On a college student’s budget Jeff has started a designed-by-JMB (John Moses Browning) collection. He shared with us a photo of the first two pistols in his collection. Jeff wrote …

I wanted to share my (modest) JMB collection. As a college student, I’m always looking for good deals and I found these two (used) at a local gun shop at unbeatable prices. Both guns are set up for target shooting.

The 1911 is a stainless Norinco 1911a1. Norinco built the guns using railroad steel, so the gun is several ounces heavier than standard GI 1911s. The previous owner installed a Wilson Combat barrel/match bushing, lowered/flared the ejection port, lightened the trigger, added Millet target sights, installed a heavier recoil spring, and an extended safety. The gun shoots like a dream.

The Browning Hi-Power is the newest edition to my collection. It is a FNH GP Competition. This model came from the factory with a 6″ barrel, match bushings, a counter weight, target sights, Pachmayr grips, a lightened trigger, and a redesigned magazine safety that doesn’t affect the trigger pull. I can’t find too much info on the gun, but I’ve read that about 300 were imported into the US in the 1980s. I’ve only taken it out once, but I can say it’s one of the best shooting 9mm handguns I’ve ever fired. I assume this gun was someone’s safe queen before they sold it, as it doesn’t have a scratch on it.

I managed to pay under $400 for each gun. So, there you have it, proof that even a college kid on a budget can start his collection! Just another year of graduate school and I should be able to afford more!

One of the (many) good thing about guns is that if maintained correctly they never lose value, and more often than not increase in value. Thanks for the photo Jeff.

Submit photos you have taken to TFB’s Photo Of The Day.


  • JohnnyBGood

    As a fellow college student, I applaud this man.

    • Jeff Smith


  • Jeff Smith

    Thanks for posting my picture, Steve!

    • Yond

      That is one funky looking sight from what I can see from the side, how do the sights look when aiming?

      • Jeff Smith

        Yond, on the 1911 or the Hi-Power?

      • The FN-Herstal engineers must have run out of money for a proper rear sight after redesigning the magazine safety. Why would they think that a stamped sheet metal sight would be accepted by the market?

        • Jeff Smith

          Daniel, they may have! I’m not exactly sure why they used a stamped sheet metal sight rear sight. It may have been done as a cost saving measure. The gun wasn’t designed to be ran hard and they seem to get the job done. They also sit lower than traditional sights. I’m not sure of the reason behind that or if it has anything to do with the reasoning behind using the sheet metal sight.

          I’ve added some close up pictures of the sight above!

      • Jeff Smith

        Yond, here are some more pictures of the rear sight.

    • Grindstone50k

      Very nice collection you have! I wish I could find such unique treasures in my area.

      • Jeff Smith

        Thank you! I’ve been quite lucky!

  • Steve

    Give ya 500,00 for the Browning 🙂 Nice start to your collection!

    • Jeff Smith

      Haha, thanks for the offer, but I’ll have to pass. I had been wanting a Hi-Power for a while, but the only ones in my price range tend to be in pretty rough shape. I stumbled across this one and jumped at it for the price – $375 out the door. Saying the gun is in good condition is an understatement.

      • Zachary marrs

        Is this gonna be just a military jmb collection? Ive seen old 1894’s go for 200 in good shape after deer season

        • Jeff Smith

          I’d really like a 1892 Winchester or a 1908 Pocket Hammerless! Although, I wouldn’t rule out anything that came my way at a fair price.

  • Tierlieb

    “Norinco built the guns using railroad steel, so the gun is several ounces heavier than standard GI 1911s.” – changing the steel composition won’t make several ounces of difference.

    Density of steels ranges from 7,85 to 7,87  g/cm3, a rough guess says this might make 2gr on a 1100gr 1911, less than a tenth of an ounce. Must be something else.

    • Jeff Smith

      Tierlieb, thanks for the info! A friend and I were using a scale to weigh our guns at one point. Mine clocked in an 3 oz heavier than his. We assumed the steel was the difference.

      Now you have me curious! Any idea what could account for the weight discrepancy?

      • Risky

        Depends on what their other guy’s gun was. If it was a plain jane A1 style model, the difference in the aftermarket sights, safety, barrel and bushing on yours could make the difference. Magazines, too, if they were inserted.

      • Tierlieb

        Since it can’t be the density, it has to be the volume. Really boring, In know 😉

        That would mean some parts might be bigger. Remember, the 1911 was built in the age of drop forgings, not CNC machining. So I would assume that while the interior dimensions are precisely specified (though try to fit a slide from one 1911 to another and then try the same with a Glock), the exterior probably is not. A millimeter on the grip outer diameter, one or two on the slide length, add to that a less flared ejection port, a bit longer beavertail… three ounces of steel are not much material if you spread it over the whole gun.

        In addition to that, if you are doing drop-forging, your “stamp” will wear, so a small increase in dimensions is common when it ages. And I assume the experienced engineers at Norinco just increased their safety margin on purpose since they were aware of their steels quality and their variation (nowadays, afaik China is the biggest importer of steel, they were not before 2000).

        It is impressive what modern metallurgy has done. Just compare the side wall strength of modern magnum revolvers with old ones.

  • tiger

    Can we please stop crediting the Hi-Power as being Mr. Browning’s design? Saive is the guy who did the real work & the design you see. JMB died in 1926 & his prototype has little to do with final pistol. The tilt barrel system is really all he did for this.

  • tiger

    $400 for a Competition model? Great find. I’ve wanted one for a While.

    • Jeff Smith

      I had never seen one until I bought it. It’s really a great shooting gun.