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What Makes A M1928 An A1?


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#1 kyle

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 07:51 AM

I understand the bolt chages that precipitated the M1 to M1A1 nomenclature change. What specifically changed with the M1928s produced in 1940 and 1941 that prompted Savage/AOC to add the designation A1? TIA!



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#2 gijive

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 08:45 AM

Hi.

The A1 was a U.S. Military designation that was adopted when the U.S. Military officially adopted the 1928 Thompson as standard procurement prior to WWII.

Auto-Ordnance and their sub-contractor Savage Arms applied the A1 designation to the guns as all Thompson production was devoted to military orders in order to keep up with wartime demands.
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#3 gijive

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 02:48 PM

PhilOhio,

We understand your gun was pulled from production and shipped to a police agency, that fact has been discussed many times. As I recall, your gun is either marked 1928A1 or the 1928AC variety with the 1 ground off and a C added.

I wasn't referring to the military acceptance marks present on miltary guns, I realize yours doesn't have any. My point was, at a certain time the production switched over to marking the guns as 1928A1's prior to and during the U.S. involvement in WWII. Whether the gun went to the military, police agency, government agency, foreign government or anyplace else one could have conceivably think of, they were marked 1928A1.

If that wasn't the case, then they would have stopped production, personally marked your gun as a 1928 Model because it was earmarked for a law enforcement agency, then resumed production of the miltary contracts. They also wouldn't have had to grind off the 1 and stamp a C on later police sale guns post WWII if they personally marked each gun that was destined for other than a miltary sale.

The question was when and why the A1 suffix was added to the 1928 Model, not whether everyone produced ended up in military service.
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#4 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 06:13 PM

Why didn't WH stamp their semi' version of the Thompson 1927's, or 1927 AC's, instead of using the military application A1's?
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#5 gijive

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 07:06 PM

PhilOhio,

The first guns produced by Savage for Auto-Ordnance after the Colt guns were sold off were marked Model of 1928 based on the Colt 1921/28 Overstamp model. The receiver still had the New York, N.Y. address on the right side in the same position as the Colt guns. About the same time military orders increased dramatically and the 1928 model was standardized by the U.S. Military and designated as Model 1928A1. Increased military orders necessitated that all civillian production be suspended and all efforts focused on filling military orders for the 1928A1 model. This included Auto-Ordnance opening their own production plant in 1941 and the right side receiver markings changing to the Bridgeport, Ct address and the positions of the patent numbers/dates and the Auto-Ordnance logo being reversed. Many 1928 models already purchased by the military were retro-stamped with US and A1 preceeding and following the Model of 1928 designation. Very early 1928A1 models have the New York address still on the right side of the receiver.

Regarding the AC designation, the Colt literature referred to the various models as A (no compensator) and AC (with compensator). The 1928 Navy model came standard with compensator and usually wasn't referred to as 1928 AC, although it was advertised as being available without the compensator.

The 1928A1 model also was standardized by the military as having the compensator and the early Savage 1928 models also were standard with the compensator, having been modeled after the Colt 1928 Navy model. The literature of the period doesn't differentiate between 1928A and 1928AC for the Savage models, although Auto-Ordnance, ever eager to please, probably would have shipped you a 1928 model without a compensator, if you wanted one.

The post WWII police sales usually ground off the US and the A1 on surplus military and reimported Thompsons to distinguish them from U.S. Military owned guns. The C designation is usually thought of as meaning a "commercial" gun in post WWII sales and not a miltary owned gun, as the A and AC designations hadn't really been used since the sales literature of the 1930's.

This information is a compilation of all the empircal evidence available by Helmer, Cox, Hill, Iannamico, etc. and my own observations, since even the guns personally observed at the FBI Academy were marked 1928A1. At the time I had access to them I didn't notice if they had any military acceptance markings or not. I was primarily interested in Colt guns and didn't examine them very closely.

Sorry for any misunderstanding.
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#6 PK.

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 07:25 PM

I guess the short answer as to what changed was that the foregrip went to horizontal and sling swivels were added.
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#7 gijive

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 07:31 PM

Well put, PK! I guess I got wrapped up in my own interest in the minutae of the history of the guns and overlooked the obvious. biggrin.gif
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#8 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 10:29 PM

But the horizontal foregrip and sling swivels were addded on Colt Navy's long before Savage guns were designated A1's.
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#9 gijive

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 10:42 PM

Good point also, Arthur. I think what PK may have meant was that long-winded explanations about the nuances of the various models may be of limited interest to certain list members. Sometimes people want the quick answer to their question and what pertains to the their individual gun. Of course, you are right about the Colt Navy Thompsons, but I guess another long dissertation about the original 1928 model would only be of interest to the Colt aficionados.
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#10 gijive

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 06:53 AM

PhilOhio,

Great post! I also agree with you about our freedoms. Too bad we were so helpless forty-five years ago, don't know how we made it. wink.gif
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#11 PK.

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 09:01 AM

I wasn’t taking a shot at anyone- everything posted was of value and I agree, the more detail the better. It just seemed the basic question had not been answered.

Good job Phil and Chuck.

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#12 kyle

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 09:08 AM

I appreciate everyone's comments. That said, I'm not sure we have an consensus answer.
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#13 gijive

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 09:24 AM

PK,

Didn't think you were taking a shot. I was just making fun of myself and my long-winded answer.


Kyle,

What type of definitive answer are you looking for? The original 1928 model was a slowed down rate of fire from the 1921 model. The Navy wanted a horizontal foregrip and sling swivels resulting in the 1928 Navy model. The U.S. Military adopted the same gun as the 1928A1 Model about 1940. That's about all there is to it.

Keeping it pithy. laugh.gif
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#14 Hurridale

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 10:21 AM

I've had the same question as Kyle for years, and have yet to find a satisfactory answer.

In the typical military nomenclature of the day, the first version of a weapon has no suffix, e.g., "1911". The first of any changes becomes the "A1". I understand the change from the 1921 to 1928 (slower rate of fire, swivels, and horizontal grip), but what changes came about to designate the "A1"? And is the "US" prefix found only on military contract guns?

If the Marines ordered the same gun around 1940 as they'd had since 1928, why did they change the nomenclature to "A1", and do the Marine guns have the "US" prefix?

I've read that there was a requirement that Lend-Lease weapons be marked "US Property". I've seen this on other types of weapons, but don't recall seeing it on Thompsons, even the British-proofed ones. Does the "US" prefix suffice to meet the Lend-Lease requirement that the guns be marked "US Property"?

Does anyone have the contractual list of changes which would specify the changes that the military required for the US1928A1 from the 1928AC? I'm thinking that such a change might have included, as a minimum, the change in finish from blued to dull.

Thanks, PK, for coming the closest to answering the original question so far. "Accuracy" ain't just for the range!

Edited by Hurridale, 05 March 2004 - 10:22 AM.

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#15 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 11:19 AM

QUOTE
Thanks, PK, for coming the closest to answering the original question so far


Hurridale,
How does PK's, "I guess the short answer as to what changed was that the foregrip went to horizontal and sling swivels were added," solve the "A1" nomenclature?

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#16 gijive

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 11:41 AM

Hurridale,

Having read most of the literature over the years regarding the Thompson history, I don't believe the question is as difficult or mysterious as some are trying to make it.

Yes, the Marines purchased 1928 model Colt guns during the 1930's that were overstamped with an 8 over the 1, but those guns were manufactured in 1921 and already had the markings applied. The 8 overstamp merely desginated the heavier bolt and slowed rate of fire. The foregrip and sling swivels didn't necessarily designate the gun as a 1928 model. The rate of fire and internal components did. Auto-Ordnance came up with the 1928 Navy model desgnation as a selling feature to attract customers. The Navy order specified horizontal foregrip and sling swivels as well as the slower rate of fire, so a true Colt 1928 Navy model would have all of these features. In fact, most police agencies during the late 1920s and 1930s ordered their 1928 Navy models with the vertical foregrip and sans sling swivels. This was obvioulsy less work for Auto-Ordnance since the original 1921 guns already had these features and the only change to be made were the internal components.

My point in rehashing the Colt guns is that after a certain point in the manufacturing of the guns, probably about 1940 or so, all production guns were marked US Model of 1928A1 because that was the official military designation for whatever you wish to call all previous 1928 model Thompsons, i.e. 1921/28 Overstamp, 1928 Navy Model, 1928 Model, 1928 Savage Commercial, etc.

War production dictated that all efforts go towards manufacturing the military contract Thompsons. It wasn't practical to keep a separate assembly line going for the handful of civillian orders for 1928 Model Thompsons that were ordered between approximately 1940 and 1942. So again, any Thompson 1928 Models that were manufactured between 1940 and 1942 were marked US Model 1928A1 whether they went to the Marines, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army Air Corps, The U.S. Coast Guard, any Federal Agency that was authorized to have one, or any foreign government benefitting from Lend Lease.

The various markings on Thompsons differed as to when they were manufactured and the priorities of the time. Many Colt Thompsons in Navy and Marines stores were retro-stamped with US and A1 depending on the armorors doing the rebuilding after the 1928A1 desigation became the "official" military designation for the 1928 Model Thompson. There is photographic evidence of this.

The British Thompsons ordered directly from Auto-Ordnance prior to Lend-Lease were the early 1928 Models made by Savage after the depletion of the Colt Thompson inventory. Those first models were marked Model of 1928. No US and no A1, because that was just prior to the large U.S. Military orders that necessitated all production be devoted to the US Model of 1928A1. It had nothing to do with the finish, compensator style, sights, patent markings, stampings, grip style, non-cross bolt stock, cross bolt reinforced stock, select lever style or any other cosmetic modification to speed production or improve the weapon.

The U.S. Property stamping didn't appear until the M1 and M1A1 modifications after 1942. The U.S. Model of 1928A1 must have been considered sufficient to designate the 1928 Thompson as U.S. Property for Lend-Lease purposes.

I would consider reading the previously mentioned publications if you still have questions regarding this issue. The authors did a lot more research than I can provide regarding the lineage of the Thompson.
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#17 colt21a

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 11:52 AM

and the final answer is "Thompson Greed".........they knew at that time 50 years later people would be fighting over this,and wanting more and more variation's........of a single thompson.....................so they said the more stamping's the better.............wink!!!

you have to love this stuff..................Ron
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#18 gijive

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 11:57 AM

Good one, Ron!
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#19 Hurridale

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 10:04 PM

QUOTE (Arthur Fliegenheimer @ Mar 5 2004, 11:19 AM)
QUOTE
Thanks, PK, for coming the closest to answering the original question so far


Hurridale,
How does PK's, "I guess the short answer as to what changed was that the foregrip went to horizontal and sling swivels were added," solve the "A1" nomenclature?

Arthur,

Read the quote. I stated it came the closest, not that it solved the original question.

GI Jive,

Thanks for your very thorough reply. I've read American Thunder, American Legend, and The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar, and couldn't find the answer.

Sorry to be a stickler here, but a .45 1911A1 is not a .45 1911, and the M60 tanks I used to crew were not the M60A1s we had later. I'm just having a tough time accepting that somebody just shrugged and said, "Aw hell, just start calling it an A1," without any stipulation of the difference.

American Thunder states, "The Model 1928 and the U.S. Model 1928A1 marked models were both being manufactured by Savage at the same time." (page 65) I can understand the "U.S." being added for Lend-Lease; I'm just trying to figure out why the "A1" was added.

Could it be that after the series of tweaks to the original 1921 that the procurement folks got specific and lumped all the changes into the "A1" designation?

Regards,
DC
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#20 gijive

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Posted 06 March 2004 - 12:40 AM

PhilOhio and Hurridale,

Both of your posts essentially say what I was trying to get across. Someone in the military/government/procurement end of it (whatever label you want to assign) decided to designate the basic 1928 Model with horizontal foregrip and sling swivels as the 1928A1 Model. Both the Auto-Ordnance and Savage manufacturing plants produced this model during early WWII production. There aren't any other variations of the Thompson until the M1/M1A1 series beginning in 1942. That is all I was ever trying to say. Maybe my writing style infuses too many subtleties into the mix.
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