By Ben OBrien
The writers and editors of Intermedia Outdoors get up close and hands on with the latest the hunting and shooting industry has to offer.
By Aaron J. Decker
Designed for the editors and writers that make up Primedia Outdoors, the Editor's Roundtable is held twice a year and provides magazine, internet, and television staff an inside and hands on look at different products and gadgets the shooting and hunting sports industry has to offer for the current year and beyond.
Dwight Van Brunt got the party started on Day Four of the Primedia Outdoors Editor's Roundtable with a look at what Kimber was bringing to the table in 2006.
Stretched to standard length. Kimber's Model 8400 bucks the short magnum trend by returning to time proven classics such as the .270 Winchester, .30-06 and many other full length offerings.
The big news on the rifle front for Kimber this year is the Model 8400, which is chambered in the traditional "long-action" calibers: .25-06, .270 Win., .30-06 Springfield, .300 Win. Mag. and .338 Win. Mag.
"The 8400 features the elongated action that we designed for the WSM cartridges. We extended the bridge a little bit in the back to reduce the bolt wobble," said Van Brunt.
It was also shared that the 8400 is being chambered in .375 H&H and that a production model is being tested later this week. Van Brunt also shared that there will be an "African" and "Alaskan" version of the 8400 with appropriate styling and features for both.
Kimber is also venturing into the tactical rifle market, or at least thinking about it.
Kimber goes tactical. This camo-stocked concept gun chambered in .308 may well be the prototype for a future line of Kimber LE models.
"This is a concept rifle we brought, it's tactical and we're looking for feed back. It's a niche market we'd like to play in. I think this is a very accurate gun," reported Van Brunt.
He wasn't lying as at the range the unnamed concept gun (chambered in .308) was tack-driving accurate and smooth. It's unknown at this time what Kimber will do with this firearm, but you're sure to hear about here when there's more to learn. Stay tuned.
Kimber's Aaron Cummins continued on with the pistol portion of the presentation.
Get in the groove. Kimber's Ultra RCP II dispenses with iron sights, relying instead on a U-Shaped sighting trough.
The .45 ACP Refined Carry Pistol (Ultra RCP II) is the "smallest, lightest concealed carry 1911 .45 ACP ever manufactured" according to company literature. A custom shop gun, the Ultra RCP II features a release, hammer, beavertail grip safety and thumb safety that have been bobbed and reshaped for a smaller signature.
The Aegis II, an ultra flat single-stack, is also a custom shop offering, only this sidearm is chambered in 9mm and weighs a scant 25 ounces. The aluminum frame features KimberPro II satin silver finish and carries melt treatment on both the frame and slide that rounds the corners and edges.
A slick single-stack 9mm, Kimber's Aegis II -- shown here in protoype form -- will eventually sport rosewood grips.
Rich Grozik rounded out the Kimber presentation with a look at the shotguns offered by Kimber. The Marias is a back-action sidelock available in two different grades/variations. The Valier is the side-by-side offering and is also available in multiple gauges (including 16) and lengths. Grozik assists customers with all shotgun purchases and can be reached at (888) 243-4522, extension 237.
The second presentation of the day belonged to the good folks at ArmaLite, who brought with them some good old fashioned noise makers.
The showpiece AR for ArmaLite was the XM-110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS). This SASS features an ACC suppressor (military and LE versions), Harris bi-pod, free float rail system, Leupold 3.5-10X scope, adjustable gas system, Armalite's new and improved 20 round magazine and is chambered in .308.
ArmaLite also reported they are looking at getting into the pistol market, but no details are available at this time. Stay tuned.
Primedia Outdoors Online's "Sheriff" Dan Johnson lights off an ArmaLite AR-30M chambered in .308. Johnson was regularly hitting a man-sized silhouette at 600 yards.
The ALOYSTR (add lots of stuff to your rifle) line of accessories is pretty self-explanatory. The ALOYSTR line allows an endless variety of options when customizing an ArmaLite rifle and it also includes products exclusive to ArmaLite that can't be found anywhere else.
The big news for Leupold hasn't happened yet, and that's their 100th Anniversary that doesn't occur until NEXT year, but plans are already under way to celebrate and celebrate big. In the evenings, while I work on these daily updates, Wayne Van Zwoll has been parked next to me working on a project related to the Anniversary and complaining about my music. All fun stuff!
In the present of 2006, the item of note from the Oregon based company is the VX-L, a scope that if you didn't know any better, was the victim of dropped rifle. The bottom radius of the scope is crescent shaped, which allows for a 50mm objective that mounts like a 36mm objective. The scope literally, "hugs" the rifle barrel, yet you don't lose any of the inherent advantages of a traditional riflescope, yet you gain a larger exit pupil, which creates better low-light situations.
The shape of things to come. Leupold 50mm VX-L sits as a low as a 36mm, yet offers superior light gathering performance.
The RX Digital Rangefinder is marketed as the "first smart rangefinder for hunters." A RX Digital Rangefinder features an inclinometer for measuring up and down hill shots and also will provide the ballistics of your ammunition to give you the equivalent of your horizontal range. Add in your holdover/holdunder point or MOA adjustment feature and you have a nifty tool that will make all the more effective in taking game more cleanly and humanely.
Leah Wirth and Angela Lewis were on hand to present the new product information for the family of companies that reside under the Armor Holding's umbrella. Editor's and writers were given press kits for B-Square, Break-Free, Kleen Bore, Speedfeed, and BlueWonder and asked to memorize them for a test later. Just kidding.
Leah Wirth tackled the Kleen Bore part of the presentation with an attempt to explain the company's current price point within the market by comparing the Kleen Bore cleaning kit to the a cleaning kit that's available in a large discount store. The presentation style almost sounded defensive, yet you could tell that Wirth was looking for feedback on how Kleen Bore could differentiate its line of cleaning and care products from its competitors as the company believes its kits are of a higher grade than the discount store fodder.
Wirth also gave insight on the Speedfeed line of hunting and sportsman stocks. The durable stocks are filled with 40% blast filled polymer and hold up under the extreme conditions one might encounter afield.
Angela Lewis touched on a few of the items from the B-Square line of Interlock Rings and Bases and its vast array of tactical accessories.
Needless to say, there was a lot to take in and all of the brands that fall under the Armor Holdings umbrella. Visit their respective websites for more information.
BLACK HILL AMMUNITON
Just a note of praise for Black Hills as the company supplied all of the ammunition for the day. Due to a scheduling conflict, the company was unable to send a representative for a presentation, but their generosity isn't going unnoticed. Thank you!
Tune in for coverage of day five from the Primedia Outdoors Editor's Roundtable. Smith & Wesson, Henry Rifles, TruGlo, Weatherby, MagTech, Crimson Trace are all set to present.