There is no real reason to avoid series 80 parts, any question regarding reliability with series 80 parts should be long put to rest. Dont get me wrong, im not a huge fan of the 80 series parts, but you shouldnt let these parts alone keep you from using a series 80 for a base gun.
Ive owned 3 Kimbers, and all of mine were reliable, accurate pistols. There are things about the Kimber i dont like, MIM parts, goofy slide serrations etc. This isnt meant to start another MIM thread, but the MIM parts in the 3 Kimbers i owned (sear, disconector specifically) were poor at best. Hammer seamed to be ok in all three.
I like the Springfeild Armory "Mil Spec" guns, these are good base guns. There are a few things again that i dont like- the "Brazil" stamp, sloppy serial # marks etc. Some folks dont like the front strap radius (or lack there of) but i kinda like the squareness of it, plus theres plenty of steel for any type of front strap treatment. Some of the small parts are kinda shabby at times, and i guess the biggest problems with S/A's is consistency, so make sure you can pick through 1/2 dozen or so.
Some of the later S/A's dont have the Brazil stamp, and the lettering on the serial # and emblem looks much crisper, cleaner.
I should be getting an S/A back from Larry Vickers mid month or so.