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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is this true? I posted last week about getting a Custom as a platform for a bullseye gun and wanted the matte finish because it would need to be reblued anyway. Well I bought the gun and now saw the reply. That would mean that the frame can't be blued. If this is true I will be pissed! If any one knows about this please post. The finish on my pistol frame does look a little different.

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"A flute without any holes isn't really a flute and a donut without a hole is a danish." Ty Webb
 

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Most blued/oxide frames are carbon steel. Occasionally, they will use ss frames. This was the answer Kimber gave me. Call them for a definitive answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well that makes me feel a little better. I will call Monday. If the frame is SS shouldn't they do something for me or am I stuck with it? My smith is very good but old and old fashioned. He hates working on stainless. Their catalog says that the frames are carbon steel.
 

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Here's what Dennis at the Custom Shop told me. All matte finish Kimbers have a SS frame. Kimbers with a blue finish have carbon steel frames. The change occured somewhere in the upper 64,000 serial # range.
 

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I don't think that is right. I just bought a matte black custom classic and after handling in just for one day and putting it away for a couple, the finish on the grip in the front and back was already rusting. I soaked it in breakfree and it is fine. I do this to all my blued guns as I have particularly acidy sweat in my hands. My stainless guns go a lot longer before they rust from my hands.

wazzup
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just called Kimber and they said that a few will have a SS frame. They directed me to Dennis and I left a message with the serial #. I hope my pistol is steel because I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.
 

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Denbo,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but below is my correspondence with Dennis at the Custom Shop concerning this very issue. His answer is in bold:

  • Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 3:39 PM
  • Subject: Information Request
There are rumors circulating the internet world that the frame of the
Classic Custom is blackened stainless. The frame is sts & the slide is carbon.
 

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Originally posted by Denbo:
Is this true? I posted last week about getting a Custom as a platform for a bullseye gun and wanted the matte finish because it would need to be reblued anyway. Well I bought the gun and now saw the reply. That would mean that the frame can't be blued. If this is true I will be pissed! If any one knows about this please post. The finish on my pistol frame does look a little different.

Get over it for God's sake! Classics are all stainless frames starting approx. 1 year ago. If nothing else you can either re-apply black oxide or you could bead blast the frame and have a 2 tone pistol. PS- If your 'smith is unable to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the Dark Ages I suggest finding another gunsmith. KIMBER'S RULE
 

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No, I just now got off the phone with Randy at Kimber. He said that most classic customs are carbon steel framed right now. He said that some with stainless frames are shipping from time to time. When they run short of carbon frames, they do from time to time have to use the phosphate blackened stainless frames. He said the ONLY way to tell which one you have is to rub some cold blue on a rub area on the slide rails and if it takes, it is carbon, if it doesn't it is stainless. He said the magnet test won't work and that Kimber doesn't keep track of serial numbers of which are which. That's exactly what he said. I just tested mine and it is carbon steel framed. I bought the pistol new about a month ago. If anyones is stainless framed and like new, I might consider a trade with you as I wouldn't mind having a bead blasted stainless frame on mine. I have a friend with the equipment.

wazzup

[This message has been edited by wazzup66 (edited 07-30-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Talked to Dennis. He said that he is 99% sure the frame is stainless. I don't have the pistol to do the test. My uncle has it as he was going to take it to the pistolsmith for me. I told Dennis that I bought the matte because the pistol was going to have to be refinished anyway and it would have been a waste to spend the extra $$ on the Royal. I wanted to have a BLUE pistol in the end! The chart in the back of their catalog and on their web site shows that the customs have steel slides and frames. He is going to call me back to tell me what they are going to do.

FROGMAN, I don't want a two tone pistol, I want a BLUE pistol! My smith said he would work on it but in the end I wanted a BLUE pistol. Not black oxide, not nickel, not chrome, not stainless, not polkadot, but a BLUE pistol!
Kimber represents the Customs as having a Steel frame. They should not do something like this. The 1911 is the most customized pistol in the world and I am sure I am not the first person with these intentions.

I hope they do something to fix this as I was becoming a hardcore Kimber partisan. My SS Compact is a great pistol and this Custom was damn accurate out of the box.

Thanks for your posts guys. I am going away for a week on business but I will update you asap.

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"A flute without any holes isn't really a flute and a donut without a hole is a danish." Ty Webb
 

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I really think you may be abusing the manufacturer in this case. They do what they have to to get their guns out the door. I can understand your being pissed, but Kimber also doesn't build their guns with refinishing right out the door in mind. If you were that concerned about it you would have been better off starting with a Caspian frame and going from there.

[This message has been edited by PK (edited 07-31-2001).]
 

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Denbo,

I can certainly understand, that if you had refinishing in mind & thought you were buying a carbon steel framed gun, how you might be upset.

You said Kimber represents the Custom as having a steel frame. Well, it really does have a steel frame. Possibly stainless steel, possibly carbon steel, but steel regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, they are going to replace the frame or gun for me. I just sent it off. As far as Kimber representing the gun as being steel, just look at the back of the catalog. There is a chart which shows each pistol and what its components are made from. The is a spot for steel, stainless and aluminum. It shows the custom as having a steel slide and frame. As far as Kimber not having refinishing in mind, that is rediculous. The 1911 is the MOST customized pistol in the world. It would be like Harley Davidson saying they didn't expect buyers to customize their bikes. The 1911 is the HD of pistols and the only choice for bullseye.
Anyway, they are going to make good and I should be happy. Thanks for your help as I would not have found the frame to be stainless for a while if it was not for this forum.
 

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Denbo said:
As far as Kimber representing the gun as being steel, just look at the back of the catalog. There is a chart which shows each pistol and what its components are made from. The is a spot for steel, stainless and aluminum. It shows the custom as having a steel slide and frame.
You didn't read far enough. Also notice this language beside the chart, to the right:

Information and specifications presented are for reference only and subject to change without notice.
I'm glad they are doing what it takes to make you happy - but they allow for flexibility in manufacturing (as I think you will find most manufacturers do.) They did not mis-represent themselves by their catalog printing.

As far as Kimber not having refinishing in mind, that is rediculous.
In guns - and motorcycles - the aftermarket adjusts to the manufacturer, not the other way around. No manufacturer builds a gun with refinishing in mind - if so, they would sell it "in the white", and market them as "Gunsmith Specials". They advertise their offerings with terms like "competition ready" and "quality that lasts a lifetime". Clearly, these claims are aimed at convincing the consumer that the guns do not require an extensive after-the-sale investment to keep it operating.

By replacing the gun for you, Kimber is going an extra mile in Customer Service for customer satisfaction. Honestly, I think you should applaud their effort here.

Oh - and no flame intended here - just MHO!



[This message has been edited by Kevinch (edited 08-05-2001).]
 

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My opinion is that Kimber slid these Stainless frames in under the radar and should have done a better job of letting the consumers know that the frames weren't blue. Their chart does have stainless separate from steel and the chart indicates "steel" which would imply carbon steel. Small print about specifications doesn't releive them of their ignorance about hiding a stainless frame with a matte finish especially when matte and black finishes have historically been on carbon steel.

A prime example or where these frames cause undue grief is installing a beavertail safety. If you have a steel frame as opposed to a stainless steel frame, then you can just use cold blue to touch up the tangs. There is little you can do to cover up exposed stainless and refinishing is far too expensive to justify. On top of that, Kimber has cut the tangs in a way that no other high grip safety will just drop in. Kimber doesn't offer another style and many of us don't care for that huge hump.

I don't think Kimber should be applauded here. I would applaud them if they would label each gun as to whether it had a carbon or stainless frame especially if they can't maintain some consistency as to what they are going to use. This issue has generated a lot of problems for customers and smiths alike. A lot of smiths and competitors use Kimber as a base gun and Kimber should know that many of their guns are bought with the intention of being customized. If everybody who unknowingly got a stainless frame were to send it back, maybe they would get their heads out of their behinds. I don't think you are being unreasonable or "abusing" Kimber Denbo. Good luck with getting it resolved.
 

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James P,

Like I said, I can understand the frustration in buying a gun that you intended on having refinished a certain way, then finding out that the material of manufacture was something other than you had understood it to be and your plans have to now be changed.

I would be frustrated too.

But, let's understand what Kimber is in business to do, which is build a quality 1911 pistol in quantity to meet demand. I would venture to guess that there is a very small percentage of gun owners that have guns refinished or customized. I know *a lot* of people that own both handguns & long arms, a very small number of them have ever sent just one of their guns to a smith.

Now, I'm not talking about the guys that show up at the competitions & the range 4 nights a week. I'm saying if you could go out in your county of residency, identify every single gun owner - or better yet, every gun in the county - & find out how many have been bought with the intent of or used as a platform for a custom project, or even sent out out for minor work such as a trigger job or refinish. When figured against the whole, I would bet it is a very small number.

Remember - we are talking about refinishing here. Any gun is a candidate, even the Glocks have slides that could require refinishing.


If Kimber targeted that market as it's priority, they would be a very small company - and their guns would cost 5X what they do now.

Every manufacturer allows themselves flexibility in specifications to permit adjustment to market, design refinements & new technology. They'd be fools not to. Look what happened to Colt & SA when Kimber came on the scene; look what each is doing now.

I would guess (as indicated somewhere else in the forum) that Kimber was having trouble maintaining an adequate supply of carbon steel frames, and instead of reducing supply (which would raise prices & encourage dealer surcharges - look at Harley guys), they went with what was probably a more expensive frame & another finishing process to meet demand.

In acknowledgement of the customizing market and to satisfy a customer, they have agreed to do what it takes to make it right in Denbo's mind.

I still think that is going out far to keep a customer happy, & they are deserving of a kudos. They were under no obligation to replace that gun.
 

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All that is fine and well Kevin but when most people buy a blued gun, they want a blued steel gun and assume that is what they are getting. It is common knowledge among the 1911 gunmakers (Colt, Springfield, KIMBER) that MANY people who buy blued steel 1911s want them for a variety of reasons including:

1. Customization and the ability to touch up modified areas in lieu of refinishing

2. Carbon steel is softer material and better for slide fitting as it allows tighter tolerance without galling.

3. Refinishing - from matte to polished blue. Most people who dump a lot of money into a custom gun don't want a matte frame and many don't care to go two tone.

Kimber took a shortcut by mixing metals and not properly labeling the product on the website, by not properly updating their literature, and by not informing their dealers (I still run across many dealers who don't know that the frames are stainless). A person buying a pistol shouldn't have to go through a bunch of crap to know what material was used or only find out after he has purchased it.

Now how much effort (and cost - shipping?) has Denbo had to expend to rectify a situation that Kimber could have avoided by properly informing everyone about their products and the shortcuts they were taking so that they could say they sell more 1911s than anybody else. It could have been as simple as putting a sticker on the box. That way, those who didn't care could get either, and those that did would know what they were buying.

This has been going on for some time now and they still haven't dealt with the situation. I don't think they deserve any pats on the back for misinforming people so as not to lose sales.
 

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1. Customization and the ability to touch up modified areas in lieu of refinishing

2. Carbon steel is softer material and better for slide fitting as it allows tighter tolerance without galling.

3. Refinishing - from matte to polished blue. Most people who dump a lot of money into a custom gun don't want a matte frame and many don't care to go two tone.
*sigh* Well, I guess we can agree to disagree. Truth enough in what you say, but it describes a very narrow customer base. I would venture to guess that most buyers choose a pistol finish on the appearance when they buy it, or for economic reasons, or utility of service, etc. - not down the road refinishing.

Lots of manufacturers in a lot of industries make changes in specifications without notification.

If they (Kimber) are selling more pistols than anyone else, they must have a product that is more desirable to more buyers. (Your thinking would be that Colt & SA prefer to be selling less guns?) Wanting to be the top 1911 pistol manufacturer, at least in my mind, is not a goal to be ashamed of. Everyone knows they are arriving at that position by offering more for the $ than anyone else.

I can appreciate the problems of quick corporate growth and adjusting to meet demand. I think Kimber made a good choice in meeting demand, and an unselfish one by satisfying Denbo.

Good work Kimber - I'll definetly buy another.
 

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I like them too. Own several. Own one with a surprise stainless frame (I had actually heard about this before buying so it wasn't really a surprise to ME - it is intended to become a two tone). Might even buy another.

I think you underestimate the size of the custom/after market and the inconvenience this causes.

My main point is that they did a lousy job of informing customers and their dealers. All I am saying is that you should know what you are buying. I bet we wouldn't be having this argument if they were slipping everybody aluminum frames as most would find that unacceptable.

None of the other makers of quality guns have slipped us materials that we didn't expect without telling us. I am NOT saying Colt and SA would rather lose sales. I am just saying that there has never been a question with them as to what material your frame was made with.

I think agreeing to disagree will be a good compromise at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
James P. You have hit the nail on the head. One could sit around making excuses for Kimber but the reality is that they did "slide these frames under the radar" and are banking that most people won't complain. A sticker on the box would prevent many problems.
When I called my dealer he agreed with me 100% and said he would take care of the problem himself.
By the way I still think Kimber makes the best 1911. Dennis is on vacation and will get to my gun on Monday. Will keep you posted
 
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