Kimber’s Adirondack .308 Is Built
For Hard Hunting.
After checking the weather channel and seeing possible heavy rain showers, I knew the rifle would take some abuse. Not only would the punishment come from inclement weather, but from rigors of travel as well. Previously I had two successful hunting trips with Kimber rifles. Both models were accurate, dependable and were responsible for some punched tags. Their Caprivi model performed well in—of all places—the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, where the rifle got its name. I consider it a serious hunt when dangerous game is involved and the Caprivi never missed a beat even under a harsh environment and intense pressure (like keeping me alive).
Just recently I returned from the Kamchatka Peninsula on a challenging sheep hunt. Those Kamchatka bighorns are magnificent animals and live in precipitous terrain. Kimber’s Mountain Ascent proved to be an ideal rifle for this tough, demanding mountain hunt. It’s not uncommon to climb mountains for several days and only get one possible chance at a magnificent ram. You certainly want to have confidence in your rifle when that cherished opportunity comes knocking on your door. So, after gaining considerable confidence with Kimber firearms, it was a natural choice to select their Adirondack for an upcoming woodland caribou hunt in Newfoundland.
My good friend and hunting consultant, Wade Derby of Crosshair Consulting, who organized the adventure, informed me a lot of hiking was in order for woodland caribou. Searching for a good bull entails covering a lot of Newfoundland real estate, possibly in pouring down rain with gusty winds. The Adirondack seemed to be a good choice for this type of hunt. These animals do not require a magnum cartridge even though shots can be 300 yards or so in some circumstances. A caribou is not that difficult to bring down and doesn’t require a cartridge that will kick the snot out of you. The Adirondack is available in 7mm-08 Remington and .308 Winchester. Since I have been a fan-boy of the .308 cartridge for many years, there was enough ammo in-house to endure serious range sessions.
This woodland caribou was taken from 200 yards with Buffalo Bore’s
150-grain supercharged .308 Winchester load.
The Adirondack tips the scales under 6 pounds when scoped. This makes for
easy carrying on the long hikes following the caribou. Glassing for game
is easier with good binoculars. These are Leica 10x42mm.
The Adirondack comes from Kimber’s Model 84M series of rifles. The firearm tips the scales at a tad less than 5 pounds. It’s pretty darn light, which will make it welcome on long treks. The stainless steel barrel is 18 inches long. This makes for a fast handling rifle if hunting in thick cover, plus it’s easy to maneuver in tight spots. The barrel utilizes a right hand twist of 1:12. I did not use a muzzlebrake but the barrel is threaded for such. My test gun came with a protector cap.
Standard features include a fluted bolt body, and even a few ounces have been shaved with the hollow bolt knob. The action is stainless steel with a full-length Mauser claw extractor. The 3-position wing safety is a welcome feature for many hunters, me included. You can load and unload without switching the safety to the fire position. A bolt release is located on the left side of the action.
The compact rifle has the capacity to seat four rounds in the magazine plus another up the spout when needed. The cool-looking stock with Optifade Concealment in the Forest Pattern contrasts well with the stainless steel. It’s attractive and easy on the eyes. This stock is molded from reinforced Kevlar/carbon fiber material with the barrel and action pillar and glass bedded. The straight comb mounts to your cheek quick and painless. I was pleased with the 1-inch Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad during lengthy range sessions. What I was most impressed with is the adjustable trigger. However, there was no need for me to touch mine as the trigger was crisp and broke around 3 pounds. This gun had a great trigger and the friends who shot it at the range all agreed.
The Adirondack was fitted with a Leupold 3.5-10X with Boone and Crocket reticle inside Tally rings. This scope would be an ideal match for the .308 Winchester. With scope mounted, overall weight was still less than 6 pounds. The Boone and Crocket reticle is most helpful on those extended-range shots.
Primos’ short tripod helped make this caribou hunt a success.
It’s light, easy to pack and sets up quickly.
The Adirondack was fitted with a Leupold VX-3 3.5-10X scope. The combination was nicely
balanced and carried easily. The Adirondack is based on Kimber’s 84M series of rifles.
The forest camo pattern (above) matches well with the stainless steel barrel
and action. The muzzle is threaded for a brake if desired (below) and the
threads are protected by a cap.
To pare weight, the bolt knob is hollowed and the bolt body deeply fluted in a spiral
pattern. A Model 70-style, 3-position safety is provided and the controlled-feed
action uses a Mauser-style extractor.
Before the Adirondack hit the range I came up with 16 different factory loadings, all with 150-grain bullets. There remains a multitude of quality factory offerings with an array of bullet choices. The chances are pretty good you will be able to find a particular brand any given rifle will digest with minute of caribou accuracy.
With the Kimber I was able to find several loads that produced 3-shot, 100-yard groups hovering around an inch. I did clean the barrel periodically between sessions involving different brands of ammo. Buffalo Bore offers a Supercharged 150-grain spritzer that landed three shots inside an inch consistently. So I decided to throw in a box of this premium ammo in the luggage headed to the North Country.
Handloads also shot well in the lightweight .308 Win. There is an enormous amount of reliable and safe handloading information for the .308. Many powders work well and often I load Varget or Reloder 15 with 150-grain bullets. I frequently use Hodgdon powders so I refer to their loading data. If I’m shooting a Nosler bullet for example, I cross-reference information with their manual. For various reasons I find Nosler, Hornady and Sierra bullets going down the barrel from many of my .308’s—rifles and handguns alike. If you can’t find a recipe that will shoot well in a rifle chambered in .308 Winchester, it’s probably time to send that particular firearm away.
Throughout the aggressive shooting evaluation I could feel Newton’s third law of motion was alive and well: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Lightweight rifles are synonymous with moderate recoil. That doesn’t come as any earth-shattering surprise. The recoil was easily manageable and the Pachmayr Decelerator pad helped dampen the source. Shooting at game you will seldom notice any degree of recoil.
Arriving in Newfoundland I was greeted with pouring rain. We drove to a nice lodge in a remote setting and got organized for the following day’s hunt. After setting up a target at 100 yards, I was pleased to find the Adirondack was still shooting as expected even from possible mistreatment by baggage handlers along the way. Three shots inside an inch confirmed if a miss occured, I would know who to blame.
There is a wide variety of quality ammo available in .308 Winchester. If you don’t
handload, it is very likely you will find a winner in this bunch.
After cleaning the barrel, the first shot on target was slightly low and left. The next
three rounds were touching. Taking the Buffalo Bore ammo on the hunt was an easy choice.
The Argo was used as a pack mule, helping get meat out of the backcountry.
Luckily the following morning was filled with sunshine. It was cold and windy but at least the skies cleared for good glassing conditions. We traveled quite some distance in an Argo and boy, could that piece of machinery go places unimaginable. I’m not too sure it didn’t jar every filling out of my teeth. We glassed several places before leaving on foot across the tundra.
Around noon we spotted a group of four caribou walking across the rock-infested tundra with one decent bull in the group. The animals were a long distance from us so we set out to get closer and take a better look at the bull. When caribou are walking it doesn’t appear they are moving very fast. That’s a bit of an illusion. It’s almost impossible to keep up with them much less gain any ground. Going as quickly as possible, we finally got in position to take a good look at the lone bull with our binoculars. He wasn’t the biggest bull in Newfoundland but we made a decision to go after him nonetheless.
An hour later we still were several hundred yards behind the group. I can tell you the Adirondack was an asset for carrying over miles of tundra. I hardly knew it was on my shoulder. Av, my experienced guide, told me we needed to hurry as much as possible if we were ever going to get within range. Heck, I thought we had been walking fast!
When we topped a ridgeline the caribou were on the next crest, just about to disappear in some scattered spruce trees. I quickly set-up the Primos’ short tripod and rested the fore-end in the Y-yoke of the shooting stick. Av told me the bull was 200 yards as I settled the crosshairs just behind his shoulder. The bull was quartering away slightly as I tugged the trigger. At the shot, the bull flinched and took off running behind a small group of trees.
When he came around the other side I was ready to shoot but it was unnecessary. He dropped. Av and I both were pleased with results even though the real work would now begin with caping and quartering. The Adirondack performed like a champ. Buffalo Bore’s supercharged 150-grain spitzer left an exit wound, but bull didn’t go 50 yards before dropping.
Kimber’s Adirondack is the perfect choice for those long hikes in the backcountry where a firearm impervious to inclement weather is important. The rifle is very accurate and available in two cartridges ideally suited to medium-sized game. There are a lot of deer and black bear hunters who will appreciate the quality attributes of the Adirondack. I know one caribou hunter who enjoyed this fine rifle immensely.
By Mark Hampton
30 Lower Valley Road
Kalispell, MT 59901
Action type: Bolt-action
Caliber: .308 (tested), 7mm-08, 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 AAC
Barrel length: 18 inches
Weight: 4 pounds, 13 ounces
Finish: Matte stainless steel
Sights: None, drilled and tapped
Stock: Kevlar/carbon fiber
Maker: Leupold & Stevens
14400 NW Greenbrier Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006
Magnification: 3.3 to 9.7 (actual)
Objective diameter: 40mm, Eye relief: 4.4 inches (3.5X), 3.6 inches (10X)
Internal adj. range: 52 MOA elevation & windage at 100 yards
Click value: 1/4 MOA, Tube diameter: 1 inch
Weight: 12.6 ounces
Overall length: 12.6 inches
Reticles: Boone & Crockett
366 Sandy Creek Road
Salmon, ID 83467
P.O. Box 864
Oakley, CA 94561
604 First St.
Flora, MS 39071