The Ingram Model 6 An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
By Lee Arten
The Ingram Model 6 in .45 ACP, made by the Police Ordnance Company of Los Angeles, CA is a very simple gun. In this case, however, simple works. Externally the Model 6 bears some resemblance to the Thompson, especially in the police model with the vertical handgrip. Looking at drawings of both guns shows that the Thompson has a lot more going on inside to get basically the same results as the Ingram.
Internally, the tubular receiver, the large spring and heavy bolt look similar to those in the STEn, the Sterling and some other open bolt subguns. Despite that the Ingram is a singular design. One difference between it and other subguns from about the same era is that the trigger functions as the selector. A short pull gives semi-auto fire, and pulling it back as far as possible allows for full-auto. According to Military Small Arms of the 20th Century “the system is today, fairly commonplace, but at the time of the Ingram’s introduction was still something of a novelty”.
I’d never used such a trigger until I bought the Ingram Model 6 Military, one of the Stembridge Movie guns from Long Mountain Outfitters. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but I’ve been impressed. Single shots are very easy to squeeze off, and despite the “double action” feature, the trigger is better than that on some other subguns.
The Ingram starts out about a half pound heavier empty than the M50 Reising, the subgun I’ve shot most. It gains about three quarters of a pound over a loaded Reising with the addition of a full 30 round magazine and runs faster than the Reising, too. With reloads my Reising runs about 575 rpm according to a Speed Timer 3000. The same timer puts the Ingram at 600 rpm with the same loads. That is just what the specs in The World’s Submachine Gun Vol 1 by Nelson say it should be.
Despite running faster than the Reising, the Ingram seemed more controllable. My friend Mike, my son, Isaac and I had all shot Reisings and MP5’s before. Mike had also shot Thompsons and some other subguns at Knob Creek on a visit a few years ago. I’d fired others including Thompsons, a Mauser 712 machinepistol, and the Beretta 38/42. The night we shot the M6 for the first time, the targets were Beast Products steel bowling pin swingers set at about 15 yards. We shot single shots and bursts and didn’t find the targets hard to hit with the Ingram despite the open bolt subguns’ reputation for aim-destroying clunk and vibration. At that range we didn’t think even the MP5 would have shot much better. Because of the Reising’s hard trigger, the Ingram was easier to shoot. Controllability seemed to be enhanced by the M6’s heavy tubular receiver. The Ingram was almost six inches shorter than the Reising and most of the M6’s weight seemed to be between the hands.
In burst fire the Ingram didn’t seem to start to rear up and jolt backward until after the first several rounds had gone down range. Fired in short bursts, it stayed on the target quite well. It didn’t hang like an M3, but the M3 runs about 250 rpm slower, too.
We were shooting in a gravel pit and had only an hour before dark. Because time was short, we put whatever reloads came to hand into the Ingram mag. Sometimes there were nickel and brass cased ammo with FMJ and RNL bullets mixed in the same magazine. With a singular exception they all fired. The exception was the last round loaded into the magazine. That round didn’t feed, except once in a short-loaded stick. Instead, it would get bumped forward into the front of the magazine or the edge of the chamber. Lead bullets were gashed and pushed back into the case. Reloads with hardball weren’t cut, but the bullets were sometimes pushed back. Something will have to be done about that, but there were no other problems in our short session. I’d brought some Winchester hardball along in case the Ingram was finicky, but never opened the box. Altogether we fired about 200 reloads in an hour. Some were fired through the Reising but most were fired in the Ingram.
More shooting of the Ingram showed it to work as well with light Bullseye loads with lead 230 grain round nose bullets, as with hardball equivalent loads with 230 grain FMJs. The problem with the last round in the magazine still occurred but seemed to happen less often than the first time I shot the gun. Several people left the range grinning, wanting more time on the Ingram. A friend who had been at the session called me a few days later. During the conversation he said he was tumbling a bunch of 45 brass which were going to be loaded and reserved for use in my subguns, particularly the Model 6. I need more friends like that.
The sights on the Ingram impressed me. Several subguns I’ve fired seemed to have the sights stuck on as an afterthought. A STEn I saw a couple of years ago had no front sight. When I drew that to the attention of the guy running the rental operation, he said, “Oh yeah, it fell off. We’ll have to put it back on.”
That kind of casual attitude is not encouraged by the Ingram’s sights. The rear sight is a peep, adjustable for windage with reference marks on the sight base. It is protected by two large ears which somewhat resemble those on the Swedish K. The front sight is also sturdy and has protective wings on either side. I thought the sights on the Model 6 were quite usable. Nelson’s book says they are set for 100 yards and I don’t anticipate shooting any subgun much farther than that. One hundred yards and beyond is Garand or M1A territory.
The World’s Submachine Guns gives the Ingram’s particulars as: Blowback operation, selective fire, cyclic rate 600 rpm Made in 9mm, .45 ACP and .38 Super Length without bayonet 30 inches, with bayonet 37 inches Nine inch round barrel Unloaded weight 7.25 pounds, loaded weight 9 pounds Magazine capacity 30 rounds. Box magazine made of seamless steel tubing. Six lands and grooves with a right hand twist.
The book doesn’t mention it but the gun has a two-piece wooden stock and sling swivels. I like wooden stocks and the Ingram’s fits me quite well.
I took the Ingram to the range and fired it semi-auto from the bench with reloads using Bullseye, Unique and Clays powders and 230 grain FMJ bullets. The loads were made using Winchester Large Pistol Primers and Remington-Peters nickel-plated cases. The Ingram seemed to like 4.3 grains of Bullseye. At 25 yards I shot four slugs into two inches and then threw a flier that stretched the group to three and a half inches. At 50 yards I got three shots into two inches on the edge of the target. The other two of the five were off in the much-ventilated back board and lost. The Unique load worked better than the Clays load but threw more and wider fliers than the Bullseye rounds. The Clays load I used threw seven-inch groups at 25 yards, OK for short range blasting but not for much else. The M6 trigger made it easy to shoot single shots. I never felt I might slip over and fire two or three instead of one.
Gordon B. Ingram developed several other subguns before the most famous of his inventions, the MAC 10. The Model 7, which fired from a close bolt and was chambered for the .38 Super, looked alot like the Model 6, at least in pictures. The Model 8, which was produced in Thailand, was an update of the Model 6. The Model 9 featured a folding wire stock and was shorter, lighter and chambered only for the 9mm Parabellum. The MAC 10 took the same trends to what I think is an extreme. Along with the subguns mentioned earlier I’ve also shot a suppressed MAC 10. Every other subgun I’ve fired felt better, and I shot better with them.
Recently, I’ve noticed that a lot of work is being done to MACs and the various MAC clones. There have been several articles in Small Arms Review detailing how to re-stock and re-sight these guns, and how to slow them down so they are of more use in competition shooting. Every issue of Shotgun News had ads for new stocks, handguards and barrels. Match photos show competitors using MACs tricked out with these, and other accessories. When I see these revamped guns, I can’t help but think that all the ad-ons merely bring these guns somewhere near the weight, length and utility of an original Model. 6.
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