Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Evening 1911 Musings: Dan Wesson vs. Kimber

So I've gotten some hits from the search Dan Wesson vs. Kimber. Some thoughts, as one who owns pistols from both manufacturers...
I'd almost bet money that the folks who search for something like this are in the market for a 10mm 1911, so I'll just focus my commentary on those. I think that vis-a-vis the Kimbers, the Dan Wesson pistol plays the same role as the Springfield does -- that is, the DW 1911 is just as good of a pistol as the Kimber for less money, as you'll see if you check out my previous postings on the Dan Wesson Razorback I recently picked up. See here and here.
Now, with that said, as far as the 10mm goes, there is one big difference between the Kimber Stainless Target II and the Dan Wesson Razorback -- the former has a ramped and fully supported barrel, while the latter has a traditional barrel, albeit one that has a generous bit of throating. (I seem to recall someone saying the 10mm Pointman Seven had a ramped & supported barrel but am not 100% certain on that.) Now, how much of a difference this makes would probably depend on your personal habits more than anything else -- what kinds of bullets you use, what kinds of loads you drive through the gun, how many times you reload your brass, that sort of thing. As for me, the most risky thing I ever did with my Kimber was with (I think) twice-fired Federal American Eagle brass, a CCI large pistol primer and 14.8 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9 behind a 155-grain Hornady XTP. That's a half-grain over the minimum load, and even with that minimum load I was getting flattened primers -- albeit with no other signs of high pressure such as bulged brass. With the RZ's traditional barrel it might have been different, I don't know. (For the record, that particular combo was good for about 1370 fps on average out of the Kimber. Bet it'd make for a hell of a defense round...) Maybe those concerns could be at least somewhat mitigated by using only virgin brass for hot loads, but then that's a good idea anyway. I am sure I was pushing the envelope with that twice-fired brass, especially if what I've heard about the Hornady XTP is true -- that it's a high-friction bullet design, which makes for increased pressure. That would certainly explain away the flattened primers I was getting even with the minimum loads.
But, I've said it before and I'll say it again -- don't drink the Kimber Kool-Aid. I love both my Kimbers and would certainly buy another, but in my experience, to say they're better than at least Dan Wesson or Springfield is to have fallen for the marketing hype, even in the case of the 10mm, so to speak. Buy any of them and you'll have made a great choice.