Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Gangster Gun, Serial # Revealed !


  • Please log in to reply
193 replies to this topic

#41 OCM

OCM

    Outlaw History Expert - Respected Member - R.I.P.

  • Board Donor
  • 2352 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Rocky Mountains
  • Interests:Classic cars used by the 1930s outlaws,
    Collecting outlaw artifacts from the 30s, Brewing, BBQ ribs, old aircraft, massive tinkering, Etc....

Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:38 PM

I've offered my " first born Male child " to Colt Chopper, in exchange for his Nelson Thompson-  Unfortunately the bastard found out I'm 70 years old !

Missed another one. Jack is a great guy, glad it's in his hands.

This will be fun, for many years.

 

OCM  


  • 0

#42 hntrdarren

hntrdarren

    RKI Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 251 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana
  • Interests:My family
    Collecting Colt Thompsons & Rare NFA Firearms
    Mountain Hunting
    Wildlife habitat improvement

Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:39 PM

My Congrats to Colt Chopper, keeping history alive. An Incredible find !!!!!
  • 0

#43 darrylta

darrylta

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2422 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Virginia
  • Interests:Collecting; Thompson SMGs, Commercial BAR's and Colt circa 1920's / 30's handguns. Life Time NRA, NFATCA, WVCDL, USCCA & TCA member and a Constitutional Conservative aka,,, a Tea Party Guy.

Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:49 PM

I wonder if the seller Frank G. was the seller of record or a consignment seller.

I always ask for and get a copy of the current transfer form before I make the purchase.

I guess Frank could also redact it if the past owner had problems with it.

Darryl


Edited by darrylta, 26 September 2016 - 07:53 PM.

  • 0

#44 HANS

HANS

    Regular Member

  • Regular Group
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Germany
  • Interests:Firearms, gangsters

Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:22 AM

However, I see the numbers have been removed on both the receiver and lower on your Thompson. We need to find out if the two captured Nelson Thompsons had the same as they are listed by the FBI as two El Paso traced guns, # 6315 & 6141.

This to me would indicate the numbers were visible on the Thompsons captured-

Conclusion:  the one pictured here at the garage after the little Bo battle could possible be yours. Let's find out....

 

No, the two guns found both had their serials obliterated and were only latter found to be #6141 and #6315. I also doubt that the FBI found more than those two at Little Bohemia and somehow forgot to mention them. Granted, a few guns from the list of Dillinger-Nelson guns seem to be missing. We must assume they disappeared with Carroll and other pals inbetween, or finally after Barrington, when Nelson was claimed to still have four "machine guns." The FBI files list only two Thompsons in Little Bohemia and there are only two visible on all the photos. Together with the one taken by Van Meter (#7387), that makes only three. Does that seem a low figure for five "shooters" (Nelson, Dillinger, Van Meter, Carroll, Hamilton). Yeah, perhaps. Then again, they only just escaped from several near desasters and had recently lost two Thompsons (Green's #6444 and Van Meter's #obliterated). The FBI files are often faulty but I rather doubt they would have missed four Thompsons. They were pretty stubborn trying to trace all the guns they seized, finding four guns and then never mentioning them again would be extremely sloppy police work.

 

As to #5487, this gun is mentioned in the FBI files by Silva, one of the suppliers of Lebman, and thus definitely a Lebman/Nelson Gang gun. Where did it go? There are four possible routes:

 

1. It was Carroll's gun. Carroll was the primary recipient of the guns, as Lebman sent them all to the brother of Carroll's wife. Carroll would have lost it on 11-NOV-1933 to the Minneapolis Police Department. This might be possible to clear up by contacting the MPD.

2. It was Van Meter's gun. Van Meter was close to Nelson, initially. Van Meter would have lost it on 31-MAR-1934 to the Bureau of Investigation. The serial was obliterated. The files don't say whether they could raise them (sometimes they couldn't). This might be possible to clear up by contacting the FBI.

3. It was some other Nelson Gang member's gun. Doubtful, but possible.

4. It was Nelson's gun and still in possession of Nelson when he died on 27-NOV-1934. He was supposed to own four "machine guns" after the Battle of Barrington, which were concealed in Niles and put up for sale on the black market, but supposedly still available in 1937.

 

Personally, I'd start with the MPD and FBI angles.

 

Cheers

 

HANS


  • 0

#45 gijive

gijive

    Respected Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Illinois
  • Interests:Thompson SMG, WWII, Firearms in general.

Posted 27 September 2016 - 08:12 AM

Hans,

 

Good research, I agree with your assessment of the Little Bohemia recoveries.  I would take slight exception to only one comment you made, indicating the the FBI confiscation of Van Meter's gun may be # 5487.  I believe if the FBI confiscated the gun it would not been subsequently released for resale, the FBI wasn't in the habit of releasing firearms.  I would agree that the Minneapolis Police Department would be a better place to start.  They may have traded firearms years ago for upgrades in equipment, something that was fairly common in police agencies.  The other alternative is it was one of Nelson's guns turned over to law enforcement after his death and subsequently registered.


  • 0

#46 HANS

HANS

    Regular Member

  • Regular Group
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Germany
  • Interests:Firearms, gangsters

Posted 27 September 2016 - 08:30 AM

Hans,

 

Good research, I agree with your assessment of the Little Bohemia recoveries.  I would take slight exception to only one comment you made, indicating the the FBI confiscation of Van Meter's gun may be # 5487.  I believe if the FBI confiscated the gun it would not been subsequently released for resale, the FBI wasn't in the habit of releasing firearms.  I would agree that the Minneapolis Police Department would be a better place to start.  They may have traded firearms years ago for upgrades in equipment, something that was fairly common in police agencies.  The other alternative is it was one of Nelson's guns turned over to law enforcement after his death and subsequently registered.

 

Yeah, I thought about that after I had posted. Generally, I agree with you in that it is less likely than the Carroll gun or a "lost" Nelson gun. However, the "old" FBI seemed to trade guns with PDs (we know about one trade with the Tucson PD) and even gave guns away to friends of Hoover (though probably not submachine guns), so it's not completely impossible.

 

Cheers

 

HANS


  • 0

#47 gijive

gijive

    Respected Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Illinois
  • Interests:Thompson SMG, WWII, Firearms in general.

Posted 27 September 2016 - 08:58 AM

Hans,

 

Good research, I agree with your assessment of the Little Bohemia recoveries.  I would take slight exception to only one comment you made, indicating the the FBI confiscation of Van Meter's gun may be # 5487.  I believe if the FBI confiscated the gun it would not been subsequently released for resale, the FBI wasn't in the habit of releasing firearms.  I would agree that the Minneapolis Police Department would be a better place to start.  They may have traded firearms years ago for upgrades in equipment, something that was fairly common in police agencies.  The other alternative is it was one of Nelson's guns turned over to law enforcement after his death and subsequently registered.

 

Yeah, I thought about that after I had posted. Generally, I agree with you in that it is less likely than the Carroll gun or a "lost" Nelson gun. However, the "old" FBI seemed to trade guns with PDs (we know about one trade with the Tucson PD) and even gave guns away to friends of Hoover (though probably not submachine guns), so it's not completely impossible.

 

Cheers

 

HANS

Hans,

 

Agreed, not entirely impossible.  As you point out the FBI did occasionally furnish firearms to local law enforcement on joint operations.


  • 0

#48 OCM

OCM

    Outlaw History Expert - Respected Member - R.I.P.

  • Board Donor
  • 2352 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Rocky Mountains
  • Interests:Classic cars used by the 1930s outlaws,
    Collecting outlaw artifacts from the 30s, Brewing, BBQ ribs, old aircraft, massive tinkering, Etc....

Posted 27 September 2016 - 09:00 AM

Got to remember the Tucson guns, after the arrest the Tucson PD kept the guns that were not claimed and later loaned them back & forth to the FBI for their display. # 7731 & # 5878 are still there, Lebman & Peru PD guns I think.   If in fact, Pinkston is correct, we have four missing Little Bo Thompsons. Were these serial numbers acid raised and not the ones pictured, I have no idea.

We know Dillinger took # 7387 with him, pictured two weeks earlier , April 7,  at the farm and recovered in Lake Michigan.

 

Nelson could of taken it, we know he had at least a Colt mini, and as I remember, there was a Thompson found at the Barrington battle and used for evidence. The Monitor poof ! However Helmer said there was some possibility that it was hidden by locals, where they took the body ( or something close )

 

Hoover gave a Little Bo pistol to a movie producer as a thanks for something, maybe Jack Warner, can't remember. When we were tracing the Colt 380 Dillinger had on him, I went to the Red Skeleton family executor, as there was a rumor that Hoover gave Red the Dillinger " death gun " Wrong- an Urban Legand.  

The post findings of Colt Chopper's new find will be interesting-

 

Chuck, I asked Helmer, will ask you, why didn't Goddard or someone know about the secret number on Colt Thompsons ????? Acid raising of numbers seems rather old school by 1934. ???

 

Sandy 

 

One more thought here- It's seemed to me thru the years, that Lebman guns had the numbers removed, of course a smart practice from The Lebman Saddle Shop. We see this on Dillinger related weapons, think the Tucson 07 that the FBI has now, the shipments to St Paul... I assume the Van Meter Thompson was supplied by Lebman, the Colt minis... ( some) . A Lebman trade mark of sorts. 


Edited by OCM, 27 September 2016 - 09:50 AM.

  • 0

#49 gijive

gijive

    Respected Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Illinois
  • Interests:Thompson SMG, WWII, Firearms in general.

Posted 27 September 2016 - 10:14 AM

Chuck, I asked Helmer, will ask you, why didn't Goddard or someone know about the secret number on Colt Thompsons ????? Acid raising of numbers seems rather old school by 1934. ???

 

Sandy 

Sandy,

 

Actually, Marcellus Thompson visited the Chicago Police Department after the McSwiggin murder in 1926 and informed them about the "production/secret" number on Thompson Guns.  People were aware of it, but , laboratory people are sometimes interested in protecting their  livelihood.  The acid method worked, so they used it, even though it may have been simpler to remove the barrel on a Thompson.  The Thompson was one of the few guns of the period that had a hidden production number, they used the acid method on other guns, why not the Thompson?  There was little thought at the time that they were destroying a valuable collector's item, it was a murder weapon as far as they were concerned, just evidence in a criminal case.

 

In fact, some of the gangster armorers were aware of the number under the barrel.  There was a Thompson that was on display at the old Chicago Police Department Headquarters in their Crime Laboratory (the descendant of the former Northwestern Crime Laboratory of Calvin Goddard fame).  It was an early gun with the Aut-Ord-Co logo and early fire select markings and had the serial number ground off similar to  the Von Frantzius guns.  The barrel had been replaced on the gun and it had a barrel similar to the type used on the failed 1923 heavy-duty military model Auto-Ordnance tried to market.  When I used to frequent the CPD Crime Lab in the 1970's I used to ask about the gun and it's history, all they knew was it had been confiscated from the "gangsters".  Sometime in the 1990's the Chicago Police Lab merged with the State of Illinois Crime Lab and a new facility was built on Roosevelt Road near Racine Ave. in Chicago.  All the reference guns were transferred to the new State of Illinois Crime Lab, including the display Thompson mentioned.  I knew one of the firearms forensic scientists at the lab and was able to inspect the gun in person (I'll post some pictures of it in the near future).  Anyway, I convinced the firearms technician to pull the barrel and try to get the hidden number because I was trying to assist Gordon at the time with updating his reference work.  The barrel change must have been the work of a gangster armorer, because low and behold, the secret number had been ground off also.  The State Lab tried to raise the number (using a newer technique than the acid method) but the grinding was too deep and they couldn't identity it.  The grinding on the side was very deep also and the gun had been refinished years ago, so I suspect that originally the laboratory had tried to raise the number with the acid method and ruined the original finish.  They probably refinished it when they put it on display.

 

So, occasionally even the bad guys knew about the hidden number.  Lot's of history in these Colt Thompson Guns.


  • 0

#50 OCM

OCM

    Outlaw History Expert - Respected Member - R.I.P.

  • Board Donor
  • 2352 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Rocky Mountains
  • Interests:Classic cars used by the 1930s outlaws,
    Collecting outlaw artifacts from the 30s, Brewing, BBQ ribs, old aircraft, massive tinkering, Etc....

Posted 27 September 2016 - 10:53 AM

Thanks Chuck-

Talked to Bill this morning, he said about the same, who knows why they did that, maybe law or something. New Fed laws etc.

 

Bill's thought's were, this could be the Nelson Thompson from the Barrington battle, just a thought. I asked about the one recovered for evidence, he didn't remember, could of been someone else.

If in fact, this were to be the Thompson used by Nelson in the famous shoot-out , it would be an extreme piece of gangster history.

 

The phase II of CC's search may be more interesting then the first.

 

 

 

OCM


  • 0

#51 ghostsoldier

ghostsoldier

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Regular Group
  • 508 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NE Florida
  • Interests:WW2 history, gangsters, Public Enemies and G-Men history

Posted 27 September 2016 - 11:43 AM

Thanks Chuck-

Talked to Bill this morning, he said about the same, who knows why they did that, maybe law or something. New Fed laws etc.

 

Bill's thought's were, this could be the Nelson Thompson from the Barrington battle, just a thought. I asked about the one recovered for evidence, he didn't remember, could of been someone else.

If in fact, this were to be the Thompson used by Nelson in the famous shoot-out , it would be an extreme piece of gangster history.

 

The phase II of CC's search may be more interesting then the first.

 

 

 

OCM

 

Wouldn't the FBI have ballistic data on the gun(s) used against Hollis and Cowley at the Battle, which might point to this Thompson?

 

Rob


  • 0

#52 gijive

gijive

    Respected Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Illinois
  • Interests:Thompson SMG, WWII, Firearms in general.

Posted 27 September 2016 - 11:53 AM

Rob,

 

Good point! Yes, they should and probably compared several recovered Thompsons back when the shoot- out occurred.  That is why I believe that if the FBI ever had 5487 in their possession they would never have released it to anyone, unless there was some colossal oversight that took place.


  • 0

#53 ghostsoldier

ghostsoldier

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Regular Group
  • 508 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NE Florida
  • Interests:WW2 history, gangsters, Public Enemies and G-Men history

Posted 27 September 2016 - 12:00 PM

I was just in Barrington last year, taking photos and re-tracing the shoot-out using the FBI imagery from that time; it would neat to find out if that Tommy was actually at the scene...I can feel the goosbumps rising now, lol.:)

 

Rob


  • 0

#54 OCM

OCM

    Outlaw History Expert - Respected Member - R.I.P.

  • Board Donor
  • 2352 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Rocky Mountains
  • Interests:Classic cars used by the 1930s outlaws,
    Collecting outlaw artifacts from the 30s, Brewing, BBQ ribs, old aircraft, massive tinkering, Etc....

Posted 27 September 2016 - 12:24 PM

Rob,

Bill was thinking if it was recovered years later as the Thompson & Monitor were missing. Same with the Winchester 07. I had heard somewhere the Thompson was recovered and was used in Chase's or Helen's trial as evidence. I've got newspaper clippings of at least her trial. ( somewhere)

There was also some chatter about the Winchester 07 being a Lebman full auto weapon, but I think we found out otherwise now.  

To much information...

 

OCM 


  • 0

#55 HANS

HANS

    Regular Member

  • Regular Group
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Germany
  • Interests:Firearms, gangsters

Posted 28 September 2016 - 04:38 AM

Rob,

Bill was thinking if it was recovered years later as the Thompson & Monitor were missing. Same with the Winchester 07. I had heard somewhere the Thompson was recovered and was used in Chase's or Helen's trial as evidence. I've got newspaper clippings of at least her trial. ( somewhere)

 

Nelson's Barrington gun is a bit of a mystery. The original FBI summary does not mention any seized weapons other than a Colt Ace pistol. Later reports mention various magazines and ammunition. Finally, there is talk about #2179, which was supposedly matched to both this shooting and the South Bend robbery. That's in Heringstad's book. He only cites FBI sources but doesn't give the file numbers. I haven't seen those files, they are not included in the FBI Vault. Anyway, that would appear to exclude this avenue for #5487, although, again, Nelson was supposed to have "four machine guns and four rifles" at Barrington, so #5487 might still have BEEN there, he just didn't use it.

 

Cheers

 

HANS


  • 0

#56 OCM

OCM

    Outlaw History Expert - Respected Member - R.I.P.

  • Board Donor
  • 2352 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Rocky Mountains
  • Interests:Classic cars used by the 1930s outlaws,
    Collecting outlaw artifacts from the 30s, Brewing, BBQ ribs, old aircraft, massive tinkering, Etc....

Posted 28 September 2016 - 08:26 AM

I'm outta gas here on this subject, now we're going into speculation.

Wait to see what CC can produce about the background IRS registration etc. That will be very, very interesting.

 

At least one thing, it's a Baby Face Nelson Thompson !!!!


  • 0

#57 Colt Chopper

Colt Chopper

    Respected Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 518 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 28 September 2016 - 06:09 PM

I apologize for not participating more in this post, but have been working long hours.

Thanks to every one who has contributed, very exciting !

And a special thanks to OCM who has gotten me hooked on reading these FBI files, I read till my eyes hurt !

 

We have confirmed by more than a reasonable doubt that 5487 was brought back into the US by brothers Silva and Jesus Simon and Nathan Cordova. Sold to Stockmeyer who then sold to Lebman.

 Lebman then mailed 5487 and two others in late October 1933 to Joseph Bennett in Minneapolis, brother-in-law of Tommy Carroll.

Bennett and his wife by sworn statements, admitted to signing for these packages, approximately 30" long and 8x8" square, some packages larger, but denied knowing there contents.

They also identified by photos, men known to them as Wayne Hunter (Homer Van Meter) and Jimmie Williams (Lester Baby Face Nelson), who visited Carroll at there home.    5487 then disappears.

 

I must say a big thank you today to Frank Gopert and his crew, they have supplied me with a very good lead !

The client they purchased it from had 5487 for roughly 45 years, he purchased it from a Class 3 dealer in Wind Lake Wisconsin, approximately 55 miles north of the Battle of Barrington ! Nelson's last stand so to speak.

So that's the update for now, still trying to put the puzzle pieces together ! Hope there's more to discover !!!!

 

Thanks Much !!!!


Edited by Colt Chopper, 28 September 2016 - 06:19 PM.

  • 0

#58 ron_brock

ron_brock

    Respected Member

  • Moderator
  • 1749 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wolverine State

Posted 28 September 2016 - 07:16 PM

That's a juicy tidbit.  Best of luck on the hunt, this is a great story unfolding.

 

Ron


  • 0

#59 ghostsoldier

ghostsoldier

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Regular Group
  • 508 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NE Florida
  • Interests:WW2 history, gangsters, Public Enemies and G-Men history

Posted 28 September 2016 - 09:09 PM

Well, this guy ain't talkin'. :)

 

IMAG1550.jpg

 

Rob


  • 0

#60 full auto 45

full auto 45

    Respected Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 4717 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Looking over your shoulder right now
  • Interests:Thompson's, Any Machinegun, Harley's and scuba diving. In that order.

Posted 28 September 2016 - 09:31 PM

And this guy is hush, hush as well. (He may have had some damning information on Hillary)

 

JHD___1928.JPG


  • 0