The trigger broke easily and crisply, and the shot was dead-on. We were only shooting from 25 yards, but it still felt like the .22-caliber bullet had a homing device built into it.
I lowered the rifle and grasped the bolt handle. I slid it up, then back and the spent case flipped out. Reversing my action, I loaded another round from the magazine and felt it seat home. The mechanical action felt satin-smooth, yet, solid.
Again taking easy aim, the rifle felt perfectly suited to me, like it had been made custom for my long arms. The next shot was as good as the first.
This was perhaps the nicest rifle I had ever shot, so it’s a shame it’s no longer being made – hasn’t been for five years.
On top of that, he Kimber Classic .22 was actually only available for about eight years. I’m not sure why Kimber stopped offering it. Perhaps cost – the high-end model I was shooting (called the “SuperAmerica”) went for about $1,800 new. Used ones still go for almost that much.
But the lower-end of the model line was less than half that, and still featured most of the functional things that made the gun such a good shooter. Features like a free-floated, match-grade barrel with a tapered chamber and target crown (all of which contribute to high accuracy). A bolt designed using a full-length extractor and positioned such that the firing pin is centered. This allows the use of a heavier firing pin and means that the rifle doesn’t have the same problems most .22s do with dry-firing.
All models also came from the factory with an adjustable trigger set to about three pounds and a receiver drilled and tapped for scope mounts. And all models left the factory only after they proved that they could shoot a group of five rounds in less than 0.4 inches at 50 yards – the target was included with the gun.
But like I said, the one we were shooting was a top-of-the line model. Premium walnut stock, hand-oiled, with beautiful checking. Blued barrel and hardware, buffed to a high polish. Ebony tip on the fore-end of the stock. Swivel mounts for a sling. The owner had adjusted the trigger to make is a little lighter, and had decent iron sights mounted to the 22-inch barrel.
The fit and finish was, as you might expect, exceptional. Perhaps extraordinary. It was as nice as anything I have ever seen, regardless of price.
Operating the bolt action was so smooth and solid it was almost sensual. There was no take-up on the trigger, not a hint of slack or roughness – you just squeezed it gently, it broke clean, and the gun snapped mildly from recoil. There wasn’t a single problem with a misfeed or misfire with the 10 different brands of ammo that we, the BBTI crew, tested and the rifle had the best velocity numbers out of any gun we tested, too. It somehow managed to squeeze an extra 50 or 100 feet per second out of each round.
As noted, I liked the ergonomics of the rifle a lot and it felt completely natural and properly fitted for me. This was a gun that made me a better shot. Hell, it felt like it made me a better person. Yeah, it was that good.
Keep your eyes open for one of these guns. It doesn’t have to be the high-end model. It just has to not have been abused. And if you find one, and can afford it, give it a good home. You, and everyone you know who will have a chance to try your new gun, will be happy you did.