Hi Power Field Strip

The Browning Hi Power is a pistol that my generation seems to have forgotten, but in its day was a true trailblazer in terms of reliability and technological advancement. It took a lot that worked from other designs, but was simplified and had an impressive capacity for its day.
So what does it look like under the surface?

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Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys it’s Alex C. with TFB TV, and for today’s field strip, we’re going to take a look at a Browning Hi Power.

The Hi Power is notably John Browning’s last design.

It was finished by Dieudonné Saive, the designer of the FN FAL allegedly.

And…

You know it’s a really kind of strange fusion of the 1911 and some other designs but it served the commonwealth well.

It’s still in service with places like Canada, The UK, Australia, so on and so forth.

Fantastic firearm.

So, let’s take a look at how to field strip it.

First of all we’re going to do a little chamber check.

Make sure the magazine’s empty.

Make sure there’s nothing in the chamber.

Something cool about these magazines, well they have a magazine disconnect which I don’t like.

There is this little springy bit on new production magazines that helps pop it out of the pistol little more, which is nice.

So, your first step for field stripping, it’s gonna be pulling the slide back and rotating the safety up into the disassembly notch.

This will allow you to remove the slide catch.

Kind of like a CZ 75 for you CZ guys and I know there’s a lot of you.

So pull that right out.

Now you’re gonna release the safety.

Basically pull it down but make sure the slide doesn’t shoot across the room cause they definitely will do that.

And then separate the slide from the grip frame.

Now I want you to have the slide, pull the recoil spring guide out of the barrel, and then lift the barrel out just like you would on pretty much any modern pistol.

And you can see the 1911 style lugs that mate the barrel to the slide.

So definitely some inspiration there.

And that is all that’s required to field strip a Browning Hi Power.

These are very nice pistols.

Very pedigreed.

Lots of accolades here and very easy to work on.

I actually had no experience with it, got one had done everything with this gun.

Trigger job, everything, slides, all that and so on.

Really cool guns guys.

Big thank to Inter Ammunitions for making our videos possible.

Big thanks to you for watching our videos.

See you next time.

(gun fire) (gun fire) (gun fire) (gun fire) (gun fire)

 



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • There is nothing alleged about Saive’s involvement. Browning’s patent bears a scant resemblance to what FN released in 1935. Contrast the pistol in the video with what is shown in Browning’s patent. The pistol in the patent was striker-fired, and required the breechblock/striker housing to be removed before the pistol could be field stripped. With the breechblock removed, the slide could be moved forward over the barrel and off of the reversed frame rails. With the slide removed, the barrel would then be free to be lifted up and out of its recess in the frame.

    https://www.google.com/patents/US1618510

    • ostiariusalpha

      We can’t be entirely sure how many changes Browning made to the design between the time of the patent application and his death, but it’s pretty obvious that the Grande Puissance that was ultimately produced was largely Saive’s baby, both for better (the double stack magazine) and worse (the maligned disconnect safety).

      • Properly, Browning’s last design was the Superposed shotgun. The Hi Power was one of his last legacies, but Saive (his protege) was really the man behind that pistol.

      • Chris22lr

        Magazine disconnect was French army requirement.

        What some may find interesting is that Browning’s design was offered to Poland in late 1920s when army was looking for a new sidearm. The contest was cancelled (another competitor was some kind of CZ, can’t remember the model) when local industry protested, claiming they can build their own. Soon after that Browning’s patents for 1911 expired and both FN and Polish State Weapon Manufacture in Warsaw used these ideas to make Hi-Power and wz.35 Vis.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Regardless of it being a requirement, the manner in which Saive implemented it made the trigger pull of the Hi-Power grittier than was necessary.

          • Most of the grittiness of the magazine safety can be blamed on inadequate or rushed reaming of the blind hole where the magazine safety’s spring resides. The spring coils find every chatter mark. It is one part that could really benefit from MIM fabrication.

            It also helps to polish the contact surfaces where the magazines and the magazine safety interact.

          • I took that SOB out of there, ordered a new trigger, spring, hammer, and sear from Cylinder and Slide, then polished everything up. Trigger is decent now, but not great.

          • The Cylinder & Slide modified sear lever can help. However, some folks don’t feel comfortable with drilling a new hole to relocate the pivot pin for the lever.

            I once came across a BHP that was modified with an adjustable overtravel stop. The owner had drilled and tapped a hole vertically through the frame for a set screw. The set screw then impinged on the forward leg of the trigger.

      • The only improved models that appeared before Browning’s death were the hammer-fired Grande Rendement variants. These still used the slick-side, reverse-rail frames of the striker-fired model shown in the patent. The first prototypes that share the basic layout of the modern BHP don’t appear until 1928, over a year after Browning died.

    • Joe

      I would love to see a modern striker-fired Hi Power that combines modern materials and simplicity with the classic Hi Power asthetics and ergonomics.

      • Kelly Jackson

        Here ya go

        • That has neither the Hi Power’s aesthetics or ergonomics.
          Great gun though.

  • ostiariusalpha

    The Hi-Power and the 1911 to me are the twin colossi of the early 20th century autoloading pistols, nothing else matches them for utility, popularity, and a certain masculine charm that lends itself readily to the craft of the custom gunsmith; and they helped to defeat the Axis, which gives them a good dose of the “Liberty Victorious” mystique. There are other great guns, of course; the Walther PP and Remington M51 are particularly stylish, and the elegant Luger is one of the earliest example of Kraut Space Magic, but when I think of a pistol the first examples that come to mind are the Colt 1911 and the Browning Hi-Power.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      And can you think of anything else built in 1911 that is still in use today with no design changes?

      • Darren Hruska

        As in military use? The M2 is the closest I can think of. Of course, the M2A1 is still brand new in the grand scheme of things.

      • Zachary marrs

        i doubt many actual 1911’s (not a1’s) are in use

      • Nicks87

        Oh for Christ sake, let’s not get that train going. Regardless what any 1911 fanboy thinks, the design has been showing it’s age for years. Even the Marines have rejected the newest iteration of 1911 and requested to use glock 19s instead.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          I’m just saying it’s still a perfectly good pistol even if it’s not used by the marines.

          • mosinman

            no it isn’t a glock so therefor it’s a museum piece

          • Nicks87

            Museum piece?

          • Nicks87

            This was Saddam Hussein’s

          • Damn, it has a safety! ♡♡♡

          • Ben

            That’s a selector switch, it’s a Glock 18!

          • Shows how much I know ~_~

          • Nicks87

            This one is in the Cody Firearms museum.

        • New Dog, Same Tricks

          Design?

          The locked breach…ah, no.
          The titling barrel…ah, no.

          It uses a magazine…a barrel…a trigger?

          What “design” are you talking about?

          Did you mean, “materials used in construction?”

          The internal extractor and grip safety (with gloves) are issues of concern, but the main reason the Marines went with the 1911 in the first place was “extreme accuracy.”

          And the switch to allow the use of Glocks now is due entirely to “young operators” having trouble (with the 1911)–which says it all if you ask me.

      • DaveP.

        The Smith Model 10 predates the Colt by twelve years. It’s been progressively improved, but guess what- so was the 1911. So should we start a Cult of the Ten?

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          I’m not trying to start an argument dude. I’m just saying it’s still a fine pistol. I don’t even own one.

          • Zebra Dun

            Ya oughrt too!

        • Zebra Dun

          The Smith and Wesson Model 10 is the best revolver ever made.
          It needed to be a .357 magnum but even as a .38 spl it was awesome to shoot.

      • Zebra Dun

        Something earlier, The Colt Peacemaker Army model.

    • TheMaskedMan

      I’d love a Hi Power, but the only options seem to be a very overpriced Browning or an FEG/FM that need refinishing and other work.

      • JK

        Don’t forget massively over-priced Nighthawk Customs

      • pio sian

        I always wanted a real P-35 all steel Made in Belgium. I figured, a clone made by FEG will be the same at a fraction of the cost. Trigger pull is long and creepy and at least 10 lbs. Accuracy maybe based on across the gambling table range. Well, not much money lost.

      • maodeedee

        The one I got from AIM was and Israeli police turn in and it was an FN and I paid $20 bucks xtra for special select and the gun was dirty and the finish was ratty but it was mechanically sound. I had a gunsmith parkerize it disassemble it and do a trigger job and he did all that for $150 so the gun cost me under $600 and I’m delighted with it.

    • Tejanojack

      Except for the Walther, I have all you mention and I concur 100%. Once had a nice Mauser P-38 I like as well, but it was a bit ammo cranky. My M51 is sweet. Everyone is going gaga over all the new .380ACP pistols, but I’m stickin’ w/my old Rem-UMC.

      I also carried a 1950’s era, Belgian FNHP in Iraq in 2005, vice a Beretta. .Feds made me leave it though. (Actually 3d ID & CENTCOM Lawyers)
      They’re all Clintonites & Obamites anyway. Ticked me off, too.

  • Pro2Aguy

    JMB is one of my most admired 20th Century men. His ingenious design/gunsmithing abilities are in many ways unprecedented. Indeed, there are very precedents for something that to this very day remains essentially unchanged from over one century ago like, for example, Browning’s 1911. Even the automobile, telephone etc. have dramatically changed from their respective founding so to speak…A remarkable man and Great American. R.I.P. John Moses Browning.

  • Wanderlust

    Neat gun, eventually sold mine as it kept biting me with the hammer.

    • Simcha M.

      So does mine; I just wear a baseball batter’s glove; problem solved!

  • Bob

    I bought a used Mk3 from Israel and just last night it started giving me problems. I was using it with a laser trainer and suddenly every time I racked the slide the slide release elected to pop out partway or even out of the gun completely. I need to do some internet searching on the topic and carefully look her over, and if that fails, take her to a gunsmith I know to suss out the problem…

    • Simcha M.

      I’m guessing you got one of the Israeli Police guns from AIM, right? If so, they shot the sh*t out of them and replacing a few critical parts such as springs, extractor, etc. would be both very prudent and very inexpensive thanks to SARCO, Numrich’s, et al.

    • maodeedee

      Support Your Local Gunsmith! Fewer people all the time are going into the trade.

  • Sulaco

    Really, sound enabled ad that you can’t shut off! Screw you

  • Simcha M.

    When I lived in Israel (1985-1994) I was issued an FN-post-war Hi Power (in Israel, btw it is simply called “FN pistol”) and hated it because:
    A) I didn’t know then what I know now
    B) I couldn’t find a baseball batter’s glove to solve my slide-bite
    C) they weren’t OUR pistols, so removing the magazine safety would have been a big no-no, even if I had known how easy it is to do!

    Now that I live in the Free State of Arizona, my carry gun is a Kareen MK III; which is everything the Hi-Power should have been. Leave it to the Israelis to perfect perfection!

  • mazkact

    I have an Israeli HP(FEG) mainly for the cool factor and it filled two voids in my service pistol collection, HP and Israeli. I don’t shoot it much as I have very large hands and the hammer bite is brutal.I am a huge JMB fan and find the design intriguing. Do any of you know of another pistol design that utilizes a pivot arm in the slide to trip the sear ? The idea of that trigger must have been to make the frame as thin as possible while have a double column magazine. I like having an example of one but the trigger is not endearing.

    • maodeedee

      If yours still has the magazine safety in it trigger pull can be greatly improve by removing that part which shouldn’t be there in the first place JMB only put it there because it was required by the contract.
      After that, a gunsmith who knows what he’s doing can make the trigger pull absolutely superb. My Hi-Power is an Israeli police turn-in but it’s an FN, not a FEG. When I got it I took it straight to the gunsmith and told him to remove the mag safety and do a trigger job. He said that the was no mag safety in the gun so apparently the Israeli’s had remove it

  • Pete Sheppard

    For hammer bite, try a spur hammer. Watching the video convinced me afresh that the HP was a prime inspiration for the CZ75.

    • That’s not a secret. The HP was the prime inspiration for the CZ75. I thought we all knew this…

      • Pete Sheppard

        It is indeed evident to anyone who has handled both guns. Still, I have only seen passing mentions of the HP’s influence in my reading.

      • Hollow

        And the sig p210

  • ASterisk

    I really like the slide finish on the gun in the video, what color/finish is that?

  • Scot168

    First pistol I ever own was a Browning Hi Power in .40 caliber, it was a Christmas gift from my wife that I picked out myself. I sold the pistol to my neighbor a few years later and got a Sig P220, no complaints against the Browning. Does Browning still make the Hi Power in .40 caliber, not that I would buy one, I would like to have another but in 9 MM but prices I’ve seen for them are a bit steep.

  • Zebra Dun

    I almost bought a Hi Power back in the late 70’s the choice was $300.00 more for the Browning than the Colt 1911A1 gov. model series 70 in .45 acp.
    Dang if I didn’t want that Hi power though!
    If I was to have a rich uncle what died I’d spend some of that money on a Browning Hi Power, then a boat, truck and Yeti 110.

    I did love shooting the Hi Power.

  • maodeedee

    I hate to see a classic firearm like that done up in two-tone. I’ll be glad when the two-tone fad is over with. The one I have is an Israeli police turn-in that had a parkerized frame and a black enamel slide and looked pretty rough. But I had it Black manganese parkerized and now it looks very business-like, utilitarian and looks like military issue

    A High-Power should either look that way or be a deep, high Luster blue. Even nickel wouldn’t be out of the question. But two-tone? –Yecch. The High-power probably has the best ergonomics of any handgun in existence, I love mine and now I want to get one in 40 caliber. It took many years of wanting a Hi-Power before I decided I just couldn’t live without one. now after handling it and shooting it and taking it apart to clean it I’m even more impressed by this gun. Good video by the way.

  • DaveB

    What I would like to have is a nice, good condition John Inglis Browning HP. I carried one for many years, and really would like to have one. Next on the list would be a stock 1911A1.

  • Gunner4guy

    Bought a Belgian-made HP from another deputy(who needed the $$) for $250. He claimed he’d only put 4 or 5 boxes thru it and from the looks I believed him. Never had a problem in the 40+ years I’ve owned it except for ammo-related. Must have close to 2500 rounds fired by now, maybe a touch more. While I have OWB holsters for it I normally use an IWB type and it carries fine. Mag safety went bye-bye long ago & it has a 5 1/2 lb pull – not great but it IS smooth. Often wondered what a .45 ACP-chambered version would be like….. I could live with reduced mag capacity.