I managed to get my hands on one of the new Kimber Mountain Ascents. Weighing in at 4lbs 13 oz (chambered in .308 win) it is one of the lightest, if not the lightest, production rifle produced today. By the time I put a Leupold Ultra Light 3-9 in the factory supplied rings, the weight jumped to just under 5 ½ lbs! At that weight this rifle will be a dream to carry up the hills, so light it almost seems comical. Kimber equips the rifle with a removable muzzle brake, with the rifle so lightweight I decided to keep the brake on just to see how it was. Recoil is one of the things that affect every shooter differently. After a few shots with the brake I removed it and soon realized that I would not re-install it for myself. It was very manageable, as I would expect a .308 to be. However, if I was going to put the rifle back in my teenage daughter hands, I might put it back on.
I am still working up loads for the rifle but the first load that I threw together performed very well and I really can’t wait to see the rifle’s full potential. My first load with the Hornady 165 BTSP was printing very respectable groups. I have noticed in the past that with a lightweight gun, sometimes accuracy can suffer. This was definitely not the case here. With load data in hand I had a custom dial built for the scope. I was happily surprised to see that dial went out past the 600-yard mark. I personally would never plan to shoot game at that range with this setup but playing with the dial at the silhouette range sure does boost one’s confidence when the rams get knocked over at 500-meter shot after shot.
I have never been a big fan of the .308, but this combo has really got me re-evaluating this cartridge. The craze nowadays seems to be light-for-caliber bullets in massive cases reaching out to that mythical 1000-yard mark. The .308 doesn’t get a second look from most hunters, it still has a loyal following with the target shooters and the tactical crowd. With good ammunition, whether handloads or factory, this little rifle is capable of taking game out to 500 yards plus…of course there are alot of variables in that statement. First and foremost the range of this rifle and every other rifle is in direct correlation with the skills of the shooter, and type of bullet being used.
I look forward to using the rifle this fall in the field and if at all possible take a head of game or two. I know the rifle is capable; I’ve just got to do my part.
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