Kimber Tac Pro II or S/A Champion


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osteodoc08
January 25, 2006, 10:07 AM
OK guys, my wonderful, wonderful wife has agreed to me getting a new 45. I am currently looking at the Kimber Tactical Pro II and the S/A Champion. It will pull multiple duty as a range, HD, and carry gun.

What is everyone's opinion. I'm looking for a 'loaded' commander size 45 with night sights, beaver tail, ambi safety, etc. Any other suggestions? Also it must be NIB under $1000 and fairly easy to find. Just want to be sure I'm not missing anything.

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neoncowboy
January 25, 2006, 10:24 AM
I have Kimbers and I have Springfields. I am much more impressed with the workmanship, quality of metal, reliability and durability of the Springfields and won't be buying any more Kimbers for those reasons.

YMMV.

bigmike45
January 25, 2006, 01:51 PM
I've had both and am partial to my Champions.

rbernie
January 25, 2006, 02:28 PM
I've had both; both served me well. However, I had the steel Champion and not the Lightweight Champion. The Kimber has the tritium night sights, but my Springer Champion did not - are you sure that the Lightweight Champion has 'em?

Anyway, if I had to choose I'd probably choose the Springer over the Kimber, if both were optioned identically and both cost the same. The Kimber has a firing pin block safety (which some like and some don't), but my Springer had the ILS lock (which some like and some don't). Since the ILS system is easier to remove than the firing pin safety, I score the Springer higher. Another bennie for the Springfield is that it uses a traditional internal extractor, while the Kimber uses a proprietary external extractor. Fit-n-finish on both of mine were comparable, as was accuracy and reliability.

osteodoc08
January 25, 2006, 02:31 PM
If the Champion had a more attractive lightweight model with frontstrap checkering, night sights, and beveled mag well it would make the desicion that much easier, but by the time I add those to the Champion the price becomes more than the Kimber. Decisions, decisions.

Also, once I buy the gun it will remain stock. I don't want to spend the money after I have it to be the product that I originally wanted.

Old Dog
January 25, 2006, 03:41 PM
Tough call here. I've both, and love 'em both, for different reasons. The Pro Tactical is a tad lighter (the Champion being all stainless), has a cool finish and looks neat ... But, the Kimber is a II-series with the external extractor, which, even though it functions perfectly, inspires these little nagging thoughts in the back of my mind.

I wish SA was currently marketing a LW Champion other than in OD green/armory coat black. I like the Champion's red cocobolo stocks better than the dark Kimber stocks, I like the Champion's Novak sights better than the Kimber's ... My Champion is more accurate, but both function perfectly. Finally, I like the Kimber's frontstrap checkering while the Champion's FS is smooth.

I couldn't decide, so I ended up with both. I can say that I would give a big edge in customer service to Springfield Armory.

The Kimber has the tritium night sights, but my Springer Champion did not - are you sure that the Lightweight Champion has 'em?
Yes, both the LW Champion and the SS have have Novak Tritiums.

osteodoc08
January 25, 2006, 04:52 PM
Hmmm, I didn't know the Champion came std with night sights. This might weight into my decision more. Beveled mag well is just a nicety because if I'm in a gun fight, I hope to have to shoot no more than 7 rounds. The checkered front strap is just a nicety as well. I also prefer the look of the SS champion over the Kimber, but I prefer the look of the Kimber over the LW Champion.

I wish I could just own them both.

neoncowboy
January 25, 2006, 05:09 PM
Also, once I buy the gun it will remain stock. I don't want to spend the money after I have it to be the product that I originally wanted.

That's a nice ideal, but the reality is that eventually most 1911s benefit from a trip to the gunsmith. One of the great things about them is that they are such a solid platform on which you can build all these great little performance enhancing features (at your pace and as your budget allows).

The Springer will be a higher quality gun to start with and it will be possible to make it better through customizing with a smith.

The Kimber, on the other hand, if it's not perfect out of the box, will pretty much be guaranteed to always be a piece of crap. Frontstrap checkering and beveled magwells don't mean anything on guns that you can't trust to always function with your self-defense ammo.

Your call of course, but knowing what I know now I won't ever buy another Kimber again...too little quality control, too much hype.

Riktoven
January 25, 2006, 05:24 PM
That's a nice ideal, but the reality is that eventually most 1911s benefit from a trip to the gunsmith. One of the great things about them is that they are such a solid platform on which you can build all these great little performance enhancing features (at your pace and as your budget allows).

The Springer will be a higher quality gun to start with and it will be possible to make it better through customizing with a smith.

The Kimber, on the other hand, if it's not perfect out of the box, will pretty much be guaranteed to always be a piece of crap. Frontstrap checkering and beveled magwells don't mean anything on guns that you can't trust to always function with your self-defense ammo.

Your call of course, but knowing what I know now I won't ever buy another Kimber again...too little quality control, too much hype.


Okay, this thread has me asking two questions:

1.) Can someone explain the big deal about the external extractor? Every automatic I have has one and none have bobbled a round. The S&W 1911 has an external extractor and I've heard nothing but good about them (granted it's not been out that long).

2.) *** is up with this statement about most 1911's benefiting from going to a gunsmith? If I drop $1000+ on a gun that is supposedly "Loaded", that puppy had damned well better not need a gunsmith to make me appreciate it. If you know going in that you are going to be spending a mortgage on the gun, why not buy a Les Baer right from the start and spend more time shooting and less having your pistol fondled by a stranger?

rbernie
January 25, 2006, 05:32 PM
Your call of course, but knowing what I know now I won't ever buy another Kimber again...too little quality control, too much hype.YMMV.

I've had four Kimber Series IIs and all four have been solid. One (a PCII-10 doublestack) had a balky Schwarz plunger from the factory, but within 500 rounds had 'burnished in' and was dead-nuts reliable from that point forward. I've had two Springers and both of those were solid. From my experiences between these two, I call it a draw. <shrug> Fact of the matter is that even my RIA and Dan Wessons were solid, and my Colt Combat Commander has probably been the most problematic of my 1911's.

Kimber definitely went thru a QC slump shortly after their transition from Series I to Series II, with a lot of MIM parts breakage issues. It certainly because as fashionable to bash them at that point as it was to hype them prior to that point. But like I said - my last four have been solid and that's just fine with me....

neoncowboy
January 25, 2006, 05:47 PM
If I drop $1000+ on a gun that is supposedly "Loaded", that puppy had damned well better not need a gunsmith to make me appreciate it.

It doesn't 'need' a smith...but it might benefit from one.

For instance, one of my springers is a parkerized 'loaded'. I paid $650 for it somewhat used. It went to my smith and got new night sites, the chamber reamed and polished, the feed ramp re-cut and polished and a new recoild sprong. I think I spent a total of $230 on all of that.

It worked fine before, it worked better afterward.

1911s are for tinkerers. If you want something that will be 100% reliable out of the box with no need for mods, buy a Glock.

Can someone explain the big deal about the external extractor?

Internal extractors can be tuned, tensioned and reshaped until they work.

External (Kimber) extractors can be replaced (by Kimber, at their factory, at your shipping expense) with another piece of crap cast metal extractor.

When they work (one of mine works flawlessly) it's great. When they don't, your helpless and at the mercy of Kimber.

I've been real happy with one of my Kimbers...but I won't buy another one. They're overpriced for what they are. The Springers seem to start out as higher quality handguns that can be improved with modifications later.

Riktoven
January 25, 2006, 06:37 PM
I'm not trying to step on any toes here, I'm just curious. I love the 1911 trigger, but the only guns I buy are bought for dispatching 2 legged predators so before I take my tax refund out and get me one of these WWII masterpieces I want to boil this down to a science and not gunsmith black magic.

My two handguns are a P99 and a G19, both 9mm. Both have external extractors and neither have ever hiccupped. Nearly 20,000 rnds through the P99 and maybe 2,000 through the G19. Again no problems.

If internal extractors can be tuned, tensioned, and reshaped to work, then does it not stand to reason that they can be tuned, tensioned, and reshaped just as easily to not work? That is my primary concern here. How often do internal extractors have to be tuned to work right? How do you know when it needs to be re-tuned? Why is it so easy to make external extractors work on 90% of the worlds autoloaders and not on 1911s?

If I need to re-tune my extractor, I don't want to find out when my gun jams the one time I need it. How do you know when you should re-tune it? Do you just wait for the gun to fail, and then you know? Are there warning signs?

The 1911 is so sweet. That trigger, the thin profile, the comfy grip. But the realist in me is screaming "Why the hell do you want half the capacity and a major question mark in the reliability department for a trigger that in all likelyhood is going to be squeezed on a target a few feet away?"

Is the internal/external extractor debate just a fight that's been raging since JMB's design was proliferated, or is one truly better than the other?

Please help educate a shooter who never wants to talk to a gunsmith.

osteodoc08
January 26, 2006, 10:05 AM
I think the problem with the EE on the Kimbers, at least from my understanding, was that

1. It is not as JMB intended.
2. The Kimber designers tried to make a proprietary EE and have had a few problems. It was more like a retrofit instead of starting from a drawingboard ala your P99 and G19.

I'm still on the fence on this one though. Not sure which one I want as of yet. I'm gonna try to locate a NIB Champion in my area and have a good look at it and then have a good long look at the Kimber Tac Pro II.

rbernie
January 26, 2006, 12:50 PM
My experiences have been that if a 1911 internal extractor is made from spring steel (as originally spec'e'd by JMB), once it's set up it'll run for a good long while. If an internal extractor is NOT made from the good stuff, then it will lose tension relatively quickly and need periodic adjustments. An external extractor will/can work reliably (as demonstrated by the HighPower and most semi-autos designed since 1935) so long as it, too, is designed and made appropriately. The internal extractor has fewer moving parts and is easier to adjust (from the perspective of not needing to deal with little fiddly springs and such). But either can/will work just fine.

I've not heard of lots of Kimber EE issues - most Kimber problems either dealt with bad MIM QC for a host of parts (slide stops and safeties and such) or Schwarz plunger burrs causing failures to go into battery....

absolute0
January 26, 2006, 11:54 PM
Don't overlook the colt XSE lightweight or combat commander.

Upgrade the standard novak sights to tritium and you're there. Head over to TFL and have Ken at Wild West Guns (WildAlaska) set you up for waaaaaaaaaay under a grand.

dogbaloo
January 27, 2006, 03:17 AM
Go with a Champion. You should be able to find one around $700 bucks. If $1000 is your budget, you'll be set.

A new/newer one will come with nightsights. If you don't want any smithy messing with it, go to a real hardware store (not a big box) and get about 4 feet of 2 inch wide gritty, non-slip stair tape. You need about a three inch piece by about 3/4 inch. It should set you back about $2.37. Use that for front strap checkering. It works well and looks pretty cool, IMO.

Remove that stupid-A$$'d plastic guide rod thinking and put a regular old guide rod in. Yes, it's little more difficult to break down, but should be no step. That's free.

Buy you a couple of Shooting Star 8 rounders, and a sweeeet set-up you will have sir. Have fun.:D

WarMachine
January 27, 2006, 03:24 AM
I'm a Springer fan myself, and that would be my choice.

osteodoc08
January 27, 2006, 09:04 PM
Too late. While I was out actively looking for a SA Champion, I fell in love with a Kimber Compact CDP. It has an officer's frame with a 4" barrel. It also has the IE!!! I just couldn't pass it up as it is absolutely beautiful!! I'll take some pics ASAP.

PS. My wife is the best! SHe convinced me to go ahead and get it after she saw my eyes light up.

IndianaDean
January 28, 2006, 12:48 AM
I'll take Springfields over Kimbers.

osteodoc08
January 28, 2006, 03:00 AM
I also like Springfield as I already have a XD 40 V-10 that I love and was looking for the Champion model when I fell in love with the CDP. I'll give a full range report sometime next week after the gubment says that I've had enough time to cool down from my buying experience. LOL!

timn
January 29, 2006, 02:12 PM
Too late. While I was out actively looking for a SA Champion, I fell in love with a Kimber Compact CDP. It has an officer's frame with a 4" barrel. It also has the IE!!! I just couldn't pass it up as it is absolutely beautiful!! I'll take some pics ASAP.

PS. My wife is the best! SHe convinced me to go ahead and get it after she saw my eyes light up.

Here's a toast to great wives!:D
I'd love to see the pictures but, more importantly, how about a range report.
Also, is this a new pistol? If so, don't forget the break in. It was not fun on my Kimber Pro Carry II.
By the same token though, my son's Champion grouped like a scatter gun till he had about four hundred rounds through it. Now it's a very sweet shooter.
Congratulations on your CDP!

osteodoc08
January 29, 2006, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the heads up Timn. I bought it new. I pick it up on Friday. I'll give a full range report this weekend.

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