Shot One of My Old Favorite Hi Powers
It was my second oldest Hi Power and was customized way back in the early '70's. This one has seen but limited field use and was never toted during my police years. By far the bulk of its shooting excursions have been at the firing range, punching paper.
This 1972-vintage classic Hi Power was bought new that same year and after quite a bit of shooting went to the bench of gunsmith, Lou Williamson. FWIW, this one has had the frame and guts hard chromed, a trigger-job performed and an extended thumb safety built from the original. The slide is matte blued on top with polished flats. The hammer spur has been bobbed and the magazine “safety” left the pistol on the day it was purchased. The barrel is an early Bar-Sto stainless steel one-piece job that measures 5". Later ones are standard length and I have no idea why both this one and the one on my earlier customized Hi Power were five-inches in length. They were not ordered that way. The recoil spring is a conventional Wolff rated at 18.5-lb. I also have a Buffer Tech shock buffer in this pistol. It is used as a range gun and without getting into all of the pros and cons on buffers; I've had no problems with them in this Hi Power. I measured the trigger-pull and it remains a crisp, clean 4-lbs. It has the then-standard 26-lb mainspring.
For a project I'm currently working on, I shot the gun quite a bit during recent weeks and was reminded of happy years long gone by and shooting buddies who've since crossed over, but mainly just enjoyed shooting the old thing.
This 25-yard group was fired standing and in slow-fire using a two-hand hold. Ammunition was DAG 124-gr. FMJ. This is a standard pressure load that averages 1153 ft/sec from a standard factory 1:10 FN Hi Power barrel and 1139 ft/sec from this Bar-Sto 1:16" barrel despite it being slightly longer. I suspect that the reason is pressure-related. The Bar-Sto has a slower twist and is slightly larger in diameter than the factory barrel. 30-shots were fired and the group measures 5.73 x 3.87". That is certainly not match quality but it does represent about the best I can do.\
This is the ammunition used in all the targets shown. It is non-corrosive and boxer primed. I think it groups just as well (and maybe better) from the factory barrels of two of my Mk III pistols than with the Bar-Sto. I have noticed the greatest accuracy improvements with fitted Bar-Sto barrels over factory ones when cast bullets are being used. I believe that my human error probably negates any possible mechanical accuracy the fitted match barrel may provide with jacketed ammunition.
I will not be using any more hot handloads in this pistol though it has certainly digested its share of handloaded 115-gr. JHP's at about 1270 ft/sec or 124-gr. ones at about 30 ft/sec less velocity. From here on out, it will graze on standard velocity loads. I have cast frame Mk III Hi Powers I believe to be better suited for hotter loads.
This 30-shot group was fired using the same ammunition. My wrists braced on sandbags while I was in a seated position. It measures 3.44 x 2.72". (I find it interesting that both groups tend to emulate the shape of the targets being shot; sort of oval-shaped on the first and more rounded on the second...or maybe that's a nice sounding excuse for my lack of vertical control on the off-hand group?)
I don't have the measurements for this group fired from a Glock 17 I own using DAG ammunition. It is a 15-shot rather than a 30-shot group but was also fired using sandbags to brace my wrists and with no effort at speed. It is similar to the group fired using the same method from the Hi Power. I believe that a greater percentage of shots with the Hi Power are contained in the dark 2" diameter bullseye than with the Glock, but the overall general group sizes are about the same. Does one gun favor the load more than the other? Maybe; frequently it is so but I somehow think that the "culprit" is human error, i.e.: me.
I really enjoy shooting this Hi Power but I do not shoot it any better than my Mk III's using factory barrels as they came from the factory when using FMJ ammunition.
I have not seen fit to have any of the barrels in my Mk III pistols replaced with fitted match-grade replacements. I am convinced that they are more accurate than I am. At the same time, I'll leave the old Hi Power in this post as it has been.
That just seems right.