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New Guy with Early British Savage


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#1 kp31

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 12:18 AM

 Hi Guys,

I’m new to this board but not new to class 3 or other weapons boards.  Over the last 15 years I’ve bought a number of different MGs, many have been dewats.  I like to shoot MGs but really the history behind them is what is most interesting to me. WWII guns that likely saw combat are my favorite.  I’ve never owned a Thompson until now – I wanted something unique and unusual if I ever got one, have never been interested in a 21 or a West Hurley. 

 

You may have seen this gun in the spring – a rusted dewat at an auction.  The gun was saved by a well-known person in the hobby  – the gun was in a place that no longer allows MGs and had been poorly cared for – and to top it off, no paperwork could be found. Luckily, the ATF had the original dewat registration and the gun was saved.  

I’m happy to report that it is in much better condition than the pictures showed and so I’m looking for observations on the gun and thoughts on who should rewat this piece of history for me. I know that Thompson rewat is a specialty.

 

The gun is a Numrich import from the UK from the 50s.  It is a Savage 1928 from the first 6k made in the Cash & Carry program probably sent in second batch of 1940 to England. It has the Patent Dates not numbers (only in first ~10k made).  Of course it has the New York, NY address and it is British proofed.  I can’t find pictures from anyone who has another gun with all these features together in the US (at least online or in books). But maybe you guys know of a few.

 

The barrel is not salvageable - there are no letter proofs of any kind I can see. The Cutts has no markings of any kind. From what I can read this makes it an early Cutts?  Perhaps the group can tell me if this is likely the original barrel?  (I need another to replace it so would like to know what would be correct for this early gun)

 

There is surface rust and surface scratching – a re-blue/park will be needed externally but the internals are great except the dewat area. 

The lower has a scrubbed serial number. The bolt is blued and has a “P” mark. The Blish is savage marked.  The actuator is a blued, smooth later type but has a Savage mark. A mixmaster that has clearly seen lots of service but a great piece of history.  

 

Additionally, the gun came with a functional and complete “L” drum that has been with the gun since the 50s according to the consigner – I believe it is an early WPS drum (no WPS initials though) with nickel rotor.  Am I right on this? It is a really nice and rare bonus – probably sent over with an early batch to the Brits.

First several pictures are from the auction, rest are mine:

 

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Edited by kp31, 05 December 2018 - 12:24 AM.

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#2 ppgcowboy

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 06:20 AM

Welcome. Nice intro. You will like it here.

Edited by ppgcowboy, 05 December 2018 - 06:20 AM.

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#3 Sig

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 07:14 AM

I’m happy to report that it is in much better condition than the pictures showed and so I’m looking for observations on the gun and thoughts on who should rewat this piece of history for me. I know that Thompson rewat is a specialty.

 

Congrats kp31 on your acquisition and journey

 

There are a couple of Thompson gunsmiths out there with excellent reputations, Paul Krogh (PK) of Diamond K out in Colorado can be reached by email at p-k@q.com  No website.  PK's queue of customers is understood to be quite long, so you need to contact him for his official word on what he can do and when.  Bob Bowers from Philadelphia Ordnance also has an excellent reputation, http://philaord.com/...son-submachine/

 

Not necessarily Thompson specific but I have heard good things about Black River Militia http://www.blackrive....com/other.html

Believe Black River Militia does rewats on many machine guns.

 

Others here may have additional suggestions and/or comments regarding the above.

 

Best of luck on your rewat journey, please keep the board informed of your progress and results.

 

Michael 


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#4 timkel

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 07:36 AM

Not bad at all. A new barrel is all you need? Refinish, maybe or maybe not needed. Nice score!!


Edited by timkel, 05 December 2018 - 07:40 AM.

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#5 gijive

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 07:55 AM

The barrel is not salvageable - there are no letter proofs of any kind I can see. The Cutts has no markings of any kind. From what I can read this makes it an early Cutts?  Perhaps the group can tell me if this is likely the original barrel?  (I need another to replace it so would like to know what would be correct for this early gun)

 

There is surface rust and surface scratching – a re-blue/park will be needed externally but the internals are great except the dewat area. 

The lower has a scrubbed serial number. The bolt is blued and has a “P” mark. The Blish is savage marked.  The actuator is a blued, smooth later type but has a Savage mark. A mixmaster that has clearly seen lots of service but a great piece of history.  

 

Additionally, the gun came with a functional and complete “L” drum that has been with the gun since the 50s according to the consigner – I believe it is an early WPS drum (no WPS initials though) with nickel rotor.  Am I right on this? It is a really nice and rare bonus – probably sent over with an early batch to the Brits.

Hi,

 

Welcome and thanks for the pictures.  The rust on the receiver appears to be mostly surface rust, it is not pitted too badly so a competent gunsmith could probably make it look pretty good without removing too much metal that would affect the engraving.  The original finish would have been "Du-Lite" black-oxide (blued) not Parkerized.  It will look much better restored with a blue finish.  It is likely the grip frame has been replaced and is not original to the gun.  When you say the serial number has been "scrubbed", do you mean ground off, lined through, or evidence of a serial number at all?  There were Post-War replacement grip frames around back then that didn't have serial numbers.  The magazine catch and fire and safety levers are not correct for an early model Savage 1928, so it may have been rebuilt by the British after WWII, or the entire grip frame was replaced.

 

The unmarked barrel and unmarked Cutt compensator are also replacements.  The unmarked Cutts on your fun is not the early type, it is also a Post-War replacement.  The proper barrel would be an "S" marked Savage barrel with a Type II or Type III (marked) compensator.  A square "S" marked Stevens barrel would also suffice if you can't find an early Savage marked barrel.

 

The buttstock is likely a replacement as it has the reinforcing bolt.  Your gun would have had a stock with no reinforcing bolt.  There are other subtleties (internal production numbers) regarding the buttstock that I won't go into here, but is likely a late WWII replacement.  the front and rear wood pistol grips are also later productions than what would have been originally on the gun when it left the factory.

 

The drum is an early Worcester Pressed Steel (WPS) drum and is earlier than the WWII drums shipped to England in 1940.  It is from the Colt Thompson era, circa 1929-1930.

 

All in all, though, you have a very nice early WWII Savage that will be a nice project for restoration and will make a fine shooter.

 

TD is the Board's resident early Savage expert and will certainly respond when he sees your post.

 

Thanks for posting and good luck.


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#6 Vettom

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 09:54 AM

Welcome and glad to see another one going to get fixed up. Thanks for the info posted.
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#7 JJX

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:44 AM

Welcome and congratulations. Thanks for sharing the details and pictures. If you have not yet seen it, I am sure you will enjoy the book ‘Great Britain-the Tommy Gun story’ by Tom Davis. It’s very interesting and has a lot of detail on the Brit Thompson’s.
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#8 TD.

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:09 AM

kp31,

Congratulations on your early Savage Thompson. I remember this Savage Thompson and was an early bidder until someone decided they wanted it more than me :) Again, congratulations.

 

S-21146 NAC will make an excellent shooter grade Thompson. Unfortunately, the frame does not match but that is not uncommon on military Thompson guns. I would like to see a picture of the "scubbing" of the serial number on the frame. 

 

If mine, I would not go to the expense to acquire all the correct era Savage parts to make it "right" especially since the chance of finding a matching frame is very remote. And it will have to refinished. Some of those early Savage parts are very difficult to find and expensive when found. Original correct wood, grip mount, fire control levers, no hole magazine catch for the very early Savage Thompson like you have are nearly impossible to find. If mine, I would install an aftermarket barrel, with or without compensator, Dan Block reproduction wood and knurled actuator. The work by PK is outstanding, his aftermarket barrels and grip mounts are fantastic plus he can convert the magazine catch a "no-hole" type. I would also obtain a set of paddle levers (Omega Weapons Systems has these parts in stock) and have PK convert them to Colt's era clones - not correct but would look fantastic. The other gunsmiths mentioned above also do outstanding work. 

 

It is and always will be a shooter grade Thompson. However, that does not mean it cannot be a beautiful shooter grade Thompson. This early Savage has a lot of potential. 

 

I would also like to know how you know about the Numrich Arms 1950 import status. Is this information word of mouth or do you have copies of the original documentation? I do know some Thompson guns were imported as "receivers only" during this period. Given the scrubbed serial number on the frame and aftermarket compensator, it does make me wonder.

 

This early Savage was most likely part of the British MoS third order of 26,500 guns placed in May 1940. The first order was for 750 guns and the second order 2000 guns.  

 

There are other examples of early Savage Thompsons with British markings in the USA. However, the number is very small for all early Savage Thompsons, including the Savage Commercial Thompsons (another subject). 

 

I hope you join one or both of the Thompson organizations and bring S-21146 to a Show & Shoot next year. I guarantee a great time!

 

Thank you for sharing. 


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#9 hawksnest

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 01:26 PM

Congratulations.  Nice acquisition.


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#10 Merry Ploughboy

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 02:50 PM

Welcome to the Board and congratulations.  The Savage should turn into a great shooter with a great history.  The drum appears to have a dent that will likely need to be expertly reduced for proper functioning but otherwise looks to be in quite nice shape.

 

Shoot safely and with pride!


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#11 huggytree

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 04:06 PM

Congrats...ive got S-21792....probably on the same assembly line within a few days of each other in 1940

 

if it were mine? id try to make it a bit more correct, but it is impossible for it to ever be more than a shooter.

 

you can correct the wood, selectors and a few other things for $2,000+ or so....make it appear correct to someone at more than a glance..

 

keep us updated when its all done..ill be curious to see how good it turns out.


Edited by huggytree, 05 December 2018 - 04:07 PM.

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#12 halftrack

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 06:43 PM

If it was a former military sub machinegun from the British Army and came that way when release from service, then it is already correct and I wouldnt touch it. More history attached to that gun then most colts.
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#13 gijive

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 06:55 PM

Half track,
As TD pointed out in his post. He has information that many Savage receivers imported by Numrich in the 1950s were receiver only guns. That means Numrich likely put the rest of the gun together over here. There is no way the gun is going to be correct again, but a nice refurbishment bringing it back to original type condition would make an excellent display Thompson and shooter. If it is a receiver only import , I would restore it. None of the parts attached to the receiver are original to the gun, with the exception of probably the Lyman sight.
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#14 halftrack

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 07:00 PM

Half track,
As TD pointed out in his post. He has information that many Savage receivers imported by Numrich in the 1950s were receiver only guns. That means Numrich likely put the rest of the gun together over here. There is no way the gun is going to be correct again, but a nice refurbishment bringing it back to original type condition would make an excellent display Thompson and shooter. If it is a receiver only import , I would restore it. None of the parts attached to the receiver are original to the gun, with the exception of probably the Lyman sight.


I stand corrected and agree totally.
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#15 kp31

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:37 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Form 1 has been mailed off so I have a bit of time to plan and talk to Thompson rewat specialists/get on the list.

 

I agree, if it is NAC assembled, why not re-build it as "correctly" as possible.  It will never be an original like those in the British museums - I get that - but the receiver will retain its history.

 

To address a few points and to bring up a few more questions:
 

As TD points out - I have no evidence proving that the gun wasn't just a receiver when it arrived in the 50s and before the original owner got it. Could it be British armorers? Maybe the physical evidence suggests not?


So as I pointed out, my barrel has no letter markings and the unmarked Cutts - both suspect I assume?  I'd like to know what barrel and Cutts is on huggytree's S-21792 (or any other commercial savage from that period?) 

 

The lower has had the serial ground off and reblued. 

 

I agree that the gun will need reblue because of the work needed on the front end.  The rust is really surface - not really much pitting at all on the receiver, if any. The scratches or rub marks on the gun are also surface/removal of the blue and not deep. Interestingly, they are ONLY on the receiver and do not continue to the other parts in most areas - possibly indicating that these were done when the receiver was separated from the rest (Maybe by NAC??). 

 

Neat to hear that it is a Colt era WPS drum. I assume these are quite rare? 


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#16 Speeddemon02

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:35 AM

I hope you used the eform 1, if you did then you will not be waiting that long.


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#17 R67

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:15 AM

Here are some photos of a near perfect 1940 Savage gun. It was up for sale a few years ago and I grabbed the pics to drool over. It is what your gun would have looked like when it arrived in the UK. 

 

Congrats on the gun. It is very cool.

Attached Files


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#18 gijive

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 08:40 AM


So as I pointed out, my barrel has no letter markings and the unmarked Cutts - both suspect I assume?  I'd like to know what barrel and Cutts is on huggytree's S-21792 (or any other commercial savage from that period?) 

 

 

Neat to hear that it is a Colt era WPS drum. I assume these are quite rare? 

kp31,

 

I believe Huggytree's barrel has been replaced (based on his previous posts) so, I'm not sure if he has a Savage "S" marked or Savage/Stevens square (looks like the numeral 5) "S" marked barrel. Yours should most certainly have an S marked barrel.  The proper Cutts would most likely be the Type II with the Cutts Diamond Logo centered on the top front and patent date nomenclature surrounding it.  Just like the one in the picture R67 posted.

 

Attached File  Cutts Type II.jpg   116.62K   5 downloads

 

 

The 1st Generation WPS drums with the 1921/1928 Winding Instructions on the cover might better be described as scarce, than rare.  They are getting much harder to find these days, though


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#19 huggytree

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 09:29 AM

i believe an original early S1928 would have an unmarked barrel.....mine has been replaced at least 2x's, so i have a ww2 S marked barrel on mine...a cutts v2 is what should be on your gun....ive searched for a spare for 2.5 years and have yet to see one ever come up....

 

making your gun correct or as correct as possible will be a quest...long term...i grabbed the selectors a few months ago from a forum member, ive got all 3 pieces of wood off forum members over a 2 year period..these things do come up...the stock is the easiest...that you could find in a month or 2...the selectors? very hard....the no hole mag release? ive never found one....

 

does your gun have a milled ejector? looks like it does

 

with the current 6-12 month gunsmith wait i would use that time to find as many correct parts as you can...the wood can always be swapped out as you find correct parts, but it would be nice to get the rest of it correct when its refinished...

 

have you tried steel wool and oil to clean the finish? if its minor surface rust you may be surprised how clean it comes out...ive used this in the past in minor rust and it works flawless...on a shiny blued gun you wont damage the finish...on many parkerized guns it wont either...but test it as some park guns and in this case dulite it may do as much damage as good.....i had a brown luger that turned to a beautiful blue when done and came out flawless.....same with a vis radom......the wool removed the rust but not the bluing....

 

your gun may clean up good enough to accept as is...

 

dont toss the barrel..keep it...if the barrel line lines up it could be original!!....maybe someone can fix the chamber and save the barrel? if original it would be worth it...ive got a mp40 spare barrel that someone redid the throat, so a skilled smith can do miracles


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#20 TD.

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:37 AM

R67,

S-27225 is a fantastic example of an early Savage Thompson. After the sale to a current Board member, it was documented as a Savage Commercial Thompson (Savage manufactured Thompson sold commercially by Auto-Ordnance Corporation to a law enforcement organization during World War II) via a Freedom of Information Act Request. It is usually on display at both yearly Thompson shows; well worth the trip just to see it! 

 

kp31,

Please do not misunderstand, I have no way of knowing the condition of S-21146 NAC when obtained by Numrich Arms. That is why I asked you how you knew it was imported by Numrich Arms, i.e., word of mouth or actual documentation (IRS forms, bill of sale, etc.) If your statement was based on something tangible, I would like to see it and may be able to offer some additional insight or information. Just because S-21146 is marked NAC does not mean it was actually imported by Numrich Arms. Numrich Arms could have easily purchased it from another importer - for example, Interarms. All speculation unless you have some documentation. If not, I would encourage you to file a Freedom of Information Act request and see what documentation is available. I will be glad to assist you as I have many others on this Board. 

 

I would like to see pictures of the frame. Regarding a manufacturers mark on the barrel, I would think the original barrel would be "S" marked in the 21,000 serial number range. But who is to say this is the original barrel. Perhaps a mark will become visible when the barrel is removed from the receiver.  

 

Regarding the activation, make it what you want it to be. There is no wrong path...but have fun. That is what machine gun ownership is all about. 

 

All good stuff!!!


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