By Robert G. Segel
The 17th annual All Thompson Show and Shoot, in association with The American Thompson Association (TATA), held their event on August 15-16, 2008. 95 members of TATA registered for the event traveling from such diverse places as Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Kentucky to attend the event in Granville, Ohio to display, talk and shoot Thompsons.
On Friday the 15th, the show began at the Thompson Collectors Conference Center with 55 tables of Thompsons and related equipment on display. The array of Thompsons and the devotion to the subject is phenomenal with wonderful displays of manuals, web gear, magazines, drums, ephemera, etc. Anyone needing spare parts for whatever model of Thompson could find what they were looking for. A particular display of note were the two Thompsons (#2347 and #7580) used, and forensically identified by Dr. Calvin Goddard, in the St. Valentines Day Massacre. While the show is 99.9% Thompson related, there were two other exhibits that were extremely interesting. One was a display of High Standard weapons of World War II and the other was the one-millionth M1 Garand presented to John C. Garand.
At 1 p.m. Tom Davis, Jr. gave a one hour power point presentation on the history of the Thompson and Kilgore Manufacturing Co. Over 30 people attended this lecture to see and hear about this relatively unknown aspect of the Thompson legend.
Saturday the 16th was devoted to shooting Thompsons at a beautiful nearby range in Newark. There were two structured events: one in the morning and one after lunch and then free range shooting time after that. Thompsons used in the competitions must be in original factory configuration.
The morning event had 32 shooters registered and began at 8 a.m. 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.
Total rounds fired is 100 rounds. 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.
Targets used were the standard OPOTA combat silhouette type. Hits inside and cutting the outer silhouette line counted as hits. The shooter with the most hits was the winner. Hits in the INZ (Instant Neutralization Zone – a T shaped area covering the brain and spinal column down to the middle of the chest) were recorded for use in the event of a tie.
The morning 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. 32 shooters registered for this event. Two shooters would compete against each other in a two-out-of 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 closely contested event. 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.
The shooting ended at 3 p.m. and everyone went back to their hotel to shower and freshen up for the buffet banquet dinner that was held back at the Thompson Collectors Conference Center at 5:30.
A delicious buffet dinner of tenderloin, chicken breasts and all the sides and trimmings were served. The winners of the day’s contests were announced after dinner. The morning shoot winners were: 1st place Tom James with a 99 (out of 100 shots) with 17 shots in the INZ and 2nd place went to Charlie LeCount with a 98 with 10 in the INZ. The winner of the metal target knock-down pepper-popper event was Mike Wank.
The camaraderie and gathering of like-minded 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. The 18th annual All Thompson Show & Shoot will be held on August 14-15, 2009 and already people are marking their calendars for that event. The 1 p.m. lecture on August 14 will be on Thompson serial Number 41.
The American Thompson Association
P.O. Box 8710
Newark, OH 43508-8710
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N10 (July 2009)|