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Auto-ordnance model 1927A-1C lightweight carbine.

* A Tommygun is a Tommygun is a Tommygun. They're all essentially alike. Or are they? Auto-Ordnance's latest Thompson carbine changes at least part of the famous chopper's long-standing image. Labelled the Model 1927A-1C Lightweight, it follows the modern trend of trimming big-bore guns down to size.

The .45 ACP Lightweight carbine tested by G&A weighs just 8-1/2 pounds unloaded and without is magazine. Though identical to the firm's earlier semi-auto 1927A-1 in other respects, the new A-1C model tilts the scales at 20 percent less than its predecessors, according to Auto-Ordnance literature. The World War II military Thompsons weigh approximately 9-3/4 pounds each unloaded.

The A-1C's frame and receiver are made of a lightweight alloy. It may not seem like much up-front, but 20 percent less weight to lug around, whether on the range or at an out-of-the-way shooting spot, does make a difference--especially if your shooting sessions cover as much ground or run as long as mine generally do.

A-O's new gun comes only in "deluxe" configuration with standard 16-inch finned barrel fitted with a compensator, vertical walnut foregrip, non-detachable M1 Thompson-style buttstock, blade front sight and adjustable rear sight, and blue-black finish. Except for the longer barrel (the original was 10-1/2 inches without compensator), the latest Tommy is quite close to those that your pop, uncle or neighbor carried through World War II or Korea.

The A-1 series Thompsons, including the lightweight, are blowback operated and fire from a closed bolt. As in the A-1 model, the inside of the receiver has been altered not only to prevent conversion to selective fire, but also to prevent installation of the original fire-control components. Some of the other original Thompson parts, though, will interchange with the Lightweight A-1C model.

Original 20 and 30-round box magazines can be inserted into the A-1C and A-1 series Thompson magazine wells, but they will not lock in--the locking hole on the magazines' spines have been enlarged to work in the new guns. Our evaluation arm arrived with a 30-round box magazine. We attempted to use a WWII-period 20-round magazine as a control, but it kept sliding out without locking. A new simplified and lightened XL 39-round drum magazine can be used with the new arms, as can the old 50-round drums.

The evaluation gun was first fired at a 25-yard target from a benchcrest. It consistently printed groups of slightly over an inch with Shooters Supply 230-grain, FMJ round nose bulklets. We experienced no malfunctions with this ammunition. For comparison, we fired several magazines of Federal 185-grain metal case wadcutter .45 automatic match ammo. I was unable to register a group of less than 3 inches at 25 yards from the rest with the wadcutters and experienced consistent failure-to-feed malfunctions with them.

We were able to ring the range's 100-yard gong with consistency after allowing for the .45's looping trajectory. Employing the original Lyman-type, adjustable ladder sight, it was easy to keep respectable shot patterns on a paper target at 100 yards. The A-1C won't shoot with target guns, but it wasn't meant to. Like the original, the rear sight is graduated to an optimistic and unrealistic 600 yards; most shooters will not want to engage targets at much over 100 yards with this gun.

When the military M1928A1 Thompson was simplified and redesignated the Thompson M1 early in World War II, the beautifully made Lyman sight was changed to a fixed post with aperture; this sight has been continued on the 1927A-1 Standard Thompson carbine, but is not available on the Lightweight model.

Fieldstripping and cleaning is easy. Detach the magazine and make sure the chamber is unloaded. With the bolt closed and safety in firing position, press upward on the frame latch beneath the rear of the frame. Slide the frame rearward until it is caught and held by the sear (some gentle tapping may be required to start the frame moving). Press in the frame latch once again with a pointed object such as a knife blade or thin screwdriver so that it will clear the sear. The frame can now be separated from the receiver.

Bolt removal is a bit involved: Press forward on the plate which joins the two recoil spring guides at the rear. Turn the receiver upside down then lift up and pull the entire assembly free of the receiver. This releases the firing pin spring and guide which can be pulled out through the hole in the rear of the receiver. Next, elevate the muzzle so that the bolt slides fully to the rear of the receiver. Use the cocking handle if necessary.

Make sure that the hammer (a 1-inch cylindrical piece of steel) slides all the way to the rear and out through the hole in the rar of the receiver. Remove the cocking handle through the large hole in the top of the receiver, then turn the receiver upright. The bolt will now drop out. It is not necessary nor recommended, to remove the firing pin for normal care and cleaning.

Disassembly of the trigger group (fire-control group) is easy. Press the two ganged pins out to the right after prying out the spring leaf of their common head from under the slotted end of the safety pin. Reassembly is simply in reverse order.

The only problem we experienced with the Lightweight A-1C, was really more of an irritation than anything else. The compensator/front sight assembly was loose and could not be tightened up without some work. All Auto-Ordnance arms carry a one-year warranty, according to a company spokesperson, and any defective gun may be sent back for adjustments without any charge.

It can't be said often enough--Auto-Ordnance's semi-auto Thompson carbines are fun to shoot. In .45 ACP, they pack the same authoritative wallop as their namesakes. Plus there are twin bonuses: For defense, their looks alone could prove to be a deterrent to any would-be burglar or intruder; a homeowner armed with one of these may never have to fire it in his defense. In addition, the new gun's lightweight allows it to be carried with less fatigue than ever before.

A full line of Thompson carbine accessories and spare parts is listed and illustrated in their latest $2.00, full color catalog. For further information, contact Auto-Ordnance Corporation, Dept. GA, West Hurley, New York 12491 (914) 679-7225.
COPYRIGHT 1985 InterMedia Outdoors, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Rutledge, Lee A.
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:May 1, 1985
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