January 03, 2011
By Joel J Hutchcroft
Kimber has a new action size for the bolt-action Model 8400, and now the rifle is offered chambered for .25-06, .270 Winchester, .30-06, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Winchester Magnum.
By Joel Hutchcroft
The word "classic" has been widely used to describe the Kimber Model 8400 since it was introduced a couple of years ago. Well, now that term has double meaning because the new-for-2006 longer action size for the Model 8400 allows it to be chambered for classic .30-06-length cartridges.
The Kimber Model 8400 bolt utilizes two opposing locking lugs and a Mauser-style claw extractor.
Prior to this introduction, the Model 8400 came with only a short action designed for the Winchester Short Magnums. And its predecessor, the Kimber Model 84, is also a short-action bolt gun available in .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250, .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, 7mm-08, and .308 Winchester. The new Standard and Magnum Model 8400s are being offered in .25-06, .270 Winchester, .30-06, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Winchester Magnum chamberings.
What You Get In The Model 8400
A new action size that allows more chambering options is all well and good, but the real question comes down to "What do I get in the Model 8400?"
Kimber Model 8400 Standard
|Model:||8400 Standard Classic|
|Caliber:||.270 Win. (also available in .25-06, .30-06, 300 Win. Mag., .338 Win. Mag.)|
|Overall Length:||44.5 inches (24-inch barrel)|
|Length of Pull:||13.75 inches|
|Weight, empty||7 pounds|
|Sights:||None; receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mount bases|
|Rifling:||1:10-inch twist rate|
|Magazine Capacity:||5 rounds (4 rounds for magnum chamberings)|
|Finish:||Matte blued steel; hand-rubbed oil walnut stock|
Well, here's the answer.
The original short-action Kimber Model 8400 was designed to minimize weight by keeping the proportions as tight as possible. The new Model 8400 Standard carries on in that tradition. Actually, the Standard action is the same in diameter as the Short Magnum Model 8400 action, but the new action has been lengthened by 1 inch to accommodate the longer .30-06-length cartridges.
The Model 8400's walnut stock is glassed and pillar-bedded to the action, and the barrel is free-floated. The walnut stock sports handcut checkering on the forearm and the grip and is fitted with a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad and sling swivel studs. Length of pull is 13.75 inches, drop at heel is .54 inch, and drop at comb is .43 inch.
Barrel length for the new Standard Model chambered for .25-06, .270 Winchester, and .30-06 is 24 inches. Barrel length for the .300 and .338 Magnums is 26 inches. The barrel's contour is what Kimber refers to as "sporter." The barrel on the .270 Winchester-chambered sample rifle Shooting Times received measures .80 inch in diameter about three inches in front of the receiver and tapers to .56 inch at the muzzle. The muzzle is nicely done with an 11-degree muzzle crown. Twist rate for the sample gun is 1:10.
Other nice touches on the Model 8400 Standard and Magnum include the Mauser-style claw extractor, the Model 70-style three-position safety, the match-grade trigger, and the sculpted steel grip cap. The steel floorplate features a release button located on the inside of the trigger guard, and the bolt release is located on the left-hand side of the receiver. Steel scope mount bases are satin-blued to match the barreled receiver's matte finish. Weight for the walnut-stocked Model 8400 Standard with 24-inch barrel is 7 pounds; the synthetic-stocked Model 8400 weighs 6.5 pounds. Overall length with the 24-inch barrel is 44.5 inches.
(Left) The magazine release button is conveniently located on the inside of the trigger guard. (Right) The floorplate is stee
l, and magazine capacity is five rounds for standard chamberings and four rounds for magnum chamberings.
The new Standard and Magnum Model 8400 is being announced in Classic, Montana, and SuperAmerica versions. The Classic version (like the rifle fired and photographed for this report) comes with a hand-rubbed, oil-finished walnut stock with 20-lines-per-inch checkering and matte blued steel. The Montana version has a stainless-steel barreled receiver and black Kevlar/carbon fiber stock. The SuperAmerica version wears a AAA-grade claro walnut stock with wraparound 24-lines-per-inch checkering and black forend tip, and its metal gets a polished, deep blue finish. Retail prices are $1087 for the Classic, $1228 for the Montana, and $2036 for the SuperAmerica.
(Left) The Model 8400 Classic's walnut stock is glassed and pillar-bedded to the receiver, the barrel is free-floated, and 20-LPI checkering adorns the forearm and grip. (Right) The safety is a Model 70-style three-position affair.
How The Model 8400 Standard Performs
As I said, Shooting Times received the new Model 8400 Standard in the Classic version chambered for .270 Winchester. And, once again, I utilized my "editor's prerogative" and conducted the evaluation myself. I do like fine rifles, and I especially like the .270 Winchester cartridge (I've actually taken more game with it than any other single cartridge). The sample Model 8400 Standard Classic did not disappoint. It is a very nicely fitted and finished rifle that is capable of top-drawer accuracy.
|Shooting Kimber's .270 Model 8400 Standard |
|Bullet||Powder||Muzzle Velocity (fps)||100-yard accuracy (inches) |
|Sierra 90-gr. HP||MR-4895||54.0||3542||1.25|
|Barnes 130-gr. XFB||VV N560||59.5||3050||1.25|
|Hornady 130-gr. SST||N-204||55.5||3061||1.00|
|Swift 150-gr. A-Frame||Reloader 22||55.5||2868||1.00|
|Nosler 160-gr. Partition||MRP||55.5||2808||1.25|
|Hornady 110-gr. HP||Factory Load||2361||1.00|
|Hornady Light Magnum 130-gr. InterBond ||Factory Load||3177||1.25|
|Winchester 130-gr. Ballistic SilverTip||Factory Load||2990||1.25|
|Federal High Energy 140-gr. Bear Claw||Factory Load||3011||1.25|
|Winchester 150-gr. PowerPoint||Factory Load||2850||1.00|
| NOTES: Accuracy is the average of four five-shot groups fired from a Caldwell Rock rifle rest at 100 yards. Velocity is the average of 10 rounds measured 15 feet from the gun's muzzle. Federal and Hornady cases and CCI 200 and Federal 210 primers were used for the handloads.|
The one thing I like most on this new rifle is the trigger. It broke cleanly and crisply at 3.5 pounds, and I could detect absolutely no creep or overtravel. I especially like the wide, flat trigger surface. It measured .35 inch wide, and its feel reminded me of the target-style triggers on the revolvers and pistols I grew up shooting. (For comparison, my Winchester Model 70 and Remington Model 700 triggers measure .3 inch wide, and my Savage Model 12's trigger measures .25 inch wide.)
As this Caldwell Orange Peel Target demonstrates, the sample Kimber Model 8400 in .270 Win. was a good shooter. Five-shot, 100-yard groups averaged between 1.00 and 1.25 inches.
Feeding of cartridges was reliable and smooth. And extraction of fired rounds was 100 percent. The Model 8400 pointed well and held easily on target.
As for accuracy, the accompanying chart pretty much tells the whole story. With the 10 loads I fired (five handloads and five factory loads, with bullets ranging in weight from 90 to 160 grains), the Kimber 8400 Standard shot extremely well. Four of the 10 loads averaged 1.00 inch for four five-shot groups at 100 yards. The other six loads all came in right at 1.25 inches. The chart gives all the pertinent details.
In this day and age, 1 MOA seems to be the standard accuracy benchmark for bolt-action rifles, and a standard-production rifle that shoots almost all loads tried in it right at or very close to 1 i
nch at 100 yards is a keeper.