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I'm looking at purchasing a Chinese copy of an Browning 1900 chambered in 7.63mm Mauser (I know not to ever shoot it, I just think it's cool), and I'm wondering when most of the various 1900 copies were made? I believe its the early 1930s, but is this correct? And were they intended mostly for military use or civilian sale?
 

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I know there are several gentlemen out there who actually know the answer to your question. I don't own a real Chinese designed and made pistol, but I find them fascinating nonetheless. My impression is that most of the Chinese pistols, including the copies of the FN 1900, were made from right after WWI to the end of WWII. I believe that the experts will tell you that they were made by various Nationalist and warlord arsenals for military use. You don't see too many of the Browning 1900 copies in 7.63 Mauser, do you? Most are 7.65 (.32acp) are they not? I know I saw pictures of a Browning copy in 7.63 Mauser up in Canada. 5 shot. Here's a KMT pistol. I think it's in .30 Mauser.

 

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I recently saw a Chinese copy of the Browning FN 1900 for sale that was in 7.65mm caliber. It was marked with the Mauser banner so it seems the manufacturer was really trying to make use of well know names.
 

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The first Chinese copies of the Browning M1900 were made at Nanking Arsenal. Production was reportedly ordered in 1913, but the rate must have been quite slow or the SNs started over each year because pistols 346 and 751 are both dated 1919. Pistol SN 900 is dated 1920. In the early 1920s Shanghai made an oversize M1900 slotted for a shoulder stock and were about 8" long and most had a graduated rear sight.

Shanghai Arsenal began producing the M1900 in 1915 and continued into the 1920s. Pistol 5108 was produced in 1919 and 6896 in 1920. Both of these copies were very close copies of the FN pistol. Chinese sources indicate that M1900 copies were also made by Hanyang, Gongxian (Kung Hsien), Mukden and Taiyuan as well as other arsenals. Although I've seen many other M1900 pistols, none can be identified to these specific Arsenals.

As time past, the design of the Chinese copies evolved. The most common change was to curve the back of the grip for a more comfortable fit for the hand. There are MANY variations of this pistol. M1900s from the WWII period are frequently dated instead of SN'ed. The latest date I have seen was 1945. Some 5 shot models are also known.

All the pistols discussed above are in 32 ACP. There are another set of M1900 copies in 7.63 Mauser which are much harder to find than the 32 ACP pistols. These vary from normal M1900 size but with a beefed up slide to handle the more powerful cartridge to quite large pistols, some slotted for shoulder stocks. Production of these pistols probably date from the 1920s and 1930s. Most are extremely well made, and in fact the fit of the parts is generally better than found on Belgium made pistols.

No shoulder stocks for any of these M1900 copies are known to the Author. There are also a few Chinese M1900 copies in 25 ACP that are quite small, but the Author has not actually examined any of these.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Lew
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info, that's exactly what I was looking for!

I'm torn abot buying the pistol, as although I think it's really neat and would be a great addition to my collection (plus, due to our firearms laws, I'll never own an actual Browning 1900), but the guy wants $550, which is frankly more than I think it's really worth. I don't buy guns for resale, but I think I'd be lucky to get half that, and that kinda makes me feel ripped off.
 

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I just found this thread while researching a new purchase & what I thought was an M1900, I'm starting to think might be a Chinese copy. You might be able to see from the left side closeup, the roll stamp on the slide just says NATIONALENITIONALENATIONALE, while on the frame is PATNETPATNET. From my experiences with English language manuals for Chinese tools I know the Chinese are horrible spellers and "PATNET" instead of PATENT has me questioning the authenticity of this pistol. Can anyone help with this? Is this a Chinese copy (which seems likely), or do I have an original FN with a misprint roll stamp (a prospect that would be great, but I'll not hold my breath on)? Either way this pans out, I still think I've added a nice piece at a reasonable price to my collection of early 32ACP pistols.
FN-M1900 LEFT.jpg FN-M1900 LEFT DETAIL.jpg FN-M1900 RIGHT.jpg
 

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I have one of these Chinese Model 1900 pistols that is missing the magazine. Will standard (non Chinese ) made magazines work in these guns or are the Chinese magazines different?

Thanks,

Paddy
 

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I have one of these Chinese Model 1900 pistols that is missing the magazine. Will standard (non Chinese ) made magazines work in these guns or are the Chinese magazines different?

Thanks,

Paddy
FN Model 1900 was in 0.32ACP, that is 7.65x17.
Ask yourself: Will 7.63x25 fit into original FN Model 1900 magazine?
 
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