Building a Bauer (or Fraser) Automatic, or a Baby Browning from the frame up.
Years ago, I made the mistake of tearing apart my Bauer “too far” and the sear spring popped out. Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t a lot of information out there on the proper placement of the spring, and I spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how everything went back together. Since then, I’ve discovered I am not the only one to tear down one of these diminutives pistols “too far” as I have been able to purchase quite a few Bauers and Baby Brownings in various stages of disassembly.
Below is a photo of basket case of Bauer parts I was able to purchase. Maybe the seller ran out of patience? In any case, there are more than enough parts there to build two complete Bauers.
Below is an exploded parts diagram of a typical Baby Browning / Bauer Automatic .25 pistol.
Following are some simple pictorials showing how a Bauer Automatic 25 caliber pistol can be reassembled. (These same techniques can be used to reassemble a Baby Browning pistol.)
What works for me may not work for you, and if you choose to follow these instructions you do so completely at your own risk.
Note: Some Bauer parts are poorly finished. In the next two pictures, note the lack of polishing inside the trigger guard on the bottom one of these two frames. This had to be rectified to allow the trigger to fit and function. When installing ‘new–to-you’ used Bauer parts, check the fit carefully prior to assembling –it can save you a lot of frustration. (I’ve had barrels and triggers not fit at all!)
The Bauer Automatic is a clone of the Baby Browning pistol. Many of the parts will interchange, but there are some things to watch out for. The most significant difference is magazine catch / safety.
Early versions of the Baby Browning were made with steel parts. Over time, plastic triggers and magazine releases were introduced into production. Browning’s plastic parts will fit into the Bauer, but you may have trouble fitting the Bauer’s stainless parts into a Baby Browning.
Additionally, the magazine catch / safety springs are completely different. I’ve never been able to use them interchangeably.
On the left is the Baby Browning spring, and on the right is the Bauer Automatic spring.
You will notice the magazine safety has a slight bend in it. This is normal, do not straighten it.
I personally find the Bauer magazine catch / safety spring easier to assemble. Below are some comparison pics; Bauer is on top, Baby Browning on the bottom. The Bauer spring is captured by the pin, while the Baby Browning spring fits in a recess in the strap and can be a real PITA to get into place.
Below is a top view of the Bauer magazine catch / safety spring setup. I typically use a slave pin to hold the assembly together and then push the retaining pin into place.
Below is a picture of a Bauer magazine catch / safety spring set up in position in the pistol frame.
Below is a picture of the Bauer safety spring disengaged; the parts are secured by the pin.
Below: Correct set up of the magazine safety and spring. When the magazine spring is engaged, it pushes the magazine safety forward. When everything is in position correctly, the notches in the safety will engage with the sear pin and the assembly will be pushed back toward the strap.
Installation of the very annoying sear spring.
The first step is to position the safety lever (seen below) partially into the locating hole in the frame.
The lever and locating hole are keyed (see below), so it must be installed perpendicular to the frame.
Put the end of the safety lever into the frame, then take the sear spring and put the small loop onto the shaft, and then into the hole (seen in the above right photo) on the opposite side of the frame. I’ve accentuated the spring in the photo below for a better view.
The Transfer bar (pictured below) is the next part that to get installed.
Insert the end of the Transfer bar in front of the sear spring as shown below. You’ll have to push the spring backwards toward the strap just a bit to get it to fit.
Once the transfer bar is in place it will look like this (below). Take care not to dislodge the transfer bar once you have it in position, it does pop out of place very easily. Sometimes it helps to use a rubber band to hold everything in position.
Now, things become a bit more difficult: the Sear gets installed.
Below is another view of the spring position prior to inserting the sear. Note: The top of the magazine safety can be seen in this photo as well, it’s being held in place by a partially inserted magazine.
Below: To install the sear, tilt the sear on an angle, engaging the sear spring first and then the magazine safety lever as the safety lever can move forward and back. This takes some patience; take your time.
Below: Once the sear is in place, gently rock it downward into the slot in the frame. Then carefully align the holes and insert the sear retaining pin. Make sure the pin goes all the way in flush with the frame.
Below: The fully assembled sear in the frame.
At this point it I’ve found it to be helpful to install the slide on the frame; the slide helps hold the upper part of the transfer bar in place.
Below: Inserting the trigger is very simple. The trigger spring sits in small hole in the back of the trigger. The trigger and frame are keyed so that it can only be assembled one way. Gently lift the transfer bar and slip the trigger into place, pushing it all the way in. Let go of the transfer bar, then slowly release the trigger; the trigger spring should push it outward and the pin on the transfer bar will drop into place.
At this point, the grips may be installed at any time.
Below, the slide holds the recoil spring assembly, firing pin assembly (firing pin, spring, and cocking indicator), and the barrel.
Below: Sliding the firing pin assembly into the slide.
Below: Align the barrel so that the grooves are facing the bottom of the slide and insert it in the barrel. Once fully inserted, rotate the barrel into the relief cut into the slide by the ejection port. Note: The relief in older Bauer slides will have three grooves that match up with the barrel; newer Bauer slides only have one larger relief in them.
The recoil spring assembly goes into a channel in the frame; the head of the guide rod goes in first, leaving the exposed portion of the guide rod to fit into the slide.
Align the slide to fit into the channel on the frame, making sure the recoil spring assembly rod is poking through the hole at the front of the slide. Pull the slide backward and engage the safety. Rotate the barrel to lock it in place.
If you haven't installed the grips already, you can do it now.
Release the safety, and you’re all done.