Hi Power failure to feed


September 18, 2010, 08:53 PM
Just finished a personal protection course. I fired 400-500 rounds in 3 days. Both of my Hi Powers had feed problems I changed around the belgium and Argentine. I switched out the 17-18lb springs. Could the buffers be limiting the slide travel (question mark) I had set up both w/the 18lb spring and buffer as recomended by some knowleable posts. Ramps polished to a gleam. Clean enough to eat off of.

If you enjoyed reading about "Hi Power failure to feed" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Stephen A. Camp
September 18, 2010, 09:16 PM
Hello. What ammunition were you using? Though I have not had any problems with either standard or +P-pressure ammunition using the 18.5-lb conventional recoil spring both with and without a buffer, some folks report having an occassional failure to feed and that removal of the buffer solved their problems. Others left the buffer but dropped back to the factory standard 17-lb. recoil spring.

On Hi Powers having the now standard and somewhat heavy 32-lb mainspring, it has been my experience that some lighter standard-pressure loads such as the older S. African PMP 115-gr. ball may fail to move the slide rearward enough for sure functioning as well as when using some commercial loads (std. pressure) using very light bullets such as the older Aguilla "IQ" bullets and can "short stroke" even with the 17-lb recoil spring.

I'd see what happens using the same ammunition in the same guns with the buffers removed but with the slightly-stronger recoil spring. Then I do the same using the buffer and the factory 17-lb recoil spring. That would let you know if the issue with that ammunition is the buffer or the 18.5-lb recoil spring or the combination.

Best and good luck.

September 18, 2010, 09:34 PM
timburn, FYI, you just got schooled by a LEGEND.

Mr. Camp is as fine a gentlemen as they come.

His knowledge about the HP is unrivaled.

Read his site front to back if you are serious about operating these high powers to their maximum ability.

September 18, 2010, 09:47 PM
Get the jam inducing buffer out of there! Biggest neophyte mistake and the most common cause of owner induced FTF on Browning designs!

September 18, 2010, 10:24 PM
"owner induced FTF on Browning designs"

Hmmm...thousands of rounds through 3 of my HPs with buffers and I never had one.

September 18, 2010, 11:03 PM
Thanks for answers so far. Thanks to Mr. Camp, I have read his site close to"front to back".
Ammo, 115gr. Rem and wolf military. I will try the combinations he mentioned. My mainspring remains stock 70's/80's both guns. While we are on the subject of lessons I learned in this course, I got to change safety. My thumb is pretty sore. Anybody know a PA gunsmith good with the HiPower.

September 18, 2010, 11:07 PM
C&S Paddle safety works pretty darn fine on my Argy.

September 19, 2010, 08:16 PM
I prefer the Browning stick ambi safety, not difficult to install.

Rusty Dusty
September 21, 2010, 12:06 PM
Perhaps it is the polished feedramp. I asked my Armorer (Gsmith at browning for 17 yrs) about the feed ramps on my HP's, he said "they're rough from the factory for a reason, leave 'em alone!" So I have, no issues with fmj or jhp's.


September 24, 2010, 05:19 PM
Thanks to all. Took buffers out and left 18.5lb springs. So far so good. If continues to work well, I will put back buffers and replace springs at stock 17lb. I JUST finished putting in a C&S paddle safety. With instructions from Brownells and Mr.Camps stripping intructions it was piece of cake. Makes a huge difference coming out of a holster.

March 20, 2011, 08:44 AM
I fired my brand new hi power yesterday. I had three fail to feed in a row. I think that the way I held the pistol caused the thumb safety to ride along the slide and possibly cause the problem. I made sure my thumb was not near the safety and had no more problems.

March 20, 2011, 12:20 PM
I have never used the Wolf ammo in my HiPower, and I have very little personal experience with the Remington load. But, I have read many negative comments about the remington 9mm ammo...mainly that it is underpowered. If that is so, and you are running an 18.5lb spring...
My HiPowers have always been older versions...Nazi, Inglis, and my current P35, a '73Charlie. I'm using the 18.5lb in the latter because I prefer +P for SD in the 9mm. I only use the buffer at the range. But I have never had a jam in any of them.

March 20, 2011, 01:36 PM
This Charles Daly (FEG) safety is modeled after a 1911 extended safety. I've used one in my 1990 FN Hi Power, and now in a Argy FM90. It dropped into both guns and is a terrific choice.


March 20, 2011, 02:40 PM
I ran Wolf once in my HP and it cased a live round to become stuck in the chamber with the slide almost closed. It was later attributed to the polymer coating acting like glue after almost all the box was fired. Never again, not even if it is given to me like this one was.

dogtown tom
March 20, 2011, 06:43 PM
RSVP2RIP I ran Wolf once in my HP and it cased a live round to become stuck in the chamber with the slide almost closed. It was later attributed to the polymer coating acting like glue after almost all the box was fired. Never again, not even if it is given to me like this one was.
This "Wolf polymer coating story" reappears every few months. Whoever told you that is completely wrong. The polymer coating on a cartridge case doesn't magically "glue" itself inside of the chamber.
A round can become stuck in the chamber due to several factors:
-out of spec case
-out of spec bullet
-dirty chamber

Wolf ammunition is poly coated because it is steel cased. The poly coating prevents rust and IMPROVES function. It doesn't melt and it doesn't glue the case to the chamber. Take a flame and heat a Wolf case to try and melt the poly coating.........you won't get it to melt.

The cause is definitely not the coating but probably the steel case itself. Steel cases are less effective than brass at preventing carbon buildup in the chamber. Shoot enough steel cased ammo without cleaning out the carbon crud and you may get problems with chambering and extraction.

FWIW I've run 1,000+ rounds of Wolf through one of my Hi Powers without stopping to clean and with ZERO failures to feed and extract.

Olde School
March 20, 2011, 06:53 PM
Life is to short to fire cheap ammunition in a Hi-Power. I shoot any quality brass case FMJ in my 1964 T-Series with no problems ever........ yes ever. My carry round for SD is the Federal standard velocity 9BP HP and it is flawless. My magazines are all 13 round Meg Gar's. Standard springs and no buffer.

March 20, 2011, 09:32 PM
It doesn't melt and it doesn't glue the case to the chamber.

This doesn't explain the ring of varnish like crap that was in the chamber or the marred up finish on the extracted cartridge. Looked to me like it melted, but I didn't look all that hard, just tossed in the trash with the last 4 rounds of the stuff.

Steel cases are less effective than brass at preventing carbon buildup in the chamber.

Reason enough not to shoot the stuff.

March 22, 2011, 07:40 PM
I would try a standard spring and no buffer.

February 20, 2012, 08:27 PM
I have a Browning Hi Power from Belgium. It fails to feed on approx. the third round and every round after that. I use Winchester FMJ ammo factory, also tried Remington. Changed the firing pin, magazine and recoil springs with Wolff standard. Also purchased a MecGar magazine. Polished the ramp (it has the hump) yesterday. Looking forward to range day to see if it will cycle properly. I had it into the gunsmith twice here. He replaced the extractor. The weapon has failed to cycle through a full clip since I've owned it. Never had an issue with the other pistols I own.

If it fails again, it seems my options are:
1. Remove the hump in the ramp
2. Replace the extractor spring with Wolff springs. The claw looks fine under magnification.
3. Sell the pistol for something reliable
4. What did I miss?

Doubting Thomas
February 21, 2012, 12:35 AM
Allow me to add to the Stephen Camp endorsement; the man (now deceased) knew his BHPs. His book on them was excellent, well worth having.

Without pretending to be a BHP expert I would be tempted to check with one of the shops specializing on those I (C&S, Novak, etc.). They work on them every day. I certainly would not give up on a BHP as they are fine pistols.

My BHPs, an Inglis, and a Mk. III, are the most reliable semiautos I own, bar none. The Inglis has a newer aftermarket barrel with no hump. I run Mec-Gar 13 rounders in them. My handloads that other 9mms don't care for feed and function fine, and factory stuff is the same. The only feeding problems I ever had came from a buffer in the Mk. III. I threw it away and that took care of the issue.

February 21, 2012, 02:08 AM
Try more powerful ammo. Hope you get it sorted.

February 21, 2012, 04:39 PM
Will it hand-cycle a full mag?
It should cycle fine with a standard spring and Winch. ammo.
No offense intended, but how's your grip?

February 24, 2012, 11:15 PM
In response to the questions.

No buffer is used.
I've tried 4 different factory brands of ammo all FMJ, no flying ashtrays.
Doesn't want to "hand-cycle" round does not clear the port for ejection.
No issues with grip on the other 4 pistols I own.

Casing is ejected, but the next round fails to feed, Mec-gar new magazine and factory with new +5% spring. Same occurs on both.

Pistol appears to be an older MKIII, made in Belgium by FN

February 25, 2012, 08:15 AM
Are you using the Argentine Magazines in the Browning? It should not make a difference but I can say from experience it does.
I Own an FEG PJK-9HP and a Late 70's Early 80's vintage Browning. The Browning works fine with all of the mags I have, but the FEG is a little finicky about Mags and feeding.
Here is a great link the references Mr Camp. It is one of the better pieces on HP's and not only comes with my recommendation but Mr Camps.

February 25, 2012, 10:12 AM

If it has the humped ramp, it's a pretty old pistol - certainly not a Mark III! They replaced the humped ramp beginning with the Mark II design about 1981.

The humped ramp is almost certainly not the problem. Most of them will feed JHP's reliably, so feeding ball should be no problem at all.

The extractor is easy to test. With the slide out of the gun, will the extractor hold a cartridge firmly?

You should be able to slide the rim of a round under the extractor and then shake the slide without the round falling free. You should then be able to push on the rear of the extractor from the side and release that cartridge. If you can't move the extractor with your finger, (cartridge inserted or not) then something is wrong. The extractor channel is either plugged with gunk or it needs a new extractor. They do wear out eventually.

With a gun of that age, I'd begin by replacing all the springs before even shooting it. You can get a complete stock spring package from Wolff for pretty cheap.


February 25, 2012, 07:18 PM

Thanks for the advice. It does hold the cartridge as mentioned. I recently polished the ramp and deburred some internal sharp edges, located where the recoil spring enters the slide towards the muzzle. Also found a little bit of roughness at the end of the rails towards the muzzle as well.
Took it out today and fired the whole clip without issue. The way I found the roughness in the rails was to use a Q-tip, when it left some strands of cotton behind it was the spot to sand, clean and re-lubricate.

Thanks again for all those that replied.

February 26, 2012, 12:32 PM
Glad you solved the problem! I'd replace all the springs anyway, though the recoil spring is probably the most important.

February 26, 2012, 07:32 PM
Ronin6, Sounds like you have been able to troubleshoot the problem. If you have any more trouble, you may want to post in the Gunsmithing and Repairs forums......the guys there are very helpful.

In general, sounds like you've had a mid-service maintenance project on your hands. The advice to consider replacing springs is good, too. Especially if this is going to be a carry piece.

In general, a Hi-Power in good repair, with all the springs doing their job, should run like a champ with everything. I have had a MK III, and Inglis, and an Indian Inglis Clone feed everything......the Inglis was a WWII build, all original as far as I could tell. Like another poster said, the humpback feed ramp of the latter two never affected feeding. I think the rep for humpbacks having feeding problems with expanding ammo dates way back to when there were softnosed (exposed) lead bullets out there. With nothing like modern hollow point designs.

Good luck with your Hi-Power, I think you will get it running 100% and enjoy it.

February 26, 2012, 08:46 PM
The only time I've have ever noticed a misfeed in my older model Mark III was directly related to my wife limp wristing it. A Hi-Power in good condition will normally shoot just about anything. Loose the buffer and try it again.

If you enjoyed reading about "Hi Power failure to feed" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!