Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Blank Firing Thompson


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 brih65

brih65

    New Member

  • Regular Group
  • 2 posts

Posted 13 March 2006 - 05:00 AM

I am a WWII reenactor and I am trying to purchase a M1 Thompson that fires only blanks. I know if I purchase an automatic Thompson I need to notify the ATF and have a license. I just want a Thompson that fires only blanks. To advoid the ATF and others I want this to never be able to fire live rounds. I have found plug firing caps and it will get too expensive to keep track of the reuseable shells. Plus they are expensive to purchase. Can anyone help me on this endeavor?
  • 0

#2 Bill in VA

Bill in VA

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Regular Group
  • 652 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southwest Virginia

Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:35 AM

Do a search...this topic has been covered several times here. The bottom line though is that if you gun can chamber a "standard" blank (i.e., one that is interchangeable with a live round, such as .45 acp, 9x19, etc...) then you have a live gun, regardless of whether or not the barrel is permanently blanked, permanently attached, etc... Here in the US, it's the receiver that is defined as the firearm...functionality has nothing to do with it.
If you're a reenactor, your choices (minus a live TSMG) are pretty much limited to airsoft, plug fire, a dummy, or a semi-auto SBR. There's an outfit (SSRoom, IIRC) that says they're working on a TSMG for reenactors that uses a proprietary blank and no TSMG fire control/bbl, but it is still in the vaporware category at this point.
I can't count how many times I've either heard talk of this vaporware, or worse, seen illegal MG at reenactments (yes, I also reenact.) Sorry for the bad news, but that's the way it is.
HTH
  • 0

#3 giantpanda4

giantpanda4

    Respected Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2086 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Howell, MI 48855
  • Interests:Mechanical toys - cars, instruments, and of course - guns. The 1921-28 thompsons are the epitomy of perfection for a mechanical device that fills all my interests!

Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:58 AM

This might help.... not "Real" - but fires blanks!

http://www.gunbroker...p?Item=44960906

A lot of people here have one of the MGC models. They are very accurately detailed. I think this is a similar model.
  • 0

#4 kilroyjones

kilroyjones

    Long Time Member

  • Regular Group
  • 185 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 March 2006 - 05:33 PM

Depending on how much you want to spend there is another option.....

ATF approved blank firing mg's
  • 0

#5 ghostsoldier

ghostsoldier

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Regular Group
  • 483 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NE Florida
  • Interests:WW2 history, gangsters, Public Enemies and G-Men history

Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:58 PM

Brih,
I was just recently in the same boat as you, and decided for my money's worth, to go ahead and buy the new Kahr Arms Semi M1. Despite the mounds of criticism about reliability being heaped upon the 'newer' model Thompsons, I've had mine for a few months and have yet to have a mis-feed, miss-fire, or any other mishap. I paid 735 bucks for the gun; I bought the 200 dollar tax stamp from the ATF, the 10.5" barrel for 100 bucks (it arrived today as a matter of fact), and after adding the EZ Pull spring kit, some USGI wood, a repro sling and the materials to blank adapt it, I've got just a little over 1,175 smackers (not counting 5 mags for 100 bucks) in it and it's worth a million dollars in reenacting fun to me. I thought the same thing about 'blank firing only', but after pushing some lead pellets down range, I'm glad I opted for the real deal...it's a helluva lot of fun! Save your bucks, and buy a 'true' Thompson; you'll be glad you did!
Oh, and welcome to the forum! smile.gif
Rob
(PS: I had a plug-cap-firing MGC Thompson once, too...nice wall hanger...pain in the ass to keep up with the cartridges... mad.gif )
  • 0

#6 Blanksguy

Blanksguy

    Member

  • Regular Group
  • 78 posts

Posted 14 March 2006 - 02:51 PM

In the years past, I submitted a design for a Blank-Firing-only Non-Gun to BATF Tech. Branch under the clause of "not being readily-restoreable to fire live ammo". A "Theatrical-Device" to fire Blanks.

We knew that we had to get around the 80% Receiver Thompson...and make it so that you could not remove the Blank-Firing-Only "Device".....(not a barrel).

We were going to take and 80% Thompson receiver.....machine out the threads on the barrel-end...and then weld in a device that looked like a barrel....but the firing area would not stop a live round. What we thought of using was a "stop-pin" at the correct depth. If the pin were removed.....the rounds would go too far into the device for the firing-pin to ignight the primers.

The device.....welded in.....and no threads in the receiver....would be cross-drilled from the sides near the chamber for the insertion of hardened roller-bearings which would have been welded in place. If the "device"/barrel were tried to be removed...the cutter would hit the bearings.......if the pin in front of the firing area for the Blanks were removed....ammo would not fire.
All of this work done prior to machining out the Bolt-Area on the receiver.

BATF Tech. Brance said no......too readily restoreable to fire live ammo automatically.
Maybe today they would reconsider?
Regards, RichardS.
  • 0

#7 p51

p51

    Member

  • Regular Group
  • 70 posts

Posted 16 March 2006 - 01:02 AM

QUOTE (giantpanda4 @ Mar 13 2006, 07:58 AM)
This might help.... not "Real" - but fires blanks!

http://www.gunbroker...p?Item=44960906

A lot of people here have one of the MGC models. They are very accurately detailed. I think this is a similar model.

I would strongly advise against buying a plug fire weapon that is located in Asia (check out the small print, the plug fire gun is actually in Japan). These guns often get stopped by customs and the buyers are out the goods and the money. I have known two people who have tried to buy MGC guns from Japan and while they confirmed that they got into this country, they never got past the customs people when they looked into the boxes… No refund, GI-san!
  • 0

#8 kilroyjones

kilroyjones

    Long Time Member

  • Regular Group
  • 185 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 March 2006 - 06:21 PM

There are only two things that I know of that could get a replica gun siezed by customs.

One, the barrel must have the muzzle painted blaze orange to identify it as a "toy". Some weird federal law passed to protect the children. On airsoft guns, it is common for the manufacturer to place a plastic orange muzzle brake on the gun to get it past customs. They also include a finished metal brake in the box, to be installed by the buyer.

Second, the replica must not have any unauthorized trademarks. Such as Colt, Remington etc. There are some companies that have allowed the replica and airsoft companies to use thier trademarks. Armalite is the first to come to mind, with the airsoft version of Armalite's AR rifles.

Some overseas vendors will cover the trademarks with a black putty or electrical tape to try to get them past customs. Other vendors will grind or remove the trademarks before shipping. I ordered a Mac-10 airsoft gun from Hong Kong that had Cobray trademarks and it went thru customs with no problem. No gaurantee on the next shipment.
  • 0

#9 p51

p51

    Member

  • Regular Group
  • 70 posts

Posted 17 March 2006 - 12:47 AM

QUOTE (PhilOhio @ Mar 16 2006, 11:34 AM)
QUOTE (p51 @ Mar 16 2006, 01:02 AM)
... I have known two people who have tried to buy MGC guns from Japan and while they confirmed that they got into this country, they never got past the customs people when they looked into the boxes… No refund, GI-san!...

P51,

This is really interesting to me. First, I thought MGC was long, long out of the modelgun making business...decades. Second, I had never heard that any of their guns were in violation of any U.S. laws, or could not be imported. What possible objections could Customs have? Since you are personally aware of several cases, could you give us a few details as to who said so, what they contended, what chapters were allegedly being violated, and how we could confirm this, to avoid running afoul of legal rocks in the future?

I'm not disputing your facts. They might explain why the replica business is so huge overseas, but not much of it seems to have penetrated our shores. Kalifornia, I could understand. But beyond that?....

That’s a good question and I wish I could quote you what was quoted to them, but both buyers were in Florida when I lived there. I had a Japanese magazine that had an ad for MGC weapons, and they borrowed it and had it translated and placed an order. This was either 1995 or 1996. I can’t recall which vendor, but it was in Tokyo. They had confirmed that the shipments got to either LA or San Diego, can’t recall which (maybe each?), but after some expensive, “Dude, where’s my stuff?” calls, the tracking numbers were faxed from Japan, and it was confirmed that they were hung up in customs. I don’t think any specific laws were cited for the seizures, but customs did confirm they were seizing them as “illegal weapons.” Maybe it was something simple as the dreaded orange tip that was lacking like KilroyJoes mentioned? I don’t think it was never determined what it was. I lost track of the issue after that, but I know where one of those guys is today and I’ll see if I can find an e-mail or phone number to see if he’ll post the details here.
But as for MGC being out of business, I have heard that as well, but you can still buy their Tommy Guns through ads in Japanese magazines. My Japanese is very rusty, but I think here’s a site that has them for sale:
http://www.geocities.../gun_page4.html
I’ve just never tried to get one from Asia after what I saw in Florida…

  • 0

#10 kilroyjones

kilroyjones

    Long Time Member

  • Regular Group
  • 185 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 March 2006 - 05:56 PM

I would say yes model guns can still be imported. If you are really interested in model guns than you might want to look at this forum:

Mp40 model guns

The person running this forum is/was a member here, can't remember his name (maybe mp40?).

Den Trinity is a Asian company with a good reputation amongst airsoft crowds, and they offer model guns.

Den Trinity


Under Den Trinity's FAQ they state " We offer 100% Guaranteed delivery against customs seizure. It applies to most countries and most states in the US" Your best bet would be to ask any questions at the MP40 forum. You might also check your state/local laws, here in Kansas non-firing replica guns are illegal. Airsoft is legal because they "fire" a BB. wink.gif

As to the popularity of model guns, in Japan a person can't own a firearm so a model is the next best thing. Here in the US most people would just buy a real firearm instead of spending $300+ on a "toy".

  • 0

#11 p51

p51

    Member

  • Regular Group
  • 70 posts

Posted 18 March 2006 - 01:14 AM

QUOTE (PhilOhio @ Mar 17 2006, 11:26 AM)
P51, Kilroy,

So after reading your two posts, I get the feeling that not much has changed legally, and that good replicas could probably be imported, if somebody slaps a little orange paint on the muzzle and if there is no patent name infringement, and if there are no "real" gun parts.

I rather suspect that most U.S. gun fanciers have just not seen these things; don't know what incredibly well made, detailed, convincing copies they are. I'd love to have a bunch more, if they were readily available and as inexpensive as they should/could be.

Tom Nelson used to import many of the good ones, through one of his shell companies, Collector's Armory in the edge of Alexandria, VA. He advertised in some national mags, but I don't think it ever really took off. And I don't recall ever seeing the really top rate copies, like the MGC Thompsons, being distributed other than in ones and twos.

My opion is that if there were lots of good smg replicas available, it would stimulate new interest in things Class III, and younger people wanting to move up to the real thing would help increase the pressure for reform of the prohibition laws.

I agree that the people who poo-poo these things are folks who just haven’t seen them, or are people who have the real deal and nothing “replica” will impress them. The only reason I don’t have my MGC M1921 anymore is that I got a great deal on a dummy IMA M1928A1 and I really didn’t need two early Tommy Guns for my displays.
I e-mailed another buddy of mine who I think had tried to order one of these from Japan, and he was told via e-mail that they didn’t suggest he order from them, as they were under the impression that US customs will likely seize it in transit. I think that speaks volumes to the point that they’re hard to get here.
I have no friends in Japan at this time, so I don’t know of anyone who can answer if you can still buy them new. I have several current Japanese magazines about guns that have them in advertisements, though.

  • 0

#12 reconbob

reconbob

    Technical Expert

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2284 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 March 2006 - 09:04 AM

I met with the director of the ATF Technical Services Branch a while back regarding this
whole issue when I was presenting our machined aluminum full auto blank gun. If something
is metal (zinc, aluminum,etc.) their position is that such a replica will really attract tinkerers who will
attempt to convert it into a shooting gun. If something can be altered or converted to fire
only one "live" cartridge - even if that one shot blows up/destroys the replica, they will not
approve it. They will consider it too dangerous as what you might call an attractive nuisance.
Unfortunately I think the quality zinc metal models fit this criteria. I'm not saying it makes sense,
but thats what they said, at least at the time. I am assuming this is why the Marushin mostly
plastic models are around, but not the die cast zinc stuff. Of course, more confusing is that there
always seems to be an exception to the rule...the 8mm Italian blank firing pistols - M1911, Desert
Eagle, etc. they don't seem to have a problem with.
This was a few years ago, and things may be different now, but as the saying goes...my $0.02...

Bob Bower/Philly O
  • 0

#13 kilroyjones

kilroyjones

    Long Time Member

  • Regular Group
  • 185 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 March 2006 - 12:47 PM

QUOTE (reconbob @ Mar 19 2006, 09:04 AM)
Unfortunately I think the quality zinc metal models fit this criteria. I'm not saying it makes sense,
but thats what they said, at least at the time. I am assuming this is why the Marushin mostly
plastic models are around, but not the die cast zinc stuff.


There are still companys and indivuals importing the current production zinc replica models. Not to mention all the used replicas on Ebay. You are right it doesn't make any sense but it is the GOV'T.


  • 0

#14 brih65

brih65

    New Member

  • Regular Group
  • 2 posts

Posted 26 March 2006 - 08:18 AM

I am the one that started this discussion. I have been doing a lot of research in the past year and have continued it in Iraq. All have given me great insight. For that, I thank you. One last question, why is it I could by an M4 Carbine and convert it from parts bought from a gun magazine cheeper than I could buy a Thompson? I could buy a M4 for about $775. Why is the Thompson such a gun that law enforcement watches? There are too many weapons on the market that cause considerable more dammage than the Thompson.


  • 0

#15 Bill in VA

Bill in VA

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Regular Group
  • 652 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southwest Virginia

Posted 26 March 2006 - 08:41 AM

QUOTE (brih65 @ Mar 26 2006, 08:18 AM)
One last question, why is it I could by an M4 Carbine and convert it from parts bought from a gun magazine cheeper than I could buy a Thompson? I could buy a M4 for about $775.

I'm not sure I follow your comment, but if you're under the impression that you could build up a full-auto M4 and blank adapt it cheaper than you could build up a full-auto, BFA'd TSMG, you're mistaken. Of course, machineguns can any barrel length you like...if it's FA, there's no extra requirement that you pay more for the less-than-16 inch-barrelled version. However, the DIAS/lightning link/transferrable lower will cost you about the same amount as a complete M16 (or FA M4.) You just can't legally convert your gun to FA for a few hundred dollars like you could 20 years ago. The reason MGs are so expensive is not due to the value of the gun or its parts, but rather, due to the value of the serial number. There are a limited number of registered serial numbers (read: transferrable MGs) and the rules of supply and demand keep driving the value/prices higher.

OTOH, you can build up a semi-auto M4 SBR for about the same price as an SBR Thompson semi....Ballpark of $800 for either 16" barrelled version, $200 for the tax stamp, and another $100-200 for the short barrel (maybe a few dollars cheaper for the M4 barrel?) Something else to consider is the issue of blank-adapting a TSMG versus an M16/M4. Until someone designs a BFA for the TSMG that doesn't destroy the muzzle crown, you're stuck with tapping the muzzle. (I have a seen a few Cutts/Cutts style compensators that are BFA'd, but they're not generally a simple 10 second swap on/swap off unit.) With M16/M4, however, a non-destructive "hollywood" BFA is still an easy/non-destructive unit...unscrew the flashider, put the BFA in place, and replace the flashider. (Or, you can always use the military's asthetically-pleasing big red box that mounts on the muzzle and locks behing the flashider.)

As far as the police keeping a closer eye on TSMGs than other types of MGs, I'm not sure how much of that's popular myth versus policy-and-procedure. Certainly, the BATF (and most local law enforcement agencies) like to keep an eye on machineguns, regardless of manufacture/model. Granted, the Thompson does have an aura of notoriety by way of Hollywood, the press, etc..., but I'm not sure that the local sheriff's department would say, "watch this guy with the TSMG...he'his gun is more dangerous than that guy with M16/M60/PTRS/etc..."
  • 0

#16 Norm

Norm

    Long Time RKI Member

  • Board Benefactor
  • 2514 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Memphis, TN
  • Interests:Thompsons (of course), Electronics, Physics, History, Mechanics, Collecting License Plates.

Posted 26 March 2006 - 10:11 AM

QUOTE
One last question, why is it I could by an M4 Carbine and convert it from parts bought from a gun magazine cheeper than I could buy a Thompson? I could buy a M4 for about $775.



I think I understand his question.

I think he is asking why does the ATF allow many companies to make an AR-15 (M4 config or other) that could be converted to full-auto (illegally) with parts (M16 bolt, M16 hammer, etc) that can be bought from hundreds of places. Of course, one would also have to have an unregistered pre-November '81 DIAS which is illegal to have with any AR-15.

Although all of the above is ILLEGAL, it is still seems that it would not be that difficult to obtain all those items.

The 27A1 Thompson can be "jackballed" into an illegal full-auto by anyone who can weld. Click here for link to prior post. Keep in mind that this conversion is ILLEGAL!

Norm


  • 0