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Old March 1, 2013, 09:50 PM   #1
rclay
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Kimber Grand Raptor II - STIFF SLIDE!!

I have a Kimber Custom Grand Raptor II .45 that is extremely stiff when trying to pull the slide back to inspect the chamber.

In YouTube clips and just watching other people slide their guns (of various makes & models), the slide seems to go back pretty easily. Mine takes a lot of effort -- I can't measure it in pounds, but I'd estimate it takes at least 12-15 pounds of pull to move the slide back. That's more than my fingers can manage, so I have to use a non-safe sort of grip to get the slide back.

BUT -- once the hammer is in the cocked position, the slide is more "normal" and slides fairly easily back and forth.

I haven't used the gun much -- maybe 200 rounds total. So, what's going on with my gun?

I'd like to know if this is common for Kimbers, or for Customs; or is this a problem that a 'smith needs to look at? The frame rails are lubricated, the gun is very clean, so what's making the slide so doggone hard to pull until the hammer is back?

Thanks sincerely for your insight to this problem.
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:02 PM   #2
geetarman
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Some are just much stiffer than others. I have a Smith and Wesson 1911E that is a BEAR to rack. I have others that are a piece of cake.

I am guessing a lighter recoil spring might fix the problem.

Glock G21 by comparison is really easy.

You might talk to Kimber and see what pound recoil spring is standard in your gun and ask them to give you an idea of what weight would work better for you.

It can be a trade off. Too heavy a spring and you might have trouble running the action with lighter loads. Too light a spring and you beat up the gun when running hot loads.

You should be able to find a happy medium.

HTH
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:04 PM   #3
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Try cocking the hammer back before racking the slide and see if this makes a difference; try this first with no ammo involved. Is the hammer easy enough to cock? Can you then rack the slide reasonably? Trying to isolate exactly where you are running into difficulty.

And let us know which of these makes a difference.
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Old March 1, 2013, 11:46 PM   #4
rclay
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Thanks for the fast input. I will call Kimber this Monday and ask about the spring.

I am very new to shooting (obviously). I've heard there is a top-grade spring that is the best of the best. Does anybody know the name of the company that makes it?

If I find out the pound of the factory recoil spring, and want to buy a replacement that's lighter (but the same length of course), couldn't I just buy one and use it?

The last time I called Kimber they weren't at all eager to give customer support. I'm open to alternatives.

Also, the hammer is really hard to pull back. It could be just my lack of experience, but when I see other people racking pistols, it just doesn't look that hard. Maybe I should just rack mine about 500 times to see if that loosens the spring before it makes hamburger out of my hands.
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Old March 2, 2013, 12:43 AM   #5
AZAK
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When racking a 1911 starting with the hammer down, you are effectively working against two springs; the recoil spring and the main spring. When you have the hammer back (main spring) then your slide is up against only the recoil spring. Thus, if the hammer is back it should be easier to rack the slide.

Depending on your physical strength, some folks do have difficulty racking some pistols. Kathy Jackson, a mod here, has a web site and on that site some methods for racking slides:
http://www.corneredcat.com/article/r...ack-the-slide/
Excellent site! Worth taking some time to peruse.

Perhaps trying some of the advice there will take care of your challenge.

It is also possible that there is some mechanical problem. If after attempting the techniques above, you still have challenges, maybe going to a gun shop or range or even a gunsmith and having someone knowledgable take a look might be your next step.

If you are new to guns in general, or just 1911s, probably not the best next step to start playing with different springs.

Let us know what you find out.
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Old March 2, 2013, 09:26 AM   #6
loose_holster_dan
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that's kimber for you. some are sloppy and loose. some are tight. my grand raptor ii was awful. sold it faster than anything i ever owned.
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Old March 2, 2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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You say it takes 12-15 pounds to rack the slide, it is actually most likely a bit heavier than that. Five inch Kimbers come from the factory with a 16 pound recoil spring. I doubt if there is a thing wrong with your gun, it just takes a bit of effort to rack the slide, especially with the hammer down. That is normal. As was said, with the hammer down, you are working against the recoil spring AND the mainspring. If you are shooting light loads, you could get away with a lighter recoil spring, but I dont know whether it would make a big difference.

Somebody with decent hand strength and with lots of practice can make racking the slide look a lot easier than it is. Have you tried other 1911s yourself to compare ?
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Old March 2, 2013, 06:58 PM   #8
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Just asking here, but is there something wrong with cocking the hammer before racking the slide to make it easier to manage before firing? Perhaps this is a no-no that I have yet to learn...
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Old March 2, 2013, 07:04 PM   #9
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You haven't been using WD-40 on it have you?

That stuff gums up a firearm badly after a while.
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Old March 2, 2013, 07:14 PM   #10
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As far as recoil spring weight is concerned the pistol will tell you what is needed.

After firing a round if the front sight is pointing upward you need a heavier spring for that load.
If the front sight is pointing down you need a lighter spring for that load.

What you want is the sights to still be on target after you've fired a round. This will be the correct spring weight.

Recoil springs are sold in sets so you can fine tune your pistol.
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Old March 3, 2013, 06:15 PM   #11
rclay
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"...Your gun will tell you..."

Thanks for that great bit of wisdom!

I haven't checked other 1911s but will do so this coming week (I plan to go to the local range tomorrow).

I'll watch whether the front of the gun has risen or points down after a shot, and let this indicate whether the spring might need to be heavier or looser.

The people I've seen racking pistols are mostly sales reps behind counters, who do it all day. Maybe they've just learned how to do it fast, or developed muscles that I don't notice.

My Kimber is nearly brand new, and the spring is 16#. I intend to shoot 230 gr loads at targets for training.

It occurs to me that ANY spring one uses has to be "learned" in ordere to optimize shots; would you guys generally agree?

I don't use WD-40 because someone warned me about it gumming up the works. Besides, I'm a sucker for "high end" anything -- if somebody promises that a product is the best, I'll buy it for no other reason than that they promised. (Until I gain experience and knowledge.)

I'm going to Front Sight training in May, so I'm trying to develop my pistol management skills and be able to perform various functions as quickly as possible, even though I'll never use most of them since I live in NYC and can't carry concealed. But I will get the 30-state thing, so when I travel, I'll have a good measure of security for personal defense.

Thanks again for all your helpful advice!
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Old March 4, 2013, 10:57 PM   #12
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I'm not sure what you mean by that 30 state thing, but I urge caution and advise you to make sure what you are planning to do is legal. I've not lived in NY State for several years now and am not current on laws, especially with the new SAFE Act of Cuomo's. Living in NY City, I'm not aware you can even own a pistol in your own home, let alone travel with it. Permits have always been extremely difficult to get there; and if you don't have a permit, you can't own it. There is a Federal Law that implies you can travel through NYS if you are legal in your originating location and also legal at your destination location. However, you may not be legal at your originating location, NYC. I'm not positive on this, but my past knowledge tells me your words raise some red flags! Please check it out very carefully. One thing for sure...breaking a pistol law in NYC is an instant felony and jail time!

I think the SAFE Act limits mags to 7 rounds, also. You Kimber may be a problem??? Don't know about this.
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