Anybody have one? are they worth the money? How reliable are they?
Should I get one with my mad money or go for something else?
What it isn't:
It isn't a lightweight assault weapon.
It isn't a target rifle with a nice trigger.
It isn't really a good home defense weapon.
It isn't cheap.
What it is:
It's the closest thing possible to a fully-auto Thompson gun, that's legal to own.
Look at them in the same way as one of the modern replica Winchester lever guns, or a Colt single action.....a shooting replica of a historic firearm.
It fits best as a plinker and range toy.
Some people will tell you the older Numrich Arms made guns are junk, or are great.
Others will tell you the current Kahr Arms guns are junk, or are great.
The gun is HEAVY, just like the original. It's made of solid milled steel and American walnut.
The trigger is HEAVY, creepy, gritty, and long. This is due to the design necessary to get the gun past the ATF when it was first designed.
There is little that can be done to improve the trigger, again, due to the design.
The gun is hard to cock, with extremely heavy springs.
There is little that can be done about this, again due to the three spring design.
DO NOT start cutting or replacing springs. While there are some things that can be done, the gun is set up to work as is, and altering anything can cause problems ranging from stoppages, to a battered or broken receiver.
Altering the trigger assembly improperly will NOT improve the trigger, and it won't convert the gun to full-auto. It will simply cause the gun to malfunction.
If you buy one, let me know, and I'll post info on how to improve things.
Using the drum magazine can be quite difficult, UNLESS you invest in the "Third Hand" device that helps install and remove the drum.
The gun is usually reliable, AS LONG as you have good, properly fitted 20 and 30 round magazines.
On magazines you have choices.
1. Modify GI issue magazines by filing the catch hole upward slightly.
2. Replace the magazine catch with an original full-auto catch.
3. Modify the semi-auto catch.
Most semi-auto problems are due to clapped-out old magazines, or magazines that don't lock into the proper position.
The gun is usually very accurate, BUT the sights are rather crude and have no adjustment for windage and only rough elevation adjustments.
The original Thompson's Lyman sight had fine adjustments and the gun could be sighted in to pin point accuracy.
If you can afford the high cost, an original Thompson 1921-28 rear sight can be easily installed.
With the current factory sights, if the gun shoots off, there is little that can be done without a trip back to the factory.
The gun is an absolute HOOT to fire, and always draws a crowd at the range.
The gun is expensive to shoot, since it just flat EATS ammo.
The manual tells you to shoot ONLY 230 grain, full metal jacketed ammo.
I have shot a good amount of 230 grain cast lead bullets, BUT the Cutts compensator leaded up badly.
The guns often don't work with hollow point defense ammo, and the manual warns NOT to use them.
I'd go with what the manual says here.
The gun was engineered from the get-go in 1921 to use GI-spec 230 full metal jacket ammo, and that's what it shoots best, and safest.
The gun often DOES NOT "like" cheap ammo, and especially not the steel cased Russian stuff.
Bottom line: If you want a really fun to shoot plinker that's as close as you'll likely get to a full-auto original Thompson, you'll probably like it.
If you expect a tack driving, light weight, modern assault weapon, with a great trigger, an easy to operate action, from which you can shoot a wide variety of cheap, or steel ammo, it probably won't suit you.
Just how long is the trigger pull?
Is it more than 1/4 of an inch?
It's longer than 1/4", but not as long as something like a double action revolver.
That's one thing that can be corrected, but unless you know how to alter it safely, I don't recommend working on it.
The reason for the trigger and heavy action, is directly related to the original design of the semi-auto gun.
Back in those days the ATF would not allow any gun to be marketed that even RESEMBLED a Thompson too closely.
I think it was Plainfield that sold an M1 Carbine with an aluminum and wood stock that looked similar to a Thompson, and I think it used a real M1-A1 Thompson butt stock.
The ATF almost didn't let them sell the thing.
When George Numrich designed the semi-auto Thompson, he had the idea in mind of a legal semi-auto, made with as many full-auto parts as possible, since Numrich Arms had bought the Auto Ordnance company along with tons of left over parts from WWII production.
The ATF refused to allow the gun to be made, and Numrich finally threatened to take them to court, since there was no law or regulation forbidding such a gun.
Faced with being ordered to allow it by a federal court, and knowing they didn't have a leg to stand on, the ATF OKed the semi-auto, but were VERY picky about just what the design would be.
Numrich gave a magazine interview at the time saying that he had spent $100,000 designing a semi-auto Thompson that could NOT be converted to open bolt, or full auto.
Within weeks of hitting the market, The Shotgun News was full of ads selling info on how to convert the gun to open bolt and full-auto.
Basically the semi-auto is a unique striker-hammer design.
When you cock the gun, a long dog-leg shaped firing pin/striker is caught by the sear block and held.
In the center of the bolt, the firing pin/striker is backed up by a cylindrical "hammer" powered by a large diameter spring.
The bolt itself is fitted with two smaller diameter recoil springs that fit in two tunnels on the sides of the bolt.
When the trigger is pulled, a lever on the trigger lifts the front of the sear block, which releases the firing pin/striker.
The firing pin/striker is pushed forward by the large firing pin spring, with the cylindrical hammer between the rear of the firing pin and the spring.
The firing pin strikes the primer, and the hammer 'bounces" against the rear, firing the round.
This means that the trigger pull is fairly long, with a lot of creep, and some roughness.
Due to the three springs in the bolt, the action is heavy, and hard to cock.
All this can be improved, but again, only to a certain extent.
The trigger can be "tuned" in certain areas for a lighter, smoother, shorter pull.
Due to the size and weight of the solid milled steel and walnut gun, recoil is very light, and the weight also helps reduce the disturbance of the heavy trigger.
Remember, this isn't intended to be anything BUT a shooting historical replica of a full-auto weapon.
Bought one about at the same time Kahr got AO. Untill I got my AR, this was my most expensive gun, and still is the only one I am unhappy with.
Mine I took it to the range and it jamed every shot. Called the company and they sent me a new mag catch(will not use GI mag stock). replaced the catch and it would still jam. then the sights fell off(both front and rear)(Put about 400 rounds though it to see if it needed to break in, but no, it would crush the second round it would try and load)
I sent it back, and after a very long time I got it back, with a new mag, and the sight back on, the rear sight now had 2 over sized screws which would not allow it to close completly. Took it to the range, andfired 5 shots before it jamed. then the front sight fell off, and I took it home. The 2 rear sight screws that wernt oversized fell out.(the reciever steel was so soft, they wouldnt stay in)
Called them back up, but by now a year had gone by since I got it, and they said the warrenty had expired.
I will never buy anything from Auto Ordance again. Perhaps someday I will see if I can get this gun fixed up, but for the moment I see it as a lost cause. I have not even been able to sell it for half what I paid for it.
Sorry to hear that about your Thompson.My friend has one when AO was making them,and the only problem I could remember was how hard it was to cock it.Other than that,it was a blast to shoot.
Now my question.Is the quality the same since the Mooney's bought Auto Ordinance out ? I was going to actually buy one until I found out Kahr arms was owned by a person with connections to the Mooney's.
The workers at Kahr Arms look like they are under some sort of mind control..LOL The only English speaking guy there was the supervisor.
A few years ago I ran across what I thought was a deal on one ands just had to have it. I think it all stemmed from to many hours watching Elliott Ness and the Untouchables, Combat and the Rat Patrol in B&W as a young boy.
Wood was really rough so that was refinished but over all was very disapointed with it. It felt wrong, didn't shoulder well, heavy as all get out.....Never loaded a round or took it to the range before I sold it at a loss.
Handle one 1st and make sure you want a Heavy range toy. I am much happier with my winchester Trapper in 44 mag than I would ever have been with the Thompson.
The wood on the post-Kahr ones are much nicer, not as blocky and much more authentic. However, I must recomend against buying one unless you got the disposable income.
In not a usefull gun, I cant imagine anyone using one for home defence, maybe for a bowling pin shoot. Quite a heavy gun for a pistol cartrige. If you can, you would most likly be much happier if you could save up longer and get the real full auto tommy gun. Thats my opinion.
Fun gun to shoot, although I prefer the M1 model, it's lighter (but not by much) and easier to cock than the 1927A1.
Postal0311: Even though the warranty has expired, I would stay on-top of those guys to make your 1927A1 shoot right. It should still be covered under their warranty. I hope you save all of the paper work as proof.
Thing is, I bought it shortly before I enlisted. Its sitting in a closet back in Florida, while Im stuck up in VA. I got all my paperwork for it, and what not. It is the only gun I own that I am not happy with. :-(
hell i had one before and i been kicking my self for getting rid of it,..send me a email,. maybe we can work something out.
I got all excited about one of these things also, and decided I had to have one. This was an AO model and it was a piece of crap. I can understand it being heavy, but the materials were very poor quality like the pot metal safety lever, and the Cutts compensator spun around on the end of the barrel. That, combined with the stretched barrel to make it legal never looked right to me, especially after I spent some time regarding a real Thompson in a museum.
I say stay away from these things. There is really no use for them except for showing them off to the undeucated. In my case, it was a "starter" gun bought when I was very young. A little experience (or good advice from ARFCOM) would have saved me a lot of money.
Dfaris, it sounds like you may have one. If you do, knowing what you know now, would you still have bought it?
I owned two, and gunsmithed a fair number of them.
The two I owned were a VERY early Numrich model and a late Numrich model.
I was completely satisfied with both. My total problem with the guns was a broken firing pin on the second, which was probably due to extensive dry firing.
MOST Thompson semi-auto problems are related to using worn out or improperly fitted magazines, ammo the gun doesn't "like", and improper attempts to "fix" the heavy trigger or action springs.
I had one case of a man who had a jammer, who absolutely REFUSED to change ammo. He decided his gun was going to shoot one brand and wasn't going to listen to reason.
I thoroughly tested the gun and found it 100% reliable with about everything BUT his ammo.
He refused to listen or change, and as far as I know is still telling everyone who will listen that the Thompson is nothing but total junk.
When last I heard, the man who bought it had something over 5000 rounds through it with NO stoppages, and thinks it's the best gun ever.
As is the case with all guns, you get winners and an occasional dog.
We hear LONG stories about how rotten the dog was, but rarely hear about the winners.