Monday, December 05, 2005
Meanwhile, Back in the Tundra...
SOOOOOOOO...here at home it's just under 8 degrees with wind gust of up to 90 miles per hour...let's see...that puts the Wind Chill Factor at something like GOOD LORD IT'S FREEZING POLAR BEARS ROCK SOLID SO THEY BREAK APART LIKE ROTTEN TREE LIMBS AND THOSE DAMN PENGUINS ARE HIKING TO DEATH VALLEY JUST TO THAW THEIR WEB FEET. Or something like that. That whooshing noise I hear is my winter budget for propane going to hell in a handbasket. I had hopes of getting to a range and shooting my brand new Kimber Match II 1911 magnificently rebuilt by Bill Laughridge at Cylinder & Slide, but let's face it...if I gripped the gun in this weather, it'd stick to my hand and I'd have to go to the emergency room in Boulder to have the gun removed from my frozen flesh, where I'd face first degree charges for being insufficiently mellow. The closest indoor range is a two-day trip with native bearers. Umgauwah, bwana!
Anyway, you can at least have a look at the gun. This particular Team Match II is one of the USA Shooting Commemorative guns that I ramrodded through the incredibly byzantine Olympic shooting maze a few years back. The U.S. team told me they desperately needed money. I called my pal Dwight Van Brunt at Kimber and suggested a USA Shooting 1911 with a portion of the proceeds going to the guys and girls in Colorado Springs might be a Good Thing, and he picked up the ball and ran with it. That year at SHOT, I got to sit down with the folks at Kimber and suggest the parts list/specs for the gun, which they followed pretty closely. BTW, Kiumber has now become the largest donor to USA Shooting ever, with the Olympic team benefiting to the tune of almost half-a-million dollars. Several other firearms manufacturers have taken the hint and done special run guns with proceeds going to our Olympians.
I suppose it would sound a whiny note to report in response to my saving their butts the whole bureaucracy of USA Shooting currently wishes I was dead...truly, no good deed goes unpunished! I did, however, get a nice gun out of the deal.
Here are the specs for the Kimber Team Match II. You'll have to scroll down to see the Olympic gun.
We shot the heck out of the base gun in the NSSF Media Program and I never had any trouble with it. But, as I've mentioned, I'm a 1911 SNOB and a lover of fine custom guns. Since I liked the Team Match II so much, I asked Bill to use it as the base for a custom gun.
The first thing you'll notice is that the gun is stainless "dishwasher proof" steel. Stainless works for me, especially in a working gun. The mainspring housing and the front strap came checkered, which is cool. It also has the Kimber adjustable sights — some people whine and bitch that they're not Bo-Mars, but in truth, after using them for four or five years on three or four guns, I've never had the slightest problem with them. It also comes with these funky custom grips, which are cool.
The gun also features Kimber's external extractor. This is a MEGA-controversial item. John Brown didn't include this on the original 1911s, although he did do so on the Browning High-Power 9mm. Again, I never had any trouble with the extractor on this gun and I've put a lot of rounds of mostly 230-grain .45 ball through it. However, some friends that I respect have reported problems, and there are some rumors from my cherubs and seraphim that Kimber is considering abandoning the external extractor and returning to the original. Certainly Kimber's Warrior series, the civilian versions of the guns they built for the SOCOM Marines, uses the traditional extractor. I think it's a tempest in a teapot, frankly.
My new improved Team Match II has:
• Been fitted with a new Bar-Sto stainless barrel, which Bill recrowned at 11 degrees. Bottom line — Bar-Stos are the best, most consistent, most accurate barrel out there. Period. Exclamation point! I've used most of the others, and too many times I've been disappointed. I have NEVER been disappointed in a Bar-Sto.
• The barrel has been fitted to the slide, then the frame throated to match the barrel.
• The gun has been "cleaned up," the breech face and bearing parts smoothed and bought to spec.
• The Kimber magazine well has been blended into the frame of the pistol, which not only looks better, but allows for faster magazine changes because there's a bigger well and no sharp edges.
• A key point is replacing the hammer, sear and springs with one of Bill's flawless fire-control packages — in this case the CS213 Ultra Match set — then matching that up to the Kimber aluminum match trigger. The result is exactly what I ordered...a perfect 3.5 pound trigger.
• There were a few other points, including replacing some springs, resetting and tuning the sxtractor and solving a few minor problems like grip screws and adjusting the grip safety so it would work for my girly-man hands while shooting a high (i.e., thumb on the safety) grip.
The result is a sweetheart of a gun that cries out to be shot in USPSA Single Stack or IDPA CDP. It maintains the look of the USA Shooting Commemorative pistol, which I wanted to do since I had so much to do with the gun.
I have no doubts that it will be accurate (the test group is 1 1/2 inches at 15 yards offhand with ball) and 100% reliable, because that's what Bill does.