The truth about first time use and breaking in a 1911 handgun?


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Lv4snobrdg
March 3, 2010, 11:08 PM
I consistently see "500" rounds to break in. Mostly I see it on these boards and can't actually find where it says, from the manufacturer, a specific amount for my new firearm. Not that I don't trust people here, but I am convinced that 500 is excessive.

So what is the truth?

500 rounds would probably take 4-5 hours to load and fire on the range, since hurrying through this process can not possibly be part of the goal, this seems extreme:

$12 per hour for range time: $60
500 rds of manu ammo: $250
Lots of targets: Priceless

This is a pretty hefty tab for taking out my new Kimber SIS Custom for its break in.

I have a Gun Digest book on the 1911 that suggests I only need to shoot up 200 at the range and provides a very precise routine for testing the functionality and ensure the weapon works as it should. i.e. loading a magazine to test for a run-away.

This testing procedure does NOT exist in the manual and why would it? The manufacturer certainly doesn't want you to be aware that its even possible that this pistol could go full auto on you.

Since my previous 1911's were used, by folks who have proven to me to know their business, my Custom TLE/RL the dude actually kissed it good bye, this is my first time taking one out of the box and to the range, so its a special moment for me and I really want to get it right.

I fully intend to put my new pistol to the test and make it work for its TLC and hopefully for its place on my hip. If the feedback, and hopefully examples of experience, say to use up 500 then I will have to spend the money and make a weekend of it.

How do you test your NEW 1911 for functionality?
How do you test your NEW 1911 for reliability?
I can take care of accuracy.

TIA

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Gunfighter123
March 3, 2010, 11:30 PM
I have MANY 1911s ----- what I can tell you is to LUBE THE HELLLL out of it first , take slide off and lube ALL bearing surfaces of the rails , the brl. hood , the outside end of brl. , and both inside and outside of brl. bushing or inside of slide where the "Bull/Cone" barrel mates.

Take MORE then one mag ---- MANY malfunctions are mag related. As to how many rounds till a 1911 is "broken in" ??? Myself , any 1911 that I would trust my life to FIRST must have a min. of 200 rds. without a single jam etc.

I have TIGHT fit custom 1911s from Jim Clark Sr. , Bill Wilson , Steve Nastoff etc --- they will ALL fire over 500 rds. without needing to be cleaned at all .

skipsan
March 3, 2010, 11:39 PM
As above for the break-in. I think the Owners Manual for one of my 1911s recommended 500 rounds through the weapon out of the box without any field stripping or supplemental lube. The rest left the break-in up to the owner.

For any 1911 pistol (new or used) I'm shooting for the first time:

The first mag has one round to check proper function.

The second, has two rounds to make sure the thing is going to go full auto.

Assuming everything is OK, go for it.

mljdeckard
March 3, 2010, 11:42 PM
My Kimber ran fine from the first day. I ran one box of WWB through it, followed by 200 rds of hydra-shoks, no errors.

CZ223
March 4, 2010, 12:34 AM
that I know of who recomends a 500 round break in. In my opinion this is excessive for most handguns. In my humble opinion Kimber recomends this because it is hoping that it will cause some problems to dissapear on their own. They are probably also hoping that some owners of their guns, like me, will just have their guns fixed rather than sending them back to the factory. If your gun does not work right from the factory you should not have to waste $250 in ammo before they fix it. Kimbers are notorious for not having the extractors tuned properly which will cause failures to return to battery and for the slide to lock back with ammo in the mag. If this happens it will generally not go away on its own. I had my fixed by a friend and it now is very dependable.

Just to clarify, I have three other 1911's, two Taurus PT1911's as well as a modified Spinger Mil-spec, all of which worked flawlessly right from the box. Both Taurus guns willoutshoot the Kimber and, sadly, the Springer as well. You do not always get what you pay for.

beltjones
March 4, 2010, 12:48 AM
You're supposed to run a new Les Baer through 500 rounds of ammo without cleaning it, but lubing every hundred rounds or so. It's because new Baers are really, really tight, and running them this way is like the final slide/frame/barrel/bushing lapping. It's not expected that you'll run all 500 rounds the same day.

It's also not expected that the gun will run any other way than perfectly.

I think Kimbers have such a long recommended break in period just because, like was said above, they hope certain problems fix themselves.

John Wayne
March 4, 2010, 12:51 AM
Everyone has their opinion. In my experience, "break-in periods" are an excuse for a gun that doesn't function reliably, and probably will not without extensive work or trips back to the factory.

Seems to me like if a gun legitimately did require a break-in, the factory would create simulated wear equivalent to whatever magical number of rounds is required before shipping it off. It's not an issue of manufacturing costs either, because I've heard people argue that $2,650 1911s need it as well as $265 Kel-Tecs.

I've owned/shot several guns that have the reputation for needing break-in periods. All have had problems after the "break in." (I have also had guns that were supposed to require a "break-in," but functioned flawlessly even before it was complete)

A Kahr PM40, range rental (fair amount of use, still FTE problems)

A Kahr CW9, borrowed from a friend (over 200 rounds, more FTE problems)

A Kel-Tec PF9 (the crud in the gun probably weighed more than the components it was made out of, but it ran 100%)

A Kimber 1911 Gov't range rental (FTE, FTF)

A Para-Ordnance 9mm 1911 range rental (FTE, doublefeed)

A Kel-Tec P3AT (FTE, doublefeed) *edit: personal gun, ran 200+ rounds through it, paying out the ass for .380 ammo, and still had problems. Sent it back to the factory, ran a box through it when I got it back and nothing had changed. Sold it and bought a S&W 442 the same day--didn't have time or money to invest in breaking in another unproven gun.

Also had a Taurus PT-140 Mil Pro that shot great, while the seemingly infallible revolver, a Taurus 94, would not work at all.

LawofThirds
March 4, 2010, 01:22 AM
I had no failures in the first 1000 rounds in my Kimber that could not be directly traced to cheap, badly sprung magazines. A couple 47D's later and I never had a problem no matter what I fed it.

I have noticed most firearms have an improvement in trigger pull within the first 300 rounds.

jahwarrior
March 4, 2010, 02:09 AM
i'm not sure if i believe in "breaking in" a gun. with modern manufacturing technology, and skilled custom makers, a gun in the 21st century should function out of the box. i've yet to own a gun that needed breaking in to work properly. if it doesn't work the first time, the company didn't make it right.

as for precleaning and lube, most guns come with some kind of lubrication. excessive dirt isn't good, but neither is excessive oiling; that can contribute to build up in the moving parts quickly.

you shoot as much as you're comfortable doing. i can go through 100 rounds in about 10-15 minutes, and i can shoot 500 rounds in one session. the most i ever shot in one day was about 600 rounds. i just got tired after that.

NJGunOwner81
March 4, 2010, 03:28 AM
Hey Lv4,

Since we are both Kimber owners let me tell you about mine a little! I bought a brand new Kimber Stainless II - Government Size. My Kimber has functioned FLAWLESSLY since the day I first picked it up!

Is it possible that I have just been extremely lucky with my gun? Sure! Is it possible that others here who have problems with their Kimbers were just unlucky enough to get that one pistol that is a hair off in some respect that causes problems? Sure! Anything is possible and there will always be that one slightly off item that just is messed up. Hey, you could go into an electronic store buy a brand new TV, get it home and it doesn't work ... it happens ... doesn't mean that the manufacturer makes all TVs like crap and none of them work!

But let me tell you this much ... From round 1 to whatever I am at now there has NEVER been any FTFs, jams, misfires ... NO PROBLEMS AT ALL WITH MY KIMBER! I know people have bashed Kimber's magazines saying that they are cheap and are of poorer quality than let's say a KimPro Tac magazine, which may be true but the original mags have yet to cause any kind of problem with my gun!

The only thing I did when I first got my gun was to clean and lube it before I took it and fired it. When I picked it up it was a little dry and a little dirty but my cleaning and lube tactics weren't altered because it was new and haven't changed because the gun is "broken in".

I would say that the only thing Kimbers MIGHT have a problem with ... and I HAVE NO FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE WITH THIS ONE ... is Reloads. I've read on a few boards of people using reloads in their gun and having jams and FTFs. Doesn't apply to me as I don't reload nor do I have any plans to start at this point and I always buy new ammo.

My view ... have fun with your gun! Enjoy it! You bought a great gun from a manufacturer who is a leader in the 1911 field! Just treat it right ... keep her clean and oiled up and I don't think you'll have an issue!

Honestly I think the whole "Break In" thing was started by gun makers so that every person who bought the gun didn't attribute every problem with a defect. You buy a new gun ... you're not used to it so maybe you limp wrist it a little or maybe you didn't clean it as well as you should have the first time ... whatever, and that's why it misfired or failed to feed. I think the 500 rounds is YOUR break in period to the gun!

Hope my little rant helps! Take Care & Be Safe!

Frank
NJGunOwner81

GojuBrian
March 4, 2010, 04:29 AM
My kimber pro carry 2 manual says 400-500rd break in period.

I have run 400rds through it on two seperate range trips, hollowpoints and fmj's. It had a ftf issue once on hollowpoints and once on fmj's. The second trip I had wilson 47d's and no problem whatsoever.

DRYHUMOR
March 4, 2010, 06:30 AM
The tighter the pistol, the more break in required. Not certain if 500 rds is the "magic" number however.

You'd be surprized how a few ounces of upward pressure can lock a slide down solid. Ideally, every 1911 should be cleaned prior to operating. There is still production residue in the nooks and crannies, whether it is bits of metal, milling oils, grease, etc.

earlthegoat2
March 4, 2010, 06:41 AM
Kimber is the only company

that I know of who recomends a 500 round break in

And I am sure this is to ensure that any pistol coming back to them actually has problems. My opnion is that most Kimbers are just fine and anyone who complains about them is not shooting them right. (limp wristing and such)

mcdonl
March 4, 2010, 06:54 AM
Ooops... I repeated what earl said....

Is it possible that part of the break in period is actually learning how to shoot the gun, avoid limp wristing and other human factors that can lead to FTE's?

EddieNFL
March 4, 2010, 08:57 AM
In my humble opinion Kimber recomends this because it is hoping that it will cause some problems to dissapear on their own.

Any properly fitted and assembled firearm should not require a break-in to fix problems. Allow parts to mate, yes. Ensure reliability, absolutely.

My opnion is that most Kimbers are just fine and anyone who complains about them is not shooting them right. (limp wristing and such)

Touched a nerve, eh?

Comanche180
March 4, 2010, 09:00 AM
I'm not sure I buy into the "break-in" of new guns, but then I rarely have bought a new gun (Buckmark, XD9SC, Tomcat, RIA 1911). The Buckmark and XD were fine from the start and never burped. The Tomcat cracked after 200 rounds and that was not a break-in issue. The RIA got its initial shoot when I qualified at my club's indoor range and it did just fine and has kept on trucking since. I clean them, lube them and shoot them. A friend had a brand new SS Walther that had to go back for a ramp polishing.

500 rounds, it's not like you are breaking in a new engine! You are doing someone's work for them. All you are doing is wearing in some sliding parts. For the kind of money you are paying for Kimbers and the like, they should come to you ready to go.

atomd
March 4, 2010, 09:00 AM
I don't think it has anything to do with the shooter's technique at all. They're just hoping the smaller issues fix themselves. Something like a tiny burr or something else not machined/fit 100% right or another issue due to inferior manufacturing might work itself out after a number of rounds. If I buy a gun and it has problems, it's tough for me to trust it later down the road. If I bought a $1200 1911 and it had a bunch of failures in the first 500 rounds, I wouldn't be too happy about it.

EddieNFL
March 4, 2010, 09:04 AM
Ooops... I repeated what earl said....

Is it possible that part of the break in period is actually learning how to shoot the gun, avoid limp wristing and other human factors that can lead to FTE's?
Limp-wristing has nothing to do with the current rash of problems Kimber is experiencing. They have apparently forgotten how to properly tension an extractor and cast a batch of out of spec slide stops. Rather than pull the lot, they wait for the customer to call and they'll send a new one. Both problems are simple fixes, which makes me wonder why they are not corrected before leaving the factory.

Maybe the cracked frames on alloy versions were caused by limp-wristing.

mcdonl
March 4, 2010, 09:10 AM
Limp-wristing has nothing to do with the current rash of problems Kimber is experiencing.

Sorry, I was grasping at straws hoping that such a grossly overpriced gun could not possible leave the factory with problems. I could never afford to hold a Kimber let along buy one. I guess I am not missing much.

Lv4snobrdg
March 4, 2010, 10:03 AM
to me it would seem that a "break in" is more about taking it easy on a piece of equipment. Such as when I purchased a Honda CBRF4i all those years ago. The manual stated that you should not exceed 70MPH or 8kRPM for the first 500 miles, and to have it serviced (oil change, chain tension, shocks adjustment, valves, etc) at 500 miles.

There is that 500 number again, I wonder if its a coincidence?

The thought that Kimber cust sup suggests running 500 rds through it to "iron" out any wrinkles is rather unacceptable and I am fully aware that I have accepted this by purchasing this brand. Les and Wilson are notorious for tight guns and again if one has to run $300 of ammo/fuel through it then perhaps its too tight?

I have been a mechanic for a LONG time and you don't install tight rings and say "oh they will wear to proper tolerance in a couple hundred miles" you do it right the first time, even if they will wear down where does that removed material go? Probably to a bearing...more problems.

I have already thoroughly inspected the weapon for unfinished edges and tested the slide lock through dry cycling. I have several chip mc's and wilson mags. Several types/brands of ammo.

I am figuring that there is not much I can learn from 500 rds that I can't learn from 200. so after 200 I am going john woo on this MF'r and feeding some speed to this hog.

earlthegoat2
March 4, 2010, 10:22 AM
Touched a nerve, eh?

Kind of.....

First of all I have never owned a Kimber and though I believe they are good pistol I would stick my money with Springfield and get a similar gun for a few hundred less. That said however....

I find it irritating to hear about all the so called problems with Kimbers:

First of all they sell a lot of pistols so problems will arise.
Second, there is no doubt in many minds that Kimbers are overpriced and overhyped.
Third, and this is my main pet peeve:

The average new Kimber buyer ( who is usually new to guns in general and new to 1911s) will buy the gun without thoroughly researching it. Then they will go shoot it and experience a problem or two which will then be blown out of proportion.

Then they will hear of the mythical break in period and get bent out of shape about having to buy a ton of ammo. This is a justified complaint but one which could have been averted if they had done their research.

Then they will gripe that any gun that costs as much as a Kimber should not require a break in. Once again this is justified but once again a little remedial research would go a long way. My main response to this gripe is they should have bought a gun that cost 250 dollars less then they could spend that extra money on ammo that could be used for either general plinking or "breaking in" the gun.

Then the Kimber owner usually starts crying on internet forums about how lousy of a pistol it is and then I have to bust out my Wellingtons to keep my feet dry because they usually go on about it for a time equal to the amount of time it takes for the Ohio river to flood with the tears they are leaking onto the ground.

Buy a less expensive pistol so you can afford to break it in or shell out the big bucks and buy the Kimber and then since you spent so much money on it you should be able to afford a few extra rounds to "break in" that Kimber.

So you have a new gun owner who is buying a pistol with a more complicated learning curve than say a Glock or a revolver. (this is for a different thread but usually these people will not even consider a revovler) Then they go out and shoot it with their inexperienced hands and gripe to all of creation that their expensive pistol is junk when they fail to follow the rules.

Conclusion: Operator Error.

CZ223
March 4, 2010, 10:28 AM
you have it right. The gun should shoot "reliably" from the factory. If it doesn't, putting 500 rounds through it probably won't do anything other than tick you off. Remember, not all Kimbers have problems. They do however, seem to have more problems with extractors than any other brand I know of including guns that cost much less. Take the gun to the range and have fun with it. If you run 100 rounds through it and get one or two failures it may be that shooting more ammo through it will help it "wear in". If however, like mine, your Kimber won't reliably feed more than a magazine of ball ammo through it without jambing, then something is definitely wrong. Cross that bridge when/if you come to it.

Silent Bob
March 4, 2010, 10:29 AM
I have a different experience with 1911s and breaking-in. I have never seen one that jammed frequently first and then after a magic, arbitrary number like 500 rounds or whatever and then run 100%. Usually if it malfunctions out of the box there is a problem that needs to be addressed by the factory or a gunsmith, such as insufficient extractor tension or bad barrel timing.

This is from my experience.

Lv4snobrdg
March 4, 2010, 10:41 AM
Earl, I am certainly not new...I take no offense.

The Kimber names get allot press, good and bad. I shopped what I wanted and the Kimber platform gave me what I wanted at the very top edge of my budget. I knowingly accept the risk of MIM parts and have budgeted to replace those that concern me most. I accept the bad gun ratio of 1 in 20 having significant problems.

The features of the SIS are what I wanted, adding to the fact that SIS is now discontinued I had the opportunity to buy one of the last off the line. Manufactured in Oct 09. On Jan 1 2010 the model went out of production.

I have owned a couple para's and Beretta's and sold them off to get my Kimber TLE/RL Custom. Now I own two Kimbers.

Mags
March 4, 2010, 10:49 AM
I don't know why anyone would carry any gun for self defense without running a few hundred rounds through it. Firearm shooting and collecting is an expensive hobby compared to some and not as expensive as others. Just take the time and money and do it right the first time or don't do it at all. If you feel confident in shooting 50 rounds through your gun and it functioning reliably when you need it go for it, for me it takes a few hundred rounds of fmj and then I get the pleasure of testing which one of those expensive hollow points will be my daily carry ammo. I am not a rich man or even wealthy man, I just understand the costs of the hobby and enjoying doing things right the first time. Forget all that break in crap and think how many rounds before I trust my life to this gun.

Jimfern
March 4, 2010, 10:52 AM
How do you test your NEW 1911 for functionality?

I made dummy rounds of every bullet type I plan to use including lead and jacketed bullets. I load a magazine with them and hand cycle to see if the 1911 has any problems with them. So far this has worked well for me. I haven't had any problems with any of the 4 1911s I bought. I did buy them all used, so maybe the previous owner(s) worked out the bugs.

A shiney new to me Kimber Gold Match is on my list if I can save enough money for it. It already passed my round test.

twice barrel
March 4, 2010, 11:11 AM
The manual that accompanied my RIA Tactical stated it needs 500 rounds for break-in and recommends only round nose bullets for reliable function. I loaded up 100 rounds and they all ran flawlessly.

Look forward to shooting it more!

TB

CZ223
March 4, 2010, 11:28 AM
First, understand that I am not getting personal here but, if you haven't had any experience with Kimbers, perhaps you don't understand the frustration. Kimbers reputation for putting out overpriced guns that don't work as well as some much less expensive guns, some of which you mentioned, is not undeserved. They have earned it. Seriously, they have one or two problems that keep occuring over and over again. The biggest problem is untuned extractors that cause slides to lock back when they shouldn't and cause jambs. There is another that I am aware of but can't remember precisely what it is. If Rock Island, Taurus and, Springfield can put out guns that work right from the factory then why can't Kimber? I get what you are saying about the more guns you put out the problems you will encounter and I know it is true. The problem is in percentages. I believe that their percentage of problem guns is higher than a lot of other less expensive guns.

By the way I don't fall into any of your categories. I love putting 500 rounds through a gun, that is why I buy them. I do however like it a whole lot more when they work as they should. I am not new to shooting and I don't limpwrist, my Glocks cured me of that. By the way I would venture a guess that Glock sells a whole lot more guns than Kimber and they don't have nearly as many problems.

I do my research beforehand, which is why when I had the chance to buy a like new Kimber Tactical Pro II for $700 instead of close to $1100 I suspected that it might be one of those "Mythical problem Kimbers" that didn't work right from the factory. Through my research, I also knew that it was probably an easy fix like tuning the extractor. I was right. I sure didn't need to put 500 rounds through it to know that I had one of those Mythical Problem Guns". I was also right about it being an easy and, in this case, cheap fix. I trade three used Chip McCormick mags for the work. I didn't like them anyway and my Smith does. He said that the gun had been fired very little just as I expected.

Final thoughts: People who spend close to a thousand dollars on a gun have the right to expect them to work from the factory.

Why do people defend Kimber so vehemently when their guns don't work but will trash Taurus if one of their guns encounters problems? I have two Taurus 1911's and both have functioned flawlessly. They are both also more accurate than my Kimber.

I also don't think that there are a lot of new gun owners who buy a 1911 as their first gun nevermind an $1100 1911.

beltjones
March 4, 2010, 11:46 AM
^^^How on earth can the extractor cause the slide to lock back prematurely?

earlthegoat2
March 4, 2010, 11:49 AM
And nothing personal intended on my end. Thank you for the good response.

Just One Shot
March 4, 2010, 11:58 AM
Don't look at it so much as a break in instead, look at it as a function test. You shouldn't carry any handgun for S.D. until you are absolutely sure it will go bang when you need it to.

I don't know about you but I'm more comfortable carrying a gun that's had at least 200 rds. through it than I am one thats only had 50 down the tube.

As far as the break subject goes. All mechanical devices that are machined will have microscopic ridges and valleys at the points the machining was done.

Even with the highest quality lubricant in use, the mating surfaces will react to the forces applied to them and they will form a wear pattern at the point of contact.

Here's a link that illustrates the point. Notice the surface after the cutting bit has passed.

Microscopic video on machining Cast Iron:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZh6WGR16q0&feature=related

So to conclude that a firearm doesn't need a break in isn't exactly true. While it may not malfunction during the initial use, it does have a break in period that occurs until the wear pattern is set at the point of contacts of all the moving parts.

If this isn't true, then how do you explain the improvement in feeding, ejecting and trigger function the more use a gun has over a period of time?

Lv4snobrdg
March 4, 2010, 12:05 PM
people don't necessarily defend a product as they do their own judgment.

If I spent $1300 on a Kimber SIS and you told me the SIS was junk and I argued with you am I defending the pistol? Or is it more likely that I am defending the judgment I made to drop 13 benji of my hard earned on it?

You be the judge.

Lv4snobrdg
March 4, 2010, 12:10 PM
JOS Said: So to conclude that a firearm doesn't need a break in isn't exactly true. While it may not malfunction during the initial use, it does have a break in period that occurs until the wear pattern is set at the point of contacts of all the moving parts.Finally someone putting into words that which makes sense. The difference between "break in" and "functional testing"

EddieNFL
March 4, 2010, 12:12 PM
to me it would seem that a "break in" is more about taking it easy on a piece of equipment. Such as when I purchased a Honda CBRF4i all those years ago. The manual stated that you should not exceed 70MPH or 8kRPM for the first 500 miles, and to have it serviced (oil change, chain tension, shocks adjustment, valves, etc) at 500 miles.

There is that 500 number again, I wonder if its a coincidence?

So, if it randomly stalled, did you drive the 500 miles before returning to the dealer.

Break-in gives the parts a chance to mate; not repair themselves.

First of all I have never owned a Kimber and though I believe they are good pistol I would stick my money with Springfield and get a similar gun for a few hundred less. That said however....

I don't own a Springfiled, so you won't find me commenting on them.

I find it irritating to hear about all the so called problems with Kimbers:

Why? I don't own a Hi-Point and could care less what folks say about them. Really, I don'y care what folks say about the brands I do own. Not owning a Kimber, how did you determine the problems are, "so-called?"

Buy a less expensive pistol so you can afford to break it in or shell out the big bucks and buy the Kimber and then since you spent so much money on it you should be able to afford a few extra rounds to "break in" that Kimber.

Kimbers are not "big bucks" guns. Are they worth the price? Debatable.

SlamFire1
March 4, 2010, 12:29 PM
My Clackamus ran perfectly since day one. I heavily lubricate the pistol, and if after 200 rounds I am not having any problems, I figure the thing is reliable.

I did wear out the hammer and Kimber replaced that. I had the Marines at Camp Perry install the short GI trigger, they told me the sear was worn out, so I got a new sear from the Springfield Armory shop on commercial row, and everything is good.

Any other malfunctions have been due to magazines and crappy ammo. Since I roll my own ammo, I can't fire the ammo maker. :D

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Pistols%20various/KimberRightSideDSCN0753.jpg

Lv4snobrdg
March 4, 2010, 12:32 PM
I do believe, from the simple testimonies of people on this board, that there are problems with Kimber. It would seem that those problems are first and foremost: Customer Service. Falling to a close second is extraction/ejection.

Well actually maybe these problems are one in the same. One has problems with their extractor, a known issue, they then call Customer Service and the run around begins.

Mags
March 4, 2010, 12:48 PM
I have never seen customer service being an issue with Kimber please show me the threads, what I do see are alot of legit problems that people never tell CS about and just get rid of their Kimber or have their own smith fix em.

Lv4snobrdg
March 4, 2010, 12:54 PM
Mags, I just read and retain, I don't memorize the threads. I have searched Kimber here and found plenty of complaints about customer service within Kimber. My uncle bought a Kimber years ago and had the external extractor issues. He got the brush off from Kimber CS since he had not yet achieved the 500 rd break in bench mark. He simply did not think he would be able cycle that many rounds with all the FTE's. He went to the internet and learned how to adjust the tension himself.

EddieNFL
March 4, 2010, 01:04 PM
He got the brush off from Kimber CS since he had not yet achieved the 500 rd break in bench mark.

Sounds like he spoke with Dennis Madonia. Lots of folks won't buy another Kimber after speaking with him.

JohnBT
March 4, 2010, 03:53 PM
"but I am convinced that 500 is excessive."

Excessive? It's a gun. I buy guns to shoot. But I've never been much of a collector.

JT

NMGonzo
March 4, 2010, 04:02 PM
My Dan Wesson fired allright with less than 500 rounds on it.

Lube everything with a sheen of any gun oil of your choice but the inside of the barrel.

SwampWolf
March 4, 2010, 04:17 PM
I don't know why anyone would carry any gun for self defense without running a few hundred rounds through it.

I don't think anybody is saying you shouldn't function test a pistol before you rely on it for self-defense. But that's not the issue. The question is should you have to run X number of rounds through a new pistol before it works "out-of-the-box". Imo, like cars and outboard motors, a break-in period might be recommended in order to insure maximum longevity, but break-ins shouldn't be required in order to make a gun (or car or lawnmower) run from the outset. I don't know how it is that some gun owners ever got sucked into this ploy. I can't think of any other product that is mechanical in nature where the manufacturer insists that the customer tests the product many multiple times before it can be expected to work as advertised.

Lv4snobrdg
March 4, 2010, 04:18 PM
John, I fully intend to run 1000's through this weapon, but 500 for a "Break in" is excessive, IMHO.

The question isn't about functional testing, we have settled that. It has been about initial wear and tear.

jwh2
March 4, 2010, 04:31 PM
I'm not sure how many, if any rounds it takes to properly break in a new 1911. I got a new Springfield Mil Spec yesterday and cleaned and lubed it really well. Today I put the first box of 50 through the pistol without any failures of any kind. I got home and cleaned and lubed it again. I will repeat this several times and then try some different brands of JHP until I find one it likes. I have dione this with all types of pistols before trusting them to defend me or mine.

James

SSN Vet
March 4, 2010, 04:51 PM
Well, if you look at the blue prints for the m1911, you'll see that the slide tolerance and the frame tolerance will, by design, result in a slide to the frame fit with a .001" to a .009" gap/play.

.001" is uber tight and .009" is far from it.

My new Colt 1991a has .005" of max play, so it's right in the middle, and after some 400+ rounds, it has demonstrated 100% reliability, with no failure of any kind whatsoever.

Many, however, would consider .005" to be a "sloppy" fit, and the tendancy is to view any slide to frame wiggle as being poor workmanship.

So in response, those who are marketing themselves as "premium" manufacturers (i.e. they want to get more $$ for their guns) feel they have to have a really tight slide to frame fit.

But... just introduce some dust, grit, carbon, spec of sand, etc... and that uber tight 1911 may prove to not be so uber reliable.

So I suspect that the 500 round break in thing was their response to customer reliability complaints.

And just exactly what is the magic that happens during that 500 rounds? Some abrasion and wear takes place and the fit loosens up.

So IMHO and limited 1911 experience (I'm only on my second)... your reward for being all hung up on getting an uber tight frame to slide fit is that you ... 1.) get to pay a lot more for it (precision machining is expensive) and then 2.) get to pay a couple hundred bucks for ammo. to break it in. And in exchange, you get 1.) bragging rights over how tight your 1911 is and 2.) some potential frustration when your expensive pistol has "hiccups"

The misconception is that any play in the slide to frame fit is a source of inaccuracy. Well the sights are hard mounted to the slide. So if the sights are aligned properly and the barell locks up tightly, then the pistol should be accurate.

What slide to frame fit does affect is the performance of the pistol in a Ransom rest, which (if I understand correctly... I've never played with one) hard mounts the frame to the bench.

In theory, off hand accuracy should not depend on the slide to frame fit.... but rather, depends heavilly on barrel lock up.

And now the disclaimer.... If I'm out to lunch with my reaoning, please correct me, as I'm an eager student of the m1911.

CZ223
March 4, 2010, 09:21 PM
***Disclaimer: I am not a gunsmith.**** As I understand it, it works something like this. If the extractor has too much tension on it it will hold onto the fired case too long which keeps the next round in the mag from rising into position where it can then be pushed into the chamber. When this happens the slide lock engages just as it would on an empty mag. If I am wrong in my description plese feel to correct me.

wtfd661
March 4, 2010, 11:09 PM
All three of my Kimbers have shot without issue from day one. I've never had a problem with any of them. The 500 rd break in is for giving the parts to mate together, nothing more than that. As far as the post about Kimber "having so many problems", try to remember that Kimber, by far, out sells other production 1911's by a huge margin. Kimber sells over 50,000 1911's a year. They have been doing that year after year after year. If they were a crap gun, or not worth it would they continue to sell more than anyone else constantly, I don't think so. Some people need to stop reading the internet to become 1911 experts. :what:

Full Metal Jacket
March 4, 2010, 11:58 PM
Kimber is the only company
that I know of who recomends a 500 round break in.


also Les baer (non-half inch guarantee models), para usa, springfield armory emp's....

jaysouth
March 5, 2010, 12:33 AM
Interesting discussion. The armed services do not have a "break in" period for handguns. If it does not run right out of the box, it is defective.

It's also interesting to note that the average 1911A1's average annual number of rounds fired was 50. If you got to qualify in a given year, if you were not detracted by more serious issues(to the army) like KP, guard duty or hauling ash and trash.

Handguns were issued to units. Units were "stood up" and "stood down" all the time. Some handguns would probably spend more time in a depot than in a unit arms room. So, using this model, some 1911s would not get fired 500 rounds in 20 years. However, once issued, they might be field stripped and cleaned each time issued out, could be hundreds of times in a year.

G27RR
March 5, 2010, 01:33 AM
I broke my Colt Defender in by cleaning it, lubing it, and shooting it. I went through about 400-450 rounds for break in, with 150 of those being the hollow point I use for carry. Since 1911s are sometimes more prone to having trouble with JHP, and since smaller 1911s sometimes have more trouble in general, I wanted to be extra sure my choice worked in the Defender. Ordinarily I only run about 50 rounds of carry ammo through a particular gun in addition to 150 rounds of FMJ before deciding it's okay to carry it. (assuming no problems showed up, of course)

Full Metal Jacket
March 5, 2010, 01:52 AM
Interesting discussion. The armed services do not have a "break in" period for handguns. If it does not run right out of the box, it is defective.

that's because the beretta m9 (as well as the issued colt 1911A1) are built to looser specs than civilian 1911's.

today, most people expect their 1911 to b tight as a bank vault, but that's not how JMB designed it. colt still makes most if it's models with looser tolerances, like the original, however.

beltjones
March 5, 2010, 02:12 AM
***Disclaimer: I am not a gunsmith.**** As I understand it, it works something like this. If the extractor has too much tension on it it will hold onto the fired case too long which keeps the next round in the mag from rising into position where it can then be pushed into the chamber. When this happens the slide lock engages just as it would on an empty mag. If I am wrong in my description plese feel to correct me.
The round will hit the ejector at the same point regardless of extractor tension, so the extractor doesn't really determine how long the shell casing stays in the gun. Even if it were the case that the shell stayed in the gun too long, that still shouldn't cause the slide to lock open, as it's the follower that has a lip that is supposed to bump the slide stop up. On a properly fitted 1911, nothing should hit the slide stop except the follower.

Now, it is VERY common for a slide stop to be oversized, and for rounds in the magazine to be able to bump the slide stop. This is likely what's happening with people's Kimbers. Hell, that's what happened with mine. Here's how to test for it: Take a bare frame, insert the slide stop (NO barrel and NO slide), and insert a loaded magazine. Watch to see how much clearance there is between the top round and the slide stop. Now, push the top round as far forward in the magazine as possible while keeping it in the feed lips and see if it bumps the slide stop when inserted. If if bumps, the slide stop needs to be refitted.

The real problem is that a lot of these parts need to be very carefully hand fitted, and Kimber makes so many guns they don't do a lot of hand fitting.

MICHAEL T
March 5, 2010, 03:04 AM
I don't know why anyone would carry any gun for self defense without running a few hundred rounds through it.

I spend a lot of time at my local dealer even been known to help out when Busy . Their are many people that buy a pistol and box of ammo load up and carry . They don't come to internet gun boards and hear all these words of wisdom.
They buy pistol Auto or revolver and expect it to work out of box. Not 200 or 500 rounds later It doesn't matter if a cheap derringer or a Kimber. . I expect my pistols to work out of box. Be it a KelTec Colt Bersa or my Dan Wesson . If needs broken in then Factory should find a way to wear it in. Not me at 25 to 30 bucks a box of ammo.

I also have never under stood The must shoot 100% 500 rounds before carry. Shoots 500 you clean carry and fails to fire on 501 :what: What did your test prove . You never know when something man made will break .
Remember most gun owners are not big time shooters That includes CCW holders . One reason I shop for use guns. Most are fired very little and live in a drawer Owner finds CCW a pain or gun to heavy. Maybe recoil to much because dealer sold him a 12 oz 357. So gun not shot or carried Soon or later is sold or traded for a different pistol .
Were not the average American gun owner We are a small %

EddieNFL
March 5, 2010, 08:27 AM
today, most people expect their 1911 to b tight as a bank vault, but that's not how JMB designed it.

There is another theory. Maybe the tolerances were the best achievable with manufacturing processes in use at the time. Tighter tolerances would have required hand fitting.

I prefer mine fitted as tightly as reliability allows.

Hacker15E
March 5, 2010, 09:36 AM
2 million 1911s were issued for use with the US military without a "break in period" of any type whatsoever.

The problem here is people who misunderstand how the 1911 works, and what factors impact accuracy and reliability.

For whatever reason, people think that 1911s must be rattle-free in order to be accurate, and that's just plain wrong. I guess these are the same people who think that 1911s need FLGRs, beavertails, forward cocking serrations, etc to work well, too.

If manufacturers and consumers would stay faithful to the 1911 as it was designed, then we wouldn't have all the issues that generate discussions like this.

gc70
March 5, 2010, 10:27 AM
Surface mating from "wearing in" is a fact; it makes surfaces smoother and ensures better functioning. Any manufacturer that expects the customer to correct surface mating problems that result in unreliable functioning is knowingly selling a defective product.

beltjones
March 5, 2010, 10:51 AM
There is another theory. Maybe the tolerances were the best achievable with manufacturing processes in use at the time. Tighter tolerances would have required hand fitting.

I prefer mine fitted as tightly as reliability allows.
I think it's more likely something else entirely.

When the pistol was designed, human labor was very cheap and machine time was very expensive. So things were designed to have a minimum of machine time, and mostly human labor in order to keep costs down. So back in the day, it was actually cheaper to have a pistol that was mostly hand fitted.

Now things have flip flopped. Human labor is expensive (except for places like the Philippines) and machine time is cheap. So it's cheaper for a company like Kimber to offer a ton of features and simply have the machines do most of the work. They probably mostly just have human involvement in assembly and quality control. And the custom shops use a lot of hand fitting, and are known for very reliable pistols even with extremely tight tolerances.

The thing that is really telling to me about Kimber is that I don't know of any custom builders who prefer to use their pistols as a base. The guys at Heirloom Precision prefer Colt, Hilton Yam seems to prefer to build up a Springfield Armory, but who prefers Kimber?

EddieNFL
March 5, 2010, 11:40 AM
I think it's more likely something else entirely.

When the pistol was designed, human labor was very cheap and machine time was very expensive. So things were designed to have a minimum of machine time, and mostly human labor in order to keep costs down. So back in the day, it was actually cheaper to have a pistol that was mostly hand fitted.

Now things have flip flopped. Human labor is expensive (except for places like the Philippines) and machine time is cheap. So it's cheaper for a company like Kimber to offer a ton of features and simply have the machines do most of the work. They probably mostly just have human involvement in assembly and quality control. And the custom shops use a lot of hand fitting, and are known for very reliable pistols even with extremely tight tolerances.

The thing that is really telling to me about Kimber is that I don't know of any custom builders who prefer to use their pistols as a base. The guys at Heirloom Precision prefer Colt, Hilton Yam seems to prefer to build up a Springfield Armory, but who prefers Kimber?
I agree with you on labor versus machining cost, but the major limfac was time. Contact calls for X product to be delivered by y date. You can only expand so fast to take advantage of cheap labor.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but I think production methods at the time played a significant part.

I believe Yam, along with Vickers and a few others refuse to use Kimbers.

beltjones
March 5, 2010, 09:59 PM
You're right. Production technologies and methods have changed drastically. And time was absolutely a limiting factor.

I think it's really the combination of both things. Produce X product by Y date, and of course under Z budget. Back in the day you would have rough machining, and then a ton of semi-skilled labor doing most of the work as fast as possible by hand. Today you have machines running three shifts per day and very few people touching each gun, assembling and doing basic QC as fast as they can in order to meet deadlines and budget limits.

Which method is better? Hard to say, but I think given how the gun was designed the more time spent with a human being the better. From the way my Kimber was put together, I'd say it spent extremely little time in the hands of a gunsmith. The same can be said of other Kimbers I've seen.

Lv4snobrdg
March 5, 2010, 10:04 PM
the "industrial age" saw the greatest improvement in the manufacturer of just about everything.

The technology age is no different. Computers control everything and when the genius' figured out how to get a computer to run a mill all "manufacturing tolerances" changed, they got tighter.

I would expect that any 1911 made 50 yrs ago would be loose compared to anything made today.

Compound with the FACT that during time of war quantity will always outweigh quality.

SSN Vet
March 6, 2010, 01:12 AM
CNC machining is not the "silver bullet" to cure all Quality problems... but rather comes with it's own set of issues.

At some point you will still need a skilled human to inspect and evaluate the automated machines work.

EddieNFL
March 6, 2010, 08:29 AM
From the way my Kimber was put together, I'd say it spent extremely little time in the hands of a gunsmith. The same can be said of other Kimbers I've seen.

Ditto.

At some point you will still need a skilled human to inspect and evaluate the automated machines work.

Maybe someone could forward this to Kimber.

Ruggles
March 6, 2010, 01:00 PM
Most 1911 folks would agree the whole "break in" period is crap. 500 rounds to break in any firearm is silly. I solely own 1911s (with the exception of a BHP) and none of them needed a break in period, including the Kimbers that worked. The one Kimber (UCII) that did not work continued not to work up to 1000+ rounds.

Check out the dedicated 1911 forums on the internet, I think you will find the same info I just posted.

SuperNaut
March 6, 2010, 05:53 PM
Break-in = Shooting

Shooting = Fun

I don't understand the problem.

trickyasafox
March 6, 2010, 06:45 PM
I'm not a 1911 expert by any means- but I own a few and shoot them a lot.

My springfield was purchased new. It ran fine, but I always clean new guns and lubricate properly. The 1911 platform, compared to some others, I think requires a bit more attention to lubrication

My colt commander was bought used, and was a bit more finicky than the mil-spec. The mags that the SA liked the colt didn't, but I was a bit spoiled as the SA runs great with any mag I stuffed in it.

Proper cleaning and lubrication I'm sure will get your piece running more than a few boxes of ammo.

However, In my experience, if a gun has a problem early on, its either there by the third box or its not. I think 150-200 rounds is really all that is needed to ascertain how the gun is going to treat you.

beltjones
March 6, 2010, 11:46 PM
the "industrial age" saw the greatest improvement in the manufacturer of just about everything.

The technology age is no different. Computers control everything and when the genius' figured out how to get a computer to run a mill all "manufacturing tolerances" changed, they got tighter.

I would expect that any 1911 made 50 yrs ago would be loose compared to anything made today.

Compound with the FACT that during time of war quantity will always outweigh quality.
I have to disagree. Hand-lapping a slide to a frame will yield a tighter fit than any CNC machine I know of.

Well, actually I only kind of disagree. If you're talking about something like making 10,000 barrel links, then you're absolutely right - modern CNC machines will yield nearly identical parts to within extremely tight tolerances. However, if you're talking about getting a perfect mating of a barrel to a bushing to the slide, I think hand fitting will beat CNC fitting any day.

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