Kimber 84M Longmaster Classic Rifle in .308 Winchester
By J.D. Sliger
I wrote an article a couple of years ago reviewing the Weatherby Vanguard Special in .308 Winchester caliber and Guns and Shooting Online Managing Editor Chuck Hawks kindly included it on the Product Reviews page. Most of the reasons why I bought my first rifle apply to why I recently purchased my second rifle, a .308 Kimber 84M Longmaster Classic.
First, let me say that I really like the .308 Winchester as an all-around rifle caliber. I have friends who shoot magnum rifles, mostly in the .270 WSM and 7mm Rem. Magnum calibers. I do not hassle them too much about their choice in cartridges, but I do kid them a little bit! I am also not picking on those who choose to hunt with even more powerful calibers, such as the .300 Win. Mag. or the even deadlier .338 Win. Mag.
Speaking about deadly guns, this is a great place to begin the meat and bones of my article regarding my choice in rifle cartridges. Dead is dead. A deer, elk or moose hit in a vital area is dead whether it is shot with a .308 or a magnum. Is it not the point of hunting to kill our chosen game? Moreover, a deer, elk, or moose (the game that I primarily hunt) have an even better chance of reaching that "dead" state sooner with a .308 than with a .300 Magnum, as most people can shoot rifles that kick less more accurately. Many animals have been wounded and never recovered by hunters who have chosen powerful rifles that they could not shoot well.
Since bullet placement is the most crucial thing in killing an animal, it makes sense that most hunters should be hunting with standard calibers that they can shoot accurately, rather than magnums that they cannot. Some hunters swear that they can shoot their .300 Mags with precise accuracy and claim that they do not flinch when doing so. I have a friend like that. I cannot speak for all shooters, but I can say that my friend has fired a 3/4”, five shot group at 300 yards with his Savage .204 varmint rifle, but can barely shoot a 2” group at 100 yards with his .300 WSM, which I might add is also a Savage rifle.
My Kimber .308 Longmaster Classic weighs 7.5 pounds, the perfect weight for a hunting rifle, and has a heavy fluted barrel to boot. As I mentioned in my last article, an additional pound on a hunting rifle makes little difference when carrying it in the field, but makes the world of difference when shooting. A heavier rifle will kick significantly less than a lighter rifle and is more stable when off-hand shots are necessary. (I read a research paper regarding rifle weight and stability when shooting from the standing position, so this is not just my opinion, but an established fact.)
Most crucially, the Kimber .308 Longmaster Classic is made with the kind of attention to detail that I appreciate in a refined rifle. The rifle is made out of wood and steel, as all fine rifles should be. Let me give a little plug here for walnut stocks. The stock on my new Kimber is especially nice. It has superb feathering in the grain and is one of the nicest pieces of walnut I have seen on a production hunting rifle.
I appreciate a properly made synthetic stock, such as those on a Kimber Montana or a Weatherby Sub-MOA, which are made of fiberglass and graphite, as opposed to injection molded plastic. However, why should one pay as much money for a rifle with a plastic handle as for a nicely figured walnut stock? Would you choose a Buick Skylark over a Porsche if both were the same price? In my mind, that is what they call a "no brainer" and it is the same when it comes to walnut vs. plastic rifle stocks. I do not intend to paddle my canoe with my rifle, so a walnut stock is just as functional as a plastic stock and I enjoy holding and admiring it. You may not agree with all that I have said, but I trust that you can understand. Hunt well!
Note: Two full length reviews of the Kimber 84M Longmaster Classic can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2008 by J.D. Sliger. All rights reserved.