformance 270 130gr SST is listed at a MV of 3200 fps, with some 1650 engergy at 400 yards and a drop of 16.7 with 200 zero. Not too shabby for a standard round? Must recoil like a ***** cat! I weighed the camo TI several months ago and recall 6 and a few ounces. Plus it just felt right shouldered!

    The same brand 139 SST 7 Rem Mag exits the BBL at a listed 3240, with 1877 energy and 15.9 drop at 400. Their 150 GMX 300 Winchester Mag load hits 3400 fps, with 2043 energy and 15 inch drop at 400... not that is getting interesting, especially after reading the Superformance Tech Report!

    Obviously bigger rounds and specialty rifles will do better, but to me start to fall out of the realm of Mountain Rifle. Now were I after Mountain Grizz, the 325 Kimber sounds like a great choice. And for elk up higher too, right after the 338 Win/ 210 Nos combo! I'll have to study the 325 ballistics more... it's just after I chop the brake/threads, there will be a shorter barrel, guessing 22 inches- not exactly Mt. gun length? But perhaps this Kimber would serve well as a general Mountain piece? I also have my eye on a 338 Fed Montana at some 5lbs! A Mountain Rifle for sure, but a suitable Mt. cartridge?

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    as far as the comparisons on scopes goes, you have valid points - Differences between VX 2 and VX 3 ... argon filled in VX3, better coatings on VX3, better exterior protective coatings on VX3, smoother erector system on VX3, revamped interior engineering on VX3, yada yada yada - the European scope lines changed some things to appeal to the "Western" market with their transition to 1" tubes, those scopes are not the same as the "old heavy 30mm" ones
    If one is shopping for nirvanna in a mountain rifle (and doesn't or can't opt for a Forbes NULA) then "one" could do worse than a Kimber Montana 84L in .270, .280AI or even '06 - Rifle is an honest 5lb 10oz - a .284/140, to me, looks like a better option, something like an Accubond, ETip, Partition or even a Scirrocco II 150 (just MY H.O.) I have one in '06 sitting here that I will hopefully get to shoot this WE, examination of the rifle tells me that Kimber really wants them to be appreciated, good detail and the bore seems smoother than past ones I've had

  14. #14

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    what do you think of a Montana in 338 Federal as a nearly Do-All Rifle? The recent 338 Federal Article in the NRA rag got me all fired up on the round! I like the idea of possibly using the 210 NP for most everything within 300 yards. OK, shots may be limited to 300-350 yards as described in the article with some practice, but still pretty long? While hunting I've taken some longish shots, but most at BG have been under 200 yards. Plus the Kimber weighs around 5lbs! Seems like a Power House in that package? Wonder how the 338Fed would compare to a 30-06/308 Win in say a Kimber or Rem Ti for all-round use from bush to peaks?

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    I have owned 3 different Kimber 308's and they certainly ARE nice and lightweight and shooters generally speaking - the o nly real "limiting factor" with the 338 Federal would be case capacity in my estimation, the 338 caliber seems to do "things" that defy the "rules" though ..... I traded off my 308's for an 84L '06 and I will be wanting a Montana 7mm-08 as soon as humanly possible but "if" I were lucky enough to call AK my home rather than a hunting destination as a nonresident I would think the 338 Fed in a Kimber Montana would be my #1 priority with an 84L into a 338/06 a close second ....

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    I really like the .338Fed. and I think you'd could pretty well hunt the general run of game with it to reasonable distance.I probably wouldn't take one after a brown bear but anything else would be well within it's reach. I really like the 84M action and the Montana is a remarkably light rifle

    It's real similar to the .338x57 that O'Connor talked about and in my estimation- better due to better powders available today and much better bullet technology.

    Don't overlook the 180AB load...it flattens trajectory a bit at longer range and would be excellent on game at those speeds.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  17. #17

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    So, am I correct in thinking the 338 Federal Montana action is the same as my 325 WSM Montana? In that case the 338 Federal Montana must have a thinner barrel to make up for those 16 or so OZ less weight? Or is the 338 action smaller too?

    I removed the brake off my 325 and also the Leupold PWR bases last night and it weighs in 5 lb 14 oz on my electronic postal scale. I think my barrel is still over 23 inches. That's pretty light for a Magnum, and if I cut the brake threads off and swap out for a lighter bolt handle even lighter! The 325 feels light in the hand now! So I just have to wonder about... a 338 Fed Montana more than likely comes in under 5 lbs! My concern... is the barrel too "whippy"?

    I've owned in the past 2 Rem 700 early TIs- one in 06 and the other in 7-08. They weighed factory under 5.5 lbs each (the earlier guns), but I could not get them to shoot to my satisfaction and thought perhaps the barrels were too "whippy"? I had a case of light gunitis at the time, and even had the 06 restocked to an even lighter Lone Wolf stock! So is a 5 lb 338 Federal something to be concerned about in the accuracy department? Sure wish I could hold a 338 Montana- but then I'd more than likely own it!

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    the Kimber 84M is the short action version and is of a smaller slightly more petite scale - Next is the 84L for "standard" cartridge size/length yet still pretty darn "petite" (if ya ask me) - larger yet is the 8400 for the WSM family and the belted magnums - Kimber of America website has an easy to navigate fact page that gives very accurate details on weights, barrel lengths, etc .... Our 325 WSM Montana's weigh very close to 6lb 4oz w/o mounts and the 338win mag/ 300 win mag Montana's are approx 6lb 13oz out of the box - For the money AND "if" you get one that shoots, the Kimber Montana is a pretty good deal for a lightweight, well engineered and very well made rifle - I think Kimber is "trying hard" .....

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    I think Kimber is "trying hard" .....
    I tend to agree with that statement. From my very limited experience with Kimber rifles, the newer ones they are turning out are much better than the ones of a few years ago. It seems all of the quality control problems are being eliminated after tons of complaints falling on deaf ears for quite some time.

    Still a light rifle like the Kimber M and ML are more difficult to get good groups with than even slightly heavier rifles. Like other rifles, you can benefit from further tuning the factory rifle in several ways.
    NRA Life Member since 1974

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    I would definitely agree with that statement, "heavier rifles are easier to get good groups from" - The lightweight rifle trend has caused alot of frustration for ALOT of shooters, it is sometimes a challenge to squeeze that last bit of "benchrest type" accuracy from a light rifle (but Mel Forbes figured it out and has perfected it a long time ago) and if he can do it I can do it ........ I sure as heck like carrying 6 lbs rather than 8 1/2 !!

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