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Old December 2, 2009, 12:07 PM   #1
OcSpeed
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Kimber TLE II Experience

This was my experience with this gun, from what I've read it doesn't seem to be typical of Kimber...
The Kimber TLE II is really a stunning firearm. From the night sights to the black finish, lightweight hammer, that combined with the sheer weight of an upgraded traditional 1911 style .45 makes for awe inspiring when opening the case and removing it from the plastic for the first time. The stock 7 round magazine on the other hand was definitely lacking, both aesthetically as well as function. The other complete blunder that I believe Kimber made was the plastic mainspring housing. I used the Kimber mag as well as my Wilson combat 8 round mags and the 8 round Chip McCormick Shooting Star and the Wilson ETI magazines. After disassembly I noticed some burrs on the rail. Only 3 small ones which were grinded out after the second trip to the range. They also have a full length guide rod.
Shooting was an amazing experience… at first, I could just about shoot the wings off of a fly at 10 yards. The trigger broke cleanly at 4.5 pounds with only negligible amount of travel, that combined with the 18 pound recoil spring and beaver tail grip safety made recoil control feel like the gun was a natural extension of my arm. It also felt very solid every time it was loaded or racked, very tight gun. I primarily used Winchester white box and Magtech ammo. On the third magazine I experienced a failure to feed, the bullet didn’t get all the way out of the magazine at round 5 of the Kimber magazine and multiple failures to eject. Failure to eject a spent casing was the worst and most consistent problem I’ve had with this gun. Sometimes it would get ½ or ¾’s of the way out and other times it would barely get out of the chamber. I had this experience on all magazines as I continued through to an 830 round break in period. Keep in mind all the mags were brand new. Then after round 50 had no issues until round 78 with a failure to completely return to battery and a failure to feed and another failure to eject . After the first day I was done at round 100. I went consecutively the next few days trying to get up to the break in period, 500 rounds with these guns. Some days I got a full 100 others I got frustrated and left after round 50. I fully expected it to come around after it was broken in. I cleaned it after every day I shot it. Had no issues the second and third day , then on the 4th and 5th I had a few problems. Failures to return to battery and to eject.
After the break in, at 550 rounds I called Kimber, they weren’t rude nor were they friendly… my attitude was probably the same. They said shoot another 250 rounds through it and if you have issues after that we’ll get it fixed, also make sure the rails are really wet. I’m of the school of thought that it’s a gun and it should fire unless something’s broken or an excessive amount of debris is blocking something. My revolvers don’t jam, my glocks don’t jam, my other 1911 has never jammed (even after severe neglect). I know I know tisk tisk) Seriously, I said? and yes, they were. So I figure what the heck, I’ll try it. Even though I had already cleaned it I rewet the rails, and this I believe is why I stopped experiencing failures to return to battery. Though my fingers and wrist got really dirty from all the oil and gun powder I got through the next 150 rounds with one failure to eject and then all the failures stopped… for the next two hundred and thirty rounds, then another failure to eject. I checked the ejector after every time at the range to make sure there was no brass caught in there as well as my magazines by taking my trusty Springfield mil spec to test the magazines. Even though the Kimber was all over the board as far as it had every issue with every magazine I still wanted to know if perhaps a mag caused some of the problems. I even had the range gunsmith look it over, he didn’t find any reasons for the failures or things stuck anywhere.
So I called Kimber and found out about shipping, etc. At this point I was pretty much through with it. I had spent $1025 after taxes and the CA registering fee, I wasn’t about to pay for shipping to Kimber. I put it up for sale for 800 and got that for it a couple weeks after. I decided that even though I have a few trusty .45’s that I just didn’t want a gun around that I couldn’t trust. Give me a .22 I can plink with all day rather than a .45 I can’t get through 50 rounds without issue. It did still shoot like butter, and you could get 1” groups with consistent but minimal practice, which is great for bragging rights. When it comes to trust and protection, and trips to the range I’ll take a 4.5” inch spread with a gun that kicks like a mule any day with something that will fire. I really, really wanted to like this gun. I feel bad for our LAPD Swat team since this is what is issued for their sidearm. I’ve read of another SWAT department that chose these guns and it’s been too long to remember exactly what department and where but I do remember them talking about their break in period and all the issues that had. IMHO it’s just not normal or okay for a new gun to have issues like this. You’re bound to run into one that’s got an ejector issue and just needs it tuned, or a burr that needs to be filed away, but for goodness sakes, issues upon issues with no specific cause, it’s just not normal or okay. My Les Baer gets delivered today… can’t wait to get my mitts on that.
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Old December 2, 2009, 03:32 PM   #2
Conn. Trooper
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Sadly, older Kimber's seem to be great guns. Seems like all the newer guns have problems. Of course they can't all be bad but it sure seems that way lately. I had two and had many issues with both of them. Sold them and bought Colt's. No issues but it is comforting to know I can drive up to Colt and hand them the gun if i need too. One plus of living in Conn.
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Old December 2, 2009, 08:58 PM   #3
jakeg823
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of all the kimber bashing i have seen on this site, you are the first person to actually give any significant reason for their bashing. I just bought a brand new Compact CDP last week, havent had the time to make it out to the range with it yet, but hoping for good results. most people just whine about MIM parts and what not, at least you actually had a legit reason to complain. keep your fingers crossed for me please, cuz i intend for this to be my primary ccw after the break in period and i get my carry permit(i only just turned 21)
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Old December 3, 2009, 11:51 AM   #4
OcSpeed
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Well thank you, I hope yours is perfect right out of the box! If you do have any problems please let us know...

Heck give us a range report and tell us how you like it
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Old December 3, 2009, 01:42 PM   #5
jakeg823
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Will do. I'm expecting good things from it so we'll see.
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Old December 3, 2009, 02:38 PM   #6
whippoorwill
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Sorry for your experience with the TLE II. I've never thought that any of the higher priced 1911s should have those sorts of problems. And, I've always thought that the idea of having to break them in was questionable. But, I know others swear by it.

As others have said, you never know for sure what you'll get with "production-line" pistols. I've had zero problems with my CDP Ultra, and it's my favorite. My Springfield Champion wouldn't group worth anything, so I traded it on the Kimber (never regretted that). But I'm sure some folks have had great experiences the Champion.
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Old December 3, 2009, 03:31 PM   #7
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Paragraphs people!!!!
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Old December 3, 2009, 08:06 PM   #8
Conn. Trooper
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I owned two Kimbers. The first was a CDP commander size. It had feeding issues from the first time I shot it until I sold it. FTF's and FTE's. I am paranoid ( Kinda) about guns that don't go bang every time. I kept the gun until I shot the 500 rounds I had on hand for it. Never was reliable. Tried Colt, Shooting Star and Wilson Combat mags, none worked. The mags that came with it would strip the top round off and jam it nose first into the feed ramp. Would not pick up and chambe the first round. Sold it.

Bought the Tactical Ultra in full size. Shot half a box with a bunch of FTF's. Took it home and cleaned it and the finish ( the gray type, not sure what its called) was already coming off the frame. Brand new gun. Took it back to the range and now when you pulled the trigger it would fire twice and end with a hammer down on an empty chamber. Did this twice and I brought it back to the dealer and got rid of it. My buddies are gunsmiths who sell guns as an afterthought, the main business they do is smithing. They told me they send more Kimbers in for repair than any other 1911's, besides Taurus. Then they showed me another Kimber that was missing a piece in the gun. Something to do with the firing pin block. Without this part, the gun could not be fired. Could not happen. And the gun was brand new and shipped with the spent test case. They were laughing asking how it left the factory with a spent case when the gun was not able to be fired.

Thats my experience with Kimber. First hand, not something I heard around the range from a guy who knows a guy.

Bought two Colts in the last year and both were perfect right out of the box.

Every manufacturer will have some lemons, seems like lately Kimber has more lemons than lemonade. IMO
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Old December 3, 2009, 09:56 PM   #9
sailskidrive
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Interesting...

I've had a TLE II for about 15 months now and it's been very reliable. The first time out it had a few hang ups with the stock Kimber magazine. After that I cleaned it well, greased the slide with "Enus's Slide Glide" and can't remember a single FF or FE since.

Oh, I also switched to Chip McCormick mags.

~Sail
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Old December 3, 2009, 10:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Even though I had already cleaned it I rewet the rails, and this I believe is why I stopped experiencing failures to return to battery. Though my fingers and wrist got really dirty from all the oil and gun powder I got through the next 150 rounds with one failure to eject and then all the failures stopped… for the next two hundred and thirty rounds, then another failure to eject
I was told by some Bullseye shooters, that you heavily lube your M1911 and that your elbow is the drip point.

I learned in IPSC never to run a semi auto dry. Especially something as tightly fitted as one of the CNC machined M1911's.

I cannot explain your other failures to eject, but something you should take out of this is that your Kimber was more reliable when lubricated.


Mine is a Clackamas Kimber, one of the first 4000 made. It has been a great M1911.

I had the Marines at Camp Perry install this shorter GI trigger. I have stubby fingers.



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Old December 3, 2009, 10:27 PM   #11
Shane Tuttle
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Quote:
of all the kimber bashing i have seen on this site, you are the first person to actually give any significant reason for their bashing.
So, is this the second Kimber thread you've ever read here? Yeah, we "bash" Kimbers here all the time...

Quote:
most people just whine about MIM parts and what not, at least you actually had a legit reason to complain.
Maybe that's because some people expect forged parts used in a gun with that kind of price tag. You know, like how Dan Wessons deliver a quality product worth paying.

Quote:
Paragraphs people!!!!
I can only wish...

Quote:
Mine is a Clackamas Kimber, one of the first 4000 made. It has been a great M1911.
That's when Kimber was Kimber. Their Clackamas models were a fine piece of work.
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Old December 3, 2009, 10:54 PM   #12
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QUOTE : "Maybe that's because some people expect forged parts used in a gun with that kind of price tag. You know, like how Dan Wessons deliver a quality product worth paying."

Thats kind of funny, being that most Dan Wessons use a cast frame as compared to Kimbers forged. I consider the frame to be a major component. It is much easier to swap out small parts if they ever break or if the idea of MIM bothers you.
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Old December 3, 2009, 10:57 PM   #13
Shane Tuttle
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How many MIM parts break compared to a cast frame? I'm willing to be the ratio is astronomical...

Oh, and by the way....Dan Wesson is moving to forged frames...


Next...
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Old December 3, 2009, 11:05 PM   #14
roklok
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I am not going to be drawn into an arguement over MIM vs forged vs cast, that has been beaten to death many times over. I think Kimber and Dan Wesson both make good pistols. I just thought it was ironic that you used Dan Wesson as an example of Forged parts when THE major component in most Dan Wessons are cast.
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Old December 3, 2009, 11:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
of all the kimber bashing i have seen on this site, you are the first person to actually give any significant reason for their bashing.

Then you should probably read more around here.

I am fairly vocal on the ****-poor quality of Kimber, and relayed my personal experiences with the Kimber in my signature below. But I don't feel the need to rehash the same story on each and every post I make about Kimber. Perhaps others feel the same.

In all honesty, if Kimber didn;t price their pistols up where quality 1911's reign, they wouldn't catch half the flack. When you can buy a far superior 1911 at the same price or for a couple hundred more... why even consider a Kimber? Jeez, you can buy Les baer and Ed Brown's for about the same money...
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Old December 4, 2009, 05:56 AM   #16
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All brands have their missfits. I have found Kimber, Taurus, Springfield, Colt, Remington, Detonics, and others I have all seem to work well with FMJ ammo. I have had problems with really wide mouth hollow points. Don't have a Les Bauer yet but I have read they are ammo sensative.
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Old December 4, 2009, 10:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
I just thought it was ironic that you used Dan Wesson as an example of Forged parts when THE major component in most Dan Wessons are cast.
There shouldn't be any irony in a cast frame. There never was the debate over this issue. Therefore, it's a moot point.
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