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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
This is one of my favorites...allways figured there was some mystery to it.
One of the best parts of this hobby is there are unknowns that are unknowable. The hunt is more fun than the kill.

I've been doing this for 20 years and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on water cooled guns, parts and many many books in search of answers. I've spent weeks deconstructing old parts and making new ones for these old guns so they can keep running. To suggest I'm in this for a "gotcha" moment would be insulting if it wasn't so hilarious. You'll have that dealing with text. Things get lost in a perceived inflection and assumptions. I have no doubt this discussion would have a completely different tone in person.

We can argue about what a "mis-identified " picture is or isn't. It may be insignificant, but it seems no one knows for sure whether or not a simple stamp on a sideplate of "1928" was an Argentine specific thing in 1929.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I think I was just looking in the wrong direction for answers, and overlooking the obvious.
Volume I of Dolf's Browning book, Chapter 11 covers commercial guns after WW1. Not once in that chapter is an M1928 mentioned. It makes sense because Colt stopped model numbers like that at M1924, and went to MG38. I looked in a another Colt book and no mention of an M1928, only the watercooled MG38.
In Segel's Machine Gun Support Equipment and Accessories he says the Colt 1917 pattern export model was the MG38, and that Argentina designated them the M1928.
So as the DWM Commercial 1909 is the Type 24, the Colt Commercial MG38 is the M1928.
 

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Err sort of. The 1928 guns are listed by their colt c prefix serial numbers on the left side plate along with all the colt factory info, just like all other colt guns. These were covered over with the zeiss brackets that were added in argentina but the info is there, and can be used along with the colt serial number registers to date the guns production. The number on the rsp as well as the number stamped all over the gun was done as part of the argentine contract, but is not the guns serial number. There were specifics done to the 28 for the argentine contract as well. Obviously the rear sight and the safety on the backplate was an argentine requirement as well. There were minor changes to the tripod also.
The mg38 has always been considered an upgraded gun over the 28, if for no other reason than the waterjacket improvements, and i dont think, but I will have to check when I can get to my records, that any 38’s were made before the completion of colts part of the argentine contract on the 28 guns. Now argentina did buy some 38’s also but they did not have the dolled up engraving and were simply c prefix commercial colt guns. Of course they made their own 28’s domestically as well, along with mounts and spare parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Err sort of. The 1928 guns are listed by their colt c prefix serial numbers on the left side plate along with all the colt factory info, just like all other colt guns. These were covered over with the zeiss brackets that were added in argentina but the info is there, and can be used along with the colt serial number registers to date the guns production. The number on the rsp as well as the number stamped all over the gun was done as part of the argentine contract, but is not the guns serial number. There were specifics done to the 28 for the argentine contract as well. Obviously the rear sight and the safety on the backplate was an argentine requirement as well. There were minor changes to the tripod also.
The mg38 has always been considered an upgraded gun over the 28, if for no other reason than the waterjacket improvements, and i dont think, but I will have to check when I can get to my records, that any 38’s were made before the completion of colts part of the argentine contract on the 28 guns. Now argentina did buy some 38’s also but they did not have the dolled up engraving and were simply c prefix commercial colt guns. Of course they made their own 28’s domestically as well, along with mounts and spare parts.
I think there were a couple curves in the road where the 1928, M1924 and MG38 merged. The book says the only difference between the M1924 and the MG38 is a name change that took place in 1931. So an Argentine 1928 was at first a customized M1924 (with an added thumb safety, sight bracket, etc) when the first batch was shipped in 1929, and an MG38 when the last batch was shipped in 1933. Unfortunately the export records dont indicate M1924 of 1928 - - only 7.65 water-cooled and later 7.65MM MG38.

I understand the serial numbers. I have one of the first batch Maxim World Standards that shipped to Argentina. It also has the factory SN inside and the Argentine number outside.
 

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the one thing that was more of a name change on the 38 series guns was a complete redesign of the trunnion and waterjacket. Those guns evolved into mini versions of the mg52. The 1924 guns I’ve inspected had sliding rear safeties and 1917 style bottom plates. The 28 gained colts improved bottom plate and a captive recoil spring, where the 38 had 28 features plus the above mentioned enhancements.
we havent even discusses the 1919 commercial watercooled yet!
 
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
the one thing that was more of a name change on the 38 series guns was a complete redesign of the trunnion and waterjacket. Those guns evolved into mini versions of the mg52. The 1924 guns I’ve inspected had sliding rear safeties and 1917 style bottom plates. The 28 gained colts improved bottom plate and a captive recoil spring, where the 38 had 28 features plus the above mentioned enhancements.
we havent even discusses the 1919 commercial watercooled yet!
So another mystery is would a Colt MG38 made in 1939 look any different had there never been the Argentine contract in 1928? I've worked in the corporate world were marketing and operations fought tooth and nail over changes made by sales for specific clients, which ended up being adopted across the platform down the road.

The 1919 commercial watercooled looks like a bottomless pit, The MG40 water-cooled may be an easier one to take on next.
 

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I think it would. Clearly colt realized the superiority of the steel trunnion and endcap threaded over the waterjacket tube to the heavy brass endcapped and trunnioned victorian design. As early as 1918 they committed to the superior design waterjacket for the .50 gun. If they had realized how mobile the next war was going to be, they probably wouldnt have put any effort into it, but they did sell some to countries wanting/needing to add to their inventory on the eve of the war. until lend lease was authorized, the only guns available to allies were commercial guns sold directly by gun mfg’s to allies. one of dolfs browning books has the colt sales ledgers for commercial guns pre war. Cant remember which, but its interesting to see where they went. Mind you there are holes in it but at least it’s something.
Ive also been lucky to have friends with libraries of original colt mg documents, lithographs, advertising and sales ledgers. They keep this stuff close to the vest because it becomes a burden with everyone wanting a peek, but there are far less documented gun lines out there than colt. Heck I even have the blueprints, steel formulas and heat treat tables for all their machine guns made in the 30’s.
 

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There is no MG40 water cooled. The Colt MG38 series was the end of the line for which there would be no further need to improve on.

The Colt M1928 was a " Contract" model for Argentine only. Argentine military sent their desired wishes to Colt, Colt hashed up what they wanted for the price. Other Arg Military wanted other changes, Colt probably pushed back on the design based on tooling changes and cost. This went back and forth on the sales order with that country for over a year and a half before any guns were actually tooled up and start to be made to that final spec. How many spare barrels and parts groups and other accessories like tools and armorers parts and tool kits, sighting devices, loaders, belts, tripods ect. This would all be under one master contract called the M1928 for Argentine. Colt used subcontractors to fulfill the whole contract I'm sure, because they were a much smaller company then we all thought to get that much out the door in as short as time possible. Its just not the what 800 guns. At the same time Colt knows that the faster they get delivered, the less likely the technology improvements of the day wouldn't catch up to cancel the order. Hense, push back on more changes to what they already had tooled up for. When did Argentine actually start receiving their first guns? Probably two years past the 1928 contact request at the soonest, when did deliveries end? Probably not much past 1932-34. Dolf notes that congress gets in the mix to get their share of tax on export of guns which are noted in congressional records with some serial numbers. Sales is one part but actual delivery is another. What I mean is that they may have received 800 guns but them may not have all been marked M1928 in the context you think of what a 1928 is " IF" some of the guns went out as special designated guns. Since a special gun would not be the M1928 spec, its feasible that Colt may have marked them differently. Special designated guns are already part of the design table in the Colt factory. Could have been a future sales example. I think most of the M1928 if not all but a few are the same but not exclusively. Which doesn't matter as far as most of us are concerned, we wont ever know about those " If " they were different. To us we'll just know what a M1928 is and that will be the end of the line on that discussion for lack of better records.

I'm highly interested in Bob's affirmation that only one MG38 is in the C&R. I'm curious to know how you would know that or is that just a highly educated guess? I'm not challenging I'm just interested. I'm curious if your list of Dolf's shows the serial numbers or if that can be retrieved any way? I'm not taking about refitted side plate guns but actual Colt built guns. Because I have put my hands on an original Colt MG38 built gun and took the grease out of it and shot it. I dont own the gun and have not seen or asked about the registration paper work but the right side plate is not altered and is marked starting with C for commercial sales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
There is no MG40 water cooled. The Colt MG38 series was the end of the line for which there would be no further need to improve on.

The Colt M1928 was a " Contract" model for Argentine only. Argentine military sent their desired wishes to Colt, Colt hashed up what they wanted for the price. Other Arg Military wanted other changes, Colt probably pushed back on the design based on tooling changes and cost. This went back and forth on the sales order with that country for over a year and a half before any guns were actually tooled up and start to be made to that final spec. How many spare barrels and parts groups and other accessories like tools and armorers parts and tool kits, sighting devices, loaders, belts, tripods ect. This would all be under one master contract called the M1928 for Argentine. Colt used subcontractors to fulfill the whole contract I'm sure, because they were a much smaller company then we all thought to get that much out the door in as short as time possible. Its just not the what 800 guns. At the same time Colt knows that the faster they get delivered, the less likely the technology improvements of the day wouldn't catch up to cancel the order. Hense, push back on more changes to what they already had tooled up for. When did Argentine actually start receiving their first guns? Probably two years past the 1928 contact request at the soonest, when did deliveries end? Probably not much past 1932-34. Dolf notes that congress gets in the mix to get their share of tax on export of guns which are noted in congressional records with some serial numbers. Sales is one part but actual delivery is another. What I mean is that they may have received 800 guns but them may not have all been marked M1928 in the context you think of what a 1928 is " IF" some of the guns went out as special designated guns. Since a special gun would not be the M1928 spec, its feasible that Colt may have marked them differently. Special designated guns are already part of the design table in the Colt factory. Could have been a future sales example. I think most of the M1928 if not all but a few are the same but not exclusively. Which doesn't matter as far as most of us are concerned, we wont ever know about those " If " they were different. To us we'll just know what a M1928 is and that will be the end of the line on that discussion for lack of better records.

I'm highly interested in Bob's affirmation that only one MG38 is in the C&R. I'm curious to know how you would know that or is that just a highly educated guess? I'm not challenging I'm just interested. I'm curious if your list of Dolf's shows the serial numbers or if that can be retrieved any way? I'm not taking about refitted side plate guns but actual Colt built guns. Because I have put my hands on an original Colt MG38 built gun and took the grease out of it and shot it. I dont own the gun and have not seen or asked about the registration paper work but the right side plate is not altered and is marked starting with C for commercial sales.

There was a watercooled MG40. Three pages after it's discussed in Volume 1 Dolf lists the export numbers of the guns shipped to the Republic of Argentina. There were 350 prior to 1930 and the last shipped in 1933.
 

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That is correct, there was a thread on waterjacket that attached similar to the m2 watercooled. Its covered in the colt commercial sales book.
 

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You are right MG40, I was just flying off the cuff in a hurry and didn't look at my further personal in-depth research notes. Now I have Dolf's book open and my notes I must read up on again because I hadn't taken it any further. Such as everyone else has mentioned the Colt sale adds reprints and which I must eventually hope to look for. I'm not authority on the subject matter like the other guys here. What I can offer is given the right amount of time, answers to questions on a certain factory built MG38 features you might have or its particular built configuration and options for better words. I have found the M1928 to be eerily close in feel and small features such as the knurling on the pins the same as the MG38 so those features do share well. However, there are details of a M1928 that I dont really even know for certain that I would like to learn here for once that Dolf book doesn't even break down into detail such as the square barrel notches and square barrel plunger spring on certain colt commerial guns, how many cut notches on the M1928 verse the early Colt commercial M1924 M1928 and later commercial production M38-40-1 and the finally the MG40. Funny my notes even mention the easy mix up between the MG40 wc and the air craft MG40. Updated: Page 322 does show the Colt commercial barrel notch and barrel locks plunger supplied on or prior to 1930, but not all the variations; there was a round barrel plunger lock as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
While we're on the topic of MG40s -- Is the recoil spring/guide in the 1928/MG38 pattern the same as the MG40? I know the boxes are smaller so the other internals don't fit, but are springs good replacements for current 1928 builds?
 

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Mg38 uses same notches and barrel lock as 28. 24 I examined had 1917 style headspace notches and spring. Mg40 uses a spring similar to a .50 to set headspace, not a plunger like the 38-28 guns.

recoil spring assembly is different on the mg40 compared to mg38.
 

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Thanks for the transcription JMann mostly what I was looking for. May help to ID a barrel as I saw a weird one in my mix. Is there any pictures of variations or discussion of bolts on the MG38 MG40 or M1928 to help date a Colt gun?
Tom Stewert - Tex had one Transerable MG38B come through is shop last year. A quick mention on Sturm and picture on other listing for belt feds got the word out and it never made it to a formal listing. It was faught over quick and commanded an astounding price tag almost 80 clams, and that was just the gun. I doubt that was a side plate gun listed as a Colt and marked MG38B as Tom is highly reputable. The factory Colt gun I’ve handled not a side plate gun. I suppose those could have been amnesty registered and not C&R. But then that brings up another interesting questions and maybe validation, as to where were several of these guns sitting for years unregistered for that long. And the origin was told that this gun I know was sitting in a factory for years, built 7.65 Arg for export and never exported. I doubt I could talk the owner into doing a FOIA request. So that statement did interest me about C&R status.
 

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The gun can be dated by serial number with pretty good accuracy. 28 and 38 guts are the same except for the argentine stamps on 28 parts.
 

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Another thing vague is that the MG38 diagram only mentions steam condensing device and not the steam tube exclusively. At some point we know there are circulating pumps used on several of the special guns and I’m waiting to see a picture of one of those showing if it had a steam tube port milled into the the front end plate or not, it could be that a plug is also used when configured for the pump. It took a second visit the the gun I mention to realized I didn’t have a picture or know if it had at least an area where the steam tube hole or steam tube should be. In fact it did have a brass plug which looked like a steam tube but now realized that I wish I picked the gun up and rattled it around to hear for the bead or not. I was trying to astablish if it was one of those special purpose Colts.
 
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