Kimber Montana in 270 WSM Needs Help!!

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by scoutm, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. scoutm

    scoutm Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    First let me say that I'm not trying to start a debate on Kimber’s inherent accuracy or inaccuracy. Mine unfortunately appears to be the latter. I know other guy’s 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 doesn’t want to shoot well. The best I’ve been able to achieve is about 1.5"- 1.75” groups at 100 yards. (Kimber support says that's within their accepable range)

    To attempt to improve the groups here's what I’ve done so far:

    · I’ve re-crowned the barrel
    · I’ve ensured the barrel is completely floated
    · I’ve verified the pillar bedded receiver is tightened to factory recommended torque level
    · I’ve tried a variety of bullets from 110 grains to 150 grains
    · I’ve tried both with factory and hand loaded ammo
    · On hand loaded ammo I’ve 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 have decided it’s time to do something with it but I’m having a terrible time trying to decide what that is. I really like the feel of the gun – action is smooth, feeds well and simply fits very comfortably. Here are the actions I’ve been thinking about:

    · Give up and dump the gun
    · Have the gun’s action blue printed
    · Re-barrel the gun
    · Blue print and re-barrel the gun

    If I didn’t like the way the gun feels the first option would be a no brainer but since it does and since I’ve already dumped a lot of time and money into the gun I would always wonder what if…
    So any recommendations?
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2009
  2. 4bycamper

    4bycamper Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    Hey Scout, I feel for ya. My old 7mm Mag was nearly in the same boat.

    Having a machinist background I found a rifle where the threads in the receiver were not in line with the bore. Here's a little trick to see if that could be wrong. To check, remove the bolt. Run a piece of monofilament fish line or similar down the barrel from the muzzle to the rear of the stock. Tie the muzzle end of the line to something like a toothpick and stretch the line tight. (The toothpick is crossways to the bore so it won't fall in.) Visually center the line in the muzzle end of the bore. Still stretching the line at the recoil pad, visually center the line from the action side in the chamber area of the bore. Is the line in the center of the action ?

    Most rifles are pretty close. Some slip through inspection at the factory to cause trouble later. I don't think this problem is "brand specific" I suspect all factories have this issue to some extent.

    If this isn't a problem, the accuracy issue will have to be bedding the action, glue down the scope bases, torque all of those screws, torque the action screws. Maybe you can get your gunsmith to work up a load for you.
    I would try the easy stuff first.

    JM .02

  3. KDB

    KDB Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    I would skim bed the stock and lighten up the trigger before I sent it off to be rebarreled and/or trued. Once I skim bed my stocks, I usually don't torque the action back down to factory specs, because I don't think that they need to be so tight. I have been able to get my factory kimber trigger down to 1.75 lbs.

    If that does not work or help, then depending on how much money you want to throw at it, will determine your next course of action. My personal approach is to have the action trued when I rebarrel a rifle. It is one less variable to contend with when you are going for accuracy.

    On the other hand...

    The problem I have encountered when doing rifle builds is the cost. You have a rifle that already cost you 800-1000 dollars and then are going to spend around ~300 for a good barrel and then another ~300 hundred for smith work. All in the effort to have a rifle that shoots.

    At that point, you could have a custom action that is already machined tighter and squared at every critical point and a custom barrel for a few dollars more.

    I would consider just selling the montana and getting another one. Or sell the montana and go for a custom rig.

    It sucks when a rifle won't shoot, especially when you pay a premium for it (like a kimber).

    Thats my two cents worth.
  4. Toddm

    Toddm Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    It sounds like you've done a pretty good job of trouble shooting. One thing to keep in mind is the heat factor, it's a tiny thin barrel and if not allowed to cool between shots by the 3rd round it will start walking the group open.

    At this point I would say either go all out - re-barrel/action true/bed it, or dump it. Truing an action usually doesn't do much for accuracy by itself, unless the action is really messed up. There are tons of guns that never had actions trued that shoot 1/2" groups or better. It's true that as long as you are doing a new barrel action truing is usually done and isn't a lot more $ but it all adds up. A good barrel will run $300 ($450 fluted) and most good smiths will charge $300 to chamber and install it. You can easily end up sticking another $1000 into it. Bedding it might help but again I don't think that's going to take it from a 1.75" gun to a 1/2" or 3/4" gun, especially with you being careful about torque and such, most likely it's just a bad barrel.

    Myself I'd probably sell it, by the time you put $1000 into it, you could sell it for $800 and have $1800 to have a new build done. That can easily get you very close to a completed full custom build if you shop around. But if you really love the stock/fit/feel of the gun it may very well be worth it to have the work done.
  5. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2008
    Plus one...

    If you really like the Kimber feel, then just go all out with blueprint and new custom barrel. Not much sense in doing one and not the other IMHO.

    Having said that, I have heard that Kimber gets their actions from Montana Rifleman Company ( I dont know if it's true) read a post on here by one of our well known spnser smiths that said he would not work on anymore MRC actions because of numerous problems he's encountered. I've also read reports about cycling issues with Kimbers.

    Before investing anymore $$$ I would check with your smith to see what he thinks about Kimber actions.

  6. skey01

    skey01 Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    I have the exact same gun and had the exact same problem, I am not saying this will work for you but mine will shoot under a inch now.. Note: I have custom guns, big boomers ect. I am not afraid of recoil at all but I did not like the way the gun hopped or jumped so I had a quality muzzle brake installed (which I normally am dead set against) to my amazement it now was shooting around 1" groups. I kept fooling with loads and bullets and then a friend with a Browning in 270wsm handed me a box of 150 grain Winchester Supreme Elites, he said try these. The gun loves them it will shoot 1/2 inch groups if I am on my game, 3/4 inch groups all day long. Not one of my custom rigs but great for a liteweight hunting gun. I have killed 3 elk and 2 mule deer with it to date all the way out to 400 yards. It worked for me without spending a ton hope this helps.
  7. gahlizard

    gahlizard Well-Known Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    i was faced with the same issues a few years ago. my montana was chambered in the 325, wouldn't shoot an 8" @ 300. numerous problems were found throughout the rifle. needless to say i am just down the road from their tech support building and took it in. they questioned my shooting ability first of course and then after i took it apart and showed them, they sent it to new york and it got a new barrel. when it showed back up, i did skim the action and make a little more room in the barrel channel. it has shot numerous 2 and 3" groups at 500 after its face lift. just my story. thanks greg