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View Full Version : Converted a .40S&W MkIII Browning Hi-Power to a 9MM Bar-Sto 3-Lug


spencerhut
01-06-2010, 6:42 PM
I acquired a MkIII .40S&W BHP a few years back after a long search for an FN and loved it. Very accurate in .40S&W. The plan from the day I purchased the .40S&W was a conversion from 3-Lug .40S&W to 3-Lug 9MM Bar-Sto. The idea of a 3-lug 9mm sounded like a great indestructible beast of one of my favorite guns. I acquired the Bar-Sto barrel after a many, many month wait and had a local gunsmith install it in the .40S&W slide. Tried a few recoil springs until I was happy and loved it.
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VJEf8XRLI/AAAAAAAAItA/fqfnyTuWGRA/s800/DSCF9138.JPG

I have been hunting for a decent price on a 9MM Belgium FN or Browning for several years. And lucked upon a second Hi-Power, a "C" series 1973 9mm BHP.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VI_X7AQoI/AAAAAAAAIs8/Hm3-TE5BBiU/s800/DSCF9133.JPG

Differences I can spot between the two:
Ejector on the 1973 is .047" and the MkIII .40S&W is .072" This difference allows the .40S&W slide to fit on the 9MM frame, but prevents the 1973 Slide from fitting on the MkIII frame.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VIizNzKaI/AAAAAAAAIsU/EMt_GRSBJCg/s800/DSCF9113.JPGhttp://lh6.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VImZJ_LEI/AAAAAAAAIsY/6-pyFXBPO84/s800/DSCF9114.JPG

The slide itself is larger on the .40S&W also .882" for the 1973 and .981" for the MkIII .40S&W
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VI4Vp6N4I/AAAAAAAAIs0/semOsqT4z30/s800/DSCF9130.JPGhttp://lh5.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VI8TBy1RI/AAAAAAAAIs4/jVqGqA5pNOE/s800/DSCF9131.JPG

Continued below due to image limit . . .

spencerhut
01-06-2010, 6:43 PM
Obviously the barrels are very different in OD size. Bar-Sto 9MM on the left, factory 9MM on the right. (yeah they are dirty, I shot the lead bullets last)
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VI10mYraI/AAAAAAAAIsw/WgjbMtlMDOs/s800/DSCF9125.JPG


I shot them back to back today with several of my hand loads and was quite amazed at the similarity in the groups. All firing, 75 per gun, 150 rounds total was done in about 20 minutes as I was loosing my daylight so these are not your benchrest type groups by any means. All 15 shots in each group were fired at a steady, quick cadence as the target returned to the sights. The white sticker was point of aim for all shots. I discarded the worst shot in each group as a flyer. All shots were at 7 yards.

Winchester JHP 115g handloads - Bar-Sto on the left, Standard barrel on the right.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VJIlNTZ0I/AAAAAAAAItI/gtixY7t0l5g/s800/Bar-Sto%209MM%20Win%20JHP%20115g.JPGhttp://lh3.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VJPY08I0I/AAAAAAAAItY/scx6dUGOE5M/s800/STD%209MM%20Win%20JHP%20115g.JPG

Hornady XTP 115g handloads - Bar-Sto on the left, Standard barrel on the right.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VJMjvdUcI/AAAAAAAAItQ/ljxmIh_01Vs/s800/Bar-Sto%209MM%20Hornady%20XTP%20115g.JPGhttp://lh5.ggpht.com/_SX8XKLZWbEA/S0VJTA_byHI/AAAAAAAAItg/yLjI20ArY6s/s800/STD%209MM%20Hornady%20XTP%20115g.JPG

Notice anything? Like the groups sizes are almost identical! I shot some Speer Gold Dots (2.8" both guns) and Montana Gold JHPs(2.9" both guns), same thing. It's not like I was trying to do this, didn't even notice it until I got back to house and started to measure them. Freaky.

So . . . the 1973 is a better pointer for me. Might have something to do with the empty weight of the guns, the 1973 is 26 ounces, the MkIII Bar-Sto 9MM super whammy special is . . . . 33 ounces.

Point is, the original Hi-Power is just a more pleasurable gun to shoot, and certainly not lacking in accuracy.

If I had to go kill zombies I would grab the Bar-Sto barreled gun first, sure. But I would feel no less able to slay zombies with the original Hi-Power. It is all about shot placement after all and even with the junk sights on the original, I can place shots with it just as well as the better sighted, match barreled MkIII. So for me, for shooting pleasure the lighter, nimbler original Hi-Power wins.

I should not have done this conversion, it was a mistake. For the cost of the barrel and the gunsmith work I could have purchased another gun. Please learn from my mistake.

J-cat
01-06-2010, 7:32 PM
You did not work-up the loads, therefore your test is inconclusive.

BHPFan
01-06-2010, 8:10 PM
Now, if I were you, I will still keep the .40 BHP with the Barsto conversion. Why? At least, it is a sturdier pistol to shoot 9mm +P ammo.
For your C-Series 9mm BHP, I would never shoot +P nor anything higher than standard loading because it is an earlier production. Metalurgy and manufacturing is different in 1973 from after 1993.

I have a drop-in EFK conversion barrel on my .40 FN HP SFS. Since that pistol is made to shoot .40SW and it is a more recent production, I will shoot +P on it.

When you look at estimates, a used BHP will run between $600 to $700 and not including DROS. A Barsto conversion barrel will run at least $200. Gunsmith service to fit the barrel at least $150 and recoil springs at least $25 for a set. Mecgar 9mm mags at least $30 a piece. You may end up paying about $400 for the conversion. Is it worth it? I think so. You would have a much sturdier BHP shooting all 9mm loads and you will have spare change for ammo.

With these two Hi Powers that you got, I will keep the C-series more as a collector item while the .40 BHP will be the frequent shooter.

BHPFan
01-06-2010, 8:15 PM
I should not have done this conversion, it was a mistake. For the cost of the barrel and the gunsmith work I could have purchased another gun. Please learn from my mistake.

If you still regret doing that conversion, are you planning on selling the Barsto barrel and the corresponding springs from the conversion?

spencerhut
01-06-2010, 8:28 PM
If you still regret doing that conversion, are you planning on selling the Barsto barrel and the corresponding springs from the conversion?

No, I will likely keep it forever.

spencerhut
01-06-2010, 8:29 PM
You did not work-up the loads, therefore your test is inconclusive.

And you know that how? Throw rocks someplace else.

J-cat
01-06-2010, 9:17 PM
And you know that how? Throw rocks someplace else.

By reading your post. And I'll post wherever I want.

jyo
01-07-2010, 1:41 PM
Very interesting idea---I have thought about doing something along this line as well because P35s are some of my favorite pistols---however, I have plenty of other 9mm pistols to shoot 9mm and +P and +P+ ammo (like HK USP and P2000) so perhaps not needed---still, very nice idea and I am glad someone did iot.