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The Browning 1910 and a Spanish Copy, the Bufalo

by Ed Buffaloe

Browning 1910, top right; and Bufalo, bottom leftJust as the Model 1900 FN Browning, the first .32 caliber self -loading pistol ever made, set off a wave of imitations, so did the Model 1910 Browning which, with the Colt 1911,  is one of the most copied pistols of the 20th century (think Bayard, Bufalo, Danton, DWM, Melior, and the Czech Praga).  The Model 1910 was one of the first production self-loading pistols with the recoil spring around the barrel.  Like the Colt 1903 Pocket Model (also designed by John Moses Browning), it had a grip safety and a thumb-operated manual safety, and added a magazine disconnect safety as well.  The Model 1910 was manufactured continuously from 1912 to 1983, and is still highly regarded for its accuracy and reliability.

Most sources state that the Bufalo was manufactured by Gabilando y Cia from 1919 to 1925.  However, there is a Bufalo in the Museo de la Industria Armera in Eibar which is said to have been made by Beristain y Cia of Eibar under contract with Gabilando y Cia, with production beginning in

 

1920.  To further confuse matters, A.B. Zhuk says that the gun was made by Gregorio Bolumburu of Eibar.  It may well be that several companies made the Bufalo at different times.  Whoever made the gun, the Browning design was simplified so that it could be manufactured with fewer steps, replacing the striker ignition system with a concealed hammer, and redesigning the grip safety.  Gabilando produced a similar (but apparently not identical) pistol called the Danton between 1925 and 1933.  The Danton was also made in a smaller .25 caliber version.  (After 1931, Gabilando made pistols primarily under the Llama trade name, all of which were based on the Colt Model 1911, another design by John M. Browning.  The Llama pistols were very successful and are still produced today.)  

Both of these pistols are quite reliable with hardball ammunition.  They both occasionally have trouble feeding hollow-point ammunition, but this isn’t unexpected since they were produced prior to the advent of hollow points.  Browning was somewhat fanatic about making his weapons handle all sorts of ammunition.  I was stunned by the accuracy of the Browning.  The other two guns I tested produced 3 inch groups at ten yards, and are certainly accurate enough for self defense, but the Browning’s group was hardly more than an inch across.  (I threw in the Walther Model 4 here because it is a very similar .32 caliber handgun from the same era.)

One inch group, Browning

Browning Model 1910

3 inch group, Bufalo

Bufalo

3 inch group, Walther

Walther Model 4

5 Shot Groups, Cor Bon 60 Gr JHP, 10 Yards

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1910 Browning

Bufalo

Walther Model 4

Cartridge

7.65mm / .32 ACP

7.65mm / .32 ACP

7.65mm / .32 ACP

Magazine Capacity

7 rounds

7 rounds

8 rounds

Overall Length

6 inches / 153mm

6.11 inches / 155.3mm

5.94 inches / 151mm

Overall Height

3.91 inches / 99.4mm

3.85 inches / 97.8mm

4.05 inches / 102.9mm

Grip Depth at Base

1.67 inches / 42.4mm

1.84 inches / 46.8mm

1.62 inches / 41.2mm

Barrel Length

3.44 inches / 87.5mm

3.42 inches / 86.9mm

3.46 inches / 88mm

Slide Width

.8 inches / 20.3mm

.8 inches / 20.4mm

.8 inches / 20.5mm

Weight Empty

19.6 ounces / 554.8g

21.52 ounces / 609g

18.42 ounces / 521.2g

All three pistols are single action only.  The Walther and the Bufalo have internal hammers, whereas the Browning utilizes a striker.  The Walther has no grip safety.

Copyright 2007 by Ed Buffaloe.  All rights reserved.

References

John M. Browning, American Gunmaker, John Browning and Curt Gentry, Doubleday & Co., 1964.
Spanish Handguns, by Gene Gangarosa Jr., Stoeger Publishing Co., 2001.
The Walther Handgun Story, by Gene Gangarosa Jr., Stoeger Publishing Co., 1999.

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