Watch: A Tommy Gun in 30 Carbine Caliber
Russ Chastain 11.05.16
Here we have another great video by Ian of Forgotten Weapons. This time, instead of previewing a gun to be auctioned, he’s getting to play with a fine old popper at the Cody Firearms Museum.
At first glance, you might think this is a regular ol’ Tommy Gun–that is, a 1928 Thompson submachinegun. But the magazine gives it away as being an experimental model that was made to fire 30 Carbine ammo rather than the 45 ACP round.
When the US military released a request for what would become the M1 Carbine in 1940, the Auto-Ordnance Corporation offered up a Thompson submachine gun simply rechambered for the new 30 Carbine cartridge. This entailed a new magazine, a receiver modified for the longer magazine, and a new barrel and bolt face – but the other Thompson parts could remain unchanged form the standard 45 ACP models. This made the submission a pretty cheap and easy effort for Auto-Ordnance…which is a good thing, considering that it was almost assured to be rejected.
The stipulations for the new carbine included a weigh requirement of 5 pounds, and the Thompson weighed more than double that (in both 45ACP and 30 Carbine forms). Only a few were made, and the one submitted for military testing was rejected outright on the basis of weight. This example is serial number 1, and resides at the Cody Firearms Museum.
When this gun was made, the 30 Carbine was not known as the 30 Carbine (the now-famous M1 Carbine had not yet been adopted) so this Thompson gun was not marked as such.