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Colt Thompson 167

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It seems like there were a number of posts and comments from board members recently regarding this gun. I saw the gun years ago after it was purchased by an Ohio collector. It appeared to be a near mint A with a lot of documentation. Recent posts suggest that it might not be what it seemed. I don't know.


I've looked at and owned a lot of original Colt Thompsons over the years. If this one is a restoration it was a damned good one. If I remember correctly, some felt the gun was not original because the lyman sight rivets were not blued. I had 21A number 12XX that was the same way. It was definitely not a restored gun but there is always the possibility that someone removed and reinstalled the sight. The rivets on that gun were staked in exactly like my other guns. Hope this helps.


Greg Fox

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let me see the first batch of colt's getting inspected no blue on sight rivet's>let it pass and ship it...or the supposed 99.9% unfired best colt 21a in country...and somebody remove's the rear sight to restake it...


and this is the one that had not one but a few owner's...as i remember it did not transfer direct from the deceased but a few people in between..


never cocked snapped or fired in fifty year's...and if the story is true that it sat in the hardware store with a c-drum in it..to stop robber's...what no drum line in rec. and frame slot.and no mag catch wear and never cocked to slide in the drum??... but i understand...they knew at the time they had the rare relic... in the store.and nobody ever decided to handle it ever.and never..


the only time i can ever believe that...somebody took one from the a.o rack at the factory...put it in a sealed case for 80 year's in cosmo.and now just cracked it opened...and removed the hardened cosmo.wink!!


the mileage may vary...even ole earl and a few other's showed me over the year's the unfired colt...i always found something..and they could just never explain some quirk..


the 100% colt is not there folk's..real nice one's...even 98% and a smidge better.....unfired and 100% SHOW ME!


and also let me take it apart the right way!!not under some freakin glass case....


take care,ron


yep seen and inspected 1,000 thompson's and owned over 125...so i guess that count's for a little something...not a expert by some....but a heck of alot more then many... no brag just fact...

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"99+%" condition? Ole Jim couldn't bring himself to go all the way with the 100% appraisal? There is no official documentation that I am aware of that is handed down from an owner that stipulates a firearm has never been fired. Didn't Colt/Auto-Ord test fire their firearms before delivery?


Even if this TSMG had only one owner from 1921 to 1991, it doesn't signify that this firearm was impervious to storage wear (if not wear from usage) than any other firearm transfered numerous times. Are we to believe that Roscoe Clyde Smyth was particularly prescient and swathed this TSMG in a protective shell to protect his investment from all elements for posterity? Considering the area of vulnerable flat surfaces of a TSMG, it sure seems that this one lived a blessed life to never succumb to an all too easily acquired scratch. Not to mention the wild wild west (or mid west) robbery story that takes on mythic proportions.


Original owner cache seems to be of more significance with an automobile rather than with a firearm.


The only documentation on this serial number are the usual transfer of ownerships and the unusual original bill of sale. But the fact that it was owned by Falter, who admits being obsessed with acquiring the "perfect TSMG" (and coincidentally, the example in question happened to be a low three digit serial number with a perfect pedigree for the "unfired" crown), and voted on by TCN (was their some sort of write in poll by the subscribers?), with the requisite endorsements by Tracie Hill, and briefly revealed in the Rimfire video, is a little too cozy a relationship for the once owned Falter TSMG to be proclaimed as the definitive "#1 Colt TSMG in the U.S."


If the Rimfire video devoted a fraction of the time examining Falters "#1 Colt TSMG in the U.S." (which consists of a pan over the left side of the weapon only) as it spends on capturing every deadly dull moment of a guy loading an L and C drum at the conclusion of the video, we wouldn't have to rely on the opinions of the insular TCN folks.

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I thought of you when this was posted. Apparently a lot of people have strong ideas about the pedigree of 167.


The gun with the "white" rivets I was referring to was one of mine not 167.



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Let me add some explanation to a story that seems to be crossed somewhat. But you know what happens when you try to clear something up.


When I first talked to Tracie Hill back in 1992, I was asked by Tracie what model Thompson(s) I had, serial numbers, drums, etc. He said that he sent out an annual list of guns and serial numbers that he had acquired through his own research and that of others. There were three lists 1. Colts, 2. Other Thompsons and 3. C & L drums. These lists, as I understand, were sent to people who provided numbers for the list. “Notes” were also entered about most guns and drums. These notes were, it seems to me, the owners’ evaluation of their gun/drum or some specific fact(s) about the item. Many guns have a “percent condition” specified, a PD origin noted, proofs noted, etc. Some of the text actually became part of Tracie’s book Thompson: the American Legend (1996).


Now here we go… Serial number 167 has the quoted phrase ”Best gun in the country” in the notes section of these original lists. This was probably Jim Falter’s quote I would say. He was talking about his gun after searching and observing many high grade Thompsons “from coast to coast”. Like Ron (colt21a), if you look at and inspect a lot of Thompson’s over time you know what is technically better than the one you saw last week or last month.


Jim Falter’s article originally appeared in the 15 February 1991 (Vol. 4A) issue of the TCN. The first TCA Show & Shoot didn’t take place until the summer of 1992. S/n 167 was on display at the show as I have mentioned in a string on this topic before. As far as I know, there was no poll taken by the TCN/TCA about what or who had the best gun at the show, in the state or in the country. How could anyone make such a judgement if they hadn't observed, not just a high number of Colt guns, but a wide range of high grade guns.


But, in the 15 Mar 1992 (Vol. 17) issue of the TCN, a reader wrote a “letter to the editor” and he said “So, the results of the great readership poll are finally in. I scanned the inventory… #167 - best gun in the country, #3151 - 100%, #6164 - mint, etc.” This reader in a humorous way pointed out that all the guns on the list were rated at 90% and above and his was the only ragged out Model 1921AC. Or more pointedly, he was the only person to admit the true condition of his gun. This might be where the reference to a TCN poll in 1992 is coming from. The lists of guns, serial numbers and "notes" were not a readership poll. Just my opinion on how things went down some time ago.


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Thank you for the much needed clarification on this mysterious and murky TCN "poll." Gordon Herigstadt should place asterisks by the serial numbers in his book that include in their identification these sensational descriptions of condition as merely the owner's personal impressions. Then perspective buyers would not be unduly influenced by these monikers and believe that GH personally inspected these examples and vouches for their accuracy.


Sig should probably also shed light on this "poll" on his website post of #167.

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The incredulity as to the 100% "original" condition of this TSMG is not a reflection on your own powers of observation, but rather the genesis of the "#1 Colt TSMG in the U.S," moniker. Thanks to auto-ord-co we now have better perspective on TCN's involvement in perpetuating the legacy of #167.


TCN's recent connection with promoting Kahr's Commemorative "Thompson" is not so out of character considering their 1991 "poll."

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