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Old 03-25-2017, 08:42 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 10
Your Best Project

Curious to see what some of you would call the best Hi Power project you've done. Probably a tough call if you've done several, but I know one always stands out as your favorite.

Mine (and I've posted some of this several months ago on a competing forum that I am slowly growing disillusioned with) is a late T series customized by Jim Garthwaite.

I stole (purchased) the gun on GB for $616. It was a Sport model with S/N T28XXXX.


(Note: It came with the original Blonde French Walnut grips, but I used a pair of Spegels to take the picture)

Because the S/N and Model type didn't seem to line up (it wasn't supposed to exist), we had suspicions that the slide was not original to the frame. I consulted with Submoa on the 1911-HP forum and Lenny Reese (Browning Historian - 800-782-4440 x3280) to confirm details of my T series Hi Power with adjustable sights. Results:

• My T series was originally sold on June 12, 1969, to Reynold’s Sporting Goods, Kentucky. SubMOA had already nailed the date based on some proof stamps we obtained from the barrel and slide. Also, there was a Kentucky SS# electropenciled on the frame, under the grips. Remember the days that was recommended - LOL.
• Six were sold for a total of $514.32 wholesale or $85.72 each
• So, 'we' concluded and I believe the slide is original to the frame. I also believe the gun had only one owner - It was just in too good of shape. I can imagine that the owner died and his family sold it on consignment via the pawnbroker in Kentucky.
• Lastly, according to the Browning historian, 1969 was a transitional year from T to C series and causes much confusion when dating BHPs.

So, via pure luck, I was in possession of a BHP Sport model that wasn't supposed to exist. What to do?

Last edited by Warthogge; 03-25-2017 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Comment on grips
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:36 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 10
After allowing some soak time to think about it, I decided to go forward with my plan - have a custom build done to a very nice Hi Power to start with. I did some studying and landed on Jim Garthwaite. After a couple of conversations with him, I decided on the following...

• Heinie Original 300/Slant Pro fixed sights
• Garthwaite 10 Karat-.080 Gold Bead insert
• Garthwaite custom thumb safety
• Complete trigger job using Garthwaite Tool Steel Commander undercut hammer, hard sear, and Garthwaite straight trigger
• Lathe turn barrel flush with slide face, recessed 60 degree recrown
• Bevel Magwell
• Hogue Cocobolo Grip Panels (Spegels were on back order and had been for months)
• Wolff recoil/firing pin springs
• Flatten and Serrate slide top 40 LPI
• Checker slide rear 40 LPI
• Reblue Complete Pistol (Matt finish rounds-hand polish flats)
• Radius/deburr/soften all sharp edges prior to finish

The finished product:


I like everything about the work done, the fit and finish is beautiful but the gold bead insert on the front sight may be my favorite part. Coming in second would be the wonderful extended side safety that is proprietary to Jim - he won't sell them as a separate item. Lastly the serrated slide top and checkered slide back adds a custom effect that really says the gun has been customized.

Thanks to Jim Garthwaite, and thanks for looking.

What's your favorite project?

Best - Warthogge
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Old 03-25-2017, 12:50 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,637
Nice pistol. Thanks for putting it up.

Your rear sight nomenclature is 50/50. Your sight is the original Heine but not the slant pro. Richard Heinie designed it as a fixed sight to mimic the Bomar sight picture with the under cut rear leaning rear blade. He did this sight for competition.

Later, responding to shooter requests for a more snag free design he came out with the slant pro. It has a forward leaning rear blade. He designed the slant pro for concealed carry. He then began to call the original design the Classic. I have not had a problem using the original/classic in concealed carry.

I still have a Classic Heinie rear on my remaining spare slide assembly. I have not been able to part with it as it is a St. Louis marked Type 65.

Later still, shooters requested a cocking shoulder rear sight. He designed the Ledge for this application. It is not available in the bhp dedicated size but a slant pro can be re-machined into a Ledge. Garthwaite and others perform the modification.

The neat thing about the Heinie dedicated bhp size is his rear dovetail is suitable for use on all original equipment bhp fixed sight versions and the first three adjustable sight versions. Pretty good designer.

The Garthwaite gold bead is nice. I had one.

I had Bhp custom projects from Garthwaite, Williams and Yost. I had to try those three. I would have tried that fellow who used to be with Novak. He did good work and went solo. His business administration skills were not on par with his gun work skills. His solo career was short as a result.

Hard for me to pick a favorite. They are all now enjoyed by others.

The mystery T series numbers are not a mystery. GCA 68 had just been passed and pistol shooters were nervous about the future. GCA 68 was passed as a result of the three high profile assasinations in the sixties. Browning sold all the C marked Bhps they ordered in 69 and the early seventies and went to FN for what is known as back fill. Back fill is the term used when the original order is too small and additional units are needed to keep pace with demand.
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