View Full Version : Kimber Of America .308 Mauser. Safe Or Unsafe?? HELP!

December 23, 2007, 11:52 AM
I recently purchased a Kimber custom Mauser. It is chambered in .308 Winchester and it is on a Mauser 95 action. It was made by Kimber Of America in Or. I have read a few notes on this gun and would like to know if its safe to fire with factory ammo. Winchester, Federal, Etc. Some people say that the .308 created too much pressure for this action and Im clueless when it comes to pressures etc. If its unsafe for this action , Why did Kimber make them??(scratching my head in confusion) If the tales are true who should i contact about this, Kimber??? Someone please help me on this because I love my life and I really dont like things blowing up in my face with sharp metal edges.(already ugly and dont need to be more.HA HA) If not safe for the .308, what are my options? It is a great gun and I unknowingly sighted it in and it shot great. But now hearing this about this pressure stuff im scared to shoot it again. If not safe for regular .308 pressures what about the managed recoil line of ammo? Also, is Kimber N.Y. the Kimber of America back when? And does it make sense to contact them to see what can be done if this is true?

James K
December 23, 2007, 09:51 PM
Those older actions were made for cartridges in the 40k psi range, not the 55-60k range of factory .308 Winchester. In effect, every round will be equivalent to a super proof load. They won't "blow up" on the first shot, but what will usually happen is that with much firing, the bolt lugs will peen as will the lug seats in the receiver, and eventually the headspace will grow to the danger point.

First, have the headspace checked. Then if that is OK, load down to the 40k psi level (use loading data for the 7mm Mauser or .30-40 Krag*). I don't know what Kimber did, if anything, to prevent problems, but I would not recommend firing that rifle with full house .308 loads. I think I would also write Kimber (not e-mail or phone call) and see what they say, in writing, about loads for that rifle.

(*For a hunting rifle, you might be surprised at how little real difference there is between .308 Winchester and .30-40 Krag. The gun magazines and ammo makers keep hyping high velocities, but a bullet from either, put in the right place, will kill a deer quite dead.)


December 24, 2007, 09:45 PM
Thanks Jim. I just cant believe that an American gun maker had the nerve or was even allowed to do such a carless thing with sporterizing old mauser actions that arent rated for the pressure of a .308 round. They must have had a major brain fart or something to do such a careless thing and put a persons life in danger. I dont have the capability to reload and depend on quality factory ammo so I guess im going to sit down and scratch out a few words and send it to Kimber and see what they say. I also have seen the managed recoil line of ammo. Do you know if the pressures of that line are within the capacity of that type of mauser action? What about a rebarrel? Is their any caliber that I can rebarrel for this action without too much expense. And can you recommend a name of a decent manufacturer for this? I shoot whitetail deer out to 150 yds. so any caliber within that range would be good. I love my .308's and have a few of them so the closer to a .308 the better. Thanks again. Have a Merry Christmas.
P.S- Im not a magnum load guy and love my lighter .30 calibers for deer. I love hunting thick stuff and get up close and personal with what I hunt most of the time but its nice to have a little reach once in a while.

December 24, 2007, 10:02 PM
I'm going to have to disagree with jim, those Kimbers were made off Swede 96s IIRC and are more than capable of handling 308s....


December 25, 2007, 12:03 AM
It's very rare that I ever get a chance to disagree with Jim Keenan, in fact I've never disagreed with him, but:) the Kimbers are well made and strong enought for any factory 308 load you can feed it. I've owned one and it was a Mauser action but not a 98 action. How ever there was one country that re chambered the K98 to 7.62 with out any trouble. I know the commercial .308 has a little higher pressure but however??

December 25, 2007, 10:19 PM
Guys, Im very sorry for an error on the action. It is a mauser M96 and not a 95 that I previously stated. I can also read a partial wording under one of the scope mounts. I think it says Husquvarna ?? Does this mean anything? Where they rebarreled they also hand engraved a few numbers inside in the area where the cartridge base would be, I think its the outside edge of the barrel chamber. Is there a reason for these numbers?

December 25, 2007, 11:09 PM
Husqvarnas are swede 96s updated (called the Model 38) and are of quality unsurpassed today.

WildnicegunsAlaska TM

James K
December 25, 2007, 11:17 PM
Hi, guys,

Points well taken. First, I am assuming that the rifle in question is in fact a pre-1898 Swedish Mauser, Models 94-96, made into a sporter by Kimber.

The design working pressure of the 6.5x55 is about 45k psi. I agree that the surplus Swedish rifles are the best of the pre-98 actions (much better than, say, the Spanish-made 93), and the steel was top quality for the period, but they are still not in the Model 98 category. (If they were as good and as strong as the 98, why did Mauser develop the 98?)

.308 Winchester commercial loads can run pretty hot, up to or over 60k psi; military 7.62 NATO runs about 52k. As I said, I don't think the gun is a "bomb", but every gun is designed for a working pressure and exceeding that by a lot can eventually result in problems.

Of course, just about any action can take a lot higher pressures than the cartridge working pressure, at least for a while, but why push the envelope?

Assuming the action is from an 1894-96 rifle, why did Kimber choose that action? Likely because they were available and cheap. And probably because they felt that most owners would fire only a few rounds and troubles would not arise. In my limited experience, deer hunters do not fire their rifles very much, and a box of ammo may well last 10 years or more. If shooting is that limited, I doubt there is any reason for concern with the use of those actions, and one may well last several lifetimes.


Jim Watson
December 26, 2007, 08:19 AM
Kimber sporterized a bunch of Swedish Mausers, 96 and 38, I think as a fund raising project getting reorganized and moving from Oregon to New York. They rebarrelled most of them in .308, .243, and .22-250; all "hotter" cartridges than the original 6.5x55.
Frank DeHaas was against the practice, but some people say the quality of Swedish steel made up for the older design and think it ok.
The Swedes themselves used '96 actions to build the Carl Gustav target rifles in .308 as well as 6.5. This is not something that they expected to get occasional use in short hunting seasons.

I think it would be interesting if somebody would undertake to wear one out and see how it held up.

December 26, 2007, 04:45 PM
Thanks Guys, The action of the gun has another word following the word Husqvarna and in going to take the base mount off of it and let you know what it says. I know its a tack driver because unknowingly sighted it in. The barrel is a stainless steel fluted and target crowned and the action is smooth and tight. and also has a black synthetic stock. Jim, if you want one to shoot till it wears out to see how it holds up I will sell it to you cheap. I know where this gun was from day 1 from Kimber and if it has 20 rounds thru it thats alot. Does anyone know if bolt is stainless or not? The action is blued steel but the bolt and cartridge follower seem to be stainless or some sort of nickel alloy.

James K
December 26, 2007, 10:11 PM
It should say "HUSQVARNA VAPENFABRIK/AKTIENBOLAG/year. Aktienbolag (AB) is the equivalent of "Inc."


December 27, 2007, 07:45 PM
I just took it apart and thats what it says Jim, Thank You. Does anyone know what type of material the bolt is made of. I did a full dye penetrant test to check for cracks and it was clean. Also the headspace checked out ok. So now im still in a Dilema of shooting this thing or not. I sent a letter to Kimber and Will let you guys know what their response is when I get the explanation back from them on why they feel this action is acceptible for a modern .308 cartridge. Hopefully I can sway them to replacing with a new gun. HA HA! (doesnt hurt to try i guess)

December 27, 2007, 08:37 PM
Again, those rifles are perfectly capable of handling 308.

How much you want for it?

WildgreatriflesAlaska ™

December 27, 2007, 08:45 PM
Wild, you have enough huskys.:D

mikenbarb, how much do you want for it?


December 28, 2007, 01:17 PM
Husqvarnas are swede 96s updated (called the Model 38) and are of quality unsurpassed today.

I have myself a hankering for one in 9.3x57mm.

December 28, 2007, 10:40 PM
Im going to see what Kimber says in regards to it. If they give me a new one (ha ha) I will let you know what I want for it. If I sell, it will be thru a licensed FFL dealer only. Hopefully it wont come to that because I like this gun and it has a kinda gilt ridden accuracy to it with silvertips.

December 29, 2007, 11:27 AM
I'd be willing to relieve you of that "unsafe" Husky for $100, sight unseen. Let me know when you want me to post my FFLs address and phone number. I might even pay shipping. Just let me know.


December 29, 2007, 09:00 PM
Wow, Thanks for the great offer. (Rolling my eyes) I will take as many as one could offer to me for $100.00. I have an idea of what the gun is worth and I am not selling till I get a reply from Kimber. I think from what I have read from the experts here I will be ok with it. I trust the info I get from the people on this site and that is why I think im going to put it back in my vault and seriously think about getting into handloading soon. my thoughts in the past were that it wasnt worth it with the extent of great factory ammo produced. But im thinking of customizing a few calibers I shoot just to see what the hype is about. Im not just a deer hunter and shoot around 2000 rounds a year. I only have access to a 300 yd range so factory ammo always served me well. If anyone has any 30 cal.(.308) reloading equipment for sale let me know. Im just getting started and I dont want to kill my wallet.

December 30, 2007, 10:14 AM
Also, I am looking for a 12 ga. reloader. Possibly a Lee load all. does anyone know if their any good or not? I would only reload around 200 shells a year with it.

December 30, 2007, 12:20 PM
Call me I have a MEC.

WildcheapAlaska TM

January 2, 2008, 06:49 PM
Thanks for the help WILDALASKA. I just got back from Gander Mountain buying powder,shot, Etc. Cant wait to get my new toy and try out. The wife wasnt happy but im sure she will get over it in a year or two. (ha ha)
Thanks again, Mike