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Old February 22, 2014, 08:24 PM   #1
Polglock
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Baby browning

I've always wanted a belgium baby browning I have a chance to pick one up from my dealer. He's shot it says everything checks out. It's not mint by any means. There's some surface rust. No pitting but it's in working order and is all original. For 250$ I think I can't go wrong but would like some opinions of the gurus. Thanks in advance.
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Old February 22, 2014, 08:46 PM   #2
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Which Baby Browning? That name has been given to the Model 1905, essentially the same gun as the old Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket, and also to the much newer and smaller pistol introduced in the 1930's but first imported in the 1950's.

They both run about the same price but IMHO the older gun, if in good condition and with the manual safety, is better and more reliable.

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Old March 7, 2014, 04:52 AM   #3
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2 cents

Years ago I had an FN marked(grips too)Baby Browning, the one FN started making in 1904, definitely NOT a Colt Vest Pocket Pistol. Well worn but oh, so smooth & fit they way we dream of. Ate all manner of ball ammo with 100% reliability. Much more recently I saw an unfired(swabbed the chamber, no reaction) Browning marked example resting on it's red velvet lined, Browning marked leather case staring up at me alone & ignored through the glass of a LGS's case. Seller said it came from an Estate Sale.Serial # dates it at 1969. No, though it will chamber Hornady XTP's I won't be trying to use it for SD. But the fit, finish & feel of these little guns is what makes us love them. Consider yourself VERY lucky to have found one, whether it's marked FN or one of the few marked Browning.Keep it...
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Old March 7, 2014, 07:51 AM   #4
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.

A local funshop has a 100% condition .25ACP Baby Browning in it's used pistol display, but IDK about any box/papers.

I thought about buying it, then instead opted for a likewise pristine .380 Browning 1955, for less dinero.


.
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Old March 7, 2014, 10:02 AM   #5
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I carried a Baby for a number of years, usually slipped into a folded handkerchief in my back pocket. I normally carried it loaded, with the safety on. I did that up until my buddy, who also carried one, and in basically the same fashion, had his go off while bending over working in his garden.

I guess all the stars aligned, and while he was lucky, and wasnt hurt, it was an eye opener, for both of us, and we both soon had something else. I went the Seecamp route, he went with a Walther TPH.

That was also the last time I used a hanky for a holster.

The Brownings are cool little guns, and truly "little" guns. I dont know of any smaller. Mine ended up sitting in the safe for a number of years before I refound it and decided to refinish it. It had lost a lot of its finish and was pretty rough looking. By that time, we had got into parkerizing, and I parkerized it. Came out great, and back it went into the safe until a few years ago, when I decided to sell it. Now I kind of wish I hadnt.

These things really are a disease ya know!
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Old March 7, 2014, 10:07 AM   #6
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Why buy one with rust?

Shouldn't be hard to find one in better shape.
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Old March 8, 2014, 02:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
NotMeNotYou Years ago I had an FN marked(grips too)Baby Browning, the one FN started making in 1904, definitely NOT a Colt Vest Pocket Pistol.
If you have the model dating to 1904, its not a Baby Browning, but an FN 1905 (also called the 1906 and nearly identical to the Colt Vest Pocket 1908)

The Baby Browning wasn't produced until 1931:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_Baby_Browning

Although they look similar, the Baby Browning is smaller and has no grip safety.




Quote:
Consider yourself VERY lucky to have found one, whether it's marked FN or one of the few marked Browning......
None of the FN 1905's were marked Browning Arms because it didn't exist until after JMB died.
Virtually all of the Baby Brownings imported into the US were marked Browning Arms.
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Old March 8, 2014, 04:04 PM   #8
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While on the subject of FN/Browning .25s, some years back (in the 80s) a guy come into the shop where I worked and offered to me an FN .25 that was identical in EVERY respect to a Colt 1908 V.P.

Prior to that, I was always aware of two variations of the 1905/06 FN .25s, early ones that had only a grip safety and a later variation that had a manual safety very similar to that used on the 1910s and 1922s, a grip safety and a magazine disconnector.

This particular gun was FN marked,

[but had a manual safety that rotated 180 degrees as on the Colt (to act as a slide hold open)]-- This was an incorrect statement.

As I stated, EVERY detail was identical that that of a Colt. At the time, the guy wanted in excess of $200.00 for the gun which I thought was too high at the time. It's the only sample I have ever seen, and another collector I talked to said he had also seen one.

My surmise is that that Colt started producing FN marked guns after Belgium was overrun by the Germans in WW I, but this is only a guess.--And incorrect. LOL!

Anyone else ever seen one?

Edit: Regarding the 180 degree safety, Jim K was right: I was thinking of a Czech Duo. I dug out one of my Colts and the safety performs similarly to the FN, but the parts are still not interchangeable.

Second edit: What I perceived to be an FN marked Colt turns out to actually be a very scarce (and previously unkown to me) second variation FN 1905/06. FN apparently made only ca. 30,000 or so before introducing the "Triple Surete" (triple safety) model made until the final production in 1959 at over 1,008,000. This second variation used an almost identical safety as used on the Colt VP, and the outward physical appearance was virtually identical to the Colt. The later, third variations have very obvious differences from a Colt.

Last edited by gyvel; March 9, 2014 at 09:41 AM.
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Old March 8, 2014, 04:50 PM   #9
Bill DeShivs
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There were several versions of the early FN 25. Later ones were exactly like the Colt model. Parts will usually interchange.
Colt NEVER made guns for FN, or marked FN.
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Old March 8, 2014, 07:08 PM   #10
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Smug line removed and eating of crow substituted.

Quote:
There were several versions of the early FN 25. Later ones were exactly like the Colt model. Parts will usually interchange.
Colt NEVER made guns for FN, or marked FN.
FN made 1905/06s were NEVER identical to Colts (or vice versa, as the Colts came after the FNs.). There are some major differences and some minor differences. The slides are completely different and the manual safeties are completely different. The grip safety is different as well as the sear spring and do not interchange. Some small internal parts are also different, as well as the Tansley magazine disconnect.

In fact, the only interchangeable parts are the extractor/pin/spring, the barrel, the striker/spring/spring guide, the trigger/pin, the connector (aka trigger bar), sear/pin, recoil spring/guide (pre Tansley safety models) mags and mag catch.

There are only two variations of 1905/06 FN .25s that I know of. (Nope, wrong, it turns out there are three.) First variation (probably pre-WWI) with NO external manual safety of any kind and no magazine disconnect; Second variation (which actually turns out to be a third), made until production ceased, with external manual safety and internal magazine disconnect very similar to those used on the .32 FN 1910s, and having no resemblance whatsoever to the Colt.

Please understand that the FN marked gun I saw was identical in EVERY respect to a Colt, not an FN 05/06. I know the differences.

Everything else is deleted, 'coz it was all wrong and based on a 40+ year old lack of a very important piece of information.

It turns out that FN did make a gun that was almost externally identical to a Colt VP using a style of safety allegedly designed by Browning and used on the Colt. Made after the first run of .25s with no external safety, only an estimated 30,000 or so were made before they redesigned the guns and introduced the so-called triple safety model (Triple Surete). As over a million 1905/06 were made until production was stopped in 1959, 30,000 made before WWI isn't a whole lot and probably most people will never see one. I collected and it was the only example I have ever seen.


EDIT: See second edit in my first post above.

Last edited by gyvel; March 9, 2014 at 04:30 PM.
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Old March 8, 2014, 07:25 PM   #11
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" ...FN marked, but had a manual safety that rotated 180 degrees as on the Colt to act as a slide holdopen..."

Neither the Colt nor the FN has a manual safety that rotates 180 degrees. The only gun I can think of that does that is the Czech Duo.

I doubt very much that Colt ever made guns of any kind for FN. Colt and FN had an agreement to divide the world between them, with FN taking Europe and the Middle East, Colt taking the Americas, and Asia to be open to both. (Colt had to get FN's OK to sell M1911's to Norway.) That is why there were no FN guns imported into the U.S. until c. 1954 when they agreed to void the deal. All the BHP's, M1910's and M1922's in the country to that time were GI bringbacks, or guns purchased overseas by travellers.

Later, in 1968, FN handguns, except the BHP, were banned from import because they could not meet the GCA '68 criteria. FN did make a modified M1922 that was imported for a while but with thumbrest grips and target sights, it was not a popular model.

Jim
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Old March 8, 2014, 08:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Neither the Colt nor the FN has a manual safety that rotates 180 degrees. The only gun I can think of that does that is the Czech Duo
Lord, I hate losing my memory. You are right, Jim.

I dug out one of my Colts and yes, I was thinking of a Duo.

The Colt rotates forward up into a large recess at the rear of the slide, and the hold open position is small triangular shaped notch a little further forward.

The FN has two distinct square notches that perform the same functions, but the parts from the two guns are still not interchangeable.

What the purpose of the FN marked "Colt" was is a mystery to me, but one thing is sure: Even at the price the guy wanted, I wish I had bought it, but 30 years ago $250.00 was way more than I thought it was worth.

Quote:
I doubt very much that Colt ever made guns of any kind for FN.
Had I not seen and handled the gun in person, I would have doubted it, too. Even at that time I knew it was highly unusual, but my cheap self didn't want to pay his price, and he was iffy about selling it anyway.

Nevertheless, I did see it, it does exist, and another collector acquiantance has also seen one.

EDIT: But the mystery is now solved. See later posts.

Last edited by gyvel; March 9, 2014 at 09:44 AM.
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Old March 9, 2014, 01:45 AM   #13
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Boy, I never thought this thread would go on for so long...the FN marked .25 I had in the 80's had no grip safety, no external safety at all. The Browning marked piece I have now looks much the same but in much nicer shape and has the an external safety in front of the left grip panel. Nothing like the Colt's.It has a mag marked FN, matching blue. I can't speak to how a Belgian made Browning so much smaller than my '66 W.German PPK made it into the US after 03/68. I got the manufacture date from a list of serial #'s on a web-site after Googling "Baby Browning" 10 years ago. This same site gave the starting manufacture date as 1904 with serial numbers continuing into the early '70's. My apologies to any & all I may have offended through my ignorance. I suppose I should have referred to my "FN .25" in my earlier post.

She's a Browning & she's my baby. Maybe this should go in the "Guns You Love But Have No Purpose For thread".(Not My Words)

Last edited by NotMeNotYou; March 9, 2014 at 02:52 AM. Reason: correct
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Old March 9, 2014, 08:47 AM   #14
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Eureka!

Mystery solved: I am now sure what I saw (and which was previously completely unknown to me until this very day) was a "second variation" of the FN 1905/06 which was virtually identical to the later Colt VP. Apparently only about ca. 30,000 were made (thank you, Google), compared to ca. 150,000 first variations, and the remaining third variations being produced to ca. 1,008,000. There is only a very small difference in the safety lever, but, since at the time, I didn't have a Colt VP next to it to directly compare, I didn't catch the difference.

Given those production parameters, they can be considered scarce, much more so than the first variation, and only made for a short time before being replaced by the "Triple Surete" model, which I had previously assumed was the "second variation," but was, in fact, the third. All of this occurred prior to WWI.

So, to those of you who said that Colt never made FN marked pistols, you were right. However, given the almost identical appearance, you can see where a mistake could be made. Anyway, I now have something "new" to look for.

It just proves that one is never too old to learn.

See attachment:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1906Variants.jpg (33.9 KB, 20 views)

Last edited by gyvel; March 9, 2014 at 02:24 PM.
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Old March 9, 2014, 09:32 AM   #15
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Deleted. Was previously put in another thread.

Last edited by gyvel; March 9, 2014 at 04:53 PM.
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Old March 9, 2014, 03:23 PM   #16
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I'd pay that for one in weorking condition. I love all the Colt, Browning, FN .25s.
I hate the .25 ans the little centerfires in general, but just something about these little ones from the first quarter of the 20th century that catches my eye. Had one and gave it to my Grandma. Will get another sometime down the line.
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Old March 31, 2014, 06:43 PM   #17
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$250 for any Baby Browning in working condition is "buy." Pretty much eh examples push $500 these days. If you can clean up the metal on the version you have IDed and the grips are decent, well, I'd buy it. Obviously, engraved and fancied up Baby's go for a bunch more. Original soft cases add a few more dollars to value.

.02

David

ps - I own a nice Baby plus soft case in my collection.
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