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Put together Colt Vickers at Morphy's


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#21 bigbore

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Posted Yesterday, 11:49 AM

 The numbers that are stamped on the inside rear of the plates and also stamped on the bottom front of the jacket, the bottom of front endcap and often just above the front mount holes are assembly numbers, not serial numbers.


Are you sure you dont have that backwards?

According to this:  https://www.smallarm...OsWM9OXZXUAx3Dc


check the serial number located at the bottom of the end cap and see if it matches the serial number located on the inside of each side plate and on the bottom of the trunnion block. (The number on the top of the end cap is not the gun serial number but an army control number.)
 


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#22 maxfaxdude

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Posted Yesterday, 12:08 PM

I hope people do not go mad with my ignorance but who is Dick Wray?

Mark

Dick Wray's name came up when I recently spoke with Dan Shea.  Dan mentioned that Wray obtained quite a few machineguns during the 1968 amnesty by hanging out at the post office and taking possession of many guns people were turning in and it didn't cost him a dime.  


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#23 BRMCII

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Posted Yesterday, 02:10 PM

 The numbers that are stamped on the inside rear of the plates and also stamped on the bottom front of the jacket, the bottom of front endcap and often just above the front mount holes are assembly numbers, not serial numbers.


Are you sure you dont have that backwards?

According to this:  https://www.smallarm...OsWM9OXZXUAx3Dc


check the serial number located at the bottom of the end cap and see if it matches the serial number located on the inside of each side plate and on the bottom of the trunnion block. (The number on the top of the end cap is not the gun serial number but an army control number.)

No, I don't believe I have anything "backwards", but whomever wrote that seems to have, in my view, a very limited understanding of MG manufacture and conventions. I have heard this interpretation and, to be accurate, the serial of every military issue firearm is a "service control number", since the serial number is critical to inventory and tracking of firearms. And, the military has no say in how such guns are manufactured. However, such an interpretation is completely contrary to the long established marking convention which is that a formal NO. followed by a number is the serial of the gun. Also, the convention of mating or assembly numbers is well established. The positioning of the NO. XXXX with the type of gun prominently stamped at the top, makers name under that, the model ID stamped under the maker's name and then the NO. XXXX is an almost universally observed convention in the manufacture  and marking of MGs. And then the inspector's stamp next to this information which is exactly where one would expect find it. This info is almost universally placed in a prominent position for obvious reasons. 

Relegating the serial number to small font numbers haphazardly stamped on the bottom of the front endcap and jacket, inside of the sideplates and often on the front crosspin mount hole  just does not hold any water in my opinion, as the serial number.
To put it another way, assembly numbers are also "control" numbers in every sense of the word, used to insure control and identification of the mated major parts of an assembly once it has been fitted correctly so the personnel know exactly which parts constitute the specific accepted assembly.

Colt actually did establish an odd convention which is unique to the 1917 WC BMG production. They did not mark the parts of the 11917s with a Colt ID like Westinghouse and Remington did. My speculation is that not having marked parts would easily identify them as Colt given that W and R identified those two makers. Eventually they marked the parts of their commercial variants of the Brownings that they made.

Having seen and handled probably a couple dozen 1915s over fifty years, and seen the registrations of some portion of that number, 1915s show up registered under their assembly numbers for one reason or another, and with these guns, usually the top stamped number is lined out and the assembly number is stamped next to the discontinued number. Sometimes the top number is gone so the assembly number is used. These guns were registered often within a few years of the implementation of 1934 NFA regulations and all the way up to the '68 Amnesty. The registrants often had no knowledge of the guns, their numbers, IDs and various info necessary for registration so would use whatever number or type came to hand. 
If it pleases someone to call the number stamped on the top of the front endcap an "army control number" so be it. One of the single most valuable aspect of the private possession of MGs is that we own these guns, see multiple examples over time, build them, maintain them, shoot them, discuss them, research them and accumulate extensive familiarity with MGs in general and specifically and this is a vastly more effective resource compared to the old and even some recent gun writers who have hardly any access to these guns compared to us. There is all sorts of misinformation in a lot of the older literature on MGs and even in some recent so I will consider info gathered from hands-on experience by those who own them far more accurate and credible than that of someone that does not have such a benefit.

Think whatever makes you happy!! FWIW


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#24 bigbore

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Posted Yesterday, 02:21 PM

 

 The numbers that are stamped on the inside rear of the plates and also stamped on the bottom front of the jacket, the bottom of front endcap and often just above the front mount holes are assembly numbers, not serial numbers.


Are you sure you dont have that backwards?

According to this:  https://www.smallarm...OsWM9OXZXUAx3Dc


check the serial number located at the bottom of the end cap and see if it matches the serial number located on the inside of each side plate and on the bottom of the trunnion block. (The number on the top of the end cap is not the gun serial number but an army control number.)

No, I don't believe I have anything "backwards", but whomever wrote that seems to have, in my view, a very limited understanding of MG manufacture and conventions. I have heard this interpretation and, to be accurate, the serial of every military issue firearm is a "service control number", since the serial number is critical to inventory and tracking of firearms. And, the military has no say in how such guns are manufactured. However, such an interpretation is completely contrary to the long established marking convention which is that a formal NO. followed by a number is the serial of the gun. Also, the convention of mating or assembly numbers is well established. The positioning of the NO. XXXX with the type of gun prominently stamped at the top, makers name under that, the model ID stamped under the maker's name and then the NO. XXXX is an almost universally observed convention in the manufacture  and marking of MGs. And then the inspector's stamp next to this information which is exactly where one would expect find it. This info is almost universally placed in a prominent position for obvious reasons. 

Relegating the serial number to small font numbers haphazardly stamped on the bottom of the front endcap and jacket, inside of the sideplates and often on the front crosspin mount hole  just does not hold any water in my opinion, as the serial number.
To put it another way, assembly numbers are also "control" numbers in every sense of the word, used to insure control and identification of the mated major parts of an assembly once it has been fitted correctly so the personnel know exactly which parts constitute the specific accepted assembly.

Colt actually did establish an odd convention which is unique to the 1917 WC BMG production. They did not mark the parts of the 11917s with a Colt ID like Westinghouse and Remington did. My speculation is that not having marked parts would easily identify them as Colt given that W and R identified those two makers. Eventually they marked the parts of their commercial variants of the Brownings that they made.

Having seen and handled probably a couple dozen 1915s over fifty years, and seen the registrations of some portion of that number, 1915s show up registered under their assembly numbers for one reason or another, and with these guns, usually the top stamped number is lined out and the assembly number is stamped next to the discontinued number. Sometimes the top number is gone so the assembly number is used. These guns were registered often within a few years of the implementation of 1934 NFA regulations and all the way up to the '68 Amnesty. The registrants often had no knowledge of the guns, their numbers, IDs and various info necessary for registration so would use whatever number or type came to hand. 
If it pleases someone to call the number stamped on the top of the front endcap an "army control number" so be it. One of the single most valuable aspect of the private possession of MGs is that we own these guns, see multiple examples over time, build them, maintain them, shoot them, discuss them, research them and accumulate extensive familiarity with MGs in general and specifically and this is a vastly more effective resource compared to the old and even some recent gun writers who have hardly any access to these guns compared to us. There is all sorts of misinformation in a lot of the older literature on MGs and even in some recent so I will consider info gathered from hands-on experience by those who own them far more accurate and credible than that of someone that does not have such a benefit.

Think whatever makes you happy!! FWIW


It's not so much what makes me happy, it's that I want to know what I'm talking about and understand what I'm willing to spending tens of thousands of dollars on and numerous contradicting references don't help.  Robert Segel is far from a "nobody" in the NFA world.    What he says makes sense.  The numbers stamped inside the side plates, and water jacket were obviously done during the assembly process by Colt employees.  The number on the top of the waterjacket, is a different font that  looks like it was stamped on by the inspector (not a colt employee, but an Army officer).

So who has a copy of the paperwork from the factory listing the serial numbers?  If that exists, there will be no question.


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#25 BRMCII

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Posted Yesterday, 03:52 PM

Ok, the SERIAL number was stamped by the inspector, then, who was an Army officer. This Army inspector, if he actually did the stamping, didn't just stamp arbitrary numbers but would stamp the serial production as it was produced in a serial and orderly manner. That's how MGs are tracked and inventoried as with all firearms manufacture.
The Army personnel at Colt were observers, inspectors and participants at times but did not manage the production.

Put it this way, regardless of what they are called, "army control numbers", or whatever, the numbers on the top of the front endcap have absolutely every conventional characteristic of a "serial" number, act as "serial numbers" so it's really a semantic difference, in my opinion. The other stamped numbers have every conventional characteristic of mating or assembly numbers and clearly function in that way so, the duck analogy seems to apply. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
During those years when Colt produced the Vickers guns, the firearms industry was hidebound by many rigorous manufacturing conventions and the markings on the 1915s follow those conventions, in my opinion, and the logic behind those conventions has not changed. 
As a collector, manufacturer and reactivator of MGs for almost 50 years, I have seen, handled and worked on hundreds of different MGs made from 1885 up to current types and some conventions have hardly changed. Markings protocols are one of those conventions that have endured to this day.
I have no argument with Segal, know him and have read his monologues over the years, have gratefully learned from them at times but they are not without factual errors in places, in my experience, and my views will be different due to different perspectives and experiences than his. That's certainly the way life is.

If the inside plate numbers correspond to the other numbers, factory originality is confirmed, which, I believe, is what you want to have confirmed. The registration is legitimate so no worries there.

There is no available listing of the serial numbers of 1915s or other Vickers that I have encountered. Dolf Goldsmith would, without doubt, have included such information in his book on the Vickers if it was available. Maybe it is in his new Vickers book which I have yet to obtain.
When Colt went under for financial reasons many years ago, most, if mot all,  of the business and other paper work was thrown out. Some was retrieved by employees, but the records that you want to see apparently no longer exist. We'd all like to see such history for Colt MGs but it, apparently, wasn't worth saving. I have a number of friends who spent years working for Colt and have lamented the loss of that history from just the plain stupidity of those involved. Maybe it was saved but remains undiscovered.

If the anomalies are too overwhelming for what you feel is the value of the gun, just don't buy. Wait for another example that satisfies your needs and perceptions as much as is possible. I've explained what I believe are the facts based on many, many years of experience and research and if my views are not acceptable, ignore them. Simple enough. FWIW


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#26 bigbore

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Posted Yesterday, 03:58 PM

If the inside plate numbers correspond to the other numbers, factory originality is confirmed, which, I believe, is what you want to have confirmed.


That's all I really care about and am waiting on before bidding.  All the rest is just discussion, that that I pack up in my head for future reference.


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