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Doug Richardson's New Receivers

ULTIMAX IS HERE

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#1 Doug Richardson

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:31 AM

NON-GUN RECEIVERS
posted by mkw
For several years I have been offering my “Display” and “Shop” semi-finished receivers. I do not use the term “80%” because it has no legal meaning nor does it accurately reflect the percentage of completion. Nor do I use the term “dummy” which is usually used to refer to some cheap chunk of metal or plastic that simply provides a base on which to a attach a few gun parts and was never intended to be completed into a working gun. What I make are real gun quality receivers that are not quite finished.

My Thompson receivers are made from steel bars having the same alloy (SAE 1141) and are heat treated to yield the same tensile strength and hardness used in the original guns. The steel is also stress relieved to prevent twisting during machining. The bars are machined on fully automatic, computer controlled machining centers. Computer controlled machining enables edge radii to completely follow the front end contours and to properly radius the 1921/1928 drum slots, bolt handle slot and magazine cavity edges. To assure the most accurately made receivers, centerline coordinate machining is used with one set-up for all four sides, edge radii and interior in order to eliminate tolerance and error cumulations caused by changing set-ups and reference lines. The quality of these receivers exceeds the originals made by Colt, Savage or the real Auto-Ordnance Corp. (Bridgeport) or anyone else.

I have learned from buyers of my receivers that there are essentially two configurations of receivers wanted. The first is a receiver that appears from all outward respects to be a working original gun receiver. It should accept as many of the original gun parts as possible. Where it is not possible to fit gun parts, the receiver must be able to accept display parts that will make the “gun” appear to be complete. Also, the receiver should not require any additional machine work to assemble the “gun”. The second is a receiver as just described but with as many additional machined original gun features as possible so that the receiver can be finished into a working gun with the least amount of machine work possible. And, QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY!!! The first configuration describes my Display receiver. The second is one I have never built although I offered lock ramps and bevels as an option.

I have, therefore, decided to reconfigure my line of receivers by discontinuing my original Shop and Display receivers and offering the ESF receivers.

ESF Receivers
ESF stands for “Enhanced Semi-Finished”. ESF receivers are available in two configurations. The Display and the Ultimax . Ultimax stands for “the ultimate maximization possible of Thompson gun features that can be incorporated in an unrestricted semi-finished non-gun receiver”.

The Display ESF configuration includes every feature of my original Display receivers. I have elected to retain the name for that reason and also because “display” describes the purpose of this receiver so well. However, in addition to all the features of the original Display receiver, I have added the enhancement of a pocket in the rear of the bolt channel area to enable me to drill and countersink the holes for Thompson sight mounting rivets. Therefore, the rivet holes are finished. Receivers will no longer be provided with special sight mounting screws because there are no threaded holes. Instead, the buyer has the option of installing the rear sight with Thompson sight rivets or bolting (through the rivet holes) the sight onto the receiver. I offer both the rivets and bolts/nuts in my catalog. I think this will satisfy everyone. Also, the new Display ESF receivers have been further enhanced by having more finish machining work done to the interior. There will be no machined options offered for the Display ESF receivers other than the early Colt squared end actuator slot and M1 bolt handle location.

The Ultimax ESF is a Display ESF receiver with every missing Thompson gun receiver machined operation added. The front and back ends of the bolt channel are finished, including the expanded rear section of the 1921/1928 receiver that accommodates the breech oiler. The breech entry chamfer is finished. Lock ramps and bevels are finished. No machined options are available other than the Colt squared end actuator slot and M1 and M2 variations. The Ultimax is a complete Thompson receiver except that there is a solid section in the middle of the bolt channel. Previously, any machining operation in the bolt channel which could not be completed was not done at all on the semi-finished receivers. Those operations would be left for the person who would be completing the receiver. Ultimax changes all that by having every machining operation done. To do that, Ultimax introduced the concept of “interrupted cutter path machining”. This means that a cut that normally starts at one end of the bolt channel and terminates at the other end will be started and stopped as it normally would be in a working Thompson receiver. It is only in the solid middle section that the cut will be interrupted. The Ultimax receiver can be assembled as a display “gun” exactly as the Display ESF can be. ESF receivers can not accept a bolt since there is a solid section of steel left in the bolt channel but will accept my Display Pilot and Bolt Handle Kits.

Those who have the license to finish the receiver into a working gun will find the Ultimax to be the best semi-finished receiver available. All of the time consuming and difficult machining operations have been done. Finishing the Ultimax receiver requires the solid center section of the bolt channel to be removed. But what needs to be done is obvious since every interrupted cut starts and stops as it would normally. It is not necessary to analyze drawings to set cutter positions - just continue the interrupted cuts using the beginning and ending portions as guides. Those building up a display gun with an Ultimax receiver will have the added enjoyment of understanding how their “gun” was designed to work by simply examining the receiver - it’s all there!

Only two cutters are required to finish an M1-style Ultimax ESF receiver: a 3/4" diameter, 4 flute, 1-3/8" minimum cutting length, coarse tooth, roughing end mill (TIN coated and M42 steel is recommended) available at most any industrial supply store; and a 1/2"diameter, 4 flute, 1-3/8" minimum cutting length, .030" corner radius end mill (coated carbide is recommended) which is offered in my catalog. 1921 style Ultimax ESF receivers require the same two cutters plus a standard 1" diameter, 3/8" wide, ½" diameter shank Woodruff keyseat cutter (preferably with an added .030" bottom corner radius) to finish the center section of the side slots.

ESF receivers are available in all standard Thompson models and some additional models of my design. 1921/1928 and M1/M1A1 models are available in both the Dis-play ESF and Ultimax ESF configurations. The Models 1921 and 1928 are dimensionally identical as are the Models M1 and M1A1. The Models 2M2, 2MM, 2S, M2 and MS are available only in the Ultimax ESF configuration.
The 2M2 receiver is my redesign of the 1921/1928 receiver with the trigger housing rail walls extended all the way to the back end of the receiver to increase rear end strength and the pilot hole sized like an M1 but in the 1921/1928 position. This receiver is designed to be finished to accept a 1921 or 1928 bolt/actuator/lock assembly but eliminates the oiler which, arguably, never really worked. A modified M1 pilot and Richardson 2M2 Urethane Buffer are used for better recoil spring control and true buffering. In my opinion, this creates the ultimate 1921 or 1928 gun because it has all the benefits of the 1921/1928 lock mechanism with the ease of assembly of the M1. It also is designed to be fitted with my Screw-On Grip Mount in lieu of the TSMG design.

The 2MM receiver is a 1921/1928 receiver except that the pilot hole is sized and positioned like the M1/M1A1, the bolt handle slot has been moved slightly rearward and the trigger housing rail walls have been extended all the way to the back end to increase rear end strength like the 2M2. It is meant to have a bolt channel identical to an M1/M1A1 except that it has side pockets similar to a 1921/1928 receiver for weight reduction. This combination enables an M1 or M1A1 bolt, modified to have a top mounted bolt handle with one of my kits, to be used for simple and more reliable (especially with blanks) slam fire operation. This is particularly advantageous to studio prop shops, shooting galleries and other NFA manufacturers who wish to make an operating 1921/1928 style gun with a minimum of time and cost.

The M2 receiver is my redesign of the M1/M1A1 receiver. The bolt handle slot is located on top like the 1921/1928 receiver and uses the same modified M1 or M1A1 bolt as the 2MM receiver. The trigger housing rail walls are extended to the back like the 2M2. The upper sides are continued forward to the front end to produce a sleeker looking receiver. The nose of the receiver is relieved on the sides below the barrel area to better match both horizontal forearms and vertical foregrips. It also uses my Screw-On Grip Mount. It is available in two versions: 1) Model M2-M has the M1 rear end shape to match M1/M1A1 trigger housings and 2) Model M2-2 has the 1921 rear end shape to match 1921/1928 trigger housings. It is also available with the top side edges non-rounded in the rear sight area to accept a Lyman adjustable rear sight. This receiver is interchangeable with any TSMG receiver.
For those who want to build a semi-auto gun, I offer my 2S and MS receivers which rely on the Numrich/Kahr (N/K) gun design approval. (There is no approved design that allows a TSMG receiver to be made into a semi-auto.) Like the N/K receivers, these receivers are 1/10” less high than a TSMG receiver. They are interchangeable with N/K semi-auto receivers except that the firing pin clearance groove in the top of the N/K trigger housing must be extended rearward. This is because my receivers are meant to have a bolt channel that extends all the way to the back of the receiver like a TSMG. This has nothing to do with the gun being semi-auto or full auto. This is done to use the extra bolt travel to absorb the recoil rather than to depend on very stiff recoil springs. It also provides room for a urethane buffer. These receivers have the extended trigger housing rails like the 2M2 receivers. They require a modified N/K Bolt and Firing Pin. All other bolt channel parts are special Richardson designs and manufacture. The 2S and MS receivers also differ from their N/K counterparts in that they use my Screw-On Grip Mount, are made from the same heat treated steel alloy used in my TSMG receivers, the rear sight is properly positioned and the quality is much better.

Prices (Markings, Colt square end actuator slot, M1 and M2 variations, sight fasteners, added parts, services, etc. are at extra cost. Bluing is included.):

Display ESF receivers: Models 1921/1928 $585 Models M1/M1A1 $585
Ultimax ESF receivers: Models 1921/1928 $885 Models M1/M1A1 $685
Model 2M2 $865, Model 2MM $750, Model 2S $750, Model M2 $685, Model MS $685

For more information check my website: www.Thompsonsmg.com

Edited by Doug Richardson, 15 November 2012 - 04:28 PM.

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#2 Brian06

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:48 PM

I hope I'm not out of line by suggesting pictures.
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#3 ineverlistentoFM

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:06 PM

id love to see pix, too, thanks!
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#4 Mike Hammer

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:59 PM

Doug, if I were so inclined to order one today, can you give me any kind of idea as to when I might receive the product?

Mike Hammer
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#5 AlexanderA

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:40 PM

I noticed that in the writeup for the Ultimax model, it says that the rear of the receiver cavity will be machined so as to accept the breech oiler. It also says that it will accept Richardson's dummy buffer pilot kit. These two goals are mutually inconsistent, since the dummy buffer pilot is held in place by a set screw, that requires a thickened section (and a threaded hole) at the rear wall of the receiver. That wouldn't allow room for the breech oiler.

There are also some questions as to the markings and finish. To be authentic, the WWII guns should have Dulite oxide treatment over a dull beadblasted surface. Richardson says he can do most of the markings, but not the serial number. But can he do the "U.S. MODEL OF 1928A1" and the "NO." that surround the serial number? (And btw, that's supposed to be "U.S. MODEL 1928A1" (no "OF") and "No." (lower case "o") in the case of AO manufactured guns.) Is there going to be attention to that level of detail?

By default, Richardson's dummy actuator handle is placed in the rear position, as if the bolt were cocked. Will there be any provision to put the handle in the forward position, so as to show a dummy bolt through the ejection port?

I sure hope that this doesn't turn out to be "vaporware," because it's a good concept. If these can be produced within a reasonable time frame, I would be more than happy to order one.
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#6 Doug Richardson

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:40 AM

posted by mkw

Good questions Alexander A. Here are the answers:

1) Display Pilot:

That would be true if I were using my old design. My new ESF receivers uses
a new style Display Pilot which enables the set screw to be moved forward
of the rivet area. The Pilot now bridges the rivet area so that I am able
to finish the rivet holes and also completely finish the back end of the
bolt channel on all Ultimax models and finish the oiler area on 21/28
models. I pondered this problem for a long time before coming up with the
ESF design.

2) Bolt Handle Position:

On my original receivers, I chose to locate the Display Bolt Handle in the
open bolt position because the gun was meant to be carried that way. That
is why the safety was designed to only work with the bolt open. Also, when
the gun is displayed with the bolt open and a mag full of dummy cartridges,
it really looks great to be able look into the chamber and see the feed
ramp, mag, cartridges, and ejector. As it turned out with the Ultimax
receivers, this arrangement enabled me to finish the lock ramps, bolt
channel front end and the breech entry chamfer. For those who insist on a
closed bolt arrangement, they can fabricate a dummy bolt shank. But, my
experience was that most people preferred open bolt when I showed a
comparison at shows.

3)Vaporware:

I have been making ESF receivers for the last 3 months. I waited to make
the announcement until I had made a lot of ESF receivers and showed samples
to people to gage the response. I have made every model I offer. The
first batch is ready for black oxide.

4) Markings:

The exact configuration of the markings are shown in my Catalog.
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#7 Gunner1928

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:45 PM

Still would like to see pictures and what sort of delivery date if one is ordered now?
thanks Doug.

Bob
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#8 Doug Richardson

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:47 PM

posted by mkw

My posting ESF RECEIVERS on November 16 should answer your questions as well as I can at this time.
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#9 AlexanderA

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:37 PM

Sounds good. Regarding the markings, if they're as shown in the catalog (I have catalog #70), the final product display gun would be authentic/correct only if assembled with a Savage-made parts kit. (This applies equally to the Philadelphia Ordnance display receiver.) An A.O. numbered trigger frame would be a definite mismatch, no matter what number was stamped on the receiver. I guess most people wouldn't care about this level of detail.

If the dummy actuator handle is assembled in the forward position (to show a closed dummy bolt), that would leave an extraneous hole, and maybe part of an open slot, visible on the top of the receiver. Possibly the answer would be to fabricate a thin sheet metal filler to fit inside the actuator slot.
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#10 Doug Richardson

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

No Thompson ever left the factory with an abrasive (or bead) blasted surface. WW2 Thompsons had an as machined surface. It varies because of machine differences, cutter changes and machining methods used No two guns will look exactly alike. Age also changes the appearance. Guns I saw right after WW2 did not look like the same guns look today.

The markings I apply to my WW2 1928A1 receivers are neither pure Savage nor pure Auto-Ordnance. They are a composite of the original text and fonts of both. It is just too expensive to duplicate every single marking variation. But, if you have the money, I can do anything. My Colt markings are exactly like the original markings.
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#11 AlexanderA

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:47 PM

Doug, I hate to dispute your undeniable expertise, but the trigger frames and cut-up receiver sections of the Russian Lend-Lease guns that I've seen have a lightly bead-blasted surface texture. These are guns that were not refinished or that saw much use. Frank Iannamico, in American Thunder II (page 183), clearly states the following:

The finish on the military contract Thompsons was the same as the early Savage guns, the Du-Lite Type III Black oxide. The government specifications required that the trigger frames and receivers be sandblasted prior to the finish being applied, in order to give them a flat black non-reflective surface.


Every one of the original WWII guns photographed in Iannamico's book has this same slightly rough, non-reflective texture.
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#12 Doug Richardson

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:09 PM

posted mkw



I discussed the subject of the WW2 Thompsons surface finish with Frank Iannamico today because I like to go to the source of the info being quoted. Frank says he has no documentation regarding whether or not the guns were blasted. He and I have only our personal observations to go on.

In addition, I have a great deal of manufacturing experience and I do a lot of blasting of my own products. Frank pointed out that the difficulty of observations is that there are so few totally original guns around any more that one's observations are suspect at best.

I did have the advantage of seeing thousands of WW2 Thompsons in the 1950s which were unissued and obviously original and none appeared to me to have been blasted. Frank said that he believes the guns were blasted from those he observed but can't say for sure.

I did look at a few of the Russian guns today and was unable to determine conclusively whether or not they had been blasted. Howvever, I can't say they weren't. Abrasive blasting is used during original manufacture to alter the surface whereas bead blasting is used to remove old finishes prior to re-blacking.

So, I am basing my belief that the guns were not blasted at the factory because I have seen no documentation to prove otherwise, my observations and because there would have been no incentive during war production to justify the extra operation particularly when the rough wartime machining would result in a dull finish to begin with.

I can not say that guns were not subsequently bead blasted and refinished as it appears that the Russian guns may have been. Actually, I would like to be wrong on this. I would like to blast my receivers as I do my other parts because I think it looks nice. So, until someone finds a document dated 1941-1944 that calls out abrasive blasting of guns at the factory. the subject remains unresolved.

And that's it for me. I have to get back to making Ultimax receivers.

Edited by Doug Richardson, 19 November 2012 - 08:42 PM.

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#13 reconbob

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:07 PM

To say that because you personally have not seen any documentation to support blasting/flat
finish on receivers "proves" that none were manufactured that way ignores the fact that we all see hundreds of
virtually new "Russian" kits in almost MINT condition with the front 2"-3" of the receiver having a flat
finish. The machining on these receivers is very smooth and different from the blanchard ground finish
found on other WW2 Thompsons.
My belief is that when the gun was put into mass production for the war the receivers at first were
given a polished commercial quality finish - which would have been standard at a factory producing
commercial and sporting firearms. This bright finish was not practical for war use so they sandblasted
these receivers which eliminated the glare and which, when blued, gave a flat black finish. As war
production continued it was a simple mattter to eliminate the polishing and just leave the surfaces of
the receivers in a raw blanchard ground condition and we see this finish on many "typical" M1928A1
Thompsons.

Bob
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#14 AlexanderA

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:11 PM

Doug and Bob: Why not make the sandblasted / beadblasted finish an extra-cost option on your receivers? Leave it up to the buyer.
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#15 1921A

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:21 AM

To say that because you personally have not seen any documentation to support blasting/flat finish on receivers "proves" that none were manufactured that way ignores the fact that we all see hundreds of virtually new "Russian" kits in almost MINT condition with the front 2"-3" of the receiver having a flat finish. The machining on these receivers is very smooth and different from the blanchard ground finish found on other WW2 Thompsons. My belief is that when the gun was put into mass production for the war the receivers at first were given a polished commercial quality finish - which would have been standard at a factory producing commercial and sporting firearms. This bright finish was not practical for war use so they sandblasted these receivers which eliminated the glare and which, when blued, gave a flat black finish. As war production continued it was a simple mattter to eliminate the polishing and just leave the surfaces of the receivers in a raw blanchard ground condition and we see this finish on many "typical" M1928A1 Thompsons. Bob


Bob

The true "Savage commercials" are polished and "blasted" receivers "from the factory." I've owned 2 of them and examined a few others. The Model 1928 marked guns seem to be mostly polished and blasted as well. These are not refinished guns. This fits with your explanation.
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#16 TD.

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:33 AM

On Page 303 of The Ultimate Thompson Book there is a reference to the first Savage Arms contract with Auto-Ordnance that states the finish of the (Savage) Thompson gun will be "as good" as on the original Colt's production guns. I agree with 1921A, above. Based on my observations, the polishing and finish on the early Savage Thompson's is usually pretty good.
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#17 TSMGguy

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:11 AM

I sure hope that this doesn't turn out to be "vaporware" because it's a good concept. If these can be produced within a reasonable time frame, I would be more than happy to order one.


That's a really good point. I have not ordered a Richardson display receiver for my otherwise complete, NOS M1 TSMG parts kit because of extended and largely unknown delivery time frames.

I've stopped doing business The Rifle Shoppe for the same reason. They, too, have a marvelous catalog filled with incredible goodies. Supposedly, they produce almost any martial firearm, part or kit that you can think of from the 16th-19th centuries. Delivery, though, won't happen for years, if at all. I seriously doubt that they ever even look at their order book once the 50% deposit is paid. This situation is particularly galling when you're dealing with a talented builder who is dependent on the availability of TRS parts for the completion of your project, and hence his livlihood. Everybody looses.

Enough. Life is just too short.
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#18 darrylta

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:27 AM

I think the Savage 1928 Commercials should be sorted into (2) groups.
The Transitional Commercial guns followed the Colt guns in lineage and were assembled with surplus
Colt parts until the Colt parts were exhausted.

Savage manufactured it's Commercial Thompson's as per TD's quote "as good as" Colt
manufacture. These commercial guns were made for police use and were used to
initially fill Britain's early commando and home guard orders.

The following Lend Lease Savages did not have the knurled edges and premium finish the
commercials had.

My 2 cents,
Darryl

Edited by darrylta, 20 November 2012 - 11:56 AM.

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#19 TD.

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:58 AM

darryla,
The term "Savage Commercial Thompson" is a collector term. There was never any product offered for sale by Auto-Ordnance with this name. Auto-Ordnance contracted with Savage Arms to place the Thompson gun back into production in December 1939. The sales of Thompson guns produced by Savage Arms in 1940 were mainly geared toward the British and French armed forces. Auto-Ordnance did fill a few orders from law enforcement agencies in the United States by taking Thompson's from the production line and selling them inside the USA. I believe it was Roger Cox that coined the term "commercial" in that the guns sold by Auto-Ordnance in 1940 were sold commercially (that is my take on how Roger came up with this term). I agree that some of the "commercials" contained Colt era parts but there was no strict standardization of parts as to what constituted a a Thompson sold commercially within the United States. Most likely, the quality was determined by the employee who was tasked to pull a gun(s) and prepare it for sale within the United States. That said, the great majority of these Savage Thompson's sold inside the United States in 1940 were some of the earliest Savage guns. These early Savage guns looked pretty good without any special treatment. I believe the only reason Auto-Ordnance accepted orders inside the United States was the profit margin was quite a bit higher on these sales. In addition, it took a while before the massive orders for the Thompson gun were initiated by the USA. During 1940, Auto-Ordnance most likely believed every sale was important. That is why these guns exist today.
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#20 darrylta

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

I did not infer that AOC had referred them to be commercials. Since their present owners are all collectors
of some sort, it's an easy way to differentiate between the early early, early and late Savages.
Using the terms "I believe and most likely" denotes only an educated questamation on your part and not a factual statement.
A lot of history will always be unknown by collectors, yet it is fun imparting and seeing others spin on the subject.
Geez,
Darrylta
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