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On 11/10/01, I purchased my first Kimber, it was an Ultra Shadow LE II serial number # KUSLEXXX (http://kimber.infopop.net/3/OpenTopic/s/729299964/a/ga/ul/1912956372/limitedshadow.pdf). I bought it to replace my former CCW, which was a Springfield Custom Compact 1911.
I have always heard great reviews about Kimbers, and I really liked the size and weight of the Ultra Shadow. I took it to the range on 11/17/01 and although I was highly pleased with the accuracy, the reliability seemed extremely problematic. I was firing two different brands of quality factory 230gr ball ammunition (Winchester and PMC). Out of the first 80 rounds; 5 FTF’s occurred when the round nose-dived in the feed ramp. I also encountered 7 additional failures when battery did not fully lock up on the round. Since the primary purpose of this Kimber was to be my CCW, I decided to feed 7 rounds of Corbon 185gr hollow points, three out of 7 stovepiped. Additionally, the grip screws on the slide release side seemed to loosen after the initial 100 rounds.

I called the Custom Shop the next morning and I was advised that this was a normal occurrence and to feed 500 rounds through it to sufficiently break it in. I felt this to be a little excessive but I obliged. They also stated that Corbons did not typically feed through Kimbers and to try a more rounded hollow point. After I cleaned and oiled it, I proceeded to the range where I fired an additional 100 rounds of PMC factory 230gr ball and encountered 28 additional failures. The resident gunsmith also encountered the same nosedive problem. He suggested that I contact Kimber and request a new magazine with a stronger spring. I called the next morning and a replacement magazine was sent to me.

I cleaned and oiled it and proceeded to the range again to employ an additional 150 rounds of PMC factory 230gr ball and I encountered the same issue with the replacement Kimber Magazine as well as a Colt, Chip McCormick and Wilson magazines. Using the Wilson 47 OX magazine, I only encountered 1 nosedive.

On my last trip to the range on 11/26/01, after I cleaned and oiled the Kimber, I fired 100 rounds of PMC factory 230 grain. Again encounted more failures (see table below for break down), and the same grip screws backed out again.

Breakdown of failures for rounds 350 to 450:

Round # Type of failure Magazine
366 Slide locked open with 1 round remaining in magazine. (See Exhibit C) Wilson 47 OX
374 Nosedive Kimber factory
398 Slide locked open with 2 rounds remaining in magazine. Kimber factory
417 Slide locked open with 5 rounds remaining in magazine. Kimber factory
437 Battery not fully closed on live round in chamber. (1 round remaining in magazine) Wilson 47 OX
449 Battery not fully closed on live round in chamber. (1 round remaining in magazine) Wilson 47 OX


I have encountered multiple types of failures:

1) Nosedives (20+)
2) Stovepipe (3)
3) Slide lock open with rounds still in magazine (4)
4) Battery not fully closed on live round in chamber. (20 +)
5) Grip screws backing out (twice)

Yesterday, I contacted the Custom Shop and advised them of my issue. The gentleman advised me to send it back for analysis. He asked if this was my first 1911 as the Ultra’s were temperamental and proper hand placement was a must. This seemed to concern me as I am very familiar with 1911’s and have been carrying compacts in condition 1 as my primary CCW for at least 10 years. I pay particular attention to my hand placement. If the Ultra is that temperamental I am not sure if it will serve me well as a CCW.

I do have the faith in the Custom Shop, but I am concerned that the Custom Shop will not put a sufficient number of rounds through the Kimber and the error conditions will not be encountered. Again, this is to serve as my primary CCW and I am concerned that I will not have the confidence in this Kimber to protect my life.

I posted this in the Unofficial Kimber forum and one gentleman suggested that these problems could be attributed to my stance and grip. I pay particular attention to the way I shoot, interms of hand placement. I do shoot weaver style and it was suggested to me that I should keep both elbows locked. I am open to more suggestions about my stance, but should a CCW be so finicky? I would think that I should be able to shoot in almost any position if I had too..like my Sig 226/ Glock 19 and others...

Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.
 

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Well eweiss, I had similar problems to yours and it took a while to get them resolved..The premature lockback was cleared up easiest,,,Kimber sent me a new slide stop which took care of that...The nosedive FTF's took a while longer...Two trips to Kimber didn't help much...Broke recoil spring assembly at 500 rnds...Kimber sent a new one...After installation most feed problems went away miracously...1% FTF rate thereafter
Still not good enough...Switched to Wilson mags and installed 21# recoil spring and gun finally running great...BTW I never did buy those lame limpwrist excuses Kimber tried to feed me...I wish you luck..Hang in there once you get it ironed out you will love it...
 

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i had problems w/pmc ammo myself. a local gun shop told me pmc are slightly longer rounds. i changed to federal eagle and experience almost no problems - i do experience the slide not coming into full battery on occasion, but i thionk thats do to the fact it's time to change my recoil spring
 

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I sent my new pro-eclipse to Kimber tis week(they got it yesterday). I've sent 600 rds thru it in the week since I bought it, and have had 11 ejection problems. Not as bad as yours. I also had a few other jams you encountered; slide locking back early twice and nosedives with with FMJ in the factory mag. Oh, and my right side grip screws came loose, but not since I tightened them. The FTE problem is the biggie, and it also sometimes throws brass directly at my right eye, related to the FTE. And this is what they call a "custom shop" gun.

So for now, the most expensive gun I have is also the least reliable; I trust that they will be able to sort it out. I do really love the way the gun feels/looks/shoots. I can knock over steel plates better with the Kimber than with any other gun I have, and I've only had the Kimber a week.


Dennis tried the limp-wrist explanation on me too (definately not the problem). I don't like a gun problem being blamed on me, but I guess it's a valid possibility with some folks so it always needs to be mentioned.

In my letter, I asked them to feed at least 200 trouble-free consecutive rounds thru it before returning it to me, since it has gone over 100 rounds before jamming with me (but usually less than 30). I sure hope they do, because I don't want to have to pay to ship it to them again (nor get mad).

I read posts and hear testimonials from people with perfect Kimbers, it's too bad we got lemons. I hope to post a thread next week saying how great my Eclipse now works.
 

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eweiss although the gun is not right, it looks like reliability may be improving somewhat. You had a 6% malfunction rate this last outing:

366 Slide locked open with 1 round remaining in magazine. (See Exhibit C) Wilson 47 OX
374 Nosedive Kimber factory
398 Slide locked open with 2 rounds remaining in magazine. Kimber factory
417 Slide locked open with 5 rounds remaining in magazine. Kimber factory
437 Battery not fully closed on live round in chamber. (1 round remaining in magazine) Wilson 47 OX
449 Battery not fully closed on live round in chamber. (1 round remaining in magazine) Wilson 47 OX


Half of those were that the slide locked with rounds in the mag. I had this exact same problem with my Ultra CDP when shooting 230g FMJ rounds. This is usually caused by the rounds moving forward in the magazine as a result of the increased recoil in a light weight pistol. The nose of the bullet contacts that small tab on the slide release. Dane Burns told me that he automatically replaces the slide release on any Kimber in his shop, because they are "out of spec". Instead of having Kimber send me out a new one or buying a Wilson, I carefully trimmed mine by filing & stoneing. It seems to work now.

Incidently, the slide never locked open using HP defense ammo, & I tried Federal, Winchester & Remington.

Of the other 3, one was a nosedive with the Kimber mag. There are *lots* of posts here about malfunctions with the factory mags; my guns seem to function fine with them but I may be the exception. The Wilson mags are generally considered to be an upgrade that will offer more consistant & reliable functioning, so I would lean towards using that brand - altough you might want to try Chip McCormick's Shooting Star brand also. They are usually less expensive, and seem to cure some function problems also but don't enjoy the popularity of the Wilson brand. It seems that most owners of all brands of 1911 guns like to upgrade the magazines. I have both & they work in my guns.

The remaining 2 malfunctions concerned the slide not closing completely. From what I have read on internet boards, the out-of-battery condition could be a weak spring or a tight chamber, or both. Kimber barrels are known to have near-match dimensioned chambers, and if at the low-end of the tolerance could be sticky. Brass that is near the top-end of the spec could very easily hang up there. You seem to have a good relationship with a gunsmith at your range; if he has a gauge maybe he could check it for you. I'm not a gunsmith; I don't know if the fact that the out-of-battery condition occurs with 1 round left in the mag means something or not..but then again I usually don't believe in coincidence either.

You could try running another 100 or so rounds thru it, swap out the slide release & install a stronger recoil spring if you don't want to send it back. Or return it to Kimber - it seems they are pretty good at getting them back quickly, but will cost you shipping.

Good luck - but I'm sure the gun will end up being something you can depend on.
 

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Regarding those out-of-battery lockups - how far out of battery was the slide? If you pulled the trigger in those cases would the hammer have dropped?
 
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