Would like information on Hi-Powers


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weirdsexy
April 3, 2012, 10:28 PM
Hello all,

I've decided that I'd like to buy a Hi-Power later this year. As a student, I don't really have the cash for a new one so I'm looking at used ones.

I haven't been able to find a definitive source on hi-power evolution.
If any of you would be kind enough to point me to a source or offer words of your own, I'd appreciate it.
The kind of information I'm looking for includes things like:
When/why did they start building them with external extractors?
When did the design of the sights change? What year did FN start using the current sights? (e.g. the recessed adjustable sights on current models, not sure how much fixed sight models have changed)
Any other changes in design over the years that would be helpful to know when looking at used pistols and just to know for the sake of knowing.

Any general discussion/advice about Hi-Powers is welcome, I really like them. This will be my first handgun. I figure I'll look for a great buy on a used one with fixed sights first. Then, if I'm fortunate enough to find myself with a little spare cash after I've been out of school for a bit, I'll buy a brand new one with adjustable sights.

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rellascout
April 3, 2012, 10:33 PM
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/

Everything you need to know.

jfrey
April 3, 2012, 10:57 PM
Hi-Powers are great guns. Look for a used mark III or maybe a II verson. Their frames are actually stronger than the older ones. The finish isn't as pretty but they are good shooters. Anolder pistol in good shape will cost you some cash. There are some FN HPs that are a little cheaper than the Browning models depending on where you shop. Usually www.collectorsfirearms.com has a good selection.

weirdsexy
April 3, 2012, 11:07 PM
Thanks rellascout, I'd seen that website but I sort of passed over it. There is more information there than I thought there was, but I wish the information was more explicit about "Hi-Powers built from 19XX to 19YY were built this way, they are built in the current design from 19ZZ to the present"

Hi-Powers are great guns. Look for a used mark III or maybe a II verson. Their frames are actually stronger than the older ones. The finish isn't as pretty but they are good shooters. Anolder pistol in good shape will cost you some cash. There are some FN HPs that are a little cheaper than the Browning models depending on where you shop. Usually www.collectorsfirearms.com has a good selection.

Thanks for the info. Yeah, I'm not looking for one with a perfect finish or anything. I just want one in good mechanical condition.

bdb benzino
April 4, 2012, 12:27 AM
You have great taste right from the start as a newbie, it for some reason, took me 4 years of shooting and collecting to finally try a Hi Power. I immediately shot it better than most pistols, and with more ease. Almost like it was made for me!
I started with a lightly customized FEG PJk 9HP, and before long bought an Argentine FM90 and did some of my own custom touches as well. Both of those shot naturally and accurately but there was one thing I was missing, a real Browning HP. So I found a nice MKIII that had a lot of Cylinder & Slide upgrades, and quickly jumped on that one aslo.
A long story short I love all 3 of them and would never go back, Hi Powers are by far my favorite full size 9mm made. Good luck finding one, and enjoy!

weirdsexy
April 4, 2012, 12:37 AM
bdb benzino, thank you. How is that FM90? I've seen some on gunbroker that look quite nice at an attractive price. I think I'll end up going with an Belgium-made one anyway, but I'm curious. I've only shot one hi-power, it was awesome though. The only two guns I was really are a hi-power and a Beretta 92fs compact. Sort of would want a cz-75b at that point just to fill out the collection of "wonder nines".

I have only an ar-15 at the moment, but I'm turning 21 this year so buying handguns will be easier.

John Holbrook
April 4, 2012, 12:44 AM
Here are a couple of MK IIIs that I own.The top one is Parkerized..

http://www.fototime.com/%7B83CC24C1-DC50-4924-B7E9-9DB4AB0054F2%7D/origpict/DSC00340.JPG

http://www.fototime.com/%7B5CBD6523-63C7-4CFD-8DD3-CE3259700554%7D/origpict/DSC00217.JPG

And a MK II with Molyresin finish...

http://www.fototime.com/%7B61F30F95-1281-41D4-A2C3-A3F6F689E43D%7D/origpict/DSC00990.JPG

pittspilot
April 4, 2012, 12:46 AM
Pros: Great ergonomics. Conceals easily. Soft shooting. Very reliable. One of the few single action nines. Possibly one of the most beautiful handguns ever made.

Cons: Generally subpar trigger. Magazine release (albeit easily removed). Heavy for the number of rounds it carries. New ones are ridiculously expensive.

I love mine and am glad that I own own.

Stringfellow
April 4, 2012, 12:54 AM
Sanity check: as a student/new grad, grab yourself a FEG for $250-300 and be happy. Starting out your life, you are going to have way too many expenses to justify big-time expenses (pardon the lecture). If it turns out that you really like the platform, you will have many other opportunities to step up to the Browning (if you end up so inclined).

FEGs generally shoot just as good as the Browning, but the metal finishing may not be as nice. But then again, I have seen ones with flawless, first-class finishes. See JayPee's excellent info on the FEG: http://feghp.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html

I got a cheap trigger job done to mine, and now it is a tack driver with a superb trigger.

Good luck!

weirdsexy
April 4, 2012, 01:18 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

Stringfellow, I appreciate the advice. I don't really want an FEG model, but I'll consider it. Who knows, I might end up getting and FEG or one of the Argentine ones. But, I've seen BHPs that appear to be in very good (mechanical) condition go for $400-450. I'll just be on the lookout for a gun that seems to be selling for less than it's worth and that I can still afford.

MrDig
April 4, 2012, 01:36 AM
Sanity check: as a student/new grad, grab yourself a FEG for $250-300 and be happy. Starting out your life, you are going to have way too many expenses to justify big-time expenses (pardon the lecture). If it turns out that you really like the platform, you will have many other opportunities to step up to the Browning (if you end up so inclined).
FEGs generally shoot just as good as the Browning, but the metal finishing may not be as nice. But then again, I have seen ones with flawless, first-class finishes. See JayPee's excellent info on the FEG: http://feghp.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html
I got a cheap trigger job done to mine, and now it is a tack driver with a superb trigger.
Good luck!

I own an FEG and a Mk 111, I have also owned an Argentine FM.
All three are excellent shooters and well worth the money paid for them.
You can still find the Argentines for a lot less than a Browning or a FN 9 mm Hi-Power
The FEG Model is PJK-9HP imported by KBI inc. there are other FEG 9 mm guns so watch for that. They are not Hi-Powers they are Hi-Power pattern guns. I am uncertain if the FEG is a Licensed pattern but the link Stringfellow provided is an excellent source about them.

The Argentine is an FM 90 or 95 either one is a licensed Hi-Power

Pilot
April 4, 2012, 09:38 AM
I agree. Hold out, and get a used Browning Hi Power in nice condition. It will only be a little more than the FEG or Argies, and will last a lifetime. My MK III BHP is my most accurate centerfire handgun, and the easiest FOR ME to shoot well.

rellascout
April 4, 2012, 09:53 AM
As usual I am going to go against the grain here and say get yourself a real Browning/FN Hi Power. Yes you can save yourself a $100 to $150 by getting a FEG or a FM or Charles Daly but in the end a "real" BHP is worth more today and will be worth more in the future than any of these clones. If you want a clone you can get a FEG T series look a like for $275 + shipping and transfer from Sarco.

Not all FMs or FEGs are the same. There are differences in their manufacturing and their quality. If you are not familiar with the differences you could end up with issues. This does not make them a bad choice by definition but when you can get good functioning FN/Browning BHPs for $400 to $500 why settle?

Do you have a transfer dealer who can accept a gun from out of state and transfer it to you at a reasonable price? By reasonable price I mean $10 to 25. If you do right now on Gunbroker there are good BHPs for $415 to $500 plus shipping and transfer. These are Buy It now prices They can be found for this range all the time. Be patent and get what you really want.

This MK II 1/2" Isreali cost me less than $450 OTD

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t213/rellascout/jew-power.gif

rellascout
April 4, 2012, 10:25 AM
Now for a quick and dirty run down on BHPs and their vintages. All BHPs before the MKIII had forged frames, slides and barrels. The MKIII vintages have a cast frame which is stronger and was developed to accommodate the 40 S&W round.

Early BHP have internal extractors and a half moon cut in the slide. IIRC off the top of my head they switched to the external extractor in the early 60s. I personally would avoid these as my first BHP. The internal extractor is a weak link in the original design and prone to breakage and failure. There are less and less of these internal extractors on the market and they are getting expensive to replace and if you shoot the gun enough it will break. This will include your WWI & WWII pistols as well as early commerical models.

So I personally would look only at BHP with external extractors. The next real line in the sand for BHPs is the T series. These are highly prized and for many BHP shooters represent the best BHPs. These guns have a beautiful blue finish. The fit and finish of these guns is generally very high although I personally have seen some military contract guns that were T series but were quite rough. The trigger on these guns was often very good right out of the box. These are pricey guns most often commanding $800+. There have been some surplus examples which have been coming in via PW Arms and Sarco but they are general rough looking and even though they have a T serial number are not worth any extra over other vintages due to their condition and import marks. IMHO These can be identified by the T in the serial number, hump in the feed ramp, small half moon sights, small single sided thumb safety, french walnut grips and the ring hammers. These were produce until 1970/1971.

From there came the C series guns which have a spurred hammer and most of the characteristic of the T series guns. Many people did not like the spur hammer but it stuck. Some of these also started to ship with adjustable rear sights IIRC. These are very nice guns. C series guns were blued as well. I love these guns I used one for a custom build.

Then there are the MKII 1/2s which mainly went to Israeli. They have rib on the under side of the frame they shipped with ambi safeties. They sometimes shipped with ring hammers and more modern high contrast sights. They al;so shipped with plastic & wood grips. These guns had all sorts of finishes on them. Everything from park, blue, epoxycoat to horrible black paint....

Finally the MKIII hit. This is the current version of the BHP. These guns have high contrast modern sights, spur hammers, ambi safeties and cast frames. These can be identified by the score lines on the mag well. If they are present it is a MKIII. These BHP are tougher than the older ones and can handle more +P rounds than the older guns. For many people this makes the MKIII more desirable for a defensive gun setup. These guns come in lots of different finishes. You can find blued guns, black matte, tutoned(black and nickel) as well as full nickeled guns with gold triggers. The only finish you will not find is stainless steel. Most guns ship with plastic grips and ambi safeties but some "classic" models shipped with single sided safeties and walnut grips. These guns also can found in 40 S&W but they have since been discontinued.

Another change in the BHP was the mainspring/hammer spring which was originally in the 26LB range IIRC was increased to 32LBs in the mid 70s again IIRC. Many people including me swap out this heavier spring to with a 26LB Wolf spring to lighten the trigger.

All BHP except for a a few made for the Nazis have a mag disconnect which effects the feel of the trigger. Some people remove these some people leave them in. I personally take them out because I do not like the feature. I left it in my Pre T BHP but removed it from the rest.

This is enough to get you started I think. If I were just starting out I would look for a Israeli MKII /1/2 or a MKIII in the $400 to $500 range and as they will have modern sight cuts so you can swap out the sights at a later date without having to mill the slide. They should be ready to feed hollow points and can double as a range gun and defensive gun. Good luck.....

weirdsexy
April 4, 2012, 12:22 PM
Thank you so much, rellascout, for taking the time to post. I'm 20 right now, so I can't buy a handgun online or from an FFL until later this year. But believe me, I've see the ones you're talking about on gunbroker :p And yes, there is an FFL in my hometown that is happy to do transfers for $20. Got my stripped AR lower from him.

I think I'll be looking at MkIIIs or similar.
I think I would prefer the cast frame. I wouldn't buy one with an internal extractor, and I want the higher profile fixed sights as opposed to the tiny ones on some older guns.

I'd prefer a ring hammer, but I wouldn't be upset with a spur. That's easily changed out for a bit of extra cash anyway.

MrDig
April 4, 2012, 12:29 PM
Always great advice rellascout. As I look at my post I realize I could have pushed too heavy to the side of copies. I can't begin to tell people how happy I am now that I have a real Browning Hi-Power. The others are Basically MkI's with some relatively Minor changes. My Browning is a MkIII and I can't extol its virtues enough.
The S&W Model 10, the 1911 and the Browning Hi-Power are all classic designs that are virtually unchanged since their original production.
Classic, Durable, and reliable whats not to like?

rellascout
April 4, 2012, 12:53 PM
As I look at my post I realize I could have pushed too heavy to the side of copies.

Not at all they are a viable option if you only have $300 or so to spend. I just think you get a little more for your money from the real thing.

I also will add that people pay too much for BHPs because lots of local markets do not have many in circulation. I almost never see them locally. When I do they are way over priced but I have been able to find them on gunbroker, classifieds like THR, dealers like Dans Ammo etc....

A ton of Isrealis came in about a year and a half ago and tons of them went to Robertson Trading post. He has hundreds of them ranging from $350 to $700+ depending on vintage and condition.

These days Sarco is the one to watch IMHO. They have some older internal extractor models for around $400 but they get used BHPs pretty often and you can find some gems there for under $500.

rellascout
April 4, 2012, 12:57 PM
I am currently down to just 4 BHPs....

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t213/rellascout/wwg-bhp2.gif

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t213/rellascout/bhp-internal-2.gif

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t213/rellascout/jew-power.gif

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t213/rellascout/Practical-11.gif

Certaindeaf
April 4, 2012, 02:43 PM
I've worn out a couple Belgian Browning Hi-Powers and put the hurt on some others. Bought new. I have one now just the same as those two, complete with "beer can" style target sights and small safety like I like. It's in perfect shape. It's got around 2000 rounds through it.
I knew they stopped making them when they stopped making them..
Anyway, some time ago, I picked up a Charles Daly Hi-Power, (completed by Dan Wesson) in essentially unfired condition, for $500. It came with CT grips and XS sights so the way I figured it, I got me a $100 thrasher.. well, kinda. It's my thrasher anyways and it shoots great.

KenW.
April 5, 2012, 12:28 AM
My BHP has Nazi proof marks. Runs smooth, and quite accurate evev with the teeny tiny 1942 sights. Great gun.

mr.scott
April 5, 2012, 12:43 AM
I have a FEG that I took out last weekend and shot out the bullseye. Best $275 I've spent on a gun. It's not pretty, but it shoots like a laser.

johnnydollar
April 5, 2012, 01:21 AM
FWIW, neither the FM M-90 or 95 is a "licensed" Hi Power. They both have the 1911-style, non-stepped slide (the slide is straight-nosed in other words, not stepped down at the nose like the FN made guns). FM did make licensed Hi Powers, but only from around 1969 to 1989. The M 90 came out in 1990, after the twenty year license agreement between FN and FM expired.

FIVETWOSEVEN
April 5, 2012, 01:38 AM
I had a FM90 for awhile till I sold it to a close friend. It was a nice gun and I do hope that I'll be able to buy it back from him sometime in the future. I only sold it because I decided I wanted to go with a more modern handgun and needed to sell it to get my XD-40.

Pilot
April 5, 2012, 09:13 AM
Often, I find "more modern" isn't necessarily better. It is a personal decision, however. The BHP is tough to compete with, even with more modern offerings in 9MM, and .40. If you look at the design closely, it is very slim, and compact for a "full size" service pistol. It is certainly correctly sized for the cartridge. I have always wondered why Browning/FN never came out with a "Detective" version of the pistol like FM did. I think the only difference is a shorter barrel.

johnnydollar
April 5, 2012, 02:43 PM
I'm guessing FN never went the Detective short slide route because of concerns about reliability and durability. When you have a reputation for making one of the world's most reliable service pistols, you'd have to think twice about altering the basic design. On the FM short slide guns, the recoil spring guide rod is different (as is the spring itself) and there seems to be a concern about recoil spring life.

rellascout
April 5, 2012, 03:00 PM
I'm guessing FN never went the Detective short slide route because of concerns about reliability and durability. When you have a reputation for making one of the world's most reliable service pistols, you'd have to think twice about altering the basic design. On the FM short slide guns, the recoil spring guide rod is different (as is the spring itself) and there seems to be a concern about recoil spring life.


I am not sure I agree with this line of thought. They certainly modified the design to accomidate the 40 S&W. People like C&S, the late great Behlert shortened BHPs without realiblity issues.

johnnydollar
April 5, 2012, 07:50 PM
C&S and/or Austin Behlert never mass produced their shortened Hi Powers. There is a difference between hand-fitted guns and mass produced service weapons. If I remember correctly, FN did experiment with a short slide H-P in the 1950s, but I could be mistaken.

bdb benzino
April 6, 2012, 02:13 AM
QUOTE]bdb benzino, thank you. How is that FM90? I've seen some on gunbroker that look quite nice at an attractive price. I think I'll end up going with an Belgium-made one anyway, but I'm curious. I've only shot one hi-power, it was awesome though. The only two guns I was really are a hi-power and a Beretta 92fs compact. Sort of would want a cz-75b at that point just to fill out the collection of "wonder nines".[/QUOTE]


The FM90 has been great from the git, I picked it up from a guy locally with 8 mags for under $400.
I will have to agree with Rellascout, that if you can afford a real BHP, then go for it. My MKIII is my favorite, but I like having the FEG and the FM90 to wear out first as well as have the main few different makes of Hi Powers.

P.S. watch out for Rellascouts pictures, the first pic of his four BHP's is beautiful and one of the main reasons I started looking into them. Good looking guns! I also really like all the aftermarket support from companies like Cylinder & Slide and Novak, their parts are well made and make a great pistol even better. I have C&S hammer and sear sets as well as extended safeties on both my BHP and my FM90, great additions!

murf
April 6, 2012, 04:02 AM
get the real thing because you will keep it forever. even if you decide to get fancy later on, the first one will be special. mine was.

murf

weirdsexy
April 6, 2012, 03:40 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys! I like getting information from people that own or have experience with them.

Most likely going to be buying one off a site like gunbroker when I turn 21, since I never see any locally. Just going to decide what I can comfortably afford at the time and keep on the lookout for a HP in that price range that seems to be in good working order. When I find it, I'll buy it. Thanks again.

sirgilligan
April 7, 2012, 06:47 PM
Now that I have both kinds, I would say the Browning Hi-Power is great, but on a budget the CZ 75B (85B) gets the job done too.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vhz8IcUQ6go/Tr7xbHmLBOI/AAAAAAAAAlQ/UecFOuSxEgM/s1600/TwoAmigos.jpg

I don't have the Beretta, my Dad does though and I will shot it next time home on the farm.

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