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STI Spartan vs Kimber Custom II

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by thegoodfight, Jun 12, 2008.

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  1. thegoodfight

    thegoodfight member

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    Is this even a fair comparison? As far as fit and finish, accuracy, reliability, is there really that much of a difference between the two? Thanks
     
  2. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    Sure, why not?

    Model: Kimber Custom II
    Caliber: .45 ACP
    Specifications: Height (inches) 90° to barrel: 5.25
    Weight (ounces) with empty magazine: 38
    Length (inches): 8.7
    Recoil spring (pounds): 16.0
    Full length guide rod
    Frame: Material: Steel
    Finish: Matte black
    Slide: Material: Steel
    Finish: Matte black
    Front serrations
    Barrel: Length (inches): 5
    Steel, match grade
    Stainless steel match grade bushing
    Twist rate (left hand): 16
    Sights: Fixed low profile
    Radius (inches): 6.8
    Grips: Black synthetic Double diamond
    Trigger: Aluminum Match Grade
    Suggested
    Retail Price: $795.00 Custom II .45 ACP
    $945.00 Custom II / Night Sights™ .45 ACP
    $819.00 Custom II / Walnut™ .45 ACP


    Model: STI Spartan
    Caliber .45 ACP
    Frame Government length, standard width, Steel, checkered steel mainspring housing and magazine release
    Grips Hand checkered double diamond wooden grip panels, Philippine Mahogany
    Slide Five inch (Government) overall length Steel barstock
    Slide Features Traditional 1911 styling STI serrations
    Trigger STI Patented Black Polymer
    Barrel 5.0" bushing barrel w/fitted bushing
    Hammer STI square style
    Safeties STI single sided extended thumb safety
    STI High-rise beavertail grip safety
    Guide Rod One piece full length
    Sights Adjustable rear, fiber optic front
    Overall Length 8.5"
    Weight 35.3 oz.
    Finish Parkerized
    Competition Approvals IDPA, USPSA
    MSRP: $660.00
     
  3. thegoodfight

    thegoodfight member

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    I'm guessing the STI is cheaper because it's made over seas? Less refined inside? Is the kimber worth about $150 more?
     
  4. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    AFAIK the Spartan frame (& slide?) is Armscor (Philippines) but the internals are STI, all parts are assembled and hand-fitted @ STI.

    I don't know what the Kimber is, but somebody here probably does.
     
  5. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    I'll take the hand fitting and all STI internals any day.
     
  6. fubb

    fubb Member

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    I have a kimber sis custom & sti trojan in 40 s&w I can't decide which I like better, love'm both. both equalily accurate& dependable.But I carry a glock, weight's alot easier on my skinny butt.
     
  7. bac1023

    bac1023 member

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    I have both and the Custom II is nicer than the Spartan. The Spartan is an Armscor slide and frame futted with STI parts.
     
  8. R12GS

    R12GS Member

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    Rather have a Sig GSR than either.
     
  9. techmike

    techmike Member

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    I have a series one kimber custom and it is very nice as far as fit and finish. It's a nice pistol and I'm glad I have it. I also have a STI Spartan. The finish isn't as refined as the kimber and yes it has a cast frame, That said it has a better trigger and the slide to frame to barrel fit is much better. It comes down to what your priority is. I doubt that I ever buy another kimber, but I have another STI on layway as I type this
     
  10. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    The Spartan is assembled entirely in the Phillipines by Armscor. STI ships the internal parts to Armscor for assembly with the Armscor made frame, slide, and barrel.
     
  11. david_the_greek

    david_the_greek Member

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    Can't comment on the Spartan, can say though that my Kimber Custom II has been perfect thus far. Literally, not one jam, stovepipe, etc. I use federal fmj and the stock kimber mag (as well as some shooting star mags). I have tried to make this thing malfunction with mud and snow (I definitely froze up before my kimber) and neglect. Absolutely flawless. I love the gun and shoot it much better than any of my other guns.

    I have heard complaints from someone with a kimber gun, though I don't personally know him or which model it was in particular (I think Raptor maybe?). Also, the finish does wear off. I never had a problem till recently and always wondered what the heck people were talking about when they complained about the poor finish. I think this is due to the gun scrubber that I used (the stuff in the can). IMHO it makes the gun look more loved :) Mine is great. YMMV
     
  12. bac1023

    bac1023 member

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    I have a series one kimber custom and it is very nice as far as fit and finish. It's a nice pistol and I'm glad I have it. I also have a STI Spartan. The finish isn't as refined as the kimber and yes it has a cast frame, That said it has a better trigger and the slide to frame to barrel fit is much better. It comes down to what your priority is. I doubt that I ever buy another kimber, but I have another STI on layway as I type this

    Well the model you have on order will be your first true STI. The Spartan is not. The slide to frame fit is just like Armscor's other 1911s, such as Charles Daly and RIA.
     
  13. techmike

    techmike Member

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    Actually it isnt. I own a RIA tactical & std and neither is fit as precisely as the spartan...neither shoots as well.

    "True" STI or not it's a great shooting pistol for the price with STI customer service to back it up. I figure the guys at STI putting their good name and reputation behind it makes it a "true" enough STI for me.
     
  14. thegoodfight

    thegoodfight member

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    From what I've read about the spartan, this couldn't be further from the truth. Armscor only makes the frame and slide and sends it to STI. STI then assembles the guns and add their own internals.
     
  15. Charles Daly

    Charles Daly Member

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    Why don't you ask STI and/or Armscor/RIA?

    From what I understand, STI ships the internals to the Philippines where they are assembled onto Armscor frames, barrels and slides.
     
  16. Black Majik

    Black Majik Member

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    Sooo... what you need is Kimber's frames and slide with STI internals. :D
     
  17. FreeinAZ

    FreeinAZ Member

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    By Duane Thomas

    STI’s aptly named Spartan I 911 is intended to give shooters a custom quality gun at a price the average shooter is actually willing and able to spend. Thus, the Spartan is priced at $660 MSRP. A major factor allowing STI to offer this gun at that price is that there are no options available. None. You can have a Spartan one way: one finish, one set of sights, in one caliber, etc. This is in contrast to STI’s other 1911 lines — like the Trojan in which, when ordering, you can spec out exactly the gun you want. The Spartan is chambered for .45 ACP; it’s available as a full-sized, five-inch bar reled, carbon steel, single stack, Government Model 1911. Period.

    Esthetically, the STI Spartan is a drab gun. Its finish is Parkerized, the grips feature seriously pedestrian grain, the front sight has an orange fiber optic insert, and the rear is the Italian LPA adjustable.

    The heart of the Spartan .45 (what you’re really buying) is the slide-to-frame to barrel fit, and in this area the Spartan delivers, There’s no movement in any of these areas with the gun in battery, either laterally or vertically. STI’s goal with the Spartan was to provide a custom level of slide/frame/barrel fit at a non-custom price. I have never before seen a fit like this on anything but an expensive custom gun, much less a piece in the Spartan’s price range.

    The slide, frame and barrel are made by Armscor in the Philippines. All the other parts except the [PA sight) are made by STI, which ships them overseas; the guns are built by Armscor, then sent back to STI. At that point, the Spartans are given to STI’s quality control people lied by Chris Schirmer) who go over them with a fine-tooth comb, If a problem is found, typically it’s easier for STI to fix it in house; Spartans very rarely go hack to the Philippines once they’re here.
     
  18. FreeinAZ

    FreeinAZ Member

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    The Spartan’s slide is made from extruded bar stock; the frame is cast. That last
    fact does not turn me off the way it may some traditionalists. What would tell the tale was how the Spartan kept that great fit once I put some rounds through it. In my experience, if a 1911 is going to shoot loose, it does so in short order. Even many guns that seem nicely fitted out-of-the-box become rattletraps once you put a hundred rounds through them. On the other hand, if a gun’s still perfectly tight after a hundred rounds, it’s going to be tight for one hell of a long time.

    STI’s spec for Spartan trigger pull weight is 4.5 to five pounds. My sample Spartan’s trigger broke at an even five pounds, according to my NRA weight set.

    There were only a few areas on this gun that might he counted as flaws:

    (1) Even given the beavertail grip safety’s built-up “speed bump,” I still found it quite possible to hold the Spartan so the grip safety wouldn’t disengage. Fortunately, any decently skilled pistolsmith knows how to sensitize a grip safety. Actually, it’s so simple that even many non-pistolsmith-trained end users know how to do the job themselves.

    (2) The mag well entrance features those two nice sharp fangs in front so traditional on beveled mag wells — famed in song and story for pinching palm flesh painfully between magazine and mag well during a speed reload, and raising a blood blister. The gun needs to either be fitted with a mag funnel or have those flesh manglers radiused into oblivion.

    (3) The magazines suck. Eight-rounders made in Italy by ACT-Mag and now sold in the US under various companies’ marques, this design has developed a very bad reputation among serious shooters for its feed lips cracking after only a bit of use, and they have very fragile baseplates. I san attest to that last from my own experience of dropping an empty ACT Mag on an indoor range’s concrete floor; when the mag hit the floor its baseplate shattered to pieces. The folks at STI were very straightforward with me about the cheap magazine being one of the ways they make the price point on the gun. If they went to a better magazine, they’d have to raise the price. Since most 1911 fans, including myself, already own a goodly supply of top quality nags, frankly I’d rather have the great price I’ve already got the great mags.
     
  19. FreeinAZ

    FreeinAZ Member

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    (4) With the gun assembled, the front of the full- length recoil spring guide rod protrudes so far forward it’s necessary to strip the slide from the frame so the guide rod can move backward enough to allow the bushing to turn. This is not a function of the length of the guide rod, but the way the lower barrel lugs, against which the guide rod butts, are cut. This is no big deal, though it does affect field-stripping procedures somewhat.

    (5) The polymer mainspring housing is considerably longer than it should be, protruding well below the level of the frame. It looks had. Fortunately, replacement steel 1911 mainspring housings practically litter the streets.

    The STI Spartan was accuracy and reliability test ed with nine .45 ACP loads. Hardball on hand was Federal’s generic American Eagle. Hollowpoints included Black Hills “red box” 230-grain JHP (Black Hills’ ammo is in red boxes, their reloads in blue); from Federal came the t 65-grain Hydra-Shok and “Classic” 230 grain JHP (basically the Hydra-Shok without the post); Hornady’s 230-grain XTP; Remington’s 185-grain Golden Saber; and from Winchester the 185-grain Silvertip, 230-grain SXT and Winchester-USA “white box” 230-grain JHP.

    Accuracy testing consisted of five-shot groups from the bench at 50 feet, the maximum distance possible at the indoor range on which I was shooting. Both American Eagle ball and the Hornady 200 grain XTP posted 0.8-inch groups. Both Federal’s 165 grain Hydra-Shok and 230-grain “Classic” JHP came in at one inch even. But slightly larger was the 1.1 inch group with Winchester-USA 230 grain JHP. The Remington Golden Saber threw a five-shot 1.4 inch group, with four of those bullets going into a super-tight one hole 0.65 inch. All the rest of the ammunition was in the 1.4 to 1.6 inch range. to a gun of any price we would have to term this accuracy “impressive” Considering the STI Spartan’s price tag, t think we can safely upgrade that to “spectacular.”

    Reliability with all loads was perfect. Testing the Spartan’s slide-to-frame to barrel fit afterward revealed absolutely no change from its brand-new state; it still locked up like a little bank vault. As I said earlier, this is not the prettiest gun in the world. But beauty is as beauty does, and by the time I was through testing the STI Spartan .45, given its level of accuracy and reliability, it was looking pretty damn good to me.
     
  20. FreeinAZ

    FreeinAZ Member

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    Above taken from Dillons blue press, found on STI's site
     
  21. TAB

    TAB Member

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    I won't say STI does not make a great gun, but I would never buy one do to thier politics.

    that being said they don't make the spartin... its just branded by them.
     
  22. FreeinAZ

    FreeinAZ Member

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    What are STI's politics? No flame, honestly curious
     
  23. TAB

    TAB Member

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    When CA, was trying to pass some laws that would have allowed people to sue gun companys they made a big stink about it and pulled all "sales" out of CA( which was fine, infact it made me happy... atleast at 1st) However, they still sold guns to LEOs( not just agencys...) this year they made another big stink about pulling out of CA. When in reality they had been not selling guns to the general public for 7 years. All they did was stop selling guns to LEOs.

    Long story short, they did it strickly as a marketing measure, not as a political statment.
     
  24. bac1023

    bac1023 member

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    Actually it isnt. I own a RIA tactical & std and neither is fit as precisely as the spartan...neither shoots as well.

    "True" STI or not it's a great shooting pistol for the price with STI customer service to back it up. I figure the guys at STI putting their good name and reputation behind it makes it a "true" enough STI for me.


    They aren't even built by STI. I didn't say they weren't good quality pistols. Armscor makes good stuff.

    However, get an STI Trojan and you'll see a big difference.
     
  25. techmike

    techmike Member

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    Yes...I realize that Armscor builds the gun and it meets STI's q.c....I knew it when I bought the pistol, I've had great luck with Armscor products. Are they guns that I will pass down to my great grand son? Probably not. But I will shoot the snot out of them and enjoy every minute. (On the other hand my Kimber and a Colt or two and a Wilson probably will get passed along).

    I'm very much looking forward to picking up my trojan (in about two months barring any more car repairs:uhoh:). I expect that there will be a big difference in fit and finish, but I'll be surprised if it shoots any better. I own a couple of semi customs that only gain me about 3/4" tighter groups at 25 yards.

    Getting back to the topic at hand, In my mind the Spartan is a better value if you are looking at price vs performance. If you are looking at something to keep forever and pass down to your kids get the Kimber (or a nicer STI :) )
     
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