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Old July 24, 2013, 04:41 PM   #1
Dan F
Join Date: July 13, 2011
Location: MD *gah*
Posts: 57
Browning Hipower serial number concerns

I have a C&R FFL, and last week I used it to purchase a Browning Hipower from an on-line retailer. I received it 3 days later.

Because, to me, part of the fun of C&R is knowing as much as possible about a gun’s history, I went to the Browning website to check the serial number to discover its age. Upon finding it, I was very surprised.

The format of the serial number on my Hipower is 245XXnnnnn. I’d prefer not to say how far along the alphabet the 2 letter year designation actually is.

My question is this... has the ATF added later-model p35’s to the C&R rolls? I’m worried that the seller, despite being a fairly large and well-known on-line dealer, might have sold the gun incorrectly as a C&R, and that it might not qualify as one.

Has anyone ever found themselves in this situation? I’m not sure how to deal with it. I don’t know what my liability might be, even though I typically don’t ask for the serial number in advance of the purchase (I might have to reconsider this in the future), so I don't know how I could have known there might have been a problem.

Any help is appreciated.

Last edited by Dan F; July 24, 2013 at 04:49 PM. Reason: missed grammar mistake
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Old July 25, 2013, 06:11 PM   #2
Gaucho Gringo
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Join Date: May 17, 2007
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 348
Believe it or not I have the exact same problem on a revolver I received last week. Called S&W and found out the revolver was made in 1976. Next I tried to email the ATF twice about the problem as I had it entered in my book. Never got a reply for either email. Why in the he** do they even have an email address if they are not going to answer it? Finally yesterday I called the field office near where I live. After about 1\2 hour on the phone with the agent, who btw was very pleasant and polite he finally came up with the answer that I thought they were going to come up with which was take the gun to an FFL-01 and run the 4473 and NICS on the gun. I will do that this weekend. To cover my butt I got the agents name and made a notation on my records as to the date and time of conversation. I am not advising you to do any of what I am going to do and you should call your local ATF field office and see what they say.
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Old July 26, 2013, 11:05 AM   #3
Dan F
Join Date: July 13, 2011
Location: MD *gah*
Posts: 57

Thanks for the story... especially the part about how BATFE seemed helpful (when you finally got to talk to them), rather than sending a SWAT team into your house at 03:00 and sending you to Club Fed for 5 to 10 for firearms trafficking.

I'm kidding (barely)... after all, these are innocent mistakes, but the FEDs have never been known for their compassion for that, even without mens rea.

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Old July 28, 2013, 08:54 AM   #4
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Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 2,776
The definition according to the C&R list is
Browning, M1935 Hi Power pistol, Canadian, Congol
ese, Indian and Nationalist Chinese Contracts, cal. 9mm parabellum.
Browning Hi Power, Classic Edition, 9mm caliber pistol, having S/Ns 245BC0001 through 45BC5000.
Browning High Power D-Day Commemorative, 9mm caliber pistol, having S/Ns 245DD0001 through 245DD00150.
Browning High Power, Gold Classic Edition, 9mm caliber pistol, having S/Ns 245GC0001 through 245GC0500

So run-of-the-mill BHP did not make the list (as it was make in 1999 and the HP wasn't introduced until 1954). The 245XXnnnnn serial numbers didn't get introduced until 1976.

Now, I'm not sure if YOU violate the law if you accept a dealer's statement that the gun is C&R eligible. You might have a duty to report it so.
I'd just keep it until it's 50 years old before selling it as C&R.
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Old August 24, 2013, 09:40 AM   #5
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Location: Southern Kentucky
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Just a note about the BATFE for what it's worth, as I feel the need to share the good with others.The people I have dealt with in the BATFE field office in my town of about 60,000 were very polite and helpful. I explained my question, and was told that the department that could best answer me was the technical division in West Virginia. They got the address for me and told me who to contact there also. Although I had to look around a bit to find the BATFE office and when I found it, speak to someone first through the security glass, they came out into the tiny waiting room reminding me of just plain Southern folks like myself. Maybe it's a Southern thing. Don
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browning high power , c&r , p35 , serial number status

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