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Discussion Starter #1
Browning High Power what a name

What can ya tell me about them?

Anyone Carry one?

As knowledgeable as i am on the 1911 i am the excate oppsite on the BHP i know its 9mm and can be had in 40 its single action and of course the Firearms Designer God made it..

So Edcuate me if i was to go out and but a new one today what to look for who to buy from. Also if i bought used who to buy who to stay away from etc etc


I've almost got everything on my want/wish list the BHP is there but towards the bottom and im about 3 away so time for research.


So High Power owners Afficandos Sound off on your most beloved Gun.

Also how about some weights loaded unloaded etc etc so i can get a ideal of where it stacks up for carry Weight doesnt bother me but is it as heavy as a 1911 or weigh more with a bunch of 9mm rounds
 

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Ahhh - the BHP!!! One of my much loved guns Bud.

I did carry my BHP Practical for some while and was well content with that - tho switched to SP-101 prior to going to SIG as now.

I expect you've seen the pic but I'll repost. Weight? Lemme see and go check for ya. ............

Empty - with mag - a tad over 2 pounds

With full mag - 13 rounds - 2 pounds seven ounces.




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To add - I would try if possible to find a genuine Browning - the earlier which I guess we could call Mk II. I am not so keen on Mk III offerings myself.

Some folks have gotten FN BHP's thru CDNN and reckon for $400 or so they are good.

A well preserved older BHP is well worth consideration IMO - even real early. This Practical is a dream gun for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Anything to look for spefically when checking one out like cracks in the frame in certain spots/etc etc i know before i buy ill get Steve Camps guide to the High power but anything ya can tell me is good
 

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Indeed Bud - info and opinion from Steve would be invaluable.

From my experience frames should be no major prob - I would tho field strip and inspect barrel lugs - if folks shoot too much hot ammo then the barrel lugs and engagements will show burring - a sign I feel that shows either too much use in total thruput and/or - excessive loads.

Other than that - a tight slide and trigger that feels good should be enough. Most folks take out mag safety BTW but you should have those parts with any gun you buy, in case need to to refit later.
 

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I had the same question Bud. Looking forward to the replys. I have Stephen Camps BHP Guide on my short wants list before looking for a BHP.
 

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Let's see, the original wonder 9, (now available in 40) so 13+ round 9mm magazines are easy to come by & inexpensive.

The triggers are harder to work on than a 1911.

The Mark II's have small safety levers and may have trouble feeding hollowpoints, but they don't have the firing pin block, so they tend to have better triggers.

Spegel or Hogue grips are good aftermarket items, especially on the new guns. The only workable laser (If that is important to you) that I've found are the Crimson Trace grips.

There are good and bad clones, and enough variations of the original to keep the most insane collectors happy.

Get Steven Camp's books before you buy the gun, they are great.

For the record I have a BHP in 40, which I like, but it is a better gun in 9mm IMHO, and there are better 40's out there than the BHP.
 

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Hello. The Browning 9mm Hi Power remains a favorite of mine and I've not been without at least one since 1971. I've used them for fun at the range, defended my home with one on one ocassion, and used them as a duty gun for several years as a police officer.

I still have two of my earliest Hi Powers, both being of the old "classic" design originally. Both have been customized and continue to serve well.


This '72 commerical model was customized by gunsmith, Lou Williamson, who did the work on my first Hi Power as well.


This is my oldest Hi Power. I have no idea how many thousands of rounds have been fired through it.


This is my old "duty gun." I had it reblued after retiring from police service. Like my first Hi Power, the blue was completely gone from the front strap from use. (If this gun could talk, I'd have to kill it.)

The classic, traditional Hi Powers that most of are remember had forged frames and small fixed sights as well as a very small single-sided thumb safety. In the '80's, the Mk II was introduced. It had the first factory extended thumb safeties I'd seen from FN and had an integral, narrow rib on top of the slide. The front sight was also integral as it was part of the rib. Finishes ran from very rough like mine to a nice matte blue as well as parkerizing that varied from green to black. In the late '80's, the Mk III was introduced. While the Mk II's fixed sights were better than those on the classic, the Mk III sights were a bit bigger. Gone was the rib and the front sight dovetailed into the slide. The same extended ambi thumbsafeties remained. The shape of the ejection port had been more "squared off" and more closely resembles that of the 1911 pattern pistols. It was beefed up at the bottom rear of the port to prevent slide cracks that could occur there if lots of heavy power ammunition was used.

Initial Mk III pistols had forged frames, but in the early '90's, FN began using a cast frame. Reportedly this was due to the introduction of the .40 Hi Power. It seems that the forged frame Hi Power's rails would warp or crack at around 2500 rounds. The cast frame stopped this. Eventually, all frames, 9mm and .40 were cast rather than forged as the frames are identical, major changes being in the slides.

I've had very good luck with the Hi Power in terms of both accuracy and reliability. Oddly enough, the most accurate out-of-the-box Hi Power I've ever fired didn't belong to me. It was one of the Chinese contract guns and grouped like a match gun. One can normally expect groups in the 2 1/2 to 3" range with the Hi Power at 25 yards.
Some guns do a bit better and a few worse. On average, I say a bit under 3" is the norm. Hi Powers can indeed be made to shoot well experimenting with handloads or factory ammunition.

I recall in one old issue of the "Handloader," a fellow worked up loads for an unaltered Hi Power and wound up using a 115-gr. Sierra JHP at about 1150 ft/sec to get groups at the 1" mark at 25 yards. I don't remember the load...dammit.

With fitted BarSto barrels, I've noted the greatest increase in accuracy to be with cast bullets. With jacketed, my guns group roughly 15 to 20% tighter than with factory barrels, but the difference seems to be less with the Mk III pistols. Most of those seem to have their barrels fitted quite nicely. I'm not speaking Camp Perry match accuracy, but it's not unusual to see the Mk III's w/factory bbls and loads the gun "likes" doing about 2" or so. That's plenty good for my requirements.


This Mk III has been lightly altered at home. Though a couple of Mk III pistols of mine have Novak sights on them, I actually find no tightening of groups in either slow or rapid fire over the factory fixed sights. Others may feel just the opposite.

If interested, observations on ammunition and other Hi Power-related material can be found here:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/HiPowerComments.html

There are also Hi Power-related questions in the FAQ section of that site.

Best.
 

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Great post, Steve. You've almost sold me on getting Browning's other classic pistol. (that money thing keeps getting in the way!)

By the way, your website is great. Nice work!
 

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I like my BHP (9mm), but it has about the same weight and size as a full size 1911, so for a 9mm it's one of the bigger and heavier ones. The stock trigger is pretty bad and the magazine safety contributes to the heaviness.

Mine is as accurate as any gun I have shot (well, I've done a bunch of trigger work on mine, so it's smooth and lightened) and I have never had a malfunction of any kind with it. I'm not crazy about the thumb safety, it's kinda small and could be more easily missed than a 1911 thumb safety.

One interesting thing is, it being a SA and a cousin to the 1911, it has a fairly long trigger reset if that's significant.

I haven't had the hammer bite with mine but some do. I'm not quite as enamored with the BHP as many are, but I wouldn't hesitate to depend on it as a carry gun. And I do carry it from time to time.
 

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I have a FN HP Double Action Compact that I got in a trade. Nice little gun, but I think some HP purists will not consider it a real HP since it is double action.
 

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Steve - once more - great input and good to see those pics, thank you.

Interesting how those real early models have approx 1/4" barrel projection up front - something I had not even remembered - or was that the result of customizing?.

My first one way back was pretty early - but had barrel flush. It was tho all but std without being worked on much.
 

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As you can see from my avatar, I'm a BHP fan. (That picture shows my personal carry piece with IWB holster and mag pouch).

I use Ramline 15 rd mags (they quit making them when the AWB hit) loaded with 115gr Winchester ST HP's.

No other gun fits my hand as well or is as natural to use (including the 1911's I've tried). Easy to field strip, clean and maintain. I've put thousands of rounds through mine over the past 20 years and have never had a failure not caused by magazines or ammo.

I trust my life and the life of my family to it when I CCW.

That's why _I_ carry one and would never be without one if I have a choice.

Stephen has forgotten more about BHP's than I've ever known and I have nothing to add but my own opinions (kevelar and nomex in position):

The Browning Hi-Power is the design where John Moses Browning corrected the mistakes he made with the 1911. (Caliber arguments aside)

And for JT: You're right, I certainly do not consider that a BHP. Double action automatics are a hardware solution to a training problem, and making the BHP a double action decreases it's worth as a defensive firearm, IMHO. 'Tis Blashphemy unto the name of JMB, peace be on to his name. :smile:
 

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ka0azs said:
The Browning Hi-Power is the design where John Moses Browning corrected the mistakes he made with the 1911. (Caliber arguments aside)
I've heard that before, what mistakes did John make on the 1911?

IIRC, JMB never finished the BHP design, it was finished and produced by FN. Isn't that right?
 

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Tangle said:
I've heard that before, what mistakes did John make on the 1911?

IIRC, JMB never finished the BHP design, it was finished and produced by FN. Isn't that right?
Well, this is all MY opinon, but:

1. It just "feels" better. I've handled and fired many 1911's over the years and have never found one to match the fit and feel of an out of the box BHP.

2. I find the barrell bushing and takedown proceedures of the 1911 overly complicated, and just that much more to go wrong. Much prefer the BHP takedown.

3. I feel the grip safety is unneccessary, probably contributes to why I don't like the feel of the 1911, and again, is just something else to malfunction.

These are probably not so much "mistakes" as design choices that I don't agree with, but that quote sure does get the discussion flowing! :biggrin:

JMB passed away prior to completion of the design, and the final work was accomplished by Dieudonne Saive of FN, with many of the final changes made to accomodate a French military contract IIRC.

I'm sure Stephen can correct any factual errors I've made (as opposed to those based on my opinon)
 

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ka0azs said:
Double action automatics are a hardware solution to a training problem
Well, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with that one. I think the ultimate action is DAO with no external safety. After that I would take a double action with no external safety. You have to have an external safety if you are going to have a single action. I would rather have a little bit longer trigger pull than have to worry about taking a safety off.
 

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Hello. I am not a "historian" or collector of Hi Powers, but I have done a bit of checking on them over the decades. The first time I remember seeing the Hi Power being described as "the pistol correcting the mistakes that Mr. Browning knew existed in the 1911" was in some gun magazine, although I don't remember which or what author wrote it.

Conversations with a number of folks who are up on the history of the gun and Mr. Browning have advised me that this was not the case. I don't know if it's true or not, but it does tend to make sense, I think.

Browning's 1911 was proving quite popular and had been sold to Colt, along with all patent protections. The Hi Power was initially a striker-fired gun intended for a forty-caliber proprietary cartridge, although it would not have been at the same level of performance as today's .40 S&W. The original Hi Power ala John M. Browning was also larger than the finished gun after Mr. Saive's contributions. It is interesting to note that the FN-produced Model 1910 and 1922 were both striker-fired autoloaders as was his diminuative .25 ACP.

Anyway, the great genius passed and D. Saive completed the gun. I strongly suspect that he got the idea for the sear lever in the slide from the similar but shorter lever in the side plate of the then modern Luger. I cannot prove that. In any event, he went to the external hammer and internals that certainly could not be considered similar to the great 1911. At that time, it is my understanding that the gun was intended for the military market and the removeable barrel bushing, etc, were altered to make fewer parts for a soldier to lose. In any event, I do believe that I prefer the external hammer Hi Power rather than the original striker-fired one envisioned by The Great One. (FWIW, Saive fathered the FAL rifle, one of the best and most prolific battle rifles in recent history. He was no slouch at designing, either, in my view.)

The Hi Power wound up being chambered for the then somewhat new and popular 9x19mm at the behest of the Frenchies who wanted a new military gun in that caliber. It was they who requested not only 9mm but the magazine disconnect so that a stockpile of Hi Power pistols could be rendered inert simply by having the magazines removed or stored elsewhere. FWIW, the French never adopted the BHP, but went with French design (MAB, I think) instead.

As for the other comments, I can only state for fact that I prefer the single-action auto pistol to the conventional DA/SA or DAO, but as a firearm instructor for 11 years, I worked with folks using all of these guns. It was not difficult to make competent shooters out of those folks wanting to use any of those action types. The only ones who remained mediocre or barely qualifying were those who either didnt' care or were not willing to work. All of us want to shoot well, but as we all know, wanting is not enough. Much work and proper practice is required.

Best.
 

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Steve - great stuff, yet again.

So glad you joined us here to add your considerable knowledge. :smile:
 
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