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Old October 13, 1999, 07:10 PM   #1
Pilate
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I'm having a problem with feed reliability with a Kimber Ultra Carry. This is my third attempt at finding a 1911 compact that will function reliably. First was a Springfield V-10, then a Colt Defender, and now the Kimber. I have tried a variety of ammo. With the Kimber, in 100 rounds, I had 3 rounds crash into the feed ramp, 1 only go halfway into the chamber (case did not slide up the breechface under the extractor), and 1 where the slide returning to battery did not strip the round from the magazine. I admit that the magazines are brand new Wilson's and could be a little tight, but whenever I have asked those who are familiar with the 1911 which mags are best, the answer was always Wilson... I have heard also that the Kimbers are the best factory 1911, and require no tinkering... I'll also add that the Kimber was bought used, so I can't say that this is merely the FIRST 100 rounds. I'm open to suggestions.
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Old October 13, 1999, 08:43 PM   #2
Mikey
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There will be some flamethrowers to follow but here goes...

If you want a good 1911 then quit buying that factory crap. Kimbers were pretty good until they got popular and had to boost production. I've only known of one that worked right out of the box and the other 10 or so had to be tweaked. Colt's Defender is junk!

I have 5 1911's that work all the time - they all cost $900 or more and have names like Wilson, Caspian and STI on the side. There's a reason they only make a few of these a year and charge a premium price - they work! I do have one Springfield Ultra-Compact that works great - of course I have over $600 of custom work done to it! You can own it if you want a good carry piece, I have too many.

The smaller a 1911 gets the more finicky it gets. You might want to move up to a Commander size.

But, if you like the little ones, polish the breech face, tune the extractor, put in a full length guide rod, put in a 24 lb spring and change it often, throat the barrel, polish the feedramp and you'll be on your way.

P.S. Don't trust the little buggar until it's fired at least 200 rounds of your chosen ammo with NO malfunctions.

Mikey
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Old October 13, 1999, 09:44 PM   #3
Grayfox
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Could be an ammo problem.
What ammo are you using?
Are the problems with one brand or several?

If not the ammo, sounds like the feed ramp or breach face might need a bit of polishing. Simple job you can do yourself. Don't get carried away with it, a little goes a long way.


[This message has been edited by Grayfox (edited October 13, 1999).]
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Old October 13, 1999, 10:12 PM   #4
zot
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try ball ammo, put 500 rds thru and if it
messes up alot, then sell the thing and buy a
full size 1911, I think there isn't enough
length in those short compacts to slow the slide down, no matter what ammo ya shoot it seems the slide snaps forward too fast, and one thread I read is how holding your wrist stiff or limp can cause jams, I don't mean
LIMP wristed, I limp wrist with most non-magnum calibers, let the weight of the gun recoil loosely, more accurate fire when shooting targets or game, well I beleive
chopping the 1911 to .380 size is crazy,
my $2.50 worth. :}
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Old October 13, 1999, 10:32 PM   #5
George Stringer
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Pilate, 9 times out of 10 when you're rounds are jamming as you describe the magazine feed lips are the culprit. The release point isn't back far enough to reliably function with the ammo you're using. George
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Old October 14, 1999, 01:13 AM   #6
4V50 Gary
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Yep, like George says, change the magazine and if that doesn't work, like Grayfox and Zot says, change the ammo. Give it a break in period.

One thing about these shorter guns is that extensive engineering is required to make them work. For one thing, we're dealing with much less mass and with less mass, unlocking starts sooner. Concurrently, with the shorter barrel, the pressure drops quicker. The problemis that there must be enough remaining energy to fully cycle the gun. It gets to a point where the shorties become tempermental and the user must find what works best for them.

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Old October 14, 1999, 01:53 PM   #7
James K
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If it doesn't say "U.S. Army M1911A1", it's no da-n good! (Joke?!?!)

Jim
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Old October 14, 1999, 07:11 PM   #8
Pilate
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Thank you for the input. I do have one Kimber factory nickel plated 6 round magazine that seemed to feed well. But I did most of the shooting with the 7 round Wilson's to break them in... I'm trying to get my hands on a second Kimber mag and see if that does the trick. The ammo was Speer Lawman 230gr FMJ (100) and Speer Gold Dot 185gr HP (20). Should I stick to the heavier bullets in the shorty? Also, regarding the polishing of the ramp; one of you stated that I could do it myself... How is this done? I own a Dremel, but I didn't want to start grinding away at it until I get some guidance.

I can't say exactly what it is, but the mini 1911's just speak to me. I do like the Gov't model, but it is a little unweildly for me as I am of a very slight build. I find it far to large and difficult to conceal.

As an interesting side note, and something I've been thinking about, I also like the .45 caliber... The thing is, the .45 just seems wrong to me in anything but a 1911... It's like a V8 in a Japanese car. When I think ".45", I think "1911". When I think "V8", I think "Chevy"... Is it just me? When I think "Glock" I think "9mm". "Toyota", "4 Banger". See what I mean? America: Home of the Big.

And while I'm babbling... Does it bother anyone else that the manufacturers of 1911 pistols almost always use phrases like "most reliable" or "most accurate" to describe their products? I thought Kimber was going to be the exception, but it turns out not. I own Glocks and Sigs that ARE very reliable and accurate and cost less... What is it about the 1911 that makes us pay over a grand for the pistol and obligatory smithing, and never look back? There are other single action and single action capable pistols out there. There are other narrow ones. Is it the tinkering we like? The mystique? Can't put my finger on it.

It's a pleasure interacting with you all. And Mr. Moderator, if you feel this ranting is out of step with this forum, please let me know.
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Old October 14, 1999, 09:33 PM   #9
Mikey
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Pilate,

I didn't mean to sound too negative before. Kimbers are fine guns, for factory stuff. They just need a little individual attention to be perfect. I'll try to explain how I polish my 1911's...

As long as the feed ramp geometry is correct, and it should be on the Kimber, you don't want to "grind" anything. You really aren't trying to remove any material, just polish whats there.

With the frame field stripped (sans slide and barrel), look for nicks or tool marks in the feed ramp. If there are some, just get some 600 or 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper at the Wal-Mart automotive area (body finishing stuff). Wrap a small piece about 2" square around a dowel or other round object (I use one of my wifes paint brush handles- dont use a flat sided pencil, but a round one would work). You want the paper to be about the same radius as the ramp for full contact. Work the surface of the ramp evenly and don't try to change the angle - just go with it and go slow and easy. No major elbow grease required. When it looks real pretty and smooth, fire up the dremel tool with the small cylinder shaped buffing wheel. For some reason it's almost exactly the right diameter. Use a little buffing compound and it will look like a mirror!

While you're polishing, you can touch-up the barrel throat - the angled, conical, lower entrance area of the chamber. I also polish the inside of the chamber about half of it's length (the buffing wheel is almost the same diameter of this too!)with special attention to the tab at the top. Seems to make chambering a round really slick.

If the breech face has tool marks or roughness, you can polish it too. Use the same type of sandpaper (remove the firing pin and extractor first) and use a popsicle stick for a sanding block. You might want to finish up with some 1000 grit for a mirror finish but it probably won't be necessary.

Most Kimbers come with recoil springs about 2 lbs too light. I like a 24 lb spring in my Ultra-Compact. The short guns need the spring replaced a little more often. You just have to learn how to judge when yours is ready but the springs are relatively cheap so change often.

New mags can be a little stiff sometimes. You might want to disassemble them and wipe the follower with a silicone cloth. I pull the cloth through the mag body to remove grime and lubricate the tube.

If this doesnt help, there's more you can do with a few simple tools and some time.

Mikey
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Old October 14, 1999, 10:28 PM   #10
Wallew
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Pilate,
George is absolutely correct. Look to magazines as culprit first. Mikey, excellent description on polishing the feed ramp. Two things. Dremel does make a buffing cylider. It looks like a white bullet on a stick. These not only fit well but work great. I use 1200 grit buffing compound on feedramps and throats on all police officer guns I work on. Makes feeding problems a thing of the past. Wallew

[This message has been edited by Wallew (edited November 08, 1999).]
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Old October 15, 1999, 06:45 AM   #11
HS
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Mikey are you & me cousins ?
Your methods of polishing are exactly what I do, 'cept for the Dremmel as I don't own one !
George'l back me up.
Also if the extractor is a 1/2lb too tight, the case won't slip up under it and can cause problems.
There are correct entrance angles for the claw area.
Try http://www.m1911.org for examples or http://www.larue-targets.com/part5.html for tuning an extractor.
If all else fails send the gun to George.

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Old October 15, 1999, 03:56 PM   #12
James K
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So you pay $700-$800 for the pistol, then you have to either spend hours of your time or hundreds of dollars more to get it to work even minimally well.

Doesn't anybody see anything wrong with this picture? If Ford or Dodge or Toyota sold cars that way, they would go broke fast. Yet, gun people not only put up with it, but seem to enjoy it? In heaven's name, why?

Jim
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Old October 15, 1999, 06:57 PM   #13
Pilate
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Jim,

That's the timeless question, my friend. It's something that calls to certain people. If one has the money, I see nothing wrong with it. There's also no logical reason to own an exotic automobile. There are exotic cars out there that cost 500k to a million and the service intervals cost $15,000. But you ask them how it drives and they'll tell you that there's nothing like it. A particular experience that a man of a certain persuasion cannot live without. I like to call it "Mystique". I doesn't simply apply to 1911's, it can be the Lamborghini or the book collection, leather furniture, 52 inch television, or baseball cards.... One man's trash is... Well you know the rest.
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Old October 15, 1999, 08:24 PM   #14
Mikey
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HS,

Whoooeee, cousin...you just gots ta gitcha one of them Dremel Tools - can't be a proper 1911 cobbler without one! You'll have that feed ramp slicker than the North end of a South bound baby!

I started to mention the extractor tuning before but, wow, that's an easy one to do but hard to describe.

Jim,

I'm so dang picky now that an $800 1911 is just a starter kit! I have to tweak EVERYTHING. My motorcycle is a 99 model with aftermarket fatty straight pipes and an orange flame job. My Dodge pickup has custom Ram decals on it along with form fit mud flaps and nerf bars. My bass boat has custom numbers on the side and a custom decal on the windshield. 'Till I was 30 I never had a car with the original engine in it! I stay on a waiting list for highly figured wood grip panels for my 1911's. I've had lots of 1911's that would work just fine out of the box - just fine for most folks - I just have to make 'em as close to perfect as I can. If I could afford to build a truck from scratch I would!

Mikey

[This message has been edited by Mikey (edited October 15, 1999).]
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Old October 16, 1999, 12:44 AM   #15
HS
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Hey there back at you cuz !
I might not have a Dremmel (cure all ) tool but I do have a bench grinder with a Buffing wheel that really goes to town polishing Frames/Barrel ramps/Extractors/Magwells etc...etc....
I'm with you on the non standard engine bit as well.
Up 'till I was married had to have the go fast goodies in the engine bay !
Last car was a '66 HR Holden with a 192 ci 6 cylinder, Twin downdraft Strombergs(matched), Matched inlet/exhaust(headers) manifolds, Ported head with "special" work done to improve flow, race cam, 4 speed box & a 3.78 diff.
Did 48 in 1st, 62 in 2nd, 90 in 3rd & 125 mph in 4th !
Mind you, a '66 Holden doing 125 mph starts to float 1&1/2 feet left then right & you only do it ONCE !
As far as spending big $$ goes on a 1911 style gun, my P-16 has been 100% reliable but I just gotta personalise it and if that means polishing anything I can & tweaking it to be better'n 100 % so be it.
Now it's MY gun & not some mass produced off the shelf gun that anyone can buy.

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Old November 6, 1999, 09:40 PM   #16
Pilate
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Let's bring this topic back up to the top.

So... I polished the feed ramp as instructed. Took it to the range today and fired 120 rounds (1 box UMC 230 ball, 1 box Winchester 230 ball and 1 box Speer GoldDot 230 HP) with no problems. I used the Kimber factory nickel plated mag and a Colt mag (with metal follower) that I picked up used. But I have a new problem: The slide locked open 3 times between rounds (before the mag was empty)... I simply released the slide and kept firing. What I did to remedy this problem is this: After cleaning, I took my Dremel and roughed up the part of the slide stop where the plunger spring (is there an official name for this?) contacts it and also made a very slight indentation. Thinking that it would make a little more friction and keep the slide stop from jumping up under recoil... Was this the right thing to do or should I replace the slide stop? Other than this, I simply adore this pistol.

Another bit of home smithing I did was to round off the rearmost edge of the thumb safety. The way I grip this puppy, it tended to dig into my bony thumb knuckle. Does anyone else have this problem? Can anyone tell me how to remove the thumb cafety so I can do a little better job? (I stopped short of where I wanted it for fear of grinding the frame)... Thanks for hearing me out.
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Old November 6, 1999, 10:02 PM   #17
Jim V
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Well, at one time Colt's 1911's came with a small dimple on the end of the slide stop where slide stop plunger could exert more pressure and hold the stop down until the magazine was empty.

For good instructions on removing the thumb safety go to: http://www.m1911.org and look for the link to disassembly.

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[This message has been edited by Jim V (edited November 06, 1999).]
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Old November 7, 1999, 06:20 PM   #18
George Stringer
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Pilate, look at the inside edge of the slide stop for brass marks. The bullet nose may be hitting it. If you find them just relieve a little at a time until the problem is cured. To remove the thumb safety, make sure the pistol is empty, cock the hammer, bring the safety up to about half way between on and off then wiggle it as you pull it out to the left. George
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Old November 7, 1999, 09:49 PM   #19
Mikey
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In addition to George's good instruction, you may want to put on some safety glasses and watch for the plunger and spring as you lift the safety. I shot one across the room once and didn't find it 'till several days later (lots of junk in the room). Seriously, as you pull the safety out just cup your hand at the rear of the pistol to catch the little rascal if it pops out.

Mikey
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Old November 8, 1999, 09:14 PM   #20
Pilate
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That was too easy. Mikey, you were right about that plunger... Only I lost it on reassembly... Took me a few minites to find that spring... Also, I locked the slide back and slid a full magazine in and out while looking down through the ejection port. The bullet was touching the slide stop slightly. I shaved it down a bit and smoothed it up with a buffing wheel and polishing compound. Just need to take it out for a test drive now and will post the results here. I'm really starting to like this do-it-yourself gun perfecting... Could become a habit. Thanks again, gentlemen.
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Old November 8, 1999, 11:09 PM   #21
Mikey
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Pilate,

If you ever take it apart again, bend a little "kink" in the middle of the spring. It will still work fine at each end with both plungers but it won't shoot out during disassembly.

Mikey
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Old November 9, 1999, 03:52 AM   #22
oberkommando
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Have seen four 1911's new colts 2 80 and 2 70 series that needed polishing to feed reliably 3 differnet brands of mags all worked as did the different brands of ammo. ya gotta polish, if you want good reference buy Jerry Khunhausen 1911 shop manual.

What is it about this gun and all the money it soaks up to get it reliable? Why not just buy glock sig or Hk?

What other gun is designed to be carried "COCKED AND LOCKED" doesnt this sound sexy? Especially without the hammer block plunger assembly. Most LEO's can't even carry them "too dangerous". As Terry Tussey told me at last Great Western "the 1911 has a very bad habit of doing exactly what it was designed to do"

Seven Krauts with Seven Shots! WWII Audie Murphy? They all fall to 45 hard ball.
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Old November 9, 1999, 09:07 AM   #23
Dave McC
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S'funny, darn near every one of the GMs I've owned over the last 30 years has worked fine with little/no work.Replacing bad mags has been the biggest problem. Nobody throws out a bad mag, they just resell it. Some needed tweaking for accuracy, but all were reliable except....

I owned a Colt Officer's Model, briefly. After some serious gunsmith bills w/o imporving relaibility, I decided I didn't need to own that one after all. 20-20 hindsight, once one gets down below Commander size, problems multiply.

Current pet will feed and chamber an empty, sized case.Colt made it in 1943, it has Brit proof marks, was rebuilt by Alton Dinan and used at Camp Perry by the previous owner. I got it from the estate.

T'were I in need of another GM, I believe I'd pick up a GI clunker and start replacing parts. The new stuff all seems to have QC glitches big time...
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Old November 9, 1999, 01:30 PM   #24
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Why is it that all the smaller guns ie Officers and smaller have problems not seen with the Govt or Commander? I've heard it has something to do with the timing of the slide and a couple of other variables but no one has explained it to my satifactory, which is to say it ain't penetrated the crainum. Any thoughts?

Gator

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Old November 9, 1999, 01:46 PM   #25
BigG
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First mistake: Not buying GI 1911A1 or a commercial Colt Gummint Model (Not 1991A1!)

Most gunsmiths say the shorties are finicky, stick with the 5" barrel.

Buy good magazines, GI or Colt have served me well. Others recommend Wilson, Brown, or Shooting Star, mostly. Crush any magazine that doesn't feed properly. That way you'll never be tempted to put it in a gun again.

Most recent 1911 clones are built way too tight for reliability. You know what you pay a gunsmith to do to guns that don't rattle to make them reliable? You pay them to, in effect, loosen 'em up! Du-uh, maybe John Moses warn't so dumb!

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