West Hurley Meet West Hurley

By Tom Davis, Jr.

The Numrich Gun Parts Corporation C Drum

The history of the Thompson submachine gun is a very long story that began in 1916, when General John T. Thompson filed the necessary paperwork in New York State to create the Auto-Ordnance Corporation (AOC). The AOC developed several firearms in the ensuing years, but none more successful than the now iconic Thompson submachine gun, almost universally referred to as the “Tommy Gun.” After World War II this corporate product, the Thompson gun, was sold to several different proprietors including the Numrich Arms Company (NAC), then of Mamaroneck, New York. After the sale in late 1951, the Thompson assets were soon delivered to a new company location in West Hurley, New York—a site known internationally by gun enthusiasts for many years seeking parts for obsolete and military firearms. The Thompson gun was but one of many obsolete armaments acquired by George Numrich, Jr., the founder, owner and president of NAC. Sales of Thompson guns and parts were only a very small component of the overall business. This changed in 1974 with the creation of a new Auto-Ordnance Corporation, now located in West Hurley, New York. By most accounts, this new AOC was simply an extension of NAC. Its primary purpose was to market a newly developed semi-automatic Thompson rifle that had recently been approved for manufacture by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). This new semi-automatic only Thompson gun could be owned by anyone that could legally own a hunting rifle, without all the extra paperwork and cost of the $200 transfer tax due for machine gun ownership.

The new AOC also manufactured the well-known Model of 1928 Thompson submachine gun, but this was only a small part of their business model. NAC supplied refurbished World War II L drums to customers upon request, but the supply was almost immediately exhausted. This led to the production of what is commonly referred to as the West Hurley XL or 39-round drum. The only C or 100-round drum available for these new rifles and submachine guns was manufactured...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N4 (April 2018)
and was posted online on February 23, 2018


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