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Old 11-24-2015, 08:57 AM
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Default Dating an early Fabrique Nationale Hi-Power

Picked up a very nice HP last week. Checking Proofhouse,the earliest production date listed was 1954 (I think) beginning with serial number 70,000. My gun is serial number 53854. Any idea what year it was made?
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:13 AM
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That does seem to be a low serial number.
Don't know if the below link will help but it might suggest the serial number dates it to the 1940-1944 period. Hopefully someone can confirm or provide more or better information. Good luck.

Pistols of the German Wehrmacht
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:39 AM
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Picked up a very nice HP last week. Checking Proofhouse,the earliest production date listed was 1954 (I think) beginning with serial number 70,000. My gun is serial number 55xxx. Any idea what year it was made?
f.t.
Pics will help. FN was terrible about early serial numbers often using the same number on different contracts. A five digit serial number is post-war. You also want to check and make sure there are no additional marks which would indicate a contract gun.

Last edited by WVSig; 11-24-2015 at 10:32 AM. Reason: Meant post not pre-war
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:00 AM
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Picked up a very nice HP last week. Checking Proofhouse,the earliest production date listed was 1954 (I think) beginning with serial number 70,000. My gun is serial number 53854. Any idea what year it was made?
f.t.
Based on my limited knowledge, I understand 1954 was when the Hi-Powers were first introduced into the U.S. market (at approx s/n 70,000) under the Browning name . . . as opposed to the FN Herstal name.

Here is an earlier post on FN Hi-Power s/n 56540. The best information indicates late '53 or possibly early '54 . . . but I've also had experts tell me as early as 1952. Definitely post-war for both yours and mine.

FN (Browning) Hi-Power


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Old 11-24-2015, 10:52 AM
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Based on my limited knowledge, I understand 1954 was when the Hi-Powers were first introduced into the U.S. market (at approx s/n 70,000) under the Browning name . . . as opposed to the FN Herstal name.

Here is an earlier post on FN Hi-Power s/n 56540. Definitely post-war for both yours and mine.

FN (Browning) Hi-Power

Russ

Thanks Russ. The info in your link seems to confirm what my limited research has found. My gun is pretty much the same as yours (with the exception of the original mags and holster). The markings appear to be identical as well,although it's hard to tell from MY pics. When checking values,it looks like the post-occupation manufactured guns without an "A" pre-fix were the most commonly found guns and unfortunately,the least valuable. When I bought it,I was thinking that I had found a treasure,but it appears to be just another trinket. Nevertheless,I'm happy to add it to my others. Other than a Nazi-proofed model,it is my earliest. I still wish that I could nail down a year of manufacture,but that looks doubtful. Thanks again for that info! I took a couple of crappy cell phone pics that are shown below.







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Old 11-24-2015, 12:02 PM
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Cock the hammer and check for a number on the back of the slide hidden by the hammer. It may me inside a box, or have a number with lines around the side of it. The number should be the year and depending on which side the lines surround the number will indicate the quarter of that year for production. This is a 1951. The right side of the hammer will also have a number.

Dating an early Fabrique Nationale Hi-Power-image-jpg

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Old 11-24-2015, 12:34 PM
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I have my Buenas Aires police gun narrowed to a three-year window.

No take-down-pin divot in the slide, which makes it post 1960. Internal extractor, which makes it 1963 or earlier.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:36 PM
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:35 PM
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I think Russ is on the right track here. I have 59298, which I believe is 1952-3. I bet FT's & Russ' HP are actually a 1951 guns.

[IMG][/IMG]

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Old 11-24-2015, 09:35 PM
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Cock the hammer and check for a number on the back of the slide hidden by the hammer. It may me inside a box, or have a number with lines around the side of it. The number should be the year and depending on which side the lines surround the number will indicate the quarter of that year for production. This is a 1951. The right side of the hammer will also have a number.

Attachment 216554

Whoopee! There is indeed a "1" inside a box on the rear of the slide. Also a number on the hammer which these old eyes can't make out. Thank you very much!
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:37 PM
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Old 11-25-2015, 10:07 AM
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Whoopee! There is indeed a "1" inside a box on the rear of the slide. Also a number on the hammer which these old eyes can't make out. Thank you very much!
f.t.
Dating older Hi Powers is a very hard process that yields more of a SWAG more than an exact date. It often involves everything from serial number, the actual guns build features & engineering changes, the individual inspector’s marks, the coded part inspection dates. Anthony Vanderlinden's "FN Browning Pistols" book is one of the best references for this. He has a pretty complete list in this book.

As to the "1" The shape/orientation of the digit would change each decade; example, the 1 of 1951 is the typical European style 1 that almost looks like an upright 7 while the 1 from 1961 looks like this "1". From the markings IIRC this would be the 3rd qtr 1951 because the bottom square is missing.

Dating an early Fabrique Nationale Hi-Power-image-jpg

FN was terrible about serial numbers again often using the same number over and over again. For example if someone ordered 5000 guns they might start with 1000 and use 1000 to 6000 as serial numbers. Ad this to the fact FN is known to make design/engineering changes to the BHP and then continue to use old new stock parts for years intermittently. So a "1" firing pin retaining plated did not always go into a 1951 or 1961 gun. This is why pictures of the gun, its parts and all proof marks present are necessary to really nail down the date and even then it is a SWAG.

All that said I asked one of the most knowledgeable FN Hi Power guys I know, sub-moa who is a member here, believes from the serial number alone, assuming that it is not a contract gun, the gun was made in 1953. He has 2 BHPs which are accurately dated as 1953 guns which bracket yours. They are serial numbers 52985 and 54762. So that is my SWAG for the date of your gun. I am not an expert by any means. I am repeating info I have found over the years on forums and in books. I am deferring to Sub-MOA's knowledge and extensive research but I have never found him to miss on such things.

If you are a BHP fan I recommend getting the R Blake Stevens and the Anthony Vanderlinden's books. They are not 100% accurate nor complete but they serve as 2 of the best reference points for these wonderful guns.

Last edited by WVSig; 11-25-2015 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 11-25-2015, 10:34 AM
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All firearms manufactured in Belgium are required to go through a government proofing. Starting in 1924 all will be stamped with a date code. Also you will find an inspector stamp.

Here is a good website of proof stamps, date codes and which stamp goes with the inspector.

Belgium
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Old 11-25-2015, 10:37 AM
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All firearms manufactured in Belgium are required to go through a government proofing. Starting in 1924 all will be stamped with a date code. Also you will find an inspector stamp.

Here is a good website of proof stamps, date codes and which stamp goes with the inspector.

Belgium
Yes that is a good resource but with FN BHPs these proofs are only part of the story. They do not by themselves accurately date the pistol from in my experience.
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by WVSig View Post
Dating older Hi Powers is a very hard process that yields more of a SWAG more than an exact date. It often involves everything from serial number, the actual guns build features & engineering changes, the individual inspector’s marks, the coded part inspection dates. Anthony Vanderlinden's "FN Browning Pistols" book is one of the best references for this. He has a pretty complete list in this book.

As to the "1" The shape/orientation of the digit would change each decade; example, the 1 of 1951 is the typical European style 1 that almost looks like an upright 7 while the 1 from 1961 looks like this "1". From the markings IIRC this would be the 3rd qtr 1951 because the bottom square is missing.

Dating an early Fabrique Nationale Hi-Power-image-jpg

FN was terrible about serial numbers again often using the same number over and over again. For example if someone ordered 5000 guns they might start with 1000 and use 1000 to 6000 as serial numbers. Ad this to the fact FN is known to make design/engineering changes to the BHP and then continue to use old new stock parts for years intermittently. So a "1" firing pin retaining plated did not always go into a 1951 or 1961 gun. This is why pictures of the gun, its parts and all proof marks present are necessary to really nail down the date and even then it is a SWAG.

All that said I asked one of the most knowledgeable FN Hi Power guys I know, sub-moa who is a member here, believes from the serial number alone, assuming that it is not a contract gun, the gun was made in 1953. He has 2 BHPs which are accurately dated as 1953 guns which bracket yours. They are serial numbers 52985 and 54762. So that is my SWAG for the date of your gun. I am not an expert by any means. I am repeating info I have found over the years on forums and in books. I am deferring to Sub-MOA's knowledge and extensive research but I have never found him to miss on such things.

If you are a BHP fan I recommend getting the R Blake Stevens and the Anthony Vanderlinden's books. They are not 100% accurate nor complete but they serve as 2 of the best reference points for these wonderful guns.
I recently splurged on the 2nd Edition of the Vanderlinden book "FN Browning Pistols". It has a an additional 34 pages in the text plus 48 color plate pages. If you like FN pistols from before about 1980, this is a wonderful book.
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