Firing Line 12/98


NAA Customer Service
I have been a subscriber to your publication since it began and consider it the finest publication that exists on the subject of firearms. I only wish you published such a magazine on computers.

Almost ten years ago, I purchased a North American Arms .22 Magnum Mini-Revolver. I carry it when I jog or rollerblade and as a backup to the .45 Colt Officers Model I routinely carry.

Three weeks ago, while disassembling the Magnum Mini-Revolver for cleaning I lost the $3 hand spring. Upon calling the factory, their representative (Mr. Wayne Martin) suggested I return the gun for replacement of the part and reassembly.

In less than three weeks, the gun was returned. It had been completely rebuilt with all new parts. In effect, they had created a new gun for me, at no charge whatsoever.

I consider this to be an exceptional consumer-oriented service and would like to go on record in praising their commitment to serving their customers and standing behind their product. This is indeed the mark of a quality organization that cares about people.

I can think of no better forum than your magazine to publicly express my gratitude and appreciation to this fine company.

Dr. Mel Steinberg
Miami, FL

Dr. Steinberg: Thanks for your accolades, and for pointing out the responsible actions of North American Arms, Inc. It’s good to know such companies still exist.

Kimber Gold Match
In the October 1998 issue, you compared the Colt, Kimber and Springfield .45 ACP match grade pistols. In that article, you stated the Kimber failed to “function reliably” with Federal match semiwadcutters (SWC).

In defense of this fine pistol (I proudly own a Custom Classic in both blued and stainless steel), I would suggest the problem could be that individual pistols are as particular about cartridge overall length (OAL) as they are to a particular load for accuracy. I recently fired 150 lead semiwadcutters through my stainless with no problems, 50 of those during an IPSC competition. The OAL of these rounds was 1.265 inches. Anything less than that OAL can and will cause feeding problems.

While experimenting with several LRN bullet OAL’s for the Kimber, I was with three club members who were shooting a Glock, a Sig and a Springfield. They each tried my handloads with OAL’s of 1.250, 1.255, 1.260 and 1.265 inches. My Kimber digests everything at or above 1.255 inches without any problems, and only minor ones at 1.250 inches. The Glock fed reliably at 1.260 inches and above, while the Sig wouldn’t even consider anything less than 1.265 inches. The Springfield gave minor problems at 1.260 inches and fed reliably at 1.265 inches.

I don’t know if the Gold Match has tighter tolerances than the Custom Classic’s +/- 0.001 inch, but I feel very strongly the cartridge OAL may have contributed to your test problems. I would be a shame for anyone to pass up such an excellent pistol if OAL would solve the feeding problem.

Darrell Axtell
Oklahoma City, OK

Mr. Axtell: Yes, the overall length of cartridges can have a big effect on how well a pistol will function. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and our readers.

More Kimber Gold Match
As the proud new owner of a Kimber Gold Match, I read your comparison with much anticipation and interest. To date, I have put approximately 700 rounds through my new pistol without a single jam or malfunction.

I was surprised at your results until I realized one very important fact. I was told by other members of my gun club that I would be asking for trouble if I tried to shoot 185-grain SWC bullets in a .45 ACP. They have a tendency to jam a number of makes and models. I have fired 500 rounds of 200-grain SWC without a problem. I’m certainly not an expert, but I believe that if you repeated your test with 200-grain SWC, you would find that the Kimber will function flawlessly.

Jack Dettweiler
Albuquerque, NM

Mr. Dettweiler: Yes, we have also found that 185-grain SWC’s can be troublesome. That is why we use them to test match-grade .45 ACP pistols. If a pistol will feed this load, it should work reliably with most other kinds of target ammunition.


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