Shooting the Kimball

by
posted on September 19, 2014
kimball-1024x587.jpg

If ever there was a gun idea that had every chance in the world of going wild, the Kimball pistol was it. In 1955, the Army was about to drop the War Baby (or M1 carbine) from use and quantities of both guns and the short little .30-caliber cartridge were on the horizon. The designer knew that Americans loved the idea of feeding a handgun and carbine from the same belt of ammo. So why not a modern automatic pistol chambered for that round. The Kimball pistol was a heavy, solid steel pistol with a delayed blowback action. Beautifully fitted and finished, the Kimball was somewhat reminiscent of the Colt Woodsman with barrel screwed into the receiver and a short slide at the top rear.

They never made more than 300 guns before they went out of print and the maker shut down. In a delayed blowback system with a high pressure cartridge, the action must remain closed until the bullet is long gone and pressures drop. Kimball used a heavy spring (you could hardly rack the slide) since a heavy slide was out of the question. That didn’t get it done, so he milled a groove around the chamber. When fired, the cartridge expanded into this groove and stayed in place until rearward inertia literally swaged the expansion out of the case. This allowed it to move back for extraction and ejection. The nifty little gun broke itself right and left and some of the breaks were catastrophic.

When I mentioned to my editor at the time that I had access to one of the guns, he was quick to go for a shooting session. I was a bit crazier at that point in life, so I set it up. I fired the gun (about a dozen shots, as I recall) and got chronograph results. I also got a group on target, which is probably the only recorded evidence of this curious pistol’s accuracy.

Latest

Henry Repeating Arms New Original lever-action rifle right-side view silver engraving gun rifle carbine
Henry Repeating Arms New Original lever-action rifle right-side view silver engraving gun rifle carbine

Hand-Engraved, Silver-Plated New Original Henry Rifle Heads To Auction

There are few places in the country more impressive than The Cody Firearms Museum for history buffs and firearms enthusiasts, and Henry Repeating Arms, Baron Engraving and Davidson’s have created something special to support the facility.

Rifleman Report: Shall Not Be Infringed

As of this writing, the people of Ukraine are locked in a life-and-death struggle with the invading Russian military in the most significant warfare seen in Europe since World War II.

This Old Gun: U.S. Model Of 1842 Musket

By the latter part of the 1830s, most of the major powers finally let practicality overcome economy, realizing that it was time to switch their small arms over from flintlock to percussion. Britain and France were among the earliest, with the United States following suit in short order—the Americans fielding the handsome Model of 1842.

Preview: Brügger & Thomet Unigrip QD With Bipod Foldable

Externally configured as a standard vertical fore-grip, the B&T Unigrip QD With Bipod Foldable, as its name suggests, also features a throw-lever Picatinny-rail attachment clamp and more.

The Armed Citizen® May 23, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

2022 Rifle Of The Year: Ruger 10/22 Competition Rifle Left-Handed Model

Now in their 20th year, the Golden Bullseye Awards are chosen annually to recognize the firearm industry’s best new offerings. Here is this year’s winners as selected by the editors of “The World’s Oldest And Largest Firearm Authority.”

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.