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Old February 7, 2013, 02:31 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Help with used BHPs. How to spot a gem and avoid a wreck.

I'm going to place an order on some buying permits with the police. Once they come through I'll be able to buy what ever is listed. All this in anticipation of seeing a good deal come up.

Two such deals that have come up are a HP of unknown origin (can't see on the picture in the ad) the other is a tidy looking Star for even less than the already cheap HP.

I asked about Star, and there was little feedback so I guess people are not so familiar with them.

What about HP? In another thread I asked what made HPs speacial and got moreresponses overnight than most of my threads get in their air-time!!

So now on to how to make good on my find:

What should I look for in a BHP that will either show signs of low use/good ownership, but conversely also what gives away a life of abuse and neglect?

Pictures always appreciated as I don't still know all the names for all the bits!

Thanks.
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Old February 7, 2013, 09:27 AM   #2
Silent Bob
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If you are dealing with a Browning/FN, you should be getting a decent pistol unless abused or neglected by the previous owner. Some of the clones can be spotty in terms of quality.

The seller should field-strip the pistol for you before buying, if not, walk away.

With the pistol field-stripped, inspect the barrel lugs on the slide and barrel for excessive wear, and importantly the barrel cam, which is a steel crossbolt in the frame forward of the magazine well between the slide rails. If cracked or broken, usually caused by firing too much hot ammo/weak recoil spring it is a very expensive fix, only Cylinder & Slide offers a fix to my knowledge. From what I understand Browning service dept. in Arnold, MO won't even fix them anymore and will offer a replacement frame.

Inspect the pistol for any signs of excessive wear or damage, particularly slide and frame rails and the ejector. Check for signs of frame battering at the front of the slide rails, which can be caused by firing too much hot ammo or with a weak recoil spring.

If the pistol is a pre-1962 model with an internal (1911-like) extractor, replacements can often be hard to find.

Plan on replacing the recoil spring if round count unknown.
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Old February 7, 2013, 01:44 PM   #3
Pond, James Pond
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It is being advertised as 9x19 Parabellum...

I only recognised it as a Hi-Power design from the photo..

Beyond that I have no idea if it is a Browning, Belgian FN, Argentine model, FEG or any others out there...
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Old February 7, 2013, 01:54 PM   #4
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If it's an Argentine FM (licensed copy) or Hungarian FEG clone I would still look at it and be sure to check the areas I mentioned in my prior post. The FMs and FEGs can be decent guns.

I have heard that the extractor springs in FEGs can often be of questionable quality and lead to failures to extract and eject, this can be cured by installation of a Wolff extra-power spring.

BTW Brownings and FNs are the same pistols, just with different markings, Browning is just an importer and is actually owned by FN Herstal.
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Old February 7, 2013, 02:02 PM   #5
Pond, James Pond
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I typed in "parabellum Hi Power" into Google images and had a look for similar looking guns.

The one advertised has a dark, almost black frame and slide, but a light wooden, almost orange grip. By comparing pictures online with the ad, I would say, at a guess that the one on show is a FEG.

This may make sense because about 2 years ago, when I first started looking for a used gun, I saw a FEG HP on sale for a little more than the one on sale.

It may be one and the same...!
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Old February 7, 2013, 02:09 PM   #6
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Mr. Pond, recommend you peruse...

www.hipowersandhandguns.com - the late Steve Camp has excellent info on the BHP and SOME clone.
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Old February 7, 2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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Check the rollmarks on the gun unless it is one of the fake FEGs with Browning markings that were sold to Iraq the rollmarks will tell the story.

As far as telling a good one from a bad one I personally prefer any used BHP I buy to be stock. If it has been modified I like documentation showing who did the mods. I look for normal wear. If I am looking for a shooter I avoid the older internal extractors because they are no longer being made and they are getting expensive. On top of that they are known to break.

Check the slide for play. If the BHP has been shot a lot and has seen a lot of +P ammo the slide and frame fit will be loose. This does not mean the gun will not run and it will not be accurate enough but it can and will have an effect.

Other than that if they have not been buggered by Bubbha they are good to go. The clones like the FEG, Acurus and FM vary in quality and in trueness to the design based on when they were made. Beware there are some FEGs which resemble BHPs externally but are more like a S&W Semi internally. They can easily be distinguished from the real deal because of the slide mounted decocker/safety. In the world of clones the FEG and early FMs are the best of the breed. IMHO
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Old February 11, 2013, 05:08 AM   #8
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Avoid if worked over by a wannabe smith with a dremel tool.
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