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Anyone own a Beretta 951 Brigadier?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Shear_stress, Sep 27, 2010.

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  1. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    Just picked up one these interesting guns, a "Garcia Corporation" import from 1971. For those unfamiliar, the 951 is a single-stack, single-action 9x19 pistol that uses the Walther tilting-block method of operation. It was adopted by the Italian Army and Navy, as well as by the militaries of Egypt, Israeli and Nigeria. Licensed-built copies were made in Egypt (the Helwan) and in Iraq (the Tariq) as well. Made from 1952 to 1980, the 951 that would evolve into the famous Model 92. A lot of Helwans are out there, but I'm curious if anyone has any direct experience with the original.

    Thanks!
     
  2. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    I've owned the Beretta 951, and the Helwan copy. I would never own a Helwan again. Mine had unusually quick wear on the locking block, as if it had not been heat treated properly, and it galled badly, jamming the gun. I would file and sand it down (after forcing it out of the gun), and firing it would do it again. Replacement parts were non-existent at the time. The Beretta was a fine pistol, but seemed to kick a lot more than a comparable Model 92. I cannot explain why; it was possibly just a sensation, but noticeable. The 951 was just not that comfortable. Mags were expensive and hard to find, even quality aftermarket mags. Still, for a Beretta collector, you just have to find a nice original Beretta 951, be it a nicely blued commercial, or an Egyptian military with lots of wear. Definitely a cool looking piece, and fairly slender. Custom grips (or replacement grips) are also out of the question.
     
  3. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Helwans have a reputation for being absolute junk.

    The 951 I found comes with four magazines(!) I've only seen one magazine, and it is factory. I believe the grips are aftermarket, however, which is kind of a drag.
     
  4. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    SharpsDressedMan,
    Any idea of the round count when your Helwan started acting up?
    I ask becuase I have one and wonder if mine might develop the same issues.
    I have about 300 to 400 rounds through it myself without incident so far.
    Regards,
    Greg
     
  5. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    About 300 was when mine started. If you are not getting jams (with FMJ ammo) and seeing ragged edge wear on your locking block, then yours was probably heat treated right. There were older, used, military Helwans brought in that worked fine. Mine was a then new commercial model brought in for import. As far as replacement grips, it might pay to find the current importer and buy an extra set of newer replacement grips, as they are simple plastic (not high tech delrin, etc), wraparound, and may get damaged along the way.
     
  6. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    SharpsDressedMan,
    Thanks for the reply boss! Mine is a commercial model as well, so I'll keep a better eye on it now (it's a curiosity piece and doesn't see a lot of range time).
    Regards,
    Greg
     
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