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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all.
I have always loved the Browning Hi Power. My favorite back in the day when there were lots being imported was the Silver Chrome Model. I thought that was one of the most beautiful pistols ever. I never was able to get one though as they were never in stock when I had extra “Fun Money” saved up for just these things.

Now I do have a Hi Power. It’s one of the FN models that came standard from the factory with the SFS trigger system. Many hate it, but I don’t. I think it’s a useful variation to have when you want to carry your Hi Power. To each their own though.

I have thought about getting a decent Hi Power l, learning about it and how it’s put together as gradually adding parts or modifications to it so in the end I’ll have it just the way I want it. Granted, some of the stuff I wouldn’t be able to do and would have to send it out for the work to be done. That’s why this would be a long range project. I wouldn’t need to hurry on anything and I could take my time. If I found it too much for me, I could just stop and still have a nice Hi Power to shoot.

The first thing is I would have to pick a suitable base HP to use. The choices I see as possible are the FEG clones and the one that’s made in Turkey and sold by Brownells. It comes in blue and stainless. I think they are TISAS pistols, but am not sure about that. I have read great things about both options.

So, if you were going to do a project like this, or at least ATTEMPT to do it, what bade Hi Power would you choose to start your project with??


If you have done something like this, how about showing off your work and telling us about it? I know I’d really like to see it and read about your experiences doing it.
Thanks all.
Larry
 

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I really like my mk2, sorry no pics. Seems you have a nice one to use for EDC? I understand the desire to purchase another. As far as the clones go, IMHO, a nice used mk2 can be found for a similar cost. Not on gunbroker or our classifieds but be patient and when able to get out again (after covid19 outbreak) search your local shops for gently used trade ins. They ARE out there.

VERY nice C model. The "C"s I run into most often have adjustable sights mostly, not my favorite setup.
 

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I have 3 FEG guns that can be acquired at discount rates compared to the FN pricetag.


They are not fancy, they are not nearly as polished as an FN BUT they are solid built guns and if its gonna get spec'd and tweaked anyway, why not start with a 300 dollar gun instead of 1000.


I am not aware of anything about the guns that would contradict this...
 

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Hold out for an FN High Power. Visit the local gun shops. pawn shops, wherever guns are sold.

I just acquired an '89 in pretty darned good condition for $450.

They are out there.
 

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Here are my thoughts. I have multiple custom BHPs. I have built them on MKIIIs, C Series, T Series, MKIIs etc... I did not build them myself but I think my info will still be helpful.

I would not build on a Tisas. They have had some issues with extractors and heat treating on some of the firing pin retaining plates. Some people have had trouble fitting FN OEM replacement extractors. Dimensionally they are off a bit. The dovetails for the sights are proprietary. When these were $450 guns I might have considered them but these days they are $550 or higher. That might change after people stop losing their minds but for now I would pass. I know that C&S was using them at one time as base guns but I have never seen on in the wild only listed on their site. If you are going to use a Tisas I would by their parts over BHSS's parts.

Of the other clones FEG and early FM guns are good. They have a proven track record and many people have built on them in the past. The issue I have these days is that the prices on these have moved up. They are no longer $250 pawn shop finds. They are $400-$500 GB guns. To me when I am comparing a clone to FN/Browning gun I am willing to pay $100 more for the real thing. YMMV. I don't like the rollmarks on most FEGs or FMs. Early guns have more tasteful less billboard rollmarks so I prefer those. If the rollmarks don't bother you they are better clones to build on than the Tisas IMHO.

I would not use a T series unless I got it at a really good price or was going to checker the grip strap. There is a perceived premium or collector value to the T series guns. There is some myth and some truth to this but 99% of the time a seller will think a T series is worth more than of vintages. For me the T series are worth the extra money only if you are going to leave them stock. If you are going to modify them they are not worth the premium unless you are checkering the grip straps.

T Series custom by APW Cogan



If you are going to checker the gun a T series is one of the only choices. You can also look for a hard chromed frame on a Practical or Complete Hard Chromed gun or a FN rollmarked gun from the late 1990s-early 2000s. These guns do not have the serial number on the front of the grip strap. The serial number on the frame is under the ejection port or is just above the grip on the 1990's FN guns. A

C series are good base guns. A 1969-1973 C series is going to be the the same gun as a 1969-1972 T series and yes T series were made until 1972-73 no matter what FN/Browning or other websites tell you. These are great forge framed guns. They have nice machine polishes blued finishes and generally good craftsmanship. The downside to these guns is that you will need to machine the slide to get good proper modern sights on the gun. The positive part about this is that you can just send the slide to a smith like Novak and they can mill a proper dovetail and install the sights without having to provide the frame so shipping is a lot cheaper.

Wild West Guns C Series (My first BHP & first custom BHP)



1969 C series unknown Smith Reblued by Fords



Next come the MKII guns which will have a hog nose bushing, rib on the top of the slide and a drain hole on the front of the slide. These are for the most part still forged frame guns. Some of the last MKIIs are on cast frames. Some people love the MKII look others do not care for the hog nose. These are the last BHPs that do not have a firing pin safety. They are also the last that have the slightly different dimensions of a the forged vs cast frame. These are good base guns if you like the hognose bushing look. The slide on these will still need to be milled in order to get modern sights on the gun. They should come with an ambi safety.

Then comes the MKIII. These are the last version of the BHP. With the exception of some sight configuration changes these were the last variant to be produce. Production of the MKIII started in 1988. These guns are the first cast framed guns. They are dimensionally slightly different than the forged frame. Many people will not notice the difference. They have modern dovetails on the slide. They are propitiatory but there are after market sights which will push in. These guns have firing pin safeties. The cast frame is more durable than the early forged frame. It was beefed up when FN introduced the BHP in 40 S&W. The rails warped on the older forged frame on early prototype BHPs in 40 S&W. Many people will tell you this is your best bet for a high round count BHP. I believe this to be true but we are talking 20,000 rounds vs 15,000 rounds. Very few people are going to shoot any BHP to the point of frame rail failure IMHO. These are a great base gun IMHO.

Garthwaite MKIII





Those are the straight ahead variations of the BHP that you will most likely be choosing from. I would throw out 2 other variants which IMHO make the best CCW BHPs.

First is the MKII 1/2. These were made during the transition from the MKII to the MKIII. They have forged frames. They have MKIII dovetails on the slide. No hognose bushing, ridge or drain plug. They are 1988-1990ish guns. You have to look around to find them.



I took that gun and turned it into this Yost Signature Grade BHP.





Finally for me the best FN/Browning for CCW is the fullsized alloy BHP. These alloy BHPs were contract guns for some LEO in Europe. I have also had one of the Elusive FM Detective slides in a FN forged frame but I found that I did not shoot it as well as the fullsized BHP. Also it weighed almost the same as the fullsized gun so for me the Alloy was the prefect solution. Less weight with the almost identical feel while shooting as the standard BHP

There is a lot of myth and mystery as to who had them. R Blake Stevens in his book "The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol" Limited Edition attributes the '80 alloy BHP to "Belgian Gendarmerie Motorcycle Police issue" They weight about 25 .6 oz with an unloaded mag. For a point of comparison a Glock 19 weights 23.63. Many of them have code starting with "GVA", GVC or "GVB"

This info comes from another forum:

"GVA" stood for: "Gendarmerie Version Allégée" (Gendarmerie lightened version). They were indeed used by the men in the field who carried their HP all day long. Most of the men behind a desk seem to have had the classic steel frames. "GVB" and GVC" existed also but no more knowledge about these. The pistols were often used and abused for decades, often refinished several times by a sort of black enamel (this finish often chipped away after a couple of years in service).

This is two of mine before customization. It was refinished by the importer or prior to import. It most likely showed wear like the one in the second pic. Whatever holster they carried them in was really hard on the finish in a few areas. In my experience these were carried often shot very little. The finish and metal shows wear but the barrel, rails, lugs etc... are all good. R Guns out of IL had some crates full of Alloys which they have sold off in the last few years. They sold for $450- $700 depending on the day on GB. Before that it was Mach 1 who had them. AIM via PW Arms has had them as well over the years. No one really knows how many were made. Most people quote 2,000- 5,000 but no one really knows. These are my everyday CCW.

If I were looking to a CCW gun to customize I would look for an alloy. Sometimes people do not even know that the gun is an alloy. One of the tell tale signs in the second round oval on the frame. It is for a steel locking insert that was added to the gun. It uses a round not a square cam. You can see it in the pic below. If you look around and shop smart they can still be had for $500 =/-. These will not not be as high a round count shooter as a forged or cast frame but they are much nicer on the belt.





This is what I did with them. Don Williams built these for me.







 

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As to what work you should do on a CCW BHP to paraphrase Mr. Ted Yost all a BHP really needs to go from good to great is a great trigger, great sights and great safety. Everything else we do to them makes the pretty to look at.

Great Triggers: This breaks down into 2 sections. The actual trigger and the hammer and sear set.

For me the Garthwaite trigger is the best of the shelf BHP trigger available. It is my go to trigger. I prefer the flat trigger face and its profile over the C&S part but both are great. The Garthwaite trigger will normally require a bit more fitting than the C&S but the C&S is not sold as a "drop in part" but sometimes they do.

https://garthwaite.myshopify.com

The other popular one is the C&S wide combat trigger.

https://cylinder-slide.com/Category/BHPtr

For the sear and hammer I would use C&S. They are the best sets out there for end user install. The style of hammer and pull weight is a subjective choice so I won't comment there. If the hammer bites you of course pick a no bite option.

https://cylinder-slide.com/Category/BHPhs

Great Sights: There are lots of options out there. Novak is one of the fastest. They typically can turn your slide around in 10 days. The only issue is you have to like Novak Sights.

The other option is Heinie sights. They can also mill and install them but their install is expensive IMHO. The other issue is that Heinies hang off the back a bit. This bothers some people. This pic of a Garthwaite build shows the overhang. The angle of the first pic makes it look worse than it is.





From there just about any 1911 sight can be used if the person doing the installation knows what front height sight to use. Don Williams used Harrison 1911 rear sight and then a BEC rear sight on these BHPs.

Harrison





BEC




Great Safety: In the world of safeties custom built ones are the best. If you get a BHP from Yost, Williams, Garthwaite, Sokol etc... they will build a custom safety from an existing lever. IMHO Yost's and Gartwaite's are the nicest. Unfortunately they do not sell them as a stand alone part.

For aftermarket self installations I recommend sticking with the factory ambi if you like ambi safeties or getting a C&S wide or a C&S extended safety. The lever is different on these 2. It might be worth getting your hands on one of each and installing the one you like better and returning the other. Also make sure your hammer and sear is done prior to fitting the safety. If you fit the safety to the factory parts it might not work with a new sear and hammer set. It is best IMHO to do them all at once. Do not get the C&S ambi. It is horrible.

https://cylinder-slide.com/Category/BHPsaf

As for the rest finishes, stippling etc... is really up to you. There are lots of options out there. The last thing I would add is the change the grips. Spegels are the best looking and best fitting. For a hard working gun I like Navidrex Slim Micarta. Houges are ok and VZs if they fit are good too. Many BHP grips even Spegels sometimes require fitting to the gun. Some bed better than others. There are also Uncle Mikes designed by Spegel that were made at one time that pop up in the used market. They are nice but people think that they have a gold nugget and ask too much for them IMHO. Spegel also made some out of delrin but I believe he is no longer making those. I have not used them but they have the same profile as his wood ones with a plastic material. I would buy a set if I found them.

Good luck with the project.

Link to Navidrex: They go in and out of stock all the time at Brownells.

https://www.brownells.com/handgun-p.../browning-hi-power-combat-grips-prod9563.aspx.
 

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I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now
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DAMN, only,this forum could blow minds with the depth, knowledge and pictures of a Browning Hi-Power.

I've been thinking of acquiring one, never shot one, never held one. In a 100 words or less what do people love about them?

The history, the looks, the shootability ?
 

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Feel in the hand with a natural point of aim in a package with classic lines and looks. For me in the double stack world there is not a better gun in my hands. I can just pick it up and point it pull the trigger and the bullets go where I am looking.
 
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DAMN, only,this forum could blow minds with the depth, knowledge and pictures of a Browning Hi-Power.

I've been thinking of acquiring one, never shot one, never held one. In a 100 words or less what do people love about them?

The history, the looks, the shootability ?
All of the above, and dependability.
 

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High Power Fan
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I've been thinking of acquiring one, never shot one, never held one. In a 100 words or less what do people love about them?

The history, the looks, the shoot-ability?
All of the above and what everyone else said!

The first one I ever shot, only 10 rounds, was a 72C that belonged to a friend of a friend. I fell in love instantly knowing nothing of the history or the gun itself. After a bit of research I located a 2002 MKlll with factory installed SFS... the web site of Stephen Camp was the best part of my research.

My small collection has grown to 11 from that first one. Each is different and cover some 62 years of production. I am no gun smith, but I find them fairly easy to work on and maintain.

Since you are possibly in the market, my latest one is a 1989 model with Israeli markings. It cost only $450 and is in great shape having been refinished recently. There are plenty of High Powers out there at a wide range of prices.

I wish you good luck in finding your first one!
Best pistol ever made...
 

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An old C69 project (top/bottom left)

And a Frankenstein; mklll frame, old T series slide (bottom photos).

View attachment 456261 View attachment 456263 View attachment 456265

Beautiful! I'd love to have that!

Here are my thoughts. I have multiple custom BHPs. I have built them on MKIIIs, C Series, T Series, MKIIs etc... I did not build them myself but I think my info will still be helpful.

I would not build on a Tisas. They have had some issues with extractors and heat treating on some of the firing pin retaining plates. Some people have had trouble fitting FN OEM replacement extractors. Dimensionally they are off a bit. The dovetails for the sights are proprietary. When these were $450 guns I might have considered them but these days they are $550 or higher. That might change after people stop losing their minds but for now I would pass. I know that C&S was using them at one time as base guns but I have never seen on in the wild only listed on their site. If you are going to use a Tisas I would by their parts over BHSS's parts.

Of the other clones FEG and early FM guns are good. They have a proven track record and many people have built on them in the past. The issue I have these days is that the prices on these have moved up. They are no longer $250 pawn shop finds. They are $400-$500 GB guns. To me when I am comparing a clone to FN/Browning gun I am willing to pay $100 more for the real thing. YMMV. I don't like the rollmarks on most FEGs or FMs. Early guns have more tasteful less billboard rollmarks so I prefer those. If the rollmarks don't bother you they are better clones to build on than the Tisas IMHO.

I would not use a T series unless I got it at a really good price or was going to checker the grip strap. There is a perceived premium or collector value to the T series guns. There is some myth and some truth to this but 99% of the time a seller will think a T series is worth more than of vintages. For me the T series are worth the extra money only if you are going to leave them stock. If you are going to modify them they are not worth the premium unless you are checkering the grip straps.

T Series custom by APW Cogan



If you are going to checker the gun a T series is one of the only choices. You can also look for a hard chromed frame on a Practical or Complete Hard Chromed gun or a FN rollmarked gun from the late 1990s-early 2000s. These guns do not have the serial number on the front of the grip strap. The serial number on the frame is under the ejection port or is just above the grip on the 1990's FN guns. A

C series are good base guns. A 1969-1973 C series is going to be the the same gun as a 1969-1972 T series and yes T series were made until 1972-73 no matter what FN/Browning or other websites tell you. These are great forge framed guns. They have nice machine polishes blued finishes and generally good craftsmanship. The downside to these guns is that you will need to machine the slide to get good proper modern sights on the gun. The positive part about this is that you can just send the slide to a smith like Novak and they can mill a proper dovetail and install the sights without having to provide the frame so shipping is a lot cheaper.

Wild West Guns C Series (My first BHP & first custom BHP)



1969 C series unknown Smith Reblued by Fords



Next come the MKII guns which will have a hog nose bushing, rib on the top of the slide and a drain hole on the front of the slide. These are for the most part still forged frame guns. Some of the last MKIIs are on cast frames. Some people love the MKII look others do not care for the hog nose. These are the last BHPs that do not have a firing pin safety. They are also the last that have the slightly different dimensions of a the forged vs cast frame. These are good base guns if you like the hognose bushing look. The slide on these will still need to be milled in order to get modern sights on the gun. They should come with an ambi safety.

Then comes the MKIII. These are the last version of the BHP. With the exception of some sight configuration changes these were the last variant to be produce. Production of the MKIII started in 1988. These guns are the first cast framed guns. They are dimensionally slightly different than the forged frame. Many people will not notice the difference. They have modern dovetails on the slide. They are propitiatory but there are after market sights which will push in. These guns have firing pin safeties. The cast frame is more durable than the early forged frame. It was beefed up when FN introduced the BHP in 40 S&W. The rails warped on the older forged frame on early prototype BHPs in 40 S&W. Many people will tell you this is your best bet for a high round count BHP. I believe this to be true but we are talking 20,000 rounds vs 15,000 rounds. Very few people are going to shoot any BHP to the point of frame rail failure IMHO. These are a great base gun IMHO.

Garthwaite MKIII





Those are the straight ahead variations of the BHP that you will most likely be choosing from. I would throw out 2 other variants which IMHO make the best CCW BHPs.

First is the MKII 1/2. These were made during the transition from the MKII to the MKIII. They have forged frames. They have MKIII dovetails on the slide. No hognose bushing, ridge or drain plug. They are 1988-1990ish guns. You have to look around to find them.



I took that gun and turned it into this Yost Signature Grade BHP.





Finally for me the best FN/Browning for CCW is the fullsized alloy BHP. These alloy BHPs were contract guns for some LEO in Europe. I have also had one of the Elusive FM Detective slides in a FN forged frame but I found that I did not shoot it as well as the fullsized BHP. Also it weighed almost the same as the fullsized gun so for me the Alloy was the prefect solution. Less weight with the almost identical feel while shooting as the standard BHP

There is a lot of myth and mystery as to who had them. R Blake Stevens in his book "The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol" Limited Edition attributes the '80 alloy BHP to "Belgian Gendarmerie Motorcycle Police issue" They weight about 25 .6 oz with an unloaded mag. For a point of comparison a Glock 19 weights 23.63. Many of them have code starting with "GVA", GVC or "GVB"

This info comes from another forum:

"GVA" stood for: "Gendarmerie Version Allégée" (Gendarmerie lightened version). They were indeed used by the men in the field who carried their HP all day long. Most of the men behind a desk seem to have had the classic steel frames. "GVB" and GVC" existed also but no more knowledge about these. The pistols were often used and abused for decades, often refinished several times by a sort of black enamel (this finish often chipped away after a couple of years in service).

This is two of mine before customization. It was refinished by the importer or prior to import. It most likely showed wear like the one in the second pic. Whatever holster they carried them in was really hard on the finish in a few areas. In my experience these were carried often shot very little. The finish and metal shows wear but the barrel, rails, lugs etc... are all good. R Guns out of IL had some crates full of Alloys which they have sold off in the last few years. They sold for $450- $700 depending on the day on GB. Before that it was Mach 1 who had them. AIM via PW Arms has had them as well over the years. No one really knows how many were made. Most people quote 2,000- 5,000 but no one really knows. These are my everyday CCW.

If I were looking to a CCW gun to customize I would look for an alloy. Sometimes people do not even know that the gun is an alloy. One of the tell tale signs in the second round oval on the frame. It is for a steel locking insert that was added to the gun. It uses a round not a square cam. You can see it in the pic below. If you look around and shop smart they can still be had for $500 =/-. These will not not be as high a round count shooter as a forged or cast frame but they are much nicer on the belt.





This is what I did with them. Don Williams built these for me.







[IMG said:

Wow! I'm on my 3rd BHP (I stupidly sold the first two). I just want to say thank you for all the info. I'd really like the two tone BHPs you have posted. Don't leave them lying around where I can get my hands on them!!! Best regards,
 

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Beautiful! I'd love to have that!






Wow! I'm on my 3rd BHP (I stupidly sold the first two). I just want to say thank you for all the info. I'd really like the two tone BHPs you have posted. Don't leave them lying around where I can get my hands on them!!! Best regards,
An old pic there are more now.

 

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An old pic there are more now.


Beautiful! Any of the two tones! My current in a 1975, blue so I understand diversity is the key!
 

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DAMN, only,this forum could blow minds with the depth, knowledge and pictures of a Browning Hi-Power.

I've been thinking of acquiring one, never shot one, never held one. In a 100 words or less what do people love about them?

The history, the looks, the shootability ?
The prime attractions for me;

Seamless transition for a 1911 shooter in terms of manual of arms/grip angle, although OEM triggers approach dreadful.

It’s JMBs last project (ok, completed by the French guy).

Arguably the easiest carried, all Steel, full size MIL sidearm.

And if you don’t think the P35 is one of the best looking handguns ever, you may be a hoplophobe.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
YOWZA!! What a wealth of knowledge you all have shared!! AWESOME stuff. I learned quite a bit WVSig. I had no idea the alloy models were just a hair heavier than my Glock 19. I didn’t know they were produced in the numbers that would make it feasible to find a decent one. I thought they were rare models that didn’t show up for sale very often. I’d love to have one of those to carry.
I’m gonna start putting back some extra money when I can and when I get to the level I need, I’m gonna start the looking.
Thank you all again for all the help. I really appreciate it. larry
 

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YOWZA!! What a wealth of knowledge you all have shared!! AWESOME stuff. I learned quite a bit WVSig. I had no idea the alloy models were just a hair heavier than my Glock 19. I didn’t know they were produced in the numbers that would make it feasible to find a decent one. I thought they were rare models that didn’t show up for sale very often. I’d love to have one of those to carry.
I’m gonna start putting back some extra money when I can and when I get to the level I need, I’m gonna start the looking.
Thank you all again for all the help. I really appreciate it. larry
Yup. The base of the grip on a HP is exactly the same size as your G19.
Everything else is slimmer than the G19, and a lot easier to conceal.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
When I am browsing GB and other firearm selling sites, is there a model number or name that these Aluminum frames will be identified with or have you all found that they are simply listed as HI POWER ALUMINUM or LIGHTWEIGHT frame?

What’s the usual or common practice that you all have seen? It would be nice if there was a model number or specific name to this version so you wouldn’t have to go in and read the description in every Hi Power that is suspected might be an aluminum frame.

thank you all once again for all your help and info that you all share.

NalaJr.
 
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