Getting a sub 5-pound rifle is something that used to only be done in a custom shop. However, Kimber has now made this possible with a factory gun. The Mountain Ascent rifle hit the streets a couple of years ago and have flown off the shelves ever since. Our first test rifle was in the .280 Ackley Improved which is an 84L model with the long action. It had very similar ballistics as a 7mm and performed flawlessly on an Alaskan Dall Sheep and an Arctic Grizzly. Our second and current test rifle is the 84M in .308 which is a short action and made a recent trip for mule deer with identical results.
Kimber has shaved every ounce possible off of the Mountain Ascent rifle making it an extremely functional piece of equipment and not very fancy. It is a synthetic-and-stainless bolt action rifle with significant upgrades to the traditional Kimber model 84. This lightweight powerhouse is available in two different models; The 84M and 84L. The 84M is a short-action rifle chambered in .308 Winchester with a 22-inch barrel, weighing in at four pounds thirteen ounces. The 84L is based on a .30-06-length action with a 24-inch barrel. It comes in three different calibers, which are .270 Winchester, .280 Ackley Improved and .30-06. It tips the scape at five pounds and five ounces.
Out of the box, the stock will grab your attention with its’ Kevlar-reinforced carbon fiber finish with Gore Optifade in the digital Open Country pattern. There is no checkering on this stock, but the rubberized finish gives a good solid feel and allows for good grip when wearing gloves or even with cold, wet hands. The Kevlar makes this stock extremely durable, yet very light weight. The barrel on both models is fluted for the first half and then solid with a removable muzzle break. Lighter guns have a tendency to kick pretty hard, but the design on this muzzle break makes the felt recoil very minimal. The 1-inch Pachmayr Decelerator pad helps to remove additional felt recoil. The action itself is essentially the same one Kimber has been building for a long time. It is essentially a Mauser/Model 70 clone with dual opposing locking lugs, long Mauser extractor, controlled-round feed and three-position cocking-piece safety, but it’s been downsized to application. Kimber has removed as much metal as possible from the action while still keeping the integrity and strength of the design. The bolt has the same type of weight reduction with fluting and holes in the handle. The trigger guard has been trimmed up and lightened as well.
When we headed to the range to sight both of these rifles in, we utilized premium ammunition by Double Tap which the 1/12 twist seemed to like immensely. The trigger is adjustable and preset at 3.5 pounds at the factory. Sub .5 MOA groups were the norm out of both guns and the finished results of trophies on the ground speaks for itself. If you want an extremely lightweight rifle, but don’t want to spend the dollars to go the custom route, you won’t be disappointed in a Kimber Mountain Ascent in any of the calibers.