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Who was Phoenix Cartridge Company?


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#1 michaelkih

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 04:54 AM

On my Type 11 form 4, under manufacturer, it says "Japan (Phx. Cartridge Company)"

 

It is a confirmed C&R gun with the ATF.  I was told that this company is who "reactivated" the machine gun though.  Everything is 100% matching inside and out, original finish, no welding, no cutting, their name is not engraved on the gun (Thankfully, since that wasn't needed, but some guys did it to guns they reactivated), and there is no evidence of it ever being a DEWAT at all.  Must have just been a super simple barrel plug or something.  Who knows.  Things were way different back then.  I'm sure some of the guys that have been in this business for a while have seen DEWAT guns like this before.  Bob Naess?

 

But anyways, I was wondering if anyone knew about this company back in the day?  Owners still around?  Etc?

 

Thanks!


Edited by michaelkih, 15 June 2018 - 05:44 AM.

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#2 timkel

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 05:18 AM

Yes, I remember the Phoenix Cartridge Co. They were in the business back in the 70-80's. Located in Az I think.


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#3 michaelkih

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 05:40 AM

Yes, I remember the Phoenix Cartridge Co. They were in the business back in the 70-80's. Located in Az I think.

 

Darn, that was a while ago now.  Any idea if the owners are still around?  I have the history of my gun to the previous owner, then to a specific museum, then to Curtis Earl, who I assume got it from PhxCC?  Wondering who they got it from before though.  Thanks for the reply.


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#4 Black River Militaria CII

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 06:06 AM

>On my Type 11 form 4, under manufacturer, it says "Japan (Phx. Cartridge Company)"<

That is contradictory. The manufacturer cannot both be the original factory and also either an importer or a manufacturer. It can only actually be one or the other, so the inclusion of both is an error and is comfusing.
If an importer is listed, then the ID of the actual manufacturer and any other info about markings, etc should be in the box for additional info. Listing the name of a company other than the actual original manufacturer indicates that it is not an original factory gun. This kind of confusion is not uncommon with registrations of vintage MGs.
 
>It is a confirmed C&R gun with the ATF.<

How was this confirmed?

>I was told that this company is who "reactivated" the machine gun though.<

Yes, could well be, but the manufacturer/importer info does not change after a registered DEWAT is reactivated. The original manufacturer/importer info on the registration form never changes on an MG unless it can be proven that it is in error and then a letter can be sent to ATF outlining the correct info. The letter will be put into the NFRTR under the serial of the MG and the next transfer application will have the corrected info on the application. If Phoenix reactivated the gun they mistakenly included their name on the paperwork when they transferred it out of their inventory.

>Everything is matching, their name is not engraved on the gun (Thankfully, since that wasn't needed, but some guys did it to guns they reactivated), and there is no evidence of it ever being a DEWAT, so who knows.<

The individual or SOT who did the reactivation of a registered DEWAT is required by NFA regulations to mark the gun with his name and address. ATF includes reactivation under their definition of manufacturing and calls it making so, as a form of manufacturing, a reactivation must be marked. Even though your gun is not marked it still could be a reactivated DEWAT. Also, despite no evidence of reactivation doesnt mean it was never registered DEWAT.
The only way you will learn about the truth about the original form and date of registration, evidence of an F1 or F2 for reactivation, etc, etc is by submitting an FOIA for that serial and model of MG. Every other source of info is heresay. FWIW

Edited by Black River Militaria CII, 15 June 2018 - 06:20 AM.

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#5 michaelkih

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 06:22 AM

>On my Type 11 form 4, under manufacturer, it says "Japan (Phx. Cartridge Company)"<

That is contradictory. The manufacturer cannot both be the original factory and also either an importer or a manufacturer. It can only actually be one or the other, so the inclusion of both is an error.
 
>It is a confirmed C&R gun with the ATF.<

How was this confirmed?

>I was told that this company is who "reactivated" the machine gun though.<

Yes, could well be, but the “manufacturer/importer” info does not change after a registered DEWAT is reactivated. The original manufacturer/importer info on the registration form never changes on an MG unless it can be proven that it is in error and then a letter can be sent to ATF outlining the correct info. The letter will be put into the NFRTR under the serial of the MG and the next transfer application will have the corrected info on the application. If Phoenix reactivated the gun they mistakenly included their name on the paperwork when they transferred it out of their inventory.

>Everything is matching, their name is not engraved on the gun (Thankfully, since that wasn't needed, but some guys did it to guns they reactivated), and there is no evidence of it ever being a DEWAT, so who knows.<

The individual or SOT who did the reactivation of a registered DEWAT is required by NFA regulations to mark the gun with his name and address. ATF includes “reactivation” under their definition of “ manufacturing” and calls it “making” so, as a form of manufacturing, a reactivation must be marked. Even though your gun is not marked it still could be a reactivated DEWAT. Also, despite no evidence of reactivation doesn’t mean it was never registered DEWAT.
The only way you will learn about the truth about the original form and date of registration, evidence of an F1 or F2 for reactivation, etc, etc is by submitting an FOIA for that serial and model of MG. Every other source of info is heresay. FWIW

 

Good info.  I did not know some of that.  Why have I seen so many unmarked reactivated DEWAT guns?  Was it just something that wasn't really enforced?  I own a couple.  You've worked on two of them actually.  No marks at all.  Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding what exactly a reactivated DEWAT gun is?  

 

Could a gun with a simple plug in it's barrel have already been registered as a regular machine gun maybe by someone who brought it back, so that when the barrel was cleared, the manufacturer itself never changed?  Or maybe who imported it as a live gun?  But then it would have needed to be marked.  Or maybe an amnesty gun?  This shit gets confusing.  So many people were doing so many things differently I really don't know.  It seems the whole system is such a blur of mistakes during the 1950s-1970s.  I guess all that really matters in the end is that a machine gun is registered, but digging into some of these MG's pasts always seems to start revealing so many interesting errors, etc.  It's actually part of the "fun" for me I guess.

 

Speaking of errors, my Sten I bought out of the original family was registered with a different serial number than on the gun and on the original amnesty form, which we luckily still had, because they couldn't read the guy's handwriting on the form, and incorrectly entered it in 1968.  That was fun to fix, and took a year, but that's a whole different story for a whole different forum section.........

 

A previous owner wrote in or called in to check on exactly what the gun was I was told.  Regardless, I'll be doing a FOIA request of course, because it's always just good information to have.  I really hope that the previous owners of PhxCC are still around as well.  That would be awesome!


Edited by michaelkih, 15 June 2018 - 06:30 AM.

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#6 timkel

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 06:39 AM


Yes, I remember the Phoenix Cartridge Co. They were in the business back in the 70-80's. Located in Az I think.

 

Darn, that was a while ago now.  Any idea if the owners are still around?  I have the history of my gun to the previous owner, then to a specific museum, then to Curtis Earl, who I assume got it from PhxCC?  Wondering who they got it from before though.  Thanks for the reply.

This is from a Curtis Earl catalog. I believe this is also a Phoenix product.

s-l1600.jpg

MP40Clone.jpg


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#7 michaelkih

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 06:49 AM

Timkel, thanks! I actually have that catalogue. Never noticed that before.
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#8 Black River Militaria CII

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 08:41 AM

>Why have I seen so many unmarked reactivated DEWAT guns?<

 

How do yiou know they were reactivated former registered DEWATs? Aside from that, many people who did form 1 reactivations as as well as CIIs didn't know about the marking requirement. Some deliberately did not mark the guns because it is an illogical and meaningless requirement. Other reasons.

 

>Was it just something that wasn't really enforced?<

 

Enforcement is difficult. Many registered DEWATs were transferred by F4 rather than F5, which is the proper paper trail, and were reactivated by someone along the way, so there would not be any evidence that the correct and legal procedures had not been followed. For a live vintage MG, if the original registration noted that the gun was rendered "inoperable", and a thorough researcher did his work, he could follow the trail of transfers and determine of that specific serial number had been properly reactivated. This deep level of scrutiny by any person of authority will probably never happen as the violation is so low on the priority scale as to be invisible. 

A registered DEWAT that transfers to an individual on tax exempt F5 and is reactivated without paying the "making" tax or return transfer tax from the CII, the owner could be charged with "tax evasion" assuming that he was already in the clutches of ATF for some reason. But, again, if the person is already in trouble, with ATF this issue is immaterial. There have been a variety of prosecutions for "tax evasion" against various people for manipulating the transfer system to avoid paying the transfer tax, but I've never heard of anyone being pursued for the DEWAT issue.

 

>I own a couple.  You've worked on two of them actually.  No marks at all.  Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding what exactly a reactivated DEWAT gun is?<

 

Yes, but it is a non-problem. A registered DEWAT actually has the same legal status as a live MG, in that it has a complete receiver, which is why they were required to be registered during the '68 amnesty. The tax is not paid for transfer of an inoperable MG if transferred by F5, a concession in the GCA'68 regs that is mysterious to me. Anyway, the reactivation protocol includes paying the tax one way or another. So, a reactivated DEWAT is just a live MG that has had the tax paid on it so can be properly transferred by taxed F4. 

 

 

 

>Could a gun with a simple plug in it's barrel have already been registered as a regular machine gun maybe by someone who brought it back, so that when the barrel was cleared, the manufacturer itself never changed?<

 

OK, once again, the manufacturer/importer identified on the original registration NEVER changes, except for revision due to provable error. This info often got changed as transfers occurred for many different reasons, but it is supposed to be listed as it is on the original registration. Many "DEWATs" had poorly done  or even sometimes nonexistent obstructions, welds, or other ways to disable the action or barrel. The mfg/imp info has nothing to do with the condition of the MG.

 

>Or maybe who imported it as a live gun?<

 

Depending on who imported the MG and their knowledge or competence, the info on the original registration can be almost anything. Also depends on what form was used for original registration. Until the end of the '68 Amnesty, anyone could import a live MG. 

 

 

 >But then it would have needed to be marked.<

 

There was no marking requirement prior to the GCA'68.

 

>Or maybe an amnesty gun?<

 

The '68 Amnesty was merely a registration scheme and had nothing to do with the condition of the MG, except that if an MG had a complete receiver, then registration was required. There was no such thing as a sideplate, tube, conversion part, kit, sear, combination of parts, etc, etc. 

 

 

 

 


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#9 JimB

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:39 PM

>Why have I seen so many unmarked reactivated DEWAT guns?<

 

How do yiou know they were reactivated former registered DEWATs? Aside from that, many people who did form 1 reactivations as as well as CIIs didn't know about the marking requirement. Some deliberately did not mark the guns because it is an illogical and meaningless requirement. Other reasons.

 

>Was it just something that wasn't really enforced?<

 

Enforcement is difficult. Many registered DEWATs were transferred by F4 rather than F5, which is the proper paper trail, and were reactivated by someone along the way, so there would not be any evidence that the correct and legal procedures had not been followed. For a live vintage MG, if the original registration noted that the gun was rendered "inoperable", and a thorough researcher did his work, he could follow the trail of transfers and determine of that specific serial number had been properly reactivated. This deep level of scrutiny by any person of authority will probably never happen as the violation is so low on the priority scale as to be invisible. 

A registered DEWAT that transfers to an individual on tax exempt F5 and is reactivated without paying the "making" tax or return transfer tax from the CII, the owner could be charged with "tax evasion" assuming that he was already in the clutches of ATF for some reason. But, again, if the person is already in trouble, with ATF this issue is immaterial. There have been a variety of prosecutions for "tax evasion" against various people for manipulating the transfer system to avoid paying the transfer tax, but I've never heard of anyone being pursued for the DEWAT issue.

 

>I own a couple.  You've worked on two of them actually.  No marks at all.  Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding what exactly a reactivated DEWAT gun is?<

 

Yes, but it is a non-problem. A registered DEWAT actually has the same legal status as a live MG, in that it has a complete receiver, which is why they were required to be registered during the '68 amnesty. The tax is not paid for transfer of an inoperable MG if transferred by F5, a concession in the GCA'68 regs that is mysterious to me. Anyway, the reactivation protocol includes paying the tax one way or another. So, a reactivated DEWAT is just a live MG that has had the tax paid on it so can be properly transferred by taxed F4. 

 

 

 

>Could a gun with a simple plug in it's barrel have already been registered as a regular machine gun maybe by someone who brought it back, so that when the barrel was cleared, the manufacturer itself never changed?<

 

OK, once again, the manufacturer/importer identified on the original registration NEVER changes, except for revision due to provable error. This info often got changed as transfers occurred for many different reasons, but it is supposed to be listed as it is on the original registration. Many "DEWATs" had poorly done  or even sometimes nonexistent obstructions, welds, or other ways to disable the action or barrel. The mfg/imp info has nothing to do with the condition of the MG.

 

>Or maybe who imported it as a live gun?<

 

Depending on who imported the MG and their knowledge or competence, the info on the original registration can be almost anything. Also depends on what form was used for original registration. Until the end of the '68 Amnesty, anyone could import a live MG. 

 

 

 >But then it would have needed to be marked.<

 

There was no marking requirement prior to the GCA'68.

 

>Or maybe an amnesty gun?<

 

The '68 Amnesty was merely a registration scheme and had nothing to do with the condition of the MG, except that if an MG had a complete receiver, then registration was required. There was no such thing as a sideplate, tube, conversion part, kit, sear, combination of parts, etc, etc. 

 

I can add a tiny bit to this:

 

One of my cousins is married to a gal whose late father was a Seabee and was in the Post War Occupation.  Guy had impressive bringbacks, among them an early Type 100 and a 96 with all the bells and whistles.  What he related was under his command structure all MGs had to be deactivated prior to Stateside shipment and commonly the boys just had the shop guys plug the chamber with a slug of babbit.

 

I believe the 100 still has the babbit slug in it, least it did in the late 90s

During the Amnesty he registered both as live guns

so while they were once nominally deactivated they are registered otherwise.

 

Similarly I have been led to believe that Treasury was very fast & loose initially on what constituted deactivation in the early dewat market

I know of one old VFW Post that has a small number of WWI/WWII MGs on display.  One old vet started buying these things for his club starting in the late 40s.  Almost everything is deactivated by pouring lead down the barrel.  Never have been able to establish whether the Post Amnesty registered the collection in 68'

Honestly, they really don't seem to care one way or another

 

My understanding was Treasury started imposing basic deactivation standards sometime in the early 60s after the Minutemen debacle

what's your view on all this Bob ?


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#10 michaelkih

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 03:30 PM

Thanks for taking the time to answer all of those question Bob. You are a wealth of knowledge on this subject.
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#11 BillyDixon

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 06:50 PM

back in the day, 1960s t01970s curtis earl made a big deal about how all his guns were 100% original and none had ever been dewated. when he had a class 2 reactivate a gun for him curtis made sure that the mfg did not put any identify marks on a gun. i think somewear in one of his catalogs you can read curtis earls statement to the fact all were original,  now in this age of foia, suprise, suprise, just saying.


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#12 michaelkih

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 06:55 PM

back in the day, 1960s t01970s curtis earl made a big deal about how all his guns were 100% original and none had ever been dewated. when he had a class 2 reactivate a gun for him curtis made sure that the mfg did not put any identify marks on a gun. i think somewear in one of his catalogs you can read curtis earls statement to the fact all were original,  now in this age of foia, suprise, suprise, just saying.

 

Hah!  Makes sense from what I've heard about him.


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#13 dalbert

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 07:25 PM

Just speculation on my part, but is it possible that Phoenix Cartridge Company was J. Curtis Earl?  Maybe he had multiple licenses to help accommodate the "originality" claim.

 

Seems like an inquiry to the AZ Sec.of State might be fruitful.

 

David Albert

dalbert@sturmgewehr.com


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#14 Black River Militaria CII

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:53 PM

As I understand it, the DEWAT program was started by the dept of the army in 1945. MGs were not eligible to be authorized for bring back by a circular issued as early as 1943 to discourage COs from signing the paperwork. There are examples of MGs that were listed on bring back paperwork, but they are very scarce.

Initially there were two categories of MGs that were considered to be unfireable: disabled and inoperable. Disabling an MG entailed removing critical parts like the bolt, etc. Making an MG inoperable involved  damaging the chamber, bolt, barrel, complete removal of bolt and other internals, etc. Just disabling an MG was short lived as a means of rendering the MG useless since parts could be replaced and the DEWAT program concentrated on the more drastic welding damage to an MG to make it inoperable.

Treasury instituted a program in the US specifying that the breech must be electric arc welded closed and that the barrel must be electric arc welded to the receiver to make the MG inoperable. This work was to be supervised by any type of federal agent and when completed the owner was given a signed affidavit confirming that the work had been done to correct specs. 

It is probable that some MGs were rendered useless overseas, but there is little provable evidence of this. 

The DEWAT program was not especially effective since there wasn't much concern about the live MGs brought back by service personnel since the general view was that the guns were legitimate war souvenirs and they had earned them. Many, many MGs were legally imported, which constituted registration, as well as properly registered when back in the US.

The commercial interest in selling MGs to the general public slowly gained acceptance in the late 1940s and early 1950s and the same DEWATing specifications were used by the importers. There was no charge for registering an MG nor for DEWATing it under the supervision of federally associated personnel. However, once registered, the transfer tax of $200 became a major hurdle to selling a live MG, so that created a huge incentive to DEWAT an MG if one had one that was live. The Treasury Dept. mandated supervision of DEWATing seems to just have tailed off rather quickly when the retail marketing of DEWATs hit stride in the middle 1950s. Major importers of MGs like Sam Cummings, Hy Hunter, and quite a few others quickly filled their warehouses with MGs, welding them up and retailing them. Their advertisements sometimes made inaccurate claims such as the tax on a live MG had to be paid every year or that is was more than the already very expensive $200 that it was. This was done to get people to see how inexpensive the $15.95 or 19.95 DEWAT MG really was. Any oversight of the DEWATing procedures used by the importers by treasury personnel seems to have been light or non-existent. Although the majority of DEWATing performed by importer/retailers in my experience was remarkably uniform from one outfit to another, the effectiveness of the procedures ranged from perfunctory to insane. Some outfits welded the faces of the bolts and ground it back and really built up a slug of weld in the chambers and put several weld tacks on the barrel to receiver joint. Otheres made an effort to do the work so that little or no welding was visible. Of course, many MGs were also DEWATed by individuals using an amazing assortment of methods, also ranging from something like a pencil or wax jammed into the chamber and throat of the barrel, removing bolt and ejector, etc to gobs of welding of the bolt in the receiver, ringing the barrel with weld at the receiver, welding the muzzle shut, etc, etc.

Disabling MGs didn't start with WWII but started right after WWI with the huge number of MGs brought back to the US for various reasons including gifting them to patriotic organizations that helped the US effort with domestic programs. The US Army was interested ini converting MG08s to .30-06 and using them for example and various entrepreneurs had interest in retailing them to police, security agencies, etc, etc as well as reselling them to foreign powers. There were huge supplies of MGs overseas and anyone could import them with no restrictions for whatever reason they wanted.

FWIW


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