Any thoughts on the utility of breaking in a new Kimber? I've heard that some people run several hundred rounds of hardball ammo through it before trying any hollow points. Any suggestions for preliminary ammo? What about the cleaning schedule?
I am sure you will get some very good answers to this, but here is my quick version: Go buy between 300 and 500 rds of quality ball amm I recommend winchester white box or Sellior and Bellot. Take some quality gun oil and put some on the rails and on the barrel hood. Blast away. Don't worry about Failure to feed in the first 2-300 rounds. Check the gun every 100 rds and make sure it still hand cycles smoothly. If it appears bone dry add a drop or two to the rails and the barrel hood again. After you have fired up your 500 rds then put a box or two of carry ammo through it and see where it prints.
Don't get too worried about point of aim/point of impact until you have these initial rounds fired. load you mag at least 24 hours ahead of time and just let it sit so the springs can set in. Buy, beg, borrow or steal a few different types of magazines. It sucks to have only one bad mag and not be able to tell if your new expensive gun is a piece of crap or just the magazine is bad. When you are all done soak the barrel down with what ever cleaning product you like. Take it home and then strip it down and clean it really well. Check all the basic parts as you clean them and look for cracks or undue wear. Then put it back together and start figuring out what kind of cool holster you need for it. Also, post all your results here so others can learn from your experience. good luck brother. Jake
Jake has given you some good advice, though depending on the applicator you have to apply oil with it is easy to get too much, so here is my variation for applying the oil.
Wet a Cue-tip with oil, and run it down the frame rails and on the barrel hood as Jake said. You want a good film at this point, though if it runs, drips, or pools, you have too much. Now shoot your pistol and check it like Jake recommended. If it needs more lubrication, wipe the powder residue off the frame rails with a drip cue-tip, then re-oil with a cue tip. Don't worry about doing any more cleaning than mentioned here until you have completed the 300-500 rounds. Another variation I have used is to put a thin film of gun grease on the frame rails instead of oil, and then shoot the 500 rounds, without cleaning or relubricating the frame rails.
Here are a couple of other things to consider. For ammo I like Federal American Eagle because in my experience it leaves a bit more powder residue, than most other brands except S&B, which is something you want when you are breaking in a new pistol since it will mix with the oil and do a very mild polishing job.
For oil I like Hoppe's #9, or any of the other dedicated gun oils. Avoid the 3 in 1 cleaner/oils, Ezoxx, and Tetra products. Another thing to avoid is anything with Teflon (Remoil and Tetra) or Molybdenum Disulfide (Moly for short) during your break in period. At this time "Low Tech" is best. For a gun grease, the Mil-Spec rifle grease available in small 1/2 - 1 oz pats is really hard to beat.
Here's my approach...Take bottle, pour and squeeze into pistol...shake pistol, shake pistol some more...Shoot pistol 'til you run out of ammo...Take pistol completely apart and clean it...Then follow the guys advice for light lube...First 500 is just a friction burn!
Seriously though...It'll go smooth the first 500-1000 with the new production pistols just shootin the crap out of 'em, lube generously and after you do your first de-grease and clean-up, then be very careful to use only what's necessary. Light grease on the rails for SS and a very few drops of quality lube for the rest. If you DO completely break it down, try to have some good DRY lube to use for the trigger group...Try it different ways 'til you find the routine that works best fer' you and your weapon...stick to it and have fun...
...welcome to the fray...