kimber vs other 1911


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2t2 crash
December 26, 2004, 02:26 PM
okay, so i want a 1911 and honestly, after firing a kimber custom II in .45 (i think that was the one... about a 3lb trigger pull, smooth works and nice shootin) I am really considering it. but the Price is whats got me :what:

i know i want certain features for mine mainly
look like original style 1911 (as much as possible)
i want it parked, rather than in the white.
nice soft trigger pull.
and i like sights on my XD (three white circles, two on rear, one on front)

what do you guys own/recommend?

(i know its a bit of an off question, sorry)

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dsk
December 26, 2004, 02:31 PM
Unfortunately a lot of folks have been having problems with their Series II Kimbers. Previously it was with the FPS, now it seems to be the new external extractor that is causing problems. Until Kimber irons out the latest batch of problems I suggest a Springfield Loaded.

Kruzr
December 26, 2004, 03:17 PM
Kimber is having some problems trying to decide on the design of their external extractor. However, in the real world outside of the internet, I don't see that many problems with the new Kimbers. Of the 25 or so that we sold in the past 6 months, I've seen one (an Ultra model) that had a problem with the external extractor. It went back to Kimber, had the extractor replaced with one that looked a little different, and was back in the owner's hand the same week. It solved his problem.
From what I see, I wouldn't expect a Springfield loaded to be problem free either. They just take longer to fix.

GreenFurniture
December 26, 2004, 09:39 PM
I am with Kruzr. Of the many Kimbers we have sold to customer we haven't had a single (crossing fingers) one come back for any work. I personally own several Kimbers and they work out of the box. We had one very minor problem with a barrel when we recieved it and Kimber took it back and sent us a new one in less than 72 hours. It then sold less than thirty minutes after being placed in the case and I haven't seen it since.

We have had some problems with Springfields that we have sold, but the Springfield repair department is top notch and gets on the problem right away.

I also have several Springfields, and of those only one has ever worked from the start without a hitch, all the others have required major service and tinkering to get them to run 100% every time.

MaterDei
December 26, 2004, 10:33 PM
I don't own a Springfield 1911 so I can't comment on them, though I've always heard good things about them.

I do own a Series II Kimber, however, and it has run flawless since the day it came out of the box. It has had zero malfunctions not attributable to user error.

"Unfortunately a lot of folks have been having problems with their Series II Kimbers."

Really? What folks?

moorerwc
December 26, 2004, 11:18 PM
After owning four and having out of the box problems with all of them (2 Colts and 2 Kimbers) I don't expect any 1911 to go without tweaking. The problems with the last two ended up being my fault for assuming that Wilson 7rd. mags were the end all be all of reliability. I am now using CMC power mags upgraded with Metalform dimpled, flat followers and having very good luck; I also would recommend Metalform's FBI spec magazine--bad mags are a big part of 1911 unreliability. Also try reading just about everything by 1911tuner on this site.

I too, like the "retro" custom look and tried it with a new roll mark SS Colt 1991. The major deficiency I find with the standard style guns (Colt 1991, Colt series 70 repro, Springfield Armory milspec and GI) are that they need a good dehorn, esp. at the grip safety--some people also need the hammer bobbed to prevent hammer bite, but I found that it was the squared corners of the grip safety that were drawing blood from my hand. I had also added a short trigger, arched MSH, and extended safety but these were just for preference. Most of these models come from the factory with "hi-viz" sights, except for the SA GI.
I have since bought a series I Kimber custom classic (no firing pin safety or external extractor) and it is just about everything that I need in a carry gun--except the full length guide rod has been replaced with a standard set up and the plastic trigger and MSH housing have been replaced with AL and steel respectively. I have since sold my Colt b/c I was just shooting the Kimber more and decided that Stainless wasn't my thing--this is not saying it wasn't a quality gun, I just couldn't spend the money to get it customized right now.

You can get a 5", carbon steel, series 70 1911 (series I Kimber or SA Loaded parkerized or blued), plus an identical backup, holster, and ammo for the price of a customized Colt--then build your skills so you justify the expense of a full custom and/or add machined small parts as your budget allows). If you are really interested in the original 1911 setup you could get a Colt 1991 or SA milspec and have it dehorned and reparkerized to taste for about the same amount of money. The SA GI would allow you to decide whether you wanted the lowered ejection port, beveled magwell, and hi-viz sights. You could then add machined small parts (trigger group,etc.), thumb safety, trigger(esp. Aluminum for safety), MSH, and grips to meet your tastes. While the Colt has the series 80 Firing pin safety, it is the only one of these that I trust, as it has been around long enough for most all of the bugs to be worked out and to be supported by the aftermarket industry. Also the Colt guns have more high quality small parts, I would be most concerned about the ejector, extractor and slide stop on the SAs--in particular I would be sure to get a SA that had it's frame drilled for the ejector pin instead of just having this part glued in. Out of personal preference I would also get rid of the SA's Ti FP and internal locking MSH.

Try looking for some articles by Chuck Taylor as he is a heavy proponent of the "retro" styled guns. Also the Yost-Bonitz shop has put out some nice examples of the breed.

Hope I helped,
Chad

Tamara
December 27, 2004, 12:16 PM
look like original style 1911 (as much as possible)
i want it parked, rather than in the white.

Those requirements kinda narrow things down to the Springer Mil-Spec and the Colt 1991A1 (although it will be blued rather than parkerized.)

2t2 crash
December 27, 2004, 01:30 PM
great input everyone, i really appreciate it. i was originally looking at the mil-spec by SA, then the Kimber had caught my eye. Now i see i will need to do a lot of homework on these before i make a real decision.
thankyou.

Tom Servo
December 27, 2004, 01:45 PM
Either I lucked out, or perhaps the minority is just more vocal, but I've got a Kimber CDP Compact (series II) that ran perfectly out of the box. Over 1100 rounds without a hitch. If anything, the external extractor does the most, um, enthusiastic, job of ejecting brass that I've ever seen :)

Tamara
December 27, 2004, 01:58 PM
There's often a disconnect between reliability and durability. If I was looking for a gun that was going to run right with a wide variety of ammo right out of the box, then I'd go with the Kimber, as Springfield seems to suffer bouts of Gimpy Extractoritus every so often over the last several years. It's an easy problem to check for, and easy to fix if it's there, but it does exist. If I was looking for a gun that I'd want to replace a minimum of small parts on in its as-delivered condition, then I'd pick the Springer over the Kimber. Freakish small parts breakages on the Kimbers are rare, but they definitely happen more frequently than on Springers or Colts.

Rob96
December 27, 2004, 03:07 PM
My experience out of two Colt 1991A1's and three Kimbers, Pro Carry II, CDP II and Custom Classic I, the Colts have been drop dead reliable. The three Kimbers are/were my brothers. The two Series II guns, both suffered numerous failures to feed, even after the required "breakin", and return trips to Kimber. The Custom Classic had some failures to feed, just not as many as the Series II. In terms of accuracy and feel, I actually prefer the GI setup of the Colts.

dmftoy1
December 27, 2004, 04:45 PM
The trigger pull on the Gold Match II is what sold me. I just couldn't quit thinking about it after the first time I fired it and eventually went back and picked it up. I've NEVER regretted it. I had a few FTF (is that failure to feed? . . that's what I had) in the first 200 rounds and it hadn't missed a beat ever since. I can't really blame the pistol as they said to break it in with 230 grain hardball and I was shooting some 15 year old 200 SWC stuff I had loaded up relatively light for when I used to shoot bowling pin matches.

Anyway . . . .gotta say that I love my Kimber!! (purchased in November 2003)

Have a good one,
Dave

Black Majik
December 27, 2004, 06:24 PM
Really? What folks?

I agree with Dana, people are running into problems with their SII Kimbers.

I'll link ya.

http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=10827

Kruzr
December 27, 2004, 06:43 PM
Considering how many guns Kimber makes a year, very few people are having problems.

You can find threads discussing problems with every maker on the 1911 forum.

spacemanspiff
December 27, 2004, 07:27 PM
if it was me looking for another 1911, i'd be inclined to go with Kimber again, but i'd try to find one that has the internal extractor.

i've compared my kimber tle side by side with an eclipse and its like apples to oranges. while my tle is great, i love it, blah blah blah, if i had the extra money, i'd go with an eclipse. theres a lot more TLC that goes into the eclipse, at least thats how it appeared to my eyes.

if you go with a lower end kimber, i'd immediately swap out a few of the parts with some ed brown stuff. things like the slide stop, firing pin stop, and put a ss MSH, the plastic ones just irk me.

but out of the bakers dozen of other 1911 manufacturers out there, i'm intrigued by a lot of them. the sig and s&w look like they'd be fun. i'd even like to try a colt (if only to get the 1911 snobs off my back).
:D

Pointman1776
December 29, 2004, 02:32 PM
I've been a Kimber convert ever since the first time I shot the x-ring out with all 7 shots at 10yds with a bone-stock Kimber Custom II. The base entry model. Nothing custom. No special features. Not even a trigger job.

Wow. Can't really beat that for $600 NIB, imho.

It would take several hundreds of dollars to customize a Colt or a number of other 1911's to get it to be as fitted/tight, reliable, durable, and accurate as that Kimber is out of the box. And I get a factory warranty. :)

I now own that Kimber Custom II (stock), and Stainless TLE II, and a Team Match II. (Yes, they are habit forming).

I bought all three mostly to prove a point. I shoot equally well with all of them. And at my local range here in Los Angeles, we get all kinds of shooters (1st timers to bullseyes). Most non-gunnuts can't tell the difference between my Kimbers just by looking at the results on the target paper they just shot. And even the Colt-Or-Die cultists at my range have given me their blessings after handling, stripping, inspecting, and shooting my Kimbers...especially when they consider since that my Kimbers are all bone-stock expect for a light trigger polish on my TMII ($50) and a light feed-ramp buff to better feed semi-wadcutters.

The biggest difference, imo, is not the performance, but just the features: stainless vs. steel, ambidextrous safeties, target vs. night vs. regular sights, beveled mag well, slightly lighter trigger, etc. etc.

Yes, I've shot just about every 1911 on the market and so many customs that I've lost count, and while there are several excellent 1911's available today, I cannot overlook the price I get for the out-of-the-box reliability, durability, and performance of a Kimber: $600-$1000 vs. couple hundred (or thousand) dollars more for the comparable models from SA, Para, Colt, S&W, and Sig, let alone the semi-customs from Les Baer, Charles Daly, Dan Wesson, Wilson, Ed Brown, STI, Novak, et. al.

Well, I've rambled long enough. Talk to your local gun shops and gunsmiths and ask them about their experiences regarding reliability/durability (returned products, weak parts, etc.) and price-for-performance valuations based on their experience.

Buy what YOU shoot best. Good luck!

Old Dog
December 29, 2004, 03:09 PM
My first 1911s were Colt's; I still love 'em ... but now I've become a huge Springfield Armory fan. My new favorite 1911 has become my SA Mil-Spec in stainless (just plain clean, classic looks) due to its flawless performance and above-average accuracy. I occasionally carry a Loaded LW Micro-Compact, which I also really like -- but for regular carry, prefer the Kimber Tactical Pro and am currently debating purchase of a CDP Pro (can't beat the 4" barrels for carry).

There had been rumor up here that Tacoma PD had more than a few issues with their Kimbers (TLEs), but I've not ever heard that confirmed by anyone from that department (only a couple local dealers) ...

Kimber or SA? I think it's personal preference and comes down to what you appreciate about the cosmetic differences (and how you feel about that damned external and Series II firing pin safety). Me -- I like both company's products, but I (and several buddies) have had better experiences with SA's Customer Service Department than Kimber's.

halvey
December 29, 2004, 03:16 PM
I have an older Kimber Gold Match and honestly, it has spolied me. Nothing I've had since has been near as good. I planned on building a custom gun out of a Caspian frame and when I was done putting all my options on paper, I noticed I built myself the exact same gun I own!

As far as the Series II, I think I read on the 1911 forum that by changing the firing pin, you override the series II safety and "poof, you have a series I".

BTW, isn't it funny that Kimber and Para are having problems with their new and improved extractors? Just leave it alone! ;)

Sergeant Sabre
December 30, 2004, 01:40 AM
As far as the Series II, I think I read on the 1911 forum that by changing the firing pin, you override the series II safety and "poof, you have a series I".

That is done by simply installing a standard series-70 firing pin. It doesn't have the cut-out around the back end for the Kimber plunger to fit into. Put it and an your FP safety is gone. :D

Wildalaska
December 30, 2004, 01:52 AM
i'd even like to try a colt

Thats a more exclusive club than you probably are entitled to join...if ya want I can help ya, but first, chuck that...that....that....CLONE.....away!

WildcoltcoltcoltAlaska

bratch
December 30, 2004, 02:07 AM
Bought a TLE II in Oct. It had a couple ealry hiccups but they were few and worked themselves out quickly. I had to replace the recoil spring pretty early on though. I would probably buy another.

I have put in a EB Hardcore Firing pin so its no longer a full II. Also thinking about having a little more work done but it isn't necessary just me.

DHart
December 30, 2004, 06:47 AM
If I had to stake my life on any new in the box 1911, right out of the box... I'd pick a new Colt. But they're not so easy to find and usually when they appear, they disappear quickly.

Colt Series 70 - new production/re-issue (Esmeralda Grips)
http://www.legendportraits.com/Images/Guns/Ser70_0738.jpg

If I had to choose another brand, it would be Springfield.

Kimber wouldn't even enter my consideration.. why? first for the Series II design, second for the external extractor, and third, for MIM parts throughout the gun. Their slide to frame fit and triggers do feel good, though, gotta give them that! And their marketing is convincing a heck of a lot of people that they're the cat's meow. Kimber marketers are masters at marketing, that's for sure!

In any event, whatever brand or model, there would be a few (or more) mods to be made and reliability testing is in order, just to be sure... after all, these ain't Smith & Wesson Model 13's! ;)

halvey
December 30, 2004, 08:56 AM
I just found about about switching out the FP safety. From all the :cuss: we hear about it, it's such a simple fix.

DHart - WOW! Those are some nice grips!

Thats a more exclusive club than you probably are entitled to join...if ya want I can help ya, but first, chuck that... that.. .. that.... CLONE .. ... away! WildAlaska: The thing I think appeals to a lot of people with Kimbers, is they get the add ons right out of the box. We can argue about what is needed or not, but the fact is people want certain sights, hammers, triggers etc. without having to deal with a gunsmith.

71Commander
December 30, 2004, 09:28 AM
I don't own a Kimber. I have several Springers that I am completely satisfied with, but my preference comes with a pony on the side.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v11/tucker13/elite-leaves.jpg

Need something smaller?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v11/tucker13/IM003228.jpg

45auto
December 30, 2004, 12:13 PM
Given the fact you like Kimbers, I would buy their "Anniversary" model which is a series I and internal extractor with a 'parked' type finish I believe.

It costs more but you'll soon forget the extra money. 5 years from now, the series III's or IV's with external extractors, key locks, mag disconnects, electric shocks, decoding ring, etc will cost the same. ;)

DHart
December 30, 2004, 02:48 PM
halvey... yes, the dreaded Schwartz parts can be removed/disabled, but you may want to think twice about doing so on a pistol you might have to actually use in a defense situation. A justified shooting is a justified shooting, but someone might try to destroy you for intentionally defeating the factory safety on a gun. If you don't want the system in the gun, better to buy a gun that doesn't have it... then there's nothing to remove! :cool:

I agree with the post above, if you must have a Kimber, buy a Anniv. model.

I understand that lots of people buy Kimbers because they think the parts on them are "extras". There is little if anything "extra" on Kimbers, the parts are just different design. And typically of lower quality than provided on guns such as Colts. And many new 1911 buyers have come to believe that a 1911 must have a certain set of parts to be good, whereas most of us who own a number of 1911's have come to realize that the traditional feature set is mighty fine just as is. That said, no matter what 1911 you buy, you will probably want to make a few modifications at least... it just goes with the territory. And even if the Kimber has the type of features you think you have to have, consider that Kimber's parts are of lesser quality than other parts which are available. Kimber's MIM parts are notorious for breaking. Yes, I have a few Kimber Series 1 guns and they are nice guns and they work well and all that. But Kimber isn't the "holy grail" as some have been lead to believe by gunshop salespeople and magazine marketing.

halvey
December 30, 2004, 02:52 PM
Not to worry. I have my HD and carry guns and I have my target guns! :)

mjb
December 30, 2004, 03:55 PM
To me, if it isn't a Colt, than it's just a copy. Have two 1911 Colts going on three. :D

DHart
December 30, 2004, 05:42 PM
Here's a Colt Commander with matte blue finish which might appeal to you... I bought it earlier this year new... priced about $550... fine quality, utterly reliable, nice 4# trigger, excellent quality metalurgy & parts, versatile size, deadly. Works great as is, but I may add night sights some day.

Colt ORM Commander - Brown Arched MSH, Colt Short Trigger
http://www.legendportraits.com/Images/Guns/Commander0765.jpg

http://www.legendportraits.com/Images/Guns/Commander0768.jpg

Rob96
December 30, 2004, 05:51 PM
WildAlaska: The thing I think appeals to a lot of people with Kimbers, is they get the add ons right out of the box. We can argue about what is needed or not, but the fact is people want certain sights, hammers, triggers etc. without having to deal with a gunsmith.

DHART wasa right when he said that they aren't extras, just different desing. But they are crappy parts. I would rather spend the extra money on quality parts , if I wanted to change out the mil-spec grip safety and such.

Curare
December 31, 2004, 06:14 PM
halvey... yes, the dreaded Schwartz parts can be removed/disabled, but you may want to think twice about doing so on a pistol you might have to actually use in a defense situation. A justified shooting is a justified shooting, but someone might try to destroy you for intentionally defeating the factory safety on a gun. If you don't want the system in the gun, better to buy a gun that doesn't have it... then there's nothing to remove!

How is a firing pin safety relevant to a "justified shoot"? The trigger was pulled intentionally.

People make the same argument about trigger work, but unless you are claiming that the gun "went off" by itself, the modifications are not relevant.

Finally, I set up my guns to be best for hitting what I'm shooting at, quickly and accurately--not to be lawyer proof.

DHart
December 31, 2004, 06:40 PM
Rationally, the FP safety isn't relevant in a justified shooting, but by removing it, an aggressive lawyer could try to paint you like a reckless gun nut who removes safeties from guns! Now if you removed the safety and the gun accidentally was dropped and discharged, injuring or killing someone, you'd REALLY be in a fix for having removed a factory installed safety device. Of course if the gun never had one installed in the first place, the issue would never even come up.

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