Nosler243Shooter

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Mar 31, 2010
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How do Kimber 1911's compare to other brands such as Springfield or STI? It seems that Kimber gets a lot of bad publicity. I have several friends that have Kimber 1911's and all of them are happy with them. What is are the reasons they have so many bad things said about them? They sure have some nice looking guns but I don't want to buy something that won't work like it should.
 

BLDTYLRY

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Jul 21, 2011
855
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I prefer Springfields over Kimbers. Springfield has a REAL Custom Shop and can turn any of their base model 1911's into anything you want. Please all custom work is covered 100%. The only thing custom about a Kimber is the word "Custom" engraved on the slide.
 

Hookturnr

Low Speed, High Drag
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  • Jan 20, 2012
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    I am quite happy with the Kimber I carry daily....that being said, they have more MIM parts than some folks prefer.
    My only gripe was the composite mainspring housing, so I swapped it out for a scallopped steel housing.
    Other than that, it's been extremely reliable for the first 5500 rounds or so that I have put through it.

    I wouldn't hesitate to go Springfield..have a RO model actually, and the custom shop there does fine work. However, I just haven't seen enough difference between the two to call one better than the other. I went Kimber for my EDC because I could buy the pistol in pretty much the exact configuration I wanted right off the shelf at a decent price. I went springfield for my home def/plinker because you can't beat the RO model for value.

    My .02
     

    sidewaysil80

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    Jun 11, 2012
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    I'm sure people are going to get butt hurt over this, but hey you asked. Kimbers in my opinion and MANY others are not good 1911's. They are low quality entry level pistols that have name recognition which people misconstrue for them being good guns.

    First, I hope you like mim parts. Kimber uses them in EVERYTHING. They pioneered the use of mim parts but also cut so many corners they gave it a bad name. Sure, other companies use mim parts but of much higher quality than the junk kimber churns out.

    I owned a Custom TLE/II at one point and it was a paperweight. I had fte/ftf right out of the box. I chalked this up to needing a break in, however more problems began to surface as time went on. Most noticeably the slide wouldn't fully return forward. At the time I knew nothing about 1911's (second gun, 21yrs old) so I didn't tear it down and diagnose. I did send it back and when it was returned Kimber sent a nice note saying everything was fine and it passed all their inspections "could not duplicate issue". BUT, the slide had much much more play in it; if you shook your hand you could hear the slide move. Knowing what I know now, either the slide or frame had a burr or was not fit properly and whatever they trimmed they took too much off. I can only speculate but that was my poor experience.

    Recently I have inspected and tried to help some buddies (who didn't heed my warnings) with kimbers and they haven't gotten better. Barrel "fitment" is laughable, hammer hooks are having irregular or half contact, and overall just poor fitment.

    If you are in the market for a 1911, about the lowest price point I would recommend is about $1000. That will get you a springfield operator which is light years beyond its kimber counterparts. I also would recommend skipping the TRP series as they are only marginally improved over the regular operators. Dan Wesson is without a doubt he BEST you can get in the $1500-$2000 range (excluding used custom guns). I don't know how they sell those things in that price range as its damn near a custom gun.

    To ultimately answer your question, they have a bad name due to industry recognized poor quality control and corner cutting. But whats damaging is how consistent these negative issues are at surfacing.
     
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    ShtrRdy

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  • Sep 17, 2011
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    I think Kimber 1911's have had quality problems over the years. They do use a lot of MIM parts but I don't know if that's necessarily bad. I have one Kimber with lots of MIM parts and the composite Mainspring Housing and it has worked fine. I was probably lucky on that one.

    Depending on how much you want to spend, I would suggest looked at used Les Baer Premier on Gunbroker.
     

    whotrod9

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    Jan 26, 2013
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    I have 6 Kimbers both .45 and 9 mm. I've not had any problems with any them. I like the team match the best. That being said I also have two HK 's that I like just as much. I've had several folks tell me they wouldn't buy a Kimber. I buy what I like.

    Walt
     

    ColbyLang

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    I have a Kimber Custom TLE RL II. Sure, its no Les Baer. I knew that when I bought it. It's not as well balanced as BIL's Springfield TRP Operator, but it shoots. Never had a FTE or FTF with it. I've easily put 2,000 rounds down the pipe. To each his own. Buy what you want, but don't hate me for spending my money on what I want
     

    Double-edged

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    I would not buy a Kimber produced in the last 10-12 years or so though I'm sure plenty are fine. Kimber made their initial good reputation with their earlier guns and the good reputation was VERY justified. Series I Kimbers are great guns and worth picking up.

    Springfield has had highs and lows but I think they've concentrated on XDs and not 1911s a lot over the past several years and their 1911 offerings have suffered. Still, I'd take a current production Springfield over a current production Kimber.

    If you want a Kimber, find an older 5" Classic Custom and don't pay more than $750 for it and run with it. You'll have a great gun.
     

    eli polite

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    Mar 9, 2010
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    had a kimber = sold a kimber.. the barrel rusted quick the barrel was not a target barrel and the fit was not that great for the $1k price tag there are better 1911's out there

    here it is
     

    Spencerhut

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    I own a gun sore, Kimber lost it's way and is coasting on it's rep and advertising. I have Sig, Les Baer, Para, Springfield, Colt, Caspian, Dan Wesson . . . etc 1911's. Dan Wesson is my pick, Springfield is right there.
    Para, Colt, Sig and Kimber all have useless series 80 or worse (Kimber) firing pin blocks. Parts quality in the Kimber is embarrassing.
     

    Nosler243Shooter

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    Mar 31, 2010
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    Thanks for the replies. I probably wouldn't buy a Kimber either. I have heard too many bad things about them for some of it not to be true. I have owned 2 Springfield 1911's in the past but now I only have a Les Baer UTC. I have been thinking about buying another range officer or loaded. I have also looked at the TRP. I went to the range yesterday with my M&P Pro, Glock 19 and the Les Baer. After shooting them side by side I found that I shoot the polymer pistols as well as a 1911. It will be hard to justify the expense after looking at the groups. I think that my accuracy suffers in the 1911 because of the anticipation of recoil. Anyway I won't be buying a 1911 right now.
     

    2brothers641

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    May 21, 2008
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    Don't forget about Kimber's amazing "1" year warranty. The won't even stand behind the garbage they produce. Old Kimber 1911's were outstanding, and thats where the misconception that they still produce quality comes into effect.
     

    ColbyLang

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    Apr 23, 2012
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    Absolutely. But don't hate me for pointing out shortcomings.

    No hate EddieNFL, to each his own. I haven't bought a Les Baer or anything that fancy yet, truth is I prefer my HK45 over my 1911. Hell, over any 1911. I'll buy something super nice in the future, but for now, the Kimber does just fine
     

    odonnks

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    Nov 22, 2012
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    I have a few new Kimbers that have not had problems. This may be because I don't shoot them often. The purchase prices were very good.
    Also have a armory kote Springfield TRP and a Dan Wesson Specialist and Valor, both in their duty finish.

    The Kimbers are good looking and functional but regarding quality of my 1911's I rate them from lower to higher Kimber - - Springfield - - Dan Wesson.
     

    diggler1833

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  • Jul 22, 2007
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    I own a Kimber Custom II Stainless in .40 S&W. I got it because I thought it was rather unique. It came with (3) Kimber mags. One mag has always been just fine, one mag stovepipes the last round about every 3rd time, and the last mag just sucked. Bought a Springfield mag for the pistol that has been 100% reliable. I think that a lot of Kimber's woes have revolved around the magazines.

    My pistol is one of the most accurate that I've ever seen or heard of. When you miss, you know that it was your fault because off of a rest it will shoot ragged holes at 15 yards. I wish my M9's were as accurate.

    I think Kimber only ran the .40 for two years because a lot of people had problems with them. I guess I should have purchased a lottery ticket the day that I got mine.
     

    rdinak

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    Feb 17, 2003
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    Older Kimber fan here. Buy one of the early Classic Kimber models and you get a lot of bang for the dollar invested. Personal favorite is the Classic Gold Match. Replace the adjustable sights with a set if Heine fixed sights and you are ready!
     

    shoot4fun

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  • Oct 27, 2003
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    I have one Kimber left. It was my EDC for years. My most favorite was the original Clackamus, OR gun with a four digit SN. It sits in one of my very good friends safe now.
    Springfield Armory seems to have the best overall but I have found S&W and Sig to be right up there. My match guns are all S&W now.
     

    SatCong

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    Dec 20, 2010
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    Older Kimber fan here. Buy one of the early Classic Kimber models and you get a lot of bang for the dollar invested. Personal favorite is the Classic Gold Match. Replace the adjustable sights with a set if Heine fixed sights and you are ready!
    Yea, the old ones were very good. Best bang for the buck then, not now.
     

    Twisted Jester

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    Feb 4, 2013
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    Have 2 Kimbers, 45 acp and 9mm and love 'em. Haven't owned a Springfield so can't say. Maybe I just got lucky with mine I don't know.
     

    Glock45

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    Jan 29, 2010
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    One other thing I'll add is that I've seen Kimber's with alleged stainless steel barrel have rust spots within a year. Yeah, I know - warranty. But I shouldn't have to deal with warranty. These are pistols in a rental of a range and they get cleaned/oiled 2x a week. I've never had this corrosion issue with my other brands, many of which are named above. For the "every day" 1911s, Springfield and Dan Wesson are really hard to beat. DW is a factory produced custom. Springer is a FANTASTIC starting point with their loaded models and the TRP models are a LOT of pistol for the money!

    Regards!

    -G45
     

    Cvarney

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    Jul 19, 2011
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    I've got one I bought new 5 or 6 years ago. It's one with the aluminum frames, Tac Custom, I believe was the model. I like it well enough and outside of me dicking up the grip screws I've not had an issue with it. I do have one bushing hole in the frame that is stripped that I need to get an oversized bushing for. I know the screws and bushings are fairly cheap but Kimber has sent me replacement for free. Also a slide lock that got a little galled up and would drop the slide when you slammed a magazine in. But as far as functionality goes it's been good to me. I've got 12-1500 rounds or so through it so it's not a ton. Regardless though when I bought it kimbers were the rave on a 1911 forum I was checking out at the time for info. I've read that quality has went wayyyy down since then and maybe it was bad when I got mine but I really have nothing to compare it to. It is the only 1911 I've owned and one of a handful that I've shot. In hindsight I wish I got an all steal one but over all I've been pretty happy with it.
     

    rpk762

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    Feb 17, 2011
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    My Kimber custom target II in 10mm had a few problems.

    1. The firing pin block is the modern rounded model. Swapped it to original style and that tamed recoil and how far the brass goes.
    2. For the cost the safety should be ambidextrous.
    3. The extractor was sharp on the bottom. This would cause jams at least once per magazine, if I would put up pressure on the magazine then it was almost 90%. Once I knew that w's an issue it took 15 min to break the edge and solve that issue.

    Other than that I like it.
     

    MarshallDodge

    At the Reloading Bench
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    Jul 19, 2007
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    Basically everything sideways said.

    I have owned two pre-series II Kimbers and they were good guns. Back then they were worth the money paid but now they are over-marketed and over-hyped. The Desert Eagle 1911 models are very similar to the old Kimbers and are reasonably priced.

    The lower end Springfield models are okay. At least they have excellent customer service and put better parts in their guns. The EMP is over priced in my opinion but the TRP is a good gun for the money.

    Nowadays I only own customs or models that are built with quality parts. Kimber is not on that list.
     

    bkw1911

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    Apr 30, 2011
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    Biggest difference is 80s-ish series vs 70 series on the spring and sti. I had a kimber and after 1k rounds (maybe a month of shooting) I had to keep taking the frame apart to clean out the firing pin block after the trigger stopped working. This was a problem every 500rds or so until I sold it. It was accurate and had a decent trigger but an sti trojan for 1200ish is a much better and more reliable purchase. If you can get at least a trp or competition Springfield those are also excellent 1911s for the money. Try a Dan Wesson heritage also. Very good buy in the same price range. Avoid the aluminum frame kimbers as well. They use the frame as a feed ramp on the full size aluminums and the aluminum will wear down and cause you to have feeding issues down the road. Kimbers are meant to be kept very clean and wet and kept to a low round count in my opinion

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk
     

    JDB

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    I have a 10mm eclipse that is great....my Kimber is better put together than the new custom STI I bought around the same time. I guess YMMV. The Kimber Eclipse I have is great.
     

    FS1

    Unbalanced
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  • Mar 24, 2014
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    I think the 1911 is a timeless design. Browning it seems was good a creating timeless weapons. Ma Duce, the thirty cal and the 1911 come to mind whenever I think of Browning. The only 1911 I would ever have a desire to purchase would be if I found the holy grail 1911 (in my mind any way), which would be a seventy series Colt 1911 unused.

    Otherwise even though the design is timeless I believe the newer DA/SA design pistols are a much better choice. My two favorites would be the H&K USP .45 and the Sig P227.
     

    cody_hop

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    Feb 19, 2014
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    Ive heard kimbers are a hit or miss. I had a pro carry 2 hd and it would ftf and fte. I ended up seling it and got a sig 1911 and love it. I have about 1200 rds thru it with no problems. that being said i know a few people who have kimbers and love them.
     

    alman1531

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    Jan 11, 2014
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    I have three Kimbers, the TLE 2, Eclipse in 10mm, and the Solo. The TLE 2's only malfuntions were from some lead SWC reloads that were borrowed. With factory and my reloads the pistol has been great. I use the Kim-Pro mags as upposed to the one it came with. The 10mm is very new and have not used it enough to give a full review on it. The Solo does give me some concern. It started out great with no hicups even using Winchester white box. Now the slide stop moves up and locks the slide back on almost every round. I have tried different grips and can not figgure out what the problem is.
     

    mountainman308

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    Jul 20, 2012
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    I have had two Kimber Pro Tac IIs. I say had because I got a KB on the first one two weeks after I bought it. To be clear, it wasn't Kimber's fault (crappy budget ammo) and their customer service was good. That first Kimber was a tack driver. Perfect fit and finish, other than the amazing speed with which the barrel got rust spots, no complaints at all. The second Kimber had good finish, but the fit was loose between the slide and the frame. It is ok for accuracy, and has held up well over the first 3000 rounds or so, but I was hoping that more would come for the price point.
     

    jhr1986

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    Apr 6, 2012
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    I own a Kimber, and a Springfield as well (and 1911s from several other makers). Picking between the two, I'll take a Springfield every time, but in that price range I'll always recommend Colt to new buyers. I'm not full of vitriol when it comes to Kimbers, and I know there are many users that have had great experiences with theirs. Mine has been OK. Fortunately I didn't buy it to really use it, I bought it because I think it is beautiful (5" Raptor II SS). If I had bought it as a fighting gun I would be disappointed. I've had some failures with it, but all have been at the range and this pistol mostly lives in the safe with the occasional visit to the range so no harm no foul in my opinion.

    The reason I don't recommend Kimber is their inconsistency. All my Kimber owning friends have moved on to other brands due to reliability issues, but I also hear plenty of reports from people who are in love with theirs. I'm not getting rid of any of the 1911s I have now, but I have decided that any future purchases will be from either Wilson or NH (yes there are other top quality brands/makers but I have no need for a $6K pistol).
     

    fasteddie565

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    Jun 15, 2008
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    I have owned well over a dozen Kimbers, some I have had a few issues with. Most ran well out of the box. I take everyone and lap the slide to the frame with old white toothpaste. Call me crazy, but it works. I learned this with a Raptor Pro I had that had some significant FTE/FTF during break in. Lapped the slide and voila. I still have a dozen or so form the Stainless Custom II in 9mm to a Gold Combat and Grand Raptor. Kimber makes exponentially more 1911 pistols than any other manufacturer, so you are bound to hear more bitches about them. Go to a dedicated 1911 forum and folks bitch about everything from SA to Wilson Combat. Not even the full custom guns are immune.

    I also think that if you are serious about collecting, shooting and fighting with a 1911, you need to learn to "tweak" them when needed. A few file passes here and there can make a huge difference in how your gun runs. lastly, most folks that REALLY rant either had a truly messed up pistol, which happens, or talk about their "buddies who knew a guy....."

    I respect EddieNFL's experience on this forum, I have had slightly different experiences.
     

    euge

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    Apr 6, 2014
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    I have owned 3 kimbers, still own two. Two have been older ( late 90's) gold match models, both excellent. In fact I have two heavily worked over ( colt & Norinco) by two reputable gun smiths that I am way more invested in ( both time & $) that will not shoot with my gold match, which makes me kind of mad to be honest. I also have a SIS commander, which I bought with some work already done by I have no idea who, ( it was a great deal) I trust it enough to carry.
    I stay away from any newer ones, and any that have a II, mostly because of bad internet reviews. I am a 1911 guy and have a silly amount of them.....hoping for more. My kimber gold match is the most accurate 1911 I have.
     

    Dominick1441

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    I own both and I prefer my Springfields over the Kimber. The Springfields have performed much better throughout the years. May be just the one that I own, but the Kimber seems more picky about what it will feed and eject consistently. I've never owned an STI but I would happily sell my Kimber to fund the purchase to try one out.
     

    xcDave15

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    Jan 17, 2012
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    I have a custom Kimber Target in .45 that is fun to shoot and very accurate. I did however just buy a Sig Scorpion .45...it is just as accurate but isnt a target gun (not as tight as the kimber, and it has standard night sights not target sights.) that being said, i love my kimber and wont be getting rid of it.
     

    J. K. Rowzee

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    Feb 3, 2014
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    corpus christi texas
    own 2 kimbers one stainless with external extractor with @15 thousand rounds very tight slide to frame still also have a rapture that has +50 thousand rounds had it hard chromed by tripp it runs all the time clean it every once and a while change the recoil spring I would not hesitate to buy another one. I also own 2 colts, a Taurus a springfield loaded the kimbers are the best of them
     

    HD1911

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    How do Kimber 1911's compare to other brands such as Springfield or STI?

    Well.... They don't ;)
     

    snipe10

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    Never owned one but my money is too hard to come by so with all the questionable press and comments, I'll never take a chance on one
     

    1quik70

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    Jul 23, 2011
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    I own a Series 1 gun (Elite Carry), and it has been flawless. A friend of mine has a newer Custom II that has also been problem free, but its getting refitted with Wilson parts at the moment. I would NOT buy a new Kimber period, too much money to take the chance on getting a lemon, much better pistols available for the cash.
     

    g2gjoe

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    Feb 25, 2014
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    I've had a pro carry HDll for about 13 years now. Finest handgun I've ever owned. I've shot thousands upon thousands of rounds through it. But I think it's time for a rebuild, or at least new springs. That's too bad to hear about their quality control these days. I was unaware.
    And yes, there stainless steal does Rust easily.
     

    fasteddie565

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    When the slide comes forward and catches the next round and the rim slides up behind the extractor, the left side of the cartridge is free to move, causing the bullet to cant slightly to the right. This method of cutting the throat accounts for that and ensures better feeding.
     

    EddieNFL

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    Jan 11, 2006
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    When the slide comes forward and catches the next round and the rim slides up behind the extractor, the left side of the cartridge is free to move, causing the bullet to cant slightly to the right. This method of cutting the throat accounts for that and ensures better feeding.

    Did Kimber tell you that? If it were true, my Kimbers, Colts, Wilsons, Nighthawk and Baer and every 1911 I've ever owned (maybe three dozen over the years) are all cut wrong. Same for every 1911 barrel I've seen in the past 40 years.

    For the record, that is not my pix. It was posted by a very well known and respected custom smith explaining why he would no longer work on Kimbers.
     

    fasteddie565

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    To be honest, I just made it up. But every Kimber I have owned is cut like that and my story above is my best guess as to why. If it was just a bad angle and not intentional, the angles on the flare would match, right?

    If you hand out on a 1911 forum, you will see just as much bitching about Springers and Wilsons as you do Kimbers. Kimber makes exponentially more pistols than all of the other manufacturers. Ergo seemingly more complaints.
     

    sidewaysil80

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    If you hand out on a 1911 forum, you will see just as much bitching about Springers and Wilsons as you do Kimbers. Kimber makes exponentially more pistols than all of the other manufacturers. Ergo seemingly more complaints.

    I don't want to start an e-pissing match, but that statement is incorrect. Kimber usually has a higher number of complaints or bad first hand experiences. Facts are facts and they wouldn't have developed this reputation if they produced consistent quality. Not too mention they single handedly gave MIM parts a bad name. They made their bed and now they are forced to lay in it. I owned one of their higher end models (Custom TLE/RLII) and it should have NOT made it through quality control and onto the dealers shelf. I had many issues with it including after their warranty work was performed.

    EDIT:
    To prove a point, I just went through every sub-forum on 1911forum and checked the first page. Kimber had the most "issues" on the first page of their forum...
    kimber: 3
    colt: 0
    dan wesson: 0
    ed brown: 1
    guncrafter: 0
    les baer: 0
    nighthawk: 0
    para:0
    remington: 2
    rock island: 1
    sig: 2
    s&w: 1
    springfield: 1
    sti: 1
    taurus: 2
    wilson: 1
     
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