By Robert G. Segel
The 19th annual All Thompson Show and Shoot, in association with The American Thompson Association (TATA), held their event on August 13-14, 2010. 110 members and friends of TATA registered for the event traveling from such diverse places as Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Kentucky to attend the event in Granville, Ohio to display, talk and shoot Thompsons.
On Friday the 13th, the show began at the Thompson Collectors Conference Center, hosted by world renowned collector and author Tracie Hill and his family, with 55 tables of Thompsons and related equipment on display. With the doors opening at 10 a.m., Friday is devoted to a show and tell display of the registrant's guns and accessories reverently exhibited on display tables throughout the conference center. All makes and models of Thompsons were present as were a wide assortment of accessories, spare parts, stick and drum magazines, web gear, manuals and historical documents - many of which were for sale. The array of Thompsons and the devotion to the subject is phenomenal.
At 1 p.m., approximately 60 attendees filed into the library to attend a PowerPoint presentation by David Albert on reproduction Thompson items. Becoming a real concern with collectors, the unmarked reproduction of Thompson gear and accessories was discussed beginning with the various motives involved: sometimes for profit, sometimes to reproduce an exceptionally rare item for representation in a collection or for use with re-enactors and sometimes to specifically fool the purchaser. Reproduction of items is not a bad thing as long as it is marked in such a way that purchasers know that it is a reproduction. Of great concern is unmarked items that are sold as original to collectors and if used in the field by re-enactors or shooters, over a period of time, the new item gets wear and tear and a patina that makes it look like an original item. The PowerPoint presentation showed many examples of original gear with proper markings and reproduction gear with counterfeit markings. This applies to all manner of web gear, accessories and manuals.
To their credit, the Board of Directors of The American Thompson Association has adopted a new bylaw for their association regarding Reproduction Marking Standards. The American Thompson Association is a group of collectors dedicated to preserving the history, collecting, and promoting the safe operation of legal Thompson submachine guns. The club has a responsibility to future collectors and recognizes that many artifacts and accessories associated with the Thompson are being reproduced, or have been reproduced in the past. As a result, TATA assumes a stewardship role for future collectors, who, upon encountering reproduction items now and in the future, may not be able to reasonably determine their originality. This can have the effect of reducing collector value of original specimens, as well as present unintended (or intended) ethical issues among the Thompson collector community.
The American Thompson Association adopted a standard consisting of marking any new Thompson submachine gun reproduction items with a name or other distinguishable identifying mark that indicates the manufacturing entity, and at least the year of manufacture. The marking should be easily visible, and made in a manner that the item can be readily identifiable as a reproduction, such as die stamping in metal, firmly stamped wood markings, readily accessible publisher marks inside the front page of a paper item, permanently painted markings on canvas material, or other reasonable and permanent marking methods. (An example for stock markings is to mark such items under the buttplate, and on top of the grip, as these are already standard methods, and will not detract cosmetically from their presentation on a Thompson.)
TATA members must comply with the standard, and any reproduction item made by a member after notification of the adoption of the new standard in the club newsletter should be marked according to the TATA reproduction marking standard.
A list consisting of 3 categories of Thompson reproduction items will be maintained:
* New reproduction Thompson items that conform to TATA marking standard, to include known manufacturer information.
* Existing reproduction items that conform to TATA marking standard, to include known manufacturer information.
* Reproduction Thompson items that do not conform to TATA marking standard, to include known manufacturer information.
At a later time to be determined, once greater experience has been gained with managing a marking standard, TATA will present their standard to the NRA as a potential best practice. The standard may also be introduced to other NRA affiliated collector organizations who might want to adopt a similar standard.
Saturday the 14th was devoted to shooting Thompsons at a beautiful nearby range in Newark. There were two structured events and then free range shooting time after that. Thompsons used in the competitions must be in original factory configuration.
The morning event had 43 shooters registered and began at 7:30 a.m. Five shooters at a time would shoot with each shooter having a range officer supervising his or her actions.
- Stage 1. From a distance of 50 yards, shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 25 seconds to fire 20 rounds on one target using semiautomatic fire only.
- Stage 2. From a distance of 25 yards, shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 25 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire.
- Stage 3. From a distance of 25 yards, shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 20 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire.
- Stage 4. From a distance of 10 yards (30 feet), shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 15 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire.
- Stage 5. From a distance of 7 yards (21 feet), shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 4 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire.
Total rounds fired is 100 rounds. Less time is allotted to the shooter the closer they got to the target requiring speed as well as accuracy. Each target had to be engaged separately and sweeping the three targets in one long burst was not allowed.
Targets used were the standard OPOTA combat silhouette type. Hits inside and cutting the outer silhouette line counted as hits. The shooter with the most hits was the winner. Hits in the INZ (Instant Neutralization Zone - a T shaped area covering the brain and spinal column down to the middle of the chest) were recorded for use in the event of a tie.
Immediately following the first competition, the second competition took place consisting of metal "pepper-popper" knock-down targets. 32 shooters registered for this event. Two shooters would compete against each other in a two-out-of three engagement. A shooter had to knock down his six metal targets before the other shooter knocked down his six targets. The last, center targets, were set at a slight angle so that one would fall over the other in a closely contested event. After all the initial pairing of shooters took place, the winner of each heat then competed against the winner of another heat. This elimination process continued until there were only two shooters left to determine first and second place.
Free range shooting time was available on the main range during the metal target events located on a side range.
All shooting ended at 3 p.m. and everyone went back to their hotel to shower and freshen up for the buffet banquet dinner that was held back at the Thompson Collectors Conference Center at 5:30.
A delicious buffet dinner of tenderloin, chicken breasts and all the sides and trimmings were served along with a dessert selection that would please any taste. Normally held outside, due to inclement weather, the dinner was moved indoors. The winners of the day's contests were announced after dinner. The morning shoot winners were: 1st place to Charlie LeCount with a perfect score of 100 (with 7 hits in the INZ) and 2nd place went to Tom James with a 95 (with 8 shots in the INZ). The winner of the metal target knock-down pepper-popper event was Dan Block with Tony Veronesi coming in second in a very closely contested and exciting event.
The camaraderie and gathering of like-minded people in a casual setting such as this two-day event is a testament to the diversity of interests that people are more than willing to share. The 20th annual All Thompson Show & Shoot will be held in August, 2011. Check the The American Thompson Association website for the dates and details.
The American Thompson Association
P.O. Box 8710
Newark, OH 43508-8710
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