Browning Hi-Power tweaking?

Browning Hi-Power tweaking?

This is a discussion on Browning Hi-Power tweaking? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I know there are some BHP enthusiasts on this board - perhaps you'd be willing to share some experience with me. I'm just beginning on ...

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Thread: Browning Hi-Power tweaking?

  1. #1
    Member Array faithmyeyes's Avatar
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    Browning Hi-Power tweaking?

    I know there are some BHP enthusiasts on this board - perhaps you'd be willing to share some experience with me. I'm just beginning on my trip down the road of formal combative pistol training with my much-loved 9mm Hi-Power (it's an eight-year-old factory Mk III, looks exactly like this). After my first course, I'm considering how I might improve some things about it to make it a better fighting pistol for me. Specifically -

    • The hammer. I don't and have never had issues with the "hammer bite" that seems to be a standard BHP gripe - my problem is that the long spur gets in the way of grip attainment when I'm carrying it farther back than 3:00. It seems like one of the C&S Type I ring hammers might help.
    • The trigger/magazine disconnect issue. I'd like the magazine disconnect gone. It makes the trigger take-up inconsistent and gritty. I might be happy enough with the trigger weight if it weren't for this.
    • The magazine well. For combat reloading, I was taught to index using the back edge of the mag against the back edge of the mag well, then rotate forward while pushing up - but the front corners of the mag always seem to hang. Mag well beveling would be helpful, I think, but I don't know if there's enough room there.
    • The safety. I don't mind that it's ambidextrous, but I didn't realize how unusually stiff it was until I looked down the line and watched the guys with 1911's flicking theirs on and off with such little effort. The first half-day of range drills I wore a blister on my thumb. The second day I wrapped my thumb with two layers of athletic tape and wore a hole through both. There's got to be a way to improve that... right?


    I've looked around the Web at various gunsmiths, but I keep getting the impression that they're targeting customers who want a truly custom gun, not just a few usability improvements. I don't need or want to pay for new grips, sights, refinishing, stippling, polishing, accurizing, engraving, etc. The work is beautiful, but it's just not in my budget to spend as much or more than a whole new gun would cost on this kind of thing.

    Is there any hope? Can any of this work be done by a non-gunsmith? Is there someone I've overlooked who does this kind of thing to BHPs for a reasonable cost? Aren't Hi-Powers the best full-size 9's you've ever handled?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    in peace
    faithmyeyes


  2. #2
    JD
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    The mag disconnect is somewhat easy to remove.

    I'd give Jess at On Target Custom a call, he should take on just doing a few tweaks.

    I bought a full gun from him and I'm very happy with it. With the added C&S safety it's more like a 1911 thumb safety, and he may start working on a hybrid thumb safety based of a C&S safety with a different lever welded on.

    I know in talking with Jess that he's looking to lessen the amount of full from scratch customs and is looking to increase his work load with just a few changes to customer guns.

    Probably worth giving him a call, I don't know what his current back log is, but the work is top notch.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faithmyeyes View Post
    [*]The hammer. I don't and have never had issues with the "hammer bite" that seems to be a standard BHP gripe - my problem is that the long spur gets in the way of grip attainment when I'm carrying it farther back than 3:00. It seems like one of the C&S Type I ring hammers might help.
    It probably will. I never liked the looks, though, so I Dremel-radiused the rear of the hammer, removing slightly less than 1/16".
    [*]The trigger/magazine disconnect issue. I'd like the magazine disconnect gone. It makes the trigger take-up inconsistent and gritty. I might be happy enough with the trigger weight if it weren't for this.
    Totally plug (or in this case, "unplug") -n-play. Take your time, it isn't hard.
    [*]The magazine well. For combat reloading, I was taught to index using the back edge of the mag against the back edge of the mag well, then rotate forward while pushing up - but the front corners of the mag always seem to hang. Mag well beveling would be helpful, I think, but I don't know if there's enough room there.
    It can be beveled, but you'll never have a Jet Funnel, short of welding one on. A light 45* cut works well, and a bit more can be done at the rear.
    [*]The safety. I don't mind that it's ambidextrous, but I didn't realize how unusually stiff it was until I looked down the line and watched the guys with 1911's flicking theirs on and off with such little effort. The first half-day of range drills I wore a blister on my thumb. The second day I wrapped my thumb with two layers of athletic tape and wore a hole through both. There's got to be a way to improve that... right?[/LIST]
    The BHP safety is the reverse of the 1911- the plunger is in the safety and impinges on the frame. Just be careful removing it, so you don't launch it across the room. Easy fix: use some 400 grit wet/dry paper to round the sharp point on the detent, and maybe polist the head with a Dremel felt wheel & compound. If it still feels really tight, it's a fitting issue, and should be professionally attended.

    Is there any hope? Can any of this work be done by a non-gunsmith?
    YES! Most of what you desire can be accomplished with a Dremel, wet/dry paper, a 4-6" long Swiss cut file and a 1/8" chainsaw sharpening round file(...for the mag well.) and some 44/40 cold blue.

  4. #4
    Member Array thebees's Avatar
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    P-35

    Glad to see this thread. I thought I was the only Hi-Power nut here. I much prefer the P-35 to the 1911. I have worked on a Hi-Power so I know it doesn't take a gunsmith to do the minor stuff.
    I would leave the magazine safety unless I was going to shoot IDPA or some other competetion. I also don't have a problem with hammer bite but I prefer the looks of the Browning ring hammer to the conventional. I don't like the ambi safety as it adds to the width of the pistol but mine is pretty smooth. I will lighten it a little when I take it apart to replace the hammer spring.
    Mine has a nice crisp trigger but is a couple of pounds more than I like.
    I wish they would make a companion piece with a shorter barrel/slide
    and a single stack (skinny) grip.
    Don't have any problem with carrying cocked and locked.

  5. #5
    Member Array RKirk's Avatar
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    BHP

    Faithmyeyes,

    Welcome to the forum. I have a Charles Daly Hi-Power clone. It has become my number one pistol. I was able to take the magazine disconnect out of the pistol. Doing that did improve the trigger. I now have 2,400 rounds through the pistol. I can say that firing that many rounds has had a positive effect on the smooth operation of the pistol.

    The CD HP had a safety on one side only, because I am left handed I purchased a Cylinder and Slide ambidextrous safety and paid a gun smith to install my new safety. The C&S safety is a very positive and easy to operate safety. I am sure they make a single side safety.

    I used a resource published by Stephen Camp. For a very reasonable price you can buy a disassemble - reassemble manual with photos and text that take you step by step. Also check out his web site:

    Hi Powers and Handguns

    Mr. Camp is the authority on the Hi-Power pistol.

    Caution Hi-Powers are addictive, although I really like the CD HP I am already saving money to purchase a Mark III Practical model. I have been told that Mr. Camp once said "the minimum number of Hi-Powers you should own are a pair and a spare".

    I may not have that quote down exactly, but its close.


    -- Richard
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

  6. #6
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    Take a look over at Brownell's at the offerings by Cylinder & Slide for the Hi-Power.
    Allow me the pleasure of making it easy for you. Click Here.

    Check out the Match Grade trigger lever.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Sportsterguy's Avatar
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    The only mod I have made to my HP was a C&S non ambi safety. Ex Gunners Mate friend installed it and it is positive in engagement and doesn't tear up my thumb. Was a 1911 guy for years but this HP fits my hand like a glove and conceals as easily as my SA Champion. Love it!!!


    1977 HP


    HBE COM III - IMO the best IWB out there!
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    Join the NRA today, or don't complain when your guns are taken away!

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Ridgeline's Avatar
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    Yeah, the BHP group is alive... I too love my HP's I actually have three and have done nothing to any of them other then sights on one. I did invest in some spring released mags for my .40 HP that I must say work well. I do prefer the hammer on the one that is pictured, and this is one of the weapons that I carry often. Good to see you y'all.
    Last edited by Ridgeline; June 26th, 2008 at 09:29 PM. Reason: <sp>
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    Member Array ranburr's Avatar
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    If you want to really do it right, change out everything you can with C&S stuff. You will wonder how you ever lived without it. At a minimum, get rid of that mag safety. That one mod will show an instant improvement. Take a file and bevel the magwell and slap a little cold blue on. Use that same file and cold blue to address your hammer issue. The one part that I think you really have to change out is the thumb safety.

    ranburr

  10. #10
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKirk View Post

    I used a resource published by Stephen Camp. For a very reasonable price you can buy a disassemble - reassemble manual with photos and text that take you step by step. Also check out his web site:

    Hi Powers and Handguns
    I snagged the Camp dis assembly manual on eBay, it can't be beat, but until anyone gets theirs, I found THESE on-line, not as good as the Camp publication, but better than nothing.

  11. #11
    Member Array Guevera's Avatar
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    I am another big BHP fan and recently swapped my spur hammer for a C&S model and like it a lot better. Put some low-mount Novak night sights on it and some Gunner's Grips, and it is near perfection for me.

    ....but speaking of perfection, after seeing this thread on ARFCOM I went out, bought a new BHP, and immediately sent it to these guys at Heirloom Precision so I could get in line for this conversion package. Talk about perfection. Here they are addressing many of the OP's concerns with the hammer and magazine well. Click for unadulterated BHP porn: AR15.COM :: Forums :: Anatomy of the SRT Hi-Power...

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    My 1995 Standard is in the shop now, losing the magazine disconnect and tuning the trigger. I've also added a set of Craig Spegel cocobolo grips which look and feel fantastic. I haven't had any problems with the hammer yet, so I haven't opted for that mod. I think I might like a set of Novak night sights to replace the factory sights, but these aren't as bad as the older versions.

    +1 for all of Mr. Camp's material. It's abolutely top-knotch.

    I'm really excited about the BHP, and can hardly wait to get the UBG Regulator I've got on order from Nate. I'm afraid I've developed another addiction!
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

  13. #13
    Member Array faithmyeyes's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks a lot for all the info. I've been to Mr. Camp's site several times, but somehow missed that he published a "service manual."

    Man, that SRT custom is nice... I'd probably be too in awe to actually pick it up and shoot it.

    in peace
    faithmyeyes

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faithmyeyes View Post
    Hey, thanks a lot for all the info. I've been to Mr. Camp's site several times, but somehow missed that he published a "service manual."

    Man, that SRT custom is nice... I'd probably be too in awe to actually pick it up and shoot it.

    in peace
    faithmyeyes
    In addition to the service manual, I highly recommend Stephen A. Camp's Hi-Power Disassembly Guide. Six 8-1/2 x 11 pages, laminated (the heavy stuff). It's really, really handy and with the lamination, you won't muck it up when you get powder residue and gun oil on it!
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

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