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Old 01-11-2015, 05:30 PM
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Default Sleuthing the history of an old Browning pistol...

Yesterday, I acquired an old FN-Browning Model 1922 pistol that was made during the German occupation of the Fabrique Nationale plant in Herstal, Belgium during WWII. Here are a couple of pictures:





Today I took the opportunity to take high resolution photos of the gun, which greatly magnified the German waffenamt stamps on it. I also did some due diligence research to figure out when it was made.

A bit of history. In May, 1940, the Germans invaded Belgium and began the occupation of that country. In the process, the FN plant in Herstal was taken over, and production of the Model 1922 and 1935 pistols was subsequently continued for German use.

Several waffenamt (German acceptance) stamps were used, and two of these were found on the pistol. Here they are highlighted:



The frame is stamped in one location with the mark of inspector 613 (it's a partial stamp, but still discernible). That inspector quit work at FN in December of 1941, so it appears that the frame was in existence, perhaps as pre-war stock, around 1941.

The other three stamps are of inspector 140; that individual began work at FN in 1942.

The serial number, in the first 5-digit series, would indicate completion sometime in 1942.

So with that information, I was able to determine that a 1941 frame was completed and serial numbered in 1942. Most of these guns were shipped to the Luftwaffe, or German Air Force, at that time.

So with a bit of sleuthing, the history of this particular gun became apparent. I thought it was fun to show you how much can be revealed from German WWII markings!

John

P.S. I also determined that the gun was fired pretty much exclusively by a right-handed individual. You can probably figure out how that was determined...
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:39 PM
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Interesting detective work.
Not sure how an inspector "quits work" in basically a slave labor situation.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camster View Post
Interesting detective work.
Not sure how an inspector "quits work" in basically a slave labor situation.
The waffenamt inspectors were Germans rather than indigenous personnel. Could have been re-assigned, retired or executed - who knows. The murkiness of the passage of time has obscured that detail.

John
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PALADIN85020 View Post
The waffenamt inspectors were Germans rather than indigenous personnel. Could have been re-assigned, retired or executed - who knows. The murkiness of the passage of time has obscured that detail.

John
Thanks.I should have thought it through a little more.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:46 PM
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John, I bought one of those back in the early 70's. It was a Dutch contract Queen Wilhelmenia gun. I gave $35.00 for it and sold it to my father in law. I think he later traded it off. It worked just fine, wish I would have kept it.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:01 AM
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In the 1960 era Montgomery Wards sold tons of the Model 1922 Browning for $16.50 which included a holster and extra magazine.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:58 AM
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Very interesting! One of the big facinations firearms have for me is the real history story that is locked into every one of them. John, my complements. You are very good at this. Ever think about writing a book? :-) ........... Big Cholla
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:06 PM
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Very interesting M-1922 FN you've got there, thanks for sharing the photos and history!
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:22 PM
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I'll bet you it is a pre war frame as well. It is too smooth looking. I have owned one pre war and three ww2 ones. Very noticeable machine marks. Later ones also had the wood grips with only early ww2 ones having plastic or bakelite grips. Very nice!

Here is one I sold a few months ago - WW2 production - note the very obvious machine marks.


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Old 01-12-2015, 03:32 PM
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Very cool. The history of these old firearms is always interesting.

Many years ago I acquired a CZ DUO in .25 ACP, a/k/a
Quote:
F Dusek, Opotschno DUO
. It has interesting markings on it including the year 1944. I sent the details to the NRA and they told me that judging by the markings, the date, and the spelling of the town, Opotschno, it was made there during the Nazi occupation. Today, before I spent the time to write a letter to the NRA, I'd just look on line:

http://www.gunvaluesboard.com/duo-63....-2869944.html

Times were different pre-Internet!

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Old 01-12-2015, 03:50 PM
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And they say: "Buy the gun, not the story". I've always felt that the story (not the BS) was the reason I liked old guns. Seems the story at least part of it on you Browning is written on his skin. Great research.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:50 PM
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I guess I'd better point out the following regarding these FN 22s. The Germans used two Waffenamts 613 and 140.
613 is very scarce as it was only used early on and only a few thousand FNs 22s have this mark. Additionaly you can also tell your example is early due to the bakelite grips as the Germans shifted over to cheaper wooden grips probably after existing stocks were used up.
You've got a nice and desirable pistol there.
Jim
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:42 AM
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Default FN 1922 WaA 140 & 180 !!

Hallo Guys,

I just got this sealed pice, that got to different WaA stamps.
Never seen this before?

Do any of you know this WaA 180 inspector? The gun is numbered
153669


Any help is all help:-)

Mr.Fischer
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:43 AM
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Nice pistol. I carried a 1922 for a while tat had no German markings but wooden grips. I always though it must have been an early post war pistol. When I was in the Army a 1st Sgt showed me a 1922 he had picked up in Vietnam and had carried in a modified 1911 style shoulder holster. It was a pre-war version with Bakelite grips and had a non factory parkerized finish.

Oddly when I visited the Browning Museum in Utah a couple years ago they had a 1910 on display but no 1922. When I asked them about it they looked a little confused. After doing some quick research they decided that given the numbers produced and the many government contracts for the 1922 it was a gap in the collection which needed filled.
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFischer View Post
Do any of you know this WaA 180 inspector? The gun is numbered
153669
Iíll see if I can get to my Vanderlinden book later, but as far as I remember, there are only three Waffenamt inspector numbers used at FN:

WaA613, WaA103, and WaA140.

This fairly reliable comprehensive list does not have a 180 code. So if youíre reading it correctly, itís fishy.

Waffenamt Codes | Eagle Relics
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFischer View Post
Hallo Guys,

I just got this sealed pice, that got to different WaA stamps.
Never seen this before?

Do any of you know this WaA 180 inspector? The gun is numbered
153669


Any help is all help:-)

Mr.Fischer



Sorry for the terribly delayed reply.

I can find no reference to an WaA 180 inspector. I looked at that stamping closely in your picture and find that the middle number is somewhat indistinct. I suspect it's 140 rather than 180. 140 is covered here. A broken, worn or mutilated stamping punch may be the culprit.

FYI - known waffenamt codes are listed here:

Waffenamt codes | Military Wiki | Fandom

Hope this helps.

John
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:43 AM
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John:

Looks like we came up with the same at the same time

I just decided to dig out my Vanderlinden copy. I can only add that it HAS to be a 140. The serial falls right into the middle of that range as V. gives it (57,000 to 220,000), from 1942/43.
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Old 09-11-2020, 12:17 PM
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The Model of 1922 was long a favorite of the Bahnpolizei. They were carrying them well up into the Seventies.

I don't why but a couple Polizisten were chasing some guy down a neighboring platform in the Frankfurt/Main Hauptbahnhof. One of them hollered for him to stop twice. He did not yell a third time but crumpled him up neatly with one shot. Guess the .32 ACP was enough that time.

There were a handful of young soldiers suddenly less rowdy than typical GI's on three day pass.
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Old 09-11-2020, 12:38 PM
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A friend has a 1922 that his FIL brought back after the war that has cyrillic writing on the slide. It may have been a Russian or Yugoslav purchase. It's chambered in .380.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:48 PM
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The only Handgun that my gunsmith keeps around at his workshop is a 1922 model, refinished in QPQ. Nice .380 ACP handgun.
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walnutred View Post
Oddly when I visited the Browning Museum in Utah a couple years ago they had a 1910 on display but no 1922. When I asked them about it they looked a little confused. After doing some quick research they decided that given the numbers produced and the many government contracts for the 1922 it was a gap in the collection which needed filled.
As long as they had a 1910, they may be forgiven for the gap if one looks at the circumstances of the 1910/22ís development.

While JMB was still doing design work for FN at the time, the 1922 variant was not one of his ideas. According to all accounts Browning was not involved in the Yugoslavian contract; it was cobbled together by FNís design and accounting offices in direct consultation with the Serb purchasing agents who wanted to get the cost as low as possible while getting a larger gun than the regular 1910.

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Originally Posted by OFT II View Post
A friend has a 1922 that his FIL brought back after the war that has cyrillic writing on the slide. It may have been a Russian or Yugoslav purchase. It's chambered in .380.
Like this? Thatís an example from Vanderlinden.


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Old 09-11-2020, 04:07 PM
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I’ll bite. How do we know the packer was right handed?
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregintenn View Post
Iíll bite. How do we know the packer was right handed?
Elementary! View the left side of the trigger and compare it to the right side. Notice the wear mark on the left side that is not present on the right. A right-handed shooter will push the trigger somewhat to the left as well as to the rear, causing the left side of the trigger to bear against the frame and degrade the bluing on that side due to rubbing. If the shooter were left handed, the rub mark would be on the right.

John
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:17 PM
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Trigger wear?
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:17 AM
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Those are neat old guns OP- a close friend of mine has one exactly like that one, Waffenamts and all.
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Old 09-13-2020, 11:47 AM
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I have a 1910 that had horn grips on it. Bakelite? Nope...horn moths got into it and I had to replace the grips. Mine was made in 1920, so they may have switched to Bakelite after that for the new model.
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Old 09-13-2020, 12:11 PM
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Excellent detective work on the trigger. I would never have thunk.
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Old 09-13-2020, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
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I have a 1910 that had horn grips on it. Bakelite? Nope...horn moths got into it and I had to replace the grips. Mine was made in 1920, so they may have switched to Bakelite after that for the new model.
Compressed, black-dyed horn was used pre-war until the occupation in 1940. Then that was no longer available and they used what Vanderlinden calls a ďblack molded syntheticĒ, not further specified. As substitute materials, both checkered wood (from 1942) and brown Bakelite (from 1943) came into concurrent use. After the war they used molded black plastic as standard and some finely checkered wood on special runs (much nicer than the crudish wartime wood).
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