early hi power in nickel?

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  1. #1
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    early hi power in nickel?

    hi,
    my first post! am looking at a high power w/ nickel (perhaps satin chrome) finish. serial number 29,000 range. owner says original finish and wwII bringback. excellent condition. has internal extractor and thumbprint. i figure a pre-1960 but post-war manufacture. anyone know if this nickel finish could be factory/original?

    thanks!


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    Quote Originally Posted by sherbie View Post
    a high power w/ nickel (perhaps satin chrome) finish. serial number 29,000 range. owner says original finish and wwII bringback. excellent condition
    That's what I refer to as a clue.

    That age, serial number range, finish, and condition would cause me to doubt his story. Is there any paperwork, or proof to back up his story?

  3. #3
    Senior Member sirgilligan's Avatar
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    Your serial number if before what is listed on the Browning site:

    Browning Date Your Firearm - Hi-Power Pistol

    I am not sure there were any nickel or chrome BHP's in that era, but I have read that many that were rough were refinished to, of course, hide the blemishes.

    Here is an interesting site:

    Pistols of the German Wehrmacht

    Technical data:
    Caliber: 9 mm Para
    Function: Browning 2nd variation; hammer outside; slide catch
    Barrel length: 119 mm
    Weight: 903 g
    Magazine capacity: 13 rounds (notable)
    Production data:
    Company: Fabrique Nationale D´Armes de Guerre
    Location: Herstal
    Period: 1940 - 1944
    Amount: 363,200
    Serial numbers: 45000 - 210000; 01a - 100000a; 01b - 63000b


    Some pictures with any proof marks you could find would be helpful. Also, pictures of the sights, both sides of the slide, the hammer, and the barrel and feed ramp can help.

    I also found this:

    There was a change in the slide manufacture process just after WW2 to elliminate the firing pin bushing. I think it 1947 but could be wrong on the exact year. Somewhere in there. Guns made after the date did not have the bushing. Easily seen by looking at the breechface.
    I'd also guess that FN wasn't one to just throw out older parts either. So the older version slide might show up on slightly newer pistols.
    And this:

    I also have one of the Austrian Gendarmerie P35's like the one shown by bmcgilvray. I had estimated it's manufacture date as the early 1950's, but was surprised when I bought a copy of Anthony Vanderlinden's new book FN Browning Pistols, Side Arms that Shaped World History. (An outstanding book by the way). There is a chart on page 86 that identifies the post WWII date codes that are marked internally and on parts like the barrel. They are single digit codes and changing the font style or in the case of guns made from 1961-67 reversing the numerals allows the period from 1946-67 to be coded. They can even be narrowed down to the trimester of manufacture for that year. For example, a 2 that looks like it is sitting inside of 3 sides of a box or square would be Jan-March 1952. If the stamp looked like an L with a 2 above it it would be April-June '52. A 2 with an upside down U around it would Jul-Sept. '52. And a 2 with an upside down L around it would be Oct-Dec. '52. What I am describing are the 2 or 4 sides of a box with the numeral inside, easy to mistake for a poorly struck numeral within a square with one or two sides missing if that makes sense. Guns made from 68-77 used a diamond instead of a square around the numeral, and after that the serial numbers allowed more positive ID of the manufacture date. My gun ended up being a birthday gun !
    And this:

    The High Power pistol was designed by John Moses Browning and manufactured by Fabrique Nationale (FN) in Herstal, Belgium. The Belgians were first armed forces to adopt the High Power as an official sidearm, they did this in 1935. Between 1935 and the German capture of the FN factory on May 29, 1940 contracts were filled for the armed forces of several countries including Belgium, China, Peru, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and France.

    From the plant's seizure by the Germans in May of 1940 to its liberation in September of 1944, over 319,000 High Powers pistols were manufactured for the German Wehrmacht. The first several thousand pistols were made up from captured parts and had a high polish finish, a shoulder stock slot cut into the rear grip strap and tangent rear sight. To speed production, the Germans eliminated the shoulder stock slot and then the tangent sight at about serial number 145000. As production continued, the quality of finish was reduced to dull blue over a progressively less polished metal. The Germans used three Waffenenamt stamps on High Power pistols:

    Eagle over WaA613
    Eagle over WaA103
    Eagle over WaA140.

    Yearly production of High Power pistols under German occupation was as follows:

    1940..................... 8,500
    1941..................... 65,700
    1942..................... 80,600
    1943..................... 101,200
    1944..................... 63,000

    Nazi Proofed High Power pistols are in the $300 to $700 range depending on condition.
    *******************************************
    just some info I found.
    Also, make sure it is an FN Hi-Power and not a clone, so pictures would help.

    SirGilligan

    If there isn't a photo then it never happened.
    If you find your back is up against a wall, maybe you have been backing up for too long.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sirgilligan's Avatar
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    SirGilligan

    If there isn't a photo then it never happened.
    If you find your back is up against a wall, maybe you have been backing up for too long.

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    no paperwork or proof............just story.

  6. #6
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    thanks for all the info! i have the Vanderlingen book and have researched using that and a few other sources. apparently FN offered a nickel finish in the 30s (and perhaps beyond), but they say all those guns had unfinished (black) trigger and safety due to thickness of nickel plating interfering with operation. this gun has nickel everything. also has fixed sights. FN went to a chrome satin finish in the 50s to mimic the nickel, and apparently used gold plated triggers with that finish sometimes. proof marks are typical and consistent w/ what i could find for this gun. has a *M stamp which, according to Vanderlingen, is attributed to one of two final proof gentlemen: one working from the 20s to the 50s, and one from 40s to 60s, or thereabouts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sherbie View Post
    no paperwork or proof............just story.
    If it's cheap get it, if not I'd pass.

  8. #8
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    wants $850, which doesn't seem unreasonable.

  9. #9
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    hi power photos

    Quote Originally Posted by sirgilligan View Post
    Your serial number if before what is listed on the Browning site:

    Browning Date Your Firearm - Hi-Power Pistol

    I am not sure there were any nickel or chrome BHP's in that era, but I have read that many that were rough were refinished to, of course, hide the blemishes.

    Here is an interesting site:

    Pistols of the German Wehrmacht

    Technical data:
    Caliber: 9 mm Para
    Function: Browning 2nd variation; hammer outside; slide catch
    Barrel length: 119 mm
    Weight: 903 g
    Magazine capacity: 13 rounds (notable)
    Production data:
    Company: Fabrique Nationale D´Armes de Guerre
    Location: Herstal
    Period: 1940 - 1944
    Amount: 363,200
    Serial numbers: 45000 - 210000; 01a - 100000a; 01b - 63000b


    Some pictures with any proof marks you could find would be helpful. Also, pictures of the sights, both sides of the slide, the hammer, and the barrel and feed ramp can help.

    I also found this:



    And this:



    And this:



    Also, make sure it is an FN Hi-Power and not a clone, so pictures would help.
    *****here are a few photos of the pistol *********
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Senior Member sirgilligan's Avatar
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    Reminds me of this pistol: Browning Hi-Power Owner's Forum - Mil Surplus FN High Power

    So, maybe it is an Israeli Army pistol?

    This is also interesting (but different sights so I doubt this is the Hi Power you show): Hi-power 640(b) This site seems to indicate that it would be a pre-war... help identifying this old HI -Power [Archive] - Calguns.net
    Pre-war. No tangent rear sight, so would be a commercial/police model. FN serial dates for pre-war are practically non-existent, but numbers 1-47000 are known to be pre-Waffen stamped.
    "...Browning proof marks. The PV surmounted by the lion indicates the gun uses smokeless powder. " The H with a star over might be a year code. ELG in an oval with a crown is a Belgian proof mark.
    The caliber on pre-war guns would have been stamped on the barrel and visible through the ejection port. The caliber was not stamped on the guns made for the Germans; the Germans knew very well what caliber they were and that they used the same ammunition as the Luger and the P.38.
    So, this investigation has been interesting to me. My guess is that it is a pre-war Belgium made FN Hi Power OR an Israeli Surplus. Did they make nickle plated pre-war, no idea.
    Last edited by sirgilligan; 08-27-2012 at 09:44 AM.

    SirGilligan

    If there isn't a photo then it never happened.
    If you find your back is up against a wall, maybe you have been backing up for too long.

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