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Posted: 4/12/2003 7:14:31 AM EDT
How much did these retail for when they were first available to the public? That was in the 1940s wasn't it?
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 10:02:51 AM EDT
I think it was more like Mid 1920's. You could buy them at Sears and Service Merchandise for around $50.00.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 10:07:03 AM EDT
They retailed them to the public prior to the 1934 NFA and they were NOT cheap. About $200 retail in 1934. New Model 99 Savages were going for about $69 retail and Model 94 Winchesters were about $50 at the same time. Model 54 Winchesters (forerunner to the Model 70) was going for about $60 retail. Very few civilian sales after the NFA by AO and almost no civilian sales or production of firearms during the '40s due to WWII.

Read awhile back that Interarms re-imported a bunch of limey lend-lease Thompsons back in the sixties and sold them for $59.50 each.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 10:14:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/12/2003 10:38:05 AM EDT by Jim_Dandy]

You could buy them at Sears and Service Merchandise for around $50.00.

Service Merchandise? Are you kidding? They cost the government more than $50 even after they cheapened them down to the M1 and M1A1 and bought in bulk. Tommy guns use a Godawful amount of machining.

Edited to add link:

"This sort of advertising may seem incredible today, but in 1925 anyone with $225 could purchase a Thompson Submachine gun either by mail order, or from the local hardware or sporting goods store. And with military and police sales being flat, Auto Ordnance sold it's machineguns through every legal outlet it could. It wasn't until 1934 that machineguns, and other classes of firearms such as suppressors (silencers) and short barreled rifles and shotguns, were eventually placed under strict Federal Regulation with the passage of the National Firearms Act (NFA)."

www.nfatoys.com/tsmg
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 3:24:40 PM EDT
As late as the early 70's, you could get a M1 Thompson on the surplus market for about $70. Things didnt get(really) bad until the ban in 86. Thompsons were going for around $800 right before the ban to around $2400 right after.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 3:28:00 PM EDT

As late as the early 70's, you could get a M1 Thompson on the surplus market for about $70. Things didnt get(really) bad until the ban in 86. Thompsons were going for around $800 right before the ban to around $2400 right after.

There's really no need to rub it in.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 3:33:18 PM EDT
I wont tell you what I paid for my MP5 then.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 3:35:29 PM EDT

"...there is one more thing, its been emotional"

You must be a fan of "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels."
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 3:37:48 PM EDT
Yup, that and "Snatch" are both great movies.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 3:39:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/12/2003 3:52:13 PM EDT by Venerated]
I love the scene in Road to Perdition where Hanks opens up on the thugs in the street. He fires from complete darkness and all you can see is the muzzle flash over and over.


Alright...so how much for one today with the proper paperwork?
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 4:03:55 PM EDT
Off the top of my head I'm going to guess $5000 and up if not more. Depends on what you want and how available they are.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 4:25:37 PM EDT
Way low at $5K. M1s and M1A1s are running close to $8K, with rewats and WH guns VERY close behind. 1928s are going for over $10K and 1921s are approaching $20K.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 4:37:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy:
Way low at $5K. M1s and M1A1s are running close to $8K, with rewats and WH guns VERY close behind. 1928s are going for over $10K and 1921s are approaching $20K.



Ok, so that's doable (in my dreams). Assuming I had the cash, how much does the paperwork cost (C&R license, transfer fee, etc.)?
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 4:54:21 PM EDT
I went the tax stamp route. Its $200. I guess you have to work the transfer out with your dealer if you dont do it between indivduals.(same state) I'm not sure how the C&R works and what guns are elegible. Are you open to inspections with the C&R like a FFL? You dont have that if you go the "stamp" route. Our police didnt charge a fee for the finger prints, etc. I dont know how things work where you are.
I guess I should have known the $5000 was low. I was looking for a drum for a friend recently and the 100 rounders were going for around $2000, the 50's around $750. Things are still going up pretty fast, then again, its been awhile since I paid close attention to prices. I'm just glad I got what I did when I did, I'd be SOL now.
Link Posted: 4/12/2003 6:02:08 PM EDT
All TSMGs, with the exception of Group Industry, Pearl, and some rewats, are on the C&R list.

C&R license is $30 for three years. You can be inspected, but the terms of the inspection are much different than for a conventional FFL (BATFE has to give you notice and some other small items).

Local sheriff's office charges $5 for each print card and $1 for a local records check.
Link Posted: 4/13/2003 6:57:14 AM EDT
to buy a NFA weapon you HAVE TO pay the $200 tax stapm nomatter if you have a C&R.
all the C&R does is lets you recive a NFA weapon from out of state with out having to use a dealer you still have a $200 tax + prints + photo + CLEO sig
Link Posted: 4/13/2003 5:18:03 PM EDT
What about a semi-auto "re-issue"? Are there any good ones and how much might they cost?
Link Posted: 4/14/2003 8:39:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Venerated:
How much did these retail for when they were first available to the public? That was in the 1940s wasn't it?



In the 20's they started at about $200 per model 21 which were the first. The problem was the police departments had a budget of about $200 and they had to decide on purchasing 20 revolvers at $10 each or a single Thompson.

The Thompsons continue to rise in price. Probably a bit fast then other Class III items. Your lucky to find one less then 7K now and thats for a beat up shooter.

An original semi-auto brings in major bucks, but the latest semi-auto's are very problematic. Much more then they are worth (my 2cents). The reliability and the looks with the looooong barrel insult the original Thompson.
Link Posted: 4/15/2003 2:01:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Venerated:
I love the scene in Road to Perdition where Hanks opens up on the thugs in the street. He fires from complete darkness and all you can see is the muzzle flash over and over.


Alright...so how much for one today with the proper paperwork?



The ammo used for that scene and the Dick tracy movie was kicked up to produce that effect.

Link Posted: 4/16/2003 4:46:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/17/2003 3:18:57 AM EDT by Jim_Dandy]
Here's a decent buy as far as TSMGs go:

CLICK D LINK

Link Posted: 4/17/2003 3:05:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/17/2003 3:05:54 AM EDT by drfcolt]
Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy: Here's a decent buy as far as TSMGs go:
View Quote
That's a West Hurley made in the early 1980's, probably worth $1K less than that.
Link Posted: 4/17/2003 3:18:11 AM EDT

That's a West Hurley made in the early 1980's, probably worth $1K less than that.

According to the description, it's been tuned somewhat with a complete parts replacement. Hard to say what transferables are really worth. If someone ponies up the money, it blows any estimate out the window.
Link Posted: 4/17/2003 5:54:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By u-baddog:

Originally Posted By Venerated:
I love the scene in Road to Perdition where Hanks opens up on the thugs in the street. He fires from complete darkness and all you can see is the muzzle flash over and over.


Alright...so how much for one today with the proper paperwork?



The ammo used for that scene and the Dick tracy movie was kicked up to produce that effect.




I know. I just thought it was a cool scene.
Link Posted: 4/24/2003 7:09:31 PM EDT
From what I saw on the history channel the Thompsons cost the Gov about 375.00 to make ,so they switched to the grease gun(about 135.00 or less) stamped parts opossed to milled!

Bob
Link Posted: 4/24/2003 7:51:43 PM EDT
I remember reading that in the twenties they were selling them pretty cheap. They had produced quite a few for WW1 but by the time they were on the dock ready to ship the war was over. I remember seeing a picture of an add with a rancher using one to protect his property. They were trying to sell them to anyone. I got to check out one of the FBI versions that came in a cool suitcase with a bunch of extra mags. The guy said it cost him $12,000. I want one!
Link Posted: 4/24/2003 9:49:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2003 9:51:04 PM EDT by Lightning_P38]
Thompsons were not invented until four years after the first World War, Auto Ordnance never agressivley marketed them to civilians, and by 1934 had actually eliminated almost all civilian sales. Outside of WWII AO was never very profitable, and has underwent constant ownership changes and turmoil. There is much ado about the history of the Thompson, but outside of the military and police they were never a common site anywhere, including with the gangsters, some of them used them but in the twenties and thirties the BAR with a hacksawed barrel was the full auto weapon of choice for most underworld trigger men, .45 is great but 06 kicks much ass.

Editedc to add: The british soldiers liked the Thompsons very much but they also chose to replace them with the cheaper to produce STEN, the same way we adopted the grease gun.
Link Posted: 4/25/2003 5:35:02 AM EDT
How would they be able to buy a fully automatic BAR? And was the barrel that long that they had to chop off a bit of it to make it usefull? (trench coats, eh?) Tell me more....

Doggonit (That's gangsta, yo!)
Link Posted: 4/25/2003 6:47:47 AM EDT
Hey Lightning_P38 you are a little off on your facts.
From the Unofficial Tommy Gun Page(http://www.nfatoys.com/tsmg/) "Ironically, the first shipment of prototype guns destined for Europe arrived at the docks in New York city on November 11, 1918, the day the War ended. Thompson now faced a huge problem. What do you do with a trench broom, now that the trenches no longer need to be sweeped?"
"To help boost sales, Auto Ordnance soon resorted to advertising the Thompson Submachine gun as the answer to every possible solution that a firearm could provide. The most notorious being one that depicted a Cowboy blazing away with his Thompson, defending his ranch from Mexican cattle rustlers and bandits.This sort of advertising may seem incredible today, but in 1925 anyone with $225 could purchase a Thompson Submachine gun either by mail order, or from the local hardware or sporting goods store. And with military and police sales being flat, Auto Ordnance sold it's machineguns through every legal outlet it could."
Link Posted: 4/25/2003 10:42:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/25/2003 10:43:12 AM EDT by Jim_Dandy]

I remember reading that in the twenties they were selling them pretty cheap.

You remember wrong. See previous posts.


some of them used them but in the twenties and thirties the BAR with a hacksawed barrel was the full auto weapon of choice for most underworld trigger men, .45 is great but 06 kicks much ass.

Wrong. Gun use was "catch as catch can" for criminals. They used whatever could be stolen, often from nasty guard armories and PDs. Read up on it. Very few BARs used and very few TSMGs used during that time frame. Lots of sensationalized news stories.



From what I saw on the history channel the Thompsons cost the Gov about 375.00 to make ,so they switched to the grease gun(about 135.00 or less) stamped parts opossed to milled!

M3s and M3A1s cost around $12 to produce.
Link Posted: 4/25/2003 2:29:49 PM EDT
Point taken $225 was not cheap in 1925. It still seems a good value for what you got. I highly reccommend anyone with interest in the Thompson check out the Unofficial Tommy Gun Page. It has a ton of cool info.
Link Posted: 4/26/2003 8:53:04 AM EDT
I was given to understand that the reason the $200 Transfer tax was picked (the $ value of the tax) was that it was an effort to double the price of the Thompson at the time. The idea was to "tax the gun to keep it out of the hands of the criminals"--i.e. the Mob. Of course the only ones that could afford to pay the $200 tax WERE the criminals.

AFARR
Link Posted: 4/26/2003 11:12:54 AM EDT

I was given to understand that the reason the $200 Transfer tax was picked (the $ value of the tax) was that it was an effort to double the price of the Thompson at the time. The idea was to "tax the gun to keep it out of the hands of the criminals"--i.e. the Mob. Of course the only ones that could afford to pay the $200 tax WERE the criminals.

I doubt that any of the criminally used pre-NFA weapons were ever purchased through legal means. Most likely they were stolen or obtained through corrupt channels. Much as things are today.
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 11:57:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/29/2003 12:13:55 AM EDT by Lightning_P38]
According to this page www.auto-ordnance.com/ao_ao.html the non belt fed protypes came about in 1919, the US government began testing them in April of 1920. Auto-Ordnance may be wrong, or maybe WWI lasted longer than I thought (and it was a couple of years later not four as I previously posted). I have studied the era some, and like now the media had a tendency to sensationalize things, and the Thompson was unfairly demonized while weapons that were used far more frequently in crimes, and that were far more dangerous were ignored by the press, maybe because it would be hard to demonize a weapon that many law abiding men had been issued in the great war?


Edited to add: As far as full auto BARs being available for civilian purchase back then the answer is yes and no, I do not believe that the BAR was sold to the general population, but the Colt Monitor, which was a cut down version of the BAR (about 18" overall length), was sold to teh general population, if I recall correctly it had a pistol grip cutts compensator very short barrel and could be carried in a shoulder holster, now that is a hand cannon.
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 4:01:17 AM EDT
the new reissues have way too much barel length..this sort of gun just dont" in semi auto 10 round sticks and 16 inch barel,,,no thank you ill take that ugly h n k .45 carbine if i wanted a .45 carbine get it"
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 4:31:41 AM EDT

maybe WWI lasted longer than I thought (and it was a couple of years later not four as I previously posted

WWI began in 1914 and ended in 1918. That's FOUR YEARS.



the new reissues have way too much barel length..this sort of gun just dont" in semi auto 10 round sticks and 16 inch barel,,,no thank you ill take that ugly h n k .45 carbine if i wanted a .45 carbine get it"

I'm not sure what this post says, but I did catch something about barrel length. I understand from talking with an S.O.T. that cutting the barrels down on Title 1 Thompsons and registering them as SBRs is becoming popular with reenactors due to the cost of a transferrable.
Link Posted: 4/29/2003 7:33:04 PM EDT
In my first post I stated that the Thompson wasn't invented until four years after the end of WWI, and unless there were still battles being fought in 1920 then there the Government would not have recieved thier first Thompson test gun until two years after the war. My point being that there was no batch of Thompsons made for field testing in WWI that was delivered to the port anywhere on the day the Armistice was signed, unless there was a secret batch made that are in storage along with the Mattel M16s it is rurmored were issued in Viet Nam.
Link Posted: 4/30/2003 10:02:18 AM EDT
I remember pretty clearly seeing a "Tales of the gun" episode on the History Channel , that described the aforementioned scenario of the Thompsons sitting on the dock on Armistice Day , so if memory serves (and it sometimes does not ) , they were in fact designed for use in the First World War


t
Link Posted: 5/1/2003 11:08:42 PM EDT
I was just quoting what the Auto-Ordnance site said about it, they could be wrong. All of this was way before my time so there is no way I can verify any of it. According to thier website the first prototype which was belt fed was built in 1918, and the first magazine fed prototype was built in 1919. they also state:
In 1920 the prototype was tested by the U.S. Government. On April 27, 1920, the Springfield Armory conducted functioning tests of the weapon. Test results were impressive: 2,000 rounds were fired with only one stoppage. A few months later the Marine Corps tested the weapon with similar results.

Although the results were impressive, neither service recommended adoption.


Take it as you will, but that is enough for me.
Link Posted: 5/2/2003 1:36:49 PM EDT
I know the first civilian model is the #21, but I'm not shure about military models now that I have found TOMMY GUN mag pouches marked "RIA 3-19"??
Link Posted: 5/2/2003 3:44:56 PM EDT
coltshorty- There was a M1919 Tommy. Very scarce, had no buttstock, and a very high cyclic rate.

Meplat-
Link Posted: 5/4/2003 4:20:03 PM EDT
Maybe I can help clear up some of the confusion surrounding World War One. It did last from 1914 to 1918, but the U.S. did not enter the war until 1917. After the armistice in 1918, American troops remained stationed in Germany as a constabulary force. Most troops did not return until mid to late 1919. Additionally, in 1919 and 1920 the U.S. had troops involved in the Russian Civil War (not to be confused with the earlier Russian Revolution). The majority were stationed in Siberia and I believe some were also in Archangel and Murmansk. They did see some action.
Link Posted: 5/4/2003 5:44:12 PM EDT
This might also help.
From The Unofficial Tommy Gun Page:

By the summer of 1918, all of the major design problems had been resolved. What was left was to address the guns durability and external features. The Annihilator I, as it was code named, was now capable of emptying a 20 rnd magazine in less than a second. Work continued until the fall of 1918, when the final prototypes were completed. Ironically, the first shipment of prototype guns destined for Europe arrived at the docks in New York city on November 11, 1918, the day the War ended.
I believe that the Annihilator I is the M1919 Tommy that Meplat is referring to, and the gun that coltshorty14’s “RIA 3-19” marked magazine pouches were intended for.
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