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Colt 1928 Aircraft Machine gun

8160 Views 24 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  KABAR2
This is offered over on subguns
Serial# C-102043-A, .30-06 caliber. This has a 25 1/2" barrel including the recoil booster, the bore is dark with distinct rifling. The recoil booster has a reduced caliber with a muzzle i.d. of .23 caliber, likely for blanks, this can be easily be bored out for .30 caliber use. This gun is based on Browning's patent of Feb. 4, 1919. It has a pistol grip with bakelite grip panels, no sights, and a ventilated barrel jacket. The top of the barrel jacket is marked "1" with punch dots. The gun appears to be complete and in working order, only one small mounting bracket is missing from the right sideplate. There seems to be ample mounting brackets to adapt this to a pintle for a tripod. This was covered in black lacquer at some point, and where the lacquer is worn (principally on the barrel jacket) the metal retains most of a dull blue finish that is believed to be original. All of the factory markings are in excellent condition. This is fully transferable on a Form 3 or Form
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Okay, you're ALL wrong! :p

SbySW is closest, but rather than a Vickers-Armstrong gun, I think it is the gun that Vickers-Armstrong was licensed to copy. That is, the Model of 1919 Aircraft gun. Look on page 243, and especially page 244 of Dolf's Vol. I book. The shot mounted in the aircraft on 244 is almost exact. The only obvious difference is that the rare spade grips in the picture are not present on the gun up for auction. Originally these were issued either with the spades (flexible) or the vertical (fixed) buffer that had no grip at all. Also, the gun in the picture has the early Belt Feed Lever Pivot and Spring assembly, as used on the original 1917s, while the piece being auctioned has the updated bushing, nut and pin assembly for the lever pivot. That's a late 20's update, roughly.

It is worth noting that this model was the first to introduce both the retracting bar brackets- which were later used on the 1919A5 and 1919A4E1 tank guns- and also that vertical buffer, also used on early 1919A5s. These elements were the work of Captain Walter T. Gorton of the Ordnance Dept., U.S. Army. He also initiated the design of the stirrup bottom plate which culminated in the one we are so familiar with on the 1919A4 and 1917A1.

I have an original, 1937 dated manual for the 1919 aircraft gun. It is a dead ringer for the one on auction, with those minor exceptions.
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I agree with you on the gun that it fits the 1919 AC model. On pg 251 is the gun with the single grip as well.

I just wonder why 1)the seller didn't call it a model 1919 as that is what should be marked on the receiver and 2) why the serial number is in the Vicker-Armstrongs range of C-10XXXXA vs the A30-XXX shown on pg 248 for the 1919 AC guns
Okay, now that I have put my books back on the shelf... I don't know, if they are saying it's a Colt's gun, I'm assuming that is off the markings. I'll have to look at the serial number info later, but maybe Colt's built some under that assigned number range while V-A was tooling up? Just a thought.
TiredIron, I believe the 1928s that OOW built and sold were mostly made with 1919 internals, and not the original Colt parts. That meant drilling the back plate for the drive spring rod, as the captive system of the 1928 will not work in the 1919/1917 bolt. The milling of the spring cavity is completely different, and the M37 bolt has its own variation. Also, since there has never been a consistent supply of correct 1928 RSPs to retain the flat sided receiver construction, many home builders went with the 1917A1 bottom plate along with the internals. And I know that several built on transferable side plates had little choice on that. Pictures in SAR and in Dolf's books show a repro of the Colt engraving modified, showing M-1928 MODEL 37, as these were registered 37 plates from Group Industries. I have seen one such plate in person, and in fact am now having my semi plate engraved by the same fellow who did those when the 1928 kits first were imported. I'll post pics when I get it.

BY THE WAY, GUYS! Correct 1928 unfinished plates are available right now!!!! http://www.1919a4.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12322

Now, back to the aircraft gun. SbySW, who REALLY should probably be at work, rather than making me keep digging out Dolf's books, ;) keeps adding greatly to the discussion here. I think this is definitely a Colt commercial MODEL OF 1919 Aircraft gun, perhaps made in 1928 as the auction listing describes. Colt was known to change the model name for the current year, just to make the offering seem as up to date as possible, even if no major changes were made. But my guess is that the engraving on this is going to look very much like the pic on page 304 of Dolf's Vol. I. It does have the drilled out bolt, which is shown in my 1937 manual, as well as in some of the pics in Vol I and II of U.S. and British versions.
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Well, at least this thread is a well intended, academic discussion of the gun in question, with no acrimony. That 1928/1917 hybrid that garnered so much attention on another thread got a bit on the rude side. This one has just been a fun and informational discussion.

But God forbid if the long history of threads we have here are lost to posterity as a record. Then your scenario will come true, as Lou's water jackets, shorties and all, are going to confuse the hell out of some folks in the future, if this forum remains the only record of their existence beyond the actual artifacts themselves, as they are found buried in the grandkid's attics! :p And they'll NEVER figure out that oddball dual feed 1919 that turns up in some excavation in Central Texas 100 years from now! :eek:
I agree and I was actually having a little fun with this as well.
However it was YOU who made me find my Vol 1 amid the clutter.
Hey, I blamed you first! Nyah, nyah, na nyah nyah! :D
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