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Tommy Gun..New or Used..need advice

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I'm looking into getting a tommy gun, been looking at the 1927-A1 deluxe. I can buy a new Kahr/Auto Ordnance from a dealer, but i also found a used one made in 1981, by Auto Ordnance West Hurley, NY.
I have read every post I can find on the thompson.

My question is which one of these would probably be the most reliable?
Do the older ones have a better reputation?
If you look at this link, (CLICK ON PICS TO ENLARGE) can you identify if this is the desirable Lyman rear sight. Or is it the same as todays factory sights.
http://www.simpsonltd.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_31&products_id=827

Please post opinions on reliability of new vs. old , and the sight identification.
Thanks
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Two of my shooting buddies have West Hurley Thompsons, and both had to go back to the plant for repairs. I think they both had extractor toubles. I saw one of the guns in action on Saturday, and it was running fine. I don't have a very high opinion of anything made by Auto Ordnance, so I'm going to say that the Kahr stuff must be better. I know they made signficant upgrades to the mechanical specs of the "Thompson" 1911s.
The rear sight in the pictures looks outwardly like a Lyman, but I can't say if it contains the full adjustments, or just puts a cheaper sight in a housing that looks like a Lyman. The later, fixed-sight G.I. Thompsons had wedge-shaped protective ears, and didn't look much like the Lyman.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My main concern is that it doesnt jam, it always seems to take the fun right out of shooting. The acuracy isnt really expected, but the best sights possible would be nice, the pics look different than the current model sights, but I have never seen the lyman sights so I'm not sure.
 

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I took another look at the picture showing the top of the receiver, and the sight sure looks like the original Lyman. It has a "battle" aperture when flipped down, and then an adjustable ladder arrangement for longer (too-long, I suspect) ranges.
 

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February 1, 1999 Auto-Ordnance was sold to Kahr Arms. The finish of the Kahr Thompson replica is alot smoother finish than Auto-Ordnance. Kahr's seem to function fairly well, and with minor adjustments to the magazines, or the catch improve it's reliability big time. Modifying the catch will allow you to use USGI mags. If they iron out the flaws AO had they will have a great product, and they do stand behind their products. Go with the Kahr, it's better all around IMO.:)
 

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that does NOT appear to be lyman. i can'nt see the windage adjustment on it.

the ladder is two way adjustable, and i beleive the windage works with the battle sight also.
 

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That rear sight is the replacement made up after the they finally started to run out of the original windage adjustable rear sights, that were left over from WWII production.

These replacements appear to have been made using the US 1917 rifle rear sight as a model.
The early versions actually used modified 1917 sights, later they started producing them new.

You'll get an equal mix on which version is better, the Numrich Arms/Gun Parts or the Kahr version.

The one from Simpson is WAY over priced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, thanks for the advice. If the older models are not any better...then I'll buy the new one and get the warranty.
I can upgrade the sights and mag. catch if needed.
 

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special-ed said:
Okay, thanks for the advice. If the older models are not any better...then I'll buy the new one and get the warranty.
I can upgrade the sights and mag. catch if needed.
Good plan . :)
 

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Used, but only if it's a real one not a semi auto replica's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
beater1911

I have an M1 thompson made by kahr and it runs like a top.
Do you think the M1 side bolt design is better than the 1927-A1 top bolt design? I noticed you switched.
 

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I had a West Hurley 1927A1 for a while.
It was OK I guess, but the best description I can come up with is to say: It was like it was not quite finished.

I had to do a little polishing here and there- more like burr removing and knocking off sharp edges. It worked fine after that- I only shot 230 FMJ or 230 cast RN in it.

It still had a lot of raw, sharp edges all over it. The actuator (cocking handle) was particularly annoying.

If you look at a real Thompson- you'll see the actuator, control levers, etc, are all well-shaped and smooth...except for some nice checkering here and there.
If you look at a West Hurley- the actuator is rough-shaped and lightly knurled, the safety lever is a section of round stock with another pin stuck in it for a lever; the magazine catch was (poor) stamping, etc.
I don't know whether the Kahr is closer to the W Hurley or the originals in this respect.

Since the rear sight has been mentioned, I thought it was pretty unimpressive. It appeared to have a cast "ladder"; and the peep aperture that slid up and down for range adjustment was a thin stamping. The slider had a spring-loaded tab that was supposed be pointed to lock into tooth-like serrations of the ladder. But the ladder was so poorly cast that the serrations were more like light ripples; and the tab was not beveled to match them anyway, so it wouldn't hold elevation very well.
There was no windage adjustment.
The sight and it's base/protective ears were riveted on with rough metal thrown up around the rivet heads.

The front sight departed within a few rounds.
I found the sight and saw that it was pressed into it's dovetail (DT ran fore and aft) with a loose fit, and could be slid out under finger pressure. I did some peening and got it to stay, but it still wasn't the best way to do things.

The trigger was perhaps the worst I've ever used. I didn't expect much, but I didn't expect the worst either.

Like I said, mine worked, after a little bit. But it was a pretty rough gun- especially for the money.

If the Kahrs are much better at all, buy one of them.
 

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To be fair about the Numrich/Kahr Thompson's.

The later safety levers are exact copies of the WWII safety and selector switches.

Very soon after heavy production started during the war, one of the first things to go was the fine, forged and checkered switches.
They were changed to a simple cylindrical body with a straight pin pressed in.

So the pinned safety is correct for the M1 type gun, and an understandable change on the other models.

As for the long heavy trigger pull, this is a direct cause of the design of the gun's trigger assembly.

Back when George Numrich started the design of the semi-auto Thompson, the ATF didn't want ANY gun made that even resembled a Thompson.

As one example, Plainfield made an M1 Carbine with an aluminum stock that had a Thompson-like butt stock and pistol grip, with an aluminum Thompson front grip cast with the stock body.

The ATF very nearly didn't let Plainfield sell it because it resembled a Thompson.

When Numrich started work on the Thompson, the ATF flat refused to allow it, and ordered work stopped.
Since there was NO law or regulation forbidding it, Numrich threatened to take ATF to Federal court.

Faced with the certainly that Numrich would ram it down their throat in court, the ATF agreed to allow Numrich to make the gun, but insisted it be impossible to convert to a full-auto.

When the gun was introduced, George Numrich gave a press conference in which he bragged that he'd spent $100,000 designing a gun that could not be converted to full-auto.

Within months, The Shotgun News was full of ads selling plans on how to convert the gun to open bolt and/or full-auto.

The reason the trigger pull is so heavy is the convoluted sear/striker/hammer system used in the gun.

Like many semi-auto replicas of SMG's, the makers wanted to use as many full-auto parts as possible to cut costs, and Numrich had literally tons of left over WWII 1928 and M1-A1 Thompson parts.

In order to satisfy the ATF and to allow using as many full-auto parts as possible, the semi-auto Thompson guns have a one-of-a-kind ignition system that simply doesn't allow a finely tuned, light trigger.

You have to approach the Thompson as what it is: A legal, firing replica of a historical full-auto gun.

It isn't a modern, light weight assault rifle, and it isn't a target rifle with fine adjustable sights and a crisp trigger.

Like the original gun, it's made of solid forged and milled steel, and American Walnut.
It's HEAVY, bulky, and has a rather crappy trigger.

You have to look at it like one of the replicas of a Colt six gun or one of the replicas of the Winchester lever rifles.....
A shooting replica

What it really is, is a "fun gun", that's as close as most people will ever get to having a full-auto Thompson.

Complaints about how long, heavy, and bulky the gun are, and how heavy and creepy the trigger are miss the point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What it really is, is a "fun gun", that's as close as most people will ever get to having a full-auto Thompson.
That is exactly why I want one...to promote interest in the .45 ACP among my family and friends. The fun will be gone if fails to feed or eject.

They enjoy shooting smaller calibers, and I think it would be a good way to show the .45 ACP can be fun to shoot.
 

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The keys to good operation on the Thompson are good magazines, properly fitted to the gun, and using good quality 230 grain metal jacketed ammo.

Most people who have problems find it's due to using clapped-out old magazines, magazines that were improperly altered to fit the gun, or from using crappy ammo.

I know, lots of people think Russian steel cased ammo is just great, but it does have a reputation of causing problems in the Thompson, ranging from stoppages, to broken extractors.

The gun was intended to be used with brass cased, 230 grain full metal jacketed ammo.

It MAY work with other stuff, or it may not.
 

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special-ed said:
That is exactly why I want one...to promote interest in the .45 ACP among my family and friends. The fun will be gone if fails to feed or eject.

They enjoy shooting smaller calibers, and I think it would be a good way to show the .45 ACP can be fun to shoot.

there is very little felt recoil in the semi's, the only "real" down side is the weight.
with a full load it's pretty heavy, but worth it.:rock:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Brain

Nice photo of the Cammando model M-1.
There is a gun show in 2 weeks, I'm sure I will come home with a new Thompson.
 
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