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  #1  
Old 12-05-2008, 12:35 AM
chim
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Notes on old Browning pistols from Belgium



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I know there are a few others on here who are fascinated with the old Belgian pistols. There's another thread that morphed into some discussion on variations found on these pistols.

I checked the older Browning pistols to see which pistols had plastic or metal used for the tabs on the safety and slide release levers. Of the pistols made in Belgium, none of mine has metal tabs on the safety or slide release. Only one has a metal magazine catch - a 1964 Medalist. Examples of various models from the years 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1975

As a side, I didn't expect it, but my 1977 Challenger II and 1982 Challenger III have all metal tabs and metal mag catches.

The last pistol that found a new home here is what was billed as an "FN International Medalist". I thought I heard that FN had marketed some pistols like they made for Browning under their own name. This pistol came in a plastic FN case. Under the ratty-looking eggcrate foam the lined the interior of the box I found this owner's manual. Note how it describes the pistol as a Browning .22 International. No mention of the word "Medalist":



A far cry from the manuals of today (there's a 35 page Ruger MKII manual on the desk as I type this). The old manual is a simple tri-folded sheet of paper. All instructions are on one side of the paper. It is interesting that the manual doesn't mention the dry firing capability of the International. The dry fire mechanism functions exactly the same as on the "regular" Medalists. The other side of the paper is the title page in the first picture, a parts list and an exploded view:



They have a tendency to throw curve balls on occasion. The FN I drilled and tapped for the dot last week felt pretty good. Along came what I thought was a twin. Even had the same (1975) year of production. However, the two pistols felt good but very different. Both had excellent triggers, but the grips felt strange when switching back and forth between the two. Then came the "DUH". The palm shelves are different. The curvature at the back of the grips are different and the area for the trigger finger is dished out differently. In this photo the frames are wearing the "wrong" barrels:



When possible I gather spare parts to guarantee the kids will be able to keep these pistols running after I'm gone. There are two mag catches here below the plastic Nomad grip- one metal(L) and one plastic(R):

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  #2  
Old 12-05-2008, 08:19 AM
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chim, some of those late model pistols with different stocks are called the "Practice 150". I don't have one so I can't give you all the details on them. I have also seen the late model International Medalist with the old style rear sight instead of the stamped unit.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:14 PM
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Chim,
Thanks for the info on the tabs and the FN IM. Nice find and good photos. Your observation on the tabs is the same as what I find. Do the grips on both pistols in the photo appear to be factory? Looks like there may have been some after market carving on the grips of the top pistol in the photo, albeit a decent looking job. Are the serial numbers close or far apart?

I couldn't help but notice the ammo in the ammo block. Peaks my curiosity, "What modification is Chim thinking of now?!!!!!
<
<
<
<
<
<
<
<
<
<
<
<
<

Just Kidding and hope that doesn't keep you awake at night thinking of what else is there to change.

SO
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2008, 04:38 PM
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The S/N's are 719 apart, the higher of the two being just over 78000.

Neither set of grips has been modified unless the guy was exceptionally good.
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2014, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chim View Post
I know there are a few others on here who are fascinated with the old Belgian pistols. There's another thread that morphed into some discussion on variations found on these pistols.

I checked the older Browning pistols to see which pistols had plastic or metal used for the tabs on the safety and slide release levers. Of the pistols made in Belgium, none of mine has metal tabs on the safety or slide release. Only one has a metal magazine catch - a 1964 Medalist. Examples of various models from the years 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1975

As a side, I didn't expect it, but my 1977 Challenger II and 1982 Challenger III have all metal tabs and metal mag catches.

The last pistol that found a new home here is what was billed as an "FN International Medalist". I thought I heard that FN had marketed some pistols like they made for Browning under their own name. This pistol came in a plastic FN case. Under the ratty-looking eggcrate foam the lined the interior of the box I found this owner's manual. Note how it describes the pistol as a Browning .22 International. No mention of the word "Medalist":



A far cry from the manuals of today (there's a 35 page Ruger MKII manual on the desk as I type this). The old manual is a simple tri-folded sheet of paper. All instructions are on one side of the paper. It is interesting that the manual doesn't mention the dry firing capability of the International. The dry fire mechanism functions exactly the same as on the "regular" Medalists. The other side of the paper is the title page in the first picture, a parts list and an exploded view:
Chim,
I know this is a very old post. But do you think you could scan me the owners guide as shown in the first picture. I have been taking recently with an old shooting member at our club who used to work at FN Herstal. When he saw my collection of FN guns his eyes twinkeld, and he shed some light on the names that FN used in the 70-80s.
And the owners guide would be usefull to put a more or less complete list together. I'll post his reactions here later, i'll try to document where possible.

Also since mine is identical to yours including the case.


Thanks
Marc

Last edited by Cramiekske; 12-10-2014 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Removed some old tekst and added picture.
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  #6  
Old 12-11-2014, 06:31 AM
chim
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Will do, my pleasure.
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2015, 04:36 AM
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Scope mount ont the FN International

Dear Chim,

Do you have any details to share how you mounted the scope/reflex sight on that FN International, maybe even pictures?

I would love to fit something similar on mine...
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:09 AM
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I think Chim D&T the rail, as I recall. Hopefully he will respond with more info. He posted info on the installation years ago.
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:06 PM
chim
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I have two different kinds of mounts. On a first model International there's a piece of Weaver rail that is coped to go over the vent rib, and there's a metal slug that sticks through an opening with screws on each side to clamp it onto the rib. There's one short and another longer below. This is the setup I'm using in matches this season. I did switch to a compact Bushnell TRS25 because I had difficulty with the Docter's non-adjustable brightness on some of the ranges we shoot in. I like that little scope.






Then there's the second model that has rings made from tall Leupold mounts. I cut the bases to get rid of the clamps and get a flat base. Then I tapered the bottom on each side to blend it into the solid rail. The rail is tapped for screws that come down through the bottom half of the rings.



I did add a setscrew to lock the rail in a bit tighter. There was a very small amount of play in it.

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  #10  
Old 01-16-2015, 02:22 AM
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Smile Reflex sight mount FN International Medalist

Thank you for the pics!

Now I've got something to work on...
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2015, 10:04 AM
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Chim, on the second pic from the bottom, the barrel retaining screw is a hex-head bolt. Was that standard on that version or is that a (logical/better) replacement?
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:39 PM
chim
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Originally Posted by losrobles View Post
Chim, on the second pic from the bottom, the barrel retaining screw is a hex-head bolt. Was that standard on that version or is that a (logical/better) replacement?
That is the screw the factory used on the second model Internationals. Here's a picture I sent along with the parts a few years ago when one went for the hard chrome finish. The finisher asked for a detailed list of parts if the whole pistol wasn't sent:



And here's a picture of the three types of barrel screws found on the Belgians. The left one is used on Medalists, The center on Challengers, Nomads and first model Internationals. I've only seen the right one on second model Internationals. I have a tendency to swap things around and discovered that some barrels don't like screws from other barrels.

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Old 01-16-2015, 10:53 PM
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Very helpful. Thanks. I guess I'll resist the urge to run down to the hardware store and find a hex-head machine bolt with the right threads.
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:57 PM
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Chim, Cramiekske and all,

Let me shed some light on the confusion:

1. You will find metal catches on the pistols until 1964. Also note there were changes in the magazines in 1964. The earlier magazines had the alloy follower, a round, flat top "pot" metal follower button and a body with two solid sides. In 1964 you will find a plastic follower and a plastic follower button. It appears the plastic follower button was short lived as it was changed to a steel follower button with a dimple and a "punch hole" was added to the right side as the button was now peened. You will find many changes and additions at Browning Arms Company (BAC) in 1964 i.e. addition of pouches, oil, holsters etc. By 1965 they were back to the alloy follower and the magazine has remained the same. As always the Company used on hand parts and not all pistols were shipped the same time as the manfactured serial number, so if you find differences there may be a reason.

2. As to your "I 75" "International" with no mention of Medalist on the manual. First you must understand where (Country) and how it is being discussed. You must look at the "RIGHT" side barrel address as you will find on the "FN" pistol it will have Browning Patent --etc.--- and on a BCA pistol it will have "Browning Arms Company Morgan. Utah & Montreal P.Q.". Both have Fabrique Nationale ----on the left side. FN called this pistol an "International" and BCA cataloged this in 1980 only, but listed it in the wholesale price list from 1977 to 1980 calling it an International "Medalist". Your FN is boxed in the plastic case whereas the BCA is contained in a Styrofoam box, a black sleeve with gold accents and worded "(FN logo) BrowninG .22 L. R. Pistol, at least the ones sold and shipped by BAC in 1977. Note: The Medalist with a 5 7/8" or 5.9" or 150mm barrel (again who's talking) was referred by FN as a Medalist with a 5 7/8" barrel (referring to USA), but BAC cataloged it as a International Medalist. Hence the reason the ones made later in France are called the International II, if BAC had sold these, which they did not, they would have been ?? the International III?

3. As to your manual not referring to a dry-fire mechanism, I don't "think" the "I 75" has one, mine doesn't or I can't get it to move forward and engage and the cut-out in the grip is not condusive for one to be used . If you find different please let me know as you said yours does and I have found no manufacture data that says it does. The 1980 BAC catalog make no mention of a dry-fire mechanism and they make a defined distinction about having it when describing their Medalist and the International Medalist 5 7/8" in the earlier catalogs. I have found the manual used in the FN models has the brown color, as your example, and the BAC are blue in color as shown on my manual board in another post. I'm pretty sure of this, but it could be a printing change etc.

You must always remember when conversing with Cramiekske, a great guy, that he is from Belgium and his terminology and names of the same pistols are different than here in the USA.

I hope this sheds some light on some of the confusion as to the "I 75" series of the International, Mark
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:45 AM
Cramiekske

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Originally Posted by Mark2506 View Post
Chim, Cramiekske and all,

Let me shed some light on the confusion:

1. You will find metal catches on the pistols until 1964. Also note there were changes in the magazines in 1964. The earlier magazines had the alloy follower, a round, flat top "pot" metal follower button and a body with two solid sides. In 1964 you will find a plastic follower and a plastic follower button. It appears the plastic follower button was short lived as it was changed to a steel follower button with a dimple and a "punch hole" was added to the right side as the button was now peened. You will find many changes and additions at Browning Arms Company (BAC) in 1964 i.e. addition of pouches, oil, holsters etc. By 1965 they were back to the alloy follower and the magazine has remained the same. As always the Company used on hand parts and not all pistols were shipped the same time as the manfactured serial number, so if you find differences there may be a reason.

2. As to your "I 75" "International" with no mention of Medalist on the manual. First you must understand where (Country) and how it is being discussed. You must look at the "RIGHT" side barrel address as you will find on the "FN" pistol it will have Browning Patent --etc.--- and on a BCA pistol it will have "Browning Arms Company Morgan. Utah & Montreal P.Q.". Both have Fabrique Nationale ----on the left side. FN called this pistol an "International" and BCA cataloged this in 1980 only, but listed it in the wholesale price list from 1977 to 1980 calling it an International "Medalist". Your FN is boxed in the plastic case whereas the BCA is contained in a Styrofoam box, a black sleeve with gold accents and worded "(FN logo) BrowninG .22 L. R. Pistol, at least the ones sold and shipped by BAC in 1977. Note: The Medalist with a 5 7/8" or 5.9" or 150mm barrel (again who's talking) was referred by FN as a Medalist with a 5 7/8" barrel (referring to USA), but BAC cataloged it as a International Medalist. Hence the reason the ones made later in France are called the International II, if BAC had sold these, which they did not, they would have been ?? the International III?

3. As to your manual not referring to a dry-fire mechanism, I don't "think" the "I 75" has one, mine doesn't or I can't get it to move forward and engage and the cut-out in the grip is not condusive for one to be used . If you find different please let me know as you said yours does and I have found no manufacture data that says it does. The 1980 BAC catalog make no mention of a dry-fire mechanism and they make a defined distinction about having it when describing their Medalist and the International Medalist 5 7/8" in the earlier catalogs. I have found the manual used in the FN models has the brown color, as your example, and the BAC are blue in color as shown on my manual board in another post. I'm pretty sure of this, but it could be a printing change etc.

You must always remember when conversing with Cramiekske, a great guy, that he is from Belgium and his terminology and names of the same pistols are different than here in the USA.

I hope this sheds some light on some of the confusion as to the "I 75" series of the International, Mark
Hi mark,
Thanks for the nice kind words, but it leaves me a bit puzzled now.

I only have 1 International of my own so its hard to compaire but mine does have a dry fire system build in. But i've seen many others at the club, And I'm sure the majority have a dry fire system. I'm sure about that because I explain to new shooters that I assist/tutor the first 6 months that this is an extra safety (if engaged) to the gun so it might not accidentally go off (loaded with live rounds) if kept at Home with younger children. Probably you'll shout "NEVER" How could that be? But I've seen many stupid errors over the years, that could ended badly. Just because they were careless, or kids got inventive, the dry fire is not something that is very easy to dissable if you don't know the correct function. So for me personal it's also a nice safety feature.

(This Image is Too Large to Be Displayed Within the Post. Click Link to View) (1181 kB)

Secondely mine is also an I75 with following barrel address.
Left side: Fabrique National Herstal - made in Belgium. Right side: Browning Arms Company, morgan, Utah & Montréal (see pictures)
(This Image is Too Large to Be Displayed Within the Post. Click Link to View) (1234 kB)
(This Image is Too Large to Be Displayed Within the Post. Click Link to View) (1012 kB)

So what is the real name for the pistol. For me as a Belgian this is a "FN international" (series 1). But at the end if we disregard the name we are still talking about the same pistol. Can't help it if FN or Browning made it so hard on us it's not my fault. I'm just trying to give my perspective and remarks from across the great pond, where it all started. ;-))

On a personal note I hope that one day when I'm again in the US and in the neigbourhood, and I have enough time, I might have the possibility to visit your marvelous collection in person.

Just a small addition to this post. If you download from stevepages the user guide from the International/Practice 150 you will find on page 13 the complete explainnaition of the dry-fire mecanisme on the international. It is not there in the previous manual. But it looks like it is installed.http://stevespages.com/pdf/browning_international2.pdf

Oh, And one more last thing, but I pressume this will be a Belgian thing. Mine came in a similar Gray plastic case as Chim's.


Greetings from Belgium

Last edited by Cramiekske; 01-17-2015 at 06:46 AM. Reason: Typos
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