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Thread: Kimber Montana or Browning X-Bolt?

  1. #1

    Default Kimber Montana or Browning X-Bolt?

    I'm sold on the 325 WSM as an all round hunting rifle. I recently owned a Kimber Montana in 325, but sold it because of bolt bind. This is because of the design. If you lift up on the bolt while quick cycling, the bolt binds. I've asked enough Montana owners to know they're all this way. I even had a Smith look at it and said there was nothing to be done about the binding, and said one just had to remember not to lift up on the bolt while cycling.

    OK, I can train for that... but, because the Montana has a long degree throw, there's not that much room between the scope and the handle- so quick cycling a second round got just that more complicated. Plus on the Montana the scope has to be mounted a bit higher and I prefer lower mounted scopes. So in haste I sold the rifle... but now sort of regret it and feel perhaps I should have put up with these negatives. I really liked how light the rifle was, how well it shot and felt in my hands.

    Well, I have a lead on another Montana 325. But I'm kind of torn between the Montana and a Stainless 325 Browning X-Bolt. The Montana is semi-custom, the Browning all factory. The Browning weighs a bit more- 5 to 6 ounces I think, (which means I can use a heavier scope on the Montana and still keep things lighter). When I read X-Bolt reviews most are very good and this factory gun seems like it's just right from the factory. I like the short 60 degree bolt lift, the box magazine, the 23 inch barrel... of the X-Bolt. But the X-bolt is a bit heavier- no big and I could carry a 10lb gun all day... it's just a heavy gun is more noticeable, where with a lighter rifle I pay more attention to the hunt. On the other hand I do not like Fly-Weight rifles either. 7 to 7.5lbs seems just right to me.

    Both the Montana and X-Bolt are priced alike. With the Montana I feel like I'm getting more of a custom job at a bargain. With the X-Bolt a modern factory gun that most likely cycles rounds better than the Montana. I doubt either would be a mistake and I'm leaning towards the Browning. But dang... the Montana keeps calling!

    All thoughts to help me decide is much appreciated. Over the years I've hunted with most rounds- my favorites being 338 WM, 300 WM and 375 H&H. For my hunting interests I have the idea a 325 would do it all from deer to Moose out to 400 yards... but in a handy lighter package.

  2. #2
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    go with the x-bolt. have 1 and it works with no problems. put on a ziess conquest 3x9 scope on it. bought 5 boxes of 220 grains for it. will not tolerate problematic guns, there are enough good firearms out there, do the research on the net as it can confirm any problems with the gun you are interested in getting.

  3. #3
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've now had both....

    The .270 X Bolt I just got was the easiest gun I've ever had to get to shoot well. Literally. Round 1 was a sighter...adjust the windage and elevation and rounds 2,3,4 went in the a 3/4" group 2.5" high at 100. Shot a 1.25" group at 200 and a 3" group at 300. Ready to hunt in half a box of ammo. Doesn't get much easier.

    I've had a couple Montanas that shot pretty well but both were way harder to get that way than the Browning and harder to shoot well.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  4. #4
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    I have owned and worked with several Montana's and 2 Abolt 325 WSM's - I originally went with the Kimbers because of the blind box (but I'm OVER that by now) go with the XBolt for sure !! Miroku of Japan has got it down on Browning rifles and I've not heard of any in the past 5 years that are not IMPRESSIVE shooters - Kimber, on the other hand, has one of the most abysmal CS AND QC reps out there .......

  5. #5
    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    I would go with the Browning; or any other make of rifle really. I'm not much of a fan of Kimbers...seem to be consistently inaccurate and hard to dial in out of the box.

  6. #6
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    group1.jpg

    Just because I love this photo...shots 2,3,4.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  7. #7
    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    I have a Montana in 270wsm and a Browning Titanium in 325wsm. The finish on the Montana is cleaner with smoother edges. That's the only advantage the Montana has over the Browning. The Montana is finicky with ammo and doesn't cycle smoothly. Mine went back to Kimber once to fix feeding issues and was nothing but a headache to get a round that shot well in it. The Browning on the other hand cycles nicely and was a breeze to dial in with my handloads.

    I would never buy a Montana in a short mag caliber again! Standard cartridge yes, short mag no. Just seems like Kimber can't figure out how to get the short mags to operate smoothly.

    The Browning A-bolt Titanium in 325wsm is my favorite gun in the safe. From the reviews I've read the X-bolt is even better.

  8. #8

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    Just a one off...but the 84M 308 I had just never lived up to my expectations.

    Maybe my expectations were too high, but as reasonably expensive rifles go, Kimber is not on my list of "let's give one a second try".

  9. #9

    Default Made a Decision...

    I went for a used Kimber 325 WSM with Leupold VXIII 2.5-8 off GB. I know I may be taking a chance, but this rifle has been hunted... so I'm hoping an indication it must be OK. If not, I'll do what's needed to make it good.

    This was a difficult choice between the Kimber and Browning stainless X-Bolt. I was even wondering if I should hold out for a 325 Browning Titanium? Only around $1,600 when they come up! Then my local gun shop actually has a Remington 600 in 350 Mag- and I was agonizing over that. I could just picture myself shooting 225 Noslers! I was also thinking 338 Win too!

    But I'm good with the Montana because it's light, has quality stock, control round feed, manual extractor and the bolt is easily field-stripped if required. I also noticed Kimber is no longer chambering the 325 in the Montana. So they might be harder to find? Plus I have 7 boxes of 325.

    I have a beautiful semi-custom Rem 700 stainless in 300 Win. It's got a Brown stock, Timney, Speedlock pin, light aluminum shroud and trigger guard. Weight- 6lbs, 7oz and well balanced. I do like the 300 very much and it's my 400-500 yard gun. I've hunted with many calibers and returned full circle to the 300. But my experience says the 338 Win is a better Elk/Moose round. Yes the 300 is good, but the 338 just hits with more authority! Yet my 300 can do most of my hunting.

    So, while the 325 WSM is close to the 300 WM, when I read between the lines the 325 hits more like the 338. So the lightweight Montana 325 appeals to me very much. But since I have the 300 to cover longer shots, I'm thinking of cutting the Montana barrel from 24 to 22/21 inches- just to make it a little more handy and to have a slightly thicker barrel at the muzzle. I think of the Montana as my to 250/300 yard moose/elk gun.

  10. #10
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    My x bolt in 308 is a tack driver, smooth and just feels great. Mine also sighted in really easy and has stayed zeroed perrrrfectly. I put a Lupy 2x7 and its a very comfee rig to tote round, no bad points I can come up with...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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