Kimber Solo issues solved..Not by Kimber.

Kimber Solo issues solved..Not by Kimber.

This is a discussion on Kimber Solo issues solved..Not by Kimber. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Slide1.jpg slide3.jpg slide4.jpg I am, by no means, an expert on the Kimber Solo. Mine was purchased in late 2012. Right away problems started to ...

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  1. #1
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    Kimber Solo issues solved..Not by Kimber.

    Slide1.jpgslide3.jpgslide4.jpg

    I am, by no means, an expert on the Kimber Solo. Mine was purchased in late 2012. Right away problems started to show up. Pins coming out of safety, mag catch breaking, sear spring failure, slide not staying open with the new style mags, etc. After numerous trips back to MAMA Kimber, all of the issues, except for one, were repaired. Failure to eject, with a full mag and 1 in the chamber, continued. Kimber always put a note on the invoice with something to the effect of "fired 4 magazines of ammo with no problems". I had a feeling that they were not loading 6 in the mag and 1 in the chamber.

    One issue, the magazine catch, broke the first time that I put 6 in the mag and one in the chamber and fired a round. The magazine fell out and would not stay in when I tried to reinsert it. Most folks know just how difficult it is to put 6 rounds in a, so called, 6 round Solo magazine. Then try to install it. It is TIGHT. This creates quite a load on the tiny magazine catch.

    If you lock the slide back, load a magazine with a round and insert the magazine, you will notice how high the round sits in relationship to the chamber. The Solo is designed with a semi straight line cartridge feeding, probably to shorten the overall height of the firearm. Thus, during extraction the rounds in the magazine have to be compressed, more than say a 1911 or similar design, or there would not be enough room for the spent casing to be extracted.

    With that in mind, look at photo 1. The red arrow points to a little "ramp" on the bottom of the slide. This "ramp" compresses the rounds in the magazine to allow room for extraction of the spent casing.

    Photos 2 and 3 show the relationship between the rounds and the slide ramp. A little imagination and you can see how the ramp the compresses the rounds in the magazine, when the slide goes back during ejection.

    Imagine how tight the spring in the magazine is, when the mag is full and the slide goes back. The Solo slide barely clears the rear of the cartridge during the process of stripping a round out of the mag to be chambered. All of this, coupled with a very stiff recoil spring will lead to failures, if things aren't just right. I feel as if this is why Kimber specifies heavier bullets. Heavier recoil is required to fully operate this slide in this compact system.

    My primary carry firearms are 1911's. The Kimber was purchased for my wife to carry in her purse when such occasions do not permit her to carry a larger firearm. Being as I had no confidence in its operation, I was on the verge of unloading my Solo. I finally decided that the Solo is just to "neat" to get rid of. Being that Kimber was no help, I just made the decision to figure out the, "full mag ejection", problem on my own.

    A friend has a Solo also. We measured the height of the ramp on his slide and the height on my slide. Amazingly,the ramp on my slide was .015 taller than his ramp on his slide. Also, the ramp on his Solo was very smooth and polished.

    A little stoning and polishing of the ramp on my Solo and Voila!!!!. Flawless operation after over 300 rounds of 115 gr. Winchester White Box. And 20 rounds of Federal 124gr HST, all fired in one session with no cleaning of the firearm. I am going to try some Speer and Hornady defense ammo this week. If all goes well, I may decide to keep the Solo.

    I have read about quite a few failures to eject and broken mag catch issues on the web. I find myself hard pressed to believe that mine was the only one with this "ramp" issue. If some of you are having these problems, it would be worth a call to Kimber to question them about this "Ramp"...

    I am not bashing Kimber, I own several of their 1911's and rifles. I have never had to send one in for repairs. I was starting to think that Kimber had designed a bad product with the Solo. After taking care of the ramp issue myself, I believe the Solo is a good,if not great, design, for a tiny 9mm. All I can say IMHO is "Kimber's repair center and QC need looking into"
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Aceoky's Avatar
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    Awesome "sticking with it" and figuring things out!!!

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    Hm. So, a "fluff & buff" took pressure of the spring, etc.? I can see it smoothing up the feeding and cycling, but how about the other aspects of breakage you mentioned? Can't see a F&B solving those things.


    Quote Originally Posted by oldskeetshooter View Post
    A little stoning and polishing of the ramp on my Solo and Voila!!!!. Flawless operation ...

    All I can say IMHO is "Kimber's repair center and QC need looking into"
    Time to pass along the detailed explanation of this "fix" to Kimber and speak with someone there who can take the ball and run with it. If they can either alter their tolerances in a small way, or ensure each and every ramp is dealt with as you describe, they'll avoid quite a lot of mess once the products are out the door.

    Kudos, on finding the problem and being able to solve it. Nice to see that it's seemingly only a "fluff & buff" that's needed.
    Bisquit69 and rdl2498 like this.
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    Distinguished Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    Maybe you should try to contact someone much higher up the ladder at kimber Send this tread to them personaly. CS's point of view might get adjusted over this and tight'n a few folks up. It is amassing how often the owners of firearm find a fix for an issue then have CS listen , learn and then use it to help in dealing with others problems. Good job.

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    Thumbs up

    Good job.

    I'm by no means a gunsmith, but I've always enjoyed figuring out a problem firearm and getting it working properly. It often is simple, little details.
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    Did you follow up with a call to Kimber telling them about the ramp difference? When you pay a premium price for a gun you expect closer tolerances. They need to reexamine their quality control and the quality of their factory service facilty.

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    I've often had the urge to have a Kimber. But it's issues such as yours that have kept me from pulling the trigger. No pun intended! Glad you solved the problem, but for now ill stick with my Glock!
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldskeetshooter View Post
    Imagine how tight the spring in the magazine is, when the mag is full and the slide goes back. The Solo slide barely clears the rear of the cartridge during the process of stripping a round out of the mag to be chambered. All of this, coupled with a very stiff recoil spring will lead to failures, if things aren't just right. I feel as if this is why Kimber specifies heavier bullets. Heavier recoil is required to fully operate this slide in this compact system.
    That's an important insight regarding very compact pistols in general, not just the Kimbers. Things can be tighter, and timing can be far more critical in such small arms.

    Hopefully the little bit of polishing will cure all of the issues for you, long term.

    Of course, being so small and cramped in there, with heavy recoil, you'll need to keep on top of the springs and continually watch for the surfaces involved to remain smooth and burr-free as possible.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Senior Member Array 1911er's Avatar
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    I had a feeling that they were not loading 6 in the mag and 1 in the chamber.
    I remember back when some 8 round 1911 mag had reliability problems. The fix was to always only load 7. The assumption being that if you inserted an 8 round mag in it, racked the slide, removed the mag, added 1 and re-installed the mag, the gun would jam and that most shooters wouldn't do that. The only way around it was to slightly lengthen the mag. Many 1911ers still don't trust 8 round mags. But then, they probably wouldn't top off a 7 rounder, either.

    Topping it off probably puts more pressure on the ejector and the extractor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Hm. So, a "fluff & buff" took pressure of the spring, etc.? I can see it smoothing up the feeding and cycling, but how about the other aspects of breakage you mentioned? Can't see a F&B solving those things.

    Time to pass along the detailed explanation of this "fix" to Kimber and speak with someone there who can take the ball and run with it. If they can either alter their tolerances in a small way, or ensure each and every ramp is dealt with as you describe, they'll avoid quite a lot of mess once the products are out the door.

    Kudos, on finding the problem and being able to solve it. Nice to see that it's seemingly only a "fluff & buff" that's needed.
    You are absolutely correct there. Fluff and buff only took care of one issue. Faulty parts is faulty parts. Or should I say, "Poorly designed parts equals broken parts"

    I noticed that my Solo fell within S# range for the safety recall, but was missing from their list. I guess they took care of that when the roll pin came loose from the 2 piece safety. Also, the new style magazines have a different shaped follower. On mine, the slide would not stay open after the last round with the new style mags. I mentioned that when I returned it for service the 3rd time. There was nothing on the repair invoice about addressing the issue. However, the slide does stay open now with the new style mags.

    The sear spring, Mag catch and slide stop look different from the ones that were faulty. My friends sear spring looks like my new one. His mag catch does not look like mine. The new mag catch is much "beefier". His slide stop is also different. His was purchased about a year before mine and the S# is much lower and is on the list for the safety recall.

    I am of the belief that Kimber is aware of the issues with the Solo, but repairs them on as "as needed" basis. On other words, "if it ain't broken yet, don't fix it"

    I'd bet a "dollar to a doughnut" that Kimber is aware of the "Slide ramp" issue. I would call and tell them what I did to resolve the issue, but they would probably just say "You are aware that modifying the gun voids your warranty".. I think I will just leave well enough alone with Kimber, at least until I feel like the problems are all gone. Hopefully folks, having the same issue, will find the info in this thread useful when calling Kimber to have their Solos repaired under warranty. Who knows? Kimber may be looking at this thread now? ...NOT!!!!
    farsidefan1 and ccw9mm like this.
    A wise man once said: "Bugout bag?..What's that? Is that all the junk you sidewalk commandos plan on humping when the SHTF...I'll grab a Nylon 66, a box of 22s and a poncho liner and in less than a week I will have all of your stuff and everything else that I need for the duration."

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldskeetshooter View Post
    I'd bet a "dollar to a doughnut" that Kimber is aware of the "Slide ramp" issue. I would call and tell them what I did to resolve the issue, but they would probably just say "You are aware that modifying the gun voids your warranty".
    Wouldn't surprise me. But it's hard to imagine polishing what the maker failed to polish constitutes modification of the gun. Of course, their claiming it would be all that's needed for that claim to stick; wouldn't need to be true or justifiable.

    Enjoy the new "perfect" shooter.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1911er View Post
    Topping it off probably puts more pressure on the ejector and the extractor.
    How?
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldskeetshooter View Post
    Slide1.jpgslide3.jpgslide4.jpg


    A friend has a Solo also. We measured the height of the ramp on his slide and the height on my slide. Amazingly,the ramp on my slide was .015 taller than his ramp on his slide. Also, the ramp on his Solo was very smooth and polished.

    A little stoning and polishing of the ramp on my Solo and Voila!!!!. Flawless operation after over 300 rounds of 115 gr. Winchester White Box. And 20 rounds of Federal 124gr HST, all fired in one session with no cleaning of the firearm. I am going to try some Speer and Hornady defense ammo this week. If all goes well, I may decide to keep the Solo.
    "

    Since I have nothing to compare to what was the final height on your stoned and polished ramp? I'm having the same issues.

    Dave
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    Sounds like now that you have resolved all the issues you are about ready for that 1000 round recoil spring assembly replacement! Another feature of the Solo. Beautiful pistol, but it seems to demand more attention than most pistols. On the positive side, I haven't heard a lot of long stories like yours to get it functioning properly. Then again, not a lot of people would have persevered. Now you can truly enjoy it, hopefully without fingers crossed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheep View Post
    Since I have nothing to compare to what was the final height on your stoned and polished ramp? I'm having the same issues.

    Dave
    I stoned the little bump down to .049" on mine. If you look at where the red arrow is pointing, you can see the machined angle cut onto the bump. This cut left a sharp edge that will drag on the next round in the mag, so much that it was scratching the brass. I also stoned the sharp edge down also just to "break" the edge slightly.
    RustyIron likes this.
    A wise man once said: "Bugout bag?..What's that? Is that all the junk you sidewalk commandos plan on humping when the SHTF...I'll grab a Nylon 66, a box of 22s and a poncho liner and in less than a week I will have all of your stuff and everything else that I need for the duration."

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