Problems with 84M Hunter
I just got a brand new Kimber 84M Hunter model chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor for Christmas. I finally got a chance to test fire it last week. This is my first Kimber rifle. It will probably be my last Kimber product ever. In fact, after trying this stuff I will most likely ditch this rifle and buy something else. I make that statement based on previous issues I had with Kimber about one of their pistols, but that is a different story. It wasn't my choice to buy this model in the first place and would not have been my first choice if it was up to me, but it was a present from my family who bought it without knowing any better. (So I may have to keep it so I don't hurt anybody's feelings).
While searching for a solution to some problems I encountered, I found this forum. I thought I would share my results and opinions about this rifle. My issues are not yet resolved as I haven't contacted Kimber about them yet but figured I might save someone some hassle by reporting my findings so nobody buys one of these without knowing.
After firing one box of ammo, I have found the following issues:
1. 3 shells barely fit in the clip.
2. If 3 shells are in the clip, it is really hard to insert it into the rifle with the bolt closed.
3. If 3 shells are in the clip, it is really hard to chamber the first round.
4. Inserting the shells in the clip "incorrectly" can result in an odd condition preventing 3 rounds from even being inserted.
5. The bolt has a separate problem causing it to stick while cycling it to chamber a round.
6. The ejected shells are flipping around and striking the action causing dented case mouths and marks on the metal.
7. The safety lever doesn't seem to work very well.
8. Accuracy seems to be so-so and not what I was expecting.
Those are the most serious of my complaints. In addition to those:
1. The stock color is horrible! Sort of a puke-green color.
2. The one-piece stock/trigger guard also looks tacky.
3. The butt pad seems cheap and feels like it is barely held-on.
4. The barrel is slightly off-center in the stock. It is visually too far to the left.
5. I don't personally like the "hook" shape of the trigger.
The good stuff?
1. It is very light weight.
2. It seems to handle nicely and point natural. The stock contours fit me well.
3. The trigger pull seems smooth with a crisp release.
4. The machine work is very nicely done.
Still reading? Here's the details:
There is something inherently wrong with the design.
1. Per the specs on the rifle, the clip is supposed to hold 3 rounds. And in fact it does….barely. 3 shells will just barely slip into it. There is almost no free-play and that third round is a bit of a chore to insert.
2. The tightness of the rounds in the clip is causing 2 issues. First, because there is no room to compress the shells further it is (very) hard to insert the clip into the rifle while the bolt is closed. Basically you are trying to compress the spring farther than it is free to go. It takes a goodly amount of squeeze to get it to insert and latch. Secondly, because of this tight compression on the shells in the clip, the first round to chamber is squeezed so tight it can't effectively slide out smoothly. When you start to close the bolt, the top shell moves forward about a quarter inch until the bullet contacts the feed ramp. At this point, practically the entire length of the shell body is still gripped by the lips of the clip. As the bullet starts to ride-up the feed ramp, the shell has nowhere to go except up, but because there is no room in the clip to pivot and allow the head to drop down a bit as the bullet end rises, the shell is forced vertically between the lips, essentially it is 'ripped' upwards, forcing the lips to open unnaturally as the shell squeezes between them (rather than sliding out the end) and the shell pops-out and is captured by the bolt. Note that this is NOT a smooth movement. It normally stops part-way requiring a very firm push to get it to release, or even a couple back-and-forth "bumps" with the bolt to get that first round out. This may also be causing some of the accuracy issues as noted below. Note also that the second and third shells from the clip feed very nice and smooth.
3. The design of the shell follower in the clip is such that if you press the shells the wrong way as you insert them, they can become staggered incorrectly. When this happens a third round can't be inserted at all. This is because of the shape of the shell follower. It has an odd "pointy" ridge that is supposed to guide the first shell in place to the correct side of the clip. Because of the way it is shaped the first shell can actually get lodged on-top of that pointy ridge while the second shell is inserted and essentially reversing the direction of the stagger. That prevents the third round from going in, until you remove the shells and re-insert them to allow it to go the other way. That's harder to explain that it actually is, but it happens.
4. I mentioned the bolt is sticking for a different reason too. For some reason they machined a shallow groove in the bolt immediately behind the locking lugs. The groove is .005" deep. It just happens to exactly align with the rear of the action and because of normal "play" in the bolt fit, it can get stuck on that groove. Any upwards pressure on the bolt while sliding it forward will cause the thing to catch. It will usually just be a slight 'stutter and release', but sometimes it catches and stops the bolt movement dead in its tracks. I can guess why the groove is there. I think it is a beauty ring to separate the highly polished body of the bolt from the unpolished matte section. Basically a break-point for looks only. But I am just guessing at that.
5. When the fired cases are ejected, they flip in a circle and the mouths of the cases are striking the action body just in front of where the bolt lifts. This is denting the shell mouths and making little arc-shaped brass marks on the receiver metal. The marks wipe-off easily, but if they were to strike slightly higher or lower, they would either be digging into the plastic stock, or striking the scope mounts. If someone was saving the shells for hand loads, the mouths are now dented.
6. The safety lever doesn't seem to work very well. It releases to the fire position really nice and easy, but trying to cram it back to safe is not so good. And in fact, I haven't been able to simply 'flick' the safety to the center position at all and it requires me to use both thumb and finger to grab it and sort-of cram it in place. Going from 'fire' to full 'safe' can be done by yanking it back all the way with just one finger, but that seems sort-of unnatural to me. You certainly can't put it back on safe with just your thumb.
7. Now accuracy. Very poor in my initial tests. But as mentioned above, I have to wonder if the problem chambering the first (of 3) shells might be causing issues. It must be bending the shells in the somewhat 'violent' twisting while trying to get the first round in. I have to wonder if the bullet might be getting slightly bent out of axial alignment? That is a known issue with accuracy in general. But I would need to do more tests to prove or eliminate that as an issue.
In my testing I was shooting 3-shot groups. 2 shots were usually very close and the third was way out from the rest. At 100 yards, I had 1 target with 2 shots at .5" and the third was 1" away. The second 100 yard target had 2 shots at .25" and the third shot was 1.9" away.
At 200 yards the first target had 3 shots in 1.8" (less than 1 MOA as spec'd) and the next target at 200 yards was a 3" group!! Granted, different ammo, my ability to shoot, and wind conditions also come into play so the accuracy may improve with more testing.
For reference I was using 'Federal American Eagle Open Tip Match' 140gr ammo, shooting from a bench with sandbags at a measured 100 and 200 yard distance. I have a Leupold Rifleman 3-9X scope, and Leupold dovetail bases and rings. The scope was kept at 9X for all my shots.
I have pictures and even a short video showing all these issues if anyone is interested.