Inexpensive Browning High-Power clones?


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AirPower
September 24, 2005, 03:33 AM
How about those inexpensive BHP clones, like Argentina FM, Hungary FEG, Bulgaria Arcus, India and also Israel made copies. Are they any good, and is oen better than another? I'm looking to pick one up for about 200 bucks.

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SouthpawShootr
September 24, 2005, 09:35 AM
I have the FEG, Arcus, and FM 95 Detective.

Looks to me that my FEG is as close to the original as you can get. It's a nice gun, but there are flaws in the finish, but not glaring and they're excellent guns for the money.

My Arcus was $50 more than my FEG and seems to be about the same quality as the FEG. It departs drastically from the looks of the Hi-Power, but, from what I've been able to gather, most parts interchange.

My FM is has a slightly different slide contour than a real Hi-Power, but otherwise it's identical. Finish doesn't compare, though. Funny thing is that the mags drop free from this gun even though it has the dredded magazine disconnect. The trigger is better than any stock factory Hi-Powers I've tried, Browning or FN.

Haven't had any trouble with any of the three. Just use factory Browning of FN magazines or maybe Mec-gar and they work fine. I would judge these to be about equivalent. None of the three really makes the cut when compared with a genuine Hi-Power. Keep in mind, holsters for the Arcus will likely be difficult to find (I have a local custom leather guy who simply held onto the gun for about 4 weeks to make mine).

AirPower
September 24, 2005, 01:43 PM
Thanks Southpaw. When you said the clones dont' compare to the real BHP, is that in the finish department mostly, or does it also include reliablity and durability? I'm thinking of using it for an inexpensive truck gun, or something I can just toss around and not worry about finish scratches, but still durable enough and reliable.

dolanp
September 24, 2005, 03:19 PM
You might look at the CZ 75, I don't think it's really a 'clone' but they are nice. They run more than $200 though so it might not be feasible.

Hawkmoon
September 24, 2005, 05:43 PM
I can't offer a comparison, because the only clone I have shot is one of the Argentiniam FM Hi-Powers. I bought it because it was what I could afford. It's a great shooter. I haven't had it very long and haven't pushed a lot of rounds through it, but so far it has functioned 100% -- which is more than I can say for some other brands of pistols I paid a lot more for.

I would like ... some day ... to be able to afford a real Hi-Power just to say that I own one, but for a 9mm shooter I would not hesitate to buy another FM.

wally
September 24, 2005, 06:35 PM
As long as CDNN still has new FN HiPowers for $400 why mess around with the clones FEG, FM, Arcus are all $260-$280 around here when you find a deal on a new one.

--wally.

SouthpawShootr
September 25, 2005, 01:55 AM
When you said the clones dont' compare to the real BHP, is that in the finish department mostly, or does it also include reliablity and durability?

Pretty much finish. I'll give you an example. My FEG, on the outside, is pretty much the equal of a Browning with regard to finish. Strip it down and there are tool marks all over the place inside. The gun works, so I really don't give a damn, but you can tell that there was much more attention to detail with the Browning and FNs. I'll give you another example, the barrel on mine had a smal area at the very bottom of the feedramp that was scortched and uneven. Didn't affec the reliability or accuracy of the gun. I cleaned it up (took off the sharp edges) and went about my business. Neither Browning nor FN would have let such a defect into circulation. I've heard, but not experienced, that FEG uses softer steel in construction of their Hi-Power. Can't say they do, can't say they don't. I'm not one to stres my guns with high pressure loads, and I've only got a couple thousand rounds through my FEG, so my gun is still going strong.

Reliability? All three seem to be the equal of Browning or FN Hi-Powers.

Souris
September 25, 2005, 02:03 AM
+1 Southpaw

I really like my FEG. I have put at least 2,000 + rounds through it and it has been very reliable. The exterior finish is good and people at the range have mistaken it for a HP. The finish where it is not critical, and not seen, shows tool marks. My FEG does not have a magazine disconnect and is DA/SA which, to me, is an inprovement over the HP.

AirPower
September 25, 2005, 02:19 AM
Souris, does the FEG have SA/DA for all their HiPower clones, or just particular ones made to be SA/DA?

Sunray
September 25, 2005, 03:16 AM
"...it's really a 'clone'..." Yep, the CZ-75 is a BHP clone. Slightly bigger though. My Inglis fits my hand, but the CZ-75 does not. Otherwise, I'd have snapped one up when I was working in the gun shop, long ago, when they first came here. Every one came with a factory test target. Outstanding accuracy, fit and finish.
Mind you, I don't think a pistol is the best choice for a truck gun. I'd be thinking SKS. Or a 20" barreled, pump, shotgun. If I even thought handgun, it'd be a used .38 or .357 revolver.

atblis
September 25, 2005, 03:38 AM
The older FEGs are really nice (the finish is awesome) and are one of the best BHP clones.

The model you would want is PJK-9HP.
THe newer ones don't compare.

The CZ75 is not a BHP clone by any means. Inpsired by the BHP would be a better way to put it.

mbott
September 25, 2005, 08:53 AM
As long as CDNN still has new FN HiPowers for $400 why mess around with the clones ...

+1

--
Mike

Shear_stress
September 25, 2005, 09:33 AM
As long as CDNN still has new FN HiPowers for $400 why mess around with the clones ...

My Arcus was $180. New ones are just over two hundred. Spend the balance on ammo.

Texas Gunman
September 25, 2005, 10:47 AM
+1 for Arcus,shot one for years now,reliable and very accurate, also seem to be well made.

TG

briang2ad
September 26, 2005, 10:39 PM
Does the Arcus take a regular HP mag? What about parts, etc?

SouthpawShootr
September 26, 2005, 10:47 PM
Browning Hi-Power mags? Absolutely.

Parts are a crapshoot. Only read of one failure - a broken extractor. The thread is somewhere on this board. IIRC, a stock Browning part was used and worked just fine. Keep in mind that even though most Browning Hi-Power parts will work in the Arcus (I'm sure there are exceptions), practically everything will have to be fitted. Even Browning and FN guns parts have to be fitted. This design has been in continuous production since about '35 or so and there have been variances in dimensions and tolerances. Parts suppliers have to cover the whole range, so many parts are likely to be oversized to some degree.

xv920j
September 26, 2005, 11:21 PM
I have the Argentine FM Hi Power.

The finish is not pretty, The trigger is a little gritty,and the sights seem small for my old eyes. That being said: it is accurate and utterly reliable. I would not hesitate to trust it for self defense.

My wife had a Browning Hi Power. Nice finish, decent trigger....jam-a-matic. We got rid of it.

I'm sure our experience with the Browning was not typical of the brand else they wouldn't be so popular.

In my limited experience the FM delivers more value for the money as a defensive weapon. The Browning is ,of course , more desirable as a collector.

1911 guy
September 27, 2005, 02:38 AM
You may or may not want to look at the Charles Daly HP. Never even held one, so I can't tell you any more.

Shear_stress
September 27, 2005, 09:16 AM
I currently have a full-size Arcus that I am very pleased with. I use it as a range gun and a vehicle for consequence-free High Power tinkering. While the Arcus lacks the graceful styling of the Browning, it is a well-finished gun made from high-quality materials. After its magazine safety found its way from the gun to a drawer, it has a nice and crisp trigger pull as well. I did have some extraction issues with S&B, but a Wolffe extra-power extractor spring solved that.

I briefly had an FM High Power, but traded it away before I knew I was making a mistake. For the time I had it, it was a good, sturdy gun. The Arcus seems to be more accurate, but there are many reasons why that may be, and they don't all involve the gun.

wileyj
September 27, 2005, 09:42 AM
I bought a Charles Daly Hi Power to go with my FM.
I have never tried a real FN model.
Both of mine have the mag safety removed and I had the FM to a gunsmith to smooth things out a bit. It has about a 5 lb trigger pull.
The Daly is very nice; well made and except for the writing on ths slide smooth and effective. When i removed the mag safety, the trigger pull dropped significantly. I do not have a measure but after the trigger takeup, the break is less than the FM measured at 5 lbs.
I am shooting my CHL renewal next week with it. It comes with the XS Express sights - a ball and a V and they shoot very well for me
I do not remember my purchase price but it was significantly lower than the list.

..wiley

cgv69
September 27, 2005, 11:07 AM
As long as CDNN still has new FN HiPowers for $400 why mess around with the clones ... My Arcus was $180. New ones are just over two hundred. Spend the balance on ammo.
I'm sorry but I couldn't disagree more. $400 is an incredibly low price for a real FN Hi-Power. The same exact gun (with Browning's name on the side) sell for $700+. With a price that low, it makes absolutely no sense to me to buy a cheap knock off, even at half the price.

In fairness, I'm am a quality over quantity kind of guy so I'm not generally a fan of lower quality knock offs to start with. Still, when you can get the real deal for only $400, I don't see any way to justify a lower quality knock off.

It's such a good deal I'm seriously considering buying another one before they are all gone as a backup.

Just my $.02

BryanP
September 27, 2005, 11:50 AM
You may or may not want to look at the Charles Daly HP. Never even held one, so I can't tell you any more.

Charles Daly HP's are rebadged Hungarian FEG's.

I own an older FEG PJK-9HP. It was very inexpensive ($150) used. Turns out this particular one had an awful trigger pull but a quick once-over by the gunsmith at the shop I bought it from fixed that. The finish isn't the greatest but it's a good little shooter. I'd put it right next to my older beater Taurus 66 .357. Both were bought used and cheap for less than $150. Both aren't the prettiest things in the world but they work just fine.

Tom Servo
September 27, 2005, 11:51 AM
How are the Daly Hi-Powers? I've seen them from time to time going pretty cheap, but I've only ever handled one of their 1911s. Worth checking out?

Shear_stress
September 27, 2005, 12:15 PM
I don't see any way to justify a lower quality knock off

Of course. Except when it comes to equating price with quality. The recent influx of Eastern Bloc guns has made a hash out of that piece of conventional wisdom. After detail stripping my Arcus, I fail to see how it is in any way a lower quality gun.

I would agree that it is not as pretty as the Browning.

cgv69
September 27, 2005, 01:05 PM
I don't see any way to justify a lower quality knock off Of course. Except when it comes to equating price with quality. The recent influx of Eastern Bloc guns has made a hash out of that piece of conventional wisdom. After detail stripping my Arcus, I fail to see how it is in any way a lower quality gun.

I would agree that it is not as pretty as the Browning.

I do agree that price does not always equal quality. If it did that would mean that somehow the "FN" marked HP was somehow lower quality than the "Browning" marked HP because you can buy them for ~$300 less when in fact they are the same gun with different rollmarks.

I am new to HP's myself so I will admit I do not know a lot about the Arcus version but a quick search led me to the following info...

Fit and finish is much lower than the typical FN\Browning
The sights are not as good as the FN\Browning MKIII
The slide is not milled to the same spec as a FN\Browning making it larger and heavier.

And most of that info came from a guy who owns and likes his Arcus. What I wonder then is, if they took all these shortcuts that you can readily see, what about short cuts that you can't see? Cheap springs, improperly heat treated parts such as the sear, hammer or safety? Who knows but I wouldn't want to find out when my life depended on it. If you do have breakage, does anybody know for sure if standard HP parts will fit in a Arcus without modification? These are the things that concern me.

Either way, if it's just going to be a plinking\range toy then for $180-$200 you probably couldn't go too wrong but my point was really this...

$400 for a real, NIB FN HP is a steal and not likely something you will see again. Look at Gunbroker and other auction sites, you'll have a hard time finding a used genuine HP that cheap. Anybody who has any interest in getting an HP should jump on this deal before its too late but that's just my opinion. YMMV

Dr.Rob
September 27, 2005, 02:24 PM
Charles Daly (FEG) clones are selling for under $350, given inflation and the XS sights, that's still a great price for a true clone.

Older FEG PJK9HP's were true clones, later models had better fit and finish but took some shortcuts in machining.

Still, as others have pointed out for $450 or so you could have an FN.

Ukraine Train
September 27, 2005, 03:05 PM
I'm the one with the broken extractor in my Arcus. The Browning replacement fit perfectly without alteration and works flawlessly. Other than that failure I've had no problems with the gun. It's a model 98C.

Shear_stress
September 27, 2005, 04:07 PM
I am new to HP's myself so I will admit I do not know a lot about the Arcus version but a quick search led me to the following info...

Okay, I don't want to rag on you too bad, but this is a pet peeve of mine. Instead of doing a search on the internet, I actually have seen, owned, handled, and/or fired FN, Browning, and Inglis-marked High Powers as well as the Arcus. In fact, I bought my Arcus after lengthy comparison with a new production (assembled in Portugal) Browning High-Power that was marked at three times the price. The clerks thought I was crazy, but these are the same people who never heard of CZ pistols. Anyway, like I said in my post, from first-hand experience I can say I can see little difference in apparent quality between these guns. The other factors you list, like the slide contours, are an issue of styling, not quality.

You are right that you can't tell much about the materials just by looking at them. This is generally true. I know I can't tell a current production cast-frame High-Power from a forged model.

Edited to add: CDNN's deal for FN High Powers is a great one. If you want one, I would definately not discourage you from buying one. At the very least, you will get a nicer looking gun with better resale value. All I am trying to say is that Arcus is a perfectly viable alternative.

cgv69
September 27, 2005, 05:24 PM
Okay, I don't want to rag on you too bad, but this is a pet peeve of mine...
You are not ragging, you are just stating your personal opinion. Nothing wrong with that. I would point out that while owning one does give you some first hand perspective from which you base your opinion, it is still just that, an opinion.

You are right that you can't tell much about the materials just by looking at them.

Exactly my point in regards to the Arcus. I'm not saying it's a bad gun but just because it looks OK doesn't mean anything. FN has been making HPs for longer than I've been alive and have enough history behind them to know they are OK.

Maybe it's just me but I find it hard to believe a company can make a firearm similar to the HP, ship it here, pass through customs, ship out to distributors, from there ship out to dealers (each step adding to the expense) and still only retail for $200 without cutting corners? This is not the same thing as the surplus weapons that are often sold dirt cheap. Maybe they are the deal of the century? I don't know but I'm not willing to bet on it with my money (or life).

Either way, you have to admit there is some risk involved with purchasing an Arcus? If you are comfortable with taking that risk because of the cost savings, more power to you. I hope it works out for you but I would rather spend the extra money on a known product. That's was my choice but I'm not trying to criticize yours. I'm just sharing my opinion as you are yours.

Edited to add: CDNN's deal for FN High Powers is a great one. If you want one, I would definitely not discourage you from buying one. At the very least, you will get a nicer looking gun with better resale value.

That right there is basically my main point. The CDNN FN HP is a great deal. I feel that point has been more then made by now so I will leave it at that. I wish AirPower the best of luck with his decision :)

Shear_stress
September 27, 2005, 08:08 PM
Hi cgv69,

A relatively simple gun produced by cheap labor in Bulgaria is not going to be that expensive to make, and, unless marketed aggressively, is not going to demand a high price in a saturated market.

There are lots of examples of high-quality guns dismissed as "cheap commie junk" selling for far less than guns of comparable quality. There was the Norinco 1911, which our Canadian friends can currently buy for US$280. Now that the word is out, used ones are going for $400-500 in the States. There was also the Intrac HS2000, the Croatian Glock knock-off that you could find for $250. Now that it's the Springfield Xtreme Duty, it retails for over $500. Then were CZ pistols, whose price is starting to climb as they become ever more popular.

Anyway, I think we are splitting hairs. Get that FN and enjoy the hell out of it. I certainly won't stop you. To be honest, I've been thinking about getting one myself.

briang2ad
September 27, 2005, 08:30 PM
How is the DA and SA trigger on your 98 midel Arcus? Thanks.

Ukraine Train
September 28, 2005, 09:18 AM
I don't have exact numbers but I'm happy with the trigger. When I first got it it was pretty gritty but it smoothed out. There is some takeup in both DA and SA and SA has a little creep after you take up the slack. I dry fired a model 94 once and the trigger was much crisper.

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