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View Full Version : WWII ?French? handgun - Help ID


CriTiCiZe
February 28, 2008, 06:12 AM
If anyone has any idea what this is and how much it's worth, I'd greatly appreciate it. It's 9mm, hasn't been fired since the war but cleaned every couple years. In very good condition. Slide/hammer/mag/slide lock/thumb safety - all remarkably smooth.

"FABRIQUE NATIONALE D'ARMES DE GUERRE HERSTAL BELGIQUE"
"BROWNING'S PATENT DEPOSE"






http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii278/criticize44/100_0327.jpg

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii278/criticize44/100_0326.jpg

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii278/criticize44/100_0324.jpg


http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii278/criticize44/100_0320.jpg

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii278/criticize44/100_0316.jpg

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii278/criticize44/100_0315.jpg

CriTiCiZe
February 28, 2008, 06:13 AM
http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii278/criticize44/100_0320.jpg

Billy Sparks
February 28, 2008, 07:03 AM
That is what appears to be a P35 or High Power. It is not French but Belgium, it appears to have German markings on it so that means that it was produced by FN during the war for the Germans. I have no idea as to worth, check out Stephen Camps website http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/index.html for good information.

wjkuleck
February 28, 2008, 08:56 AM
I have a very similar Hi Power, made in Belgium during the Nazi occupation. Mine was later factory rebuilt & sold to the Austrian State Police. Since yours is a fixed-sight model, it likely has the WaA 140 mark. It's not clear what the serial number suffix is, but each letter added 100,000 to the S/N range after 200,000. Thus, 60020a would actually be 260020 in sequence, in the range 200,001 to 300,000. The last pistol produced was circa 63000b.

If your pistol indeed is marked WaA 140 (as I think I see) and has wood gips (which it does), it is the most common WWII Hi Power variant, made from late '41 to the liberation in '44. Were it to be marked only with the Eagle over N proof mark, it would be very rare.

I don't see the trigger pin for the magazine safety; since the Germans didn't like the mag safety, it was generally disabled, and, after mid-'43, eliminated completely; thus, the lack of trigger pins in later WWII production triggers.

Your trigger guard has "MR" stamped on the left front. I see this mark in Vanderlinden's The Belgian Browning Pistols on both Wa 103 and WaA140 pistols he illustrates, but Vanderlinden does not define that mark. Not all WWII Hi Powers have it.

The German designation was "Pistole 640b," the "b" for Belgian.

As for value, I really don't know. I'd guess 500-750, but I'm not a Hi Power guy. If you have the original WaA-marked holster, the value would be higher, of course.

A nice find, overall.

Regards,

Walt

Sarge
February 28, 2008, 09:05 AM
That's looks like some off-brand European knock-off of a Commander to me...heck they even forgot the grip safety. It's probably scary to handle, maybe even dangerous; but not to worry, I'll give you seventy-five bucks for it just like it is. :D

Slick old pistol you got there!

CriTiCiZe
February 28, 2008, 09:47 AM
Serial # 60300 A

Just above the trigger: WaA140. and just to the right of it is an Eagle. So tiny I didn't even see it until I looked for it.



And the firearm isn't mine. I know a WWII Vet and he told me to try to figure out what it is and how much it's worth. It's was kinda funny... I gave him a ride home. When we got there he said to wait. He went in his house, after about a minute he brought out an extremely old leather pouch. Stuck it in my window and dropped it on my lap. That was that and here I am.

James K
February 28, 2008, 02:28 PM
Value would be in the neighborhood of $600, maybe a bit more.

Jim

wjkuleck
February 28, 2008, 03:02 PM
Serial # 60300 A

Just above the trigger: WaA140. and just to the right of it is an Eagle.

That makes it a quite late (1944) example.

Regards,

Walt

elrod
February 28, 2008, 07:48 PM
The "WaA140" is a proofmark that indicates WWll production of Waffenampt Proofed Type lll with fixed sights.
Blue Book of Gun Values, 28th ed. puts value of a 90% gun at $550.

Nice gun. Did the Vet give it to you to keep? A Hi-Power is usually accurate and dependable. An intresting piece, nonetheless.

Mike Irwin
February 29, 2008, 12:11 PM
Unless that gun has been reblued, I'm not sure that I agree that it's late 1944 production.

First, the metal finishing is quite fine, especially so given the kinds of pressures that the Germans were under in 1944.

Second, it still has commercial markings on it. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the Germans dropped the commercial markings later in the game.

Finally, the Herstal (Liege) area of Belgium was liberated in mid September 1944.

While the gun may have been reblued, which can account for the condition of the metal and bluing, it wouldn't account for the fact that the Waffnamps are quite sharp....

James K
February 29, 2008, 01:31 PM
AFAIK, the commercial slide markings were retained all through the war and German occupation. Quality did drop off, though. Also, sabotage at FN consisted of spoiling the steel or ruining the heat treatment, so some wartime BHPs are very soft. I once worked on one with both the slide and barrel lugs very soft. The gun was hanging up, and I got it to work only by filing down the beaten locking lugs. I told the customer not to fire it, so of course he did. The gun locked up again after only about 20 rounds.

In other words, they made it just good enough to pass proof and get it out the door, hoping it would quit at the wrong time for some German.

Jim

wjkuleck
February 29, 2008, 05:03 PM
Per Vanderlinden, Jim is correct.

There is an anomaly, however. The S/N is repeated in full on the frame and barrel. Vanderlinden asserts that starting in the spring of '44 the serial number was stamped in full only on the slide. His exemplar is 41535 b, where the barrel and frame are marked 535 b.

I'll have to pull my wartime Hi Power out to see how it's marked.

Regards,

Walt

TEDDY
February 29, 2008, 07:16 PM
mine has M on trigger guard and WaA140.the metal is hard as ***frame is blue but slide has seen better days.blue on front and rest is dark.:rolleyes::confused::D

k Squared
March 5, 2008, 01:34 PM
:)

T. O'Heir
March 5, 2008, 05:09 PM
"...don't see the trigger pin for the magazine safety..." Look closer. It's there. It's a Nazi issue BHP. Rumour has it that some of 'em were sabotaged by the Belgian FN factory workers. Never seen nor heard of anybody actually having a sabotaged W.W. II German issued BHP though.

wjkuleck
March 5, 2008, 06:21 PM
Finally took a picture of mine. It's much like the subject pistol on the left (same markings). On the right, note the proliferation of Liegé proofs on the barrel chamber. These were presumably applied during the rebuild of this WWII Nazi-marked pistol for sale to the Austrian State Police of Upper Austria. Note that while the full serial number is stamped on the slide, the leading "3" has been hand-stamped before the abbreviated numbers on the barrel and frame. Again, part of the rebuild/resale process.

The magazine safety trigger pin is present on this pistol. If this pistol had been manufactured without a mag safety, again presumably this "deficiency" was corrected before sale to Austria.

Vanderlinden asserts that the Germans did not want the magazine safety, routinely removing it. He further states that later pistols were simply made without the magazine safety altogether, specifically, most "A"-series guns. He illustrates several examples, including a closeup on page 192, in his The Belgian Browning Pistols.

http://www.fulton-armory.com/FN-BHP-Austrian-800_50.jpg

Regards,

Walt