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Browning Hi-Power Need Help Indentifying

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Shooter86, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. Shooter86

    Shooter86 Member

    I have recently purchased this Browning Hi-Power it is marked Fabrique Nationale D'Armes De Guerre and Herstal Belgique. The serial number is E with four circles 8830. The dealer I purchased it from told me that it was an Israeli Hi-power import pistol, But I was wondering the origin of the pistol given its serial number and Belgian makers marks. I was hoping someone could help shed light on this pistols history prior to it being an Israeli Army sidearm. I have attached three pictures below. The pistol is cerkote grey as I purchased it in that condition, but I believe the pictures show the marking fairly well. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you,



    Attached Files:

  2. dogmush

    dogmush Well-Known Member

    First let me say I'm not a hi power expert. but I have a couple and have done some research.

    Your pistol definitely predates 1962 because it has the internal extractor.

    To my eye the serial number looks like it has been changed at some point. (the first character obliterated, and the E added.) It looks like I can see some proof marks on the slide, right above the slide release lever. There should be a matching set on the frame.

    During and right after WWII FN had a whole bunch of contracts to produce the P35. I'd guess that your pistol was made in one of those (again pre 1962). Then it made it's way to Israel where they added the "e". But that's really a guess.

    Close ups of the proof marks, any other small marks on the gun and good overall pictures might allow us to pick up on some other subtle variation.

    ETA, I had to dig through my other computer for a bookmark, but this might help:

    It's a list of all the Belgian proofmarks. That string of marks on your slide should be a nitro proof and an inspector's mark (*with a letter under it) That will tell you who did the proof, and generally get you a rough date range. (still pre 1962) They should have stamped a date code in it as well. On my early Hi-power the date code was stamped on the butt behind the magwell, and on the bottom of the slide towards the back. With some wear, and the ceracoat yours could be hard to find. But if you find it, there's a chart in that link.

    Also looking at your pics, that looks like it's been rebarreled. Does the Barrel have the Belgian proofmarks on it? (same series as the slide and frame as well as a little bomb/pineapple looking thing) If not, I'm betting that at some point that pistol was refurbished, an new barrel put in , and the SN changed. If I squint just right it looks like it was originally 98830, and became E8830.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
  3. Shooter86

    Shooter86 Member

    Thank you for all the information so far it is very interesting. the barrel appears to have a Belgian proof mark below the serial on the barrel. Also, on the butt of the pistol next to the magazine well there is an "X" which according to the date codes on that sheet it is either 1945 or 1985, but I'm not 100% sure that a date code or not. As you requested I took some pictures of all the proof marks and some better shots overall. If it is pre-1962 and a contract pistol is there anyway of tracking the country or individual that ordered it, or if they ever received that order? Thank you for the help.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  4. Shooter86

    Shooter86 Member

    four more pictures.

    Attached Files:

  5. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Well-Known Member

    It isn't uncommon for Israeli surplus hi powers to have altered or re-stamped (or even scratched in by hand) serial numbers.

    It's hard to tell for sure from the pics, but the mark on the port side trigger guard does appear to be an Israeli proof.

    The Israelis bought tons of BHPs throughout the years, so many of them are from different eras.

    Did this one come from Cole's Distributing?
  6. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Well-Known Member

    Can't help with your questions, but would like to say that is a fine HP.
    I would also like to recommend you contact Jack First and pick up a spare extractor. In recent years it has been hard find a replacement for the internal extractors. Not that they are particularly prone to breakage, it's just that FN hasn't made any in over 50 years. Jack First recently started making new ones. That supply may or may not be around in a few years.
  7. Shooter86

    Shooter86 Member

    I actually purchased it from a gun dealer on Gun Broker that was former Israeli military and now is a U.S. citizen living in Louisville, Ky. Luckily for me I live in the same town so we met and I purchased it doing all the paperwork. All he knew was that it was at one point an Israeli Hi Power, and couldn't tell me much more.
  8. dogmush

    dogmush Well-Known Member

    I don't think that "X" is the date code. Mine has other marks down there as well. Check the bottom of the slide to see what maeks are stamped there. They sometimes last longer.
  9. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Well-Known Member

    "E" series Hi Powers were an 1951-53 FN contract for the British.

    Supposedly for SAS, secret squirrels and MI5.

    There's a couple of pages in R. Blake Stevens book on them.
  10. WVsig

    WVsig Well-Known Member

    Is there an import mark anywhere on the gun? Looks like a typical Israeli surplus gun. Coles also located in KY has them of all ages and variations.
  11. Shooter86

    Shooter86 Member

    No there are no import marks on the pistol.
  12. Hurryin' Hoosier

    Hurryin' Hoosier Well-Known Member

    Shooter - If you don't want it, run it 70 miles up I65 and I'll take it off your hands! :D
  13. Hurryin' Hoosier

    Hurryin' Hoosier Well-Known Member

    Cole is located down in Scottsville and marks his imports.
  14. sub-moa

    sub-moa Well-Known Member

    WADR, while some FN BHPs with the "E" SN prefix did go to Great Britain...some no doubt into the hands of the SAS, SBS and MI units, many also went to Germany and the limited European civilian market, perhaps others. Your original SN was E08830, the first "0" has been obliterated and the barrel is an original FN replacement part marked to correspond with the original SN of the pistol. Appearances would lend credence to the Israeli surplus story.

    Based on the few markings visible in your pics, your E08830 certainly began life absolutely no earlier than 1950 and certainly was completed absolutely no later than 1952. Off the top of my head, SN range puts it most likely at late 1951...perhaps into 1952. A thorough inspection would be required to get any closer than that...

    Hope that helps :D
  15. WVsig

    WVsig Well-Known Member

    Yes he does and he has ready to sell and has sold tons of guns very similar to this one. The reason I asked about the import mark is because it would help clarify the providence of the pistol. An import mark would how it got into the country.

    This is a contract FN Hi Power which was produced between 1951-1952. Browning's serial numbers are all over the place when it comes to contract guns. If I had to bet $$$ on it I believe it is a E series gun as others suggested. It may or may not have been a British gun because IIRC some E series were sold commercially and to under other contracts. It is sort of hard to tell if the "E" is original because some of it may have been filled in when the previous owner cerakoted it but the rest of the pistol looks correct for an "E" series gun.

    Many BHPs made their way to the middle east especially Israel. Some were used by the military but many were used by the Isreali defense forces. Most of the guns at Coles were the IDF guns for the most part.

    The circular marks on the frame and slide are post production and I believe that it is not the original barrel because the "0" and the "8"s do not look right and the "0" on it does not match the frame or other E series pistols like this.


    It does however look to be a FN/Browning barrel. The gun has been refinished as you mentioned so with the replacement barrel all collectiblity value is gone. If you are going to shoot the gun get a replacement extractor. It is not a matter of if it will break it is a matter of when if you are shooting this gun. Should still be a solid shooter. What the +P ammo, I would stick to standard or sub NATO pressures and enjoy!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  16. jonnyc

    jonnyc Well-Known Member

    I have theorized that the "E" contract guns were originally in Jordanian service, before making a direct trip into Israel in 1967, or an indirect trip to Israel via other Arab hands.
    The marking on the trigger guard is a bit tough to see, but it is not any Israeli/IDF marking that I know of.

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