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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why are Browning High Powers like a Lay's Potato Chip?




Unless you were old enough to watch television in the early 1980's, you probably don't remember these adds.  "No one can eat just one" was the source of a lot of humor back then, and there were countless jokes and tv skits about it.


But Browning High Powers are like those potato chips. Once you get one, you have to have more.




One of my  first was the beautiful "Practical" model.  According to the Browning Catalog, which I just checked on line, this model is no longer imported by Browning. They are still offered by FN in Europe.

I was working at a gun counter in a general store, part time. Weekends only.  A fellow broke in one night, stole three pistols, and when the alarm went off he ran.  The Sheriff's men caught him in a newly plowed field, but did not recover the pistols on the scene.

Almost a year later, people out looking for arrowheads found a sealed plastic sack with the three pistols inside, partially buried. The owner sold them to the gun counter workers for next to nothing, as he had already been paid by the insurance company. So I got my first one. It was in great shape, considering.

By the time I finished, I had examples of all the common production versions except the Canadian Inglis pistol. ( I don't have a Browning HP produced for the German Army either, but it's the same one  the Belgian's were making before the war.) 

Some years back, I worked at a local state park for a summer, on the Senior Citizens program. It was fun except people constantly wrote ugly letters about me to the Governor and the State Forest Service. I was nice to decent people but I had some trouble with idiots. Then the poor Ranger, who was only about 24 , would have to bring the letters down to the little camp store and tell me I couldn't tell people to "get out of here" or tell them "this conversation is over." I was always surprised he didn't just fire me. Maybe he couldn't. 

At any rate, I was sitting down at the boat docks one day, and got to talking to an old guy who was waiting there while his grandchildren beveled around the lake on paddle boats. He told me he had something I would like to see. After work I walked up to his campsite, and he had a nearly immaculate Inglis Highpower, with the holster. He was from South Georgia and had bought it from a farmers widow, who was his neighbor.

  I offered him a princely sum for it, but he wanted to keep it because "they knew how to make guns in those days" and he didn't need any money. He did give me a sack of once fired .40 S&W, because he didn't reload but never threw away brass and he had it with him. I thought that was pretty decent so I decided not to invite him to ride down to the dam in the park skiff with me, where the water flows over the dam and down onto the rocks, after all.    >:-(






 I've never been able to find one that was in good condition, that the owner would sell at a fair price. But hope springs eternal in the human breast. One day before I croak, maybe.....


22 comments:

  1. Our local Cabelas has about half a dozen of them in assorted conditions, but the cheapest one is about 1200$. I have been eyeing an FEG/Mauser made High-Power compact version they have priced just under 500$. But I don't really know enough about the FEG/Mauser version.
    A while back you mentioned you were considering a Star Super B. Did you ever get one?

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    1. I haven't gotten the Super B yet. Not because I don't intend to, but because I've been juggling so much just now that it's moved to the back of my mind.

      I have an FEG HP. Mine is about ten years old, I think. Real Browning High Power mags don't fit in it. But I bought some pretty cheap knock off's from USA mags before the Clinton Gun Bank in 1994, and for some reason they will work fine in it. Mine has a beautiful royal blue finish. I replaced the practical but unattractive black plastic grips with some nice Pachymeyer grips. There's nothing of historical significance about the gun so I don't feel bad about making improvements to it. I think I paid under $300 for mine. It's totally reliable.

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    2. Yes that's about the price Classic Firearms had when they had them in stock.
      https://www.classicfirearms.com/feg-9mm-semi-auto-475bbl-hg2336
      The one I was looking at was a compact version that is branded as a Mauser but I am told is made by FEG. But it seems the 500$ price tag is a bit much.

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    3. Gun prices today are staggering. Mine is not the compact version, other than a Glock 26 and a Glock 19 I don't really have many compact versions of a larger gun.

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  2. I've had half a dozen P35's of various vintages, but what I'd like to try is a GB model...its a competition model with special sights and barrel weight. I've seen one in my life and I'd like to have one for my collection. My everyday carry gun was a P35 until I realized it was too valuable to be banging around all day, getting the bluing scraped off with a kydex holster. Retired it to housegun duty and switched to carrying the Glock.

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    1. I don't have any specialty High Powers, though I know there are a lot of them out there.

      I still carry a 1950's era P35 on occasion. I carry it in a Jackass Leather Company shoulder rig.

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  3. I know what you mean about Hi Powers. Very addicting. Just don't make the mistake of liking CZ 75's ...

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    1. I have a CZ 75 B. It has that odd dull finish. Very few of those ever worked their way up into Appalachia, and I think there was an Italian copy ( Tangfolio ?)that was much cheaper floating around about that time. I bought it, it was one of the first in the country so it was a curiosity in a way. I don't think I've ever fired it again after running fifty rounds through it to check it. Seems like a nice gun.

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  4. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I don't think I will ever own a Browning Hi-Power. I got into the game pretty late when prices are high and the Second Amendment is threatened so I have to be more practical.
    Too bad that old guy did not want to part with that pistol. I cant really blame him.

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    1. No, I don't blame him either. He was not a man motivated by money in any way. He had "enough." Had a nice farm in South Georgia, a good wife he had been married to for 40 years, two kids that turned out right, and grandchildren. He had a nice "coach" style motor home and as far as I could tell, he had no worries. He didn't bother himself much about politics. He was conservative but he was on the downslope of life and felt like younger people would have to hash things out now. We differed in some respects, but I liked the guy. When I worked at the park, I met lots of people, most of whom I did not like. But ever so often, a decent person would come in. Part of the reason I really didn't do a very good job at the park was having to be around people all day. The later in the day it got, the less tolerant of pushy, snobbish, arrogant, ignorant people I became. The dot on the face Indians were about the worst in terms of treating the park staff badly. Suburban blacks from Atlanta were among the nicest people. They always seemed to come by and tell you how much they enjoyed the cabins, and how nice the park was, when they checked out. Almost nobody else did. White people from Suburban Atlanta tended to be the one's that did stupid things like going out on the trails and getting lost. Then ( I s**t you not!) they would call on their cell phones to the park office and expect you to come save them.

      This is an honest to God call I took personally.

      "You need to send somebody up here. My husband and I are lost."

      Me: "What trail are you on?"

      Park Visitor: " I have no idea."

      note that the park had several trails, from one mile to 14 miles in length.

      Me: "What can you see from where you are?"

      Park Visitor: " I am standing next to a big tree."

      Me: "Jesus Christ,Lady, are you by any chance mentally challenged?"

      Park Ranger (listening in) "Here, Harry, let me take that."

      Me: (handing over phone but unwisely not covering mouth piece) You'd be better off just letting this one go. It would do wonders for the gene pool."

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  5. I share your feelings about Hi-Powers. For me, their grip (and the CZ 75) feel very natural. My only '35 is an Argentinian FM model, pretty much standard model. I have one of the CZ 75 Italian clones (TZ-75) and it too is a favorite.

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    1. I really like the High Powers. They just feel so right. I am not a plastic gun fan, though I always bought the better quality plastic fantastics if they came into the shop used.

      I have an Argentinian High Power from Rosario, it's a good gun in original condition. Mine saw a lot of use as a police pistol down there. I would like to reblue it but old habits die hard and there are still many who feel any refurbishment destroys the historical value of the weapon.

      I picked up another cheap, that was in pretty bad shape, and I rebuilt it. Strangely, I like the original version gun better than the one I rebuilt, in terms of just holding it, cleaning it, and enjoying owning it.

      When I bought my CZ 75, there was a tape that came with the guns to the shop, for you to play on this television /VHS thing we had on the counter. I remember the presenter on the tape was a really beautiful Czech woman. Blond, blue eyed, and built like a battleship. Most customers were more enthralled with her than with the gun.

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  6. I always enjoy your gun posts, they are a help to me.

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    1. Fiona, I'm glad. I used to do a lot more posts about guns, because that's really my main hobby and leisure time activity. But there are so many gun blogs out there, I had trouble thinking of interesting things about guns that a hundred other fellows hadn't already posted about.

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  7. Harry, if you ever come out to the Rockies, you really should stop by the John Moses Browning museum in Ogden, UT. It's a fantastic history lesson, and you know the guy was like a saint to those Mormon folk :)
    --Troy

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    1. Troy, I would like to see that. He was an amazing man and I bet they have a great bookstore there about Browning and his guns.

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  8. Harry,

    I don't have any real old hand guns, just a few old rifles.
    They opened a Cabela's up in Oklahoma City with a room specifically for vintage guns, OMG.......when I visited that room I thought I was in heaven. I could get into trouble if I revisit this room and I don't think my husband would be too happy with me, LOL.....

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    1. We don't have a Cabellos or any kind of big sporting goods store that we can get to and back the same day. I sure wish we did as I would love to plunder through it.

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  9. The Browning HP is probably the nicest 9mm I have ever shot. That trigger is sweet. Prices today are nuts for them. Can't justify it when a new Glock can be had for $425 Leo/ mil/ fire blue box or about 5 bills for everyone else. The HP has soul but the Glock works as well under normal conditions and better under bad ones. My 9mm stash is likely, minus an insane deal falling in my lap, to stay all Glock.

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    1. They aren't really a gun to carry though I do carry one sometimes. Really, they're so beautiful and so desirable that they are pretty much safe queens today. I have a few Glocks, but I admit they seem to me to be utilitarian but soulless. I remember when the Glock seventeen came out most of us were appalled. But Glock rules the roost today.

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    2. Harry, Soulless is accurate. They are the Toyota Corolla of hand guns. For soul I buy Smith and Wesson revolvers.

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    3. I have some Smith and Wesson's but not many. Mostly I bought Rossi revolvers when I was getting "work guns", or guns for the wife or daughter. Most of the Smith and Wesson's I have came to me through circuitous routes, usually a "if you want this you have to buy this and this too" type of deal. I like them, they're nice guns, I'm just not much of a revolver guy.

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