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Old November 18, 2011, 09:21 PM   #1
Gbro
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Help me understand

I am reading the newest addition to my library, "The History of Browning Firearms by David Miller (2006 The Lions Press).

On page 38 Colt Model 1911 and....
in describing the features of this pistol it states;
Quote:
there were no less than three safety's: thumb-operated manual, the grip (a John Browning patent), and a magazine safety.
Could someone please explain what is meant by 'Magazine Safety in regards to this 1911?

There is also pictured the 1911 with the rare Tansley loaded chamber indicator and in Googling that, this link shows what I believe is the pistol picture in the book sold on proxybid!

Thanks,
Greg
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Old November 18, 2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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It is a bit difficult to understand the magazine safety on a Model 1911/A1 pistol because there isn't any. The writer is wrong.

Just to be clear, a magazine safety is a device on a self-loading pistol (or other firearm having a detachable magazine) that prevents the gun from being fired if the magazine is not in place. It grew out of the common belief in the early days of auto pistols that removing the magazine "unloaded" the pistol and made it safe. All too often the gun was then handled carelessly and if there was a round in the chamber injury or death resulted.

The "three safeties" of the M1911/A1 in miltary parlance were the manual (thumb) safety, the grip safety, and the disconnector safety. The latter is not a safety at all; someone who failed to understand the way the gun works decided that a "safety" prevented the gun from firing if the muzzle were pressed hard against a solid object. True, but it is not a "safety"; it is due to the combination of a moving barrel in a recoil-operated pistol and the disconnector which allows the hammer to stay cocked after the gun fires.

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Old November 19, 2011, 04:05 AM   #3
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Perhaps he is referring to the magazine-actuated slide stop? The 1911 does not have a magazine safety. The P35/High Power does, but not the 1911.
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Old November 19, 2011, 08:24 PM   #4
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Thanks guys,
I had to ask being there is the picture on the same page with one with the loaded chamber indicator, and had the picture not been there I would have also questioned that one.
Biggest problem is I am going to be suspect on other things in this book.
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Old November 20, 2011, 01:15 PM   #5
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What does knowing anything about guns have to do with writing gun books?

Jim
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Old November 20, 2011, 01:44 PM   #6
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Me thinks that he combined his notes on the Colt 1911 and the Browning High Power.

Both the 1911 and the P35 had the thumb operated safety, the 1911 had the grip safety, and the P35 had the magazine disconnect safety.

And, you know, the mag disconnect safety MIGHT have been a Diodionne Saive feature, but I'm not sure about that.

Otherwise, I have never come across anything ever indicating that the 1911 had, either as part of its early designs or production manufacture, a magazine disconnect safety.
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Old November 20, 2011, 06:13 PM   #7
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FWIW, a LOT of gunbook writers are in error, as are their "proofreaders" (if any) - especially those of Brit origins (Guns of the World, etc) that have pics of totally different guns under various wrong titles.

I'm especially fond of reading all about Colt DA revolver safety's.

.

.

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Old November 20, 2011, 11:40 PM   #8
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It's remotely conceivable that initial plans or maybe even prototypes had a magazine safety. I really doubt it.

I believe that the hold open was mistakenly referred to as a safety device. The only other logical thought is that the p35 information was erroneously attrributed to the 1911.

Obviously, this was all said already. Just adding my support to the ideas.
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Old November 21, 2011, 06:33 AM   #9
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"It's remotely conceivable that initial plans or maybe even prototypes had a magazine safety. I really doubt it."

It's been some years, but in the past I've read up on development of the 1911, including the 1905 and subsequent changes, and can't recall ever seeing anything about a magazine safety.
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Old November 21, 2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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I wasn't sure.

I can see where the empty magazine locking it open could have been referred to as a "safety feature," but the longer I consider it, the more inclined I am to think that it was just an error. Obviously, this one wasn't written by jeff cooper.
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Old November 21, 2011, 01:43 PM   #11
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I don't know whether it is the result or the cause of British anti-gun hatred, but British writers seem to be abysmally ignorant on the subject of guns. Even their so-called experts ("he advised Ian Fleming") seem to know nothing of even the most basic principles and terminology.

Jim
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Old November 22, 2011, 12:31 AM   #12
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After spending the last couple of days learning about the Browning High Power through patent material and other sources I then read what Mr. Miller had to say about the [FN Model 1935 Hi-Power], [This famous and widely-used pistol is known by a number of names, including Model 1935, P-35, Hi-Power and Grand Puissance.
There is no mention in this book about this pistol having a "Magazine Safety".
I read through US Patent No. 1618510 looking for anything remotely related to a magazine safety and finding nothing and also comparing Schematic's of the Browning High Power to the patent drawings and find no comparability relating to this feature.
Quote:
Mike Irwin
Me thinks that he combined his notes on the Colt 1911 and the Browning High Power.

Both the 1911 and the P35 had the thumb operated safety, the 1911 had the grip safety, and the P35 had the magazine disconnect safety.

And, you know, the mag disconnect safety MIGHT have been a Diodionne Saive feature, but I'm not sure about that.
I do believe you are spot on with the notes being mixed and as for taking credit for the magazine safety I searched the European patents and Monsieur Saive apparently has no claim to it either. I did find reference to the French wanting it incorporated ito the new design but it seemed like a reluctantly added feature, and rightfully so.
One thing I did find in reading many reviews about the P-35 was the dislike of the trigger mechanism.
In the patent documentation and also in the Patent Claims by JMB
US Patent No. 1618510 Page 7 (changed wrong page number) Line number 28-36;
Quote:
....as the trigger is drawn rearwardly and the sear is depressed, thereby decreasing the leverage force exerted on the sear requiring increased pull on the trigger as the firing point is approached. This necessity for an increased pull on the trigger gives the shooter warning of the time of release of the firing pin.......
Its no wonder there were so many complaints!
I think I will put this book back on E-Bay.
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Last edited by Gbro; November 22, 2011 at 02:03 PM.
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Old November 22, 2011, 07:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
I think I will put this book back on E-Bay.
Put it in the trash.
Don't confuse somebody else with that nonsense to save a few bucks.
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Old November 22, 2011, 01:18 PM   #14
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I have not seen all the patents on the BHP, but I don't need to spend a couple of days studying them to know the production guns have a magazine safety. And that the way it works is the reason for so many complaints about the trigger pull.

Many owners will simply remove the magazine safety and that should be the end of it. But there is a possibility that if the gun is used and the owner somehow becomes involved in a lawsuit, removal of any safety device could be considered reckless behavior and as showing irresponsibility, even if the safety device had nothing to do with the incident.

Jim
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Old November 22, 2011, 01:19 PM   #15
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Jim,
That IS just what I did with it. After posting that i was going to put it back on E-Bay i realized that I would be a "knowing contributor to false information"!

James,
I just thought it interesting to find that JMB designed the prototype with a completely out of the ordinary trigger pull. It was to me as I was reading the patent that he had the magazine safety information but was not going to be the one to put his name on it and left a prototype that could be worked with.
I find these words to be of particular interest from the patent.
Keep in mind that I was searching for any indication of the Mag safety so I may be prejudiced in my assessment of the wording, TBS, it seemed to me that JMB knew there were going to be some changes made and was OK with what his associates were going to do.
And that there do not seem to be any patent changes made after this one to make claims to the changes was also interesting.
I base this on researching other firearms where every change was patented.

Patent No. 1,618,510 Page 8 lines, 20-31;
Quote:
It will be evident that though I have chosen a pistol as an embodiment of my improvements and for the purpose of explaining the nature of my improvements, various features of my invention may be employed independently of the rest and in hand-operated or other firearms of a different kind from which I have described herein, and that various changes in form and arrangement of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit of my invention.
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Last edited by Gbro; November 22, 2011 at 02:01 PM.
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Old November 25, 2011, 04:11 PM   #16
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I would have to say that the disconnector would have been counted as a safety because it prevents the gun from going full auto, unless you don't think that's dangerous. However, at least one pre-1911 Colt .45 automatic had an extractor that also functioned as a loaded chamber indicator, although that was not claimed as a safety feature, however. The extractor was on the top. At least one of the pre-1911 models was made like the .38 automatic, only bigger. The others were made more like the final model but none of the earlier ones were made in any real numbers.

Regarding the Browning Hi-Power, some descriptions of the pistol do not mention the magazine disconnect, so apparently some consider it a minor feature.

One must also be aware of the hyperbole present in advertising of the period, same as today. One revolver was described as being chambered in the "hard-hitting hollowpoint cartridge." That was the Colt Banker's Special and the cartridge was the .22 long rifle.
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Old November 26, 2011, 01:26 AM   #17
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I suppose the disconnector can be considered a safety, but then so can the barrel, since without it, the gun is perfectly safe. I do recall an old and silly piece of advice on self defense that advised a person confronted with a pistol-armed adversary to push on the muzzle of the pistol to keep it from firing, and then disarm the opponent. It didn't explain what to do if the pistol was of blowback type or if the enemy simply pulled the pistol back and pulled the trigger.

I don't recall any production or contract .45 Colt pistol of that era that has the extractor on the top. The Army contract model of 1907 has a loaded chamber indicator on the top, but has the normal Model 1905 external extractor. The Model 1909 ejection was straight up, but the external extractor was high on the right side. The Model 1905, a production pistol, and the Model 1907 contract pistol were dual link, like the earlier .38 pistols; the Model 1909 contract pistol was the first one with a single link.

The 1927 Browning patents for what became the BHP don't show a magazine safety, but the pistol shown is radically different from the later production pistol. Those were the last patents actually taken out by Browning himself. There were several developmental pistols, which seem not to have had magazine safeties, but the earliest picture I can find of the true BHP, dated 1934, shows the magazine safety as in the subsequent production models. Some descriptions may not mention it, but that is not surprising as high level descriptions often ignore details or even make mistakes in the descriptions, such as the one that started this whole thread.

(For example, several descriptions of the BHP call it a double action pistol, based on the appearance of the trigger, but it is not.)

Jim
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Old November 26, 2011, 11:48 AM   #18
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My father also told me that a pistol would be inoperable if the slide were pushed back and also that you could keep a DA revolver from being fired by grasping the cylinder to prevent it from turning. But he may have been faster than me with his hands. The disconnector also keeps the gun from firing before it is completely in battery. Another source I came across when researching for a different thread mentioned the half-cock feature on the 1911.

I will happily take your word for it about the loaded magazine indicator on any pre-1911 .45 auto. My reading may have been careless and quick. I did notice that a surprisingly large number of 1905 models (around 5,000) were made but only a handful of the other models. I wonder how quickly they sold, even with the superlatives used in the advertising.

There was a DA version of the Browning Hi-Power but it had a different name (BDA) and looked different, too. It apparently didn't catch on.
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Old November 26, 2011, 03:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
There was a DA version of the Browning Hi-Power but it had a different name (BDA) and looked different, too. It apparently didn't catch on.
There were several Browning BDAs, a 380 made by Beretta, a 9mm and a 45 made by SIG. The 9mm was a SIG P226 IIRC. The BDAs were marked with Browning logos and imported by Browning in the early 1980s. It was not a JMB design, and has nothing to do with the BHP.

The magazine safety was requested by the Belgian army.
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Old November 26, 2011, 06:04 PM   #20
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There was a DA version of the High Power and it was called the Double Action High Power.

As Scorch says, the BDA was a Sig Sauer with Browning label. The BDA 9mm was still a P220 single stack, prior to the introduction of the P226 for US Army trials. Also in .38 Super.

There was also the BDM (Browning Double Mode) which is a third distinct design.
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