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Old 07-17-2014, 07:51 AM
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Blue Mountain Classic and other Ramblings



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KIMBER BLUE MOUNTAIN CLASSIC ESSAY AND ASSORTED OTHER RAMBLINGS

2019 Kimber of Oregon Publications, LLC.

“As we all know, never say never when it comes to Kimber of Oregon guns". (A quote from the Stock Doctor, Dennis Smith and poster TSD\TES).

In the 1980’s, Ron Shirk's Shooter's Supply in Pennsylvania was a huge wholesaler of Kimber of Oregon (KoO) rifles. Shirk wanted his own very limited\special edition gun from Kimber. These types of special wholesaler limited number offerings were common in the 80’s. At that time, KoO was strapped for cash and Greg Warne told Shirk that if he paid in advance for the guns, they could come up with something interesting. Shirk’s shop and home overlooked the Blue Mountain ridge in Pennsylvania and Shirk wanted to call the limited edition gun the “Blue Mountain Classic” (BMC). The Blue Mountain is a single ridge of the Appalachian mountain chain. Kimber collector and frequent RFC poster SageRat22 (John Dimick) notes that the Blue Mountains located in Oregon are much more impressive than the dinky Blue Mountain of Pennsylvania and since the Cascade was named after the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, Greg Warne probably just went along with the name and figured nobody would know about the Pennsylvania connection.

Warne sent Shirk three prototypes with differing barrel lengths and actions to choose from and Shirk decided which version was to become the BMC. According to Ron and his daughter, Lauri Horner, the three prototypes were serialized as “Ron’s Kimber”, “Bonnie’s Kimber” (Ron’s wife) and Jeff’s Kimber”, (Ron’s son). Lauri did point out that she did not get a BMC; even thought she had worked at Ron’s shop since she was nine years old.

Lauri reports that the BMC was not listed in Shirk’s 1987 June gun flyer. The June flyer from 1988 and June of 1989 listed the BMC for a wholesale price of $359.95. The same June 1988 and 1989 flyers also indicate that for $499.95 you could get the “BMC Ultimate” that came with Leupold\Kimber rings and a Leupold 4X Rimfire scope. There was no M.S.R.P. listed in the flyers and dealers decided the retail price offered.

Dennis Smith worked at Kimber of Oregon as the Head Stock Finisher from June 23, 1981 through January 5, 1987 and as the Wood Shop Manager/Head Stock Finisher from January 5, 1987 until he resigned on July 26, 1987. Dennis recalls that production on the BMC began in 1987; but it is not certain if they were “released” for sale in 1987 or 1988. Some sources claim that the limited run consisted of only 50 guns. Internet sales data probably supports this number; as you don not see them come up for sale very often. However, I spoke with Ron Shirk and just going from his memory, he thought that the run was more like 200 guns. Ron’s daughter, Lauri, on the other hand thinks that there were less than 100 made. The FFL log books to otherwise confirm numbers have been sent back to the BATF as a result of a corporate restructuring by Shirk.

Although the improved "B" action had already been out since sometime in 1986, the BMC featured the second generation post-1983 "A" action. The later A action discontinued the previous dished bolt style of the early A actions in favor of a round bolt “Mauser” style handle. Why the later "A" action was used as opposed to the "B" action which was already in full swing is not clear. Shirk recalls each prototype had a different price and he thinks he chose the cheapest one.

To differentiate the BMC from the thousands of previous later "A"-actioned Classics already in circulation, Kimber shortened the barrel from the 22" Classic length to 18" and sprung for a "Blue Mountain Classic" script on the receiver just in front of the bolt release button.

The stocks appear to be of the same dimension and grade as the standard Classic of that timeframe; but SageRat22 notes that actually they are cut a little smaller to balance with the shorter barrel and have an inverted pyramid forend checkering pattern. While the typical Classic checkering pattern was borderless, Kimber added a border to the two lower legs of the inverted pyramid as well as a border to part of the wrist panel. Dennis Smith believes that the stock dimensions of the BMC were the same or very similar to the Kimber Cub. At that time, the Kimber Cub was not selling very well and this was Greg Warne’s big opportunity to unload some of the existing Cub gunstock inventory. The Length Of Pull on my BMC is 13 ” as measured from the shortest distance from the of the center trigger arc to the center of the buttplate arc. The Length Of Pull on one of my B Classics (see photo below) is 13 3/8”. SageRat22 reports a Length Of Pull of 13 5/8” on a B Custom Classic stock he was able to wrestle from the safe.

Paul Eaton's guide says that the Cub was shorter to accommodate a smaller-framed, younger shooter. (Kimber Enthusiasts & Collectors Manual by Paul Eaton. Other publication information unknown to this author). A picture of the Cub in Paul Eaton’s guide does show what appears to be a shorter LOP stock than the Classic. Furthermore, SageRat22 has personally had a Cub in his hands and he noted that it did, in fact, have a shorter LOP than the Classic.

The finished stocks showed variations from day to day because there were quite a few different steps that were taken by several different employees over the years. The wood shop used a modified German Guild system in which one person did one job on the stock and then passed the stock on to the next person for the next step and so on until the stocks were finally inspected for assembly. After the stocks were rough cut\shaped and sanded, the socks were detailed, prepared for checkering; where grain filler and base coats of finish were applied. Stocks were then checkered and sent to final finishing. The final finishing of the stocks was done by hand on a large, aggressive belt sander. Dennis Smith’s final product would depend to some extent on what the shapers and sanders had done to the stock before he received it. A final inspection was performed on each stock.

In many ways, the BMC was kind of a running mate to the Mini-Classic that was also being produced in 1987 and was released in 1987 or 1988 with an 18" barrel, the same inverted pyramid panel checkering and the later post 1983 "A"-action. Dennis Smith advises that on July 26, 1987, Greg Warne presented him with a Mini-Classic with full-wrap checkering and sights as a thank you gift for Dennis’ many hours of extra work without extra pay during this period of time. Pictures and more details of the Smith thank you Mini can be found here:

https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum...d.php?t=553694

There were supposed to have been 700 Mini-Classics manufactured, but some experts think there were less actually made. Unlike the BMC, the Mini-Classic was the beneficiary of a new stock design with a schnabel forend tip. Dennis Smith notes that the stock design of the Mini-Classic was called the “Cadet”. Sadly, the Mini-Classic did not get a "Mini-Classic" script on the receiver.

My review of the BMC that I recently acquired is simply that it is a cute little carbine that is essentially a chopped down Classic with a left-over A action and unremarkable wood for about the same money as a really nice-wooded, B-action Custom Classic. The BMC is a Kimber collectible that a reasonably serious collector needs to have, but it is not the sort of gun that would be noticed in a crowd or serve as a gun of significance in any gun collection.

Juxtaposed in the Indiana summer sun is a BMC on top and a B Classic below. The stocks were made in the same general time period. [IMG][/IMG]

Note the partial checkering border on the wrist of the BMC:
[IMG][/IMG]

The Signature "Blue Mountain Classic" script and partial forearm checkering border:
[IMG][/IMG]

Comments from the Kimber crowd are always welcome. Sincere thanks from this author are extended to Dennis Smith, John Dimick and Lauri Horner for their very substantial input on this essay.

Last edited by VertFish; 02-08-2019 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:20 AM
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Fine work. That's what makes this forum so important and valuable since there really isn't any significant source of information about all of the Kimber of Oregon guns, other than Eaton's manual that ends in 1986.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:22 AM
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I'm also impressed with the modification of your post which facilitates the display of more than a single firearm
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SageRat22 View Post
I'm also impressed with the modification of your post which facilitates the display of more than a single firearm
Yes, Thanks. I was given quite a bit of grief about my stage from a certain collector who enjoys a tropical climate of year-round warmth and sun to propagate an impressive wall of of some seemingly foreign vegetation not found here in the temperate Midwest!
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:55 PM
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Good info. Thanks. Always thought it was Oregons Blue Mountains.
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:32 PM
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You got me wondering Vertfish,so I dug out my Blue Mountain Classic and checked the serial #.
Its 53351 so by what I can see it is a very close relative to yours,like twins.
My classic is sitting right next to it, so I grabbed it to check the serial#.
It is 53813 not too far off,this is the first Kimber I ever bought,got it not long after I got out of the Marines,back in 87-88.
I thought it was the most beautiful .22 I had ever seen,I paid $460.00 for it and tried to convince myself I really wasn't Crazy after spending that kind of money on a .22.
Anyway I have picked up a handful of Kimbers thru the years and still think they are very special rifles.
Vertfish looks like you have the Bug pretty bad,which is not a Bad thing,just an expensive thing.


Greg
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:24 PM
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Thanks Vert. And just to prove I read your dissertation what's up with "after checkering/base coats they went to final finishing by hand on a giant agressive belt sander?"
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by hambone49 View Post
Thanks Vert. And just to prove I read your dissertation what's up with "after checkering/base coats they went to final finishing by hand on a giant agressive belt sander?"
That was from information that Dennis Smith gave me. I assume that after Dennis completed the final finish sanding on the belt sander, the stocks got the final coats of finish, were inspected and then sent out the door.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:43 PM
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Good info, Vert. Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:44 PM
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Thank you for this great information! I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge with others. I know of no other sources of good info on the Kimber of Oregon rimfires.

BRP
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:21 PM
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Vert, I like your passion for the Kimber rifles. I just wish I had more friends around here that expressed their passion and enthusiasm for fine rifles like you and I have. It seems like I'm the lone ranger in this area that appreciates the quality and craftsmanship that are displayed in these fine rifles known as Kimber. Good post! Keep them coming..
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:19 PM
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That was a fine synopsis on the Blue Mountain Classic. I remember quite well the days of Shotgun News before the internet and can add a little to this. When these came out I hadn't retired and lived in Michigan. I ordered my first from Shirks and frankly was astounded at how well it shot as it was an absolute tack-driver. I shot it fairly often at our gun-club and other members were impressed enough that the club bought 4 or 5 for our informal junior shooting league since these were reasonably priced and relatively light-weight for youths. I purchased additional BMC's as did others in the club and would guess that there might have been a dozen or more locally. I also remember talking with them at Shirk's about purchasing others. While my memory isn't perfect I seem to recall that they had sold something in the neighborhood of nearly 200 when I last checked back with them years ago. I have often heard of the run of 50 but am almost 100% certain this is incorrect for the reasons mentioned.
The other interesting item about BMC's was the ad in Shotgun News said all would be stocked in American Black Walnut as opposed to Claro. Whether they ever deviated on this I cannot say but can only add that all the ones I've seen were made with American Black.
The last point is not something I know but something I observed and have long wondered about... the BMC's I personally saw did not have the "Warne Color" treatment and so I surmised this model never underwent the red staining . I would be interested in what other forum members think about this.
Lastly, while you'll all be upset with me, I took two of these back then and had the stocks "dietized", ebony tips added to shortened fore-ends and new full coverage wrap checkering (22 lines per inch) cut. The fore-end shortening allowed for more conventional barrel to fore-end proportions similar to other Kimber models. Both were engraved also engraved. To this day I still have one and cherish it. Please remember when I did this BMC's were in production and no-one would have predicted Kimber's demise!
Ed Lundberg
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:31 PM
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Ok guys. For some reason I was unable to convince Mike that the belt sander was used during the stock shaping stage and not in the finishing stage. Actually there were 37 separate steps to getting the bare wood received from the Shapers/Sanders before the stock left the Finish Room and into the gun assembly department. I did use a 6" Sioux air sander to level sand coats of finish during the preparation for checkering stage. Sorry Mike, I can be confusing at times because of all the details I remember.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:49 PM
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Ed, in 1985 I and others were finally able to convince Greg to stop the red filler treatment. He wanted the "Ruger" red color. He did not want a separate staining process. Thus, color the filler...the color changed weekly depending on whom Greg talked to nationally. I just had to change the formula under Greg's observation... It never satisfied him. Natural color sold better in the end.

Oh...food for thought...Rhienhart Fajen convinced Winchester Corp. that due to Eastern Black Walnut shortage , Western Black Walnut could be substituted by changing the eastern/western lable to American Black Walnut and still avoid the stigma of Claro Walnut unsuitability.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:31 AM
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Ed and Dennis, thanks very much for your addditional information. I would love to see a picture of Ed's customized BMC!
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