Information about FN1903 pistol

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Douglas Jr.
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Information about FN1903 pistol

Post by Douglas Jr. » 17 Apr 2007 04:11

Hello everyone,

I recently got a FN Browning 1903, serial number 23xxx (with the holster rail) showing wear but still with a fair amount of its original blue retained. I did some reasearch on Internet and in some of my old magazines and books but didn't find much information about this pistols, besides the common one.

As far as I could understand, the FN1903 (caliber 9mm Browning Long a.k.a. 9 X 20mm) was made between 1903 and 1927 (with some interuptions) totalling something about 58,000 pistols enjoying only a limited commercial success.

However, one thing triggered my curiosity: I was reading an old isue (1997) of a local Magazine where it is stated that a number of such pistols (5,000) were bought by the Russians during the war with Japan (1904-05). After the war, most of these pistols were sold by the Russia to a war surplus dealer in Hamburg, who sold part of this batch to the Brazilian District Federal's Police. I think that this pistol was probably part of this batch.

To confirm or deny my assumption, I would like to know if this "Russian contract" really exists and, if so, what is the serial numbers range of these pistols. Besides that, any further information about these guns (as well period pictures showing them in use) is more than welcome.

I will post some pictures of it later.

Thanks in advance.

Douglas.

jacobtowne
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Post by jacobtowne » 17 Apr 2007 15:59

Approximately 5,000 were sold to Russia in 1904. A small lot was sent to Paraguay. Production of the Mle. 1903 is known to have totalled 153,173. (From Edward Ezell's Handguns of the World.

Other sources say 58,000 was the total manufactured.

JT

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Douglas Jr.
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Post by Douglas Jr. » 18 Apr 2007 00:17

JT,

Thanks for your reply.

In fact the different production numbers can be explained when you remember that there were two manufacturers: FN and Husqvarna. The first one made around 58,000 pistols and the latter built c. 94,000 guns.

Wishes,

Douglas.

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Browning
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Post by Browning » 20 Apr 2007 11:01

I am also interested in seeing pictures of FN 1903 in use from the old days.
My FN 1903, serialnumber 28xxx was used by swedish army, they later had same gun made by Husqvarna Vapenfabrik(swedish arms factory).
My 1903 made by Husqvarna(called Model 07 in swedish army), serialnumber 102xxx.
The guns made by Husqvarna are mostly parkerized finish and tends to shoot less accurate.
My humble opinion is that the Husqvarna guns are made with much less attention to metal-tolerance and when I shake both the FN and the Husqvarna in my hands, lots of noise comes from the Husqvarna, less so from the FN.
I will be more than happy to show pics if someone wants me to.

Best regards
Browning
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Last edited by Browning on 20 Apr 2007 15:10, edited 2 times in total.

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Douglas Jr.
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Post by Douglas Jr. » 20 Apr 2007 12:02

Browning,

Please, post your pictures! I will take some pics of mine and also will post here later.

Douglas

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Post by Douglas Jr. » 27 Apr 2007 21:54

Sorry for my delay.
Here is my FN1903. Note that it has the rail to allow the attachment of a holster-stock. Hope you enjoy it.
Douglas.

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Post by Norseman » 27 Apr 2007 22:57

I have one of 10.000 FN Browning M1903 that was sold to Sweden pre WWI. These are marked on the back of the slide with 2 inspection-officers initials and the Swedish Royal Crown. After 1917 Sweden produced the guns themselfs at Husqvarna Weaponsfactory. More info here: http://www.gotavapen.se/gota/m07/pist07_2.htm

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Browning
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Post by Browning » 28 Apr 2007 00:09

Hi!
Thanks Douglas Jr for your pictures, that it a very nice gun.
The rails sure make it different and unique.

Norseman: thanks for your link with lots of nice info.
My Husqvarna is stamped with TT and BR, a combination not mentioned in the link.
My FN is lacking such stamps = pure civilian according to info from same above link.
Also, my FN has no rail like Douglas Jr:s gun.
Again thank you gentlemen for your info.
Best regards
Browning
By the way, does your magazines have any stamps?
My mags have none, and I have many.

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Douglas Jr.
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Post by Douglas Jr. » 28 Apr 2007 03:19

Hi Browning,

Thanks for your kind words. The magazine on my FN1903 has no marks, besides the serial number (which is matching to the pistol by the way).

Douglas

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Browning
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Serialnumbers on mags

Post by Browning » 28 Apr 2007 12:41

Hi Douglas JR!
I have never heard of serial numbers on the magazines of these guns before.
My FN 1903 came in standard Swedish army-holster with 2 spare mags, none of the mags have serial numbers.
Same goes with my husqvarna, no serials on the magazines.Came in holster with 2 spare mags.
Seems odd to me to engrave serialnumber on magazines if it originally was produced for army.
To my knowledge magazines are more often shared among army units and at least a few for each gun.
Does your gun have more than one magazine with identical serial number?

Best regards
Browning

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Douglas Jr.
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Post by Douglas Jr. » 28 Apr 2007 16:01

No. It only has one magazine and no holster or accessories.
The grips panels are also numbered to the gun.

Douglas.

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Post by SVaaka » 24 May 2007 19:13

Nice gun, though bit worn. Congratulations you have found a nice slotted Mle 1903 which are really hard to find. Slotted for wooden holster/butt. Ezell and many other authors write a lot of bull about FN Mle 1903. No-one knows how many Mle 1903´s were bouht by Russia, but certain is they did no sell them to anywhere cause they were mostly used by gendarmerie - not troops in line. Also Turkey, Estonia, Sveden, Paraguay adopted this nice gun. It was never ever used by any other nation, what ever some authors state. This is a fact. Mle 1903 was manufactured till 1939 - in small numbers. Estonias sold most of their guns to Spain during spanish-civilwar. All russian, turkish, svedish, estonian and paraguayan samples can be indentified easily by their easily showing marks and stamps patculiar to each user nation. What ever the so called authors state Mle 1903 was only manufactured in cal 9.00 Browning long. It is nice gun to shoot and works well. Once again - nice gun.

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Re: Information about FN1903 pistol

Post by Skrotnisse » 13 Feb 2016 10:15

Hi there!

I know its an old thread, but since the subject is right I thought I`d give it a try.

You must excuse my stupidity when it comes to these subjects, but I`m rather new to this type of things. How do I ``decode´´ the serial number of an FN 1903? There`s got to be some way of finding out at least the year of manufacture right?

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Re: Information about FN1903 pistol

Post by varjag » 06 Mar 2016 02:50

Approximately 5,000 were sold to Russia in 1904......
Here's one of them -
Russian contract 1903 Browning.jpg
This one is marked ''Moscow Police'' which seems to the most common marking of known specimens.

Anyone interested in shooting them? Here's how;

Making & Loading 9mm Browning Long cartridges

Is not difficult! Begin with .38 Super brass. 9mm BL is only a shorter variety of .38 ACP/.38 Super.
Use a case-trimmer to shorten the cartridge-case to 20,2 mm’s.
Use 9mm Luger shell-holder and dies, they will do the job.
(9mm Luger shell-holder will not accept original Swedish brass which has a tad greater rim-diameter.)

If using new brass no sizing is needed. If used brass – full-length resize is necessary.

Open caseneck down to about 3mm’s.

Projectile and propellant: I found Hornady 100grain 3552 FMJ the closest to the bluntnosed Swedish 110 grains projectile. Behind it I used 5,0 grains of Hercules Unique for a m/v of 1055 ft/second.
Very close to the Swedish original’s 1040 f.p.s.
This will give a m/e of 247 footpounds and with a velocityspread of +11%/-11%.
Projectile must be seated to a total cartridge length of 24,45 – 28mm’s

Good shooting!

Varjag
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varjag
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Re: Information about FN1903 pistol

Post by varjag » 12 Mar 2016 02:34

Another couple of pictures of -
Moscow Police.png
polispistol%20Moskva.png
- a well preserved specimen.....considering where it spent most of it's life......

Rgds, Varjag
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