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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm coming up short in my fairly extensive personal library, and there isn't much on on-line either regarding production variations, etc.

My first and most obvious question is why, when finding pics do some have 1928 bottom plates, and others have M1917A1 bottom plates? I understand all the photo references I can find are put togethers, but are both versions correct?
 

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My first and most obvious question is why, when finding pics do some have 1928 bottom plates, and others have M1917A1 bottom plates?<
In a nutshell, the 1928 Colts of the Argentine contract were one of Colts commercial models. The receivers were patterned on the Colt 1917 BMG which was manufactured with a "non-stirrup" bottom plate that did not have the riveted side reinforcement strip on the bottom plate which was used many years later and incorporated in the construction of the 1917a1 WC BMGs. The '28 commercial guns had quite a few variations and improvements on the first BMG WC, the 1917.
What you are seeing is recent builds of registered sideplate '28s from the imports of original Colt and Argentine manufactured 1928 commercial MGs. Often these guns have a mix of '28 and 1917a1 parts which can include the use of the 1917a1 stirrup style bottom plates. Those '28s that are reassembled on registered sideplates with all correct parts as representative of the '28 Commercial BMG WC guns and the Argentine Contract guns do not use the much later style 1917a1 stirrup style bottom plate.
There are a handful of original C+R 1928 Colt Commercial WC guns in the registry. These are beautiful MGs as were all the Colt commercial models.
FWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I'm surprised there isn't more info out there. To draw a comparison the 1909 Maxim is the Swiss, Belgian, and Chinese Maxim with slight differences - Is the Colt M37 the 1909 equivalent? Is the 1928 just a M37 with an optic mount on the side? Is the only thing that makes the gun "Argentine" the muzzle gland/flash hider?
 

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Thanks. I'm surprised there isn't more info out there. To draw a comparison the 1909 Maxim is the Swiss, Belgian, and Chinese Maxim with slight differences - Is the Colt M37 the 1909 equivalent? Is the 1928 just a M37 with an optic mount on the side? Is the only thing that makes the gun "Argentine" the muzzle gland/flash hider?
The Argentine contract 1928 has a number of other differences including the top cover, rear sight, etc. Dolf's books on the 30 cal Brownings covers this. I'm sure there's a thread somewhere that compares a number of different components. The tripods are particularly different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Argentine contract 1928 has a number of other differences including the top cover, rear sight, etc. Dolf's books on the 30 cal Brownings covers this. I'm sure there's a thread somewhere that compares a number of different components. The tripods are particularly different.
I only have Volume 1 of his Browning books, which doesn't cover much at all in specifics. Colt sold 350 guns to Argentina in 1929, which was 8 years before the riveted bottom plate. But Colt also sold the commercial gun up to 1940. Did the guns sold post 1937 have the 1917A1 style bottom plate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Are you looking at a gun with Argentinian side plates and a M1917A1 bottom plate?
Not particularly, the Argentine/commercial guns just peaked my interest over the weekend. I've found just as many pics of 1928 sideplates built into 1917A1 style guns as I have with the correct 1928 bottom plates.
like this one - 1928 Water Cooled Engraving

When you start looking for more info and you find inconsistent data, you start asking more questions. Did Colt ever make a 1917A1 style gun with the captured/1928 style return spring? The parts were there at the time, or was that a military only thing to use the A1 bottom plates to upgrade the 1917s?
 

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Colt ever make a 1917A1 style gun with the captured/1928 style return spring? The parts were there at the time, or was that a military only thing to use the A1 bottom plates to upgrade the 1917s?<
No evidence that Colt ever produced a WC BMG to the 1917a1 Specs.
Colt commercial MGs were never contracted for manufacture for US military production in the effort to rearm before WWII. The three contractors for manufacture of the 1917s WC's were Colt, Remington and Westinghouse. Prior to WWII the available stores of these guns were used as the basis for the upgrade to 1917a1s and of the few Colts that remainEd in the US inventories at the time, there were probably some that were rehabilitated as 1917a1s. No doubt there were other iterations of commercial Colt trunnion/ jacket combinations made through those years that were rehabilitated as 1917a1s as well, such as 1919s, 1924s, maybe even MG38s, etc. It is fairly easy to identify Remington and Westinghouse runnionwaterjacket combinations due to markings, but Colt did not mark their 1917 trunnion/jackets in my experience, including the vintage example of a Colt 1917 In my collection.
As far as "data" inconsistencies, there are none. The commercial WC BMG Colts are a very distinct subset of overall BMG WC production and there is no evidence of overlap with factory production of US military contract 1917a1 WC BMGs.
In my view, the proliferation of registered, mixed part collector MGs built using 1928 Colt and Argentine kits and US made 1917a1 parts is entirely unique to the US collector community. This has been enabled by the availability of registered BMG sideplates and a good supply of 1917a1 parts. FWIW
 

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The problem is more with where you are finding so called data than the with the data existing. The internet is filled with pictures of stuff that never really existed as production guns and the explanations of their appearance may or may not have anything to do with reality. A lot of the pictures end up on sites where the primary interest is in gaming so the fact that they sometimes get things correct is more surprising than the fact that there are pictures. The only way to find real info is to speak to people who know or to find original books with the information. There are some books out there with a lot of info on the Colt Commercial machineguns but they are tough to find. As Bob noted the commercial Colts are not what the US military chose for production. The 28 watercooled guns were Colts own deal and were commercial guns. There is info on them too if you look hard enough.

As for the mixing of parts a lot is due to the US market finding parts that were close to what they wanted but not perfect. I know of a group of 4 gents who purchased a goodly number of 1928 Commercial watercooled kits and then a like number of 1919A4 part sets in order to use the watercooled jackets and trunnions to build 1917A1 look-a-like guns. They had no interest in the true history of the kits but were more interested in the US military aspects so they built 17A1s from the combined parts in semi auto form. That left quite a few receiver bits from the 28's which were built up later by a couple others who found replacement jackets. The same thing happened with tripods.....
Its a bit of a shame that so many guns were split up and scattered but people are people and want what they want. I've seen a number of these mixmaster 17A1's come up for sale and they bring more money than a properly done 28 watercooler. Yet at the same time guys ***** and moan about mixed makers marks on the internals....go figure.

Lastly, the 1909 maxims are not related to the brownings in any real way. They came about because the patents expired on Maxims original guns and vickers did a redesign that lightened things up so DWM had to do the same. The 1909 maxims are lighter than the 08 types and quite a few were sold along with licenses to produce. Switzerland, China and Turkey were just a few of the users. The Brownings were not even a thought at the time they came out so not related at all in my opinion.

Frank
 

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I agree with Biffj, my question is what you are really trying to find out. I understand clearly what 1928 Colt WC guns are and the differences between them and Browning M1917 and the similar M1917A1 water cooled guns. Those questions are fairly easy, once you bring in pictures off the Internet, you are going into a completely different arena of semi or hybrid F/A guns as bijjf has so eloquently stated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Let me try to un-complicate things. Colt sold MGs commercially based on the M1917 design.
Colt's biggest customers were:
Argentina
Thailand
Bolivia
Paraguay
Mexico.

What did those guns look like? I started asking about the Argentine guns because they are most prevalent. Is the "Model 1928" Specific to Argentina or were the guns shipped to Bolivia also marked 1928, or were theirs stamped MG38? Obviously the 1909 Maxims are different but the comparison makes perfect sense in this context. The 1909 Chinese T24 was different from the Swiss MG11 as it had a squeeze trigger and mounts for AA sights on the water jacket. What if any are differences between the guns sold to Bolivia and Mexico? Was one 1928 and the other an M1924?
 

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I'd suggest you buy a copy of the reprint of the catalogue of Colt Commercial MGs. It has pics of a variety of their commercial MGS, parts, accessories, etc.
This will provide you with many of the answers you want.
 

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While this seems to be pretty well covered by a few folks here, I'll add my observations to the mix. Based on what I've read in Dolf's Volume I, and observed from guns and pieces I've seen, as well as photos, this is what I have concluded. Colt's first commercial production model based on the 1917 was marketed as the model 1919 water cooled. Other than the rear sight being the Colt commercial variation rather than the military style, the gun looks identical to a WWI military 1917. At some point- and it might be with the Model 1924 change in designation- the design we know best as the Argentine contract style appears. Might be wrong on which year and model, without digging for photos. But by the time Argentina did that contract, this is what the commercial Colts looked like in terms of receiver construction. I believe it's in the early 30s that it was renamed the MG38, and there are plenty of existing examples where the MG38 marked receivers are virtually identical to the Argentine 1928s. I have not seen any evidence of a 1928 marked gun other than Argentine contract, but Dolf stated that some early guns built on that went to another country in Central of South America on urgent need. If anyone has seen a generic, non-Argentine contract gun with 1928 markings, I would like to know. I don't know how late Colt continued in this style receiver, but perhaps into the WWII period for commercial sales. I have one rear half of a cut receiver, but sadly the model and serial are X'd out so severely that it is unreadable. It is the "Argentine" style, but for one change in that the elevating bracket (rear tripod mount) is riveted to the bottom plate rather than being screwed in. That was certainly part of some MG38 series guns at some period in time.

It is worth noting, too, that Dolf covers what were called the "idealized" Brownings, produced by Remington (5 examples) shortly after WWI. They have a bottom plate assembly that looks like a precursor to the 1928 style, a series of 6 rivets on an extended flange at the bottom of the receiver. In this case, the mounting ears are integral. Might be that Colt took a cue from that. Also, a heavier water jacket end caps look reminiscent of what Colt did on their heavier duty water jackets on later MG38s, which I believe used a circulation pump similar to the M2 .50 cal water cooled gun.
 

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At this time, I don't know when the stepped bottom edge of the sideplates was introduced. I believe that 1919 and 1924 Colt Commercial WC BMGs did not have the stepped bottom edge of the successors to this MG, the 1928 which morphed into the MG 38s. Dolf's volume 1 includes a pic of an alleged 1919 WC BMG, #322, but the gun pictured is an Argentine made 1928 and is so marked, which can be seen on the right sideplate of the gun pictured. Unfortunately, there is no pic of a standard commercial Colt 1928 but these are the first of the MGs sold to Argentina so they most likely were a "model". The aircraft MGs contemporary to the above early guns had stirrup style bottom plates, as did the tank MG38s and special order MG38s. Info from Dolf's volume #1.
I have three MG38B's that were imported and assembled with new, registered sideplates by Doug Offinger and all have 1928 style six, small rivets per side holding the bottom plates and the plate bottom edges are stepped. Dolf's volume #1 has only a couple pics of the standard MG38Bs.In the early 1990s I regularly received Dolf's sales lists from his MG and MG
parts business in CA and he advertised a C+R example of the Colt MG38, the only one in the NFRTR, and his price was $12,500.00.
The design changes made after the introduction of the Colt 1917 BMG and incorporated into the commercial Colt MGs post-WWI were a branch of the BMG genealogy that did not survive although some individual parts did. The WWII BMGs reverted to a type closer to the 1917.
FWIW
 

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I know I have seen a pic of a Colt 1924 marked gun, just couldn't remember for certain where, and whether or not it still had the "dovetail" style receiver. I think you are correct though, and that it did. So that suggests that somewhere between 1924 and 1928 the change occurred. No way to prove that except by finding a "missing link" example. I know the pic you refer to in Vol 1, and that is definitely mis-identified. Although, I assumed it was Colt's production, rather than Argentine. Colt's put markings on the left side, but I've seen a different original right side engraving that I thought was the Argentine made. That said, you have no doubt seen a lot more of that commercial stuff than I have.

As to the military production, Colt's really had little to do with that between the wars, except with regard to the 1921/M2 .50 cal and the MG40/ANM2 .30 cals. So far as I am aware, no 1917 or 1919 series gun was purchased from Colt's by Uncle Sam after the 1919 Tank Guns were finished, shortly after the Great War. All that development leading to our WWII series .30s was done by the Ordnance Dept, independent of Colt's.

Forgot one other exception, the 1919 Aircraft Gun of the early to mid 1920s, which receiver was the same as the later MG38B and MG38BT "Tank" guns. Different animal altogether.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Dolf's volume 1 includes a pic of an alleged 1919 WC BMG, #322, but the gun pictured is an Argentine made 1928 and is so marked, which can be seen on the right sideplate of the gun pictured.
Too funny. You told me "As far as "data" inconsistencies, there are none. " and here you reference one of the exact pieces of that inconsistent data I was referring to!

But seriously, thanks guys. This has turned into a great thread.
 

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Too funny. You told me "As far as "data" inconsistencies, there are none. " and here you reference one of they exact pieces of that inconsistent data I was refering to!<
Well, I suspected you might try to find fault, and wondered what took so long, but, and I beg to differ, a picture of the wrong MG is not "inconsistent". It is simply an error. I maintain that Dolf's information, as well as the general information revealed on this topic is consistent. All parts of the information and knowledge that we have are compatible, including the info on variations in the hardware. All the info from various sources is verifiable, to a great degree, and is logical, not contradictory and, in my opinion, is remarkably "consistent" within the framework of the topic.
I own examples of many of these MGs and know other collectors with various other MGs covered in this thread, and can verify that Dolf's information, as well as information posted on the subject by other participants, is fortunately and agreeably, reliable.
What is most odd and frustrating to me is that you claim to want clear and reliable information on MGs and when it is presented to you by those with extensive hands-on experience, resourced and offered voluntarily in a good faith effort to help you, your response is to impugn and mock In a childish game of "gotcha".
From now on I'll ignore posts from you with questions. Have a good day......
 

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Were gonna like too see pics anytime soon.
This is one of my favorites...allways figured there was some mystery to it.

Whatcha got you can show...????
 
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