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A Long "Love Affair"...

2651 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  briand
...with Browning Hi Powers began for me in '71.

I shot my first one a few years earlier and FINALLY wound up with one of my very own courtesy of a gentleman who has long passed. He was a gunshop owner and man of the highest order named Wilford Pierce.

Mr. Pierce allowed trusted people (which included almost all his customers) to owe "on the book." Essentially, it was a layaway plan, but you got to take the gun with you that day! Most every peace officer in the '60's and '70's had purchased at least one firearm on the book.

I got the Hi Power by trading a 9mm Colt Combat Commander I'd bought from him and some "boot." I don't even have a clue how much it was; probably $20 or so.

You didn't have to take the next Hi Power in line. He let you look at ALL of them he might have in the shop.

I did and I picked what I thought was the best one.

It was a new '71 commercial model with adjustable sights.
They were the type where you loosen one screw on one side and tighten on the opposite to get horizontal changes. It never would hold zero. Eventually, I had Lou Williamson install S&W K-frame revolver sights and a new front sight, make an extended thumb safety, do a trigger job, and have the whole gun hard chromed. He fitted a Barsto bbl as well. (The early Hi Power Barsto's were longer than the standard bbl. I don't know why.)

PETA would put a bounty on this little thing if they had any idea how many critters it's been used on from bullfrogs to deer. This Hi Power is affectionately called "Number 1". (If interested, on my site under "Browning Hi Powers" there is a more detailed history of the little dumpling.)

Like sex, once is seldom enough, and I wound up with another Hi Power during the next year or two. It, too, received the attentions of Mr. Williamson.

Instead of S&W sights, this one has Bomars low-mounted. It had the same treatment as Number 1, but has a blue slide. This pistol also has a Barsto bbl fitted to it.Yes, it got named as well: "Number 2."

In the years to follow, I bought and swapped in and out of Hi Powers. I had a few customized, but have wound up with but two done by Mr. Williamson.

These days, I shoot and enjoy them, but am pretty satisfied with the Mk III or Standard as it comes from the box...with but a few little changes here or there.

This Mk III had Novak sights added as well as a C&S Type I ring hammer and sear. Spegel blk delrin stocks are on the gun. It rode in my duty holster for a number of years.

This Mk III has had a few little things done and it is quite satisfactory. The fixed factory sights are "on" and the hammer spur's been bobbed and it shoots very well with the factory bbl. Despite it's being nearly stock, it is a favorite.

...and there are others, but you get the idea.

The Hi Power in 9mm has been a consistently trustworthy performer for me for years. I like the feel; I like the looks; I like its handling qualities, and I even like the 9mm cartridge.

While current Hi Powers are capable of VERY good groups as they come from the factory, stellar trigger pulls are usually not part of the package. Sometimes they are at least "useable", but on some, the trigger pull is tough as it can be....sort of reminds me of trying to break a weasle's neck by squeezing it with the trigger finger!

I suggest the following:

If you handle a Hi Power and LIKE it, put it down and run away. They can sort of sneak up on you and then you are sunk.

If you're serious about the pistol and accept that it will not have as clean a trigger pull as a tuned 1911 nor will the reset be as short, be prepared to pay for a trigger job. You may have to bob the hammer or go to a C&S hammer and sear, but for me, it was well worth it.

Then be prepared for decades of enjoyable shooting with it.

I love 'em.

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Although the 1911 remains my favorite, I do like the Hi-power. Mine is a MKIII that is pretty much stock except for a trigger job and bobbed hammer (both by myself) and a set of smooth Spegel cocobolo grips.


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I never cared for the GP 35 until I happened to really handle one while shopping for a pellet pistol.I was used to seeing HP's in the $450+ range and just never appreciated them.This day I saw an FEG PJK clone and priced under $250,so I decided to see what the "catch" was....well,it had more tool marks one the inside surfaces,but it really wasn't too bad otherwise,so I bought it.
It's been my best auto to date,having never given me any problems.I've upgraded a few things here and there,but I can't say I regret the money spent;it's a great pistol.

The Arcus 94 came along more recently.Although it's not as ergonomically "perfect" as the more original BHP's,it's turning out to be a good gun in it's own right and verifies my faith in the GP 35 design.
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Mine began with an old Nazi P-35 picked up at a farmers market for $100 but I traded it off for an FN-49 in 30-06. I should have kept the P-35 but at least I have not been without one since, as I picked up commercial Browning before I traded that one.

I came really close to having to use that first one in Memphis one day and I thought about it and figured when the flag flies I just want a bit more bullet....lots of them but still bigger.

That said, I really like the gun! I did carry a pair of .40s for a while but not very long.

Steve, I prefer fixed sights but there is something about those old installations of S&W revolver sights on autos that just has a lot of class!

Carry on,
My introduction to the High Power was when I was about 14. I had gone to the sporting goods store managed by a family friend to buy a pair of Adidas football boots (rugby union). The shop had a small firearms counter, and as we were talking Mr. Daniels, the friend/manager served a customer who was looking at pistols. As he was about to put away the High Power he had on display Mr. Daniels asked if I would like to have a look at it - meaning actually handle it. I suspect my interest was more than a little obvious. As I held it, felt its balance, I decided that one day I would own one - had to own one. To me then, it was like an art lover dreaming of owning a Rembrandt, or a Picasso.

I've used and owned alot of different guns over the years, but the High ppwer is still a work of art to me, and the one gun I'll never be without.
Hello and thank you all for the replies. I already "knew" that abninftr was a Hi Power fan, but I was fairly surprised that Jim Higginbotham had toted one now and then, even briefly as I sort of had him pegged as a .45 or bigger guy from day one.

That's not the first time I've been wrong.

Hello and thank you all for the replies. I already "knew" that abninftr was a Hi Power fan, but I was fairly surprised that Jim Higginbotham had toted one now and then, even briefly as I sort of had him pegged as a .45 or bigger guy from day one.

That's not the first time I've been wrong.

Brains are the last thing to grow in :)

Actually my first love - well second but I was a teenager then - was an 8 3/8" S&W Model 27. It took a long time to convince me that bigger was actually better (I probably read too many gun magazines).

In fact I traded that M-27 for my first commercial Browning...which I later converted to .41 AE and Tom Givens wrote it up for Combat Handguns, I think the article was called "A Higher Power"...Tom always was a wit :)

As an aside, trading the M-27 was a mistake. My eyes were pretty good and if I took my time that thing would shoot 2 MOA (at 100 yards) - had to have the right target though. I just got tired of all the noise.

Hello all,
Maybe I shouldn't strech more this post but it's difficult to resist when it's about HiPowers...
I bought my first one about 10 years ago at a gun show in Switzerland. I remember being on the chase for a "GP35", as we say here, one of these all-time classic. I held a few examples, a tangent-sight John Inglis whose safety didn't work. Then I found a Danish M46, a early post-war model, with the "thumb print" on the slide, brown wood grips and a lanyard ring. I parted from it a few years later as a part of an exchange. I still regret it even if it was an old warhorse, beaten as hell.

Some years later, I found at my range a more recent "GP", made in in 1978. A bodyguard was selling it for a Glock 19. I bought it for a good price here with a holster and a box, and changed the engraved grips and the spur hammer for military wood grips and an old ring hammer to go back in a more classic look. In addition, the mag safety went out and I filed a little the "long" barrel bushing. I'm very satisfied with the piece and shoot it from time to time.

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I TOTALLY understand this Love Affair, to the point, that I had thought about going down-town and trying to marry my High Powers, I also wondered if they would commit me? At the least, I would be told that it's Bigamy because I'm already married, and theres more than one HP... I would just simply explain that my other wife don't mind?, and she has known about the "affair" for quite some-time... And, as far as more than one HP, well your Honor, if you owned one you would also understand.

Take Care,
I have been known to shoot a BHP, licenced copy, or clone on occasion. My favorite is my a hibred. SAC call and I call it "the Bastard." It gave me a lot of grief but it was worth the effort. Regards, Richard:D
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Owned my first BHP back in the mid-late '80s. Never found a competition use for it then, and Ohio was many moons from having legal CCW, so it got traded off. (Had my 1911s for house guns dontcha know.)

Anyhow, my interest was rekindled with the advent of a speed steel match starting up in my area. Remembered how well I'd shot that P-35 compared to the other 9mm pistols I'd owned since. So, got back into the BHP arena with a killer deal on one of those issued-in-Israel surplus guns. Then I traded up to a Mark III, and the .40 version came soon thereafter.

Really can't pick a favorite between the two calibers; wouldn't be likely to trade off either, ever.
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