Now is the Kimber of Our Discontent

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by PTCMax, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. PTCMax

    PTCMax New Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    My Raptor II has been sent back to Kimber for service 3 times. Each instance is detailed below. The first, and most serious, issue was resolved satisfactorily. The second issue was solved by Kimber, but reoccurred after return from the factory. The 3rd issue is now blamed on me.
    Immediately after purchase I added on the following parts:

    1. S&A Magwell
    2. VZ Grips
    3. Wilson Combat Shock Buffer, which is used only when firing full power loads

    Issue 1. The disconnector failed repeatedly within the first 200 rounds and the trigger was clunky. I brought it to a local gunsmith who replaced the disconnector and performed a trigger job. The disconnector failed again. The gun performed a 3 round burst. I shipped it to Kimber and they fixed it for $50. I believe this to have been quite fair. No problems with disconnector or trigger since. The gun ran very well (occasional stove pipe) until issue 2 cropped up.

    Issue 2. Ambi safety broke at about 1,500 rounds. I returned it to the factory and they replaced it. A few months later it broke again. At my request they sent me a new one. Even better, I got a stainless model. I installed it. Problem solved. I was a little annoyed at the down time but it works perfectly.

    Issue 3. At about 3,000 rounds I began to experience FTEs with noticeable frequency. Kimber suggested the magazine feed lips might be getting worn. Everyone else I talked to agreed that this was a good place to start and suggested replacement with Wilson 47Ds. I did so and the problem was not fixed. I purchased 2 Kimber stainless tactical magazines. Same issue. I used Chip McCormick 10 round magazines. Same issue. Colt, Springfield Armory, Sig… Same issue. I tried different ammo types of varying power factors. I removed the shock buffer. Same issue. And it only became more frequent. I then sent it in to Kimber for service.

    I just learned that Kimber will not fix the pistol and stated the following reasons:
    1. The feed ramp has been modified
    2. The shock buffer likely caused the FTEs
    3. Because of the modified feed ramp they will need to replace the frame
    4. The VZ grips are non-standard and void the warranty
    5. The S&A magwell is non-standard and voids the warranty
    6. The safety is non-standard and voids the warranty
    7. The trigger is non-standard and voids the warranty
    8. It is unknown how often springs were replaced and whether or not they were Kimber springs.

    My response is the following
    1. The feed ramp has never been modified
    2. The FTEs happened with or without the shock buffer. I don’t know why the smith couldn’t just take out the buffer and test fire it then.
    3. Modified feed ramp: see 1 above
    4. I still have the original grips and if this would reinstate the warranty then I will put them on
    5. I have the original back strap. See 4 above.
    6. It’s a Kimber safety
    7. All of the parts nullifying the warranty were there on visits 1 and 2 but nothing was said. This is a clear change in policy/behavior.
    8. The trigger was last touched by Kimber. It was not replaced.
    9. The Kimber smith who fixed the disconnector/trigger was kind enough to send along extra recoil springs as well as some lube. This is all I have used since.

    It stands that Kimber will not accept any of my responses and fix the FTE. I can either spend $400 to replace the frame (due to “modification”) and then bring the gun back to factory spec only after which they will address the FTE issue. Alternatively Kimber will offer another Raptor at reduced cost and a wait of several months. At my request they are returning the gun to me. Why would I want another pistol that acquaints me with the local UPS driver as much as the range officer? They will not reassemble it and are charging $120 for the inspection. I pay for shipping both ways. That’s over $300 plus whatever it will cost for the local smith to reassemble, and there is no resolution. When I get the gun back I will post pics and further details.

    I believe the fact that the non-Kimber parts were there on previous visits and no comments were made is because the FTE repair is far more expensive. I am further convinced of this as the rep made the comment that shock buffers cause failures in short barreled pistols. This is a Raptor with a 5” slide. Calling this a short barreled pistol is nothing more than a sentence plucked from some checklist of reasons to avoid service put together by a desk jockey.

    Further, it is most definitely not known to Kimber how often springs are replaced on every single pistol that is returned to them for service. This has got to be one of the best reasons for denial that the desk jockeys have come up with as it is absolutely universal.

    The two Kimbers I own are the only pistols I purchased without seeking expert advice. All advice since then has been to avoid Kimber in any and every instance. My other Kimber is a Pro Carry II. It has been back twice and has only 800 rounds through it. I will not sell these pistols as I will just be dumping my problems on someone else. Kimber makes pretty pistols that fail miserably. Customer service is a matter of accounting metrics. I have no doubt that there are many good employees there, and the customer service rep that I spoke with was pleasant. But this does not make pistols run, and it does not resolve quality control issues. However, it does spur web posts such as this one.

    I would sincerely appreciate suggestions for web sites, or any other forum be it electronic or print, in which I might share my story and seek advice as to how to resolve this issue. If nothing else I wish to be a messenger of service to so many other novices who, like the raven, are attracted to shiny crap.

  2. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    So your having failure to eject "FTE" Mags have very little to do with that nor does the feed ramp, nor does the grips, nor does really anything else that you speak of. FTE's are mostly caused by a weak or broken extractor, broken, loose or short ejector, weak recoil spring, damaged or distorted chamber. Seems that no one has even considered this so this is why I'm questioning your FTE problem when it seems your chasing a feed problem.
    I assume this is a 45 but correct me if I'm wrong too.
    Also full power loads? +P 45's maybe? Kimber will refuse to repair if thats the case. They do not want a heavy diet of +P's. The frames will crack
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  3. Brisk44

    Brisk44 New Member

    Mar 6, 2011
    Got to agree with Helix, also why would you pay a gun smith to reassemble when it is so basic. I wouild think your local gun smith could fix it without to much trouble.
  4. Boris

    Boris Former Guest

    Oct 1, 2010
    I worked part time in a gun shop for 3.5 years.

    Kimber is the worst for CS. They will flat out tell customers that spend over a grand on the pistol it's a Kimber, you are the problem, not the gun. Seen it waaay too many times. There are much better brands of 1911s IMO.

    That don't mean I hate Kimber now folks. I shot plenty that were a dream to shoot. They do tend to have what I call the keltec syndrome, the difference between the two is keltec will fix the gun the first time and they cost a grand less. Kimber has a high opinion of themselves. If y ou get a bad one, don't expect it to get fixed by Kimber.

    Do what the others said and take it to a real smith.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  5. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

    Nov 27, 2010
    Helix is spot on. Are you having Failure to Eject (FTE) or Failure to Feed (FTF)?
  6. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

    Oct 24, 2011
    I dont love or hate Kimbers. I think mine was over priced for what it is, but thats just my two cents.
  7. graehaven

    graehaven Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    Ok.....note to self......don't buy a Kimber. Thanks. :rolleyes:
  8. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    though there is one report of a bad kimber, and yes Im sure there are others (all manufactures have them) I still put them in the top 3. STI, Colt, Kimber. Also he does have 3000 rounds through it, its time for a tune up and I don't think the right parts are being looked at here. Either his problem is not really a FTE or he's just getting some bad advice on the source of the problem. hopefully we get a answer.
  9. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Sorry to hear this. I always thought Kimber made nice guns, but this is one reason why I recommend Springfield, Smith & Wesson or Colt over Kimber. Customer service.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  10. ehparis

    ehparis New Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Kimber customer service is first rate in my experience. The extractor on my Ultra TLE needed replacement and I wanted the sights adjusted. I sent it in under warranty and they paid shipping both ways and did the work with no charge.

    Kimber bashing on the Internet is rampant. Kimber is the largest manufacturer of 1911 style pistols. Like State Farm, the largest personal lines insuror, there are more of them out there so you'll see more complaints.

    But the bottom line is that Kimber Customer Service is excellent in my experience.
  11. Infidel

    Infidel New Member

    Sep 6, 2009
    I have had two for several years now. No Failures, no need to customize, no problems.

    Don't know what their customer service is like because I never had to use it. However, I don't have any Tauruses anymore because of poor customer service, though I had five of them. I sold them all and will never have another because I was so pissed. I understand PTC's discontent, I just don't share it for Kimber.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  12. Joelkw

    Joelkw New Member

    May 26, 2011
    Bellevue, Wa.
    This is why I will not buy another Kimber! Had 2 and sold them both. I now have a Sringfield Range Officer, and a Sig 1911.:cool::)
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