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Thread: 9MM Helwan

  1. #1
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    Default 9MM Helwan

    Hello fellow gun owners and those whom maybe interested,


    I have been researching online and looking through many places through the internet for information about this gun.. It seems to be quite wishy washy from most of the reviews and comments about the gun..

    I bought this gun a couple months ago and it hasn't been good weather out due to weather so I haven't gone to shoot the gun.. Although I did shoot it once, fired a round when I bought the gun from a friend of mine, it shot great, had quite a kick back and much louder than I expected.. This is the first gun I've bought, but not the first I've shot... Since then I have cleaned it extensively, I haven't messed with anything besides taking all of the parts, barrel, spring, and what not out and cleaned very well.. it came with one clip, I bought a cleaning kit and REMOIL and cloth wipes...



    I am curious to know more about this gun, I have read some were made in the 90's or something but there are the older military version??
    On this gun I have a few marks that are interesting.. One being 'Israeli' writing on one side, and the other saying "Interarms, VA" On the reviews I saw, none of them had this type of writing...

    I took a couple of photographs, please let me know your opinion and knowledge!


    I had posted this on a different website, now that reading a bit on here, there is a lot more information... If you have any knowledge and information about this gun please let me know!

    Thanks!
    -RemoteGun

  2. #2
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    Where's the "Israeli" writing? It says "MADE IN EGYPT", so a better guess would have been Arabic. It is an Egyptian military surplus pistol, imported by Interarms.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
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    At least some of these made for export Helwans essentially self destruct due to bad metallurgy. Personally, I suspect almost all of them are bad. Certainly the problem is serious enough to make the risk of firing one not worth taking. Watch the locking block, all locking surfaces, and the area of the slide in the locking cut areas for deformation if you insist on taking this risk. The genuine Mil-Spec Helwans are fine, but those made for export aparently are not. Mine was clearly little used when I got it, seemed fine, but beat itself into uselessness after 50 rounds. I have no doubt that the gun was less than 50 rounds away from a catastrophic failure and severe personal injury to myself at that time. The steel is butter soft.

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    I wouldn't even trust the true milsurp ones. In Israel it was common knowledge that captured Helwans would not stand up to much Uzi ammo. Hey, it was all we had! Hi-Powers and my Radom had no problem with it.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
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    I've owned two of these, gave the first one to my son. I've put a lot of standard 115 grn. domestic 9mm through both and never had a problem except the take down lever on the first one wanted to turn on recoil and lodge against the slide so I fixed it with a small lock screw and never had another problem. I've heard a lot of negative coments and a number of positive coments on them so I guess it's kind of a crap shoot. The older military surplus models, which I think is what you have, were reported to be the better of the bunch, next came the early imported domestic models, and then the worst of the lot are the ones imported over the last few years. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Curious on how you tell the early commercial (somewhat good) from the latter commercial pistols (poor)? Markings? Importer name? SN# range?
    "Would you die in your sleep like an ailing pet?" - Serenity

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    For what it's worth, what I've read is they descend like this:
    1. Egyptian milsurp - best.
    2. INTERARMS import - usable.
    3. Anything else - trash.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
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    I wanted to share this with everyone, a fellow member here on this forum sent it to me...

    That sucks.. I must say.. Although I will say, I have had other individuals write a different response, they've shot 1000's of round through the gun and it still worked fine... I will have mine inspected by a friend of mine..

    anyone want to buy it?? :D

    Thanks!


    RemoteGun -- Wanted to make sure this note got your attention, so sending it direct to you. I bought an obviously little used Interarms Helwan a few months ago. After 50 rounds of standard Winchester FMJ the gun got very difficult to take apart. A close inspection revealed distorted locking lugs, distorted locking engagements with corresponding bow-out areas in the slide, and the locking bolt body itself was distorted. I was going to destroy the slide and locking block, then sell off the remaining parts but swapped it out to a local gunsmith with warnings about the trouble I was seeing in it. I now wish I'd gone ahead and chopped it up, because getting the heat treatment right in a modern gun design is usually very tricky business. After posting on this trouble here I got a number of replies from folks with similar experiences. It appears that only the made for export version of the Helwan is a defective and dangerous product. The genuine military and police Helwans accepted for service are apparently okay. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but at the very least please do pay particular attention to the gun. I'm someting of a risk taker and amateur gun designer/redesigner with a few decades of experience as a shooter and gun tinkerer but I will not fire another Helwan unless it is a genuine Mil Spec gun -- no matter who says they've "fixed" it. Just too much energy in that cartridge and too little quality in the production to take that risk. Some really good guns are out there on the cheap, however. The Hungarian PA-63 in 9mm Mak is decent, good for carry, and very safe. The Romanian and Yugoslavian Tokarevs are great as long as you don't take the risk of carrying one with a loaded chamber. Bound to be some others on the market as well. If you find a Soviet standard PM (Makarov), I highly recommend them. They are extremely rugged and reliable, have excellent safety and handling charactaristics, carry very well, and provide power in the same range as the standard pressure .38 Spl. Good luck. Stay safe. Stop shooting that ticking time bomb of a "gun" you've got there.

  9. #9
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    RemoteGun,
    Fire away with your Helwan. You have a MilSpec gun that has probably had thousands of rounds through it. It has obviously been refinished at one time, indicating it’s age as a military/police weapon. The M-1951 Beretta design has always been, and still is a good design, but you have to know what it was designed for. Those who feed souped-up Uzi or P++ ammo in a Helwan (Military or Civilian) have no room to complain when it fails. That’s no different than shooting 3” magnum slugs in a 100 year old shotgun. The Helwan is designed for 9x19mm in its standard load. YES, there are many reports out there about Helwans failing after only a few rounds. By fail, I mean failure to function. This is nearly always caused by the sides of the slide bowing out, or the locking block peening out of shape, distorting, or breaking. The result of this is usually a jammed gun that is difficult to un-jam or disassemble. This is not a design flaw; it is poor manufacturing ‘quality control’. The poor Q.C. Helwans are nearly always reported on the commercial models (no Arabic writing). The problem is that no one has ever collected enough data to ascertain what S/N range is flawed. This flaw is probably caused by poor heat-treating of the steel, and is not a question of poor quality steel. AND it certainly does not affect every commercial Helwan made, for many people have reported no problems in their commercial Helwans.
    The weak part in the design is the locking-block. The locking-block has two lugs that rarely break at the same time. Even if both lugs did break off, the result would be the slide falling off the front of the pistol. There is no way the slide could fly back and impale in your forehead. I have never heard of anyone getting injured by a failing Helwan or Beretta. I have read where Beretta recommended that the locking-block be replaced on the M1951 every 5,000 rounds, but I have never seen a verifiable source to confirm this claim.
    In short, disassemble your Helwan, closely inspect the locking, block for cracks, or rounded corners (it should be too hard to peen or ‘mushroom’). Inspect the mating surfaces on the slide for the same thing. If all else looks fine, then have fun at the range. Just re-inspect every time you clean it (hopefully every few hundred rounds or so)

    Just an opinion from someone who has six M-1951’s, and still has all his fingers, eyes, and doesn’t have a chunk of metal stuck in his head.
    TOM

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    +1 to above. Have been happy with mine so far. Would be nice find a source for a spare locking block though. For the money a good Helwan is a great deal.

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    i too have bought a helwan about two months ago and put 200 rounds through it already and there are no signs of failure. mine is an early interarms, va import. and true to the above statement about proper ammo being used, i have only shot standard wolf and blazer 9mm through mine, and i would never use +P or +P+ ammo as i would expect that ammo to damage the pistol. so like said be fore just check it frequently and shoot safely.

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    Interarms older import is a good thing, I've put alot of 115 gr ammo in mine as well, and accidently some +p rounds(not recommended), takes hollowpoints no problems unlike some. Mine don't have arabic script like that, I wished it did, a total plain jane, likely scrubbed of all former markings, I believe the interarms imports were 80's origin, I believe part of the serial number denotes date of manufacture, like mine is early 80's made if I am correct on that.

    I had to recrown the muzzle on mine to make it pin point accurate to 25 yards, otherwise there was some bullet spread in the inches, muzzle looked new, but was not concentric, but hey, I'm a target shooter generally, I got high standards.

    Original style mags are best, aftermarket mags sometimes can have problems. Get aftermarket mags if they are cheap, had the slide want to hold open with still one round left in the aftermarket mags, but even that could in theory be adjusted in stoning down the mag catch, just not worth the trouble, and doesn't do it all the time.

    I paid $200 for mine, fairly low for a local purchased gun several years ago, I am glad I can get round to group holes touching each other now. Spare parts, like the locking wedge, if it ever needs replacement, wow, I hope I will never need another, I don't know how I would get a replacement, and not one that was from those worthless recent imports by century arms, probably the only reason I'd ever trade or sell it off for fear if it ever did happen, but it is what it is, it works, works great now, a good spare low cap pistol, I'll likely have it for the rest of my life.

    You got a good one, you lucky................., enjoy it and don't get rid of it wily nilly, it aint one of the newer ones people had trouble with.
    Last edited by AndGunsForAll; 04-13-2009 at 05:41 PM.

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    What about those marked ARE and InterArms Imported. ???
    IIRC Military ??

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    Is there Arabic writing on it??
    There have been many different markings’ configurations on the commercial model over the years, but I haven’t seen one with ARE on it.
    I have read a post or two where someone claimed their commercial Helwan was a ‘military’ copy was ‘de-milled’ by removing the Arabic script. I have never seen such a ‘scrubbed’ copy, and I can see no reason why anyone would go through the trouble or grinding the writing off. There is no ‘sacred’ property mark to destroy or cover up like the Arisaka, Argentine Mauser, or K-98 Swastikas.
    Without pictures, I’ll say it’s a MilSpec copy.
    TOM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tombstone View Post
    Is there Arabic writing on it??
    There have been many different markings’ configurations on the commercial model over the years, but I haven’t seen one with ARE on it.
    I have read a post or two where someone claimed their commercial Helwan was a ‘military’ copy was ‘de-milled’ by removing the Arabic script. I have never seen such a ‘scrubbed’ copy, and I can see no reason why anyone would go through the trouble or grinding the writing off. There is no ‘sacred’ property mark to destroy or cover up like the Arisaka, Argentine Mauser, or K-98 Swastikas.
    Without pictures, I’ll say it’s a MilSpec copy.
    TOM

    Yes,Arabic as in the pictures in the first of the thread. Interarms import and marked ARE and Made in Egypt. Near 100% blue one original and 2 after market mags. I need a holster- Is the one above correct? BTW it is a Collector not a shooter.

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    Cool Helwan U.A.R. marked

    Importers mark on left side of frame...NA Rdg fld. N.J. U.A.R. [united arab republic ?] on right side of pistol...also has on the right side of the slide and the frame in arabic numbers 7697. Navy Arms import,the importer added a new serial number on the left side of the frame ,the new serial has no relationship to the arabic issued number. Can any one confirm the meaning of UAR marking? thanks guys AZBronco

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    Yes, UAR = United Arab Republic.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
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    So having Arabic writing is a good thing...???

    Mine is marked the same as the pistol in the original post,, and somewhere around 900 higher in the s/n,,, as I can't see the last 2 digits in the pictures...

    So,,, our pistols are original military models...??? I'm assuming that,,, as I have had no problems with mine after hundreds of rounds (and the pistol was used when I got it....

    I showed mine to an Egyptian girl and she said that the Arabic script says the same thing as the English writing on the other side.....

    Also,,, the holster shown is a US M9 holster.... I'm not sure what the original looked like for this pistol,,, but it will fit fine in the US holster,,, or even better,,, in an Italian black leather 1951 Brigadier holster (with it's spare mag on the front)....
    Last edited by NervousBreakdown; 06-05-2009 at 09:38 PM.

  19. #19
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    Nervous,
    Having an Arabic marked pistol is definitely not a bad thing. There are far less criticisms heard from owners of the Arabic marked Helwans than there are from the commercial ones. Like I said before, not all of the commercial ones are bad either. Many have had years of good service. But for now, there is no way to tell if a commercial made Helwan is lacking proper heat-treating or not. Only the current owner can make that call. Maybe one day we will find a pattern to help identify the ones with poor QA.
    The assumption is that ALL Arabic marked Helwans are contract made for the Egyptian military and/or Police. The Maadi factory probably did not start making commercial versions until after 1986 (when the MilSurp floodgates opened).
    The Egyptian girl is correct; the Arabic script merely repeats the English writing.
    TOM

  20. #20
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    Default hellwan 9mm

    i have ahellwan 9mm made in egypt, truck gun mostly, courios also about year of man. also va. import last 2 didgets 30 on slide and frame thaks. rdm45

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    Default Hellwan

    Its a copy of the beretta 951. Get the beretta. FIVESHOT

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveshot View Post
    its a copy of the beretta 951. Get the beretta. Fiveshot
    always the hard way . . . .

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    There were also some imported for a short time in the 80's marked "Steyr Secaucus" that were absolutely horrid. The polishing looked like the guy fell asleep while he was polishing or was trying to make a diorama of the Grand Canyon. I seem to recall the one we had in our store was number 126.

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    And, once again, I have to ask: Would you buy a car made in Egypt?

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    My "Helwan" is a commercial model named the "Maadi Cadet", but otherwise looks like a pretty standard Helwan. I have several hundred rounds through it, mostly Remington and Winchester commercial 9X19, and one box of Wolf 9mm. It really likes the Wolf steel-cased ammo, shooting tighter than the American ammo. I tried some Brown Bear but it hated it - would not chamber!
    Accuracy is quite good, IF I can control the very stiff trigger pull. My only real gripe is the black plastic grips are cracking and crumbling. The hammer spring is exposed under the web of my hand. I am currently JB Welding the grips and trying to make them useable, but may try making a set from wood.
    Anybody know of a source for new grips and spare magazines for the Helwan/Beretta 951?

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    Well this is a surprise.... I have been shooting and using my Helwan for my CCW since 1994. I bought it for $169.99
    It has the Interarms stamp. It has been fired hundreds of times and is in perfect condition. It's accuray is more than adequate for self protection. After reading many of these pots I am stunned.
    Here is mine:




    WZ

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    reading this post made me go have a look at mine. it is simply a Century import, made in egypt...... no interarms, no arabic. looks practically new. i took it apart to check lugs, they look new, AND a small piece fell into my hand. it is a small slotted screw a little over 1/8th inch long and wide, threaded with a screwdriver slot on top, the other end is pointed. looks a lot like the plugs you put in a drilled scopebase hole on any rifle, but a tad larger. i see no where this part would go. put it back together and all seems to function, but i did not shoot it. any ideas where this small "screw" goes? thanks.
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

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    See if you can find an "exploded view" at e-gunparts.
    Always looking for interesting 7.62x25 Tokarev and 7.63 Mauser cartridges!!!
    Member: International Ammunition Assoc. (IAA), European Cartridge Research Assoc. (ECRA). Ask me about membership!

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    It may be the retaining screw for the locking block.

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    thanks for the numrich schamatic idea. best i can tell with my old eyes and they're picture........ it's the slide catch screw. anybody know where it goes?
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

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    i've looked and looked, can't see a hole that is big enough and threaded that this screw will go into. wondering if it could possible go under the grips.
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

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    I also have a helwan and have had no problems with it. I bought mine back in the early '90's. For those worried about insufficient heat treating of the metal, you can send yours off to have it dipped in liquid nitrogen like they use to harden some rifle receivers. Faster and easier than heat treating. The extreme cold makes the molecules of the metal compress and hardens the steel.
    The Helwan is a copy of the Beretta Brigadier model of 1951. The Brigadier '51 was popularized in the Mack Bolan "Executioner" series of novels back in the 1970's wherein Mack used it as his favorite handgun and was a one man executioner army against the Mafia who killed his family.

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    Default Criogenic heat treat

    I believe the criogenic heat treat (or cold treat) is for austinitic stainles steels not carbon steels.

    Draybo

    I have an Interarms pistol and just love it! No problems with standard 115 FMJ's. It's one of my go to fun guns but I wouldn't hesitate to carry it as a (legal) CCW.
    Last edited by Draybo; 01-10-2010 at 08:11 PM.
    If I really knew how much I thought I knew...I'd be a dadburn GENIUS!

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    Default Criogenic heat treat

    NT double post
    If I really knew how much I thought I knew...I'd be a dadburn GENIUS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Akins View Post
    The Helwan is a copy of the Beretta Brigadier model of 1951. The Brigadier '51 was popularized in the Mack Bolan "Executioner" series of novels back in the 1970's wherein Mack used it as his favorite handgun and was a one man executioner army against the Mafia who killed his family.
    Yep, that's what drew me to mine. I wanted something like the old "Beretta Belle" Bolan had. Missed my chance at an early .44 Automag though........ ;-)
    Of course, even Bolan upgraded to the double-stack Beretta later......

    I have been very pleased with the accuracy of Maadi/Helwan, and am getting ready to begin handloading 9mm Luger for it. It's my only pistol in this caliber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Draybo View Post
    I believe the criogenic heat treat (or cold treat) is for austinitic stainles steels not carbon steels.

    Draybo

    I have an Interarms pistol and just love it! No problems with standard 115 FMJ's. It's one of my go to fun guns but I wouldn't hesitate to carry it as a (legal) CCW.

    I'm certainly not an expert on cyrogenic treatment of gun metal, but I believe the cyrogenic cold treatment is also for carbon steels. I had a friend who sent his Chinese M14 off to be treated that way. It didn't have a problem but he was afraid of stories he had heard of the metal being softer than U.S. made models and thus a few stories of op rods bending and wear on the bolt. So he sent his off to be cyrogenically treated just for piece of mind. I kidded him about wasting his money since I also have a Chinese M14 and have fired many hundreds of rounds through mine with no problems or noticeable wear. He sent a few other of his guns off to be "frozen" too. They marked his Chinese M14 receiver showing that it had been cold treated. His guns were all carbon steel to my knowledge.

    .

  37. #37
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    Default Reply to Bill

    Not meaning to stray here. Sorry.

    Bill I stand corrected. I need to read a little more!!

    We were talking at work about ballistic steels and the very same HT subject came up. It's all carbon steel to begin with. I regret jumping in without researrching. Accept my humble apology please. I too have a Chinese T53 and never once had a thought of it being inferior in any way.

    Back on topic. Got a buddy coming over this AM with his new Ruger LCR .38 Think I'll get the Helwan out of the safe and blow the dust bunnies out the tube! They are a cool pistol.

    Draybo
    If I really knew how much I thought I knew...I'd be a dadburn GENIUS!

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    I had one years ago but got rid of it. It was a interarms import.
    I never had any problems with it but it looked and seemed "cheap".
    Traded it off.
    U S Navy 1973-1977
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draybo View Post
    Not meaning to stray here. Sorry.

    Bill I stand corrected. I need to read a little more!!

    We were talking at work about ballistic steels and the very same HT subject came up. It's all carbon steel to begin with. I regret jumping in without researrching. Accept my humble apology please. I too have a Chinese T53 and never once had a thought of it being inferior in any way.

    Back on topic. Got a buddy coming over this AM with his new Ruger LCR .38 Think I'll get the Helwan out of the safe and blow the dust bunnies out the tube! They are a cool pistol.

    Draybo
    Hi Draybo.

    Thanks for getting back with me and being nice enough to apologize although no apology really necessary. Believe me, I make mistakes too. Have fun shooting your Helwan.

    Regards, Bill.


    .
    Last edited by Bill Akins; 01-16-2010 at 10:20 PM.

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    i've looked and looked, still can't find where the screw that fell out in my hand goes. looks like the slide stop screw, but i see nothing missing and nowhere it should go. got me buffaloed. gues i'll have to shoot it and see how it works.
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

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    Duck.
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    Are you sure there are no threaded holes in the locking block. Some blocks have them, some do not. Here is a linc from another thread.
    http://www.gunandgame.com/forums/oth...elwan-9mm.html

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    tombstone, thanks for that link..... it pointed me in the right direction. i looked at that spot, and that was it. i screwed it in without locktight, will shoot a few times and check to see if it backs out. looked to have never been fully seated..... threads looked new and unused. i have saved lots of money through help on these boards, would have otherwise have had to carry to a gunsmith, also gotten killer deals on firearms and replacement parts. thanks all. i really appreciate it. i guess i was lucky the screw fell ibnto my hands when i was removing the slide or i'd never have known it would work...... i can see how the slide would bind without that small screw. thanks again.
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

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    I've never had an issue with any of the early Helwan pistols. They seem fine as long as you stick to ball ammo, but all the ones I have seen with bowed or cracked slides are later Century imports. I had to chuckle at the advice to buy a real Beretta 1951. In my many years of collecting have only seen two honest to God Beretta 1951 pistols and one Egyptian contract 1951E ever...bought them all.

    Here are comments I posted with this photo on another gun forum a while back.

    "Here you see the Rashid carbine with a couple early commercial production Helwan pistols on the left. The first one made for Interarms the other a really rare World of Lugers import model. These were when Maadi made a good commercial grade pistol in the 80s, not to be confused with the much later guns with quality control issues. Some are OK but way too many had spotty heat treatment and lack luster finish that gave some of the Century imported guns a bad name. I have actually seen several Century import Helwans at gun shows with bowed slides and broken locking blocks. Pity as the early guns were very nice some of the later ones were flat out unsafe.

    The third pistol to the right is an early Beretta 1951 E made especially for the Egyptians with a slightly longer barrel and a heel release magazine. You can see the slight differences between it and the regular production Beretta 1951 next to it. "


  45. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Mississippi Delta
    Posts
    9,724

    Default

    i wish there was a serial number range we could use to grade by. mine is CAI marked, very nice finsh. even the insides under the grips are nicely machined and finished. haven't shot mine much, but it looked new when i got it.
    " Dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machinegun"... Bo Diddley

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