Kimber firearms first made appearance in the 1980s as rim and centrefire rifles that were undoubtedly handsome but often lacking in accuracy and plagued by quality-control problems. That incarnation of Kimber went under, and the new company of that name has none of the problems that doomed its ancestor. It started with a series of fine automatic pistols based on the Model 1911 Colt and has now gotten back into the rimfire rifle business.
The latest Kimber .22s are a completely new design. Today, the Kimber name is associated with a different bunch of folks who call Yonkers, NY, their home, and the wares of the new firm are becoming legendary as we speak. Originally associated with high quality, 1911-style semi-auto pistols, we began hearing rumors of another Kimber rifle several years ago. The Kimber booth featured pre-production samples at the 2000 SHOT Show, and the new Kimber .22 became reality early last spring.
The .22 rimfire cartridge is inherently accurate out of a variety of firearms and features gilt edged accuracy out of the best of them. Able to stay in the “10” ring all day in the hands of a champion, the .22 rimfire is likewise fully capable of putting smiles on young faces as cans dance on a string or roll along the ground, urged on by a 40-grain bullet doing between 1,000 and 1,600 fps. Featuring negligible recoil and noise, regardless of the ammo choice or barrel length, the inexpensive .22 is just plain fun.
Kimber’s newest rimfire bolt gun is not a resurrection of the Model 82C, but rather an entirely new rig designed on a clean sheet of paper. The design team included experienced rimfire shooters, including Olympic smallbore competitors.
The new Kimber .22’s design ultimately rested with Nehemia Sirkis, a noted firearms designer who represented Israel in two Olympics as a smallbore competitor. With over 40 years of experience, Sirkis’ new rimfire looks like a gem indeed. The Kimber design team also includes Vladimir Polosin, formerly the coach of the Ukrainian Olympic team. Obviously Kimber was serious about designing a first-rate rimfire. And their combined effort was a success-if the sample Classic sporter-weight rimfire is representative of the effort. I have no reason to believe otherwise, either.
The Kimber .22 is based on a new bolt action receiver that features a full-length, Mauser-style claw extractor. During the cycle, the one-piece bolt picks up a cartridge from the 5-round, detachable box magazine as the rim of the cartridge slips under the extractor to be guided into the chamber.
The Kimber .22 features a fully adjustable trigger that breaks like ice with no discernable creep or overtravel. The sample Classic trigger breaks perfectly at 2-1/2 pounds and there is no finer sporter trigger out of any box in the world, at least in any gun selling in the price range of the Kimber Classic. I found no reason to adjust anything on this gem, including the trigger.
There was no question that the new Kimber 22 would shoot, from first glance. The Kimber .22 line is shipped with sleek scope bases installed. The bases accept rings designed for Redfield, Burris or similar bases. The front mount twists into the base while the rear is held in place with two opposing screws that can also be used to center the scope for windage during boresighting. For the range session, I installed a brand-new Tasco World Class 3-9 variable scope in Burris rings. The big Tasco features a 44mm objective lens and 1-inch tube. The combination looks great.