January 2011

Shoulder-Stocked Oldie Pistols: Hi-Power and Broomhandle

The Mauser was a C96 Model 1921 “Bolo” with short barrel, and the Browning was a Hi-Power made by Inglis in Canada. Both had walnut stocks that added history, but not accuracy.

Long ago someone put a shoulder stock on a handgun so he could do a better job of shooting it without becoming a skilled pistolero. The shoulder stock holds the gun steadier than the hands alone can hold it, thus some immediate handgunning success was possible. Some early examples were the shoulder-stocked Third Model Colt Dragoons and 1860 Army Colts of the Civil War era, and there were some earlier uses. We’ve seen examples of percussion firearms dating to the mid 1830s, and would bet a nickel there exist examples of shoulder-stocked flintlock pistols going back a hundred years earlier.

For this test report we looked at two guns from the early 20th century, both of which types saw plenty of wartime and civilian use. Our test guns are by Mauser and by Browning/Inglis. Both were supplied to us by Collectors Firearms in Houston (www.collectorsfirearms.com). The Mauser was a C96 Model 1921 "Bolo" with short barrel ($2395 plus $395 for the stock at Collectors), and the Browning was a Hi-Power made by Inglis in Canada ($1650 with stock, also Collectors’s counter price). Both handguns had walnut stocks, and both had tangent sights with a narrow V-notch combined with a sharpened post front blade, which gave relatively poor sight pictures. We tested the 30 Mauser with Serbian Prvi Partizan FMJ ammo, and the 9mm Hi-Power with Black Hills 147-gr and Winchester BEB 115-gr ammunition. Here is what we found.

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