Kimber Montana in 270wsm needs help.
I've been having issues with my Kimber and looking on-line for some direction I found a lot of discussion on this site so I decided to post to see if anyone can offer some advise or a direction to take.
First let me say that I'm not trying to start a debate on Kimberís inherent accuracy or inaccuracy. Mine unfortunately appears to be the latter. I know other guyís who own extremely accurate Kimbers and they are deservedly very happy with them. I, however, am not.
No matter what I do, the rifle just doesnít want to shoot well. The best Iíve been able to achieve is about 1.5"- 1.75Ē groups at 100 yards. (Kimber support says that's within their accepable range)
To attempt to improve the groups here's what Iíve done so far:
∑ Iíve re-crowned the barrel
∑ Iíve ensured the barrel is completely floated
∑ Iíve verified the pillar bedded receiver is tightened to factory recommended torque level
∑ Iíve tried a variety of bullets from 110 grains to 150 grains
∑ Iíve tried both factory and hand loaded ammo
∑ On hand loaded ammo Iíve played with different powders and seating depths
∑ In desperation, I have even tried using one of those harmonic donuts
Nothing has worked.
I have owned the gun for 3 years now and Iím having a terrible time trying to decide what to do with it. I really like the feel of the gun Ė action is smooth, feeds well and simply fits very comfortably. Here what I think my options are:
∑ Give up and dump the gun
∑ Have the gunís action blue printed
∑ Re-barrel the gun
∑ Blue print and re-barrel the gun
If I didnít like the way the gun feels the first option would be a no brainer but since it does and since Iíve already dumped a lot of time and money into the gun I would always wonder what ifÖ
So any recommendations?
Thanks for the help.
Lap the barrel and see what that gets ya.
Not questioning your care of firearms, but are you sure the barrel is clean? Like, really, really, as clean as it came from the rifling shop clean? If not, start there with an aggressive copper solvent, then work a carbon solvent, followed by another copper solvent. I say this only because it's the biggest accuracy robbing problem for almost 99% of the shooting world. Even if you think it's clean, clean it again...it's cheap, easy, and good for the gun
Moving on...When you're done cleaning, double check all your scope mounts and rings. Ensure nothing has slipped or is loose. If all checks out, and the gun is truly clean, (now is a good time to clean it again) see if you can swap the scope with a friend to see if it's the culprit. There's usually nothing more than a bow-spring in there holding the reticle against the adjustment dials and they sometime fatigue or break. More rare, but still possible, is the shifting of an internal lens.
If you still can't get it to shoot, I'd run it to a gunshop for a look down the bbl with a borescope. If the borescope doesn't show any problems, I'd trade it in for a Sako and live happily ever after
You can continue to play with that one till the cows come home to roost, and I doubt you will ever achieve more than 1.5" with a Kimber Montana shooting a .270 wsm
I have been playing with a montana for a little while and have been able to get inch groups.
Had to send it back to the factory to get a stock replacement and it came back with a new stock that had the little button barrel pressure thing on the end of the fore arm. I have heard of this occasionally as a last resort resort when pushing for greater accuracy.
Not sure if this is advised or even works but I can't tell you how many times I have heard of this from more experienced folks. I haven't shot my Kimber since it came back so i can't tell if it helped yet.
Dump the rifle and move on. That what I did with my 270 WSM Montana. I traded it for a new Winchester model 70 that shoots tight groups and I could not be happier.
You can't make a silk purse from a sows ear. I think that it is pretty clear that I am no longer a Kimber fan boy.
Lapping that barrel will get you nothing but a sore elbow in my experiance. Had one in the shop same accuracy as yours, if you can call it accurracy. Anyway, lapped the **** thing for what felt like an eternity, checked the bore and if that is what it looked like after some pretty vigorus lapping I'd hate to see what Kimber calls a rough bore. It looked like a washboard all the way down, the only part that was remotely near smooth was the chamber.
It seems it's feast or famine with Kimber and it looks as though your potatoes have wilted my friend. I'd say dump the pig.
Thanks for the replys
I will try a pressure pad that's a good thought.
I work hard to keep my guns clean and the odd this is this gun seems to shoot better after about 10 rounds down the tube. When cleaned the first 5 shots are anyones guess.
I would put some kind of shim in the forend, shoot it with some up-pressure. If It didnt shoot, I would unload or rebarrel. Seems, most of the folks with sick kimbers have made them well again by rebarreling. Or you could just get a new M70 like already suggested
Unless you are shooting animals smaller than deer at distances over 300 yards your rifle will do anything you want it to do.
Way to many people are hung up on the fact every rifle should shoot under MOA from a bench rest. Your rifle can shoot under 6 inch groups at 300 yards which roughly means it will shoot within 3 inches of where you are aiming. I take the approach your rifle is capable of shooting better than you under field conditions and since you like the rifle, the action, the fit, etc keep it and enjoy it. Relax, enjoy the rifle that fits you and practice being deadly with it
After owning a couple of Montana's and not being pleased with them for various reasons I gave up as they were simply not worth the money. But it sounds like your rifle really fits you and as long as it feeds and ejects good I would keep it.
I do understand and support your request for a more accurate rifle but for big game in Alaska it simply isnt needed.
That sounds to me like a really rough bore. When you put rounds through it, it smooths the deep spots which help accuracy a bit. Of course it also puts fouling in the smooth spots, which hurts accuracy. I'd run a borescope and see what it looks like. This thread isn't the first time I've heard Kimber bores referred to as washboards, so there's a pretty good chance you've identified your problem.
Originally Posted by scoutm
If you really like the rifle, you can re-bbl with a Hart or Douglas for less than $400. Lilja and Kreiger are a bit pricier, but you could get a 28" Lilja and really work the top end of performace from that fat WSM case. On the other hand, Snowwolfe has a valid point: How good is good enough? If you're not shooting blacktail at 600yds or planning a once in a lifetime sheep or goat hunt, you don't really need to worry about it.
The primary purspose of the gun is Coues Whitetail in AZ and Antelope wherever I can get a tag so the targets are small and the average shots are 250 yrds+. I regularly practice out past 500 yards in field type situations even though I probably would never take that long of a shot. It would however be nice to have confidence in the rifle at that range and right know I just don't.
Thanks again for the recommendations.
Good advice so far...
You've gotten good advice so far, and I agree 100% with Diesel Nut.
Question is to keep, or not to keep... Well if you decide to keep here's my two cents worth:
I've had a total of three Kimbers and none of them shot MOA early on. One I sent back to the factory and still didn't consider it MOA when returned, but they considered it "acceptable". I gave up on it too soon and sold it at a pretty good loss. The second one I traded away before I had it shooting MOA, but I was almost there. I am confident I could have gotten it to MOA, but it would have took about 150 rounds based on how it was shooting at around 100 when I got rid of it.
I still have the third one (and always will have it!) it shoots sub-MOA with most handloads, and Hornady Light Mag factory.
Here is the Reader's Digest version of what I learned:
Barrel break-in and cleaning is VERY important for these rifles, more so than I've seen with other brands. Accuracy improved after 50 round break in and really started to improve around 100 rounds passed through the tube. It seems you have to be patient with Kimber's.
Like you, I was so impressed with fit and function of the rifle I was intent on getting one to shoot at least certain bullets MOA or better. Three rifles later, I've got one that will!
Knowing what I know now, here is what I would do now if I were to buy another one: Do the Lilja 50 round break in procedure and then document how it shoots a few loads, and then use the Tubb Final Finish system on it. Shoot the same recipe as the documented loads and compare. For final tweaking, I would play with action screw torque. Save fore pressure and re-crown for last resort.
Granted, that is a lot of elbow grease and rounds down range to make a rifle that costs over a grand shoot... But if you must have a Kimber that shoots...
I really, really like mine and enjoy it. It has all the things I like and require of a rifle fit and function wise and it shoots many types and weights of bullets to almost same point of impact. It's a keeper! It was worth the time and money and boy have I bonded with that rifle! The sad fact is that I have seen many other rifles (not Kimbers) shoot well right out of the box and many didn't cost as much.
Give us an update on what you do and how it turns out. Good luck on getting it right sooner than later!
Also, IMO, super lightweight rifles are more finiky and harder to get to shoot well than standard sporter weights. In Kimber's defense, you don't get much lighter than a Montana.
Last edited by Ozarks; 08-02-2009 at 19:36.
Reason: added comment
Originally Posted by Ozarks
Thanks for the great advise. I did do a break in of 40 rounds - cleaning after every round for 20 and then cleaning after every 2nd round for the next twenty. I haven't been very good at a keeping count on how many I have down the tube but it's got to be between 150 and 200 rounds at this point. I'll trying being a little more pateint and see what the next 100 do.
Apply upward pressure first.
Put a 2-3 layers of 1/2" long Gorilla tape in the tip of the stock first. The upward pressure has dramatically shrunk groups for me. The other thing that is working better is not cleaning the PI$$ out of it after every 3-5 shots...
it sounds like you have tried most everything...here's a cheap fix for you.
in my experience shooting my kimbers, and titanium remingtons required a different approach to my bench technique.
because of the extremely fast recoil momentum, my rifles shoot (much) better when i HOLD them rather than let them "free recoil". this didn't take long to learn and improved my groups considerably.
as i shoot with a sling, practice with that is important also.
+1 for hand holding..
My winnie mod 70's (a fwt & a sporter mag) both shoot better groups if my hand is between the stock and the bag/rest.
I lay my index finger on the bag, lay the rifle on my finger and wiggle things around until it's nice and steady. I have no idea why it works as the rifle is still in contact with the bag(s), but both of them go from just over 1" laying on the bags to under 1/2" groups with flesh contact.
Hope this helps a bit. It does put a smile on your face to snuggle in, lay down clover leafs and watch the jaws drop around you.
You got two choices.
1. Live with it as is. An inch and a half gun will hit the vital zone out to 400 yards on a calm day. A gun that shoots half inch groups will not hit that 400 yard vital zone in a 15 mph breeze. Kill some stuff with it and your confidence in it will go way up.
2. Rebarrel it. Montana Rifleman will do it in the exact same contour as the factory barrel and it will come back lapped and squared and ready to drop back in the stock. The last one they did for me was around $500. If you trade the gun your probably going to be pulling the plug on that much money anyway. The word is out on the Kimbers and their trade in value has dropped conciderably in light of all of the bad press.
If it were mine, I'd just use it as is. I would bet that 90% of the game that I have killed was shot with guns that would do no better than an inch and a half. My umber 1 all time favorite coyote gun is an old tang safety Ruger 243 and it has never shot better than your rifle. It has killed hundreds of coyotes over the last 30 years and none of them were the wiser!
I have a Montana in 308 and another in 243. My experience is like many here - it's not a sub moa gun.
The 308 initially shot about 1.5 moa, then after maybe 75 rounds settled in to about 1.25 moa with federal 168 gr match ammo. I'm convinced with some load development work I can get it down to 1 moa. Not sure that I care to do it though. It kills deer just fine. I'll save the load development work for a real target gun.
Also I'm convinced that the POI moves up a bit with a hot bbl. I will often have the first 2 shots almost touching and the third offset above opening the group to over 1" at 100.
I have been too lazy to fully cool the bbl between shots to see what it can really do with three "first shots". My range time is too limited for that experiment.
The 243 will just do 1 moa with good factory ammo. My 13 YO son was able to print hand sized groups at 200 with it. That'll hunt.
Both have great triggers, great ergonomics, easy to carry all day, don't get scratched up dragging through brush, rain, etc. They have a purpose, but they're not for Palma matches. Haven't had to shoot anything over 200 yds yet with 'em, and where I hunt, I don't expect to.
Don't overclean. It'll set you back. Swab with Hoppes and call it good.
Other than the so-so accuracy, I liked them so much that I bought a wood stocked 84 in 308 and one in 300 wsm. I'm a sucker for good furniture. Haven't had time to shake them out yet though. I have a sneaking suspicion that the 300 wsm was a mistake. We'll see.
I have had a few friends ask me about the guns and I've told them that the accuracy was mediocre. In a couple of cases it has prevented them from purchasing. Kimber would do well to remedy the problem.