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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The hits just keep on comin'.

I just got a very recent vintage Kimber Classic back from being parkerized today. I opened the box to a big surprise - almost all the small parts where stainless.

So now I have a matte black slide, frame , and extractor but parts like the ejector, plunger tube, all pins and screws, as well as mag catch and firing pin stop are all bead blast stainless.

Needless to say I was overjoyed at this discovery - Of course now I have to box up these parts and send them off to be blackened - a matte black finish is what the customer paid for and that's what he'll get - of course this re-refinishing is out of my pocket.

I know Dane will disagree with me, because Kimbers are his bread and butter, but I would pass on a new Kimber - the problems they are having alarm me to the point I can't recommend them.

Reworking a Kimber is easy - a good friend of mine once said it's like finding money. I, like Dick Heinie, Chuck Rogers, or Jim Garthwaite could do them in our sleep. But it quickly becomes a non - money maker when problems arise. An easy job becomes a royal pain that makes it a no go.

Despite what others have said, we all know different makers go through quality control problems once in awhile. Right now it is Kimbers time in the barrel - and right now is the time to avoid them.
 

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Ok, I'll disagree with you Larry. Actually I build quite a few full house spec guns. I suspect as many as you have if not more. EVERY production gun has problems... I like Kimbers, but I've been working on them for six years.

I have to say, guys Dick or Garthwaite may be able to do them in their sleep, but the fact is, you can't - by your own admission. Kimbers are no better or worse than a Colt or a Springfield. I can and did put a full house Springfield together from a parts kit this week. Though, I can't do it in my sleep and can't imagine that my customer would want me to. Of COURSE the gun is better than a Kimber; I chose the parts, barrel and hand fitted the frame to slide.

Don't get too arrogant Larry. Your inability to do "casual" work that a number of partime gunsmiths do on a daily basis speaks more to your abilities than the gun's faults.

If you had taken the time and done your homework, you might have realised that parkerising is not the best finish for a Kimber. Parts have been from a combo of stainless and carbon since they moved to New York. Parts sourcing problems happen when you put out 4 or 5 times the number of guns as the next maker.

There is no fast buck to be made by rebuilding Kimbers. While you have made your reputation by "blood, sweat and tears" Larry, I made mine by building guns that are reliable and shoot point of aim with good cosmetics.

So - I guess we DO disagree - the "sky's not falling, the sky's not falling".
 

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Well geez...

Is there a certain model that is better or worse? ...at least as far as consistency in the past...are there certain models that have been better for a base gun, or even as an out of the box shooter?

Thanks guys...
 

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Do I have a reason to be worried Dane? My Gold Match shoots great so why all the fuss? Just the newer ones right? Damn, now I have a headache :mad:
 

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I don't think there is any doubt that most Kimber owners (99%) would be better served selling their Kimber and building a full house CUSTOM PISTOL on a Jericho (CMC, Wilson, Nowlin, et al) slide/frame "kit" and then adding an oversize barrel and the boutique small parts of their choice.
But, financially for some that is just not possible.

I have owned 3 stock Kimbers and have sold them all for one reason or the other.
(MIM parts, poor sight arrangement not shooting POA being the main ones)

The heart and soul (slide. frame, barrel) seems as good as any that have ever been made, but obviously Kimber did screw the pooch on many of the small parts (extractor, slide lock, bushing, sights, springs, etc.) and in the spirit of "innovation" they have created a new, and brisk market for "upgrades".

I hate the fronstrap contour of an SA, and their small parts are no better in many cases and often remind me of a "franken-gun". The oversize dovetails and nasty roll-marks do nothing for me either.

Colts still have superflous plungers and springs, nuff said.

In a perfect world we would all build our masterpieces on Pre-70 series GM's or small letter '70 series guns. I know I will try my best to, not just from a quality or pride of ownership standpoint, but from a potential resale standpoint.

However, from what I have seen and read, there is nothing wrong with the current breed of Kimber that cannot be fixed after a bit of analysis and handwork.

It is up to the customer to decide ultimately if they want to bear the brunt of this additional work (ie: expense)


As an aside, a local bullsye shooter put 2 of my stock Kimber barrels in a testing fixture and they shot 95% as good as a kart with most loads, and better with a few lead bullet loads. They are obviously great barrels, even though the chambers are too tight, they rust easily, and you can oftentimes see the impression of the caliber stamping inside the chamber in the right light :smile: (look and see)


I am anxiously awaiting Caspian to get with the long-awaited program and build a pre-70 series pattern slide frame. Wouldnt that be something?

I think that Larry's point is Caveat Emptor. (Buyer Beware) Although man has progressed, that remains a very good slogan in the custom 1911 world.

Any gun can be made to run(except for a Para :smile:), but at what cost?
 

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It isn't a problem on the old ones. It isn't a problem on the new ones.

Kimber makes one of the better production 1911s on the market.

What some may have missed is a smith builds on the platform. How you do that is dependant the knowledge and skill of the smith and the quality of the base gun. The production company builds the platform. I think the latest Kimber commentaries by Vickers are nonsense and little concern to the customer.

Dick Heinie's concerns on sights are valid and can easily be addressed in several ways.

But then again I shoot the "hog" gun :grin:

Building a GREAT gun from best grade parts is easy. Building a great gun from a Kimber takes a little more work, but not as much as it does for a Colt or a Springfield.
 

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Too bad their not all easy money makers for you. Must be rough. But I guess that's what separates the good from the best.

The best know any gun can have hidden surprises, and deal with them accordingly, not making a big deal out of it. Oh yea, they also work when thier awake.

Same thing happens in my company every day. Nothing is the same twice in a row. We deal with it and move on. It's no bigger a deal than you make of it, and their all still money makers.
 

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What is up with all this crying wolf about Kimbers? Geez, it seems like every smith I know doesn't have a problem working on a Kimber. All this reactionary jawing is over stainless small parts that you didn't realize were there -- until after you got them back from finishing? Just exactly how many Kimbers have you worked on? Doesn't sound like very many. Is this one of the three Kimber that you promoted over on the 1911Forum? I dunno, I never did understand the logic of parkerizing a $2,500 gun to begin with.

This continuing display of arrogance is starting to wear a little thin on most of us. Sure you can build a nice gun -- but so can A LOT of other guys -- and some <gasp> are maybe even a little better at it! At least when they find a small challenge in building a gun, they don't declare the gun to be unsuitable. In life, there are two kinds of people; those that make excuses, and those that find a way. Judging from your Kimber comments, it is clear which category you fall in to.

I am sorry if my comments seem a little strident in tone Larry, but you show nothing but utter and complete contempt for you fellow gunsmiths, especially when stating just how easy Kimbers are to work on, i.e. "I could do it my sleep". Then why don't ya, and save us from having to listen to your incessant whining. Really, it just sounds like more of that same tired self important bullshit. Nobody that cares about the quality of their craftsmanship is building guns in their sleep. Not even the great Larry Vickers.

DD

p.s. Consider my best grade gun order with you cancelled. I am willing to spend big bucks on a custom 1911, but not at the cost of suffering one of the most colossal egos around.
 
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I was very suprised to hear of all of these Kimber problems on my earlier Kimber post and now after reading this string I am going to forward these posts to an aquantince of mine from the club, Leslie Edelman as his company Nationwide has a serious investment in the Kimber line and I believe he should be made aware of the many problems Kimber customers are having.
Larry, I suspect that you are using the forum to vent your frustrations ala gunsmith to gunsmith, but IMO far too many current and future customers are reading these posts and it makes you seem very arrogant, I do not know you personally to understand the tone of your writing if that is not your intent.
At MIT one of the worst cases of business arrogance I learned of goes as follows:
The biggest of the big in the world in 1981 IBM made the descision/simple mistake of passing on what looked to be a product that no one would ever want -the personal computer-, The lesson-since 1981 IBM has lost a grand total of 701.4 Billion dollars, yes billion and laid off or turned over 126,000 people.
When questioned as to why they passed on the PC idea the Vice Chariman of IBM responded "IBM has declined to do business with Apple Computers as we are the computer industry and customers will follow and buy what we dictate". Pretty arrogant? well at the time IBM was The computer industry, but from that failure a young man from Cambridge Mass. had the window of oppurtunity opened for him. From the giant -IBM who looked down there noses at Jobs and Wasniak, Gates and Ballmer recognized the error of IBMs ways and seized the day. Yes I have paraphrased the IBM-Apple-Microsoft history but as we all learned at business school, arrogance is often the harsh teacher in life and we are all the students, attitude decides who learns and who achieves. It really is a simple story that has repeated itself throughout history and we also teach it to our children as "the Cinderella story".
I suspect that you may be angry and want to retaliate or defend yourself from Desert Dogs, Peters and Danes responses and the obvious response is to be angered, but they were only simple criticisms not personal attacks and mine is only an observation, an opinion based on what I have read here as posted. I am only a potential customer but I am a customer who would purchase an entire pistol smtihs inventory if it struck my fancy and I have that ability based on my skill at learning from other peoples mistakes, you made one here IMO and I would consider this lesson a chapter in the university of life.
I posted this comment not to get involved in your business but in the hope of eliminating these disputes as I place enormous value on the good psitol and gun smiths out there and hope to see the industry return and because I invest heavily in the publicly traded companies that makeup the firearms industry. I do everything I can to support both the second ammendmant and the shooting sports industry as it is withering on the vine.




<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-04-21 07:49 ]</font>
 

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I had a beef with Kimber on their high capacity polymer thing, but the general consesus has long been that a base Kimber is the place to start building a full house gun...unless you are privy to a warehouse filled with Series 70 Colts.

No, I don't build pistols, but I have owned and shot the entry level [and several of the customs] from SA, Colt, and Kimber. No question Kimber is the pick of that litter.

I like Springfield, generally. But MIM parts in the TRP? hmmmmmm
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I am guilty as charged.

At least at being frustrated about Kimbers - Obviously you got that from my post.

The reason I listed those pistolsmiths are those are guys I have personal knowledge of their work.

I don't have personal knowledge of Danes work - If I did and felt comfortable with it I would have posted him too.

I have built quite a few Kimbers - If you want to believe I don't know anything and I'm whining that's fine also.

The post was a heads up that there are some Kimber problems out there - buyer beware. If it came off arrogant I apologize - That was not my intent. Rereading the post I can see how that happened - Sorry about that.

As far as a refund to Dane and Desert Dog it is in the mail.
 

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Gentlemen, please! Things were going along swimmingly and then... Guys stop wearing your heart on your sleeve, Larry Vickers had an opinion, Dane has an opinion, D.D. has an opinion, what else is new. Life is entirely too short. There is no doubt that you guys are tops in the business. It is better to have a chorus sing your praise than to sing it solo. You guys have a gift that others don't have don't loose the audience with the wrapping.
 

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Well, I have no personal knowledge of any of these smiths work, but let me say that judging from the respect they seem to get from the general population (although perhaps not so much from each other), I feel confident in saying that they could fit a soup can on an excercise bike and creat a world class gatlin (spelling) gun. To hear any of you guys (pointing a finger at professional and renowned pistol smiths)negative marketing against any pistol manufacturer in my mind is akin to cutting your business to bits. Imagine if you had to resort to machining your own line of frames, slides, barrels, and action parts. You would soon be the Kimbers, Paras, Colts, Glocks, SIGs, etc. of the new millenium going through all your own growing pains with some NEW respectable pistol smiths pointing their fingers at you and raising their voices on their own soap boxes. Sound like fun now? You make guns...they make guns....GET IT YET??????
 

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Ditto what Sicilydz said. I'm a novice to 1911's and this forum and others are a great deal of help to me. I look at gunsmiths as artists, and like all great artists temperamental ones.
I am however able to make up my mind on my own and able to deal with the consequences. One of my local smiths hates Kimber, another one loves them. Me, well I rented several different Springfields, Kimbers and Colts at a range shot them all and formed my own opinion. My next .45 will be a Springfield that will get tuned up, and when I get one built from the ground up it will be built on Caspian components.

Dane and Larry, you guys are some of the top smiths working from my admittedly narrow exposure to custom work. I like both your work for different reasons. I've learned a great deal from both of you. What you post on this board influences me to an extent, but remember, we as consumers can make up our own minds. As far as I care, hey keep posting your opinions, they just increase my knowledge. At least I'm not seeing flame wars start and I appreciate that very much
 
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Larry,
I must say that I am very impressed with your reply post and I hope to commission a Vickers custom pistol in the near future as soon as I can think of some good ideas for a design.
Very professional indeed, and I would hope that DD and maybe Dane will recognize your integrity and rethink things.
 

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David and list,

I have never questioned Larry's honesty or integrity. We just have an honest difference of opinion.

We both seem to hold our's strongly. No surprise, it comes with the backgrounds and the work.

Short of my left one I would give most anything for a Vicker's gun. I would have never insulted the man as another professional by cancelling an order in public. After all, I have supported Vickers whole heartily here and on the 1911Forum for over a year, as has DD BTW.

Larry choose to make my cancelation public record and asked me to remove his contact info from my web site.

Those are professional decisions. I made my comments on list as a professional. If I think you are wrong I will say so. Insult me professionally and I will defend myself.

Just as Vickers has early done on this list earlier.

Would I buy a Vickers gun? Damn right I would.

Here is the catch for me. I use my guns. There is something to them for me that is intangible. Larry wouldn't have wanted to built me a gun after the last exchange. I wouldn't want to use it. We both know that. At that point it doesn't matter what the gun cost, no reason for us to continue the project.

Not the end of the world for either of us.

We'll both be around for some time and options and opinions change. A good 1911 doesn't.
 

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I would have to echo the sentiment Dane voiced about Larry Vickers' integrity and skills. That was NEVER an issue with me. I wouldn't have placed an order in the first place, were there even the slightest doubt about either issue. However, the reality of being a customer is, that you have to deal with the man that is building your gun. Not only now, but on a continuing basis.

Finding a personality that meshes well with your own is an important (and I think) integral part of establishing a good customer-gunsmith relationahip. IMO, it is a huge mistake to underestimate the importance of this, in terms of having mutualy satifying long term business relationship. This BTW, is one of the bigger benefits to having a forum that brings both the customers and gunsmiths together. IMO, personality fit is MUCH better dealt with upfront.

Further, I think it would be disingenuous of me, if I didn't say I was put off with the attitude that came with the gun. This growing discomfort did not come overnight, nor from a single thread. Rather, this feeling was formed through a series of observations from the public posts that Larry has made. Everyone feels a little differently about such matters, but for me, it was his arrogant and often braggadocious manner that I found to be so off putting. No disrespect or ill will intended toward Larry, but that is my sense of things. While he is capable of building as fine a 1911 as the very best of his peers, he does not hold an exclusive on the production of best grade guns. It is my money, so I choose to spend it where I am most comfortable doing business. YMMV.

DD

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Desert Dog on 2001-04-22 18:10 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Having read Danes last post as well as Desert Dogs I must say I agree with them 100%.

Having seen the interaction they have displayed on this forum as well as on the 1911 forum, I wholeheartedly agree that they would not be welcome as customers of mine.

Asking for their deposit back saved me the trouble of finding a polite way of telling them I don't want their money or business.

As far as I am concerned it is a closed subject.
 
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