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While the US firearms manufacturer (www.kimberamerica.com) is better known in some places for its 1911 based pistols and not so much for its bolt-action rifles, the less expensive rifles from Savage Arms gunsmiths, also from the United States (www.savagearms.com), conquered their share of the German hunting and sports rifle market some time ago.
And that although Kimber's reputation on the other side of the big pond was initially based on highly accurate 22 cal. rifles.
Although Kimber now places a clear focus on the production of several 1911 model series, the manufacturer from Yonkers in upstate New York also has a couple of bolt action big bore rifles tucked away in its program, configured for hunters and fans of law enforcement weapons alike. And it is in this segment that we find one of the two models stepping up in a head-to-head test – the 84M LPT (Light Police Tactical) rifle.
Player Number One
This is a rifle chambered for the .308 Winchester caliber with a fluted 22 millimeter thick match grade barrel and a black polymer stock with pistol grip and beavertail forend.
The stock has a lightly roughened and almost distressed surface structure, ensuring an excellent grip, at least for dry hands. A medium-hard rubber pad seals the butt. It also has two sling swivel studs and an additional stud at the front to attach a bipod. A very short bolt system, matching the cartridge length of the .308 Winchester and seated on two columns, works in the stock.
Were it not for the bolt handle that betrays the actual function of the piece, the merely 15 mm diameter chamber behind the two locking lugs, combined with the long Mauser-type extractor and the control round feed, would look more like a designer fountain pen.
To the right on the bolt shroud a three-position safety goes about its business just like in the Winchester 70. The bolt release button is located on the left side of the action. A moderately recessed Picatinny rail sits on top of the action, so that even sights with a large lens diameter can be mounted without any difficulty. A magazine with fixed floorplate is integrated in the mid-stock, taking up to five rounds.
Player Number Two
The second rifle in the test is the Savage Model 10 TR, presented for the first time at this year's SHOT Show. TR stands for Tactical Rifle. The bolt-action rifle is aimed at the same clientele as the Kimber 84M LPT. The two rifles have many things in common, even on the outside: Stock shape, material and color are largely identical.
The Savage stock is smoother overall, but it has checkering on the pistol grip and scores with a somewhat softer butt plate. Here, too, there is an extra sling stud and a Picatinny rail on top of the system.
The Bull Barrel of the 10 TR, chambered for .308 Winchester, still has a diameter of nearly 21 millimeters at its muzzle. It has a thread for a sound suppressor, which, of course, can also accept a muzzle brake. Otherwise Savage relies on the proven AccuTrigger with embedded trigger blade safety as well as the short system bedded three dimensionally with an aluminum rail in the "AccuStock" based on the model 10.
The receiver comes with a "Floating Bolt Head." This means there is a second pair of freely rotating lugs sitting behind the actual locking lugs, helping to improve movement in the system. The bolt handle here is the hefty cylinder with circular knurls also fitted to the sharpshooter models 10 BA and 110 BA. Also typical for the Model 10: Ammunition feed comes from a detachable four-round magazine and the three-position safety slide sitting on the stock wrist. As usual, the bolt disassembly release on the AccuTrigger versions is located in front of the trigger guard.
Ready to Rumble
The adversaries performed impeccably at the shooting range and, with five-round groups of 16 millimeters (Kimber) and 15 mm (Savage), both scored the full 50 points for precision on the VISIER evaluation chart.
There was also little difference between the two rifles in terms of their stocks: While KIMBER scored higher marks than the Savage in terms of grip, the SAVAGE made up ground with the better butt pad and checkering on the pistol grip. Since neither of the stocks offer the marksman any adjustment options, both firearms had to make do with eight out of ten points in this aspect of the evaluation.
As concerns the triggers, the testers liked the Kimber's Match Grade Trigger a touch more than the AccuTrigger on the Savage. Both triggers were clean and broke crisply when the corresponding resistances were applied. But the Savage called for a certain deftness of touch in overcoming the "advantage" of a center trigger blade. Still, the testers awarded each of the rifles nine out of the possible ten points.
There were no complaints about the magazine of the 10 TR. The detachable sheet-metal box comfortably accepted the intended four cartridges, snapped neatly into the well and, upon pressing the release in the stock, fell straight out into the hand.
So: five out of five points for the Savage. The hinged container on the Kimber 84M was not quite as good. The floorplate only opened 90° downward. And then the spring and feeder obstructed the downward path of the cartridges. They were removed with a certain amount of patience. But it's not exactly quick and comfortable unloading, which in this case called for bolt-cycling them out. And so it was only enough for three points.
It was all-square in the "sighting" category. Out of the box, the two rifles are sold without an open sight or just a rudimentary sight. Instead the assemblers at the factory equip both rifles with a Picatinny rail sitting nearly a centimeter high and screwed onto the system casing. This leaves space for a wide array of possible mountings and sights. In this field the two test candidates pocketed four out of five possible points.
The two competitors drifted far apart when it came to "System and Function". Pretty much as expected, the smooth as silk bolt movement on the Savage emerged victorious. It dropped only one of ten possible points – because of the central position of the safety slide, which is not clearly visible in the dark. In contrast, the Kimber's puny bolt action sent judders through the system, especially when opening the chamber, like "an old horse drawn carriage on cobblestones." Even the locked chamber rattled in the casing.
This radial play got even worse when the safety was engaged. Here the Kimber 84M LPT had to make do with just six points.
The bad breech fit of the Kimber turned up again in the Finishing category. On top of that there was an insufficiently chamfered edge on the Pica-Rail around the cartridge window which is sure to be torture on the thumb. Here the Savage 10 TR lost ground on account of bad fits and sometimes sharp casting burrs on the stock. Both rifles lost three of the ten possible points.
Technical Information and Shooting Tests for Kimber 84 M LPT Savage 10 TR
Technical Data for the Kimber 84 M LPT
|Model||Kimber 84 M LPT|
|Magazine capacity||5 +1 Cartridges|
|Barrel lenght||550 mm (6 grooves, twist 1:9")|
|Trigger weight||1.760 g|
|Total lenght||1.150 mm|
Design: bolt-action repeater, two lugs, long Mauser extractor, match grade trigger, fluted barrel with match countersunk muzzle, polymer stock, magazine with hinged floorplate, three-position safety, Picatinny rail, additional bipod stud.
Shooting test: Kimber 84 M LPT in .308 Win.
|1||150 grs Hornady GMX||42 (12) mm|
|2||150 grs Norma Nosler BST||32 mm|
|3||150 grs Sellier &
Bellot SPCE 41||41 (18) mm|
|4||168 grs RWS Target Elite ||16 mm|
grs Remington Prem. Match BTHP||50 (20) mm|
Remarks / Abbreviations: Grouping = 5-shot groups, shot sitting from the bench rest support at 100 m distance, reported in millimeters, measured from the shot-hole centers. Bracketed values after subtraction of one outlier. GMX = Gilding Metal eXpandable, BST = Ballistic Tip, SPCE = Soft Point Cutting Edge, BTHP = Boattail Hollow Point.
Technical Data for the Savage 10 TR
|Model||Savage 10 TR|
|Magazine capacity||4 +1 cartridge|
|Barrel lenght||610 mm
(5 grooves, twist 1:10") |
|Trigger weight||1.550 g|
|Total lenght||1.135 mm|
Design: bolt-action repeater, Floating Bolt Head, Bull Barrel with muzzle threading, AccuTrigger, polymer stock, AccuStock-aluminum bedding, detachable magazine, three-position safety, Picatinny rail, additional bipod stud.
Shooting test: Savage Model 10 TR in .308 Win.
grs Hornady TAP FPD ||15
grs Norma Jaktmatch ||73
grs Remington Prem. Match BTH ||17
grs RWS Target Elite ||33
grs TopShot Vlm. ||72
grs Hornady A-Max, 42 grs N150* ||19 (8) mm|
Remarks / Abbreviations: See also shooting chart p 40. TAP = Tactical Application Police, FPD = For Personal Defense. FMJ. = full metal jacket, *Vihtavuori-powder, Primer = Remington 9 1/2, total cartridge length = 69.85 mm. Loading data without guarantee!
|Visier Evaluation||Kimber 84 M LTP||Savage 10 TR|
|Precision (max. 50 points) ||50 Points||50 Points|
|Stock (max. 10 points) ||8 Points||8 Points|
|Trigger (max. 10 points)||9 Points||9 Points|
|Magazine / Handling (max.
5 points) ||3 Points||5 Points|
|Sights (max. 5 points)||4 Points ||4 Points|
|Receiver / Function (max. 10 points) ||6 Points||9 Points|
|Finishing (max. 10 points)||7 Points||7 Points |
|Total points (max.
100 points) ||87 Points||92 Points|
|Test result ||very good ||eccellent|
|Commendations ||5 of 6 commendations||6 of 6 commendations|
Bottom line, the new Savage 10 TR came in top in the overall evaluation with an excellent score of 92 points in comparison to the very good 87 points for the Kimber 84M LPT.
Both of the test rifles are precision marksman tools predestined for the shooting range and also suited for hunting use.
Ultimately, though, the editorial board's preference was for Savage 10 TR and its lower retail price. On the outside the finishing was not as good, but the internal workings were right and at the range it was also less picky about ammunition.