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Dad just gave me his 30 year old Browning Hi-Power…I have a few questions

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by StrikeFire83, Nov 18, 2013.

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  1. StrikeFire83

    StrikeFire83 Member

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    So my Dad just gave me his 30+ year old Browning Hi-Power. He is keeping his Colt Trooper Mk III for home defense and his Colt Cobra for carry. He says that I can have the Hi-Power on the condition that I don't "expletive it up with a bunch of flashy expletive."

    Up until about a year ago, this gun had been sitting at the bottom of a gym bag for about 15 years. I replaced the recoil spring and it functions fine. But the gun has other issues. It has rust. The sights are terrible. AWFUL. I hate them. It is impossible to see the front blade through the rear aperture. Here are some pictures:

    [​IMG]
    Gun was safety checked, but still shouldn't have my finger on the trigger.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
    I shoot it decently, even with the poopy sights.

    So here's what I want to do:
    1. Replace the sights.
    2. Remove bluing and put a proper preservative coating on.
    3. Add the newer style thumb safety.

    I know people bitch about the triggers on these guns and the magazine disconnect safety, but the trigger is fine for me.

    Basically, what do y'all think getting these three things done is going to cost me? Also, I'd happily accept any ideas for specific sights that work well on BHPs.
     
  2. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    Great gun!

    I used one just like it (with target sights) to make Class 'A', IPSC, way back in early 1990s.

    Personally I'd leave it alone. Get a FEG or Argentine FM to do all kinds of jazzing up.

    The high front sight will be the problem. I don''t know of any maker of a rear sight that matches it's hight.

    Cylinder & Slide does make a real good drop in thumb safety so you can keep the original and stick it back in if need be.

    Unless it is real rusty I'd just clean the gun up and use it as-is.

    Deaf
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    All I would do is open up the rear sight U-notch to match the width of the front sight blade with a safe-edge needle file.

    And clean whatever rust there is on it off, with 000 Super-Fine steel wool & Oil.

    That's all it needs, and will keep your dad in a better mood the next time he sees it.

    After he's gone, you can do all the gold plated hammers, extended slide stops, and engine turned bling you want, till your hearts content.

    But it would still be a bad idea to do that to your dads old gun he left in your care.
    With expressed wishes you not 'expletive' it up.

    rc
     
  4. StrikeFire83

    StrikeFire83 Member

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    Appreciate the responses! It's just that the notch in the rear sight is just so damn SMALL. Even with that dab of white paint on the front blade I just can't see it at the range. Can I replace just the rear sight?

    I haven't decided whether or not to get the gun re-coated. But I just don't care for bluing. It requires so much maintenance. I'm used to melonite on my Glocks and Xdm … having a gun rust so easily unless it is totally greased down with oil doesn't sit well with me. But bluing is beautiful and "feels right" on a gun like this.
     
  5. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Member

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    I've had the same model HP as yours since 1981, and while I haven't had any trouble seeing the sights, it's what you can see that matters. Mine doesn't have a white dot on the front sight, so maybe you can sharpie that over and see if things improve. Then maybe try having the rear sight opened up - mine isn't that narrow.

    You might also using a #2 pencil lead and try rubbing off the rust spots to see if there's much pitting under it. I'm not sure what kind of coating you're considering, but if it requires polishing first, you're still going to have to work on the rust in the grooves and that'll be hard to get to.

    I've considered putting a better safety (one that "clicks" instead of "mushes"), but that would likely require gunsmith fitting, and I don't carry it so haven't bothered. For a house gun that has nothing chambered, I'll be chambering rather than searching for the small safety, so I decided I don't need it.

    Basically, I'd suggest one step at a time and that will give you an opportunity to see if it's retrievable...
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You don't need too.
    Read my post #3 about opening up the rear sight blade with a needle-file.

    Stop using oil.

    Use something that stops rust in it's tracks.
    And that ain't oil.

    Clean all the rust off and stop it like I said in Post #3 also.

    Then, Wipe it down with RIG every time you get done using it and it won't rust.

    http://www.brownells.com/gun-cleani...ag-universal-grease-applicator-prod31843.aspx

    http://www.brownells.com/gun-cleani...n/rig-reg-universal-gun-grease-prod31842.aspx

    This is not a bluing issue.

    It's operator error by not taking minimal care of it with the right stuff.

    rc
     
  7. StrikeFire83

    StrikeFire83 Member

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    ^ Okay, cool. I will do what you say. I hadn't read your post when I submitted my last reply. Looks like I'm going to have to learn a few new things about gun care with this old fella. My Glocks and XDm are pretty much "clean, dab of oil on rails, DONE."
     
  8. 5-SHOTS

    5-SHOTS Member

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    What he said.
     
  9. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I have many blued guns, and none of them have rust. I don't do anything special, just normal cleaning, and storage in a temperature controlled environment.
     
  10. mooner

    mooner Member

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    Stay away from the steel wool. It will also remove the blueing. There is a product that I cannot remember the name of that will remove the rust without hurting the bluing. It looks like (and probably is) long stringy chips from turning stainless steel on a lathe. Works great, wont hurt the bluing and is cheap ($3-$5). Maybe someone will know what I am talking about.

    Edit:

    Here it is:http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/metal-prep-coloring/abrasives/metal-wool/stainless-steel-sponge-prod21175.aspx

    Brownells calls it a stainless steel sponge. I have bought it under a different name. Highly recommended.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You know that how?

    Super-fine steel wool & oil is used by professional gun finishers to card bluing salts residue & red rust off of freshly blued firearms when they come out of the bluing tanks.

    When used with oil, 0000 steel wool simply will not harm bluing while removing all traces of rust.

    rc
     
  12. boom boom

    boom boom Member

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    Try Blue Wonder paste available at Brownells or Midway. It seems to do a better job for me in removing surface rust (not pitting) without removing the bluing or patina. I use it to restore old milsurps that were a heck of a lot more rusty than what your pictures show and they look pretty good.
     
  13. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    RC is right as usual. Oil combined with super fine steel wool will only polish the finish and not remove it. Don't horse it just be gentle. If the original bluing is dull I like to polish with 0000 steel wool, oil AND some Oxpho-blue and it tends to spruce up the bluing a bit.

    Bluing, like any other finish, needs a thin coating of grease for protection. I use lithium grease because it is cheap but I am sure there are better options out there (like RC posted above). I slather on a little bit o' grease and wipe it clean with a rag. There will be enough left even though you can't see it. You can also use stock wax to protect metal.

    As always I am ready to stand corrected on any error in my advice.

    Good luck.
     
  14. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    Eezox or Breakfree clp will stop the rust. 0000 steel wool with either product to remove the rust, open up the rear sight notch with a pillar or needle file. Get some wood grips for it and loose the Goodyears. Then get a bunch of ammo and practice. After you shoot it clean it and wipe it down with eezox or breakfree and a soft cloth, and store it in a dry place. Some folks also use a good car wax to cleanup and preserve a blued firearm.
     
  15. Hanshi

    Hanshi Member

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    I agree that opening up the rear sight notch is where to begin. You can also file (by hand) a flat on the back of the rear sight for a better sight picture.
     
  16. mooner

    mooner Member

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    How do you think?

    Admittedly, it was without oil. It was also on an old Westernfield shotgun which was probably cold blued to begin with. I can definitively tell you that 0000 steel wool used without oil will remove a poor bluing job like a you are using a pencil eraser on...well...something written with a pencil.

    Live and learn. Gave me a chance to practice restoring a finish with cold blue!

    Ever since then I have stayed away from the stuff as I found other means of dealing with poor, neglected guns.
     
  17. mooner

    mooner Member

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    Also, I am obviously no expert, but...

    The bluing is just an oxidation layer over whatever the finish of the steel is underneath. If you are using the steel wool to polish a bluing job, would you not be removing material (albeit a small amount). Polish too far and you will be into white steel, yes? Sort of like an overzealous car owner going too far with the buffing pad.

    Forgive me if I have taken this topic on a path not originally intended!
     
  18. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    The oil eliminates much of the friction and will make all the difference between polishing and merely scraping. Think about what oil will do on any metal to metal application......it will eliminate MOST of the friction.
     
  19. Mango88

    Mango88 Member

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    +1

    Blue Wonder Cleaner is an excellent product and if you need to touch up the bluing after cleaning off the surface try the Blue Wonder Bluing, I've been very satisfied with it.

    Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNrX9LFzjUU
     
  20. Dentite

    Dentite Member

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    As mentioned above you could open the notch in the rear sight a bit (or pay a gunsmith to do it if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself).

    Another option is having the slide milled for new modern sights such as Novak or Heinie sights. The gun can then be refinished in a finish of your choice.

    That's a nice gift...enjoy it.
     
  21. StrikeFire83

    StrikeFire83 Member

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    I think I'm going to file the rear sight so it is actually usable.

    Any idea about what a reasonable gunsmith would charge to mill and install Novak sights…NOT including the sights themselves??

    This would be a long term option that I would run by my dad first to make sure it's okay with him. But we don't have "safe queens" in my family, a gun should be shot my Dad always says, that's why this one has been passed to me. He just doesn't shoot it.
     
  22. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    Your dad seems like wise man.
     
  23. johnmcl

    johnmcl Member

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    StrikeFire83,

    If you are interested in Novak slide milling certainly one of the most direct routes is to send your slide directly to Novak in WV. They will mill the slide for around $100 including shipping and have it back to you in about a week. Good work, good price, good timing, you get the idea.

    I had a BHP slide done with black and black sights installed. The black sight configuration is their least expensive, and will certainly meet your dad's request not to honk up the gun. Those BHPs look rather elegant with the Novak Low Mounts.

    Salient point --> A Novak sight installation can be more short term than long term, and will enhance the gun.
     
  24. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Get some Flitz polish and clean it with that. Using steel wool to polish a gun is a BAD idea. You're leaving untreated ferrous material behind from the steel wool, which rusts.
     
  25. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No, you are not.

    And it wouldn't matter if you were on a blued ferrous metal gun.

    It's all the same thing anyway.

    rc
     
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