September 04, 2019
By Brad Fitzpatrick
Kimber is well-known for building some of the lightest mountain rifles in the market, but the company also produces classically-styled guns that appeal to traditionalists. The American-made Kimber Traditional Classic Select Grade combines the company’s controlled-feed 84 action with a French walnut stock, making it an elegant hunting rifle that looks as good as it shoots.
The 84 action (and its magnum counterpart, the 8400) feature Mauser-style full-length claw extractors. The massive claw rests on the front of the bolt body and bites down on the cartridge case, ensuring reliable cycling under the worst conditions. After firing, claw extractor pulls the cartridge free from the chamber and a fixed ejector tosses the empty case from the action. The extractor holds the cartridge in place throughout the cycling process, virtually eliminating the risk of a malfunction.
Kimber matches the 84/8400 action of their Classic Select Grade rifles to a sporter-profile barrel with a match-grade chamber. Both the barrel and the action are machined from premium steel for maximum accuracy and durability. The barrel and action feature a matte finish that reduces glare and protects the metal. The barreled action is then matched to a pillar, glass-bedded A-grade French walnut stock with an ebony forend tip and 20 LPI panel checkering. A hand-rubbed oil finish protects the walnut stock and gives the rifle a stylish, classy look.
Beautiful as it is, the Kimber Classic Select Grade rifle is a workhorse. The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases and the three-position wing-type safety allows the rifle to be loaded and unloaded with the safety engaged. Front and rear sling studs are standard, and the barrel comes with a target crown that protects the rifling and ensures consistent accuracy. Other features include an internal box magazine with hinged floorplate, a one-inch Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad and a steel grip cap.
Weights vary depending upon barrel and action length. The Kimber Traditional Classic Select Grade rifle tested was chambered in .308 Winchester, and with its scaled-down model 84M action and 22-inch barrel the rifle weighed just 5 pounds, 10 ounces, making it light enough for all-day carry, even in steep terrain. With an overall length of just 41.25 inches the Classic Select .308 is maneuverable in a deer stand or ground blind. That short overall length also means the Kimber is less likely to hang-up and clatter against low-hanging branches and brush while you’re walking through the woods. There are six caliber options including .243 Win, .257 Roberts, .270 Win, .30-06, .308 Win, and .300 Win Mag. MSRP is $1,427, and you won’t find a more elegant rifle with such a longlist of premium features for less.
Kimber Classic Select Grade Rifle on the Range
With its oil-finish French walnut stock and ebony forend tip the Classic Select turn heads. Attention to detail sets this rifle apart from competing models, and 20 LPI checkering and excellent wood-to-metal fit add to the Kimber’s impressive styling. This is a rifle that was meant to be admired and handed down to the next generation of shooters.
The Kimber Classic Select Grade is not, however, a rifle that needs to spend its life locked in a safe. It’s a field gun, and Kimber designed this rifle with hunters in mind. The rich bluing on the barrel has a matte finish that cuts down on glare and won’t spook game. Pillar and glass bedding secures the action in the stock and helps improve accuracy, and the three-position safety is easy to use and offers a level of security not found on other guns. An internal box magazine makes top-loading simple, and the 3.8-pound trigger is extremely good for a factory gun. The bottom metal fits nicely against the wooden stock, and the oil finish on the walnut looks classy and offers a layer of protection in the field.
Kimber promises sub-MOA accuracy from their rifles and even includes a test target with each gun. The Classic Select Grade rifle I tested in .308 produced groups ranging from .88 inches to .97, which lives up to the company’s accuracy promise and provides peace of mind in the field. The straight comb design and inch-thick Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad help mitigate kick and make this rifle very manageable to shoot despite its light weight. Bolt stroke is very smooth and there were no issues with feeding, extraction, or ejection during the test, which is what you’d expect from a rifle with a controlled feed action.
Operating the rifle is simple thanks to a host of user-friendly features like the three-position safety (with a red indicator dot that’s visible when you’re behind the rifle), a cocking indicator, and the bolt release button. The floorplate release is located within the trigger guard, which keeps it protected and prevents accidental magazine dumps while still remaining accessible.
The Kimber Classic Select Grade is one of the few rifles that shoots as good as it looks. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more attractive rifle, and the price is equally attractive considering the workmanship that goes into building this gun. In a market dominated by polymer-stocked rifles with so-so machining and craftsmanship, the Classic Select Grade is a standout, an American-made, wood-stocked bolt gun that is accurate and surprisingly affordable.
Kimber Traditional Classic Select Grade Rifle Specs
• Action: Kimber 84M/84L/8400, stainless steel, matte black finish
• Calibers: .243 Win (# 3000670), .257 Roberts (# 3000709), .270 Win (# 3000733), .308 Win (# 3000667) (tested), .30-06 (# 3000734), .300 Win Mag (# 3000703)
• Weight: 5 lbs, 10 ounces to 7 lbs, 4 ounces
• Overall Length: 41.25 to 46.5 inches
• Stock: Oil-finish French walnut with ebony forend tip and 20 LPI checkering
• Barrel: 22- to 26-inch sporter contour, target crown, match grade chamber
• Magazine: Internal box with hinged floorplate
• Trigger: 3.5-4 pounds (3.8 as tested)
• MSRP: $1,427
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