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Thread: Kids with a DeWat Thompson

  1. #1
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    Default Kids with a DeWat Thompson

    My brother and I liked guns (alot) and were fascinated with Thompsons. So back in the days when you could buy a dewat (around 1958) we teenagers bought a mail-order Thompson M1A1 dewat for $75. It arrived in beautiful condition and looked almost new. In checking it out we saw that a smallish bolt had been lightly spot welded into the chamber. Well, heck, we just knocked that out with a rod down the barrel. The weld was so minimal that with a little cleaning, a loaded round would chamber perfectly. It was time to test fire. For some unknown reason we decided to tie it securely to an old cottonwood stump and set it off with a piece of baler twine. It went bang, so we thought we were in business. Then we took a look at the ejected case. It had a perfectly round 3/16" hole through the side of the case about midway. A round piece of brass had been blown out through the bottom of the chamber where a hole had been neatly drilled. So the dewatting was a little more extensive than we had thought. But a brand new barrel from Numrich soon arrived at the high price of $12.95. Out with the old, in with the new, replace the front sight and we definitely were in business. Boxes of 45 acp at our favorite gun shop were $2.50. We shot the heck out of carp in the canal, scared lots of jack rabbits, killed a few, and packed the Thompson on forays through the hills near the house.

    The fun came to an end a year later. Dad saw a violin case in the back seat of my brother's car (violin was a gift from an aunt). He was pretty sure my brother wasn't taking violin lessons so he opened the case for a heavy surprise.

    It was spring so there wasn't much coal left in the huge coal bin in the basement. Dad got a load of coal with the farm truck (120 mile round trip to the coal mine), backed up to the coal chute, and buried the Thompson under 5 tons of coal. Guess he figured it was pretty well hidden. When bro discovered the gun was missing he made delicate inquiries of Mom. She did tell him that the gun had been found, but gave no details on its location or disposition. It wasn't until spring a year later that the Thompson was recovered with the stipulation that it go far away. It did, and our full auto fun really was all over. I still miss it!

  2. #2
    I buy capture paper guns ugafx4's Avatar
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    Love the story. A collecting mentor of mine tells me of those days. He lived in a neighborhood full of veterans and war trophies. As a teenager he paid about $10 bucks for a live MP40. One day he was taking it to school for show and tell and his mother caught him walking out the door with it and was furious. She made him unload the magazine and sent him on his way. I can not even begin to imagine an MP40 at show and tell.

  3. #3
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    Not as cool as a Thompson or MP40, but when I was a teenager in the early 80s I bought a British PIAT anti-tank gun from a pawnshop for under $100. Had it through college until my mom sold it at a garage sale! Last one I saw auctioned off at RIA went for over 3 grand.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ebeeby's Avatar
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    A great Thompson story!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Slingblade's Avatar
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    Imagine that, kids having fun with a real machine gun and no one died. How times have changed, laws upon laws and more laws and things are worse.

    My old boss told me he bought a dewat MP40 back in the 50's, the barrel was filled with lead so they melted it out and blasted away.
    "When you see that in order to produce you must obtain permission from people who produce nothing.
    When you see money flowing to those who deal not in goods but in favors,
    when you see men growing richer by graft and by pull than by work
    and your law don't protect you from them, but them from you;
    When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice you may know that your society is doomed."

  6. #6
    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    Good stuff
    “Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.” - Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, 1933-1945

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    Great stories.

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    Senior Member Winchester Cowboy's Avatar
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    It would make a Great Movie compared to the pile of crap on TV today! Thanks for Sharing!

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    When I was in high school me and a buddy were going through his attic when we found a box of his grandfathers stuff, who was a WW1 veteran. After digging around through papers we couldn’t believe our eyes when we pulled out, a obviously very old, hand grenade! I was sure it must’ve been a dummy so I brought it to school to show off. A friend of mine suggested that it might actually be live after examining it closely. Being the stupid 16 year olds we were, we thought we could sell it. I took it to an Army /Navy store and brought it to my the owner asking him how much I could I get for it. “10-15” he said recognizing that it was indeed live. Being so old, it was probably not very safe to have rolling around in the trunk of my Pontiac so me and my friend decided to be stupid once more. We took it to a field and brought out our .22s. My buddy placed it on a fence. We stood back (obviously not far enough in retrospect) and took aim at the grenade. First shot hit it and that was the end of that. I’m not sure what would happen nowadays it you got caught with a grenade in.biology class in high school.

  10. #10
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    My buddy and I had a M3 Grease gun DEWATed the same way.
    We had to get a new barrel assembly to make it work right. Screwed right in.
    About 62 or so.
    You'd find DEWATS that just had lead in the bore.
    Easy to knock out.
    We got a MG 08 like that.
    Lots of interesting stuff around in those days.
    Gunshow parking lots were amazing places.
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