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Old November 2, 2012, 04:43 PM   #1
WIN1886
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Browning Hi Power reliability question ?

So I was shooting my BHP at the pistol range the other day and I got to talking with this other fellow about pistols and he said that he sold his BHP and replaced it with a SIG 226 because the stock internal parts on BHP's are too soft and delicate and wear out quickly ! I never heard this before but have heard that the sear is investment cast and cannot be polished like a hardened sear ! I'm hoping to get a lot of use out of this pistol before any major maintenance is needed to it other then the normal changing of recoil springs and such ! Is it required to upgrade to aftermarket parts like the sear , hammer , and trigger to make the BHP more reliable.....mine is a new production model not an older version if that makes a difference ? This is my first and only 9mm pistol so I want it to last awhile ! Thanks !

Last edited by WIN1886; November 2, 2012 at 04:50 PM.
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Old November 2, 2012, 05:11 PM   #2
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Shoot it stock it will out last you if you swap out the recoil spring every 2500 rounds and you will be fine. Your MKIII is fine with +p ammo but shooting a ton of +P will shorten the life of any gun no matter what the "range experts" tell you. Other than that the serviceable life of your BHP will be around 45,000 rounds IMHO.
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Old November 2, 2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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The current sear IS cast.
Its service life is unknown. It should hold up through most peoples' shooting careers if not fired hundreds of rounds every week. I've heard from a couple gunsmiths that it won't hold a trigger job as well as a machined tool steel version.

I've replaced the factory sears in both of my Hi-Powers with C&S versions.
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:25 PM   #4
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I think the guy on the range is a bit mislead. The HP will last longer than many of us, many WWI versions are going strong still today after seeing service in Vietnam and other conflicts.

It is a great platform which is over looked a lot these days.
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPris
I've replaced the factory sears in both of my Hi-Powers
Same here... but 35 years ago with early 60s Mk.Is fit with Austin Behlert (RIP) prepped parts. Proper parts and fitting do make a big difference don't they.
Quote:
Originally Posted by "range experts" via WIN1886
"stock internal parts on BHP's are too soft and delicate and wear out quickly!"
Oh... I don't know about that. My remaining P35 has well into 35K rounds and when last checked still has Behlert's short, crisp 5 lb. pull.
I know... 5 lbs doesn't sound all that great compared to what can be done with say, a 1911 trigger, but if you knew what it took to make a reliable 5 lb trigger in a HP, you'd be impressed.

If you're a DIY kinda guy, the $120 for a C&S prepped hammer, sear and spring set is the way to go. If you're not DIY... Gene Shuey (great BHP 'smith) will tune your exisitng trigger for about the same money, or install and tune C&S parts for about twice that.
C&S themselves will also do a "5 lb" trigger... but I don't have a clue what they charge. DPris... do you know?

C
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:58 PM   #6
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In spite of what your buddy at the range told you, I have a friend who has 4 or 5 Sig 226's and most all of them have been back to the factory once or twice for repair. I've had my BHP longer than he has had any of his Sigs and mine has never been back to the factory for anything. I just shoot it. You decide.
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:59 PM   #7
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I don't know what C&S charges at the moment.
The full-blown go-to-town job they did on my Capitan was about 8 years ago & that was only part of the overall price.
The second was done elsewhere.

The current cast sear isn't junk, some of us just prefer....non-cast.
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Old November 3, 2012, 12:03 AM   #8
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WIN1886, I have owned quite a few Hi Powers since about '66-'67. I can recall breaking exactly one firing pin stop, and wearing out no internal parts. My most recent Hi Power, a 2009 version, did seem to have more MIM or cast internal parts, but nothing broke or wore. In fact, I installed a C&S hammer and retained the factory cast? sear. I didn't have thousands of rounds through it, but experienced no problems. A family member now has the gun, and I'm sure he will let me know if there are any parts wear or failure issues. I have some other guns with cast, MIM parts, etc, and none of those parts appear to be soft, or have worn or broken, so far as I can tell. In fact MIM and cast parts seem very hard, rather than soft to me. Seems like SIGs of the last several years are using more and more cast and/or MIM parts too. I've had no trouble with those either. I realize there are some very high quality aftermarket parts available for the Hi Powers, 1911s, etc. I use some myself, but as of yet, have had no problem with factory cast or MIM parts. I still own and shoot a few Hi Powers, and am not losing any sleep about their durability...ymmv
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Old November 3, 2012, 02:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Browning Hi Power reliability question ?
What was the question?

Last edited by Redhawk5.5+P+; November 3, 2012 at 02:51 AM.
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Old November 3, 2012, 07:08 AM   #10
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I bought my MK III Browning Hi Power in 1994. It remains totally stock, with no failures of any kind and thousands of rounds through it. Yes, I do change the recoil spring when I think it needs it, but that's all I do.

The BHP has also been in just about every war since 1935, so I think it is a proven design. FN does not make junk to this day.
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Old November 3, 2012, 07:23 AM   #11
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The first gun I ever bought was a Browning Hi-Power made before I was born and the first new gun I ever bought was also a Browning Hi-Power. Nothing broke on either one. In fact, I've never had anything break on any gun except a Star. But I've also hear claims that Brownings were "soft." But here's a question for discussion:

Do manufacturer's make parts with the idea in mind that people will "fiddle" with them? I mean, polishing them, stoning them, filing on them and whatnot. It seems to me that they would be designed with the idea that they were supposed to work best the way they were made and would not work so well when tinkered with. Obviously, many do not feel that way but I wouldn't believe the designers would think so.
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Old November 3, 2012, 07:37 AM   #12
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I love the p35. I have never seen a BHP fail and I put thousands of rounds through mine. Imho that platform was ahead of its time and one of the best designs ever. There is nothing better than a seasoned t series.

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Old November 3, 2012, 10:51 AM   #13
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I just wish I had been standing close enough to overhear and make him a low-ball offer for that nasty old BHP. Fine pistol, one of the best. Enjoy yours and ignore the yahoos.
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Old November 3, 2012, 02:17 PM   #14
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Have three Browning High Powers, two 9's and a 40, after taking out the magazine safety in all three have never had any problems with any of them.

An Old Classic and still one of the Best!
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Old November 4, 2012, 01:25 AM   #15
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Hmmmm. This one is similar to a thread I saw a few months back where someone was questioning the reliability of 1911s. My input was that maybe we should give Colt some more time to iron out the kinks.

So maybe Browning should wait and get some feedback once they get some more Hi Powers out into the field....
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Old November 4, 2012, 06:32 AM   #16
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This is the latest of a bunch of posts by relative newbies to the shooting sports fretting about their guns wearing out after a little use.

I find that a bit odd, since there are guns that are still functional after decades of heavy use. What does the OP think his gun is made of? Paper? Bamboo?

I'm not saying guns don't need an occasional replacement part after some hard use, but most guns are designed to take a beating and keep on shooting
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Old November 4, 2012, 06:54 AM   #17
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Well, maybe and maybe not. I'd have to say that most handguns in police and military use are not fired as much as some on this forum fire their own guns. A few guns really are designed with the idea that they won't be fired all that much, that being a relative term, of course. That isn't a new thing, either.

Colt introduced their Commander model a long, long time ago, well over fifty years ago. By and by, it appeared that some shooters were actually putting thousands and thousands of round through the guns, a little more than the alloy frame could stand. That's when the Combat Commander model was introduced. But they still make the lightweight model, though you would have trouble finding one.

Other less expensive guns sometimes tend not to hold up as much no matter what kind of material they're made of. So for police and military firearms, they do get a lot of hard use, not all of which is shooting. Consequently, they tend to quickly take on a battered look, while the insides are just fine.
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Old November 4, 2012, 07:19 AM   #18
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This has nothing to do with thinking the BHP is a fine pistol( I wouldn't have bought it ) or that I'm a newbie to the sport of shooting ( well , maybe centerfire semi autos ).....I was told by a previous owner of a BHP that the internal parts are soft at the range , I was told by a local gunsmith that the stock sear would have to be replaced due to not being able to hold up to a trigger job well , other people have posted similar information on this thread , and being my first 9 mm BHP and was trying to get other opinions or the facts straight...sorry, I thought that was what these forums are for ! I just read a case where a BHP owner was experiencing slamfires from what he was told was caused by a worn sear ! I have .22 semi auto match pistol that has held up through 1000's of rounds that gets the recoil spring replaced regularly and keeps on ticking ! I already know that general maintenance is required to keep fine pistols in good working order as well as my revolvers !

Thank you all that have posted helpful information and good shooting !

Last edited by WIN1886; November 4, 2012 at 07:35 AM.
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Old November 4, 2012, 07:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
A few guns really are designed with the idea that they won't be fired all that much, that being a relative term, of course
Bluetrain, do you think the BHP is one of those guns, considering its history and what it was designed for?

Quote:
I already know that general maintenance is required to keep fine pistols in good working order
Win1886, no disrespect intended. There have been a number of posts about "will the barrel have to be replaced every 1000 rounds?" and other such nonsense, and that's what prompted my message above.

No problem asking for advice, sounds like the gunsmith guy has a talent for exaggeration.
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Old November 4, 2012, 07:27 AM   #20
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I've heard all kinds of false information from guys at the range, gun store employees, and even some gunsmiths. You'll be hard pressed to wear out a Browning Hi Power, especially the MK III. Shoot with confidence.
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Old November 4, 2012, 07:41 AM   #21
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No worries...I plan to shoot the BHP a lot and if at some point I want a trigger job or need new parts so be it !
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Old November 4, 2012, 10:12 AM   #22
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The Hi Power will outlast any of us on the board. It's reliability has never been in question and neither has it's durability. Shoot it and don't think twice.
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Old November 4, 2012, 10:24 AM   #23
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I have a MKIII that has had 2 previous owners, the last being my best friend and range buddy for years. We have shot the snot out of that gun over the last 6 years (we both reload) and never had a problem with regards to durabilty when regularly maintained.

The gun has needed only 2 recoil spring changes and a hammer spring replacement last year with a round count that's close to 6000rds. Shoot with confidence.

Regards,
Lucky

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Old November 4, 2012, 11:00 AM   #24
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Quote:
he said that he sold his BHP and replaced it with a SIG 226 because the stock internal parts on BHP's are too soft and delicate and wear out quickly ! I never heard this before but have heard that the sear is investment cast and cannot be polished like a hardened sear
Lots of folks make up excuses to justify the things they do. Sounds as though that fellow made up an excuse to justify his switch to a SIG 226. Just saying he wanted a DA/SA gun with a decocker and a higher capacity would have been justification enough for most folks -- and wouldn't have required making up some BS excuse.

If the BHP internal parts were so soft as to need replacement at some alarming rate, you'd think we'd have heard about it by now -- seeing as how the BHP design (and guns) has been around for roughly 80 years.

I didn't KNOW that the old or newer BHPs used investment cast sears,, and even if they did, casting (rather than forging) a part doesn't mean it can't be heat treated or hardened. As I understand it, forging doesn't necessarily make a part more wear-resistant or HARDER than a cast part, but can make some parts stronger. I do know that with some parts in many guns, the heat treating is primarily a "surface" treatment, and if you remove metal, you can remove some of the "hardened" surface.

Note: while many gunsmiths are knowledgeable about guns and gun design, some -- I hope its a relative few -- are just as clueless as the worst gun shop employees!

I've talked with a few gunsmiths over the years, and the subject of soft BHP internals has never come up. and I don't remember ever seen that as a topic on any gun forum, either. Being a BHP owner (along with other guns), I think I would have noticed.
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Old November 5, 2012, 02:29 PM   #25
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The sears in the newest Hi-Powers (2009 and so on) appear to be MIM to my eyes. So does the trigger, magazine catch, and thumb safety levers. 6,000 rounds thru my 2009 production HP with no issues other operator-caused (thumbs forward grip sometimes bumps the slide stop and causes it to lock open mid-mag) or ammo-related (failure to eject with Hornady Steel Match)
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