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Hi Powers of WWII

Article about: My biggest problem is I can't confine my time to a single collection. I am just all over the place with what I acquire. Over the years I have always been a Hi Power fan and the WWII Hi Power

  1. #1

    Default Hi Powers of WWII

    My biggest problem is I can't confine my time to a single collection. I am just all over the place with what I acquire. Over the years I have always been a Hi Power fan and the WWII Hi Powers in particular. Keep in mind there are still some I want to get. I would like to pickup a pre-war and I would like a WaA613 which was one of the early German produced. One day I know they will come along.

    I will start with the oldest and work to the newest WWII era I have.

    This is an early WaA103 produced. It still shows good, the fit, finish and quality of this gun are very good. Trigger is a little heavy as all the early models with the mag safety in place are. Keep in mind I never alter one of these, all that came with mag safety's still have them. The only thing I do is if I plan to shoot one I use a new buffer spring and then put the original back in after I fire the gun. I'm sure the originals work fine, but there is no need to work an old spring and take a chance on them being weak and a slide breaking. The WaA103 Waffen started at serial number 65,285 and went to 93,000. The WaA613 that I lack started at serial number 52,000 so it is a pretty rare proof to find and had the best quality, similar to the pre-war. WaA103 were produced between April 1941 and December 1941. I purchased this one from a dealer and all known history behind it was lost of course.
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  2. #2

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    Next is an early WaA140, still with tangent sight but no rear butt stock groove like the WaA103 has. The WaA140 Waffen remained through the end of the war but many other changes were still made. They continued to use existing Tangent sights until the stock was depleted and then they dropped it for cost and production speed. These still have the magazine safety and the heavy trigger. Like the WaA103 the magazine usually had a single WaA140 proof in the rear spine of the magazine about 1 inch from the bottom. This one sat in a holster too long and has some minor finish issues on the left front of the slide forward area. Shoots great and still has a great fit. No history of this gun is known as well. It has been in my possession for several years. Tangent sight WaA140's were produced from 93,000 to 140,000 and were produced between January 1942 to November 1942.
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    Next is a very early 1943 produced WaA140. This was one of the early non-tangent sight models. The fit and finish is still acceptable on this weapon and it still retains the magazine safety and still has the WaA140 waffen on the spine of the magazine. This is an excellent firing weapon, however due to the rumors of heat treatment sabotage I don't fire many of the late war guns that often. I don't know if the rumors are true or not and have not had a single one ever fail on me.
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    This is another WaA140 that was most likely produced in late May or early April 1943. They didn't keep the best records on production but it was believed they switched to the "a" serial sequence in May of 1943. This one is one of the very first that they dropped the magazine safety on. They did so to speed production. You can see the hole in the trigger but there is no place machined into the lower for it to be. My guess is they were using up triggers made prior that still had the hole in them. Quality isn't the greatest and with each generation you can see that fit and finish take more and more of a back seat to production. They were producing a huge number of guns by this time. They were making every six months what the plant had produced from 1935-1940 in terms of production numbers.
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    This is a mid "a" sequence weapon. When they changed to the letter serial number they changed the way they did it. They didn't go year to year but instead they planned runs of 100,000 weapons. So you will find that there are 100,000 that end in the lower case "a". It just so happens that they ended the run in December of 1943 so a gun with the "a" ending is a 1943 produced weapon. This gun still isn't too bad for quality and they at least attempted a little bit of finish on it.
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    This gun should have been made around March 1944. By now the finish looks as though it comes right off the machines but as you will see later there is still a certain amount of finish work done. Even for the gun to be this rough. These still all function perfectly. I have fired everyone of them, not a great deal but I do shoot them. Most 1944's came with bakelite grips, no magazine safety and similar finish. There were a few that got wooden grips as supply and demand dictated what they got. If these have been changed or not I do not know. They are certainly period correct.
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    This one is a rare bird in itself. It is absolutely pristine with only minor holster marks. It was returned from the war by a Missouri member of the 101st. It came in a like new holster and both magazines like new. I have not fired this gun and it may have never had a bullet down the pipe as far as I can tell. It had to be produced in the last month or two the plant was in German occupation and the fit and finish are sub par to say the least. It was the very first Hi Power from WWII I got and the reason I got the bug. Oh it does not have a magazine safety. Also if you go over the photos of the others you will notice the Military MR proof on the earlier models all on the left side of the trigger guard. Sometime in 1944 they moved it to the right side of the trigger guard.
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  8. #8

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    All Gorgeous, IMO. The differences in finish as the war
    progressed is very noticeable.........
    Regards,


    Steve.

  9. #9

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    Last but certainly not least. In fact the worst built in terms of fit finish and overall quality is my crown jewel so to speak. This was one I had read about in a book and came across by accident. This weapon is one of an unknown number to exist. It is truly a liberation gun, they were produced in the first weeks the plant was liberated, built by parts the Germans left behind. The Germans had looted the plant of all machinery and planned to setup production across the Rhine. This was purchased at the Plant for a Private John A Gendron. I guess if they sabotaged them in the heat treat process they had no problem putting them together and selling them to GI's. I honestly couldn't even put a value on this one, I have only seen one other in my 40 years of collecting and it was in a book.

    Things to note. It has Belgium proofs. It still contains the Military MR stamp on the left side similar to the late WaA140. It also has the MR stamp on the barrel as well as a very light Waa140 stamp. It has the correct bakelite grips. It does not have a magazine safety and the finish on this gun is poor at best. You can still see mill marks on the grips. But I wouldn't take for it.
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  10. #10

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    Absolutely awesome collection of 640b's - well done!

    Fascinating strain of a very cool firearm.

    The P35 is my favorite style of WW2 handgun by a long way - thanks for sharing the pictures.

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