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Thompson Box And Drum Magazine Guide


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#1 dalbert

dalbert

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 08:34 PM

These materials are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws.
Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011 © David Albert

11/7/08: This is a work in progress. It will take a good while to document as many box magazine and drum magazine variations as are known to exist, so it will appear very incomplete until more content is gathered. If you would like to contribute content, please contact David Albert at dalbert@sturmgewehr.com, and I will consider your photos and descriptions for inclusion.
11/24/08: Added L-drum and C-drum verbiage, and First Pattern WPS L-drum (While watching Monday Night Football!)
11/27/08: Added Kahr L and C-drums, and Bridgeport address L-drum (While watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade)
11/28/08: Added previously undocumented New York address L-drum with US M1928A1 markings, and XXX magazine verbiage
11/29/08: Added Colt C-drum, 1st and 3rd Models New York Address L-drum, also section headers for Shot Magazines, and Other Drums, added XX Magazine content
11/30/08: Added 2 more XX magazine, and 2 more XXX magazine examples
12/7/08: Added 2nd Pattern WPS L-drum, and reduced size of WPS 1st Model images to make presentation more consistent, added Crosby & WPS XX magazines, and also Bridgeport L-drum with Model 1921 & 1928 Winding instructions
12/14/08: Added Shot Magazines
12/25/08: Added Numrich C-Drum text and photos that were submitted by Mike Hammer (Thanks, Mike!) Also added blank military XX magazine picture, and updated patent date and military XX magazine pictures
1/1/09: Added West Hurley "For Export Only" L-Drum
1/25/09: Added Reproduction (Blank) L-Drum
3/16/09: Added Reproduction "Crosby" Numrich Sale Drum with "Thompson" milled off for trademark infringement reasons
4/19/09: Added 39-round West Hurley Drum
10/17/09: Added WWII Seymour L-Drum
11/1/09: Added significant box magazine content submitted by Roger Herbst
2/15/10: Added West Hurley .22 Conversion unit w/ magazine
2/26/11: Corrected WWII United Specialties Co. Bridgeport address L-Drum (was incorrectly listed as Universal Stamping Company)
9/22/12: Added British XX Magazine Storage Boxes

Thompson Box Magazines

The following section is submitted by Roger Herbst (TSMG28), who has meticulously scrutinized and documented Thompson box magazines. His efforts here are appreciated and applauded!

XX Magazine (20 Rounds) Types and Variations:

Colt Era XX Blank
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Colt Era XX Patent Date
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Maguire Era XX Patent Date 24-24
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Maguire Era XX Patent Date 20-24
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Auto-Ordnance XX First Version (MSCO)
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Auto-Ordnance XX Second Version Right-facing (USCO)
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Auto-Ordnance XX Second Version Left-facing (USCO) (Note reverse orientation of magazine in photo.)
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Auto-Ordnance XX Third Version (circle)
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Auto-Ordnance XX Fourth Version - This is the A-O blank magazine, and a picture of one will be posted as soon as possible. A description of this blank magazine, in comparison to others, may be found further down in this post.

Auto-Ordnance XX Fifth Version (U)
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Sparks-Withington XX First Version (Blank)
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Sparks-Withington XX Second Version
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Sparks-Withington XX Third Version
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Crosby XX
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Seymour XX
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Worcester Pressed Steel XX Small Font
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Worcester Pressed Steel XX Large Font
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Worcester Pressed Steel XX Font Comparison
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XXX MAGAZINES

Auto-Ordnance XXX First Version (USCO)
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Auto-Ordnance XXX Second Version Left-facing (U)
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Auto-Ordnance XXX Second Version Right-facing - The face markings are identical to the left-facing version, but are right-facing instead. Both have the outlined U on the backstrap. A picture will be posted ASAP.

Sparks-Withington XXX
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Crosby XXX First Version
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Crosby XXX Second Version
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Crosby XXX Third Version
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There are four different versions of Seymour Products XXX magazines. With the exception of the second version, which is absent of punctuation marks, the collector should ignore the presence or absence of punctuation to determine versions. The first, third and fourth versions can be found with any or all of their punctuation missing, most likely due to these very small parts of the die wearing or breaking. An example of this is shown in the following pictures of two different First Version magazines. Both have the comma on the second line, but one has the periods at the end of both lines and the other does not. This is not a different version, just worn dies.

Seymour XXX First Version
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Seymour XXX First Version No Periods
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Seymour XXX Second Version
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Seymour XXX Third Version
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Seymour XXX Fourth Version
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BLANK XX MAGAZINES

There are three different blank XX magazines that have been identified. The Sparks-Withington is the easiest of the three to recognize because the observation holes are placed differently from the other two. However, since many magazines have been disassembled and reassembled in their lives, usually in large batches where the components are unlikely to get matched up again, great care needs to be taken in declaring a particular blank magazine as all original. The following pictures show unique characteristics of the three blank magazines.

Since an A-O Blank magazine was not available to be photographed, here is a description of the unique characteristics of that magazine. First, the radius of the front of the feed lips of the A-O Blank is much more gradual than the sharper radius of the Colt Blank. The A-O radius is the same as versions three and five of the A-O XX magazines. Second, the tool marks on the inside of the backstrap and its shoulders are the same as those on A-O version five. The Colt Blank tool marks are not the same, but you may need both in front of you to make the identification easier.

All A-O followers do not have a stress relief hole punched just above the follower tab, as shown in the example below. The other manufacturers
punched a hole in various locations just above the follower tab as can be seen in the Colt Era and Sparks-Withington examples below.

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Colt Era XX Follower
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Colt Era XX Follower - Tool Mark Inside
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Sparks-Withington XX Blank - Hole Spacing
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Sparks-Withington XX Follower
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Sparks-Withington XX Follower Closeup
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Auto-Ordnance Follower
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UNIQUE MAGAZINE FEATURES

There are three kinds of floorplates found on Thompson magazines. The flat, plain floorplate is standard for all but one of the XX magazines and two of the XXX magazines. The beveled floorplate is found only on Sparks-Withington magazines, all versions. It was apparently designed by
Sparks-Withington to make it easier to insert the floorplate into the magazine body.

The dimpled floorplate is unique to Seymour XXX magazines. It has been observed on both third and fourth versions of magazines in the original
wrap, but it is unknown exactly when it was introduced or whether its use alternated through the versions. So far all fourth version magazines in the wrap have been observed with the dimpled floorplate. If anyone in the Thompson collecting community has second or first version Seymours still in the wrap with the dimpled floorplate, please contact TSMG28 on this board.

Plain Floorplate
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Beveled Floorplate
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Dimpled Floorplate
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The Israelis inherited a number of Thompson magazines from the British, mostly the 20-round XX version. They stamped two marks on each, though the depth and location of the stamps varies considerably. Most of these magazines have also been green parkerized, but examples can be found that are still blued. Some magazines also have the witness holes soldered as modified by Australians/British armorers in the desert of North Africa during WWII.

The mark on the right side is the tradition "Tza'dik" sign. That's the first letter of the word "Tsa'va" which means Army. This sign (in various forms) is supposed to appear on anything owned by the Israeli military. The mark on the left side is believed to be the letter "Chet" which is the first letter of the word "Chi'mush", which stands for armament. That's the division that handles all the purchases, processes and logistics behind weaponry.

Israeli Military Stamps
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The "V for Victory" sign was added to some XXX magazines during 1943 as an encouragement at a time when the war effort was not going well for the U.S. This V can be found on both Crosby and Seymour XXX magazines.

V Stamp on XXX
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The first batch of Crosby XXX magazines had a little problem when they tried to use them in the new M1 Thompson. The front of the feed lips stuck out too far from the magazine body and created an interference that caused feed problems in the M1 model. The Augusta Arsenal came up with a modification that allowed these magazines to be used, essentially grinding 0.060" from the front of the feed lips. That modification can be found on the picture below.

Crosby XXX Grind Modification
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THE OTHER GUYS...

BSA

These magazines were made for the European style (rifle-like) Thompson submachine guns manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms, Ltd., first in 1926 and later in 1929. These magazines exist in four different calibers: 7.63mm MAUSER, 30 MAUSER (identical to the 7.63mm, but the English designation of the round), 9mm PARABELLUM and 9mm BERGMANN. This is an example of the 30 MAUSER. Not all versions have the BSA stacked rifles symbol.

BSA Magazine - 30 MAUSER
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United Defense Supply Corporation

These magazines were not made for the Thompson, but rather for the United Defense Model 42 submachine gun. However, these mags were made by The Seymour Products Company, one of the main manufacturers of the Thompson magazines. They also can be used in a Thompson that has been modified to fire 9mm rounds like 9mm Parabellum. Other than their smaller size, they are almost identical to the Thompson XX magazines.

UDM42 Magazine
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Many thanks to Roger Herbst (TSMG28) for the preceding section! The following section is the original Thompson XX and XXX magazine content of this pinned post, with some content not included above. This older magazine section will be removed once the necessary images are formatted and added to Roger's section above.

A variety of XX Magazines:

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Above Images David Albert and Mike Sig Collections
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Ron & Kelly Brock Collection
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Arch Stanton Collection

Sorry about the condition of some of the examples above, such as the rusty Bridgeport magazine with the reverse orientation markings. I decided to include it, though, since it's the only one I have available.

XX Magazines Featuring Soldered Witness Holes:

Do your magazines have solder in the witness holes that run along the side of the magazine? If they do, they were more than likely involved in the British North Africa campaign during WWII. British armorers filled the holes with solder to prevent sand from penetrating into the magazines. Such XX magazines are fairly common. Many magazines can also be found with evidence of previous soldering, but the solder was removed. My recommendation is to leave the solder in place, as it is a part of the magazine's historical past.

Here are some examples of solder filled magazines:

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XXX Magazine (30 Rounds) Types and Variations:

XXX magazines were adopted after tests in late 1941, and were intended to replace the 50-round "L" drum, which was difficult to reload on the fly, and cumbersome to carry. The XXX magazine also became the favored magazine for the wartime Models M1 and M1A1 Thompson. At least 3 different manufacturers produced the XXX magazine during WWII.

Four variations of markings on Seymour XXX magazines:

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Image courtesy Deerslayer

Three variations of markings on Crosby XXX magazines:

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Image courtesy Deerslayer

Two Bridgeport XXX magazine examples:

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David Albert Collection

XVIII Shot Magazines (18 Rounds)

.45 ACP Shotshells were manufactured for use in Thompsons, and Auto-Ordnance marketed them as a more humane method of riot control. Three different shot magazines are known to exist, with one being a prototype, handmade magazine of single piece body construction. The prototype magazine is not marked in any way, and could have been made for either shotshell, or .45 Remington-Thompson cartridge use. (In the Model of 1923 Thompson Submachine Gun)

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Above Images Mike Sig Collection, Photos by David Albert

Auto-Ordnance West Hurley .22 Conversion Unit w/Magazine:

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Above Image courtesy wwiifirearms Collection

Thompson Drum Magazines

L Drum (50 Rounds) Types and Variations:

Thompson "L" drums are a historical study within themselves. Many manufacturers and variations exist, made from the 1920's to the present, with a wide variety, particularly during the WWII era.

New York Address, 1st Model L-Drum:

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This drum features a nickeled rotor.

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Above Images: GIJive Collection

New York Address, 3rd Model L-Drum:

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This drum features a nickeled rotor.

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Above Images: GIJive Collection

New York Address, "U.S. Model of 1928 A1" Marked L-Drum:

This drum variation has just recently been documented. It features the following stamping
in between the rivets on the front faceplate:

"ALSO FOR U.S. MODEL OF 1928 A1


WIND TO 9 CLICKS"



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Note that this drum is missing its retention spring.

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This drum was probably manufactured or updated with the new stamping, and
refinished by Worcester Press Stamping Company during the 1936-39 time frame.

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The drum features a nickeled rotor.

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Above Images: Private Collection, Photos by David Albert

Pre-War, First Pattern Worcester Pressed Steel (WPS) L-Drum:

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Most examples of this type of drum have blued rotors, but some have also been encountered with nickeled rotors.

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Above Images: David Albert Collection (Former)

Pre-War, Second Pattern Worcester Pressed Steel (WPS) L-Drum:

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This type drum features a blued rotor.

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Above Images Courtesy Snipershot1944

WWII Universal Metal Stamping Co., Bridgeport Address L-Drum with Model of 1921 and Model of 1928 Winding Instructions:

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Above Images: Ron & Kelly Brock Collection

WWII Seymour Products Co. L-Drum:

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WWII United Specialties Co., Bridgeport Address L-Drum:

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Above Images: David Albert Collection

Reproduction "Crosby" L Drum: (This is one of the first batch of 200 new L drums imported from China in 2006.)

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David Albert Collection

Original packaging for reproduction "Crosby" L-Drum:

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David Albert Collection

Reproduction (Blank) L-Drum: (This is a drum from the second, current batch of new L drums imported from China. After some legal issues were raised about the use of the Thompson name on the first 200 drums as pictured above, the subsequently imported drums were not stamped with the previously seen Thompson and Crosby references on the drum. This drum is an example of the type of drum being currently sold by a company named Fortune Lot.)

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Ron & Kelly Brock Collection

Reproduction "Crosby" L Drum with "Thompson" Removed: (These are Taiwanese reproductions that were apparently made based to the first specifications, but were altered due to trademark infringement on the name "Thompson," and had that name milled off of the face plate.)

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Above Images: David Albert Collection

Auto-Ordnance (West Hurley) "For Export Only" L-Drum:

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Above Images: TAS1921AC Collection

Auto-Ordnance (Kahr) L-Drum:

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Above Images: David Albert Collection

C Drum (100 Rounds) Types and Variations:

"C" Drums were manufactured in 3 generations, the first during the 1920's, which are popularly known as "Colt Era" drums. Such drums are very valuable today, with prices usually in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. Numrich Arms (Auto-Ordnance of West Hurley, NY) marketed a "C" drum during the 1980's that is known for normally inferior quality out of the box. Most Numrich "C" drums must be fine tuned by Merle Bitikofer ("The Drum Doctor") in order to function reliably. Kahr Arms (Auto-Ordnance) currently markets a "C" drum that has demonstrated fairly reliable results out of the box so far with Thompson Submachine Guns.

Colt C-Drum:

Original Colt production C-Drums were individually serial numbered on both sides, as demonstrated on the example drum below.

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Above Images: GIJive Collection

Auto-Ordnance (Numrich) C-Drum:

These drums were produced by Numrich in 1985 and were the first C-Drums produced in many decades since the Original Colt C-Drums. The Numrich C-Drums are sturdily built, but unfortunately very few of them work properly right out of the box. Spring strength was the primary problem. Other problems existed with the inner rails, which were somewhat improved with later serial numbered drums off the production line. Many of these drums have already had their springs replaced, and innards tuned by Merle Bitkofer and now work beautifully. If you find one of these drums and are interested in purchasing, contact Merle with the serial number, as he keeps records on these drums, and he can probably tell you if it's been overhauled and tuned or not. (Merle's contact info can be found on the FAQ page)

Characteristics of these drums are: Serial numbered, (serial numbers less than 1000 have a zero prefix, i.e. 0186), blued rotor, ribs on the faceplate. (Just like WWII drums) They have winding instructions and a Thompson bullet logo on the drum face at the six o' clock position. The stud holding the winding key to the body is solid.

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Above Text and Images: Mike Hammer Collection

Auto-Ordnance (Kahr) C-Drum:

This drum was manufactured by Kahr in 2007. Some Kahr drums are serial numbered on both sides, and it appears that dual numbering was discontinued soon after production began, as with the example below, which is only numbered on one side.

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Above Images: David Albert Collection

Other Drums (10 & 39 Rounds):

Auto-Ordnance (Numrich) 39- Round Drum:

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full auto 45 Collection
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Above Images: Z3BigDaddy Collection


Miscellaneous Related Items

British XX Magazine Storage Boxes:

These storage boxes have either a brown color, or olive drab color, and slightly different steciling. Both color versions are seen below.

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Above Images bmarvin Collection

These materials are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws.
Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011 © David Albert
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