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What To Look For In "shooter" Thomson?


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#1 JTinIN

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 02:42 PM

Have had assorted NFA subguns for a few years and have been shooting various friends Thomson's for a few years (assorted '28s and M1's with a nice 21 Colt tossed into the mix), starting to look like there good taste is starting to rub off.

While like the few friends Colt's, for the current budget might have to work a little closer to the other end of the price structure (i.e. low teens - the lower the better to save as many other NFA's as possible).

Appreicate the time anyone has (on line or off) to help bring a Thomson newby up to speed (friends have been helpful, but the one's with a re-weld like them, the one's with WHs like them and the guys's with the Colt figure anything less is will fall apart with shooting .... this sounds alot like the modern aluminum Colt NFA world smile.gif

Regards
John

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#2 Tex

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 03:19 PM

Hi John,
Being a newby to the Thompson world myself, I will offer my input.
I just bought and finally received my M1 Savage.
In the World of Thompsons there are:

The Colts, the Military guns, and the West Hurleys.
The prices pretty much go in that order also.

One thing that they all have in common is that they are all Thompsons.
Some say that the later guns (WHs) may or may not need some help to run like a Thompson should run - that I do not know.
I love them all if they run like they should. See my range report on my M1.
For the money you are talking to spend, you should be able to find a good M1/ M1A1 military gun, which I can highly recommend, if you can find one.
I will tell you this, after my outing with my baby yesterday, I have decided that I could do without any of my other NFA stuff.
The Thompson is the King of the subguns!
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#3 DC Chris

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 03:33 PM

I have a very late model 1928 West Hurley. For a gun that is supposedly "junk" and "needs help running out of the box", my TSMG hasn't had any problems with the rounds that I have put through it.... hasn't even broken an extractor. From what I can tell, it is stock.

All in all for less than $10K, you cannot go wrong and you WONT have to hopefully sell anything else out of your NFA collection.

Just my 0.02 -

Chris.




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#4 SecondAmend

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 04:01 PM

This is a cut and paste of information I send to people who shoot my WWII vintage Savage '28 and want more information. Though you said you are after a "shooter" there is "investment" related information here also. Keep in mind, there are no more new machine guns for individuals as of May 19, 1986. Any Thompson you buy IS an investment, not just a "shooter." Compared to, say, M11/9's the number of Thompsons of any variation is very limited.

To my way of thinking, there are four basic full-auto Thompson categories (i) the Colt made 1921 and 21/28 (converted 21s, also called Overstamp and 28 Navy), (ii) the WWII vintage 1928 and 1928A1 made by Savage and by Auto Ordnance (I, possibly incorrectly, include the so-called commercial Savage here), (iii) the WWII M1 and M1A1, and (iv) the 1975-86 West Hurleys. There are a number of variations within the general groups. There are other relatively rare prototypes and variations that one hardly ever encounters. The value generally decreases in the order written but they all are collectable. Thompsons in any model are likely to be good investments unless one simply pays too much for what the gun is. Many asking prices are grossly out of line.

What to look for?

Price generally depends on a number of factors:

Original or re-wat?
Matching or non-matching parts?
Which of the manufacturers (e.g., Colt, Savage, Auto Ord, NAC, and West Hurley)?
What accessories are included in prices?
Is the gun you want available at a discount price as part of a package deal for several guns or other items (volume discount, “bundling”)? Do you want the other guns/items or can you readily dispose of them and still maintain a discounted price on the gun you want? Do you have the money to buy the package deal?
Condition, condition, condition.

Second, what are your intangible wants. Do you want a Thompson M1 because you saw Tom Hanks use one Saving Private Ryan? A Thompson 1921 because that's what was used at the St. Valentine's Day massacre?

Third, do you want the gun primarily as a shooter or more for investment?

A lot of WWII vintage Thompsons (most of the M1s and M1A1s) have non-matching upper and lower serial numbers due to most of the guns coming from military service where they were repaired/rebuilt in service or before being sent to the police and civilian market after WWII. Some M1 and M1A1 lower frames have no serial numbers and some were restamped with numbering to match the receiver they were mated to during repair. On a 1921 or 21/28 Navy Thompson, the upper and lower numbers should match and non-match probably decreases value. On WWII 1928A1 , M1 and M1A1's since the likelihood of match is fairly low, non-match is more or less expected so matching may increase the value over the average all other things being equal.

Good luck in your quest!

Tom S.

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#5 JTinIN

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 06:47 PM

Thanks for the information. One of the regulars on the board brought along his '28 so my son could shoot it (only gun he realy had much interest in shooting, having grown up the HK's and M16's in the house).

Like the comments on shooter vs investment (the budget MAC10's are starting to move from a couple hundred dollar gun, that when I started cost the same as the tax stamp and HK sears were twice as much).

Never did get the Thomson, as when was a lot youner sad.gif , all the friends in the 80's were into the easy conversion's (M2 carbines, M16's and Uzi bolts to make coversion on a Form 1 ... the good old days), only the "real" collectors had Thomson's .....

Then in the 90's the new bunch of friends were big on belt guns and HKs (sears being under $500 made it a lower cost option than).

Now that I am with bunch of subgun shooters Indiana Subgun Shoot and come to find out ALL the regulars except one has at least one Thomson .... and he is starting to look also ..... LOL!.


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#6 full auto 45

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 07:47 PM

JT, Welcome and glad to see another one from good old Indy. Where are you at in Indiana? You can email it to me so you don't have it shouted out if you don't want. I have a 1928 WH that runs great. I've pumped about 10k+ rounds out of it and it has only failed once, when a buffer pilot ( the West Hurley one) broke. They run fine and if you can find a low 3 digit number gun, get it. You won't be sorry. A M1 is a good shooter also, but it's only draw back is it won't take the drum.

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#7 JTinIN

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 08:46 PM

QUOTE (full auto 45 @ Jul 4 2004, 07:47 PM)
JT, Welcome and glad to see another one from good old Indy. Where are you at in Indiana? You can email it to me so you don't have it shouted out if you don't want. I have a 1928 WH that runs great. I've pumped about 10k+ rounds out of it and it has only failed once, when a buffer pilot ( the West Hurley one) broke. They run fine and if you can find a low 3 digit number gun, get it. You won't be sorry. A M1 is a good shooter also, but it's only draw back is it won't take the drum.

Home range is Old Trails Rifle Pistol Club however have friends that I shoot with ranging from Richmond to Lafatette or Bloomington (plus the always popular day trips to KCR for the belt guns).

Regards
John
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#8 john

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 10:01 AM

I classify my A.O. 1928 A1 (non-matching S/N 51XXX) as a "collectible shooter".
It is an original uncut C&R gun, but the finish had been taken off (with a belt sander, I believe?? Then polished a bit and a nice blue) by the former owner. Nothing I can do about that but it shoots great and is a C&R gun (only allowable here in Minnesota). AND the price was right!!!!

Someday I'll touch up the edges a bit and go with a new Oxide finish but for now, I have fun with it.

Buy the nicest you can find for the money!! wink.gif

john
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