"Even a Blind Hog...

Discussion in 'The Browning Hi Power Club' started by Stephen A. Camp, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Deceased

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    ...finds an acorn now and then", the old saying goes and in this instance all I can grunt in reply is, "Oink!"

    A year or so ago I found a very slightly used classic style Hi Power w/factory adjustable sights, aka "Sport Model" for sale at a very fair price. This gun had not been shot much but neither had it been wiped down as often as it might have been; it had a tiny spot or two of surface rust which I quickly removed. It had been carried some as evidenced by the beginning of holster-wear.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the classic style Sport Model with the old "beer can" adjustable rear sight and factory checkered walnut stocks. This is how it was when purchased except that to avoid hammer bite, I bobbed the spur hammer at the second lateral serration, reshaped and beveled the edges and then cold blued. The previous owner removed the magazine disconnect. (Bless him!) FWIW, the used blued barrel in the picture is not the one that came with the pistol or the one that is in it now. It was substituted for photographic ease simply because the other offered too much glare with its reflective bare metal finish. This barrel was one of the "test barrels" used with the Mk III slide.

    For anyone interested in how the Sport handled, a fairly detailed report is here:

    http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/classic_hi_power sport model.htm

    I recalled having a spare Mk III slide (complete with all parts) from an older project. It started life with the factory matte finish, but I had a gunsmith remove it and refinish in a matte blue though I really do not remember why at present!

    It was not really a surprise that the Mk III would fit on the older forged frame of this 1980-built Sport Model or that the several factory barrels were "drop-in's" with respect to fit in what was a most popular military sidearm for decades. Such is almost always the case though POI may deviate a bit from what it was in the original configuration. (Still, I checked lug engagement depth using a blue Marks-a-Lot to make sure that none of the barrel lugs had too shallow of engagement with slide recesses and not a one did.)

    Point-of-Impact with a couple of barrels varied no more than about 1 1/2" @ 15 yards from POA. I am not sure why, but it was not until the third try that I decided to see what might happen with the original barrel that came in the Hi Power in its original Sport configuration. I am glad that I finally had enough sense to remember this (obvious) possibility.

    First, this barrel offered plenty of barrel lug engagement and showed absolutely no play with the pistol in battery. Neither did it have the humped feed ramp common to older Hi Powers. This one had been "throated" and appears exactly like those seen on the Mk II pistols that would soon replace the classic design. I think it was done by the factory but it is possible that an individual did it. In any event, it was done correctly and case support was not compromised.

    [​IMG]
    Firing a magazine-full of Remington's "clean" target ammunition resulted in a group slightly larger than an inch and just a wee "sconch" left of POA. That was not a surprise. I have noted that this particular light-recoiling ammunition strikes slightly left of the usual dead-on POI in a different Mk III, a Glock 17L and a Pre-B CZ-75. (I have not had or taken time to chronograph this stuff but I think it is going to prove slower than the 1060 to 1120 ft/sec many standard pressure 124-gr. loads clock from a factory Hi Power barrel.) Still, this load does group satisfactorily.

    There was no evidence of what Mr. Massad Ayoob dubbed "first-round-flyer-syndrome" years ago, which describes the tendency of some pistols to throw the first shot (hand-cyled into the chamber) to a different POI than subsequent ones. The single shot at the 11 o'clock position was the third or fourth one fired.

    [​IMG]
    Also fired from a rest, this 15-shot group using a 124-gr. Rainier PRN and Blue Dot powder averages between 1160 and 1180 ft/sec in previous Hi Power chronograph sessions. It appears to be trending a bit more toward the right than the previous load as did Federal 115-gr. JHP's and Speer's 124-gr. GDHP +P.

    It was too windy to do any meaningful bullseye shooting other than from a seated position with both wrists resting on sandbags but I think that this one is going to be "close enough" so long as bullets in the 115 to 124-gr range are moving at least at "normal" velocities for their weight. I'll confirm that "yea" or "nay" with another couple of range sessions. If need be, a tiny bit of rear sight adjustment should correct the slight windage "problem".

    There were no malfunctions whatsoever and firing pin strikes were centered in the factory rounds as well as the handload.

    This pistol was fired using a 18.5-lb conventional Wolff recoil spring and the original 32-lb mainspring and worked fine with all loads including the light-recoiling Remington's.

    At the present time I have no plans to make any further changes to this pistol. I will probably leave the small single-side thumb safety as is and use this primarily for range sessions. ("Practiced thumbs" can disengage the small classic-style thumb safety surprisingly fast if necessary assuming that it is not exceptionally tight.)

    As would be the case, the wind diminished for a few minutes after I'd had packed away most of my gear, including paper targets and was preparing to leave the range. I had four rounds left to shoot and decided to fire them using a two-hand hold at a small (approximately 6" length) board lying on the range berm at roughly 40 yards. Two shots were definitely hits. The other two caused the board to move but probably actually impacted slightly
    under it. I found this encouraging as well.


    [​IMG]
    There is nothing particularly special or elegant with this particular Hi Power. It looks sort of like a Standard but with a matte blue slide rather than polished bright blue. It serves my perceived "needs" and for me is a preferred transformation of the old Sport Model into a version I prefer; that does not mean that other folks would necessarily feel the same.

    Speaking only for myself, about 41 years has passed since I first laid eyes on a Hi Power. These pistols facinated me then and they do the same now.

    I guess that for some of us, it just never ends...

    Best.
     
  2. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

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    The pleasure of quality is its own justification. Were I to suddenly migrate to a semi-auto platform I could only hope to find the gem you did. A bit of honest holster wear just proves somebody loves it enough to carry regularly.

    It's a keeper. I hope you don't forget.
     

  3. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Deceased

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    Hello and thanks. Glad that the post was of interest.

    Best to you and yours.
     
  4. bac1023

    bac1023

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  5. glock2619

    glock2619 Work in Progres

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    Well said. I'm beginning to appreciate a bit of wear myself.


    OP, very nice piece. Great review as always.