FN Browning BDA .380 Stainless??


March 9, 2009, 09:53 AM
Good morning,

Over the weekend I picked up a FN Browning BDA .380. It is FN marked on the right side of the slide and Utah marked on the left side. I did some research on this pistol, and everything I've found says it was only offered in blued or nickel. Well, it's definitely not blued, but it doesn't appear to be nickle either. All the nickel models I've seem have been shiny and polished over the entire gun.

The one I have is only polished on the sides of the slide and nowhere else. Everywhere else there in a matte finish, leading me to believe it's stainless instead of nickel. I have no idea how old it is, but it has seen little use and I would rate it at 95% plus (except for replacement grips and buggered screws). The 2 reasons for the questions are 1: Identification, and 2: grip screws are buggered (pachmyer grips currently on it) and I want to replace them. I'm afraid if I order nickel screws, they will be polished and shiny, and the screws currently on it are matte like the rest of the gun.

Any help or assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time, expertise, knowledge and insight. Have a great day.

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dogtown tom
March 9, 2009, 01:09 PM
If it's stainless, it's the only one in the world.:D

Seriously, the BDA has an anodized aluminum frame and a nickel plated slide.

Remove the slide and you can tell that it is too light to be a stainless frame.

March 9, 2009, 02:58 PM
Your pistol may have been refinished. Can you post a picture?

March 9, 2009, 06:08 PM
Here are some pics. I talked to the Browning Historian today, a guy named Glen, who informed me this was shipped to Ron Shirk Shooter's Supply in PA on 12/21/81. He couldn't give me any info as to what configuration it was in when it left the factory.

This is a Beretta made gun and maybe I should contact them for replacement screws? Any info you can give would be greatly appreciated. All I really want to do is get some replacement screws, and maybe a set of original grips as I'm not crazy about the Pachmayrs currently on it. Does Hogue make a grip for the BDA .380?

Thanks again for your time, cooperation, knowledge and insight. Thanks and have a great night!

Baba Louie
March 9, 2009, 06:38 PM
FWIW, Numrich has blued grip screws but are out of stock on the nickel. They also have grip plates... kinda not cheap tho'.


March 11, 2009, 12:19 PM
Brownells probably has both the grip screws and wood grips for the BDA.

From the photos, it looks like the pistol is chromed rather than nickel plated. I have a factory nickel plated BDA and it does not look anything like the pistol in your photos.

My guess is that this was an aftermarket refinishing job.

Badger Arms
March 11, 2009, 12:31 PM
100% sure this is an aftermarket Chrome plate job. The frame has been blasted and left bare, apparently. The slide looks like it was buffed (poorly) at some point in its past. Buffing is the most expediant way to get rid of the old bluing. Chrome appears white, Stainless is silver, and Nickel is yellowish. Your picture is good enough that I can tell what direction the gunsmith was polishing the blue off.

Badger Arms
March 11, 2009, 12:52 PM
You have two options that I can see. First, you can spend the $50 or so that the grips will cost you. Go to eBay or www.gunbroker.com and do a search. Second, with Pachmeyr grips, you can remove the front strap and backstrap and you end up with just rubber grip panels. No, I don't like Pachmeyr grips either. Be careful. The one I saw on Ebay was a mix-n-match but they should still fit your gun. I Believe that Beretta grips will fit the Browning, but not the other way around. Gunbroker has a set of factory grips for $50. http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=124693159 Here's Ebay's: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390035746769

March 13, 2009, 12:06 PM
Beretta grips are designed to accomodate the frame mounted safety lever, so I recommend that you stick with the BDA grips.

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