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Baby browning/Bauer

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MachIVshooter, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm thinking in this era of dozens of micro-compacts on the market, the baby Browning still stands alone in it's size. They are considerably more diminutive than the kel-tec pistols, the Micro-Eagle, the NAA and Seacamp guns, etc. The problem is, they're still just .25's

    Here's what I'm thinking. With modern metallurgy and manufacturing, would it not be possible to make a current version that is roughly the same outer dimensions (perhaps slightly beefier slide), but chambered in .32 ACP and with the weight savings of an alloy frame? I think this could be a saleable product because, as well as the P32/P3/LCP/LWS32/etc. carry, the Baby/Bauer carry better.


    Now, which company to call with this suggestion? Thoughts?
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  2. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Well-Known Member

    How about a .25+P+ load instead?:D
  3. wamj2008

    wamj2008 Well-Known Member

    Mach, I sympathize. I am a big .32 fan, I love the design of the vest pocket models, but they're all in .25, which I have no interest in. I've only found one pistol that is a vest pocket clone in .32, a Pieper Bayard 1908:


    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    The Bauer was made by Frazer if I remember in Michigan. Then they made under their name for a while and last I heard another company. Was producing them. I would find out who at present. Has the rights and approach them or go to Ruger They love to copy.:D
    I bought mine in 1979 still have and still shoot it now and then Still carry if I really need to be discrete. They make a KelTec p-32 look big
  5. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    I handload, including the .25 (mostly because it's an expensive cartrdige to buy). Trust me, there's just not much to work with. About the most energy you'll realize is +/- 100 ft/lbs, and that's using 35 gr. JHP's, which do not achieve much penetration. As well, these loads were tested in my 950BS Jetfire. I'm not sure the tiny, investment-cast Bauer could handle that battering. The front (of three) lugs on the barrel in one of my Bauers sheered firing normal cartridges, I'm positive from the impact of the slide returning, since there's just not much force during recoil.

    Really, though, I see no reason a ~ 8 ounce, 5-shot .32 ACP wouldn't be possible in the same package. Just need to widen the grip frame and slide by 0.060" to accomodate the larger cartridge. The .32 has double the energy of the .25, with substantially better penetration and more reliable terminal ballistics. While not an ideal defensive cartrdige, it is vastly superior to the .25, and if it could be had in a Baby Browning, would be a viable deep concealment gun.
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    These little pistols are based on Browning's straight blowback design, which means that only thing that keeps the action closed when a cartridge is fired is the weight of the slide and the strength of the recoil spring.

    So as the size is reduced the power of the cartridge it fires needs to be also. It should be noted that Browning's .32 and .380 pocket pistols are much larger then the vest pocket models, and there is a good reason for this.

    It might be possible to build a smaller .32 with a locked breech design, and in fact this has been done. But while a slightly larger Baby Browning chambered in .32 ACP might sound like a good idea in theory, it's unlikely that you'd like one in practice.

    This is a good example of being careful what you wish for, because you might get it - along with some unintended consequences.
  7. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    When these pistols were introduced shortly after the turn of the century through the 1920's, I'm sure people said the exact same thing about the .45 ACP. Yet we have several guns today that weigh little more than a pound and are only marginally bulkier than the .32's and .380's of Browning's day.

    I see no reason such a tiny .32 wouldn't be possible, just that the required strength of the recoil spring may preclude those with weaker hands being able to load it.
  8. brassdog

    brassdog Well-Known Member

    Why not just what Kel-Tec does and use modern polymers to help offset the additional costs of manufacturing for a larger caliber.


    They could design a high capacity .25 acp that could still be very slim.
    While I agree that the .25 acp is about the most useless cartridge I've ever seen. I still wouldn't want to be shot by one.

    Just a thought.
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Assume for argument that the proposed pistol is going to be a straight blowback design. In the smaller size there is only so much room for a recoil spring(s) and the slide can't move any further then the spring's fully compressed length. Full compression leads to short spring life as the spring(s) take a set. Then you have to contend with slide velocity, and how much run-up you have. (Run-up is the distance from where the breechface is when the slide is fully retracted, to the back of the magazine well). If the slide moves too fast it will pass the back of the magazine before the top cartridge is pushed high enough so the breechface picks it up. Thus you will end up with a jam-o-matic. A heavier magazine spring may or may not help, but it will reduce magazine capacity is what is already a short magazine.

    The compact .45's are not straight blowback designs, and some of them suffer reliability problems because of the issues presented above. While they have shorter overall and handle lengths then they're full-sized counterparts, they are equally thick. Weight can be reduced by using a polymer frame, but this doesn't address the other problems I brought up, nor the probability of sharp recoil that is almost always an issue in ultra-light small pistols chambered to use large cartridges for the pistol's relative size.

    As I pointed out, what seems to be an attractive idea in theory doesn't always work out in practice. If what you have in mind was workable, someone would have done it by now.
  10. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    Guns, and so many other things that have been improved time and again, have had perfection hailed at many points. But either advances in technology or someone's sheer stubborness resulted in new progress. With firearms, it is often a combination of both.

    Anyway, It's not that I haven't considered exactly what you point out regarding springs. However, some 80 years of technological advancement since the original Baby's has dramatically changed even such simple things as the coil spring. They don't necessarily have to be longer/shorter or thicker/thiner to be stronger/weaker or have a different rate.

    As well, the alloys we have now make the tool steels of that period look like copper by comparison, and state of the art manufacturing processes are leaps and bounds beyond what was even fathomable then. We can make alloys so homogenous and free of flaws these days that a metallurgist during WWI wouldn't even be able to tell what the elements were, and the hardness of some of these alloys is well beyond the capabilities of that era's tooling.

    So, while the cost of manufacturing something may exceed a pratical point, to say that it hasn't been done because it can't is just kind of obtuse, IMO. No offense.
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    The Browning I had was a little thing, almost too small to handle. I am willing to hump my big old CZ45 .25 and KelTec .32 to get something I can get a good hold on.

    I wonder what you could do with a plastic blowback with the Mann ringed chamber.
    They built .32s and .380s only enough larger than their .25s to hold the bigger cartridges. Blowback was retarded by a ring in the chamber; the brass expanded into it and had to size itself back down to extract. It slowed the cycle enough to make a dinky little gun work. Seecamp used it when going from .25 to .32 and the prototype High Standard T3 went that way for a blowback 9mm service pistol candidate.
  12. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    Now that I like. Although perhaps a slightly tapered chamber, being .004" or .006" larger at the front could accomplish the same thing and be able to run better with steel and aluminum cases, given that they have more memory and may not go into a smaller groove enough. Would prolly require a hell-for-stout extractor.

    I had not considered this possibility, being admittedly unfamiliar (read: barely know of) the mann chamber concept.

    Now who to have ream a chamber in such a fashion? I can mill a frame and slide from solid stainless, but other than a tiny hone tweaked in such a way that it is wider at one end, can't think of how to make a negative cone in the chamber, and that method would be imprecise.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  13. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    My Baby Browning seems to be funtional with remington ball at 692 fps, Hornady xtp at 850 and speer Gold Dot at 1050. The key seems to be fast enough slide velocity to prevent the ejecting case from runningup against the next round in the magazine. The pistol jams regularly with PMC Fiochii ball at 662 and 626 creating a double feed that cannot be cleared short of unloading the pistol.

    There is an elaborate web site associated with Precision Small Arms located in Aspin CO. It seems to be directly descended from an allegedly FN licensed manufacturer that operated in canada and virginia and then virginia. There are several owners of these pistols on this and other boards who seem very satisfied with the guns but note that they are heavy users of investment casting and have plastic trigger and magazine catches. An internet business profile says the aspin company has two employees and does $57.000 business each year. This may or may not be accurate. I contacted the company about possible T&E sample for a pre-approved magazine article and received a cryptic non response. Apparently, not interested. I also called the distributor for this area and asked if the pistols were actually available. No response.

    Some people seem to be having good luck with their Bauers and others find them non functional. I had one back when they were being sold. It did not work and the local gunsmith said that it couldn't be fixed-at least by him. Overall, it appears that the old Baby Browning depended much on traditional manufacturing methods and skilled craftsmanship.

    It would likely be an engineering nightmare to get a pistol this size to work with 32s though North American Arms seems to have gotten their pistol working with the 25NAA Corbon load.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  14. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Well-Known Member

    I submit that steelmakers of the turn of the century were far in advance of the paltry efforts your opinion implies, Ford used Chrome Vanadium steels for the axles of the cheapest cars made to date, and German gunmakers were lobbing huge shells 80 miles. If you want really poor steels you can find them today. If you want very high quality steel you can find it in well made articles made in 1900 as well.
    I love my PSA Baby Browning, (the one my wife claims as hers). I've seen many cop shows where guns like these brought down big men in desperate situations. As one authority said to me recently a lot of the bad reputation of the .25 ACP is undeserved. John Browning was not a fool. If he had believed the cartridge was totally worthless he wouldn't have designed it.
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Sure, the "Baby" could be scaled up a bit to fire the .32 ACP, but the result would still be a single action pistol and striker fired, with none of the modern safety devices to prevent accidental firing. It would be competing with pistols of the same size in .32 and .380, that are double action, and are much safer and more economical to produce.

    If .25 is enough in a given situation, and size is the only criteria, the "Baby" is OK, but when significantly greater power can be had for only a small increase in weight/size, there is not much justification for the .25.

  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Colt's Gold Cup .38 Special was a straight blowback design that used a threaded chamber to slow the action. But two problems were soon discovered:

    1. The brass cartridge cases varied in hardness, and the exact degree that the case would grip the chamber walls turned out to be unpredictable.

    2. As fouling filled the chamber and grooves therein, the grip between the chamber walls becames less and less.

    Target shooters were advised to keep the bore and chamber clean, while military AMU armorers built pistols based on the original locked breech 1911 design with conventional chambers.

    Having had some experience with several .38 Gold Cups, I would hesitate to depend on a grooved or threaded chamber in a defensive weapon.

    And I agree with Jim; any new .32 pistols will have polymer frames and DAO firing systems with mechanical firing pin blocks. Let us hope they don't include magazine disconectors and internal locks.
  17. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    I never said the alloys of yore were crappy, nor did I suggest that things commonly produced today are necessarily better. It's no secret that modern products are generally of lower quality than what was made 50 or 100 years ago. Trust me, I know. The blender I just bought is a 1950's osterizer, bought for that reason. Unfortunately, as we know, in this day of global market and hasty manufacturing, quality and innovation takes a backseat to generating dollars.

    There, now that we have that out of the way, all I'm saying is that today we have the technology to build far lighter and stronger mechanical things. When was the last time you spoke with a metallurgist? And I don't mean ironworker or jewelery maker, I mean the guy who spends his days in a lab with multi-million dollar equipment built specifically for the purpose of combining and altering metals? There are alloys today that have tensile strengths in excess of 300Ksi, and others that turn diamond cutting tools into dust (must be machined with wire EDM). Carbon nanotubes have been produced with a tensile strength of over 9 MILLION PSI.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    That is a 32 necked down to a 25 . Requires the 32 frame so no real savings and ammo is expensive and hard to find . I never understood the need for it or the 32NAA 380 necked to 32
  19. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Well-Known Member

    I own a CNC machine shop, I talk with metallurgists often enough and am on a first name basis with one. Most of the truly exotic steels don't find their way into consumer weapons. Evey material is a compromise, and steel is my favorite engineering material for a number of very good reasons.

    Most of the "advances" in engineering for modern consumer weapons are designed not to produce better weapons but cheaper ones, most engineers work for the companies bottom line, that's why we have big name guns with cast zamak slides. :barf:

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