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What About This Colt Do You See?


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#21 TommyGunner

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 04:04 PM

Here ya go Norm....

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#22 TD.

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 10:31 PM

Norm & TommyGunner,
Thanks for the picture. After your post I remembered I had an old Richardson Catalog (#24); one quick look revealed a drawing of a 1921 receiver with 1922 patent date markings. Perhaps the 1922 patent dates are standard with the Richardson Display Receivers. Does anyone know? The listed price was $375.00 plus shipping. Does anyone know the current price?

Norm, I still think you have one cool Thompson. I hope to be able to see it someday.

Phil - you may be right but I tend to think the receiver is from Colt. While these non-production Colt Thompsons are not common, they are around. Gordon references several in his book. Hopefully, any buyers will do adequate research before plunking down 22K.

This Colt Thompson variation would be excellent gun to research. There is certainly a story behind this Thompson. Perhaps more information will be forthcoming in the days ahead.



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#23 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 11:12 PM

DR makes six (6) versions of his dummy Colt receivers, four (4) 1921 models, and two (2) 1928 models, one (1) Navy and one (1) non-marked Navy. In other words, DR has covered all factory Colt type TSMG receivers with appropriate markings. But what is the relevance of DR's wall hangers with the TSMG posted for sale? Is there any such thing as a working registered DR receiver?
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#24 John Jr

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 11:33 PM

Class 2s build on them for Posties.

It might be possible that someone who had a registered gun, destroyed it or blew it up and took one of his and remarked it. The ATF would never know. They only see paperwork and SN's, not the guns themselves.

Jr
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#25 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 11:43 PM

That's conceivable, but why wouldn't the guy in this case use the actual serial number of his destroyed Colt TSMG instead of some imagined one with a "B" suffix? Not to mention that DR doesn't finish the bolt cavity area on his receivers, what gunsmith would risk work on finishing the receiver knowing the penalties for such an act? Just for argument sake, if this scenario occurred in this case imagine the repercussions when a perspective buyer discovers this activated dummy receiver during their inspection of this TSMG.
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#26 AZDoug

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 12:04 AM

Is that dot behind the NO a period, or a tiny pit left over from when the original SN was welded over before smoothing and restamping? I would be courious as to what year the gun was originally registered?

Doug
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#27 Roland, Headless Thompson Gunner

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 07:24 AM

I wrote the guy and asked him for any more info. He just responded that a guy name Gordon recommended he pull the barrel and see what the original serial number was as the history could be interesting. He didn't indicate that he would though.

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#28 gijive

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 08:53 AM

If the receiver was a leftover from the Numrich sale, as Arthur previously suggested, it may not have a serial number under the barrel. It wouldn't have been marked under the barrel if there was never a serial number asigned to the side of the receiver. I think Arthur has it right, I would be surprised if the receiver's original number was welded over and restamped.

Anything is possible, though, it will be interesting to see if the seller follows up on the secret number angle.
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#29 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 12:17 PM

PhilOhio,
Apparently you do lean toward the notion that the receiver is a legitimate Colt since you believe there might be a serial number inside the grip bar mount. But indeed it would still be a legitimate Colt receiver without a serial number in that area, or on the left of the receiver, in that the "over run" receivers never had any serial number stamped on them. There doesn't seem to be any indication of a Colt stamped serial number being obliterated.

Again, it wouldn't make sense to do such a professional job of making the factory serial number disappear and then do such an amateurish job of "re-stamping" some fictitious number. The mystifying process of removing a stamping or roll mark on a receiver without leaving any sign of alteration would sure have been a coveted process that Auto-Ordnance would loved to have used when they resorted to milling out the areas on the receiver and frame to accommodate the new marks for their "Model of 1927 Thompson Semi-Automatic Carbine."

Of course if you believe that the original external serial number could vanish without any tell tale sign, then the perpetrator could just as easily, if not more easily, obliterate the grip bar mount area serial number.

For those of you who seem incredulous to what TD, G.I Jive and I postulate, do you also doubt the origin of the "NAC" prefix Colt TSMG's receivers?

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#30 TNKen

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 05:25 PM

Re-weld??????

Might explain the mis-matched parts and restamps. Who does the Form 3/4 say is the manufacturer?

Ken
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#31 LSU Tiger

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 06:05 PM

A Colt 1928A1 ? That would make it one of the few guns that the Army got in the 1930's under the limited standard adoption. Wouldn't these guns be 1921's "off of the rack" modified to 1928A1 standard? So, it would have the "1" over stamped with an "8", and "A1" added? Right??? Everything looks too good... to be true.
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#32 gijive

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 07:36 PM

QUOTE (LSU Tiger @ Mar 11 2005, 06:05 PM)
A Colt 1928A1 ?  That would make it one of the few guns that the Army got in the 1930's under the limited standard adoption.  Wouldn't these guns be 1921's "off of the rack" modified to 1928A1 standard? 

LSU Tiger,

Yes, there were Colt gun procured by the Army and then stamped with the U.S. and A1 designations. There would be no reason, though, to restamp the serial number on the receiver. The Army would have just used the original serial number of the modified 1921 Model. The U.S. and A1 stampings may have been put on by whomever registered the gun and refinished it. The "8" overstamp was probably done at the same time also. It doesn't appear to be the same as the Overstamps I have seen, although, it's hard to tell because the gun has been refinished.

The serial number of the gun pictured is not the proper font style used on the Colt guns. In addition there was no period after the "NO" designation. The gun has been restamped. Arthur earlier pointed out that the correct serial number (minus the B suffix) is listed in Gordon Herigstad's Colt serial number book and is spoken for.

I still believe this will turn out to be a leftover Numrich era receiver that was registered prior to 1968 and stamped with a new number. I hope we get to find out.
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#33 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 08:59 PM

QUOTE
But let me pose another question, then. If the numbers are original to a Colt gun, why would Colt do such an amateurish job of stamping numbers on any gun allowed to leave their factory?




PhilOhio,
The only thing hinkey on this receiver is the non Colt and non WWII added "U.S" "8" "A1" possibly the "NO" definitely the "." and the "13159B" serial number. The only difference between this "Over-run" Colt TSMG and the "NAC" ones is that some unknown entity decided to stamp the above nomenclature on the receiver instead of Numrich's own business initials and his serial numbers that he pulled out of the air. The "NAC" Colt guns never had Colt stamped serial numbers to begin with and they were never factory blued since they were not finished.

Is is not way more likely that this is merely one of the Colt unfinished receivers from the Maguire crate that escaped Numrich's own attempt at stamping his initials? If, as you state, the process of deftly removing serial numbers is , "not particularly exotic or difficult," why wouldn't Auto-Ord have used this simple Simon and economical method of removing the offending nomenclature from their 1927 models instead of milling out those areas? Surely a non detectable method of re-labeling existing receivers would have gone a long way to impress potential buyers that this version of the Colt TSMG was indeed "New" and not an obvious use of existing 1921 full auto receivers with the additional marking areas left in the white.

Naturally without examining this example in the "flesh" there can be no definitive conclusion. But on the descending list of probabilities, your hypothesis would place 4th on the following likely scenarios:

1) Michael Jackson used to having his own way, wanted to opt out of his court appearance obligations and to simultaneously delay the proceedings and get sympathy for his pain.
2) Michael Jackson coincidentally aggravated a chronic back injury on the most important day of his trial.
3 Messereau came up with this plan to show the world how difficult his client is to represent.
4) Michael Jackson slipped on one of Bubbles old banana peels wrenching his back.

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#34 Ron A

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 01:31 AM

PhilOhio - does this mean that this gun can only be shot in PJ"s ? by someone wearing lipstick?
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#35 TD.

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 11:42 AM

It is really funny how a post involving a Thompson like this generates so much interest. If this were Colt Thompson NO 12345 it would garner maybe 10 posts and 300 hits. However, find a Colt Thompson receiver that does not fit in with the Colt production Thompson parameters and you will have several pages of posts with 900 hits and counting. Oh, how the Colt purists howl. Unfortunately, we all forget that the Colt Thompson was a mass produced item that was not made as a collector’s item. Yes, it was made during a time when real craftsman who had pride in their efforts manned the production line. However, the reality then and now is in a manufacturing environment you have the paid for product that goes out the front door and the left over excess that must be dealt with when production is concluded. Generally, spare parts are always required and this accounts for some of the planned production overruns. What happens to the rest of the product is always food for discussion with collectors because it usually does not fit into any neat package. This is what makes the Colt Thompson variations a fascinating study in and of themselves. The early NAC Thompsons are probably the biggest lot of these variations – with Colt, Savage, Auto-Ordnance and unmarked receivers. The NAC pedigree makes these Thompsons somewhat easy to categorize. But then comes the other variations like what we have here.

Obviously, I am one of those who enjoy the Colt variations. These Thompsons are quite fascinating to those who interests scans the entire Colt era…and are considered “mutts” to those whose limited interests stops at NO 15040.

With that in mind, I could not resist a call to the seller for some additional details on this particular Thompson. Yes, I am an interested buyer but as I said earlier, respect is on thing, value is quite another. Frank @ Frank’s Gun Shop was a pleasure to speak with. It is his opinion this was at one time a military Thompson that “walked off the base.” He did examine the Thompson for me and stated he could find no military type markings other than the US and A1 markings. He told me he purchased this Thompson from Bob Landies at Ohio Ordnance in 1995 or 1996. Bob told Frank he purchased this Thompson and a Lewis gun in a package deal. It is an amnesty registered Thompson that has C&R status. It does have a Lyman rear sight, the lower frame is not serial numbered and the paddle levers are not checkered. Frank mentioned that someone named “Gordon” recently called him and asked questions about his Thompson. Gordon mentioned he had written a book on Thompsons. It was Gordon’s opinion that Frank would have to remove the barrel to see the real serial number for this Thompson. Frank is not interested in removing the barrel. I get the impression Frank is very happy with his Colt Thompson “as is” and is not interested in all the possible nuisances that go along with the Colt Thompsons. In that regard, Frank is pretty firm on the price because he really likes this Colt Thompson.

I know this additional information does not answer all the questions one could ask about this Thompson variation but it does provide more information to mull over. Since it is an amnesty registered Thompson, the possibility this receiver came from the crates of the old Auto-Ordnance Division is remote. I have no reason to suspect that George Numrich did not paper every gun and receiver he found when inventorying his purchase. It certainly could be a lunch box special. I would guess a few Colt receivers (and a lot more Savage & AO receivers) found their way out the back door when the Thompson was in production. Or it could be, as Frank believes, a military Colt Thompson that some one changed the serial number on after it left the inventory controls of the US Government. A comparison of the U.S. and A1 markings on NO. 13159B and a “real” U.S. Model of 1928 A1 Colt Thompson as shown on Page 108 of Tracie’s books indicates the U.S. and A1 markings are quite similar. Look especially at the font style of the number 1 in the “A1” markings. If Frank’s theory is true, this particular Thompson has a one in 540 chance of being Colt Thompson NO 15040. This leads me to ask only one question to the Colt purists, “Are you feeling lucky today?” biggrin.gif


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#36 gijive

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 12:20 PM

QUOTE (TD. @ Mar 12 2005, 11:42 AM)
It does have a Lyman rear sight, the lower frame is not serial numbered and the paddle levers are not checkered.

TD,

Interesting post. The fact that the lower frame is not serial numbered makes me think the gun didn't "walk off the base" as the seller describes. The miltary guns should have serial numbered frames, even if they were rebuilt. Also, the customary practice was to change the serial number of the frame when rebuilding the gun, not grind and reweld the receiver to produce a new number. I don't see any reason why the military would grind off the serial number on the receiver and restamp it. The serial number should be the original Colt numbered one if it was really an early military purchase.

Another scenario might be that the gun was stolen at some point in it's career and the serial number obliterated and restamped prior to the amnesty registration. The only true way to know would be to check the number under the grip frame, if one actually exists.

In addition, examination of the gun in person might produce evidence that the adjustable Lyman sight is a military variation as opposed to a sight from a Colt gun. There are very subtle variations on the earlier Lymans as opposed to the mass produced WWII guns.

The plot thickens.
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#37 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 01:11 PM

QUOTE
Look, guys, just about every marking on this gun has been faked or modified. One cursory look tells you that. So while many of you have made fine and scholarly comments about the meaning and relevance of markings of this type, all of this is not valid if the markings are fake. The whole gun, or what I can see of it in the pictures, is a joke.
PhilOhio

PhilOhio,
You did indeed infer that this TSMG was amnesty registered, but in your same post you also said the above. So what changed your opinion that this gun is no longer a "joke" and is indeed a real life Colt TSMG as was profered at the begininng of this thread?"

TD,
The fact that this was registered during the 1968 Amnesty period would not preclude it from being an "over-run" Colt. Many PD's also registered their TSMG's at that time as well. Does that mean that their TSMG's were stolen? There is no rhyme or reason as to what Numrich did with what was discovered inside the Maguire crates. Remember the peculiar engraved Numrich M1 with the rear bolt notch that a board member posted? If that was a legitimate WWII prototype, why did Numrich obliterate the original numbers and roll marks with his own, thereby rendering the receiver useless as a real prototype model?

But if pilferage is among the scenarios as to how this TSMG was Amnesty registered, then surely a Numrich employee could just as easily have absconded with this non-numbered receiver and added his own serial number. But if this example did indeed have one of the original 15000 serial numbers, and then properly marked by the U.S. Government authorities back in the 1930's, why would someone go to the effort of obliterating the "original" number, adding a made up one with suffix when the whole purpose of the 1968 Amnesty was to just get any NFA item registered no questions asked? Were not most of these Amnesty guns either vet bring backs of WWII Allied/Axis weapons including any automatic weapon they were issued themselves? If this was serial number 15040, why wouldn't Frank take a peek inside the grip mount and confirm it since that would make this example worth much more than the $22K figure? He sure couldn't hurt the current finish or the Savage barrel by doing so. In fact, one poster on this board sometime back showed a photo of a TSMG that was indeed liberated from a base arsenal and it was Amnesty registered with the original serial number. Also, why would the feds double stamp in an offset manner the "U.S." and why does the "8" overstamp look so dissimilar to the other Colt non "Navy" marked overstamps?

Let's imagine that back in the 1960's, a military stamped Colt TSMG might have had more cache than a plain Colt U.S. Navy , 1928, or 1921 model. or, the additional "U.S." "A1" stamps could have been added anytime after the registration back in 1968 to account for the missing Colt frame and Colt externals and internals.

Did you ask Frank how this TSMG is listed on the ATF papers?

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#38 TD.

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 01:17 PM

gijive –I agree that there is no reason for the US military to change the serial number on this Thompson. I believe it was/is common practice to just add an “X” to a serial number when a duplicate is discovered. If I am not mistaken, the US military stopped marking the lower frames with a serial number toward the end the WW II production run so that could explain an unmarked lower frame on this Thompson (See Thompson Collector News, Vol. 148, Page 9). The stolen scenario works best for me and explains the U.S. and A1 markings along with the obliterated serial number. I have experience hand stamping numbers and letters on guns; it is quite easy to cause a double stamp if you are not paying attention – especially if it just one gun of many that have no particular interest to you, i.e., rebuild program. Yes, Hawkeye Joe, I believe the “U.S.” is all one stamp. gijive, I really like your thoughts on the rear sight. This is something I did not know. Given the 1922 patent dates, this is a very late Colt Thompson receiver. Are there subtle differences in the Lyman sights on the early Colt guns versus the late Colt guns? The reason I ask is because Frank has written in American Thunder I (Page 217) that Lyman had several barrels of rear sights left over from the initial production run for Colt.

PhilOhio - Without more, I too am convinced the real answer may only be known with the removal of the barrel. “Maybe they'll find a way to grind it out and "correct" it, to match the external number on the receiver.” AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…. (but an excellent point)


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#39 gijive

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 01:38 PM

QUOTE (TD. @ Mar 12 2005, 01:17 PM)
IIf I am not mistaken, the US military stopped marking the lower frames with a serial number toward the end the WW II production run so that could explain an unmarked lower frame on this Thompson (See Thompson Collector News, Vol. 148, Page 9) gijive, I really like your thoughts on the rear sight. This is something I did not know.  Given the 1922 patent dates, this is a very late Colt Thompson receiver. Are there subtle differences in the Lyman sights on the early Colt guns versus the late Colt guns? The reason I ask is because Frank has written in American Thunder I (Page 217) that Lyman had several barrels of rear sights left over from the initial production run for Colt.

TD,

I recall that article about the lower frames not being numbered also, but most WWII rebuilds that are seen usually have mismatched frames or the number crossed out and the receiver number stamped to match.

Regarding the sight differences, early Colt guns I have observed have a a windage knob that is flat. The WWII Lyman sights I have observed have a slight indentation on the windage knob. Check your gun to see what I mean.

The sight base on the Colts is usually a little smoother and the Lyman printing on the spring housing is usually a little crisper and more polished. Yes, lots of sights were left over, so I don't know if the later Colt guns had sights more similar to the WWII variety. I haven't observed that many late numbered Colt guns.

The secret number is the key to determining where this Colt receiver came from, but apparently the seller isn't interested (Hmmmmm?) so I guess the new buyer will be the one to solve the riddle.

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#40 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 03:51 PM

G.I Jive,
A difference between a Colt Lyman site and a G.I Lyman site is the depth of the notch and the "U.S.A." is spaced further apart on the Colt Lyman. Some Colt windage knobs also have the indent as do the WWII ones. Of course the Lyman Colt sites have the same bluing as the rest of the TSMG while the G.I. Lyman's are black, parked, differently blued, etc.

Whomever the buyer of this TSMG turns out to be, they should be adamant about checking the number inside the grip mount before the purchase. Frank should not have any trepidation or hesitancy in allowing the "ready to pay cash" buyer to check this out. Frank's 'I don't feel like it" excuse should be a deal breaker for any serious collector.

But now that the doubting Thomases seem to acknowledge that this example is indeed of Colt manufacture, the only missing piece of the puzzle that ever existed from the beginning is whether there ever was a factory serial number on this receiver. If there is one under the grip mount, then obviously there was one on the receiver, but that still doesn't guarantee that this was a "stolen" firearm anymore than any other Amnesty registered NFA item. But if there isn't a serial number, and there is no evidence of tampering, then it sure isn't one of the Government Colt TSMG's. If there is a serial number, it would be in the over 14500 range, and maybe in the 15000 range. That would make it much more valuable. Why would Frank leave it to the next owner to discover this possibly high serial number which would make it way more valuable than the $22K he is asking?

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