Kimber Talk Forums banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,761 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, supply and demand will set price point. (check)

Aesthetic features, i.e. grips, checkering, sights, etc. (check)

But really, how can we learn what the true technical differences between the models are?

Are they all the same on the inside?

Are the materials used all the same?

Is there a level of fit/finish at a higher level that makes one model a better shooter than the other?

I've seen the specs. listing on the web site, but that only explains some of the very small variations in price.

What would be a good source to learn from?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
868 Posts
Besides contacting the manufacturer there are several that I use.
* Online reviews of the guns I'm interested in
* Owners (not paid help) of the gun stores I frequent
* Forums such as this
* Good old fashioned gun magazines-I get them 2nd hand from my brother
* Experienced gunners at the range
* Gunsmith

Usually I can find out what I want to know online, but talking to experienced shooters/owners is a kick and learn something new everytime
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
38,337 Posts
Put simply, they use 3 different metals alone or in combination to make the various models of kimbers, steel, stainless steel and aluminum. A lot of the internal parts are common. The major differences between the various models are the combinations of the barrels and frames.

ULTRA
3" bull barrel and a short grip.


ULTRA+
3" barrel and a full length grip


COMPACT
4" barrel and a short grip.


PRO
4" barrel and a full length grip.


CUSTOM
5" barrel and full length grip.

The II designation in the model name indicates it has a Swartz firing pin safety.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,761 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks Chuck, but I kinda already had all that from reading the web site. What I'm looking for is information (if it exists) that is not on the web site, but would help me understand why one Kimber can be purchased for $800.00 and another costs of $2,000.

Does the $2,000 gun shoot/perform better than the $800 gun or is it just prettier?

I sure wish a Kimber rep would visit our site from time to time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sketter

·
Registered
Joined
·
868 Posts
Thanks Chuck, but I kinda already had all that from reading the web site. What I'm looking for is information (if it exists) that is not on the web site, but would help me understand why one Kimber can be purchased for $800.00 and another costs of $2,000.

Does the $2,000 gun shoot/perform better than the $800 gun or is it just prettier?

I sure wish a Kimber rep would visit our site from time to time.
That was my issue with the TLE and Combat.
I said "the barrel looks the same" he said it was.
Same with the trigger, recoil spring, etc.
Other than the Combat holding an additional round and some cosmetics I couldn't find much difference.
Maybe I'm stupid?:confused:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
38,337 Posts
Other than the Combat holding an additional round and some cosmetics I couldn't find much difference.
Maybe I'm stupid?:confused:
No you're far from it, this is what Kimber does, they make a few minor changes and give it a different name. They say they produce 100 different models of the 1911 how many differences can there possibly be? Look at the Super Carry Pro, Master Carry Pro and Classic Carry Pro, basically they're all the same gun. One has an aluminum frame another a metal frame, one has a laser grip another a bone grip, a lot of the differences are cosmetic.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,190 Posts
It's kind of like when you buy a car. You start with the base model and add options. I've also seen it compared to a Chevy and Olds (I know they don't make them anymore) one is just fancier then the other. I'm sure at some point better internals may be a part of it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
38,337 Posts
It's kind of like when you buy a car. You start with the base model and add options. I've also seen it compared to a Chevy and Olds (I know they don't make them anymore) one is just fancier then the other. I'm sure at some point better internals may be a part of it.
That's not really a fair analogy you can't add options on a Kimber, you take it or leave it the way it comes from the factory.

As for the Chevy and Oldsmobile they were two different class cars, they each had totally different engines and transmissions. Oldsmobile was GM's guinea pig, they used it to introduce new concepts and options. In the early 40's they used it to introduce the hydramatic transmission, in 66 they came out with the front wheel drive Toronado and in between there were hundreds of other innovations that eventually made their way into the other GM lines. At the time the Chevy was basically the affordable family car.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,190 Posts
Sure it's a fair analogy. You start with the base model in the Kimber line and as you move up the biggest difference is options. You can pick the ones you want by the variation you choose!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,013 Posts
I think the differences are mostly cosmetic and what one Kimber vs another Kimber is worth is mostly determined by what someone is willing to pay. Other than barrel length, the sights are about the biggest physical difference.

We want what we want and some are willing to pay extra if they think something is "the best" or more desirable. I admit to that. I don't know that a $1,000 Kimber 1911 is better than a $400 RIA 1911, but I assume the Kimber cost 2-3 times more because it is better made.

Some brag about how cheap they can buy things. That's ok. But others are willing to pay more for quality. I'm betting most here like quality or you'd be on another forum. (Sorry Gator, not the technical answer you're asking for I know.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Islander

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,799 Posts
You would need to own or spend a bit of time as well as completely tear down several production guns of many makers to begin to see differences. One would also need to understand the internals, how they interact and look at how each maker fits or does not fit these parts.

Kimber is much like the truck analogy. Chevy made the Custom, Cheyenne, Scottsdale and Silverado. Basically same truck but each had different trim, comfort packages. In my experience the only internal parts differences in the Kimbers is that some have stainless steel barrels and others do not. And one of the 5" models has a bull barrel.

They have two triggers that look different externally but do nothing differently. The sears, disconnectors pins etc are the same. They have a couple different hammers (compare the Super Carry profile to the others).

Fitment inside does not appear different at all and trigger pull weight and feel is consistent across the lineup.

Overall, you are paying for appearance. Beveled slide bottoms, flat top, undercut trigger guards, checkering etc etc.

Some don't like the Swartz safety and few models exclude it. I could live without it for sure but it is not a deal breaker.

Want to make a closer apples to apples comparison? Price a Springfield loaded model. Got to the SA custom shop price list and start adding the prices for the aesthetic features on the Kimber model of you choice. Do t forget to add the carry bevel package because Kimbers attention to this and interior finish being void of tool marks is far ahead.

Kimber makes all parts in their guns with possible exception of the barrels of at least the barrel blanks (unconfirmed). Unlike others this does enable greater dimensional control which minimizes a lot of hand fitting. Here is where the "dreaded" MIM debate comes in. But let's do that later.

Frankly the stAinless TLE is probably the best buy in the line. You can add the ambi safety later for 60 bucks from kimber with a 95% chance it will drop in if you know what you doing and how it should fit. The mainspring housing mag well is easily added and it already has light front strap checkering and night sights.

The only kimber I have not have in my hand or taken apart is the Super Match. Externally it is nothing special. The accuracy guarantee means it just got a little extra attention to barrel fit. As much as I like Kimbers, it is not worth it as I would have a new barrel and bushing installed on the 5" model of your choice and get that accuracy.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,190 Posts
Excellent post as usual Mike. There are a lot of us here that have Pro Carry II's with the light weight frame. I for one would love to hear your take on them. If you don't mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,799 Posts
This is my one big issue with Kimber. Years ago they quit type III hard anodizing their alloy frames. They now use that spray and bake t moly like KimPro.

Anodizing is a case hardening of sorts. 7075T alloy is soft and the KimPro finish has issue staying on it and does nothing for hardening. This is what prevents me from buying a KimPro alloy gun especially the pro models in 45. Those do not have ramped barrels like the ultras or the 9mm. Therefore the projectile slams into the frame ramp. Without the hardening protection of anodizing the ramp takes a pounding and loses proper geometry with time and especially with hollow points. Polishing out the damage when stoppages begin is only a short term bandaid. Each time it is polished metal is removed and the ramp is eventually changed deminsionally and will become a jamomatic.

The other thing kimber does is leave KimPro on ramps of all guns. This get sticky when hot and impairs feeding. It should be stripped with acetone and a soft swap. Not abrasive polished.

I will show pictures when I get my Warrior frame back from being machine checkered and refinished. As I know the ramp will covered in it and I will need to strip it off.

Off to bed. Range day in the morning!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,761 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for your comments. Especially thanks to Mike for sharing his experience and expertise.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
38,337 Posts
If it's not a Swartz, what is it? And which is better? Educate me, 'O wise one.
That's easy, if it doesn't have a Swartz firing pin safety then it doesn't have one. Most Kimber models have them, a few don't, which is better, that's something you'll have to decide for yourself.

Kimbers with "II" in the name have a Firing Pin Block safety added - it's a version of an old 1930's design called a Swartz FP block, intended to prevent the firing pin from moving forward under inertia from being dropped or something. It is deactivated by a plunger in the frame when the grip safety is depressed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Mike, Very informative info you have given us How long do you think the feed ramp on the aluminum frame guns will last before problems arise? I bought my Kimber because of the weight and aluminum frame, not knowing the feed ramp was designed the way it is. What grade aluminum is used in the frame. This is my 1st Kimber. I really like it and the finish of all parts. Thanks for your advice.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
38,337 Posts
I have no idea what grade of aluminum Kimber uses for their frames but I've read many times that Kimber has tested aluminum framed guns for 20,000 rounds with no measurable wear and project that they should be good for 40,000 rounds. At today's price of approximately .40 cents a round it would cost you $8,000.00 to reach the 20,000 round mark.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,190 Posts
Mike, Very informative info you have given us How long do you think the feed ramp on the aluminum frame guns will last before problems arise? I bought my Kimber because of the weight and aluminum frame, not knowing the feed ramp was designed the way it is. What grade aluminum is used in the frame. This is my 1st Kimber. I really like it and the finish of all parts. Thanks for your advice.
I've got the same Kimber that you do. I'm not concerned with wearing it out in my lifetime. Take care of yours and you'll be passing it down for a couple of generations!
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top