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Karl Sokol Hi Power. A Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by USBP379, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    As many of you have seen, I have a thread going about a Browning Hi Power that was worked over by Karl Sokol of Chestnut Mountain Sports. Based on my experience with Karl and that first gun, I decided to send him another.

    The original thread is found here: https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/karl-sokol-browning-hi-power-build.858094/

    The handgun that's the topic of this thread was a “gunsmith special” purchased via GunBroker from Mach 1 Arsenal. It had quite a bit of finish wear and other cosmetic stuff like a crunched/rolled front sight. It also had some sort of crude job of de-horning done to the slide. The flat edges of the slide were roughly beveled by what I believe was a ball peen hammer. The right paddle of the thumb safety lever had been broken off at some point leaving a “fork” at the end of the safety lever shaft. The worst of the abuse was a bent trigger guard. It was bent up slightly in the middle and actually rubbed against the trigger.

    Despite the external damage the pistol has a clean shiny bore. Frame to slide fit is decent but the gun was just plain ugly. Mach 1 had appropriately named this a gunsmith special. To me it made perfect sense to send the gun to Karl for a bit of magic.

    Before I sent the gun off to Karl I sent the frame to Pullman Arms in Pullman, MA. Pullman Arms straightened out the trigger guard. After this, I put everything back together and then sent the pistol off to Karl along with an EGW hard sear and a set of Navidrex grips.

    I asked Karl for his $750 package which is pretty inclusive. To this I requested a Heinie rear paired with a gold bead front. I asked Karl to round off and clean up the broken safety shaft and to dimple the end of the slide stop axle. I also requested a blued finish rather than the painted finish that’s part of the $750 package.

    Overall, a spectacular transformation. The gun has truly gone from a sow’s ear to a silk purse!

    Here are a few photos of the pistol as sent to Karl:

    01f49ed78c21cd8a27eb56ad456bf08b.jpg 9a80d87f2651d49a7e9285de51e32c64.jpg 3a1e7df67b160606197e65f6f615f565.jpg

    And now here is the pistol as received back from Karl:

    PSX_20210109_004203.jpg PSX_20210110_074355.jpg
    PSX_20210110_074434.jpg
     
  2. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Both Sokol guns together.

    PSX_20210109_165800.jpg
     
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  3. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Some detail of the muzzle end. I was quite concerned about these areas but Karl was able to clean up the previous crude work and make it look professional.

    PSX_20210109_165908.jpg

    Detail of the slide stop axle. What looks like rust pitting in this photo is actually and combination of some rust pits combined with Brian Enos Slide Glide.

    PSX_20210109_170023.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  4. WVsig

    WVsig Member

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    Looks great. I have to send one to Karl one of these days. The examples I have seen are true fighting pistols with a purpose. Everything you need not really anything you don't. Enjoy that one.
     
  5. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Yep. I like the first one Karl did for me but this one is a better example of what he's capable of.

    The first gun was ugly too but its ugliness was all pretty much just holster wear. No abused metal as was the case here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
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  6. HPJeep

    HPJeep Member

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    Wow that's some skilled work there. Just beautiful.
     
  7. johnmcl

    johnmcl Member

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    Pardon the late question here, but what's going on with the hammer in the top pistol in post #3. I have never seen one like that. I've seen spurs and o-rings, but never such a variation as there.
     
  8. WVsig

    WVsig Member

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    Karl took the factory hammer and "bobbed" it. He most likely machined the spur off it it so it does not snag. It is a bespoke custom part made from the factory part.
     
  9. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Actually the hammer was one I had in my parts bin. I removed it from another gun some time ago. I thought it might be a unique and interesting part to use with this project.
     
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  10. WVsig

    WVsig Member

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    Is it a modified factory part?
     
  11. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Thirty-one rounds fired. Two mags and the one chambered round.

    Nothing noteworthy to report. The gun fires, extracts, ejects, feeds and chambers as it should. No surprise there since it worked before I sent it to Karl.

    The trigger is crisp and breaks right at five pounds. Maybe not suitable for bullseye target work but perfectly appropriate for a carry gun. There is a bit of overtravel but it isn't anything distracting or excessive.

    More testing is needed to include benched testing at 25 yards but that's going to be aways off at this point.

    Saturday pics:

    77539c575f4250748ccf651a31251a48.jpg

    eb7cdc68719b1204bcfe02e1fa9cec6e.jpg
     
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  12. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Yep. Someone sawed the spur off a factory hammer for whatever reason. But they did a clean and professional job so I decided the part was worth keeping.
     
  13. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Additional views of the hammer.

    I'll admit that I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not at first.

    512e1d20102f13cf322c5e6c29604482.jpg

    3e121d7e2f3d0be893583693318ae41c.jpg

    05951d2a0e54c2f43434a4505d446b23.jpg

    807400a8aa12f3362ae45aedeb85ef6a.jpg
     
  14. Hal

    Hal Member

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    Pretty.
    Spegels?
     
  15. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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  16. potmetal

    potmetal Member

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    Good looking pistols. I've never owned anything but FEG clones but they gave me a love for the High Power design.
     
  17. johnmcl

    johnmcl Member

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    USB, the reduced mass of the hammer has not created any ignition problems?
     
  18. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Nope. At least not with US commercial ammo.

    I don't know for certain but assume that the factory shaved FN hammer is pretty close in weight to this:

    https://cylinder-slide.com/Item/CS0092
     
  19. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Is the bare spot on the front strap bluing just marks from a ring or maybe is it dust or something. In your “Saturday pics” above. Nice pistol.
     
  20. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Just a weird trick of light reflecting off the stippling.
     
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  21. WVsig

    WVsig Member

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  22. USBP379

    USBP379 Member

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    Devel did at least one Hi-Power with a bobbed hammer. Note the lobe trimmed off the front of the slide release lever.

    Devel_Browning73532.jpg
     
    Nature Boy likes this.
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