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FTF and Stovepipes on TWO Kimbers?

1717 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  feedramp
My husband bought a full size CCI .45 a few months ago and had horrendous problems with FTF and stovepiping. He had it throated and polished by a competent gunsmith, used very good ammo, and no luck. By numbering his magazines, he finally discovered one was consistently malfunctioning. That solved the problem for a while, but now...

I recently bought a CCII .45, and after 200 rounds, guess what! Bam! Stovepipe! Paying attention to grip and wristbreak, I fired a few more magazines, and pop! Failure to Feed! Arrrrgh!

Now I love my Kimber - I love the trigger and the fact that not too many women I know can handle a .45 competently. (I hated my Glock 9mm - seemed so wimpy compared to hubby's .45) But I'm not sure if Kimbers, due to their tight tolerances, are more susceptible to wrist breaking and dirt than regular guns, or if this is a common problem.

Hubby occasionally gets FTF/stovepipes and so do I, but they are *occasional*. By that, I mean one misfeed per, say, 150 rounds or so. Is this just something we have to live with? I know 1911s are somewhat *bitchy* anyway, but I'm wondering if I should go ahead and get my gun throated and polished as well. (Per the Kimber instruction manual, if you are shooting hollowpoints, they "recommened" that you have T&P work done on it anyway. Given that I live in Kalifornia, shooting a goblin with 230 gr FMJ could get me a in kettle of trouble.)

Any help would be appreciated - and I'm not a gunsmith and don't have a lot of knowledge about the pieces and parts of guns. Enough to clean, but that's about it. I only started *seriously* shooting about 3-4 months ago.
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Welcome to the site!

Now, to your questions... NO 1/150 should not be tolerated. Good news though,,, some (all?) could be just some normal break-in woe and may cure or improve with 500 or so.

Some trends have been noted on these pages over time and these two I'll mention are worth considering:

extractor - find out where it is, how to check/adjust tension. It's one of the most important things to know about YOUR 1911. It applies to ALL 1911's but that one is Your's alone.

second - if ya get any T&P work done, consider having that "Match" (read tight) chamber reamed to standard spec and some leade cut into the rifling of the bore.

Kimber uses that tight "match" chamber as a marketing "feature". Some gunsmiths advocating reliablity work recommend reaming that puppy out. Your call.

Extractors are a touchy-feely thing that can't be done by a machine alone, it takes time and practice,,, then can only be proven by the function of the pistol in real extended firing.

For max reliability, focus on these areas:
Pick a good ammo and stick with it.
Pick good magazines, take care of them. You won't know for sure until they prove in the gun over time.
Clean,,, especially don't let crud build up on breech face, extractor tip, feed ramp, or chamber.

that's more words than i've spoke since i been here... good luck good shootin'... and Don't put up with anything less than 1/1000. Much better reliability is possible, and your Kimber is surely up to it if you make it work out.

Rust never sleeps
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Welcome to the site. Hope we can help get your Kimbers working properly.

Havoc has given you good advice. I'd like to add one other cleanliness point. Don't let crude build up behind the extractor. This is the hole in the slide in which the extractor fits into. Oh, and make sure you lubricate the moving parts like slide/frame rails, barrel/bushing area.

If after putting about 500 rounds through your guns to break them in, and if you don't feel confident about getting it to work yourself, just send it back to Kimber and let them get it working for you. You should not have to "live" with 1/150 failure rate.

Good luck!
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I'd also definitely pay close attention to your grip, as "limp wristing" 1911s is not a good thing.

I saw your post regarding your hand problems, and wonder if a visit to the doctor would cure your pain as well as maybe a few of those FTF?
Originally posted by Walking Point:
I'd also definitely pay close attention to your grip, as "limp wristing" 1911s is not a good thing.

I saw your post regarding your hand problems, and wonder if a visit to the doctor would cure your pain as well as maybe a few of those FTF?
What makes me nervous about visiting the doctor is telling them *why* my hand hurts. I understand that many doctors advocate gun-banning due to the "dangers", especially to "the children". I can see my doc glancing at my 3 y.o. son in my lap as I explain my hand damage from shooting a .45 several times a month! Per another post, i think my grip may be a factor as well. I can tell there is a callus building up, but the bone pain is another thing. However, I consider a little bit of pain well worth it for (a) the satisfaction of knocking out 3" groups at 50 feet and (b) knowing that I have max caliber, should I ever need to use it!
There are two sources of info on the smokestacking problem that immediately come to mind. One is at the 1991.org site, under technical issues, and "Troubleshooting the 1911". The link to the issues page is:

Then click on the article title "Troubleshooting..."

The other one is an excellent article entitled "Smokestack Myths," and you can read it at:

Hope this helps.
Hi all, I just bought a Kimber CDP and my problem is this: 1 in 25 shots, the ejected brass comes back and lands on top of my head, or the brass shoots straight back at my face. This happens only with standard rounds. +P rounds haven't done it yet. Are the +P rounds performing better due to a possible heavier spring in these models?
NOTE: I have already tuned the extractor using the m1911.org technique. No difference.
Hah! Change doctors! It's YOUR money...Why take any crap from ANYONE? Find one that
shoots and never look back...There are all kinds of agencies that will give you the complete rundown on ANY doctor. I'll bet through the other shooters you know, you already know one that shoots. If not, I'll bet one of your shootin' pals does!


I Like The Shade Too!
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Hi KimberLady-

Just out of curosity, do you wear shooting gloves? I'm wondering because you may just be getting tired.

My wife, at one point, was having problems due to the fact that her hands were sore from recoil and gun checkering abrasion. It hurt to hold the gun tight, but it also hurt during recoil when the gun wasn't held tight enough.

I bought her a pair of Uncles Mike's shooting gloves. These have gel inserts strategically located in the palm and web of each hand. She now shoots without any discomfort...and without any more malfunctions due to an inconsistant grip.

One more tip: if you decide to try some gloves you might want to put your wedding ring in your pocket...
Now shooting gloves is something I hadn't even considered. I will definitely concur that shooting 50+ rounds of 9mm and then 100 or so of .45 is tiring for this lady, even tho I'm burlier than most. However, since most of the training that I'm doing is of the "home combat" variety, I'm pretty sure my instructor would get bent if I used gloves. He's a big hardwiring fan, and I can hear him saying, "If you're hardwiring getting used to wearing gloves, then when the time comes to shoot your gun without gloves..." He's a bit of a stickler.

I'm almost certain at this point the stovepiping is a combination of two things: one, wrist break. I had one stovepipe yesterday at the range and I FELT my wrist break. Also, something the husband discovered is that when the ramp on the magazine has extended out beyond the edge of the mag...how do I explain this. The two little tongues of metal that you set the first round on - those two flat pieces - on the Kimber mags, they can actually be pushed back toward the back of the magazine sometimes as far as 1/4". When he has made sure to push those pieces back before adding his first round, he's had no smokestacks or FFLs since.

I just learned this the other day, because I didn't understand him either. So I'll try that technique the next time I go to the range, and if it works well for the next 500 or 600 rounds, I can blame it on the mags. I've seen elsewhere that the Kimbers are particular about their mags, and if I keep having problems, I may switch over to Wilson 47Ds.

Thanks for all of the advice.

Regarding brass bouncing off your head - this may be a bit personal for you fellows, but I've stopped wearing a bra to the range because about 1 out of every 75 rounds or so, I'd wind up with *smoking* *hot* *brass* getting stuck in my bra. And I've also caught brass between my shooting glasses and my eyeglasses, as well as getting *thumped* on the head. That hurts!
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The symptoms your describing make me think the extractor tension is too light. The fact that the magazine follower needing to be pushed back and you getting showered with hot brass are good clues. Is your gun a full size or compact model?

I once had a commander length gun that would pelt me with brass. So much so that one time I got smacked in the forhead and it left a nice half-moon cut. Great conversation starter.

As for letting brass fall through, have you tried wearing a T-shirt, or some other shirt with a higher neck line? I've been pretty lucky and have never had a piece of hot brass get stuck in a shirt collar or glasses. Now that I said that my next time out I'll probably get to experience it first hand!

Anyway, good luck with your shooting!
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break the gun in with 500 rounds, and if the problem continues consult a gunsmith.

i would also say use shooting gloves when the pain starts or just before. even if your instructor advises against it, he is half right that you should train how you fight. so when you shoot "cold" and not warmed up go bare handed, cuz in a defensive situation you will be "cold" and bare handed. once you get warmed up put on the gloves, and maybe in your final few rounds or mags of the day take off the gloves and shoot "warmed up" and bare handed.

if the doc asks why it hurts? say its from typing on the comp, or you dont know why "it just does" or some other lie, no reason for him to know.

as far as shooting someone in kalif, home defense is still legal and approved, dont sweat it too much.
and you wont even have to drag the body back into the house

Caspian frame + Colt parts = Col-spian? or Cas-olt?
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Had problems with my Kimber,sent it back to factory and still had FTF's.Got a Wison 7-round mag for it and seems to have curred the problem.
Tuning the extractor to stop brass ejecting straight back is a good first step. Now you need to prevent the extractor from clocking. You do that by installing an oversized firing pin stop.

When the extractor "clocks," it rotates in its channel. The effect is that, as it rotates from shot to shot, the brass is ejected in a slightly different direction. Eventually, it rotates so that the combination of ejector length and cut, and extractor position, the brass flies straight back after it clears the gun.

You can get oversized FP stops from most parts dealers (I haven't checked the usual suspects lately) for a few bucks. You then sit down with a jeweler's file and a little patience, or let a smith do the work. The result is an extractor that stays put from shot to shot, and brass that goes in the same direction every time.
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