High price, low quality

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by 1911mechanik, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. 1911mechanik

    1911mechanik Christ is my front sight.

    Apr 29, 2016
    Just came in to a used Kimber Classic Gold Match. Pistol appears to be in good shape, no real scratches etc. Of course it sports the plastic mainspring housing, and while some folks may be ok with that I personally don't care for them.

    Anyway, I tore it down and was really disappointed in the condition of some of the parts. The trigger to frame fit was excessively sloppy, the hammer hooks were uneven and not square, the sear nose was not shaped properly (the primary and secondary angles were separated by a third very uneven angle), the ambi safety was bent away from the frame on the plunger tube side, the slide stop was not finished evenly on the round end, and it suffers from the dreaded barrel bump. Now I can fix most of all that but the gun was $995 used and retails new for close to $1300. Is this just the way it is nowadays? I guess it's a good thing really, keeps all the pistolsmiths in business. I was just disappointed. A little extra expense and it will all be fixed up. But really it's the same as Colt, you're paying for the name not the quality.
    GaryC, azpoolguy, Dave Jessee and 4 others like this.
  2. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    Lack of Quality is apparent in most everything I have bought over the last 30 years.
    For most of the Buying Public, low cost trumps quality every time.
    Tango63, azpoolguy, Kip and 8 others like this.

  3. WC145

    WC145 Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    My Colts have been much better built than that.
  4. 1911mechanik

    1911mechanik Christ is my front sight.

    Apr 29, 2016
    Gotcha, I just meant you pay a lot more for the name than what you truly get.
    WWB and FredZ like this.
  5. azguy1911

    azguy1911 Screw it, I'm buying more 1911's

    Oct 22, 2015
    Yeah, well aside from this bunch a $1,000 for a 1911 or any gun is a small fortune and people buying Kimbers think they are "stepping up" not cheeping out... we are blessed
  6. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    Send me pics and low dollar wants for your crap Kimbers.
    I'm always in the challenge mode.
    Razer and mikegalway like this.
  7. wrmiller

    wrmiller The Tinker

    Oct 29, 2016
    When I bought my one and only Kimber back at the turn of the century, I ran into similar issues. While it was a entry-level Kimber, I expected more (it did come with a steel MSH though), given the name.

    So I threw away everything except the frame and slide, reworked those, and built my own gun. It has been quite the workhorse over the years, and I honestly cannot remember the last time it ever malfunctioned.

    Of course being able to build/work on your own guns does make a difference as I do all of the periodic maintenance and tune-ups necessary to keep them in top condition.

    I would have thought that Kimber quality would have gotten better by now. But then what do I know?
    Tango63, simonp and UBOATDOC like this.
  8. JNW

    JNW Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    To be fair, it’s a used gun and you don’t know what the prior owner did to it. Just some of this could have been operator induced. I guess I don’t know what the proper expectation should be for a $1,000 1911. The next questions are does it work, and does it pass all the safety tests?
  9. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    Personally these days my expectations for a $1,000 1911 is a good slide & frame to be used as a base gun. If there are any, even one part that can be kept beyond that I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Longbow and FWoo45 like this.
  10. Longbow

    Longbow Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2018
    I refuse to buy a new gun now, especially a Kimber.
    I just wait for the right deal on a used Springfield, and then gut it, keeping just the barrel, frame, slide.

    I think that after owning more than a few in the past, Kimber are way over priced.
  11. Denver1911

    Denver1911 Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2014
  12. 1911mechanik

    1911mechanik Christ is my front sight.

    Apr 29, 2016
    It did pass safety tests etc. however I have no idea how it shoots. I usually get into working on them before I shoot them in most cases. At this point I've done some extensive improvements: 1)Squared the hammer hooks, 2)properly cut the sear angles, 3)tossed the plastic msh, mim thumb safety, and slide stop, 4)removed the loose barrel link and replaced it, 5)fixed the barrel bump, 6)discarded the poorly cast grip safety and fit a new one, 7)fit and adjusted the tension-less extractor, and filed the rear to be even with the slide, and 8)serrated the front strap. Also, 9)removed the trigger that had a sloppy vertical fit to the frame and fit a new one.

    I'll let you know how it shoots when I get the new parts in a week or two and get them installed and get it all back together. :thumbs:
  13. pistolpete

    pistolpete Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2016
    As Denver asked, how does it shoot? You didn't even shoot it. I have a Kimber, plain black gun, less than 1000.00 brand new. Didn't work when new, went to premature slidelock about once every other magazine . I dimpled the slidelock and that corrected the problem After that the gun is very accurate and very reliable even with the plastic mainspring housing. I did replace the batwing safety with a small Colt safety. I also put in a Colt sear spring to bring the trigger down to 3-1/2#. I'd rather have a Colt gun but wanted to try the Kimber, it is tighter than any of my 3 Colts(by the way, the Goldcup and Combat Elite both have plastic mainspring housings). Accuracy is about the same for all 4 guns. The Colts and the Kimber are mass produced, assembly line guns. Move up a notch to Wilson or EB if you want all the pretty stuff but it will cost you.
  14. 1911mechanik

    1911mechanik Christ is my front sight.

    Apr 29, 2016

    Thank you for your response, sir. I think perhaps my original post is slightly misunderstood. I'm looking at this strictly from a gunsmithing perspective. I often don't shoot guns when I first acquire them especially if they are used. I tear them down, inspect the parts, overall condition, and general build quality. If I see items that need addressing I typically go right to it. Even if it shoots well in the current condition those things need to be addressed and corrected so prior to or after shooting is sort of irrelevant. I understand the point you are making entirely and appreciate your comments. My op was simply an observation from an amatuer pistolsmith who is still learning the ins and outs and whose focus is more the gunsmithing of the pistol rather than just getting one, shooting it and being happy with the quality.
    wrmiller and Longbow like this.
  15. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    They are built that way on purpose. Yes it is in the specification. Has nothing to do with the internet legions of knowing 1911 owners perception of "quality"... :)
  16. wrmiller

    wrmiller The Tinker

    Oct 29, 2016
    Well then it does sound like Kimber quality has gotten better than it was 20 years ago.

    But then I just might be one of those legions of knowing 1911 owners. :)
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018

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