By Robert G. Segel
The All Thompson Show & Shoot celebrated its 15th annual meeting on August 11-12, 2006 in Granville, Ohio at the Thompson Collectors Conference Center. The event was held in conjunction with a new organization called The American Thompson Association (TATA). There were approximately 105 registrants representing Thompson shooters, collectors and those interested in history.
The two day event kicked off on Friday with the opening of the show at noon. Twenty eight exhibitors, spread out on 50 tables at the Thompson Collectors Convention Center, put on displays of the many different models and manufacturers of Thompsons and their numerous accessories that included magazines, drums, web gear, tools, police cases and manuals.
Historically important Thompsons were also professionally presented. One of the highlights of the show was an exceptionally interesting and detailed historical display of two Thompsons (serial numbers 2347 and 7580) that were used in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929. They were positively identified through ballistic comparisons to bullets and shell casings recovered at the scene as being involved in that infamous event.
At one o’clock, a lecture was to take place conducted by Mr. Murray Willis of New Zealand entitled The Irish Sword wherein he was to discuss four documented Thompsons in his collection that were used by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Ireland. A fascinating historical topic that was greatly anticipated. Unfortunately, Mr. Willis had to cancel his ten thousand mile journey at the last minute and was unable to attend. Nevertheless, noted Thompson historian and author, Mr. Tracie Hill, filled in and led a question and answer session about Thompson markings and the history of the 100-round drum.
At 5:30 p.m. The American Thompson Association held its Board of Directors meeting in which all members were encouraged to attend. A light dinner was provided after the meeting and at 7 p.m. the shoot safety meeting took place. Everyone who was going to shoot on Saturday had to attend this meeting and sign documents attesting to attendance and receive orange dots to be applied to their badge credentials. If you were not in attendance, you would not be allowed to shoot at all on Saturday including the free shooting time and the competitions. The range rules as explained were very comprehensive and strict. There would be no tolerance for a breach in any of the safety rules. Following the safety meeting, the show continued until 10 p.m.
Saturday was the day at the range at a beautiful outdoor Newark firearms range. The weather could not have been more perfect as about 60 shooters brought their Thompsons to participate in two easy going and friendly competitions and participate in free range time.
The first event began at 8 a.m. on paper targets and consisted of five stages. Five shooters at a time would shoot with each shooter having a range officer supervising his or her actions.
- Stage 1. From a distance of 50 yards, shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 25 seconds to fire 20 rounds on one target using semiautomatic fire only.
- Stage 2. From a distance of 25 yards, shooters will 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. From a distance of 25 yards, shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 20 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire.
- Stage 4. From a distance of 10 yards (30 feet), shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 15 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire.
- Stage 5. From a distance of 7 yards (21 feet), shooters will load one magazine with 20 rounds and have a time limit of 4 seconds to fire 20 rounds on three targets using automatic burst fire.
As can be seen, the closer a shooter got to the targets, the less time was allocated to complete the exercise. Each target had to be engaged independently. Sweeping the three targets in one long burst was not allowed.
Targets used were the standard OPOTA combat silhouette type. For scoring purposes, bullet hits inside and cutting the outer silhouette line will be counted as hits and the score will be attained from a percentage of hits of total rounds fired. Hits in the INZ (Instant Neutralization Zone – a T shaped area covering the brain and spinal column down to the middle of the chest) will be recorded for use in the event of a tie in percentage.
This event ended by about 11 a.m. and everyone had lunch on their own. Beginning at 1 p.m., the second competition took place consisting of metal “pepper-popper” knock-down targets. Two shooters would compete against each other in a two-outof three engagement. A shooter had to knock down his six metal targets before the other shooter knocked down his six targets. The last, center targets, were set at a slight angle so that one would fall over the other. In a close contest, this would determine which shooter was the winner. If both shooters were in a dead heat on the first five targets, sometimes the winner would be determined as one shooter would hit the sixth and final target high in the head while the other shooter hit his sixth and final target in the chest. The energy transmitted higher up in the head over the pivot point would cause that target to fall faster than the one hit in the chest. Even though both sixth targets were hit at the same time, the faster falling target determined the winner.
After all the initial pairing of shooters took place, the winner of each heat then competed against the winner of another heat. This elimination process continued until there were only two shooters left to determine first and second place.
Free range shooting time was available on the main range during the metal target events located on a side range.
Kahr Arms has been busy designing a new 100-round drum for the Thompson. They have enlisted the input of several knowledgeable individuals concerning construction, design and materials to produce a drum that will work in all Thompsons. Four prototype 100-round drums were on hand for Beta testing and they were put to hard use in a variety of Thompsons in single shot, burst fire and full mag dumps. The results of this realworld testing will help immeasurably in Kahr Arms producing a quality and reliable product.
The shooting ended at 3 p.m. and ev-eryone went back to their hotel to shower and freshen up for the buffet banquet dinner that was held back at the ThompsonConvention Center at 5:30.
A delicious dinner of tenderloin, chicken breasts and all the sides and trimmings were served. At each place setting, a 51mm bronze and enameled medallion was given to each attendee to commemorate the 15th All Thompson Show and Shoot. The winners of the day’s contests were also announced. In the paper competition, first place went to Tom James with a score of 96 (with 9 hits in the INZ zone). Second place went to Charles LeCount with a 95 (with 4 hits in the INZ zone). While this initially appears to be a very close race, it should be noted that winner Tom James has a little difficulty in understanding simple directions. In Stage 1, the directions were to fire at just a single target. He put two rounds into each of the other two targets. Since this was against the rules, he was penalized four hits resulting in his score of 96 even though he really had a perfect score of 100.
The winner of the metal target “pepperpopper” competition was David Allen with Travis Tischener coming in second place.
As The American Thompson Associa-tion is a new NRA affiliated organization, silver medals for outstanding displays were given to each of the exhibitors for this inaugural TATA hosted event.
This camaraderie and gathering of likeminded people in a casual setting such as this two-day event is a testament to the diversity of interests that people are more than willing to share. This year’s All Thompson Show & Shoot will be held on August 17-18, 2007 and already people are marking their calendars for that event.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V10N10 (July 2007)|