By Robert G. Segel
The Thompson Collectors Association held their 21st annual All Thompson Show and Shoot at the Deer Creek Conservation Club in Grant County, Jonesboro, Indiana on Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7, 2012. The Thompson Collectors Association (TCA) was founded in 1990 as a group that could share in the common enjoyment of collecting and shooting all things Thompson. Twenty-one years have passed and the TCA is still going strong and in that span has picked up a lot of brass.
A lot has happened with the hobby and the club in the last two decades. There have been amazing guns revealed, new members, new and larger displays, national exhibits, new ways to buy, new discoveries of rare paper and accessories, new books, a new TCA website (theTCA.net), new ways to communicate/sell in the TMSG community (David Albert’s MachineGunBoards.com), a new stream of parts kits, new directors, new leadership, new logo, a revamped newsletter, new Show and Shoot venues and new ideas.
Over the years, the Annual TCA Show & Shoot has been hosted in Granville/Newark, Ohio, Fairfax, Virginia, Marriottsville, Maryland, Solsberry, Indiana, Jonesboro, Indiana, and Southampton, Pennsylvania. The TCA Western Show & Shoot has been hosted in Kingman, Chloride and Buckeye, Arizona. The common thread that runs through this club and all these different venues is that friendships are formed. And that’s what belonging to the TCA has brought about. People, initially linked by a piece of Auto-Ordnance iron, an adjacent display table or the quick twenty round burst of a loaner gun, become friends.
Hopefully, in some small way, the Thompson hobby, with the camaraderie and the friendships that have always been a part of this club, provided a diversion or distraction to some of the tougher days in people’s lives and, on occasion, have amplified the better days. As Daniel Webster says, “hobby – a pursuit or interest engaged in for relaxation.” The Thompson Collectors Association is all about enjoying one’s hobby and having fun with like-minded people while making new friends.
The show portion of the event was held on Saturday, October 6, in the clubhouse of the Deer Creek Conservation Club. Thanks to the efforts of hosts Randy and Katti Sneed and Joe Ellis, the Deer Creek Conservation Club’s clubhouse and range facilities were made available to the TCA for the weekend. Twenty-five members set up tables to show and display the many types of Thompson models and the myriad of accessories, manuals, related paper documents and accoutrements all associated with the Thompson. Lunch and dinner was provided buffet style thanks to the efforts of Katti Sneed and Carol Troy who provided a wide variety and an excellent delicious selection of food and desserts.
Sunday, October 7, was the day for the Shoot portion of the program. It is always hard to tell which is the more popular; the Show portion or the Shoot portion. Either way, as an exhibitor, shooter or observer, the two-day event is just plain fun. Due to the wonderful facilities of the Deer Creek Conservation Club, the TCA was able to run 5 different shooting events. They were:
- The Standard Course of Fire Competition,
- The Spray and Pray Competition,
- The Elliot Ness Bodyguard 3-Gun Competition,
- The Gangster Drive by in Capone’s Caddy Competition,
- And a Man-on-Man Last Man Standing Competition.
The Standard Course of Fire Competition
This event consisted of firing a total of 80 rounds in 4 stages at a paper target using twenty-round magazines. Three shooters at a time would line up and at a distance of 50 yards. Shooters would load one magazine with twenty-rounds and have a time limit of 25 seconds to fire on one target in semiautomatic fire only. The next stage moved up to a distance of 25 yards where shooters would load one magazine with 20-rounds and have a time limit of 25 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire. Stage 3, still at a distance of 25 yards, shooters would load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 20 seconds to engage the three targets using automatic burst fire. The fourth and final stage was from a distance of 10 yards where the shooter would load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 15 seconds to fire 20 rounds to engage the three targets using automatic burst fire.
Total round fired is 80. Less time is allotted to the shooter the closer they got to the target requiring speed as well as accuracy. Each target had to be engaged separately and sweeping the three targets in one long burst was not allowed.
The shooter with the most hits was the winner. In the case of a tie, the number of hits in the bullseye were counted with the highest number then being the tie-breaker. The result of the competition was: 1st place Glen Whittenburger 77/20, 2nd place Robert Segel 76/38 and 3rd place C.J. Roberts with 76/37.
Spray & Pray
This competition was a simple 20-round only event. From a distance of 7 yards, the shooter would load one magazine with 20 rounds and in one continuous burst engage a 9-inch paper plate. This must be a continuous string of fire without any interruptions. Any hits on or touching the edge of the plate were counted. If there was a malfunction that caused a stoppage, the number of hits at that point was scored.
There was a three way tie for first place with each shooter scoring a perfect 20/20: They were: Robert Segel, Randy Sneed and Michael Wank.
Elliot Ness Body Guard (Bank Heist) Competition
The Elliot Ness Body Guard (Bank Heist) competition is a three-gun event using an M1911 pistol, 12 gauge shotgun and a Thompson submachine gun, all firing though different “windows.” This is a timed event.
The procedure starts with the shooter standing at the bank’s safe with both hands on the money bag. At the buzzer, the shooter moves to the teller’s window where the 1911 is staged loaded with 7 rounds, empty chamber, slide and hammer down, magazine in. The shooter racks the slide and engages 5 targets and all 5 must be hit at least once. Reloading is allowed if necessary. The 1911 is then placed back on the table with the slide back.
The shooter then proceeds to the next “window” where he picks up the shotgun (Winchester Model 12) loaded with 5 rounds with the action open and engages 5 popper targets. The largest popper is hit first but there is a swinging “no shoot granny” target in front of the window and the large popper must be hit first to stop the swinging target in front of the shooter. Then the other four poppers are knocked down. Reloading is allowed if necessary. Upon completion, the shotgun is placed on the table with the action open and the shooter moves to the third and final stage.
The final stage has a Thompson inside a tunnel with as many loaded 30-round magazines at the ready as the shooter deemed necessary. Shooting though the barrel, one must engage and knock down 5 metal plates on the rack and then engage (the really hard part) 4 clay pigeons hanging from a rope that had to be hit in addition to the other targets. Reloading is allowed as necessary. Timing stops when all targets have been hit.
The winners of this event were: 1st place Randy Sneed 28.30 seconds, 2nd place Jack Kneader 53.96 seconds and 3rd place Tom James 56.90 seconds.
Gangster Drive By
This fun, timed competition involves a lawn tractor pulling a cart with Al Capone’s “Cadillac” affixed to it. There is a basket in the “car” and the shooter may place as many 20- or 30-round magazines as the basket will hold. The range officer (RO) and the shooter then sit on a bench facing out the car window. When instructed by the RO, the shooter is instructed to load the magazine and the muzzle must always be kept pointed through the window. The shooter starts with the Thompson shouldered and barrel/muzzle resting on the bottom of the car window. At the direction of the RO, the car will begin to move. The timer will not start until the shooter lifts barrel from the window frame. As the car moves along a U-shaped course at a slow walking pace, the shooter must engage 30 knock-down steel targets of different sizes and shapes reloading as necessary. The red target at the end is the stop plate and when engaged and knocked down, the shooter is finished. Any targets left standing are 5 second penalties each and shooting the stop plate out of order is a 10 second penalty.
The winners of this event were: 1st place Randy Sneed 48.90 seconds, 2nd place Tom Davis 72.22 seconds and 3rd place C.J. Roberts 79.59 seconds.
The last competition of the day was the Man-on-Man competition. Two shooters at a time squared off against each other with the winner shooting against the winner of the next pair of shooters until there is just one man left standing.
Each pair of shooters began by first knocking down 3 metal knock down plates. From there they transitioned to the dueling tree where the object is to keep all the flip plates (or majority) on the opponent’s side of the tree. Multiple magazine changes were necessary and magazine management was paramount. The shooter with the fewest plates on his side at the end of 30 seconds was the winner.
The winner (last man standing) of the Man-on-Man event was Randy Sneed.
The Men’s Top Gun trophy went to Randy Sneed with four first place finishes and the Ladies Top Gun trophy went to Danielle Larches.
It should be noted that Range Officers were present at all events and firearm safety was practiced and enforced at all times. While the Sunday shoot was under the umbrella of competitions, they were not serious, down and dirty, competitions. The shooters were there to have fun and the “winners” got bragging rights.
2013 Club Plans
The Thompson Collectors Association 2013 Show & Shoot and Annual Meeting will be held at the Tusco Rifle Club in New Philadelphia, Ohio on 21-22 September, 2013. Tusco is approximately 50 miles west of the Pennsylvania border and this promises to be a great Show and Shoot. Check the TCA website at www.thetca.net for further information, club plans, news and activities. Membership is $40 a year with two annual Show & Shoots, four newsletters per year, and a large regional gun show exhibit. And you don’t have to own a Thompson to join.
P.O. Box 1675
Ellicott City, MD 21041-1675
Phone: (202) 486-6902
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V17N2 (June 2013)|