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What About This Colt Do You See?


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#41 gijive

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 03:57 PM

QUOTE (Arthur Fliegenheimer @ Mar 12 2005, 03:51 PM)

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.

Arthur,

Thanks for the additional information on the Lyman differences. Your other points are excellent, as well.
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#42 TD.

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 12:53 AM

gijive – Excellent point. I agree on the serial number comment regarding the lower frame. From what I have seen, it appears all 1928 lower frames have a serial number.

gijive & Arthur – Great information on the rear sight. I am going to save that for future reference. I suggest everyone else do the same. Thank-you.

Arthur, where to start…


The fact that this was registered during the 1968 Amnesty period would not preclude it from being an "over-run" Colt. Agree

Many PD's also registered their TSMG's at that time as well. Does that mean that their TSMG's were stolen? I really don’t know; I doubt anyone but BATF could provide statistics on that. However, since PD’s really don’t have to register their older and seized weapons, I suspect that only the PD’s with an officer or two that understood the significance of a Form 5 for future marketability reasons took advantage of this last chance offer. Unfortunately, it did not seem to be the majority of PD’s.

There is no rhyme or reason as to what Numrich did with what was discovered inside the Maguire crates. Perhaps not to you or me, but I suspect ole George knew what he was doing.

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? If I remember correctly, there was nothing to indicate this receiver had any markings on it when George and company pulled it from the crates.

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. True, however, I suspect many more Thompsons walked out of the US military than may have left out the back door of Numrich Arms Corporation. Are there any documented cases of machine guns leaving out the back door of NAC that you know of? Are there any rumors of this type of activity at NAC?

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 is indeed what happened, I suspect the serial number was removed long before the amnesty was announced – probably within days of it leaving the government. The reasons for this are obvious.

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. My impression of Frank from one telephone conversation is that he does not understand all the history relating to the Colt Thompson and is puzzled by all the attention to a serial number when the receiver clearly says “Colt Patent Firearms MFG Co.”

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? Operator error comes to mind.

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. My imagination tells me that back in the 1960’s a Thompson Submachine Gun was an inexpensive firearm that was a hassle to own because of all the government paperwork.

Did you ask Frank how this TSMG is listed on the ATF papers? He stated it was a C&R gun.

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. Agree to some extent. It was I that spoke to Frank, not you. I never used the word “excuse” or any of your quotes in my post. Do not try to change the meaning of my post with what you may want to report. I suggest you re-read my post and quote accordingly.

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. Agree. However, if this was a reject Colt receiver, an assembly number could be under the grip mount without a serial number being roll stamped on the receiver depending on when the rejection took place. It is all in the details. By the way, you stated earlier that the Colt receivers George obtained were not Colt blue. I don’t remember ever seeing reported what the finish was, if any, on the receivers George purchased. I am sure you are right but please refresh my memory on this small detail.

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. Agree

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? I really do not know Frank’s motives in selling this Thompson. However, I do get the feeling that it will not bother him one bit if it does not sell. In additon, I really don’t think the discovery of an assembly number would increase the value of this Thompson past 22K unless it was a serial number in the 15000 range. But given the lack of Colt parts on this Thompson as I suspect, along with the reblue and the serial number and US marking problems, it may not be much of a boost. In my opinion, this Colt Thompson variation is way overpriced.

This has really turned into a great post with a lot of information thanks to the great members on this board. I think these variations always bring out the best in us.


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#43 Z3BigDaddy

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 12:58 AM

Holy cripes!!! I'm blind!!! §8-O
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#44 Norm

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:45 AM

AF, TD, Phil, and others:

What are the chances that Colt started to make this receiver and then determined that it was not up their specs (cosmetically)?

Look at the letters in the "Colt address" area. Some letters are very deep and some are very faint. I could understand that buffing the receiver to much could make the letters fade away, but what about the "C" in Colt's, the "S" in Arms, the complete word "MFG", and the "S" in U.S.A. ?

Maybe the person who was roll stamping the receivers condemned it and put it in the "reject bin" before it ever had a serial number put on it. Maybe it sat there for years until the Navy and Army wanted them and then they used every usable receiver they could scrounge up?

It would make sense that if Colt decided to not use the receiver then they would not put a serial number on it.

Norm

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#45 nobra81

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 11:34 AM

I wonder if the gun has the jhb marking on the right side of the receiver. 85% percent of the colts had this marking.

Steve
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#46 TD.

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 01:01 PM

Norm - I think it is plausible that this could be a reject Colt receiver for cosmetic or other reasons. There is really no way to rule out that possibility with the information we now have on hand. However, my thoughts right now are otherwise because of the serial number and serial number markings. I would think the fonts on the serial number letters "N" and "B" would not have serifs if applied by Savage or AO based on pictures of serial numbers I have seen on the WWII Thompsons. In addition, I think if this was an unserial numbered Colt "reject" receiver that was later used by Savage or AO, the serial number would be in the range of numbers assigned to Savage or AO. (Now if it was a reject Colt receiver and was serial numbered by Colt prior to rejection, it may very well go out the door with the Colt serial number - however, the serial number on this Thompson does not appear to have been applied by Colt.)

Nobra81 - I asked Frank about the JHB or GEG markings along with any other markings on the receiver. He told me that he did not see any. Of course, given the polish job this receiver was given - see Norm's post above and the picture of the patent dates, I think it very plausible all the small markings like this could have been removed.

These are both excellent questions and observations. I sure would like to see if a number is under the grip frame.


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#47 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 02:12 PM

TD,
Thank you for addressing all of my points individually.


"I think somebody swiped it from the government long prior to 1968 and changed the external serial number simply so it would not match the number on the "stolen" list. He had no way to anticipate any future amnesty opportunity. But it happened, and he seized the opportunity." Phil


Phil,
If a person were in possession of a "stolen" smg, would they go to way more trouble of delicately removing the existing serial number without leaving a trace rather than to just gouge it out or use acid as in the traditional and preferred method employed by criminals who have used firearms in multiple homicides? If registration of the firearm was never his intent, and he didn't anticipate any thing like a government amnesty, it would seem logical that he would have employed the latter method of serial number obliteration, not the former.

Would this perpetrator of serial number tampering also obliterate the original Colt "NO" if all he was after was a perfect looking alteration? This stamped "NO" is no where near the placement that Colt stamped it. The person who added the "13159B" number also added the "NO" and the period. Would the U.S. government have obliterated the Colt "NO?" The "NO" was never placed on this receiver by Colt because there was never a serial number there to follow it, just like the "NAC" examples. Like TD and G.I. Jive have pointed out, the Colt TSMG's the Government purchased in the 1930's had serial numbers already and they merely added their "U.S." and "A1" stampings. If the Government, or Maguire had known about the "over-run" non-serial numbered receivers in the crate back in 1940, then there wouldn't be any receivers for Numrich to stamp his "NAC" initials on in the 1960's since all these receivers would have been assembled and sold for the war effort.

Which stampings do you consider not right? The "C" in Colt, the "S" in ARMS, the "S" in U.S.A. and the "MFG" that Norm described as seeming discrepancies to other Colt receivers are no doubt a combination of the photography and numerous refinishes this receiver has been subjected to. Even if we narrow the comparison down to just the Numrich "NAC" stamped models, other than Numrich's own added stamps, the roll marks on this TSMG are identical to the "NAC" examples (such as NAC 5) in every way. The lack of the "JHB" mark, while it may have been polished out, is more in keeping with the absence of the "JHB" mark on the higher serial numbers, or the "over-run" end production which were what Numrich found in the crate. These "over-run" receivers all had the 1922 patent dates. A picture of the top of the this receiver with the Thompson logo would also help.

Colt was making these firearms for Auto-Ord and so Auto-Ord may have been less finicky than Colt when it came to what was rejected or accepted for cosmetic reasons. Since JHB was an Auto-Ord inspector and not one of Colt's, if he didn't show up for work on a particular day during the seventeen months of production, the receiver was still passed for assembly regardless of his inspector's mark. Colt didn't consider it necessary to have one of their own inspectors fill in for JHB if his back went out on a given day.

But it is very easy for Frank to take the bolt, spring, actuator and buffer/pilot out of the receiver and look down into the receiver for the Colt inspector markings such as the initials "D," "C," "Z," "F," "U," "O," and "P." These marks would be there whether the Colt receiver was issued a serial number or not.

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#48 Norm

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:28 PM

QUOTE
Which stampings do you consider not right? The "C" in Colt, the "S" in ARMS, the "S" in U.S.A. and the "MFG" that Norm described as seeming discrepancies to other Colt receivers are no doubt a combination of the photography and numerous refinishes this receiver has been subjected to.


These letters are obviously stamped deeper than the others. I see no problems with the photos, and I don't see how refinshing could make them become deeper.

I am just saying that it looks sloppy (at least for a Colt Thompson.)

Norm

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#49 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 08:31 PM

Norm,
It isn't that the letters you mentioned, as well as the "L" in COLT'S and the "R" in Arms, are deeper, it is that the others are shallower, as if polished down from the refinishing jobs. Look at the "E" in CARTRIDGE, it is so faint, it almost looks rubbed out. If one where to white out these letters, the pattern would appear more obvious. I don't see how a roll die would leave letters at different impressions? If you compare the lettering to any other Colt TSMG, you will find similar nuances as the result of normal 80+ year-old wear, or heavy refinishing.

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#50 TD.

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 12:30 PM

Phil,
I did send Frank an e-mail last night discussing the various possibilities concerning the history of his Thompson. During our earlier discussion, he asked for, and I provided a picture of NAC 5 (both sides) so he could see a Thompson built on a Colt receiver that was not a Colt Production Thompson. He told me he had never heard of a Thompson like NAC 5. If he responds with any additional information, I will certainly share so everybody will have an opportunity to comment. I did ask for additional photographs of the lower frame, barrel, compensator and Lyman sight should he be interested in an opinion on those parts. I have no doubt Frank would field strip the Thompson and look for the Colt Inspector Markings Arthur referred too (excellent idea).

I too think we have exhausted all the possibilities without any new information. Any prospective buyer would be well served to read this Thread. This Thompson would certainly be an interesting one to research, especially if the person who sold it to Bob Landies was still alive and could be located. I tried to instill that thought in my e-mail because I am not going to start a research project on someone else's Tommy Gun. The removal of the barrel could resolve the mystery if a Colt production number was stamped on the receiver. To me, that is the best place to start. If a number were present, this information would actually make this Thompson more saleable. Basically, what Frank is offering for sale (as near as I can tell) is a Colt receiver that may or may not be a production receiver assembled with mostly military parts. I think it is still possible to get a complete Colt Production Thompson with original finish for 22K if one has the money in their pocket and an ear to the ground.


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#51 PatM

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 08:38 PM

Looks like its gone! Taken down from Auction arms.Someone ,probably Arthur, bought this piece of ...history. So off with the barrel and tell the rest of the story
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#52 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 09:42 PM

PatM,
Yeah, I bought it. I couldn't persuade Frank to loosen up the barrel so I bought a pig in a poke. When I got it home I immediately operated on it and low and behold....it does indeed have serial number 15040 stamped on the grip mount surface!!!! I am now the proud owner of the last official Colt TSMG. I may have been wrong about it being an "over-run" receiver, but WOW!!!

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#53 PatM

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 10:38 PM

Just remember what your mama said...you'll go blind choking that thing!! ohmy.gif
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#54 DLansky

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 08:07 PM

I am the current owner of this gun having acquired it from Amoskeag during a recent auction. I finally had a free afternoon so I disassembled the gun. I can report the following after a hands on, in person inspection:

 

1. the barrel is a military barrel and is stamped "s".

2. all of the upper internals are marked savage, except the blish which is stamped AOC

3. the ejector is a smooth savage marked one piece ejector.

4. the compensator is a military compensator and was refinished at some point in time as significant pitting is visible under the parkerized finish

5. I believe the receiver to be a late Colt production receiver. the machining for the drum access is identical to the colt receivers to which i compared this receiver and is easily distinguishable from the recesses seen on the early Savage receivers to which I compared this receiver. the fit and finish of the machining on the inside of the receiver is identical to other Colt receivers to which I compared this receiver. the font and spacing for all of the receiver markings (other than model and serial number) is identical to the Colt receivers I compared.

6. the lower receiver is not numbered. although i did not disassemble the lower, all of the lower parts appear to be Savage. the trigger is a Savage trigger based on comparisons to other Colts and Savages .

7. the grip mount is savage marked

8. the Lyman sight is military based on the USA spread and rough finish

9. the rivets are not flush with the base of the sight. they are rounded and protrude.

10. the foregrip is Colt. the pistol grip is moline. the rear stock is early savage. butt plate is numbered to the wood. slide latch is numbered.

11. there is no secret serial number. the is a letter "N" stamped in the recess where the end of the grip mount fits against the receiver. this is the only marking on the inside of the receiver

12. the area under the grip mount is in the white. the threading in the receiver for the barrel is in the white. the face of the receiver nose behind the barrel is in the white. the inside of the receiver is fully blued and the bottom of the sight rivets are not visible in the receiver. I conclude that the upper receiver was not refinished. rather, it was blued with the grip mount and barrel and Lyman sight all attached.

13. other than the "N" under the grip mount, there is not a single letter, stamp or other mark inside the upper receiver.

14. I could find no letters, stamps or other identifying markings at all anywhere on the lower receiver--even under the pistol grip.

15. the US and A1 markings were applied using a different process than the NO.13159B markings. the application of the US and A1 markings were applied with significant pressure/force as there is a noticeable indentation in the receiver under the US and under the A1.

16. the US marking appears to be a single marking and the A1 marking also appears to be a single marking. (i.e., the U and S applied at the same time and the A and the 1 applied at the same time).

17. the US marking  font and location is consistent with the US marking on a military savage I have (other than the double strike). the A1 marking is not, however consistent. the A is a different font and the 1 is also different.

18. the serial number appears to have been hand stamped, very lightly, one number/digit at a time. the 3, 5 and the 9 are incomplete. they are also not on the same horizontal plane.

19.the paperwork (form 4) shows the model number as 1928A1. the manufacturer is listed as Colt Patent Firearms Co., Hartford, CT USA.

 

If there are additional questions, I would be happy to try to answer.


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#55 shadycon

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 09:39 AM

Thank you for the update! This was the first time I read this thread, VERY INTERESTING INDEED!


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#56 ThompsonCrazy

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 10:07 AM

Excellent update!
Do you have the photos from either auction to post or current ones. I was a member of MGbooks back in 05 but I don't remember the specifics off the top of my head.
Great history and even more exciting is that you have the tools to removE the barrel.
The Little Bohemia Colt and now this one!

Keep the finds coming!

TC
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#57 67ray

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:35 AM

Confused.  See Arthur Fliegenheimer say it has serial number 15040 but DLansky says he didn't find any serial number on his gun. 

 

Are they talking about the same gun?  Something doesn't add up.


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#58 bug

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 09:18 AM

The pulling of a leg perhaps?


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