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Any Browning Hi-Power Gurus in here?

6879 Views 33 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  senecaap
I've had in interest in these but have no experience with them. I've had an offer of this one in trade for one of my Garands (somewhere between service and field grade). The HI-Power is an FN with a serial number of 35xxx. He says it shoots great, bore is bright and lands are sharp. Could this be a 1935 with the two first digits being 35? Any idea what the market is for these pre-browning pistols are?

Thanks,
Bob




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I'll call myself a guru though I'm not. It's a play on words, so here's why:

I took a handgun familiarization class where we got to shoot all kinds of handguns from .22LR all the way up to .45ACP. For the vast majority of hanguns I shot that day, my shots were on target, but nothing worth writing home about. The 9mm category included the BHP and the Glock 17. I picked up the Hi Power, fired my shots, and felt like a dang expert. There was a nice, tiny grouping in the genter of the paper. I picked up the Glock, and my target remained blank after my mag had been emptied (not a full mag! I think 5 rounds?). I don't know how I missed the target (every time!), but somehow I did.

A few months later a bunch of us got all our guns together on somebody's farm for a Day of Great Fun. Near the end of the day I decided I'd give my friend's CZ75 a try since it looks and feels a lot like a BHP. I put a hard drive on a metal stand (fancy word for rusted pole), walked back like 10-15yd or so, and fired 5 shots. All hits, I received compliments. The only other time I've ever been that accurate with a handgun is with my dad's PX4, but that's after having used it many times and having gotten accustomed to that long trigger pull. The BHP and CZ75 I was able to just pick up and shoot well without any practice. I can't explain it, but it's enough for me to want them when I'm not even a 9mm fan.

I'll leave real gurus to give you the more objective info.
 

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1935 is when the Hi Power was first adopted by a military & so got the designation of P-35.
That pistol does not appear to be military style but commercial so made later then 1935.
Also, it does not have the first series extractor.
Also, first ones had spur hammers.

As per WTW, that isn't allowed in any of the forums as it can not be done without a physical inspection of the gun.

HH
 

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Looks like it still has the mag safety. I have removed the ones from all my Hi Powers except an original MKI. Its easy to do. End result is trigger pull ends up like you'd just had an expesive trigger job done on it. And if you decide, you can easy enough reinstall it. All you need is the right size pin punch & small hammer to uninstall or reinstall.

HH
 

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Not a guru either but have put some study into the Hi-Power to try to date mine. The best information I've found is that such Hi-Powers probably date from just after World War II to the early 1950s. I have one that could be your pistol's older brother.

I ordered mine from a wholesaler advertising in "Shotgun News" back in the mid 1990s. It was represented as being from a batch of "Austrian Rural Police" contract pistols. For $50 extra one got "special selection." The prices were attractive so I sprung for the extra. The gun arrived with its original box and cleaning rod and looked completely unfired. Of course I've shot it quite a bit since but its external appearance remains much the same.






I'm also no particular fan of the 9mm cartridge but this is one of the very best automatics I've ever fired. The grip frame fits me perfectly and the balance is superb. Best of all, it's all steel with not an ounce of contemptible plastic to be seen anywhere.
 

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I do have a hodgepodge of P-35s.

Matching pair of MKIIIs.

All matching serial number Inglis with tangent sights & aftermarket buttstock.

MKII FN with Detective upper for CCW.

And a Charles Daly which I'd bought new as a beater. Except for frame, parts are FEG.

Browning & FN parts are all made at the Browning factory. Only finish is somewhat different.

Now, alittle on other current manufacturers. Like FEG & FM. They generally work fine new but when something wears out there is usually custom fitting needs done. The parts just aren't tempered correctly like those of Browning & FN.

HH
 

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"Could this be a 1935 with the two first digits being 35?" Nope, it's a later manufactured BHP, probably just before WWII. Notice the 1911 type internal extractor vs the newer exterior extractor and the rounded hammer vs the spurred hammer. These are early manufacture as FN/Browning went to the exterior and spurred hammer in the late '40s or early '50s IIRC.

I'm not sure about that cut-out/dished area on the slide's right side, but I believe it marks it a pre-WWII gun. The frame, slide and barrel should have the same serial number for the pistol to be considered "original". Check the magazine safety (will not fire with mag out) as the punch marks on the trigger and mag safety pins lead me to believe the mag safety has been removed.

Nothing visible on that pistol marks it as a "collectible", i.e.: made by Ingram of Canada, an adjustable sight w/shoulder stock cut, Nazi marked (Germany kept FN making BHPs during WWII would be marked w/eagle & swastika) or a very early manufactured model. Don't know what the going prices on used HPs are, but the MSRP for the Mark III from Browning is $1,059 (which means if you look, you can probably find a new one for around $800 or so) and a 'plain-jane' used one would be maybe $500-700. Check your local book store for a copy of any used guns pricing guides and compare. Also check out Gunbroker.com for going prices on HPs similar to the one you're looking at. A service grade M-1 Springfield Armory is going for $625 from the CMP, so the HP should be worth at least that to maybe $725. Note that only the middle mag "looks" like a factory mag, the other two are definitely aftermarket so functioning would be highly suspect. Factory mags are marked as such and all well made, reliable mags are not inexpensive. I'd shoot each mag (full) to see about reliability before swapping. Also have the pistol checked out by a good gunsmith before making the deal.

The High Power is one of the best pistols ever made. It fits my hand perfectly and is a breeze to shoot and hit the target with. Recoil is low and instinctive pointing is high...just point and shoot and you'll hit the target is what most people notice about the gun. It's easy to field strip (about 15 seconds) and reassemble (same time) and is a very reliable weapon. If you want a good, reliable, single action 9mm pistol the HP is the one to get. It might be a 77 year old design, but it's just as good if not better than any pistol made today in 9mm.
 

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Great pictures captain_bob_badfish

I wished I'd of bought a Highpower years back, (the early 70's), but they seemed so expensive at the time. One of my big mistakes in buying Pistolas... Mebe' someday, they are the ultimate 9mm as far as I'm concerned...
 
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That groove on the right right side of the slide is actually a thumb groove for making it easier for racking the slide back.

Israel make Hi Powers they continued with the thumb groove. I think they were deisgnated as Kareem or something like that.
 

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They had the gun, I had the money!

I wished I'd of bought a Highpower years back, (the early 70's), but they seemed so expensive at the time. One of my big mistakes in buy Pistolas... Mebe' someday, they are the ultimate 9mm as far as I'm concerned...
I got lucky with mine back in '84 or '85. The Mk II (or III) had just came out and the store I was at gave LEOs discounts. IIRC, it cost me around $425 (MSRP $1,059 now!!!), plus the extra mags and ammo! Took it home and went through 200 rounds in about an hour! There was no 10 ring on that target when I got through with it! Just wish I'd gone back and bought another one! GI1
 

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Browning & FN parts are all made at the Browning factory. Only finish is somewhat different.HH
Actually, Browning has no factory. The HiPower is made by FN at FN plants in Belgium and Portugal. Browning marked HiPowers are made by FN, except for those made in Japan for a few years. The HiPower is/was made in other countries such as Hungary, Argentina, and Israel, but none of those pistols were sold by Browning.
 

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Looks like it still has the mag safety. I have removed the ones from all my Hi Powers except an original MKI. Its easy to do. End result is trigger pull ends up like you'd just had an expesive trigger job done on it. And if you decide, you can easy enough reinstall it. All you need is the right size pin punch & small hammer to uninstall or reinstall.

HH
I've owned a Hungarian HP copy for about 10 years and I just got around to removing the mag safety two nights ago. You're right, wow what a difference. Great gun but I have no idea why that feature was ever designed into it.
 

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A pre-war HP would be slotted for a shoulder stock on the backstrap and have a tangent sight. I don't consider myself an expert, but every one I've owned has had these features. Early wartime German production at FN retained these characteristics but these were eliminated and a solid backstrap with a fixed rear sight and duller finish became the norm by 1944.
 

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That groove on the right right side of the slide is actually a thumb groove for making it easier for racking the slide back.

Israel make Hi Powers they continued with the thumb groove. I think they were deisgnated as Kareem or something like that.
Cheaper Hi-Power variants have piqued my interest, and I have noticed the FEG Hungarian variants and the Israeli Kareen variants. I have not done extensive research, but it seems that you are correct when it comes to custom work needing to be done if one wants to use more common replacement parts with the Hungarian FEG's. Can the Israeli Kareens use standard Hi-Power parts, or are will those need custom work done as well as in the case of the Hungarian FEG variants?
 
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