John T. Thompson first began researching a portable hand-held automatic weapon in 1915, with the firearm later being known as the “Chicago Typewriter” because of its staccato sounds of report. Now, Auto Ordnance is producing a commemorative 100th Anniversary matched set edition of the Thompson 1927A-1 rifle and matching 1911A1 pistol.
“We are proud to honor the name and the legacy of General John T. Thompson with this special 100th Anniversary matched set,” said Frank Harris, VP of Sales and Marketing, Kahr Firearms Group. “There is a rich historical past attached to the Tommy Gun, and we feel General Thompson would be proud to see that what started as a research project in 1915 has served the military, law enforcement and shooting enthusiasts around the world so prominently for over 100 years.”
The limited edition Thompson 1927A-1 Deluxe Carbine is offered in .45 ACP and comes with one 20-round stick magazine. It features a 16.5-inch finned barrel (18 inches with compensator) and is prominently engraved with the classic Thompson logo, limited edition numbers, and displays the words “100th Anniversary” on the matte-black steel frame. The gun weighs 13 pounds and has an overall length of 41 inches. Other features include a pinned-in front blade and an open rear adjustable sight. The stock is fixed, has a vertical foregrip, and is made from American Walnut.
As a matched set, the limited edition series also comes with the Thompson 1911A1 GI Specs pistol likewise chambered in .45 ACP, with a 5-inch barrel and a matte-black steel frame. Overall length is 8.5 inches, and it weighs just 39 oz. The low-profile front and rear iron sights are set in dovetail cuts. The pistol is shipped with one 7-round magazine. Just like the Thompson 1927A-1, it too is engraved with the iconic Thompson logo, the words 100th Anniversary, and lists the limited edition numbers on the frame. Both guns must be purchased as a set and the MSRP is $1,971. The guns are shipped together in a polymer hard case with the yellow Thompson Bullet logo and the words “Chicago Typewriter” in white stamped on the black case cover.
The story behind the guns: John T. Thompson was born in Newport, Kentucky on December 31, 1860. His father, a graduate of West Point, served as Lt. Colonel during the civil war and, John, following in his father’s footsteps, also graduated from West Point and served in the Army. It was while he was in the Army that Thompson went to engineering and artillery schools and began researching small arms. He was later assigned to the Army Ordnance Department in 1890 as a 2nd Lieutenant and was responsible for arming and dispersing of weapons during the Spanish-American war.
During WWI, before the U.S. became involved, Thompson saw the need to assist the allies with better artillery, so he retired from the Army to develop a fully automatic weapon. By 1916, while employed as chief engineer at Remington Arms, he created a gun that could be used to clear enemy trenches, nicknamed the “Trench Broom” and this was the beginning of the Thompson submachine gun.
When the U.S. entered WWI in 1917, Thompson re-enlisted into the Army and was promoted to brigadier general. Once the war was over, Thompson continued to perfect the Tommy Gun, and by 1920 it was patented.
Once the war was over, there was little demand for military arms, so Thompson began marketing the Tommy Gun to law-enforcement agencies and also to the general public. Historically, it also became infamous as the weapon of choice for gangsters, including John Dillinger, Al Capone, and Baby Face Nelson.
Thompson died in 1940 at age 79 and was honored with a burial on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Less than two years after his death, WWII broke out and the U.S. Army ordered significant quantities of the Thompson submachine guns.
This article comes from author Robert F. Kay, editor at On Target Hawaii, and author of the book, “How to Buy an AK-47.” Robert recently had the opportunity to have a Q&A session with Rob Behr of Western Powders. Please enjoy Part 1 below. You can also purchase Robert F. Kay’s book HERE.
Editor’s Note: I had the opportunity to meet Rob Behr of Western Powders recently at the SHOT Show—a mammoth firearms industry trade confab held annually in Las Vegas. Western was there promoting its lines of handgun, shotgun and rifle powders. Western is not a big company compared to its competitors but think of them as the little engine that could. They have excellent products and a truly informative website with an online loading guide, a great blog and information on loads for popular firearms as well as some of the more esoteric ones.
I don’t have a lot of personal experience with their rifle powders but their products come highly recommended by some very knowledgeable folks here in Hawaii. However I have used at least one of their handgun powders, Accurate #5, in my S&W model 27 (.357 magnum) and loved it. (So let me brag a little bit. By using #5 I was able to work up a load accurate enough to knock down 12” plates at distances of over 100 yards).
Rob, who handles marketing (among other duties) for Western, is a very knowledgeable hand loader. In addition to managing the website, he writes the “Dear Labby” advice column for the company’s online magazine. Despite Rob’s self-deprecating manner, you’d be hard pressed to find a better authority on hand loading. I had a chance to interview him recently about the company and got some valuable tips on reloading to boot. This is the first of a two-part series.
For the handloader, it’s a great feeling to pop the flaps open on a new box of cases. New, shiny cases are a treat. However, new cases are not ready to load out of the box, and a look over them shows why — most will have noticeably dinged and dented case mouths. Here are a few tips on getting new brass ready to load:
Check Them All for Flash Holes
An easy flaw to watch for is a case without a flash hole. This is rare indeed, but I’ve seen one, and a few of my high-volume pistol-shooting friends have encountered more. Flash holes are almost always punched, but tooling isn’t perfect, or it breaks and goes unnoticed. I actually look at all of them just to get it off my mind.
Don’t Seat a Bullet to Size Case Necks
At the least run all the cases through a die that will size the outside and inside of the case necks. I just use my normal-duty sizing die. That way, I’ve also set case-neck dimensions to what I decided on; that means performance results consistent to my later loadings on these cases. There is not, or sure should not be, any worry about setting the case shoulder back to a shorter dimension than the new case has, if (and only if) the sizing die was adjusted in accordance with the concepts and process I outlined in the past articles.
Chamfer the Inside of the Case Mouth
After sizing, the next required step is to put a chamfer on the inside of the case mouth. The outside won’t need chamfering, unless you’ve decided to trim the cases.
I trim all my new cases, even though it’s not really necessary. For me, it’s more about squaring the case mouth than about shortening length. They’ll be plenty short enough. Just as I use the sizing die, I trim to the usual setting on my case trimmer that I have for used cases.
By the way, this is a simple way to set trim-to length on a case trimmer: Adjust the cutter head inward until it just touches the case mouth all the way around. That will be suitable from there on. Trimming, however, is purely optional.
Now the cases are ready to load. But there’s more you can do to get top results.
Do Any Other Case-Prep Steps
Any additional case prep steps are best done right now when new brass is at its softest. Especially if you want to outside-turn case necks, new brass is notably easier to work with. The exception is that I wait until after the first firing to do any primer-pocket uniforming. New primer pockets are snug.
Speaking of that first firing… This is important. “Fire-forming” is a term usually associated with describing changing a cartridge from its parent or original state into another state, which is a non-standard cartridge, when it’s first-fired in the non-standard chamber. Like making an Ackley-Improved version of a standard cartridge, or converting a .250 Savage into a 6XC. In other words, the firing itself expands and reforms the case to the shape of the new chamber. But! All cases are fire-formed to the chamber they’re fired in. That’s a lot of what I’ve been addressing in the past few articles.
Segregate Special Brass
I segregate my brass for my tournament rounds, and I do that when it’s new. Criteria and means are another article, but the reason I mention that now is because I select my “600-yard” cases, “300-yard,” and “200-yard” cases at the beginning, looking for the best, better, and good cases, respectively, for the three distances.
I need to know which are which before I make the initial loading because brass has a memory. More technically, it’s a “shape-memory effect,” a property that is shared by some other alloys also. It expands and contracts in a consistent pattern during each use.
Do not first-fire cases using a lighter (less pressure) load unless you intend to continue to use that load. Fire-forming with a lighter load and then using a nearer-to-max load in that same case will result in premature failures in that case. It doesn’t seem to matter much going the other direction, but, for instance, I would never charge up my 600-yard load in a case formed using my 200-yard load; there are significant pressure differences in those two.
And don’t forget to get dimensional checks and records on your new cases!
Burris Optics has released a set of ballistic tools to use with its riflescopes, including free software, cartridge and bullet libraries to match to Burris reticles, elements to build a dope card, help in programming an Eliminator LaserScope, and the ability to order custom elevation and windage knobs.
Vice President of Sales and Product Development Patrick Beckett said, “We are a company full of hunters and shooters, and we built these tools knowing we would want to use them ourselves. We believe our passion for the shooting sports and our riflescope and ballistics expertise have created a set of tools that will help anyone become a better, more confident shooter.”
The centerpiece of the roll-out are bullet libraries that contain nearly 7,000 cartridges and bullets from every major ammunition and bullet manufacturer. Rimfire, centerfire, muzzleloader and shotgun shells are included, as well as G1 and G7 profiles (where available) for precise accuracy. Other specific elements include:
This tool allows a user to select ammunition and define exact environmental shooting conditions, such as altitude, humidity, wind speed, and more to deliver accurate aiming solutions for a Burris reticle at any distance. The results are customizable and printable.
The Burris Eliminator LaserScope can range a target, calculate holdover, and provide a wind value to help you estimate the correct wind hold-off, all based on the exact ammunition you choose. The Eliminator Programming Tool helps you determine the correct Drop Number and Ballistic Coefficient, and lets you fine-tune your results by adjusting for your actual shooting conditions.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, Gun Owners of America, and the Second Amendment Foundation have all come out against the recent nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This week, President Barack Obama nominated Garland, 63, to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13. Garland was appointed to the appeals court in 1995 by President Bill Clinton and has been chief justice of the court in Washington since 2013.
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement, “With Justice Scalia’s tragic passing, there is no longer a majority of support among the justices for the fundamental, individual right to own a firearm for self-defense. Four justices believe law-abiding Americans have that right — and four justices do not. Obama has already nominated two Supreme Court justices who oppose the right to own firearms, and there is absolutely no reason to think he has changed his approach this time.
“In fact, a basic analysis of Merrick Garland’s judicial record shows that he does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Therefore, the National Rifle Association, on behalf of our five million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country, strongly opposes the nomination of Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The Gun Owners of America said Wednesday that it would oppose the nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because he “is not only anti-gun, he supports the ability of a president to illegally use executive power to advance liberal causes.”
“If Garland were confirmed, we can expect to see more gun registration, more gun bans, more limitations on ammunition — and all of it would be approved by the Supreme Court,” said the group’s executive director, Erich Pratt. “As a practical matter, good people will go to prison for exercising their constitutionally-protected rights.”
Pratt added that in 2007, Garland voted to reverse a D.C. Circuit Court decision striking down Washington’s handgun ban as unconstitutional. A three-judge panel had ruled against the ban in what became known as the Heller case.
Seven years earlier, Garland backed a Clinton administration move to maintain the registration of gun owners in NRA v. Reno.
His vote in the McDonald case supported the White House’s efforts to use the instant check to illegally retain the names of gun owners for six months.
Both decisions were later struck down by the Supreme Court in 5-4 decisions. In the Heller case, Scalia cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion, the Daily Signal reports.
“Hence, we don’t have to speculate as to how Garland would vote on Heller if confirmed to the Supreme Court,” Pratt said. “He’s already voted against Heller once before, thereby showing he’d effectively rip the Second Amendment from the Constitution.”
The founder of the Bellevue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation, Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, said, “This is not a good nomination and Judge Garland should not be confirmed.”
Gottlieb said, “Judge Garland voted to grant an en banc hearing to Heller after the three judge panel struck down the District of Columbia’s gun ban law. The only reason to do so would be to overturn the pro Second Amendment ruling. That was hostile to gun rights.”
Gottlieb said, “Those of us on the front lines of the Second Amendment battle have warned for the past eight years that the right to keep and bear arms can live or die on a single vote, and nothing makes that more clear than today’s nomination. I hope the Senate, if it takes up this nomination, promptly rejects it.”
Barnes Bullets has added three loads to the VOR-TX ammunition lineup and new 300AAC Blackout and 450 Bushmaster components for handloaders.
The VOR-TX line extensions will bring three new loads to the Barnes VOR-TX family: A 308 Win. load featuring the 130-grain TTSX bullet, a 300 Winchester Magnum load with a new 190-grain LRX bullet, optimized for long-range performance, and a 35 Whelen load featuring the Barnes TTSX 200-grain projectile.
Click here to see our stock of Barnes VOR-TX ammunition and to check to see when the new loads are in stock.
For handloaders who want to fine-tune and optimize their 300 AAC Blackout and 450 Bushmaster ammunition, Barnes will now offer the 300 AAC BLK 120 grain TAC-TX BT bullet, previously only available in VOR-TX ammunition, as a separate item.
Also available for the first time, Barnes will offer a 275-grain TSX FB bullet specifically designed for 450 Bushmaster platforms.
Click here to see our stock of Barnes bullets and to check when the new bullets are in stock.
The 2016 NRA National Matches in Camp Perry, Ohio are right around the corner, and the NRA needs your help! They’re looking for Range and Pit officers to assist the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. No experience necessary! They’ll train you. Contracted range and pit officers receive free housing. Application deadline to become a volunteer is June 13, 2016. Click Here to fill out your application!
As an added bonus, just send/email a copy of your confirmation as a volunteer from the NRA to us here at Midsouth Shooters, and we’ll send you an ambassador packet containing a Midsouth Shooters Hat, 6 Midsouth Moral Patches (3 PVC, 3 Embroidered), and 10 Midsouth Shooters Decals for you to hand out at the matches to some of your favorite competitors.
We appreciate your time, and the NRA is grateful for your consideration!
History of the National Matches:
The National Matches were first held in 1903, moved to Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1907 and continue to take place every summer at Camp Perry. The National Matches have become a huge, national shooting sports festival with well over 6,000 annual participants. School students and competition event shooters range from beginners to many of the world’s best.
More Info on the Matches:
The National Matches include Small Arms Firing Schools that are mandated by law and a series of CMP National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches and CMP Games Events as well as several National Rifle Association national championships that are held in connection with the National Matches. The CMP fulfills its responsibility to conduct the National Matches through a working partnership that includes the Ohio National Guard and the NRA.
The National Matches include the CMP National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches, the Pistol and Rifle Small Arms Firing Schools, CMP Games rifle events and the NRA National Pistol, Smallbore Rifle and Highpower Rifle Championships. The matches are conducted jointly by the CMP, NRA and the Ohio National Guard.
The First Shot Ceremony is the official “opening ceremony” of the National Matches. Each year an invited special guest makes brief remarks to assembled competitors, match officials, volunteers and state and local military and government leaders. Several hundred people attend the ceremony each year. After the First Shot Speaker makes their remarks, the First Shot Speaker has the honor of firing the ceremonial “first shot” of the National Matches.
Welcome to the new era of exclusive projectiles at Midsouth Shooters! Introducing the Match Monster™ Bullets, made by Nosler.
Experience world class accuracy with Midsouth’s Match Monster™ Lineup!
Midsouth Shooters and Nosler have unleashed a new MONSTER! Introducing the new – MATCH MONSTER! This new offering gives shooters the superior performance they demand, at a bulk savings they deserve. We put this selection together with Match shooters in mind. These, like our Varmint Nightmare and Varmint Nightmare Xtreme Bullets, are purchased in huge bulk quantities and then broken down into smaller amounts – so that you get to take advantage of bulk savings. These bullets use extremely precise lead-alloy cores that create an impressive standard for Match Monster™ bullets. The hollow point bullet provides a small meplat to reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency. A pronounced boat tail design provides efficient flight characteristics over a wide range of velocities.
Keanu Reeves showed a lot of choreographed gun-handling skills in the 2014 flick John Wick, and now he’s training for the franchise’s second installment.
Last week, Taran Tactical Innovations, a Simi Valley, California gun store, released videos of the 51-year-old actor practicing his gun-handling skills in a 3 Gun set up. In the 37-second clip, Reeves starts with an AR, firing several rounds right to left, then transitions to a handgun, then he picks up a shotgun. It looks like he smoothly clears one malfunction with the shotgun.
In another clip edited on at the end, he works at contact distances with a handgun, very similar to situations his character encountered in the original John Wick movie.
Reeves also used a lot of gunplay as TheMatrix (1999) character “Neo.” Looks like he’s willing to put in the range time to get the gun-handling skills right on the set. Kudos to him for the effort.
The following is a specially-adapted excerpt from the forthcoming book, “Top-Grade Ammo,” by author Glen Zediker, owner of Zediker Publishing. Click here to order from Midsouth.
by Glen Zediker
First, I want to thank everyone who’s reading “Reloaders Corner,” and especially those who take the time to post comments and questions. That’s the fun of the web for me: it’s a closer connection to my readers and fellow shooters. Judging from a few responses to the last couple of articles on case sizing, I’d like to offer a little more detail to ensure there’s been no misunderstandings or misinterpretations.
I don’t have a lot of space here to cover all the smaller but often important peripherals associated with any larger topic. In the few hundred words I have available, it has to be a more specific treatment of a more specific thing, and that’s why I’ve been doing some of this material as series installments. There are a number of folks who claim neck-only sizing is necessary for best accuracy, and, in effect, that full-length sizing is a compromise, favoring function over accuracy. I want to use this space here this time to clarify a few potential confusions. And I’m not even really disagreeing with anyone.
To review, neck-only sizing is when only the case neck, all or some portion of it, is sized to adequately retain a bullet for another firing. The case body is not touched by the die interior, and the case shoulder may or may not be set back; that depends on the die design and operator preference. The idea is to better preserve the fired case dimensions; that is, make the case more closely mirror the rifle chamber’s dimensions. One advantage of neck-only sizing comes to those who expect dozens of loadings from a case. This tactic does, indeed, minimize case stretching on subsequent firings.
Mostly, do not get the impression that full-length sizing — essentially following the steps and methods I suggested in the past two articles — is short-circuiting on-target accuracy. It’s not. Not if tooling is what it should be and the operator makes the investments in money and time to gauge influential dimensions.
There are some who maintain that they only get good groups from neck-only sizing, and, moreover, that they get gatherings rather than groupings when they full-length resize, or when they use factory ammo. There can be some reasons for that, and they may have something to do with rifle-chamber dimensions.
A lot of factory-produced bolt-actions have fairly generous chambers; they are a little larger diameter and usually favor toward the longer end in headspace (but with all numbers within SAAMI tolerance). A rifle produced for across-the-counter sale needs to accept virtually any commercially available ammunition. If someone measures as many representatives of factory ammo as I have, it’s pretty clear that there are dimensional differences, significant differences. Additionally, it’s common to find some slightly oval chambers in factory guns. That has a lot to do with the freshness of the tooling when that barrel was reamed.
So, let’s construct a circumstance where we have a chamber that’s a tad amount big and a cartridge case that’s been manufactured on the smaller end of SAAMI blueprints. And this rifle has an ejector. As soon as the bolt closes, the ejector is bearing against the case, and it’s bearing well off-center.
For more clarity: rifles have extractors and ejectors. The extractor is the “claw” that rides in the case rim groove. It’s there to pull the case from the chamber. The ejector is a small, cylindrical piece that’s spring-loaded; its job is to lean or tilt the case toward the ejection-side of the action as the case is withdrawn from the chamber. It’s not commonly possible to encounter a bolt-action that doesn’t have an ejector (custom Benchrest actions and some Long Range Rifle specialty actions don’t).
Back to the reason I said anything about ejectors in the first place. It makes a banana out of a case. This is unavoidable. The pressure steadily being put against the case base by the ejector warps the case under fire. It’s going to happen on each and every case fired. The bigger the dimensional differences, the greater the warp. Of course, as the uses and reuses add up, the nature of expansion changes. A case can warp one way, and then another way, and then another. Brass has a “memory,” by the way, and we’re always fighting that. Cases tend to follow the same expansion pattern regardless of orientation in the chamber.
There are some, and I’m among them, who think case-body sizing is a good thing to help allay the effects of warped cases, when they return to a correctly-dimensioned chamber. If a rifle chamber is on the larger side, then I honestly think that neck-only sizing may be doing a better job working around it, or working with it, and that’s the primary source of accuracy improvement. I also know that little bit there will get pounced upon.
I’m shooting custom-chambered custom-made barrels in my rifles. I do not request “tight” chambers (in any dimension), but they sure aren’t oversized. I like to have headspace set to closely accommodate the case brand I plan to use; doing that minimizes case stretch from the get-go.
Using a concentricity fixture that’s designed to allow isolation of points of measurement along the cartridge, it’s easy to see the warp. Spin a new case, spin a fired case. Some experiment with marking the “high” (or low) point and reinserting the round in the same orientation each time. That’s tedious but possible using a single-shot approach to firing. The point is, that after full-length sizing, I see less runout. I have also seen additional body sizing improve the accuracy of rounds destined for use in rifles with smallish chambers, and that’s one of the first steps many competitive Benchrest shooters take when they’re losing the gilt-edge on groups. For that, they use a die that doesn’t touch anything but the case body.
If a case becomes a banana, it should be a smaller banana rather than a bigger banana. More technically, it’s a question of if the chambered round can sit in the center of the rifle chamber.
When David Tubb designed the sizing die for his 6XC cartridge, he added an additional 0.0005 inches downsizing right at the case head area. He maintains that is a key to good accuracy at long distance. He’s also setting the case shoulders back 0.002 and running a little more “neck tension” than you might imagine (difference between sized case neck inside diameter and bullet diameter). Tubb maintains that the consistency of case expansion has been an overlooked element in accuracy. Believe me, he’s tried everything, including neck-only sizing, to improve scores at 1000 yards.
If you’re running a factory bolt-action rifle, by all means try neck-only sizing. If you want to compare results to full-length sizing, just make sure you’re doing that second operation correctly.
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