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During the late 1980s, Kimber of Oregon received a US Government contract to manufacture 20,000 to 25,000 (with later options) Model 82 single-shot target rifles in caliber .22LR. Kimber began production on the contract in 1987.

The contract called for Kimber to factory test every rifle for accuracy. The US Military specification MIL-R-1296 stipulated that each rifle must group 10 shots into a maximum diameter of 0.700 inch at a distance of 50 yards.

Kimber advertised to their Dealer Network in 1989 that they were testing the M82 Government rifles in a computerized, underground shooting facility.

Additionally, Kimber advised their dealers that they occasionally identified a rifle that would group better than 0.300 inch at 50 yards (although they did not specifically mention that the group consisted of 10 shots, one would assume so, even at the risk of being too optimistic ... and the assumption would be incorrect ... the Star Grade group actually consisted of 5 shots, still good, but just so you know). The rifles which exhibited the better than required accuracy were stamped with a STAR on the right side of their receivers.

Today, these M82 Government target rifles are sought after by shooters and collectors alike. The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has been selling them to the public for several years and is now reaching the end of their inventory, in fact, as you read this, Kimber M82 Government rifles may no longer be available from the CMP.

According to a December 1 1989 Dealers’ Newsletter regarding the “Kimber Model 82 .22LR Government” as it was called by Kimber, the following information described the rifle in terms of its basic components, specifically the Receiver, Bolt, Trigger, Stock, and Sights. Additionally Kimber boasted of an “Accuracy Guarantee”: Standard Grade = 10 shots at 50 yards grouped into 0.700 or less; Star Grade = 5 shots at 50 yards grouped into 0.300 inch.

RECEIVER: solid machined steel featuring a full length grooved dovetail which allows the use a receiver mounted scope or sight package. Bases are attached at three locations on the barrel to allow for barrel mounted scopes or sights.

BOLT: Model 82 bolt design adapted to the Government single shot version. Features include “quick” lock time, strong, horizontally opposed locking lugs, 90 degree bolt uplift.

TRIGGER: single stage trigger mechanism adjustable for depth of sear engagement, trigger overtravel, and trigger pressure.

STOCK: heavy target grade stock featuring three removable butt spacers (0.500 inch thickness each.), full length hand stop rail on bottom of forearm, fully adjustable hand stop and integral sling swivel, fully inletted steel trigger guard.

SIGHTS: aperture sight package (an option from Kimber that the US Government includes in the CMP packages). Rear sight adjustments yield approximately 0.200 inch movement of impact point at 100 yards for each click of either windage or elevation adjustment. Front sight has 10 interchangeable inserts, seven of which are aperture type and three of which are post type.

In 1989, the suggested retail price of the rifle was $595.00 and of the sight package, $209.95 (an increase from the earlier price of $160.00). The STAR Grade rifle was available from Kimber at the same price in December 1989 as a “special first time promotion”.  Note that today the sight packages, which were manufactured in Australia, are almost never seen by themselves, certainly not in pristine new and complete packages.

This particular example of the M82 Government .22LR is new in box with a complete sight package, handstop and sling swivel, owner’s manual and CMP paper work. Even the barrel “soda straw” is present.

This rifle is exceptional and unlike any L & M Enterprises USA has ever offered or seen. The quality of the walnut stock is NOT that of the “heavy target grade” that was the normal lumber on M82 Governments. The stock on this rifle is of the quality, both in color and in grain, that Kimber would have used on their Custom Classic and Super America M82s. Both sides of the butt stock exhibit strong flame fans with dark streaks and honey brown coloring. The exceptional grain continues through the pistol grip and up the forearm to the tip with “bird’s eye” knots and multi-hued feathering on both sides.

When we first saw this rifle, we were surprised at the quality of the wood on a Government rifle. In fact, we assumed that the rifle had been restocked after leaving the factory because of the wood quality AND because we did not see evidence of a razor knife slice along the left side of the butt stock. The razor knife cut was expected as an unfortunate blemish found on all CMP rifles that we have ever seen due to a careless, razor knife opening of the sealed plastic storage bags once upon a time to gain visual access to the serial numbers on the left side of the receiver during an arsenal or CMP inventory validation.

On more careful examination of the rifle, we discovered that we were wrong about the restocking. On the left side of the pistol grip, on the curved radius of the grip, was a very small razor knife cut ... thin and short. Evidently, the person conducting the inventory raised the point of the knife and/or the plastic bag enough that the knife missed the stock entirely, except for the tiny trace of a cut on the curve of the grip. Talk about the patron Saint of marksmen looking out for us‼

We are absolutely confident that this is the original Kimber stock as it was manufactured and installed by Kimber of Oregon sometime around 1989.  As such, this rifle is exceptional either as a collector’s piece or as a showy and desirable shooter. Either way, this beauty is one of a kind. Don’t let it get away.

Weight: 9 pounds 11 ounces with bolt. LOP, with three 0.5 inch inserts installed: 13 3/8 inches. OAL, with three 0.5 inserts installed: 43 inches. Barrel Length: 25 inches. Barrel Diameter:  approximately 0.96875 inch.

Stamped “U S” above the serial number.

SN:  GM016744