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Old February 22, 2019, 10:59 AM   #23
WVsig
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Join Date: June 30, 2010
Location: NC
Posts: 5,308
Quote:
I know HPs were never made by Browning, they were made in Belgium by FN, like most Browning labeled guns. That is basic Browning knowledge. I don't know date off hand when they farmed out assembly to Potugal but guns are so
marked. They also did same with some rifles like the BAR. Guys into Brownings don't like Portugal assembled guns. The Browning shotguns out of Japan have had little complaint except they aren't FN.
The reason for my comments is that there is a ton of misinformation about FN Herstal assembling guns in Portugal. People do not know the history of the BHP and the FN Herstal plant in Viana Portugal. FN acquired/built the factory in Viana Portugal in 1971-1972 IIRC. BHPs were assembled there sometime after that. There is no definitive date but it is pretty well accepted that the BHP was assembled there in order to reduce labor costs prior to the "Assembled in Portugal" rollmark.

The rollmark which sparks so much mystery and misinformation appeared in the late 70s on Browning rollmarked guns. That rollmark "Assembled in Portugal" is not present on FN rollmarked guns. There are lots of rumors and myths as to why it is on the Browning rollmarked guns but none of them have ever been confirmed by FN that I can remember. The fact is that since somewhere after 1971-1972 ALL BHPs produced by FN were assembled in Portugal. As Burgs pointed out these are production level guns. They are not hand fitted hand built custom guns. They were high volume production line guns. They are high quality but production none the less. It does not matter if the "Assembled in Portugal" rollmark is on the gun or not after a certain date, that only FN Herstal only knows for sure, all BHPs were assembled in Portugal.

FN Herstal has a long history of making changes to the BHP in order to simplify production and lower its production cost. Most of the changes including the move to external extractors, epoxy finishes, changing the bluing process, cast frames etc.... all were done to make the BHP cheaper to produce. The move to Portugal is consistent with that. People who are knowledgeable BHP fans know this. There are reasons to choose an older FN Herstal assembled gun vs one assembled in Portugal but it is not really about quality. It is more about materials, frame dimensions, bluing, sights, safeties, intended uses etc... Most if not all of the big time BHP fans I interact with understand this. As do all of the top BHP smiths. There is a lot of love for older BHPs like T series guns which helps drive their prices up but most of it is hype. IMHO having owned pre T guns, T series, C Series, MKIIs, MKIII transitional guns, MKIIIs etc....

My other comment was that Browning has never produced a BHP. They were once the importer of the FN Browning Hi Power and later became a wholly owned subsidiary but they have never been the manufacturer of the pistol. The gun bears JMBs name but it is not really his design, but that is a topic for another thread.

In the end like any other production gun there will be good and bad examples of all vintages of the BHP. Where it was assembled, its vintage and the rollmark on it are not always indicative of quality.
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Last edited by WVsig; February 22, 2019 at 11:09 AM.
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