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Kimber Yonkers vs. Oregon?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by jstein650, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. jstein650

    jstein650 Well-Known Member

    This is water over the dam at this point, but I have to ask. I sold a Kimber .45 Custom Classic some time back, and the first question from potential buyers was, "is it a Yonkers, NY or Oregon gun?" I don't recall getting a reason why the Oregon pistols were more highly desired. I couldn't see how my Yonkers was anything but a very fine pistol.
  2. RBid

    RBid Well-Known Member

    Collectibility, or "original" Kimber vs "new" Kimber. Some people get into that stuff. Possibly someone with Oregon ties. Even with Kimber having been gone for so long, the brand remains absurdly popular here.
  3. Coop45

    Coop45 Well-Known Member

    Also, a while after they moved to Yonkers they changed to the series II pistols.
  4. jstein650

    jstein650 Well-Known Member

    What was different with the Series II?
  5. CNobbe

    CNobbe Well-Known Member

    Series II Kimber 1911s have a "Swartz" Firing pin block/safety. Kind of like a Series 80 Colt, but different design IIRC.

    Like my "new" Kimber II models a lot. Never had an issue with them, and for some reason I have a feeling it'd be in Kimber's best interest to move out of NY asap..lol
  6. jstein650

    jstein650 Well-Known Member

    Good replies - thanks guys. Looked up the "Swartz" FPB - I'm sure mine didn't have that. Miss the gun anyway.
  7. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    I don't believe any Kimber 1911's were ever built in Oregon. The company headquarters may have been in Oregon at the time and the stamp on the frame may have indicated that, but I believe all Kimber 1911's have been built in New York.

    As mentioned, the early models did not have a firing pin safety. Additionally, in the early days, when production numbers were lower, the belief is there was more care taken in assembly and quality control compared to the current high volume production.
  8. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    See here for brief history of the company;


    Early Clackamas marked Kimbers are revered for being closer to a semi-custom more hand made arm compared to the mass production and cost cutting of the later Yonkers marked and especially II models. QC had problems at Kimber for awhile, most notably with extractor issues. They have since improved QC, some still deride them as unreliable using cheap internals instead of hand fitted forged parts. What I know for sure is that I like my Yonkers Custom II Target fine. I have had no issues.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  9. Spindrift

    Spindrift Member

    As a native of Oregon I remember when they moved to NY, but I never knew about all the dirty details, bankruptcies, graft and corruption. It almost seems like they were being run by congress or something!
    That being said, I absolutely love my TLE/RL-II with the Yonkers stamp.
    It has been my daily carry gun for several years now and it has always been reliable and tack-driving accurate. (Within the limitation of my ability anyway)
    There's my two cents.
  10. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Well-Known Member

    Given the choice, Local pride wins on the "which Kimber?" line.

    Haven't found an Oregon one, Won't buy a NY one. No issues with the builds, just being small and petty about the move. ;)
  11. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    I have a Yonkers Kimber but it is a series 1. I wonder at what point they made heavy use of MIM (or have they always)?
  12. Coop45

    Coop45 Well-Known Member

    I have a series1 Carry Pro that is stamped Yonkers and it's sweet pistol. It'll be the last one to go.
  13. CNobbe

    CNobbe Well-Known Member

    I have yet to experience a MIM part breaking on my Pro Carry. Been solid with about 500 rounds through it as its only 6 months old or so.

    MIM slide stop broke on a friends 1911, think it was a Sig, but can't remember.
  14. Twmaster

    Twmaster Well-Known Member

    I own a Clack Custom Kimber. This one was made in 96 and is among the first 2000 made.

    I called Kimber to get the build date. According to the nice CS guy I spoke with the gun -was- made in Clackamas. Other than that they had no records as the current Kimber is a different company from Clackamas Kimber.

    I also own a 2011 built Desert Warrior. Both are great guns but it just seems to me the Clack is built better. I can tell you I'd never sell the Clack.
  15. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Well-Known Member

    I own two Clackys and both are put together very well. Much better, in my opinion, than any sub $1K 1911 you can buy new today. The frames and slides were at a high enough quality level that Wilson Combat used them for several years.

  16. dsk

    dsk Well-Known Member

    The early Clackamas pistols were what gave Kimber its initial reputation as the best 1911 bargain on the planet. Like Twmaster I bought one of the first ones made, which for around $600 was a heck of a deal given the fact that nobody else at the time offered a factory 1911 that was put together that well, and with so many "custom" features at a price point equal to a rattle-trap Colt without the upgrades. Mine was hyper accurate and perfectly reliable, and to this day I can't believe I was stupid enough to trade it in on another Kimber (a new Series II) without keeping it instead. That newer Kimber, and another one I tried later were both unreliable POS's and Kimber's warranty department was actually less than no help whatsoever. So I can easily see why the early Clackamas-marked pistols are so highly coveted.
  17. Spindrift

    Spindrift Member

    MIM parts?

    If I understand correctly, MIM is 'metal injection molded' right?
    What parts do they make with that process in a 1911 and is that something to beware of?
  18. Spindrift

    Spindrift Member

    Man, that's purty. NO holster wear on it. It looks like the back is checkered but the front isn't checkered. More like a rough looking texture. Is checkering the front something they started later? My NY TLE is checkered front and back. (Although it doesn't matter because I have a Houge Mono on it.)
    Just curious.
  19. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    All of the Kimber pistols were made in Yonkers, except for a handful of prototypes that were made by under contract by John Yanek in Pennsylvania.

    The early production Kimber pistols had to be marked with the Clackamas address because that's where the federal paperwork said the company was still located. After they got the paperwork changed they could mark them Made in NY.

  20. JoelSteinbach

    JoelSteinbach Well-Known Member

    I have a compact aluminum series 1,. made in Yonkers, It is my favorite of my Kimber's

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