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As I was picking up my SSG3000 last night I had the oppurtunity to handle several Kimber custom shop guns and I was quite impressed with the workmanship. I was taken with the look and feel on the Master Series.
I was struck with a sudden foundness for the small ultra CDP in the custom defense series.
Does anyone have experience with either of these pitols? Are these Kimber semi-custom pistols worth a second look and a few thousand out of my pocket?

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Thanks,
David



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-04-14 14:10 ]</font>
 

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A lot of discussions about this very subject went on over on 1911forum.com and thefiringline.com. The general consensus is that the best value in the Kimber lines is the base model. Their custom shop leaves a bit to be desired.
 

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I would tend to agree with Buzz. I have owned three examples from the Kimber Custom Shop and in one way or another was sufficiently disappointed that I eventually sold them.

As production customs go, I think the apparent money saved is false economy. I had enough failures to feed that I lost confidence in them for CCW use. The slide stops never seemed to work consistently. Most disturbing of all, was the plunger tube that sheared off at the 700 round mark. That same gun went back to the Custom Shop for that repair and the FTF problem. They attempted to fix the feeding problem by polishing the ramp. They ended up polishing through the anodizing in the aluminum framed gun and in short order the more agressive profile hollowpoints started chewing the ramp up. I eventually got tired of trying to deal with their customer service department and that ended the Kimber Custom Shop romance.

Some of the things on the Kimber Custom Shop guns are not fixable. The checkering really is not very good and I would rather have a bald front strap than what they offer. At least that wya I could have decent checkering done. I also don't care for their carry melt. It is just too much for my tastes.

Production customs do have a place. If want you instant gratification (or nearly so), then they make sense. Personally I would rather have a pistolsmith just build me what I want. If I couldn't wait to have a custom gun built, then I could call Terry Peters at P&T Partners and buy (or order) a Wilson Combat. IMHO, they are the best of the production custom breed. YMMV.

DD
 

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Buzz,

I think that question might require a whole 'nother thread. But the short answer is resale value and the (to me) overly tight slide fit and non-heat treated frame. <ducking> BTW, I did inquire with LB about the last item, but they would not give me a straight answer. That in itself was a big turn off.

No offense is meant to the many LB fans, but that is how I feel. The last two points can be argued, but the resale value can't IMO. From what prices I see LBs going for used vs. WCs, it is really not much of a contest. That could mean the market is telling us something, or it just could mean a used LB is the best value going in a used production custom. Depends on your perspective.

DD
 

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You always get what you pay for and some times if you are lucky you actually get more. I do what I consider "semi custom work" on Kimbers. Enought of it that Kimber made me a Master Dealer for supporting them recently.

But here is the difference between, me and their shop's "semi production". Any of the better smith's can generally beat Kimber's custom shop on pricing and quality IMO.









http://www.burnscustom.com


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-04-14 16:46 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-04-15 14:03 ]</font>
 

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Nice pics, Dane. What model is that last one and what type of finish does it have?

By the way, what is the turnaround time on a lightly tuned Kimber? Basically, just a reliability package, night sights, scallops, and hardchrome?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: buzz_knox on 2001-04-14 16:45 ]</font>
 

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Thanks Buzz!
No idea the actual model, it is the small one :grin: Finish is Black T.
Typical turn around is a 90 to 120 days on something like you are suggesting...chrome taking up half of that, typically.
 

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The reason I ask is that I was thinking of taking a 1911 to LFI-2 in August. I've got a Kimber that works well (fell in love with it again last night after shooting a personal best, and even beating out my newly acquired P7). I was just wondering if I'd be able to get a slightly tuned one in time.

Okay, okay. I just want a custom piece. Can you blame me? :smile: And for some reason, neither the Baers or Wilsons I was looking at exactly flip my switch. It seems that a slightly tuned Kimber would be as better for the same price or less expensive for the same quality.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: buzz_knox on 2001-04-14 17:01 ]</font>
 

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Mr. DiFabio

My actual experience with Kimber seems typical, so I will relate it at length.

I bought a late 1998 Classic Stainless target.


It is the best production 1911 style Gun ( Colt is the only True 1911 IMHO ) I have ever owned in 35+ years of too much buying of 1911`s. The fit and finish is beyond excellent with no tool marks anywhere.

It is very accurate and has been 100% reliable from the get go with both Ball & HP in all brands.

Well being dumb, not Knowing about Dane Burns ,and old enough to know better, I " reasoned " that if this $750 piece was that fine their top of line $1200 Gold Match would be even better...

So I bought another late 1998 Blue one. This Gun was an utter Dog. The frame rails looked like they had been done by monkeys with a cold chisel, the extractor was not tensioned, it both Stove Piped and FTF`ed Federal Ball even after $100 in tuning.

At 50 rounds, the lower dust cover on the slide began to rub down to the white, at 75 it began to fail to lock back on an empty Mag ( Wilsons )

That was enough, I sold it taking a huge loss. I will not buy another unless I get a Burns Semi-Custom...but then I`d rather get a Colt from him, of course what I really want is his Light Weight Steel gun :smile:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Blackjack on 2001-04-14 22:06 ]</font>
 

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Buzz,

Being that is has the Custom Shop logo, a Commander length slide and OM frame, it is likely one of the Combat Carry pistols. They discontinued that model and replaced it with the Compact CDP. Those pistol had stainless slides and aluminum frames. The CDP and the orignal Ultra Carry pistols had stainless small parts, but the Combat Carry didn't. Since there is now Black T covering those small parts only Dane can know for sure. Interesting that the person that owned that Kimber Custom Shop gun had to send it to a real pistolsmith. :grin:

DD

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Desert Dog on 2001-04-14 17:09 ]</font>
 

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buzz_knox wrote:
It seems that a slightly tuned Kimber would be as better for the same price or less expensive for the same quality.
Let me correct you here. A least from me, I can generally beat the price and MYquailty is LIGHT YEARS ahead of either Baer or Wilson. It has to be for me to stay in business.
 

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Given that I've only seen a couple of Wilsons and Baers and none of your work, I was operating only off of second-hand information. So, I played to the side of caution. I apologize for giving offense by my comparison, and my now deleted comment. It was intended only as a light-hearted jab. I did not conceive for a moment that it would be construed by anyone as an actual insult to your abilities.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: buzz_knox on 2001-04-14 17:44 ]</font>
 

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I have owned several of the base model Kimbers, several of the "Custom Shop" pistols, and 2 of those damnable polymer hi-cap things.

The base models have been mistreated, while the "Custom" guns treated with greater care, the hi-cap things are long gone. Without question, the base model pistols outperform the "custom" ones...in the shooting I have done. The Gold Combat is a nice pistol, but in all honesty, it would have a new home in a heartbeat if someone offered me near what I paid for it.

The counter to this is Burns' pistols. Only way I would sell one is if it brought in enough cash to have him build me 2 more :grin:

I probably sound like a street preacher, but take it from the original cheap bastard...if you are going to own 1 1911, get your hands on one from Burns, Heinie or Vickers. I know there are Wilson fans here, and Les fans, etc., but the difference really is there.
 

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Gentlemen, that beauty with the Cocobolo grips and the scalloped frame is my Kimber! :smile:.

I own both a Baer and a Wilson. They are fine pistols, but they are assembly line products. Semi-custom, to be accurate. A semi-custom gun can be a terrific gun, but your preferences are limited. You can't have it built your way. You often can't personalize the product during it's manufacture. Also, if one member of the assembly line is having a bad day, you may not be pleased with the end result.

Kimber slides and frames are essentially the same as Wilson's. They are made at the same Jericho facility. Kimbers are production pieces, even their upper custom tier of pistols. Wilson's are semi-custom.

What I wanted for myself was a true custom pistol, with MY personal preferences, built by ONE craftsman who will stand behind his product. I wanted it built by a someone who was an accomplished shooter in his own right, because that unique characteristic gives you valuable insight to what works, and what does not work on a fighting pistol. I wanted someone who was accessible, and who would put up with my numerous questions during the buildout of this project. I also wanted someone with experience with modifying Kimbers in particular. That is the reason I chose Dane to customize my Kimber.

Dane, the gun looks awesome. I know it will shoot even better than it looks. And I know you will stand behind it. Gentlemen, I won't tell you the price of this project, but it is NO MORE than the cost of a entry-level Wilson or Baer, including the cost of the base pistol. Dane even surprised me by throwing in a few features on this piece for no additional charge. I can't wait to get my hands on this gun. My children (two daughters) will treasure it in the future. In essence, it will become a family heirloom. In my mind, any piece of equipment that you depend upon night and day for your personal protection is far too important to be "just a tool". It is a personalized weapon that says a lot about the individual who owns it, the craftsman (dare I say artisan :grin:) who builds it, and the people it protects (namely, my family).

Again, Dane forgive the incessant pestering. I am thrilled to finally see it. Thanks for the care and skill you have put into it. I know I'll treasure it for a lifetime.

Bob
 

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Dane, you said in your first post here that "any of the better smiths can generally beat Kimber's custom shop on pricing and quality IMO". Kimber CDPs go for $919 around here. How can any smith compete at that price? Are you implying something that I'm missing? Respectfully........Mike
 

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I went through the same dilemma and bought a Kimber Super Match, only after 700 rnds it stopped going bang. I had to upgrade all the internals and then it was shooting great but by that time I decided to sell it. Next I bought a Wilson CQB with upgraded internals (bulletproof) and ambi safety. Nice gun, goes bang every time.
Well, after inspecting a BCP gun in person (which Dane said was a left over parts gun) I am on his wait list for 2 guns and when I get them every thing else will go in the safe.
Get what you really want from the beginning or it ends up costing you more.
 

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There ain't no free lunch.

A simple maxim that many of us have heard countless times before. So simple, that most will miss its profoundness. Truer words were never spoken.

Coincident with the growth of ones level of understanding of that which makes a 1911 truly exceptional, comes an acute awareness of the difference between merely good marketing and that which defines mechanical and aesthetic excellence. A Kimber Custom Shop guns is the quintessential example of the former.

One of our members, Terry Peters, has a business devoted to retailing both production custom and true custom pistols. I once remember him remarking that the biggest mistake most custom gun buyers make, is not buying enough gun the first time. That coming from a man who sells the Kimber Custom Shop, Wilson Combat, Les Baer and Ed Brown product lines. Nothing worse IMO, than having having a gun that is almost what you really want. It is an insidious feeling that just slowly gnaws away at you. I wish I had understood this sooner. It would have saved me a lot of grief.

Next time you see a post from Terry, be sure to note his signature. It is the one that says: "Do your research but you get what you pay for front end or back end."

DD
 

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I take a back seat to no one, well except Dane :wink: in my regard for Kimbers.

That said, fixing guns from the Kimber Custom Shop have paid the rent,put food on the table AND paid for a few toys over the last 3 months.
What's more, I have them lined up for another 2 months.

I could go on but I would pretty much be repeating what Dane and others have said.
 
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