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Zinger

Thompson knockoff

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Hello everyone,

Just happened to come across this site and I am impressed with the information. Looks like a lot of talent is visiting here. I have a question about a rifle that I have been trying to get information on for almost 5 years now.

This regarding a Thompson look-alike manufactured in 1947 by a company named Apache Arms out of Tempe, AZ. The company is no longer in business. This rifle has been fired a couple of times at most. I have the original sales brochure and owner’s manual. Included with it is a letter dated 1962 from the previous owner to the IRS. In it he asks the IRS if this is a legal weapon to own and their response is yes, because it is a semi-auto rifle.

It has one 30-round magazine for 45ACP. It does not appear to be a very well built piece but it shoots well and so cool looking. I’m trying to find someone who knows anything about this weapon. It is driving me nuts that I cannot Google any information on this rifle. Perhaps someone on this site can enlighten me?

I have attached a copy of the front page of the owner's manual. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

post-11858-124876082769_thumb.jpg

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Not alot is known about the Apache Arms look alike carbine. Scuttle but is that they were the old Commando Thompson clones that fired from an open bolt and rule a machine gun by the BATF.

There is also the Spitfire Thompson clone that was ruled a machine gun as well.

I believe that you are safe in that all I have read about the Apache Arms is that it is classified as semi-auto. I could be wrong.

Thompsons and Clones.

(a) Thompson Model 1921;

(b) Thompson Model 1927;

© Thompson Model 1928;

(d) Thompson Model M1;

(e) Auto-Ordnance M27A-1;

(f) Auto-Ordnance M27A-1 Deluxe;

(g) Auto-Ordnance M1927A-3;

(h) Auto-Ordnance M1927A-5;

(i) Auto-Ordnance Thompson M1;

(j) Commando Arms Mk I;

(k) Commando Arms Mk II;

(l) Commando Arms Mk III;

(m) Commando Arms Mk 9; and,

(n) Commando Arms Mk 45.

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Thank you for the quick reply. I'm sure I'll find out more about this rifle on this site. As I mentioned, I have a letter from the IRS when they were in control of gun laws stating this is a legal weapon to own (at least in most states now). Because of the 1947 buid date I suspect this was one of the many knockoff guns built by the machine shops left without work once WWII ended. It is beyond me how, or even why, one would attempt to make this thing full auto. I wouldn't trust it.

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From what I understand Mexican police used these types of weapons due to the inexpensive price. Since many of these clones were easily modified via intention or accident to go full auto, the BATF reclassified them. Occassionaly, you will see one for sale at gun show being offered as a semi-auto carbine and 1 way ticket to jail.

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I'm no expert but here's what I've heard concerning the Apache Arms look-a-like Thompson:

Fires from a closed bolt: You're in good shape

Fires from an open bolt: Classified by the BATF as a machine gun as it can be relatively easily converted to full-auto fire.

It also found this on the auctionarms.com forum:

"i don't recall which came first apache arms in tuscon or volunteer arms in knoxville. volunteer arms changed thier name to commando arms in the middle 1970's. their only product was a tompson look-a-like in 45 and 9mm. the company seem to have trouble with ATF from the beginning as the original production fired from an open bolt and was easy to convert to full auto. later model were redesigned to fire from closed bolt and this may have been when the moved to tuscon was made. i have a small bit os knowledge only because i owned one of the early models in the 1980's. there is a small amount of information in at least three of the popular pricing guides under the names commando arms or volunteer arms, but i can find nothing under apache arms. i believe the company was sold and moved to tuscon in the 1980's and renammed apache arms as volunteer/commando arms is listed as being in production between 1968 and at least 1978."

It seems consistent with what I have read and heard about the Apache Arms Thompsons.

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This is good information. This rifle has a closed bolt. You mention Apache Arms out of Tuscon. My brochures show Tempe and are dated 1947. Perhaps there was yet another Apache Arms at an earlier time? I heard this Tempe company went out of business in the 60's. Another intersting note is that this company could not have had problems with the ATF. There was no ATF back then. The letter of inquiry I have is to the IRS.

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You mention Apache Arms out of Tuscon. My brochures show Tempe and are dated 1947.

I think it was mistake by the writer of this post. I do not believe there was ever an Apache Arms of Tuscon. AA of Tempe is all I have ever heard of.

I heard this Tempe company went out of business in the 60's. Another intersting note is that this company could not have had problems with the ATF. There was no ATF back then. The letter of inquiry I have is to the IRS.

The "problems with the ATF" refers to Commando Arms aka Volunteer Arms.

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Hi zinger. I have the exact same gun pictured on your owners manual. Will you copy the other side of the manual and post it so I can read it? I have no paperwork. I know nothing for sure about this gun. My dad acquired it from apache arms around 1965. We lived here in phoenix when he got it. Why do you think these were manufactured in 1947? I don't know myself, its just that on my gun there is no date just "apache arms co. tempe, ariz. semi-auto 45 cal model" and the serial #. And "pat pend" stamped on top of receiver. Plus i'm almost sure he said he got it new. And it's in too good a shape to be something from 1947. I didn't think this gun was manufactured for so long which is why almost no one knows anything about it. Have you learned anything new yet? It's cool finding other people that also own an obscure gun. Thanks

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Hey Six,

Glad to meet someone else who has one. Was beginning tho think I was the only one. The owner's manual is blank on the back page but I will throw in a bonus for you. I scanned the documents I have and attached in PDF with the original sales brochure (sold for 129 bucks back then) along with the complete owner's manual. The person I got it from a long time ago told me it was made in 1947 but I am beginnning to think that your date of the mid-60's might be more accurate. Enjoy the documentation!

Apache Owners Manual and Brochure.pdf

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Thanks a million Zinger. That was more than I was hoping for. My Dad and older brother will fall over when I tell them I actually found more info on that gun. It's been a kind of mystery to us my whole life. Don't ask me why, but my Dad doesn't know a thing. He says a friend of his went to buy one for himself and bought one for my dad as a gift. Anyhow, thanks a bunch!

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Thanks a million Zinger. That was more than I was hoping for. My Dad and older brother will fall over when I tell them I actually found more info on that gun. It's been a kind of mystery to us my whole life. Don't ask me why, but my Dad doesn't know a thing. He says a friend of his went to buy one for himself and bought one for my dad as a gift. Anyhow, thanks a bunch!

You are more than welcome Six. I have been searching for info on this gun for over 5 years now with no luck. All I have is the documentation I attached. Hopefully, this post will attract someone who can provide more insight. You will notice that the letter to the ATF division of the IRS contains the name of someone associated with Apache Arms. I am going to see if I can dig up some information on that person and try to get some history about this company and it's products.

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Hey guys! I have one too, and this has realy been helpful....Any pricing yet? I'd like to sale mine, but not sure what I can get. Thanks for your research it really helped.

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RE: The Apache Arms 45 made in Tempe AZ. A good friend of mine in high school's father was one of the owners of the company. I did work there for a very short time. My friend and I put hundreds of rounds through one that he had. The company closed up around the end of 1969. From what I remember there were two versions. The early version looked more like a grease gun whit a round receiver. I ran into one of those in the early 80's it was in the office of a security company I was doing some work for at the time and is the only one I have seen. The owner of the gun was surprised I knew what it was. As I remember the early version was the one mentioned in a previous post that was was deemed a class 6 firearm and was banned. That design almost put the company out of business. The last I knew the version with the rectangle receiver had never had the weak sear problem causing them to go full auto. As far as the 1962 date on the paperwork I don't think the later model with the rectangle receiver was made that early but I was only involved with Apache Arms my senior year in HS 1968/69. It was the 1968 gun control act that pretty much put the nail in the company's coffin. About the only thing I can add to this is there was a chrome version. I did see one for sale about a year ago and they were asking in the mid $400's.

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