mike todd

musings of an old (not sure what), a FAL tale

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How about a little horror to stir the emotions?  this will curl your curds I think.   I was VERY involved with senator DOUG Mclure and SAM STIEGER and others when he was putting the final touches to  the "GUN OWNERS PROTECTION ACT OF 1975 " though the infamous HUGHES AMENDMENT was forced on us with a must vote /must pass amendment we had nothing to do with, much of it was compiled on my dining room table. sorry but that's the only name I can recall at this time, it may have been changed when the final draft was filed, but its passage resulted in ALL the changes that allowed all this wonder full , but mutilated military hardware to be imported. so one can say I had a very good notion of what would be allowed to come in or not. one of the major changes applied to weapons from FORIEGN  police departments that would have been denied any other way. To properly set the stage for this event, you need to know I had been a long time FAL collector, Other than the 5 NFA examples first was a G-series from the first browning shipment and it sat amongst 9 other variations at that time. I had visited the factory in BELGIUM twice along with 3 visits to the British pattern room and felt I had as much knowledge as any body in North America and was ready for all variations. During the first major gun show following the bills passage I had my usual tables and it was setup day.  at the time my tables were covered , I had just started scrounging and my table mate came running claiming there was a vendor with lots of FALS and other assault weapons just setting up so we charged to what ended up being a booth for ODIN INTERNATIONAL. you may remember they had all the FINN VALMETS etc. there she sat, in all her glory A MINT BRAND NEW LITHGOW L1A1 !  it was amongst other trivial common used guns on a separate table and not part of their NEW GUN display. I asked permission, and after approval it was forever welded to my hands until I had some details !  YES it was for sale.  $1295.00  YES it was unrestricted and LEGAL , NO it did not have any import marks. YES it was marked "SINGAPORE POLICE DEPT. the seller stated it was the "sample" that was submitted for the application to import  a group of various "GREY AREA" forbidden MODERN semi auto's that were indeed allowed because of the "ORIGINAL NON MILITARY CONTRACT" section in the law that passed so had "missed" getting marked and was now private and not in the books. gradually a small crowd  was growing and questions were coming from the background over my head. my grip only tightened and I never sat it down, just said I will take it and THEN started looking for details. it had the normal oversized selector that engaged the pin in all L1A1'S to deny full auto. I was starting to smell and decided to chance the small stuff, pay the man and run. not being a dealer we had to gather one  complete the paper work and I carried it back to his table where I  completed the 4473 gave him $100 just to make it official .IT NEVER LEFT MY HANDS!  behind my table I tore it down , confirmed its status then hid it away.  For those not deep in the mechanics of the FAL, it has a curious little part called a " safety sear"  when the design was being perfected its SOLE PURPOSE was to prevent firing out of battery and without it they can and DO blow up so it became a permanent part .  As the design progressed it became a simple matter to use it to trip the sear when the bolt closed creating FULL auto fire.  SOME IDIOT , decided if the recess for it was not cut, full auto fire was not possible and a "semi auto only" was created . Nothing was put in its place to prevent firing with the bolt unlocked and the ATF loved it ruling "presence of the safety sear OR its recess constitutes a machine gun" the fault still exists today.  A publication titled "SMALL ARMS OF THE WORLD" a bible used by many including ATF compliance division in the AUSTRAILION  section describes the L A1 as manufactured by LITHGOW as a "semi auto only battle rifle". following that , it describes a  L2A1 as a select fire battle rifle. Using that along with my self serving want it to be true befuddled brain decided it was legal and placed it on the wall with all the rest. However at times common sense would win out and the fear set in because in my heart it was NOT legal. (I know, long)    PLUS SIDE , consider  A- it was offered by a HUGE licensed importer. B-on public display at HUGE event. C-all federal forms had been completed with properly licensed dealers. D it all fit.      NEGATIVE SIDE, A- with the depth of my knowledge, I knew it was wrong.   B- upon examination by a "understanding" agent, the gun was examined , all the facts presented and I was "allowed" to destroy the receiver and lance my heart. If you liked and learned from this, stay tuned. MORE  FAL tales exist and may follow. if you didn't like it, remember who controls your mouse. as always CHEERS ! MIKE

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I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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I love reading these stories! Keep them coming!!!!! 

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I meant the old stories not the fact you had to destroy a receiver :( 

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FAL TALE , 3 CX/14.  its just after 6 am and I'm sitting on the veranda watching the gentle waves lap the shore of the COSTA  DEL SOLE in MALAGA SPAIN, trying to choke down that god forsaken mud with hot goats milk the Spaniards call coffee and clear my head. I suffered 3 sleepless nights and days because when the General handed me a SPANISH PASSPORT, he took my U.S. !! and I was not aware that was part of the "deal".  SAM had just started beating on my door to let him in and telling me is was past time to "go".  I'm  only a week past 17 and on my way behind the iron curtain in the Czech republic and scared Sh&&L&&S!. As we slowly charged to the parking lot in his version of the stroll, he is trying to fill me in about all he had accomplished while I sat alone in my room thinking about where we were going. see he headed out to Germany and told me to sight see until he returned because it did not involve any  hands on with goods he just needed to "close the deal".  while I drove that little Fiat seat 24, he filled me in on the purchase of what remained of all the G1 FALS they had and all the support goods. I'm thinking autotron no neck commie robot gaurds with a sphaugin  in his hand, while he keeps repeating NOT ONE WORD TO ANYBODY!  EVER ! it didn't happen and they don't exist. then he chuckles and explains they will land in ENGLAND, and sit while he gets the project going and NOT ONE WORD to anybody! what happened  when we arrived and continued until the plane was taxying down the runway will take 10 times what this will to finish.  It was back to normal stock and projects for a few months and I was back in phoenix  when he popped in tossed a case on the bench.  I opened it up and there sat a FAL but it was a LITHGOW L1A1 ( the variation I could never have) that looked NOS not a G1. he asked what I thought and said this is what we will do to the GERMAN GUNS, how much do you think they will bring? my thought and reply was should be close to what the browning G guns or close.  That the ejector block had been removed was very obvious due to the bright ends of the pins and worrying of the holes. I could see that the block had been welded where the trip from the s-sear traveled and the recess had been filled at the pivot pin. he said we had to pack and ship it to the technology branch for approval and he hoped the wouldn't "get a hair" because it was not maker model marked, but it was all clearly explained in the paper work. put it back in the case and "NOT ONE WORD TO ANYBODY". So much time passed and so many neat trips and projects that  I never gave it another thought for what seems like a couple years maybe and could well have been? the "once a machine gun always a machine gun" clause never entered my mind. the next time it showed up was with a pile of boxes of papers  by the roll up door and a scribbled note " all this to California make sure it all go's together" and I had to open the case and take a look, who wouldn't?there were 3 of those continuous tape type labels attached with dates numbers etc and one had big "EVIDENCE EXAMPLE" in red. I boxed it and put everything on a pallet, and n a day or so it went away again.next time I talked to SAM and remembered it , I asked and all he said was "forget it for now , NOT ONE WORD". maybe 2 yrs passed?  standing in a corner were maybe 10  FALS , all GERMAN G1's with hensholdt scopes, they all looked NOS and were PERFECT! and still live etc.  most of the goods I handled came in 4ftx4ftx4ft closed top gurneys and I just opened them as I came to them, sorted the goods and made lists we had most of a block long basement and most of it was just overage shipped via our trucks  rather than dead haul empty and have things closer for the local customers as fast backup. rather than waiting for it to come from ALEXANDRIA or some othe r remote warehouse. sorry got lost a moment!  most of it happened  on a whim and involved items we had LOTS of. I found some of those gurneys  were G1's less receiver =, and they were loose but each level had thick cardboard separation. my job with those was to determine the proper size box, and see that a complete set was in each one. there was to be 4 grades and I staked them by grade until labels were printed. when I finished a project like that, many times , much of it would go back out and warehoused for future order's. WAIT FOR IT!  MORE L1A1 IS COMING . next time SAM could give me some time, he explained those "expletives" , we WON but they ruled the appeal only vacated and held harmless the example submitted! it was a while before the entire ordeal was explained to me one weekend as beers were passed and just B/S  a Saturday after lunch.  THE entire project came about and thought possible, because in "SMALL ARMS OF THE WORLD"  which we all including the TREASURY DEPT. used as a the "BIBLE" to define  most military weapons. The only thing else out there was "CHINN" and anyone that's open them is aware if his short comings.   small arms of the world in  the AUSTRALIAN CHAPTER , defines the L1A1 as " A SEMI AUTO BATTLE RIFLE" then follows there is another model, "L1A2" that is a select fire squad support weapon with feature allowing a more sustained role in its application" at least that's the gist of it. now enters the GREED PART OF THIS ADVENTURE! the Lithgow factory management typical commonwealth DNA cared little about profit, the only concern, equip our BOY'S. they wouldn't run extras because Canada was short or ENFIELD got bombed that's just the way it was. so consequently "extra" guns just didn't exist. so in some ones devious little mind he plan was, convert a FAL that is a DOCUMENTED SEMI AUTO ONLY WEAPON and get it approved. then take a GERMAN G1 which 95% have "RESTRICTED SELECTORS" preventing auto fire and convert then submit it, and this time send BOTH examples complete with all model markings etc to technology, for approval. IF the GERMAN GUN fails to pass, appeal the denial and file suit if needed, explaining and SHOWING that they are indeed EXACTLY THE SAME!    how can you lose right? (sigh)  well time actually won out and with the single gun exemption it was jut OVER AND DONE.  NOT! got ALL the above completely clear in your mind?   FAST FORWARD TO FAIRVIEW MAINE, FALL 2013 premier auction. when the catalog arrived for the 4000 or so four day auction, was time to submit ones list of lots to bid on for live telephone bidders. I started my list, I don't transcribe well, gave up and called. told them I wanted to bid on EVERY LOT and be on the phone live for the entire four days.  she hang up on me!  not kidding she did.  I called back and yelled what de hey that was rude. she replied THATS JUST NOT DONE, NOBODY WANTS EVERYTHING! I demanded management and the owner JEANNINE POULIN had been listening , she claimed  you GOT THE OWNER, WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU? I calmly explained I wanted to here every lot, and if it was a good buy , I would bid. she responded , do you have any idea how many millions of dollars is represented in this catalog and my answer was NOT yet but give me a couple days and I will tell you EXACTLY how much, (don't worry more FAL coming) the jist of the conversation wasn't changing, so I chipped in .lets do this , give me a good phone person for the 4 days and I will pay YOU double what you pay them for the 5 days they work and give you a credit card number to back it up.  that did it the deal was made and the rest is history, I am always on the phone for the entire auction at all 3 auction houses every major auction and have never had to pay a dime for the person, due to the volume of buying. I have the same guy every sale and we have a ball. wish I had the catalog here, I could give you the lot numbers for the gun in it. while previewing my bids before the sale, I found a lot a picture of a L1A1  and thought it was one of the 25 "POYER FALS" he brought in that sells for $15k or so but when I read the description, it said " offering an extremely rare example of the L1A1 as made by LITHGOW ." expertly converted to semi auto only "sure to be the peak of your collection." estmate- $1800/ $2500.  it looked NOS ! PERFECT WOOD ETC.   I decided right then that no matter how much, it was coming here and if need be, the parts moved to a DSA inch receiver.  after a while I remembered . local FFL, 4473, records, splintered door, piled guns in the drive way, you know what I mean, common sense won out and I called them , advised her it was POSITIVLEY ILLEGAL , quite possible a sting or at least a test to check their mode of operation. as I explained it, I used our example to assure her what I was saying was fact. AND what my first instinct was and why I changed my mind. almost there don't give up on me yet!  the catalogs came in for the 3 day 2016 fall auction, and the next day JEANNINE called me and said look at lot # xxxxx  mike your in for a nice surprise.   and I found it. it went something like this, offering  the most discriminating 20th century military weapons collector, the absolute once in a life time chance to obtain the ONLY example of a machine gun converted to semi auto, confiscated by the UNITED STATES TREASURY which the were forced to release to the owner because they lost the case on appeal. the 9th circuit court of appeal's ruled it a single case judgement and there can never be another. COMPLETLY LEGAL TO OWN and copies of all  documents provided listing this gun by serial number  ownership redacted for consignor security , but completely authentic in every detail.  ESTIMATE- $8000.00 / $15,000.00. sorry I don't have the amount here, but it hammered towards the high but didn't reach it and of course there was the 15% buyers premium.  (whew)  HOWS THAT GRAB YOUR COOKIE'S ? WAS IT WORTH THE WAIT? don't believe it? call JEANNINE, she loves the tale. and it is in the catalogs!   NOT ONE WORD TO ANYBODY!   NOT A SOLE!   cheers MIKE!     want more? can you say middle 70's WALDORF NEW YORK HOTEL ROOM and 8 COLT THOMPSONS on the floor in the same sentence without getting chills?  if not, watch for it , more to come!   

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I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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WOW, great stories, especially the details of how it all went down.


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GUY'S  thanx for the thought's and letting me know someone is watching!  sorry about the spelling , its not all my fault the $ 4.39 key board I have  will miss a tap at times and once the command leaves my brain its GONE !  (my actual main ailment that I take all the meds for) but it looks like everyone is getting the point. You need to understand the fact that a 9 yr old kid can be put in the middle of  a very closed circle of men that normally rejected ALL outsiders and not only survive but accepted as an equal in a short period was a real privilege that set the course for my entire life. First trip to the pattern room , I was 13 or 14 and went there ALONE while Curtis did his business and that didn't go over well with MR WOODEN he asked me where my parents were and I said in PHOENIX , AZ. his reply was we will make an exception but KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF.  they had to force me out when they closed. next day I was sitting on the sil when he came to open  and it was a little better. 3rd day I had a free pass anywhere and could even take things apart. I returned 2 years later and they were asking to borrow some of my guns , because they did not have that in the collection!  again this all because someone was willing to SHARE!  PLEASE KEEP THAT IN MIND  the next time a trivial or at first thought stupid question comes up!   I set up tables at the show's so I could SHARE what I learned and bring new faces into the fold. All these little "tales"  will soon be lost forever and it will be as they never happened , typing that just made my eye's water a bit.  last line on this subject(promise)  back in Jan 2017 in the gen firearms forum,  "RON in PA asked "can I shoot 12 ga 2 3/4" magnums in my gun with a standard 2 3/4" chamber" ?  at first view I thought here we go, a gotcha question and watched nothing happen. In order to save him any humiliation I sent a private email and asked for more details and why he would ask such a question. his reply was, " I just don't know" its the only gun I own it was some obscure gift and someone told him to hunt ducks he needed MAGNUMS. another person told him to check on the net and he ended up here TOTALY IGNORED?  NOT GOOD!  any how, thanx again for the thoughts and CHEERS mike 


I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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Keep them coming!!!! You should do a book of these stories Ill buy a copy!!!! Not sure if you do request but if so how about some of the old M-16 stories? If I ever get a chance to meet you Ill drop a dollar in your beer mug!!!!!! 

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thanx for that, there is plenty of room in the mug these days for sure. there are a few "15/16 " tales , but not much intrigue other than relating GENE'S frustration about all the sabotage. the challenge of the AR-18 may bring back some reading lets see what happens..   the "BAD" thing is, the type of meds I am forced to take, along with the age, makes it difficult to recall on demand or the book would happen for sure.  the SPANISH passport and being 17 behind the IRON CURTAIN during the peak of the cold war could fill several volumes.  THE BEST PART IS, all the changes and control at STURM has changed enough to allow them to appear. lets hope DAVID allows them to continue  as ALWAYS , CHEERS ! MIKE


I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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Hi Mike.  We met at a gun show in Ohio.  I only have one story, it's brief;  It was said in the Bible, that Jesus turned the water into wine, for those at the table.  Be that true or not, is to speculate on the powers of God.  I only can quote a similar experience from my time in SEA.  When it was time to board the chopper's on a hot mission, those new to the environment, had the same experience.  The hand of Combat turned their sh*t to water, and those with strength could hold it in, others soiled their pants on the way.  In those brief years, I gained a lifetime of experience, looking into the eyes of other people.

Edited by Khrut27Gg

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