Now is the Kimber of Our Discontent
My Raptor II has been sent back to Kimber for service 3 times. Each instance is detailed below. The first, and most serious, issue was resolved satisfactorily. The second issue was solved by Kimber, but reoccurred after return from the factory. The 3rd issue is now blamed on me.
Immediately after purchase I added on the following parts:
1. S&A Magwell
2. VZ Grips
3. Wilson Combat Shock Buffer, which is used only when firing full power loads
Issue 1. The disconnector failed repeatedly within the first 200 rounds and the trigger was clunky. I brought it to a local gunsmith who replaced the disconnector and performed a trigger job. The disconnector failed again. The gun performed a 3 round burst. I shipped it to Kimber and they fixed it for $50. I believe this to have been quite fair. No problems with disconnector or trigger since. The gun ran very well (occasional stove pipe) until issue 2 cropped up.
Issue 2. Ambi safety broke at about 1,500 rounds. I returned it to the factory and they replaced it. A few months later it broke again. At my request they sent me a new one. Even better, I got a stainless model. I installed it. Problem solved. I was a little annoyed at the down time but it works perfectly.
Issue 3. At about 3,000 rounds I began to experience FTEs with noticeable frequency. Kimber suggested the magazine feed lips might be getting worn. Everyone else I talked to agreed that this was a good place to start and suggested replacement with Wilson 47Ds. I did so and the problem was not fixed. I purchased 2 Kimber stainless tactical magazines. Same issue. I used Chip McCormick 10 round magazines. Same issue. Colt, Springfield Armory, Sig… Same issue. I tried different ammo types of varying power factors. I removed the shock buffer. Same issue. And it only became more frequent. I then sent it in to Kimber for service.
I just learned that Kimber will not fix the pistol and stated the following reasons:
1. The feed ramp has been modified
2. The shock buffer likely caused the FTEs
3. Because of the modified feed ramp they will need to replace the frame
4. The VZ grips are non-standard and void the warranty
5. The S&A magwell is non-standard and voids the warranty
6. The safety is non-standard and voids the warranty
7. The trigger is non-standard and voids the warranty
8. It is unknown how often springs were replaced and whether or not they were Kimber springs.
My response to Kimber was the following
1. The feed ramp has never been modified
2. The FTEs happened with or without the shock buffer. I don’t know why the smith couldn’t just take out the buffer and test fire it then.
3. Modified feed ramp: see 1 above
4. I still have the original grips and if this would reinstate the warranty then I will put them on
5. I have the original back strap. See 4 above.
6. It’s a Kimber safety
7. All of the parts nullifying the warranty were there on visits 1 and 2 but nothing was said. This is a clear change in policy/behavior.
8. The trigger was last touched by Kimber. It was not replaced.
9. The Kimber smith who fixed the disconnector/trigger was kind enough to send along extra recoil springs as well as some lube. This is all I have used since.
It stands that Kimber will not accept any of my responses and fix the FTE. I can either spend $400 to replace the frame (due to “modification”) and then bring the gun back to factory spec only after which they will address the FTE issue. Alternatively Kimber will offer another Raptor at reduced cost and a wait of several months. At my request they are returning the gun to me. Why would I want another pistol that acquaints me with the local UPS driver as much as the range officer? They will not reassemble it and are charging $120 for the inspection. I pay for shipping both ways. That’s over $300 plus whatever it will cost for the local smith to reassemble, and there is no resolution. When I get the gun back I will post pics and further details.
I believe the fact that the non-Kimber parts were there on previous visits and no comments were made is because the FTE repair is far more expensive. I am further convinced of this as the rep made the comment that shock buffers cause failures in short barreled pistols. This is a Raptor with a 5” slide. Calling this a short barreled pistol is nothing more than a sentence plucked from some checklist of reasons to avoid service put together by a desk jockey.
Further, it is most definitely not known to Kimber how often springs are replaced on every single pistol that is returned to them for service. This has got to be one of the best reasons for denial that the desk jockeys have come up with as it is absolutely universal.
The two Kimbers I own are the only pistols I purchased without seeking expert advice. All advice since then has been to avoid Kimber in any and every instance. My other Kimber is a Pro Carry II. It has been back twice and has only 800 rounds through it. I will not sell these pistols as I will just be dumping my problems on someone else. Kimber makes pretty pistols that fail miserably. Customer service is a matter of accounting metrics. I have no doubt that there are many good employees there, and the customer service rep that I spoke with was pleasant. But this does not make pistols run, and it does not resolve quality control issues. However, it does spur web posts such as this one.
I would sincerely appreciate suggestions for web sites, or any other forum be it electronic or print, in which I might share my story and seek advice as to how to resolve this issue. If nothing else I wish to be a messenger of service to so many other novices who, like the raven, are attracted to shiny crap.
Replace with a Hi-point. Excellent customer service and repairs are no questions asked.
Sent from a Droid...but not the Droid you are looking for.
thats pretty much been my experience with kimber customer service. you dont need a shock buffer all they do is cause problems by shortening tthe recoil impulse. in fact i firmly believe they accelerate wear as the recoil spring is not fully compressing absorbing recoil.
you can sell it with a clear conscious so long as you disclose all the issues. take the proceeds and purchase a colt or springfield.
cranking off whining about stuff across various forums just invites karma to kick your @ss.
But yeah, Hi Point has one of the best warranties and customer service of ANY FREAKING BODY IN THE FREAKING WORLD. They will never ask you to pay for fixing it. Not even if your the 15th owner, and it's been used to commit 14 liquor store robberies.
Sorry to hear of your problems.
There is a reason I do not have a Kimber.
I am very sory for your troubles. It seems as though it's hit or miss with Kimber. I bought a Tactical Pro II six years ago. It has 3,000+ rounds through it, and has never given me a problem. I have been so pleased with mine, I bought another Kimber yesterday, and have already put 100 rounds through it.
I hear great things about Kimber, and I hear awfull things about Kimber, I guess it really is hit or miss with them.
Best of luck.
I'd probably end up with a springfield though. I'm broke as the ten commandments.
JonM why you gotta drag Taurus into this? :D I don't have any issues with my Taurus.
1 & 3. What sort of modification do they assert occurred?
4. Grips void the warranty? For real? Crap! Many of my guns have been "modified" in this manner. "Bummer dude, your window tint caused your engine to overheat, you're SOL."
5. If this part was faulty it might cause a different issue or two. I fail to see it's relevance to FTF or FTE issues.
6. If I read your posting correctly, this is the safety THEY provided on a previous issue. We need a BS flag smiley.
7. They seemed to have no issues with it on it's first visit. WTH.
8. Does Kimber manufacture their own springs or do they source them from the usual suspects? What interval does Kimber recommend replacement? If they can't tell what is what, how can they claim that it's a basis for voiding the warranty?
One lesson I see is that you want to remove everything that Kimber didn't fit to it before returning for warranty work.
If it were me, I would work my way up through Kimber's chain of command until you find a sympathetic ear.
I'm no 1911 guru, but how would the feed ramp cause FTEs? If it were mine, I would see about having a new extractor fitted. 3000 rds later, it might be worn. Just guessing though.
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