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FN Hi Power .38 Auto

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by JM3006, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. JM3006

    JM3006 New Member

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg A few years ago I bought a FN Hi Power from a US WW2 vet who's brother was also in the war and (supposedly) brought back this FN Hi Power from Europe after the war. When I purchased it from him he told me that he had a gun appraisal done on it, and that it was chambered for .38 Auto, and that he also believed it to be made in 1936. I bought it just because he was a WW2 vet as was my grandfather, and I have much respect for those men, and that generation. The puzzling thing is that in all of my research I can't find one mention of a Hi Power chambered for .38 Auto. The pictures I'll attach will show all of the markings on the gun (hopefully). The serial number (I suppose) is on three different places on the right side of the gun, with "055" being all three, with one preceded by "38". I tried to take good pics of the underneath of the gun where there are several markings near where the clip goes in. Based on the age, wear, and heft of the gun, I don't believe it to be a fake, but I certainly can't find any info on it at all. It came from him with the period leather flap holster which bears his brother's name. All of the markings are worn due to age, but I've tried to take as clear of pictures as possible, and will try again if these won't suffice. Hopefully somebody on here has seen one before, and can tell me a little more about it. I've found a lot of info on FN Hi Power's, but never on one chambered for a .38 Auto. Thanks.
     
  2. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    38 auto is too long to work in the Hi Power action
     

  3. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    The seller likely never attempted to fire it, and doubt the 38 on slide has anything to do with caliber.

    The grips are Franzite or other aftermarket repros.
     
  4. JM3006

    JM3006 New Member

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    Ok. Thanks guys. All I've literally had to go off of since I purchased it from him is what he told me. Which is probably what his brother told him. Sadly, both are gone now. I was thinking about taking it to Tulsa in April just to see if somebody at the show there would have any info on it. As I still have no idea on caliber. I did just however notice that there are some letters and numbers just below where the bullet would come out at the end of the barrel. Going to have to get a magnifying glass to read them though. Pretty sure the first two letters are "WA" but can't tell after that. Will try to post pics and text once I can make them out. Owned this gun for five years and just now saw that.
     
  5. SkeeterDope

    SkeeterDope Well-Known Member

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    The 1936 date is most likely correct as pre-war FN's had a magazine floor plate with the 2 cuts in it. Early SR# info is hard to come by. FN customer svc may be able to shed some light on it. To my knowledge all where produced in 9 X 19. the 38 in the SR# is not an indication of caliber. It may have been rechambered for colt 38 auto as it was popular here at that time(Post War) 9 mm not so much. If there is a WAXXX on that barrel that is a a German proof mark( Germany produed 300,000+ after taken over FN during the occoupation) and would not be original to the rest of the gun
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  6. JM3006

    JM3006 New Member

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    Ok. Thanks for the info. I'm going to try to research these letters and numbers at the end of the barrel some more to see what that uncovers. All I can make out for sure is a "WA" or a "WAA". Going to need a magnifying glass to make out the rest. At 42, my eyes are fading fast I guess.
     
  7. JM3006

    JM3006 New Member

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg Here are some photos of the markings just below the muzzle. As best I can tell they say "WAA140". There also seems to be a letter above them that looks like a "V" but I can't be certain. Sorry, I took the best pics I could possibly get of it.
     
  8. SkeeterDope

    SkeeterDope Well-Known Member

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    German proofmarks sort of puzzling as the sights are not adjustable.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browning_Hi-Power
    Military service
    Browning Hi-Power pistols were used during World War II by both Allied and Axis forces. After occupying Belgium in 1940, German forces took over the FN plant. German troops subsequently used the Hi-Power, having assigned it the designation Pistole 640(b) ("b" for belgisch, "Belgian").[3] Examples produced by FN in Belgium under German occupation bear German inspection and acceptance marks, orWaffenamts, such as WaA613. In German service, it was used mainly by Waffen-SS and Fallschirmjäger personnel.
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/...is-3.jpg#/media/File:Browning_HP_Inglis-3.jpg
     
  9. JM3006

    JM3006 New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'm puzzled as well. Aside from the grips, it's hard for me to believe that the gun was just pieced together given the "055" is in three places, and the "WAA140" is present underneath the muzzle. I just don't know. The only thing I do know is that it seems like the more research that I do, the less valuable the gun is.
     
  10. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Finding the "55" stamp in multiple places is a very good thing. This indicates that the parts are original to the pistol - being the last two digits of the serial number. The Waa stamp indicated that the pistol was assembled in the FN plant during Nazi occupation. I'm guessing here that the "38" you see on the slide is a prefix to the serial number.

    The only way to be certain is to measure the chamber for caliber - bit I'd almost bet it is still 9mm Luger. (If it IS .38 Auto - PM me as I have almost 200 unfired cases I will never use).
     
  11. JM3006

    JM3006 New Member

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    Thanks Jim. I appreciate that. I was actually planning on trying to sell it at the Tulsa show in April since if it was/is a .38 Auto, ammo seems hard to come by. However if it is a 9mm, then I'm curious if it could be a functional pistol, in which case I'd have to think a little harder about whether I would want to take it to Tulsa or not. I have no idea on the value of it anyway other than what I paid the WW2 vet that I bought it from. And I paid him exactly what he said because it sounded fair to me, and I learned long ago from my WW2 vet grandfather that you don't argue with those guys. You just say "Yes sir" and pay the man what he said he thought was fair.
     
  12. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    The gun is chambered in 9mm parabellum. Forget .38 auto. It was not rechambered, because .38 auto is too long to work in that gun.
     
  13. JM3006

    JM3006 New Member

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    Ok. Thank you. I guess that settles the issue of what it's chambered for. Now I just have to decide what I'm going to do with it.
     
  14. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    :) You know Bill, I don't think anyone even bothered to read the first reply to the post:)
     
  15. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    I read it, but figgered it needed to be said again!;)