Surplus machine guns after WWI


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HC
June 22, 2010, 04:40 AM
To what extent did the US military surplus machine guns after WWI? Goldsmith mentions in THE BROWNING MACHINE GUN that Colt couldn't sell their new guns in the 1920s because surplus weapons were cheaper. So from when did the US military get rid of some of their stock? Which models were sold off? What did these typically cost (when a new Browning watercooled was $650)? Who bought them? Many thanks!

Cheers

HANS

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Trebor
June 22, 2010, 09:43 AM
Talk about "surplus weapons being cheaper" after WWI is generally about the large scale sale of weapons to governments and armies after the war, not sales on the civilian market.

While it's possible the U.S. and other countries did sell off some "excess to needs" guns after the war, much of the arms trade after WWI was made up of large stocks of captured and surrended German/Austrian/etc weapons sold by the victors in the international open market.

It was much cheaper for a developing nation to reequip itself with surplus ex-German weapons after WWI then to buy new Colt MG's.

The same thing happened after WWII, btw.

zoom6zoom
June 22, 2010, 10:23 AM
There were a lot of vet bring-backs, too.

44-henry
August 4, 2010, 05:49 PM
A few years back I purchased a box of blueprints at a garage sale for a British SE5 aircraft that I think were prints that were sold during the 1920's. There is a supplier listed for a surplus infantry Lewis gun and a brief description how to modify it to aircraft specs and the gun itself was showing up priced at, if I remember correctly, $29.50.

Deltaboy
August 4, 2010, 06:05 PM
My local Sheriff Dept in Ark has several Thompsons they got from the Army after WW2. :D

earlthegoat2
August 4, 2010, 06:11 PM
A few years back I purchased a box of blueprints at a garage sale for a British SE5 aircraft that I think were prints that were sold during the 1920's. There is a supplier listed for a surplus infantry Lewis gun and a brief description how to modify it to aircraft specs and the gun itself was showing up priced at, if I remember correctly, $29.50.

THat is pretty awesome to have SE5 blueprints. Do you know if they are authentic or have any history regarding their use in British Aircraft development?

HC
August 5, 2010, 04:35 PM
44-henry:

That's awesome! Could you scan the section relevant to the Lewis? I'd be very interested to see that.

The Lewis wasn't really made any longer during the 1920s (you could still order them from BSA in England, if you were a government), so surplus guns would be all that was available. There were two French expeditions across Africa (1922 and 1924) that had French-made Lewis aircraft guns mounted on their halftracks; these were government-gifted, apparently.

Cheers

HANS

DoubleTapDrew
August 5, 2010, 07:52 PM
Back when you could still register the things, here's a tearjerker...
http://www.blackrivermilitaria.com/ads/Armex_1981.jpg

http://www.blackrivermilitaria.com/ads/Armex_1981_2.jpg

Prince Yamato
August 5, 2010, 08:55 PM
Double Tap Drew just made me cry into my keyboard...

caribou
August 6, 2010, 12:36 AM
I fired a Maxim near Anchorage once, at a BBQ. The guy who owned it and had bought it in the 60's for the princly sum of 300$, his story went + the 200$ tax of course.
Sled mount ,6 original german cans of cloth belted ammo (he never shoots old surplse through it) and lots of accessories, spare barrels, sights, armor,ect, as well as some he had picked up over the years.
The kicker was that the original owner bought it for 15$ (+ another 25$ more for 10,000rd's the belted ammo)off the docks in Boston in the 20's.
He played with it and put it away when he got married, only pulling it out to shoot now and then, but cleaning and keeping it safe over the years.....the current owner said the original owner thought he had gotten the best of that deal ~~LOL!!~~

The current owner told me that at todays prices, he'd most likly feel HE was getting the best of who ever he sells it too~~LOL!!~~


Those original Thompsons would have been the investment oof a lifetime...with an MP-40 or two thrown in for fun, and maby an MP-28 for kicks.....or an MG-34 or a....

DoubleTapDrew
August 6, 2010, 12:40 AM
It's very sad! There are a bunch of other old ads here:
http://www.blackrivermilitaria.com/annoy.html
Check out the last one on the page from 1957. New guide lamp mfg. surplus grease guns for $49.95. Lewis gun for $60. Swiss Orlikon Full Automatic 20mm cannon for $50. ugh!

Mp7
August 6, 2010, 04:31 AM
...that is very sick.

nalioth
August 6, 2010, 05:08 AM
Check out the last one on the page from 1957. New guide lamp mfg. surplus grease guns for $49.95. Lewis gun for $60. Swiss Orlikon Full Automatic 20mm cannon for $50. ugh! While it's always nice to reminisce, the dollar in 1957 has the same value as $7.82 today.

Ergo:
Grease Gun and Orlikon cannon: $391 in today's dollars
Lewis Gun: $470 in today's dollars

Still sweet, but not as sweet as those amounts would be in 2010 dollars.

Don't you love inflation?

Deltaboy
August 6, 2010, 09:05 AM
Yep it gives me a case of IF I had ONLY KNEW!!!

DoubleTapDrew
August 6, 2010, 12:42 PM
Grease Gun and Orlikon cannon: $391 in today's dollars
Lewis Gun: $470 in today's dollars
I'll still take 5 of each! I think Fuhrer Hughes put the biggest nail in the coffin for those prices not being on pace with inflation. Couldn't you mail order MGs and have them sent to your house before the GCA'68 too?

Elmer
August 6, 2010, 01:21 PM
My local Sheriff Dept in Ark has several Thompsons they got from the Army after WW2. :D
Almost all department's received weapons from the government after both wars. When I was a young cop, my department had dozens of Thompsons they had received. They ended up destroying them, along with all the accessories they had, drums, etc. They could have traded them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in other equipment they desperately needed. Of course they destroy thousands of other guns every year anyway, regardless of value. Never can tell when that Perazzi shotgun or 1st generation Colt SAA could be used in a crime.......

Banks also were given weapons by the government. Years ago, when I got to know a local bank president, he showed me some of the rifles and handguns they still had. 1903's, 1917's etc. I'm sure most banks had gotten rid of theirs years before.

Elmer
August 6, 2010, 01:27 PM
Yep it gives me a case of IF I had ONLY KNEW!!!

You should be looking for the "if only I knew" stuff that's out there today....;)

Cosmoline
August 6, 2010, 01:32 PM
Surplus arms were PLENTIFUL after WWI. Check out a vintage Bannerman catalog to see examples.

The Bannerman Company dated from the Civil War. They were one of the first merchants to recognize the value of surplus military goods and became the premier private arms dealer in the world. They bought 90% of the surplus from the Spanish American war and after they were told not to store the 90 tons of explosives in New York, they bought Polopel Island in the Hudson River near West Point. The company prospered until the 1970s. Catalogues of their goods were routinely issued for almost one hundred years. These early Bannerman catalogs were printed on very cheap newspaper type stock and the quality of the printing deteriorated in the later years and pages were reproduced as such. It’s miraculous that they survived at all. This 91 year old March 1913 catalog measures 12"H x 9"W x 1" thick and contains 420 pages.

http://www.landofborchardt.com/1913fb_catalog.html

In fact until after WWII and certainly during the Great Depression often the only affordable bolt action rifles were surplus military. The mix was a little different than today. Obviously it was mostly Western weapons not former Eastern block.

Deltaboy
August 6, 2010, 05:24 PM
Almost all department's received weapons from the government after both wars. When I was a young cop, my department had dozens of Thompsons they had received. They ended up destroying them, along with all the accessories they had, drums, etc. They could have traded them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in other equipment they desperately needed. Of course they destroy thousands of other guns every year anyway, regardless of value. Never can tell when that Perazzi shotgun or 1st generation Colt SAA could be used in a crime.......

Banks also were given weapons by the government. Years ago, when I got to know a local bank president, he showed me some of the rifles and handguns they still had. 1903's, 1917's etc. I'm sure most banks had gotten rid of theirs years before.
What a bunch of idiots running your dept. The money they wasted in destroying them is totally insane.

My HT Sheriffs dept breaks the Thompsons out for Jail breaks and manhunts.

Elmer
August 6, 2010, 10:14 PM
What a bunch of idiots running your dept. The money they wasted in destroying them is totally insane.

My HT Sheriffs dept breaks the Thompsons out for Jail breaks and manhunts.
Wasn't the ones running the department..... it's the idiots running the city making the calls....same ones running most large cities.

But if your Sheriff's are using submachine guns that are at least 65 years old, and likely worth in excess of 10 grand each, for "jail breaks and manhunts", I'm not sure if they're that far ahead in the idiot department......

HC
August 9, 2010, 06:22 AM
Surplus arms were PLENTIFUL after WWI. Check out a vintage Bannerman catalog to see examples.

The interesting ones weren't, actually. I own a Bannerman from 1927. They don't offer any contemporary US service arms except for M1903 rifles assembled from parts (I'm told these were of lousy quality), and no machine guns of any kind except for mechanical guns (Gatling, Hotchkiss, etc).

Cheers

HANS

silentpoet
August 10, 2010, 06:03 AM
We need to sick Gura on the 1986 ban. Then maybe we could get some of those machine gun deals we weep over.

Mr.Davis
August 12, 2010, 03:39 PM
We need to sick Gura on the 1986 ban. Then maybe we could get some of those machine gun deals we weep over.

I agree, but all in due time. There are more important, incremental battles to be fought first.

I do hope that the register for MGs is reopened before I die...but I'm not even 30 yet ;)

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