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A couple questions about Kimber 1911s.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by PO2Hammer, Nov 26, 2018.

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  1. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    My LGS is steering me towards Kimber for a good value in 1911s. Looking for a range gun with adjustable sights, fiber optic up front preferred. Want to keep it under a grand.

    Looking at the Stainless Target II.

    Are they a standard non-ramped barrel?

    The grip activated firing pin safety system is removable?

    Anyone using SWC's in these guns? Reliability?

    Kimber service?

    Looking to add a rimfire conversion right away, probably the Marvel # 2. Want to make sure it's compatible before I begin.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. joed

    joed Member

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    My first 1911 was a Kimber Pro Carry II. I wouldn't trade it for anything, it has never failed me in 15 years. The accuracy is fantastic and better than most of my revolvers.

    Never had to send it back to Kimber so can't say anything about their service. The barrel is not ramped but I can't tell you anything about the firing pin safety.
     
  3. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    All 3 Kimber 1911s I've owned have been excellent.

    Generally the fixed rear sights are so tight you need to cut them out, and the FP safety is under there. Just pretend you removed it; that'll be the same and much simpler.

    I have had Kimber fix one pistol, which they did gratis. When the manual says not to drop the slide on an empty chamber, believe it.
     
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Depends on the model, barrel length, frame material.

    Mine feeds anything. SWC, JHP, doesn't matter.

    Not sure they are the best value out there anymore.

    Kimber has a bad rap on the internet. Deserved? Dunno? Mine is awesome though. :)
     
  5. presspuller

    presspuller Member

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    I have two, a Stainless II and a stainless TLE. Both are way more accurate than I am. I've never had an ounce of trouble out of either. Until something gives me reason to take it out, it's staying in.
     
  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Swartz safety on a Kimber. It is easy to remove the slide mounted components, which I have done on my 9mm Kimber M1911.

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    I have not taken off the part activated by the grip safety. Maybe someone knows an easy way to do this, and whether it will affect function. The thing is a total bother when assembling the pistol after cleaning. You can't use a normal grip frame hold, without part 21 sticking up through the frame, and it prevents assembly of the slide to the frame. I hate it.

    I also hate the series 80 safety.

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    I have had the series 80 firing pin plunger drop down, as the slide was cycling, and block the slide from going into battery. What a terrible design for a self defense weapon. The pistol jams, normal practice is a rack and tap, which is not going to clear this malfunction. You have to take time out, to turn the pistol around and over, puzzle out the not obvious malfunction, see the little plunger sticking down, use a couple of hands to clear the round, drop the magazine, push the firing pin in, push the plunger in, and by then, you are dead.

    This is a combat pistol, follows the original Browning design. Called the series 70 even though it dates back to 1910. You lowered the hammer with a round in the chamber. You thumb cocked it when you wanted to shoot. Which is why the grip safety is smaller than a beavertail. It is hard to thumb cock a M1911 with a beavertail. The safety was only there to make the pistol safe with one hand. You learned to lower the hammer with one hand blocking the hammer, and the other pulling the trigger, because if you lowered the hammer enough times with the shooting hand only, the hammer slipped out from under your thumb and you made a hole in the floor. Sometimes made a hole in a person. I found in a 1917 Arms and the Man, a Camp Perry competitor lowered the hammer on his M1911, in his tent, and shot a Military Officer 200 yards away, when the hammer slipped. Oppsie! Other than that, it was pretty straightforward to operate.

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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
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  7. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I was told by a good friend experienced with the 1911 that the 'Part #21' as you call it should remain, it acts as a shim to keep the other parts on the same pivot square.

    I have experience with 3 Kimbers... my Pro Eclipse II (Swartz safety,) and my Pro Carry II (no FPS; ) both are tip-tip and have run without problems. A friend of mine bought a brand new CDP 4", there is a little too much surface coating (the slide is treated) between the bolt cutouts, and the cartridge will hang up once in a while. He has contacted Kimber, but is a lazy Millennial and hasn't sent it off yet. Oddly enough, his brand new CDP is a non-FPS model... so maybe the makers are getting away from that stupid Series 80 and Swartz stuff.

    I recently got 1000 200grn plated SWC's for the .45's, they have run without any hiccups and have been quite accurate (with BE-86.)

    Just because I have a picture of all 3... I was doing a accuracy comparo with some different ammos.

    Zqnwk5vm.jpg
     
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  8. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    I've been happy with the four Kimber 1911s I've purchased since 2006. TLE-II, Eclipse, Pro Tactical, Pro CDP, all have run perfectly with zero malfunctions and more than acceptable accuracy.

    Trigger pull n the TLE-II is second to none, just awesome. The Meprolight night sights are highly visible and superb. Plus, they're all just really pretty pistols. The Pro CDP is a trusted carry pistol.
    Kimber.jpg
     
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  9. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    I don't recommend Kimbers anymore. A Cz75 SA is a better range pistol or competition. Or save up a ton more and get a Colt, Dan Wesson, LesBaer, Guncrafter, Sti, etc.etc. Same advice I was given 20years ago. I didn't listen then, I doubt you'll listen now.
     
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  10. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    From the research I have recently done, I am pretty sure the Marvel #2 is compatible with just about any reasonably true-to-design 1911 in .45ACP or 9mm, with either 5" or 4.25" barrel, i.e. either Government slide or Commander slide. I just ordered a used one off Gun Broker for a really good price for the inexpensive ATI 1911 Commander I just also ordered. But Marvel isn't really Marvel anymore. It has just recently changed hands...again. I think if I were going to buy a new one, I would go with Nelson, which is a Marvel design with an excellent reputation. The Marvel #2 does not lock back on the empty magazine, period. Nelson does.
     
  11. Winkman822

    Winkman822 Member

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    I've had a number of Kimbers over the years and my results have been inconsistent at best. My first Kimber was an Eclipse Target II which had a fantastic fit and finish, but never functioned 100%. Admittedly, it was an earlier Series II with Kimber's not so great attempt at an external extractor. After repeated feeding and ejection problems over the first couple hundred rounds, the gun was sent back to Kimber and the top end was replaced with a slide with a traditional extractor setup. When the gun came back, the extractor required some tuning to get feeding and ejection ironed out the rest of the way. The second Kimber was a Royal II with a traditional extractor. The Swartz firing pin block was mistimed and required a trip back to Kimber. Number three was a Desert Warrior which did function 100%, but I didn't care for the super slippery finish and lack of front strap checkering. I also had a parts breakage with this one, specifically the right side thumb safety lever sheared off. Not a huge deal, but still took cost me some time and money to replace the part with a proper Wilson Bullet Proof part. While I was at it, I also swapped out the slide stop for a Wilson's Bullet Proof part. Fourth Kimber was a Custom TLE II that seemed completely fine out of the box, but taking the gun to class quickly showed this to be a less than trustworthy gun. About halfway into the first day, I found I was having to tap and rack every three or so shots. Culprit, bad extractor. Extractor was replaced and gun was sold, same as all previous Kimbers. Four Kimbers across several years and a couple thousand dollars later, no more Kimbers for me.

    OP for your criteria of a 1911 with an adjustable rear sight and a fiber optic front, I'd take a good hard look at a Colt Competition. Can be had for around $900.00 and there's no firing pin block whether Swartz or Series 80 style. Another viable option would be the Springfield Range Officer Elite for roughly the same price as the Colt.
     
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  12. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I have one Kimber, a commander-sized, steel frame bobtailed gun (Super Carry Pro, I think?). It has a lot of nice features (I like the round bobtail for carry, good night sights, awesome trigger, very mechanically accurate OOTB). It had some reliability issues that took me a while to sort through - basically, breech face and barrel ramp and top of chamber all needed some polishing, extractor tension was wrong (ended up replacing it), and the factory mag was troublesome with everything but ball. Kimber's 500-round-break-in policy means you get relatively little help with these kinds of issues until you've cranked through a couple hundred bucks worth of ammo just to see if it fixes itself.

    Now that it is sorted out, I like it a lot and trust it. But it certainly gave me a bit of heartburn in the early days. If I were buying a pure range gun under a grand, I think I'd look at the Springfield Range Officer and maybe the Ruger.
     
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  13. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    My buddy's CDP II is the same way. When it started to misfeed I automatically thought it was the feed ramp, which was pretty rough. Because I have 2 other 4" Kimbers, I started looking at clearances and such and finally figured out it was the breech face, not necessarily the barrel or frame ramp. The pistol itself is tight as a drum, it reminds me of my Pro Eclipse II when it was new. Once dude sends it off to Kimber, I think he will have a 100% pistol.
     
  14. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    I currently own an even dozen 1911 pistols, in my life I've owned another dozen. Friends don't let friends buy Kimber.

    In your price range I'd look at Ruger then Springfield Armory.
     
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  15. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    Thanks for all the responses, a lot to consider.
     
  16. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    There's a lot of Kimber Hate out there, it's true, and I'm not going to say they don't deserve it in some measure. I've also had bad product from S&W, Ruger (especially, ) AMT, Taurus, Marlin, Browning (yes, even Browning...) Colt (AHHHHH! Blasphmey!) and some others. Some were fixed by me, some were fixed by the manufacturer, some were left alone, some were sold off. I don't really condemn any manufacturer as a whole, but only say that each firearm is an island unto itself. If you find a Kimber that you like, has the features you want, is priced in your neighborhood... take a good look at it. If it doesn't have any glaring faults, it's probably a pretty good bet... and I would say this about Springfield, Colt, or any of the others, speaking of 1911's specifically. At the end of the day, Kimber seems to have a good warranty department, failing all else.
     
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  17. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    We have 2 Kimbers in the Pro Carry model. In 45 & 9mm. Both are casual shooter with a variety of bullets. I don't foresee letting either or them go.
     
  18. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    My Pro Carry II HD in .38 Super has been a flawless performer since purchased in about 2009. It has never malfunctioned - not one single time. My changes have been a Wilson flat wire recoil spring, and a long, long time ago I removed all the Swartz safety stuff. No problems at all. If I had to dump everything in the lake except one handgun, this would be my keeper. Then again... can you trust a guy's review that also has a Kimber Solo that's been perfect too?! I have to come clean and tell you that I have one of those too. I love them both! :)
     
  19. Robert101

    Robert101 Member

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    I have not owned a Kimber so I can state an opinion as to their quality. I do have other 1911s and will continue to promote Springfield Armory (Loaded version) as the warranty is life time. That gun is my workhorse and gets feed all kinds of loads and bullet types. It is trustworthy and never a problem. Hard to beat that. My favorite 1911 is the stainless steel Dan Wesson Pointman 7 in 10MM. I love the slide to frame fit, and trigger smoothness. Good luck to you on your next purchase.
     
  20. larryh1108

    larryh1108 Member

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    I have a Kimber Gold Combat pre-series II. Wonderful gun. No issues. Ever. Easily my best 1911. Kimber makes good guns as do most of the big players. Each gun out there is an island upon itself.

    Why not get the Kimber conversion .22LR? Beautiful fit and finish and you can get the same finish you get with the .45ACP. If you get a Kimber, look at the Kimber conversion.
     
  21. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Personal experiences only: 1. I have a Kimber. An early one from when they first started making pistols, made in Oregon. Great gun. 2. Worked in a gun shop for a while after I left the army as a "chill job" We were a Kimber "master dealer" I saw WAY too many of these guns coming back to the shop due to problems, especially considering their price tags. Customer service from Kimber was "wanting", to be generous. This was very frustrating to both us and our customers, to say the least. 3. Close friend was an armorer for MARSOC when they received Kimbers. He can't say anything good about those pistols.
     
  22. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    For the trivia lover, Kimber was headquartered in Clackamas, Oregon, but all their 1911's have been built in Yonkers, New York. The early guns were stamped with Clackamas, Oregon, but none were ever built there.
     
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  23. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    I don't own a Kimber so I can't speak knowledgeably about them, but whether it's a Kimber or any other manufacturer that only offers a 1 year warranty it may be worth purchasing a lifetime warranty through your friends LGS, if they offer that or ordering it through Gallery of Guns or another retailer that includes a lifetime warranty. Any gun can fail after a year. If it's out of warranty you'll be out the cost of the repair.
     
  24. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Kimber hate is typically expressed on the internet by those who've not owned them. And yeah, I've heard all the anecdotal statements from those who've "worked in gunshops that were Kimber dealers" and were "overwhelmed" by buyers trying to return them. Don't know any MARSOC armorers, but after more'n 20 years on active duty, I'm not taking anything most military armorers have to say as gospel. Kimber for quite some time sold more 1911s than any other manufacturer. Given the fact that 1911s are not a platform for novices, actually requiring some knowledge in their operation and maintenance, it's no surprise a lot of first-time 1911 buyers had problems with the pistols. Interestingly, there's the pesky fact that if these pistols were so bad, why isn't the used gun market positively flooded by them?

    (signed) the Devil's Advocate (a dedicated Colt's and SIG fan-boy).
     
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  25. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Fair enough. 1911's are pretty hard to mass produce. They shouldn't be with modern CNC, but still, here we are.

    There aren't any used 1911's flooding the market. They're too often range toys, or sentimental halos that people will hang onto. But there are certain brands that reputable shops won't accept as trade, or even offer to sell due to the headaches that come with them. Only the big box stores sell Kimber and SIG 1911's around me.

    My favorite shops, that specialize in real defense, with all of thier counter guys maxxed out in pistol training, only carry $2000+ 1911's with the only cheap ones being from Colt, DW, and STI.

    Growing parts in a MIM machine, and then not inspecting them, isn't helping. Then there was the Solo, that pretty much was the explanation point, that we aren't making it all up.

    Killer faults that I've dealt with:
    Magazine eating the frame, almost to the ramp, and 1st round nose dives. Easy fix, get a quality mag.
    Rough sliding parts finish on guide rod, slide, and barrel. Henceforth the ''break in''.
    Need to use hot ammo when new. Avoid UMC or WWB. Maybe Blazer, Federal, or S&B, is ok, I've had good luck with Blazer and Kimbers.
    Rough ramps.
    Incorrect lug and slide stop contact.
    Crooked barrels.
    MIM thumb safety snaps off.
    No rust resistant coating on the barrels.
    Poorly timed firing pin safety.


    Most of the above is easy to fix. Buy a troubled Kimber, fix it, flip it at a comp or class. As long as you know how to spot and avoid the crooked barrel or wrong lug, slide stop wear. Avoid those at all cost. I don't usually recommend buying 1911's used anymore than I recommend buying American trucks used. Just buying someones problems.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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