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View Full Version : Legality of Semi-Auto Tommy Gun?


audihenry
02-25-2008, 12:07 PM
Hi guys,

I have been aching for a Tommy gun. Since our commie state doesn't allow a full auto, someone suggested that a semi-auto may be (semi)legal in this state.

What can you guys tell me about this? They mentioned a 10 round fixed magazine and something about the pistol grip or stock or something.

In short, how can I get a semi-auto Tommy gun?

Thanks!

Nefarious
02-25-2008, 12:09 PM
This discussion has been hashed out on here already ... use the search function

There are dealers here on the forums that can put one in your hands

audihenry
02-25-2008, 12:18 PM
Guys, having some trouble with the search function.

Can you link me the tread and/or the dealers who can handle this for me?

Thanks so much in advance!

P.S. MUST HAVE the pistol grip! I don't mind the 10 capacity magazine, because it's semi auto anyway.

Cheers!

smle-man
02-25-2008, 12:21 PM
Guys, having some trouble with the search function.

Can you link me the tread and/or the dealers who can handle this for me?

Thanks so much in advance!

P.S. MUST HAVE the pistol grip! I don't mind the 10 capacity magazine, because it's semi auto anyway.

Cheers!

Without separating the receiver from the frame each time, how will you reload it, if it has a fixed magazine? I had one of these back in the dim past. It weighed a ton, had a 12 lb trigger pull and looked silly with the 16" barrel. I got over it in about 6 months.

scubamark13
02-25-2008, 12:25 PM
You can have one they are legal you just need to make a fin grip or fix the mag. I went with the fin grip and I run a 10 round drum because 10 round stick mags are impossible to get. I got mine at CWS but I think Metroshoot has them in stock. http://www.metroshotfirearms.com/ They are heavy mine is 13lbs with no ammo but what a conversation piece. The last thing you are going to have to worry about is a FFL I had to drive a hundred miles but it was worth it. Here is a link to mine
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=76629&highlight=thompson+1927-a1

Try the search function there is all kinds of info on its legality.

Stormfeather
02-25-2008, 12:27 PM
Hello AudiHenry, please feel free to introduce yourself here. . . .

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/forumdisplay.php?f=63

Then afterwards, :xeno: and you will probally find the answer you are looking for really quick. Keywords are: thompson kahr arms 1927a1 and then once youve found that, use the assualt weapons flow chart guide, accessible in the dark blue line above the posts, where you see white letters that say "home". . ."oll assembly guide". . . sponsors". . . "ca aw flowchart"

Welcome to the boards of course, please treat it as you would your own moms house. The only dumb questions is the one you dont ask, after you have :xeno: of course

Stormfeather
02-25-2008, 12:29 PM
Hi guys,I have been aching for a Tommy gun. Since our commie state doesn't allow a full auto, someone suggested that a semi-auto may be (semi)legal in this state.
What can you guys tell me about this? They mentioned a 10 round fixed magazine and something about the pistol grip or stock or something.
In short, how can I get a semi-auto Tommy gun?
Thanks!

Did they mention at least introducing yourself first?

audihenry
02-25-2008, 12:41 PM
Thanks much, guys!

I'm new at this, so may I ask two questions?

1) How does one load a non-removable drum magazine? Would one only be able to shoot one at a time and not utilize the whole thing?

2) If one goes with the removable strip magazine option, how illegal would it be to use a drum magazine for display purposes? I can't picture a Tommy gun with a straight mag!!

Thanks!

scubamark13
02-25-2008, 12:49 PM
In my opinion there is no way to load a Tommy gun without removing the mag. They guys at Metroshoot have come up with a bullet button idea that is in the grey area. (USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION SFV_dealer)http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=79140
If you ask me you should go with the fin grip it really isn't that bad and you can detach any 10 round mag that you can find.

Good luck

audihenry
02-25-2008, 1:04 PM
In my opinion there is no way to load a Tommy gun without removing the mag. They guys at Metroshoot have come up with a bullet button idea that is in the grey area. (USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION SFV_dealer)http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=79140
If you ask me you should go with the fin grip it really isn't that bad and you can detach any 10 round mag that you can find.

Good luck

That's very interesting. There's always a workaround to these ridiculous laws and I think that fellow may have possibly found his.

So when they say the magazine can't be removable, I take it this means can't be removable without a special tool or something? Removing it at home wouldn't violate anything, right?

Please bear with my ignorance.

scubamark13
02-25-2008, 1:14 PM
Try reading all of this it will explain most everything.

http://www.calguns.net/copmemo2.pdf
and
http://www.calguns.net/caawid/flowchart.pdf
The cliff notes version
http://www.paul.net/guns/CaliforniaRifles.pdf

Then use the search button for any questions you may have.
If you remove the mag lock at home you are making a illegal rifle don't do it.

gosparx
02-25-2008, 2:07 PM
Here's my son shooting our semi-auto Thompson 1927A-1.

8271

It has a 'fixed' 10 round drum. Basically it has the equivalent of a bullet button that requires a tool (I use the end of an allen wrench) to depress a pin that allows the mag release lever to move. It's as legal as any BB.

Here's a close up of the mag release lever. The 'button' is the round spot in the middle of the textured part of the lever.

8272

I need to point out... when I got the gun all it had was a set screw holding the mag lever in place... making the gun CA legal... BUT completely unusabe. The problem with the 'set screw' solution is that you have to REMOVE the screw to drop the magazine/drum, and you have to drop the magazine/drum in order to load it. Unfortunately, while the screw is out, you have an illegal AW on your hands.

Unlike many guns (with a fixed mag) it is not possible to load the Tommy via the ejection port (at least not with a drum).

The bullet button that is currently on the weapon I made by using a buffer-detent and detent-spring from an AR. I pulled the grip off the gun, drilled out the hole so that the detent would fit, inserted the detent and spring, then put it back together. I also drilled out and slightly resized the hole (where the set screw had been) in the mag release lever. This is now the hole the detent sticks up into.

It works great.

The biggest problem actually has nothing to do with CA law, but with the fact that the Tommy is a pain in the asp when it comes to detaching and loading the drum. You have to use their 'third hand' tool or reach up behind the drum with a long thin tool, with the bolt locked open, in order push a lever that allows you to slide the drum out. This is a pain because the bolt does not lock back on the last shot when you are using a drum, so you have to lock the bolt back manually, and the Tommy (at least mine) is really, REALLY stiff. (but it's getting better as it breaks in)

So the Thompson is a big, heavy gun that is a complete pain to load, especially when it's just 10 rounds... BUT what a fun gun!

Lateralus
02-25-2008, 3:25 PM
Ive had the pleasure of seeing an Auto ordinance thompson in .22 I loved it. If I was going to get a practical thompson here, that would be it.

gosparx
02-25-2008, 3:46 PM
Ive had the pleasure of seeing an Auto ordinance thompson in .22 I loved it. If I was going to get a practical thompson here, that would be it.

A .22 Tommy is on my wish list! The .45 is fun, but it has to do with the nature/history of the gun and not so much that it's actually fun to shoot or that you can actually hit much with it.

The .45 is really fun to shoot from the hip, but then you really can't hit anything, especially when it's a semi!

How much does the .22 weigh??

Lateralus
02-25-2008, 8:10 PM
How much does the .22 weigh??

Sorry, i only handled it for about 5 minutes. But id guess about 6-7 pounds. It wasnt what id call a light weapon...

Sampachi
02-25-2008, 10:34 PM
Hey! I sent you over from Gunboards yesterday. Good to see you got the info you wanted :D

audihenry
02-26-2008, 1:10 AM
Here's my son shooting our semi-auto Thompson 1927A-1.

8271

It has a 'fixed' 10 round drum. Basically it has the equivalent of a bullet button that requires a tool (I use the end of an allen wrench) to depress a pin that allows the mag release lever to move. It's as legal as any BB.

Here's a close up of the mag release lever. The 'button' is the round spot in the middle of the textured part of the lever.

8272

I need to point out... when I got the gun all it had was a set screw holding the mag lever in place... making the gun CA legal... BUT completely unusabe. The problem with the 'set screw' solution is that you have to REMOVE the screw to drop the magazine/drum, and you have to drop the magazine/drum in order to load it. Unfortunately, while the screw is out, you have an illegal AW on your hands.

Unlike many guns (with a fixed mag) it is not possible to load the Tommy via the ejection port (at least not with a drum).

The bullet button that is currently on the weapon I made by using a buffer-detent and detent-spring from an AR. I pulled the grip off the gun, drilled out the hole so that the detent would fit, inserted the detent and spring, then put it back together. I also drilled out and slightly resized the hole (where the set screw had been) in the mag release lever. This is now the hole the detent sticks up into.

It works great.

The biggest problem actually has nothing to do with CA law, but with the fact that the Tommy is a pain in the asp when it comes to detaching and loading the drum. You have to use their 'third hand' tool or reach up behind the drum with a long thin tool, with the bolt locked open, in order push a lever that allows you to slide the drum out. This is a pain because the bolt does not lock back on the last shot when you are using a drum, so you have to lock the bolt back manually, and the Tommy (at least mine) is really, REALLY stiff. (but it's getting better as it breaks in)

So the Thompson is a big, heavy gun that is a complete pain to load, especially when it's just 10 rounds... BUT what a fun gun!

Thanks for your thorough reply! So, if I understand correctly, do you load the bullets with the magazine attached or do you use the tool to remove it, load it, and then attach it? Or is doing the latter completely illegal? :eek:

audihenry
02-26-2008, 1:11 AM
Hey! I sent you over from Gunboards yesterday. Good to see you got the info you wanted :D

Thanks buddy, I appreciate it! :)

saki302
02-26-2008, 4:29 AM
I think they make a new model with an alloy receiver.

A gripless M1 with 30rd stick mags would be the ideal choice- assuming you bought spare bags before the 94 ban..

Sure, it's heavy, but the thompson is a f-n tank. I don't see how anyone could wear one out in a lifetime of use- the springs, maybe.
My buddy's dad loved his in WW2, though that was of the 'real' variety! He gave many a German soldier extra ventilation holes :D

(on a side note, I handled both the SBR and 16"bbl thompsons at the SHOT show. The 16" version balanced better IMO- I don't know if they add weight to the stock or not on both, but the SBR felt back-heavy. I played with the drum version and stock version, IMO the drums are too clumsy and difficult to use, whcih is probably why our boys didn't get them in ww2)

-Dave

scubamark13
02-26-2008, 6:59 AM
My drum is a pain in the butt to load. You need the 3rd hand to lock the bolt back then you need to take the clip off then pull the cover off and load the bullets. And you do the reverse to put it back. It takes a while.

A .22lr version may be the way to go if someone is looking for something fun to shoot.

audihenry
02-26-2008, 9:14 AM
But is it fun to shoot??? :D

scubamark13
02-26-2008, 9:36 AM
Of course it is anything is fun to shoot.

Utha Schleigle
02-26-2008, 9:20 PM
I owned one and my dad owned the other. Any way heavy / finicky on ammo / 50 round jammed and some spun bullet around / only stick mags worked for me. Very sturdy - lots of safety features. Lots of metal to clean.

Yes it was fun at the range - many people still remember the UNTOUCHABLES with Robert Stack.

gosparx
02-28-2008, 3:40 PM
Thanks for your thorough reply! So, if I understand correctly, do you load the bullets with the magazine attached or do you use the tool to remove it, load it, and then attach it? Or is doing the latter completely illegal? :eek:

With thy way the drum works on the Tommy and the size/location of the ejection port you have to remove the magazine/drum to load the gun.

If the only mag lock you have on the gun is the set screw, then while you are loading your gun, you have an illegal AW.

From what I've seen, at least up at Angeles Shooting Ranges, they don't seem to care. Just make sure that you put the screw back in before you leave the range, and hope there isn't some noisy DOJ wannabe shooting next to you.

The way I have my gun set up (with the spring and detent) the gun is CA legal ALL the time, whether or not the magazine/drum is attached to the gun.

All you need to do the conversion is a hand drill, the right sized bit and the buffer-detent and a buffer spring. The mods can also be done using the safety plunger and spring from the side of a 1911 pistol, but the AR buffer detent works much better and is easier to install.

8332

Any more questions, just ask.

chief_of_smoke
04-01-2008, 11:49 PM
Go to Las Vegas and shoot a real tommy gun at the Gun Store at 2900 E. Tropacana, $45 for 50 rounds. I did it last weekend.