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Old 09-21-2016, 04:24 PM
VertFish
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KIMBER KOLLEGE: KIMBER RINGS, BASES AND THE KIMBER SCOPE

2019 Kimber of Oregon Publications, LLC

PRE-KIMBER BACKGROUND: Kimber of Oregon’s founding father, Jack Warne, was a pretty big fan of the work of a famous custom gun builder by the name of Lenard Brownell from Wyoming. Brownell was heralded as a master custom rifle builder in the 70’s. Brownell designed and produced a vertically-split set of quick detachable lever lock rings that Jack Warne admired. Most of the custom rings made by Brownell bear an “LB” stamped on the lever stud. Some authentic late produced Brownell non-LB-stamped vertically-split lever lock rings exist. Our friend Dennis Earl Smith (TSD\DES) recalls that Warne would later work out a handshake deal with Brownell to purchase the patent of the Brownell rings by paying Brownell a royalty on every ring sold by Warne and that will be discussed in the historical chronology below.
Here is what a set of original LB-stamped vertically-split lever lock rings looks like:



And here is the non-LB-stamped version which were cheaper to manufacture:



THE GROOVED RECEIVER: From the very beginning, Jack and Greg Warne designed a rifle that had no sights and required the use of a scope. KoO guns came in two different configurations that would allow the mounting of a scope; the grooved receiver and the drilled and tapped receiver. We begin our discussion with the first scope mounting option, the grooved receiver. The standard model 82 initially offered by Kimber of Oregon (KoO) was a “no sights” gun that had a 7\16” grooved receiver (also known as a dovetail) that runs along the upper section of both sides of the entire length of the 5 1\4” receiver. The dovetail serves as a mounting area for “Rimfire” or “Tip-Off” style rings. Those type of rings do not require a separate base to be screwed into the action; they simply “clamp” into the dovetail and are tightened by screws to secure a tight fit. The 5 1\4” length of the dovetail allows the rings to be moved forward and rearward to allow for many different ring position placements on the scope as well as providing a means to move the scope and\or scope and rings forward and backward to adjust for eye relief at the ocular end of the scope.

The 7\16” dovetail cut is very close to the width of 11 MM. Not all 11 MM rings will “fit” on the KoO dovetail because of the angle and depth of the dovetail cut as well as the radius of the receiver above the dovetail cut. The dovetail is cut lower on the receiver sides than most other manufacturers and this means that on several other brands of rings, the round top of the receiver will many times contact the bottom of the ring and prevent solid engagement of the ring clamps to dovetail. This most often results in rings that are not centered with the centerline of the receiver and\or bore. Such is the kiss of death to setting up a properly scoped rifle. To do so, will cause a number of significant problems, such as:
1. the rings not being true to the centerline of the scope resulting in the rings binding, scarring, denting or damaging the scope tube;
2. the scope not being able to be adjusted for windage enough to correct for the offset from the bore;
3. and the scope having to be adjusted for windage every time a closer or father shot from the scope-zero’d distance is taken;
4. loose rings that allow the scope to move from shot to shot and not hold zero\point of impact.

THE LEUPOLD/KIMBER MOUNT: To make absolutely sure that KoO 82’s had properly fitted rings, KoO designed their own ring specifications and contracted with Leupold & Stevens of Beaverton, Oregon to manufacture a Kimber-branded ring that fit the KoO dovetail dimensions. The bottom of the rings were cut with a properly-dimensioned radius that would not come into contact with the top of the receiver. Kimber would call the rings in their literature the “Leupold\Kimber Mount” and they would later be known by collectors as “Kimber First Generation Rings”. They were a unique dovetail design in that the ring in its "free-state" was narrower than the dovetail and required the clamping screw to be inserted backwards allowing it to push against a thin steel plate (included in the ring's original box) spreading the two sides and allowing the ring to slide onto the rifle’s dovetail. The screw was then removed and reversed completing installation. An experienced and knowledgeable Kimber collector and prince of a guy, Ed Lundberg, notes “My experience with these while positive, is that over torqueing to spread the dovetail sides of the ring can cause the ring to take a permanent set so previously used rings will sometimes be found without tension; thus sliding directly on.”
The Kimber Mounts were a 1” diameter horizontally-split two-piece gloss steel ring that came in two heights. The ring part numbers are just another one of those Kimber mysteries that no one can really explain. Some literature indicates that the low rings are part number 0230 which is stamped on the box; other literature indicates the part number is 0220. Low rings were to be used for scopes with ocular lenses with a diameter of 1.480” or less and an objective lens diameter of 1.790” or less. The high rings (either part number 0220 or 0230 stamped on the box) were to be used in applications where the low rings would not provide for proper scope or bolt clearance. Rings were sold in Kimber brand boxes, two rings to a set. The set included mounting directions, a 3\32” allen\hex wrench and a rectangular steel shim to be used to spread the base clamps if needed. The rings were marketed as Leupold\Kimber Mounts. Here is what the Kimber First Generation Rings and packaging look like:



Here is a photo of a set of First Gen highs and lows:



Here we have a First Gen Parts List:



And here we have a First Gen Catalog:



THE SECOND GENERATION KIMBER VERTICALLY-SPLIT DOUBLE LEVER SCOPE MOUNTS: Sometime between 1980 and the beginning of 1983, Jack Warne purchased the Lenard Brownell patent for the double lever quick detachable rings he designed and produced for his custom gun trade in the 1970’s. Kimber wanted to use these rings and have them available for sale for guns that were manufactured with sights. The double lever quick detachable feature made the rings quite handy to quickly put scopes on and take them off a rifle.

There were three changes made to Brownell’s original design upon the acquisition by Warne\Kimber. First, the small “LB” designation was eliminated on the lever stud. Second, as the Brownell rings were more commonly used on big game rifles such as 270, 30/06 etc. they featured very small grooving of the inside of the locking plate and the mating side of the ring used to assure adequate grip on recoil and these were eliminated. Ed Lundberg notes that his experience has shown that Brownell’s original design held extremely well without undue exertion onto the locking lever. Since Kimber at this time only made rimfires or low recoil cartridges such as 22 Hornets, their elimination was perfectly adequate since normal lever pressure held against the low recoil generated. Lastly, the manufacturing process for the lever stud was changed resulting in the presence of a very small but unwanted radius at the bottom of the stud hexagon flats which often resulted in the lever "sticking" onto the stud after tightening the first time making the removal needed for retiming the lever position on the rifle quite difficult. To avoid this potential problem, Ed Lundberg suggests that one could simply take a small jeweler's file and remove these radii and save themselves much aggravation later. This design could have been adopted to a grooved receiver but since Kimber wanted to introduce bases used with a drilled and tapped receiver, the Brownell design was left unchanged. This happened in 1983 and was followed about 8 months later by the introduction of a fixed set of the Brownell design that required bases. At this time, the Kimber literature showed three ring sets; levered vertically split, fixed vertically split (for bases) and fixed horizontally split (Kimber/Leupold for dovetails).
Interestingly, the Kimber/Leupold rings were priced slightly higher of the two fixed sets. Several months later, the Kimber/Leupold rings were discontinued and a modified fixed vertically split design was introduced. This design had both an arch centrally located for dovetail clearance and small flats outwardly on the extremity of the arch for base contact. The literature states their use on both designs but again, several months later, this was replaced by two fixed vertically split designs; one for bases and one for dovetail receivers. The reason for the change deals with a tool life issue but suffice to say one needs to look at what they have for proper matching.
The Kimber Enthusiasts & Collectors Manual produced and published in house and distributed in September of 1985 (commonly known as the Eaton Guide) indicates that the very first series of Kimber Double Lever Scope Mounts (the 2000 series) would fit a ’ dovetail. I have personally never seen a Kimber ” dovetail. Ed Lundberg concurs on the matter and also notes that this observation is supported by the Kimber literature which shows only one set of ring part numbers from day one. Lundberg believes that this story was either the result of over aggressive spreading of the early rings sides (as described above) resulting in permanent deformation and widening of the slot width or misunderstanding that the rings would not simply slide on for installation suggesting to some that there were two dovetail widths. However, noted Kimber collector and an adjunct professor at the Kollege, John Dimick, agrees that the Kimber ” dovetail exists and that he has an example of that in his vast collection. The Double Lever Scope Mounts I have seen are the 4000 series which fit the 7/16” Kimber dovetail.

THE SECOND GENERATION KIMBER VERTICALLY-SPLIT DELUXE SCOPE MOUNTS: The other new style scope ring to be unveiled in 1983 was known in the Kimber literature as the Kimber Deluxe Mount. The new rings would continue to be made by Leupold & Stevens and were privately branded as Kimber Deluxe Scope Mounts. The rings continued to be a gloss steel finish tip-off style produced in two sizes; low (part number 3000 stamped on the box) and highs (part number 3010 stamped on the box). The striking difference between the “Second Generation” rings was in their vertically- split configuration. Rings were sold in Kimber brand boxes, two rings to a set. The set included mounting directions, a base chart, a 3\32” and a 5\32” allen wrench. These rings would fit the both dovetailed and drilled and tapped receivers. The rings were separately wrapped in a clear plastic wrapper. Many feel that the Second Generation Kimber rings were more elegant than their horizontally-split predecessors. By 1984 Kimber was making their own rings in house. Kimber purchased Precision Cast Parts castings from 1984-1991. The castings were milled for base height (lows and highs); dovetailed; drilled and tapped for screw holes; reamed for scope width; polished by a mandrel inside ring; split in two top to bottom; sanded flat with a belt-sander on the cut side; mounted to a solid rod with slave screws and polished by hand. The rings were then then marked for ID and sent to bluing. They did 12 sets a day as a goal until major production was called for. Here is what the Kimber Second Generation Rings and packaging look like:

COMING SOON

OTHER RING BRANDS THAT MANY TIMES FIT THE KIMBER 7/16” DOVETAIL: Some non-Kimber tip-off rings will work pretty well on the 82 dovetail if you cannot find original Kimber rings. They are not a perfect match, but these rings have been used by many with good success:
Warne 7.62;
Leupold 11 MM,
Talley 11 MM

THE DRILLED AND TAPPED RECIEVER: Shortly after the introduction of the standard model 82 Classic, KoO began experimenting with “supergrade” gun offerings; some of which did not come with the early 7\16” grooved receiver. Instead, some receivers were drilled and tapped with 8\40 machine screw dimensions to accept bases that would screw into the receivers. The top of the bases were flat and would accommodate the First and Second Generation Kimber rings. However, the flat-bottomed Second Generation rings (models 3005 and 3015) would not fit on models with a grooved receiver. Kimber expanded their ring style offerings by having Leupold & Stevens manufacture a vertically-split Second Generation ring with a flat bottom; as opposed to the radius-bottom required for the grooved receivers. The flat-bottomed rings fit the bases better than their radius-bottomed cousins, the flat-bottom Second Generation rings also came in low (model #3005) and highs (model 3015).

Other models like the early Super America’s that came out January 26 of 1984, had a grooved slot milled in the rear sight quarter rib for a tip-off style front ring and required a base for the round top receiver for a ring to attach to in the back. Here is an example of that set-up on an early Super America Hornet I had laying around:

[IMG][/IMG]

The bases for either of the guns requiring single or double bases were the same. The bases for the round top drilled and tapped receivers were supplied with the gun or they could also be bought separately. Bases were also manufactured for a host of other non-Kimber manufactured rifles and were listed on the base chart that came with Second Generation rings. The Kimber QD rings for drilled and tapped receivers that required bases were part # 4000 for lows and part # 4010 for highs.
For rifle models that came standard with sight packages such as the early Super Americas, the 10th Anniversary, the Brownell, the Continental, the Centennial as well as their other models in which sights were options, Kimber wanted a ring that was quickly attached and detached for use of the sights only or scope only. Kimber used the Kimber Double Lever Scope Mount. For the most part, Kimber rings were sold separately by retailers. A few of KoO’s guns came with factory-supplied Kimber rings; such as the Custom Match (featuring a matte-finished Deluxe Mount), the Brownell (featuring Double Levers) and the Centennial (featuring Larry Peters engraved Double Levers). On the other hand, the literature on the Continental and Super-Continental indicate that the Double Lever rings were not included with the guns and could be bought separately for $82.50.

The Kimber Scope:
Not wanting to miss a chance to associate the Kimber name with quality products, KoO contracted with Leupold & Stevens to manufacture a Kimber-branded scope. Only one offering would be available; the Kimber 4X Compact scope. To differentiate from the standard Leupold markings, the Kimber scope would be given a silver ring on the objective (as opposed to the standard Leupold gold ring) as well as a silver Kimber “K” medallion on the left side opposite the windage turret. The scope featured a thin cross-hair duplex reticle and had the parallax set to 75 yards and had a 33MM objective. It was also a very compact (short) scope. The scopes were sold with “Kimber Silver and Black Script” boxes similar to those containing Kimber rings and magazines. From 1980 through 1983 (when the scopes were discontinued) a total of approximately 2,000 were sold. WATCHADDIC provided these photos of one of his eight Kimber scopes:








Enter the Kimber Of America 82C’s: After Kimber of Oregon’s bankruptcy and liquidation, Kimber Of America, Inc.(KoA) would be formed and began producing rifles in 1993. KoA would abandon the production of any grooved receivers; instead opting for 8\40 drilled and tapped receivers that required bases. By this time, Greg Warne probably liked the cheaper, simpler drilling and tapping manufacturing process. By the time of the introduction of the KoA 82C in 1993, Jack Warne had already formed and was operating Warne Manufacturing Company. Warne Manufacturing Company manufactured scope rings and bases. Jack Warne's son, Greg, was employed at KoA and was making some managerial decisions for KoA; including that Warne would manufacture rings and bases for the KoA 82C. All rings made by Warne for KoA rifles were vertically split two piece models. The first offerings were in low and high. The rings and bases were made of solid allow steel and had a matte black finish. Rings and bases were not supplied with KoA rifles, but were easily obtained at retailers.

WAITING ON PHOTOS FROM OTHER PROFESSORS HERE.

Kimber K-22’s: Kimber Manufacturing, Inc. (KoNY) would take a slightly different approach than KoA. In 1999 when KoNY completely overhauled the 82 action and unveiled the Mauser-inspired K-22 action, a new set of bases would be factory-supplied. The bases have a sculpted look, nicely matched the receiver’s contour and finish and are designed to accept Leupold “STD” style rings. Collector Rich Fagley notes that the new KoNY base design was essentially “stolen” from the design of the Dakota bases made for the Dakota .22 sporter rifles produced first in 1993. The style involves a twist in front ring and a windage-adjustable rear ring. The Leupold STD style ring is available by a host of manufactures other than Leupold; giving users a wide variety of height, finish and style options. Early models through 2002 were drilled and tapped with 6\48 pitch machine screws, but that was changed to 8\40 in 2003 starting with serial number KA 10643. Thanks go to member Phil In Alabama for that deep research!!

Last edited by VertFish; 01-07-2020 at 10:57 AM. Reason: New pic and insider information
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:38 PM
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Amazing work, Vert! That is more typing than I could do in a month. Very informative!
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:12 PM
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Well done once again VF!! Added to the Kimber Kollege Super Sticky!
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:10 AM
VertFish
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Well done once again VF!! Added to the Kimber Kollege Super Sticky!
Thanks Boss. I will edit in those pics in due course. I have RFC members Tgilmer from MO and Guther from NC driving over today for a long weekend of squirrel hunting and gun fondling. That will likely bring out some photo opportunities from the depths of the safe during show and tell. Sagerat is too busy trying to find the perfect pair of rings to hang a scope on the stunning new S-Series he bought from Kimberkook this week to make the trip to the Great Midwest. His first attempt drew serious criticism from the Kimber Historical Society and after great embarrassment, he has been mining the depths of his ring cache to find the proper set of rings for the job. Perhaps he should read and print this lecture and pin it on his safe for future reference?
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:02 PM
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Very good info. I looked for an early set of Leupold/Kimber rings for 20 years before in the internet came along and a "WTB" ad on the gunbroker forums netted me a pair in good shape.

Who would have thought that getting scope rings would be so hard. I've never liked the look of the vertically split rings. Looked at the Warnes back in the day but decided to hold out for the leupold rings.
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:14 PM
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After an embarrassing rebuke from the KHS, I did manage to find a couple of low sets of the 1st generation Kimber/Leupold rings which would be period correct for an S series. As per Ed's comments, they do require some extra care to install, but they are now properly installed and the KHS deemed that the lines and symmetry of the rifle, scope and rings was finally in harmonius equipoise, obviously Kollege lexicon.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:08 PM
VertFish
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Originally Posted by SageRat22 View Post
After an embarrassing rebuke from the KHS, I did manage to find a couple of low sets of the 1st generation Kimber/Leupold rings which would be period correct for an S series. As per Ed's comments, they do require some extra care to install, but they are now properly installed and the KHS deemed that the lines and symmetry of the rifle, scope and rings was finally in harmonius equipoise, obviously Kollege lexicon.
It's nice to have you back on line. It wouldn't kill us to see a picture of the corrected version. That is a fine S that 'kook was nice enough to give you first dibs rights.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:51 PM
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Great work Vert!! A good addition to the Kimber Kollege.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:01 AM
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One helpful hint on Kimber rings deals with the Cascade models. When this stock came out it placed your cheek higher than the straight comb stocks and thusly raised the "natural" site line. I've found that if one immediately uses the higher of the two ring sets it makes for a more comfortable shooting position. Many of the Cascade's were made during the first generation or horizontally split design period so I always keep a couple of extra sets of the higher ones on hand just for this purpose. You can "skungth" down on the low rings but things are never quite right and it's amazing how nice Cascade's feel with the higher rings. FYI...
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:22 AM
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Found this while researching Mr. Brownell's accomplishments:

http://americansocietyofarmscollecto...063_Bailey.pdf

Hope you find it as interesting as I did!
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Old 09-24-2016, 10:07 PM
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Squirrells and guns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VertFish View Post
Thanks Boss. I will edit in those pics in due course. I have RFC members Tgilmer from MO and Guther from NC driving over today for a long weekend of squirrel hunting and gun fondling. That will likely bring out some photo opportunities from the depths of the safe during show and tell. Sagerat is too busy trying to find the perfect pair of rings to hang a scope on the stunning new S-Series he bought from Kimberkook this week to make the trip to the Great Midwest. His first attempt drew serious criticism from the Kimber Historical Society and after great embarrassment, he has been mining the depths of his ring cache to find the proper set of rings for the job. Perhaps he should read and print this lecture and pin it on his safe for future reference?
Well I made It home from my visit to casa del Vert. Ive gotta say Vertfish is a first class host and guide! The squirrells where a little lazy. And with those Indiana oak trees being 1000 yards tall the killing was a little slow. The gun fondeling was something to be remembered. And it is always nice to spend time with like minded people. Vert and Guther are both first class guys. And I had a great time! Thank you for the invite!!!
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:03 PM
VertFish
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Well I made It home from my visit to casa del Vert. Ive gotta say Vertfish is a first class host and guide! The squirrells where a little lazy. And with those Indiana oak trees being 1000 yards tall the killing was a little slow. The gun fondeling was something to be remembered. And it is always nice to spend time with like minded people. Vert and Guther are both first class guys. And I had a great time! Thank you for the invite!!!
Now you know why I love the .17 Mach 2 so much! I thank both you and Guther for the gifts and the great time. I hope we can do it again without a wife-mandated wedding appearance cutting things short!!
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