Posted 11 July 2004 - 08:48 PM
There is one thing we can all agree on - NAC Thompsons bring out a lot of conversation and speculation. That is because these Thompsons have not been researched to the same degree as the Cleveland prototypes, the Colts and World War II Thompsons. Rich, thanks for the original Form 4 information. It is exactly as I thought it would be. I believe you may have to go to Numrich Arms to get the rest of the story on NAC 45. A Freedom of Information (FIOA) request may also produce some information.
I still believe it is a prototype receiver based on the location of the "bolt retracting handle disassembly hole." I found another picture of a prototype M1 on Page 49 of Thomas Nelson's "The World's Submachine Guns." I noticed no one has any information on Numrich Arms Corporation making M1 or M1A1 Thompsons prior to the introduction of the West Hurley model in 1985. I don't think Numrich Arms Corporation made a few receivers in the early 1960's that happened to be just like the prototypes made by Savage Arms. The only speculation is how complete was the M1 receiver that later became NAC 45 when it was found by Numrich Arms in 1951. I think the receiver was complete except for the "M1A1 and N.A.C. - 45" markings. All the other markings appear to be roll stamped on the receiver. The M1A1 and N.A.C. - 45 markings are the normal bad Numrich Arms stamping as found on all NAC Thompsons. My opinion on this could change if I could see the markings on a prototype M1 Thompson. None of the prototype pictures are clear enough to make out the markings or to see if the prototypes are even serial numbered. I think the word "Calibre" supports my position this is a prototype M1 receiver. Colt, Savage and Auto-Ordnance used the word "Calibre" until the M1 Thompson went into production. It could have been a prototype receiver that was never used, it could have been a receiver used in interchangeability tests, it could have been a receiver used in destruction tests, etc. We just don't know. We also don't know how many of these receivers were found by Numrich Arms in 1951.
The answer to the Numrich Arms Corporation serial numbers is quite simple. When the crates were opened and complete machine guns (at least the prototypes) and complete or near complete receivers were discovered, George probably called the IRS and said he had just purchased a bunch of machine guns and needed to register them. The IRS may have even sent some one out to West Hurley given the number of guns George was reporting and the tax dollars in question. In any event, the IRS had no problem in registering the guns and assessing the tax. One part of the registration process was completing the required forms. And one thing that is required is a serial number. I would guess that someone came up with the bright idea to number the guns/receivers that did not have serial numbers with the prefix NAC and begin with number one. This was not rocket science; this all happened in 1951 when no one cared about Thompsons and the price of one was cheap. One thing is for sure; the receivers were not going to be registered without a serial number! I don't think any of the prototypes/Model 1919 were given the NAC markings - these guns were probably just registered with the number on the receiver (and later given to West Point Museum). It is the unserialed guns/receivers that were given the NAC serial numbers - by hand. Anyone here that has hand stamped numbers and letters on metal can attest that doing it perfectly like a roll-stamp is quite difficult, if not impossible. I would guess that all the guns and receivers found were lined up on a table. I would also guess one of George's employees just went down the line of receivers doing the best job he (or maybe she) could. It appears the Colt receivers were first based on what is known about NAC 1, NAC 2, NAC 3 and NAC 5. AZDoug has NAC 15 and believes it to be an unmarked Colt receiver; I think he is right. NAC 17 is definitely a Savage receiver. Now we have NAC 45 - which is an M1 receiver. I would guess some of the board members have a NAC Thompson (or two) that has not been reported and would add something to all this. I don't think Numrich Arms Corporation ever added the Colt or Savage name to any receiver it produced from scratch. I would like to see a known Thompson manufactured from scratch by Numrich Arms Corporation prior to the introduction of the West Hurley models. Does anyone out there have one?
Again, Rich - great Thompson. George Numrich was pretty knowledgeable about guns. I doubt he defaced a true historic gun for a couple of hundred bucks given how he donated all the Thompson prototypes to West Point. It is quite possible the picture of the M1 prototype in Frank and Thomas Nelson's book may be one George gave to West Point. I think NAC 45 was an unassembled receiver that was not serial numbered when hand marked N.A.C.- 45 to register the receiver with the IRS in 1951. Please keep us informed on the results of your research.
Frank – Do you have any close-up pictures of the M1 Thompson prototype shown in your great book?