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Thompson manufacturer question


Grouse Gunner
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trying to learn about Thompsons and I detect the stigma of late manufacture Auto ordnance guns after Bridgeport. Mostly West Hurley.

so, my question is; what is the deal with buying a good shooter Thompson. what to look for, what to watch out for. are there any good West Hurley Auto ordnance guns out there. I see them running 20K or more. a lot of money for something many call junk. 

so, who can school me on this.

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The first MG I got was a West Hurley 1928 30 years ago it is a 6xx serial # . when I got it I was told that all parts were changed to GI after a few years of joy I had My first and only Gun failure, I found out the recoil guide was NOT changed and it came apart and came part way out the back of the receiver and the recoil spring tied it's self in a knot. I was lucky and was not hurt ( GI is turned down from large stock , but the WH is a two piece that is silver soldered together : CHECK IT ). I still love this shooter and the only other problem I have had with it is after 35 or 40 K I had to replace the barrel. My advice would be to check for and replace non-GI parts and maybe polish the feed ramps, then shoot the h$ll out of it.

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I too have a WH. Mine runs but discovered it was a runaway due to the mill depth into the receiver was too much. 

I fixed it so now it runs good but that is one of the common issues with West Hurleys you don't hear about much. PK has mention that this was common so if he says so I listen. If you don't know Diamond K aka PK, he is an expert gunsmith on Thompsons.. Sadly he is retiring. 

 

If you want more info on Thompsons, go to the machinegunforum. Whole sections dedicated to Thompsons. 

Oh my WH runs fine and is fun to hip shoot. Not my #1 favorite though. 

Edited by Ryo
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For some reason that article on WH Thompsons has photos blocking a portion of every sentence. I cant read it correctly. 

I appreciate the insight form several of you.

follow up questions:

is there a list of what parts are recommended to be replaced?

is there one good source for all of the parts?

Is there a go to guy who specializes in Thompsons who goes over WH guns and makes them right?

what is the approximate cost of the parts and the work?

In other words, is it worth it to rework a WH gun or pay the nut for the real deal?

 

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The answer would be it depends. 

Depends if the WH works perfectly. I'd ask for proof of life videos on the one being sold. If it runs perfectly and that's all you care about is shooting it then a working WH is good enough. If you want history and likely not deal with issues known with WH, then the real thing.  

Personally I wish I had the real deal, but my WH makes me happy (well at least after I fixed it). Plus the cost that I got it was a really good deal at the time so definitely no regrets.

As for people to fix it, there are a couple that still takes them. First one is Andrewski. Sadly Stan (the father) has passed away, RIP, but his son John is still in business. Just google the name or search in this forum for him. The cost of the work... who knows. Depends on the issue.

parts to replace.. everything. ;)

BTW that article. to read it I just highlighted all the web page and pasted into Notepad or some text editor. (Not Word due to it will paste all the graphics (unless you press Ctrl-Shift-V).  I think there is a real list in there.

 

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Bought a really rough and beat up WH Tommy from Spiwak years ago for cheap.  Thing didn't run worth a damn.  PK replaced all of the internals with new US GI parts. 

Gun came back to me near perfect in every way (wood, metal, finish etc.) and has run like a top ever since.

IMHO PK is one of the best gunsmiths out there and it's a shame that he's retiring.

 

 

 

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For the difference in cost for a WH '28 (then having it fixed) vs a USGI '28 you are further ahead to get the USGI one.  I prefer to shoot my M1 and if I was starting out I'd buy an M1 again.  That being said-people have this love affair with dumping drums and being "gangster" LMAO

Personally I'd rather dump 100 rounds out of a belt fed instead of a Thompson....but thats just me 

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I have both a Colt 21/28 Thompson and a West Hurley Thompson,  The WH was over hauled by John Andrewski, he replaced all the parts with G.I. parts and refinished it.  The gun runs as good as my Colt.  He is a Gun Smith of the highest order.  He built a Sterling on a DLO tube for my friend which would be hard to tell from an original.  I actually went to Doug's house in Florida to pick the tube, (that is a story for another day)   If you have a WH which is troublesome, send it to John.

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Personally if I had to pick a '28 and a M1, I'd likely pick the '28 due to the drum. I like the drum. I liked it so much that I made a 3D printed design of a drum greaser for it, which sold way better than expected, including Tom Davis (author of A Thompson Compendium & An Amateur's Guide for the Colt's Thompson Submachine Gun) who complimented me on the design :).

Like Got Uzi, I would prefer to shoot a belt fed, but shooting the Thompson gives me a smile too.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, StrangeRanger said:

I had Dan Block modify a Taiwanese L drum to work in my M1.  Best of both worlds :D

Added a tower to it or modified the M1?

Dan Block (deerslayer) was the other name I was trying to think of who would be good at fixing a Thompson.

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