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Old June 6, 2000, 02:25 AM   #1
Sling Shot
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I do not own a Browning high power, but I am very seriously considering purchasing one. But the idea of getting pinched everytime I shoot it has me running scared. What is the lowdown on the Browning high power hammer bite? Is there a cure for it? Sling Shot
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Old June 6, 2000, 06:56 AM   #2
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A high hold on the High-Power is what allows the hammer bite to occur. Therefore, if you avoid a high hold you negate the problem. I shoot two handed and operate the thumb safety with my left thumb. Why? The upward movement of the thumb, to operate the safety, is what causes the high hold. These are great pistols and well worth your time to learn the manual of arms. Put another way, the high-power is the pistol I shoot fastest and best. Regards, Richard.
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Old June 6, 2000, 06:59 AM   #3
Jim V
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Ring hammer or spur hammer? Ring hammer, the fix is easy, cut off the back half of the loop, leaving a short spur.

You could do the same with the spur hammer and shorten the spur by 1/8".

If the bite is only with the spur hammer and not with a ring hammer, you can replace the hammer.

I think the BHP looks best with the ring hammer and I have never suffered HB with my ring hammer HP.

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Old June 6, 2000, 09:16 AM   #4
Kelly McWethy
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Try firing the Hi-Power (a borrowed or rental) first if you can. I think the occurences of hammer-bite are probably fairly exaggerated. I know that I take a pretty high grip on the Hi-Power and have never been bitten once by ANY of the various models I have shot (both spur hammer and ring hammer).

Discussion in the Hi-Power forum seems to favor the idea that hammer bite has more to do with an individual's hand size and grip then the gun in this case.

However, if hammer bite is a problem for you; be aware that several gunsmiths (Kurt Wickmann comes to mind) offer an "anti-bite" modification to the Hi-Power for around $30.
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Old June 6, 2000, 09:25 AM   #5
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I've had my BHP since 1967 and have NEVER experienced the "BHP bite".
Like Kelly McWethy said: "I think the occurences of hammer-bite are probably fairly exaggerated." I have to agree with this.

"Lead, follow or get the HELL out of the way."
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Old June 6, 2000, 09:48 AM   #6
Robert the41MagFan
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There are a number of smiths that can weld a beavertail on to a HP, including a company called Cylinder & Slide. It is the end all for hammer bite and may be well worth the investment. There are not many guns in the market that are as accurate as the High Power.

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Old June 6, 2000, 10:05 AM   #7
Country Boy
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I echo what Kelly said about trying out a Hi-Power first, and that hammer bite is probably a bit exaggerated. I have been shooting a stock BHP for some time now, and I have not once been "bit" by the spur hammer. Try out a Hi-Power, if you like it, you can't go wrong buying one. But then again, I'm fairly pro Hi-Power, so anything you hear from me on that subject is pretty slanted in a certain direction.

Good luck!

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Old June 6, 2000, 10:13 AM   #8
Al Thompson
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Shooting a BHP or stock 1911 leaves me with hamburger between my thumb and fore-finger. This is not an exageration.

My bro-in-law has hands the same size as mine and he has no problems.

Try before you buy....

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Old June 6, 2000, 11:11 AM   #9
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Ditto. I can hold a BHP and cycle the slide and feel where it's going to bite. I know I have a high hold but I carry a Glock and Sig and shoot them both that way. Can't change just for one weapon.

Mods for a BHP include removing the hammer spur or ring (cheap) or having a beavertail welded on (expensive).
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Old June 6, 2000, 11:23 AM   #10
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I have never had hammer bite from a Hi-Power. People experiencing this problem seem to also feel the bite from Walther PP and 1911 pistols. My acquaintaintances who suffer the hammer bite problem have meatier hands than average. Most have either changed their grip, or (more often) avoided those pistols in favor of ones with broad or extended tangs.
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Old June 6, 2000, 11:29 AM   #11
Ricky T
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The Hi Power hammer bite is real, not an exaggeration. I have a small hand and sometimes the hammer bites me. When I carefully grab the pistol and fire, I can place my hand where the hammer wouldn't bite. But when drawing from a holster, if I don't get a perfect grip, it will bite. I've used the Hi Power in IDPA and USPSA matches, and have been bitten a few times when I grab too high. Like others have posted, the Cylinder and Slide shop can install their Commander style hammer and weld an extended beavertail to eliminate the hammer bite problem. They also do excellent job at reducing the horribly heavy and creepy trigger pull. The Hi Power is an extremely reliable pistol otherwise.
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Old June 6, 2000, 11:50 AM   #12
Kelly McWethy
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I just wanted to clarify my comments on hammer bite. By saying that the "occurences of hammer bite were fairly exaggerated", I didn't mean to suggest that it doesn't happen. I just wanted SlingShot to realize that a large segment of BHP fans don't have a problem with hammer bite and he may be worried about something that isn't even a problem for him. That is why I recommend he try it out first.

In the event you do have a problem with hammer bite, you can change the hammer - the MkIII spur hammer seems to be the least likely to bite with older hammers and ring hammers more likely (just based on anecdotal evidence). You can modify the existing hammer with an "anti-bite" hammer. You can also install the beavertail (kind of expensive).

Just don't let a little thing like hammer-bite stop you from getting a pistol that is a real joy to own and shoot.
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Old June 6, 2000, 12:13 PM   #13
Condition One
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Sling Shot....... I have 3 High Powers and I don't have any problem with hammer bite. I do have a problem with hammer rub. Let me explain. When firing the HP for an extended period, the rocking motion of the gun in my hand couses the hammer to just come in contact with the web of skin between my thumb and trigger finger. I shot over 2,000 rounds (in 5 days) at Chapman's last year, all with my .40 HP. I started wearing a shooting glove after the second day. The hammer was wearing a blister on the web of my hand. I was not getting pinched. 200 to 300 rounds will not geve me a problem, but a whole bunch fast shooting from the holster will. Hope this helps. Shoot Safe.....CO
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Old June 6, 2000, 12:33 PM   #14
Sling Shot
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Thanks everbody for your replys. The BHP seems to be a pistol that I really want. It has been around since 1935 and that says it all. I really want a 9mm, and heard that the supply was drying up, and decided it is time to get off my lazy duff and find one. I have never shot a BHP, and there are no ranges or friends with one. Even if I buy one, and find out later that I do not like it, I do not think I will have a problem selling it. It was just the fact that I can not stand getting pinched. I once had a 25 auto, and the slide would bite me every now and then. I got rid of it pronto. It is just like I suspected, that the bite is a little over exaggerated, but in fact does happen to some shooters, but not to the majority of shooters. I am glad to hear that there are modfications for the BHP if a person is having problems. Thanks for all the input on this subject. By the way, I have narrowed my choices between a standard and a Mark 3. Help me choose which one.
Thanks, Sling Shot
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Old June 6, 2000, 12:44 PM   #15
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I was BHP bit hard while shooting my friend's pistol. I had a raspberry in my thumb-index finger web for about a week and a half. I couldn't tell you a fix, but from my perspective, the stories are not exaggerated.
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Old June 6, 2000, 01:30 PM   #16
Kelly McWethy
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Standard Hi-Power or MkIII?

Well, the major differences are the finish, the grips and the sights. The Standard has a beautiful bluing and the MkIII has a matte finish. The Standard has walnut grips that make an already thick grip even thicker but they look pretty good. The MkIII has plastic grips that are much thinner and generally more comfortable but not very attractive.
Last the Standard has adujustable sights but a very large front sight. The MkIII has lower-profile fixed sights that are more suited to a carry pistol. Both have the same style hammer, so hammer bite (or lack of it) should be the same for either gun.

In summary, the MkIII is probably more practical (and cheaper) and the Standard is probably better looking.

It is really a matter of personal preference and my own personal preferences are to replace the grips with aftermarket grips by Spegel (1st choice) or Hogue and to replace the sights with Novak's Lo-Mount fixed sights (assuming a new pistol) - so for me the difference between a Standard and a MkIII is negligible.
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Old June 6, 2000, 05:51 PM   #17
Rosco Benson
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Shortening the hammer spur will keep it from smacking the web of your hand with each shot (as was pointed out earlier, it will eventually wear a hole in your skin). The actual pinching is generally between the lower rear of the hammer and the frame tang. Novak and Wickman "hog out" the back of the hammer to prevent this. This is their "no-bite hammer mod".

The left bottom edge of the slide can also scrape one's hand. Round it off and get rid of the pointy edge on the cut-out for the safety.

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Old June 6, 2000, 08:07 PM   #18
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Sling Shot, don't waste your time getting a BHP, get a Glock instead. Problem solved.
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Old June 6, 2000, 08:11 PM   #19
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Only the ring hammer was a problem for me, the spur is fine. C&S has a ring hammer and a new skeleton hammer that do no bite me either. A grip tang is another solution.
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