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Old 12-29-2004, 09:41 AM   #1
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Here's one you don't see every day!

Got the chance to photograph this last week. You might never have heard of it, and I don't believe I have ever seen a testfire report or even a published photo of it.

Civvy-legal, closed-bolt semiauto Broadhead Armory M3C from about 1986. One photo shows the "display" barrel, which is a plain piece of tubing that a .45 round will fall completely through. The other pic shows the real barrel, the optional (extra cost) one with the fake OSS suppressor. This setup is about two inches longer than a real OSS can but still looks a buttload better than the naked barrel at legal 16" would have.

Unlike the original M3, which was built out of stamped halves and welded in a manner not unlike a plastic model airplane fuselage, this thing has upper and lower receivers. Upper is a sturdy piece of steel tubing, lower is a rather crude alloy casting. Fire control system is AR15 parts--the sear is an AR trigger with the trigger milled off it.

Supposedly not many of these were made before the Class III ban of 1986 sent the mfgr TU. They were geared up to produce both full and semis and the ban killed them. The SN on this one is in the 100 range.

I saw the thing being shot a number of years ago. As I recall, that long barrel really quieted down .45 ACP ammo. It wasn't quite as quiet as fully suppressed, but I seem to recall that you could be around it comfortably without ear protection (note that I said "comfortably," not "wisely" or "safely). It made less noise than a .22 handgun, though of course more than a .22 rifle. It made about as much noise as you'd expect a gun to make if you'd only ever heard guns fired in movies and TV (and had never seen Heat in a good theater).

There's a chance I could get to shoot this beast in the coming year.
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:11 AM   #2
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Ah, the venerable greasegun. As I recall, it replaced the ...Tommygun. You think Ishould be happy to see THAT??
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:20 AM   #3
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No, the M3 "greasegun" didn't replace the M1 or 1928 Thompsons, but was a cheap and inexpensive (they ain't the same) way of quickly cranking out FA subguns during WWII. While it was used WWII, Korea and Nam, so was the Thompson. Both fell to the wayside with the introduction of the "assault rifle," first the M14 then the M16 in its variants.
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmkersh
Both fell to the wayside with the introduction of the "assault rifle," first the M14 then the M16 in its variants.
Not entirely.

As I understand it, the M3A1 was still standard issue for tanker crews up through the late '80s or early '90s.

There is just something way cool about M3s and MP38/40s.

Anyone remember Steve McQueen in Hell Is for Heroes?
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Old 12-29-2004, 12:44 PM   #5
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Snake's right.... A friend of mine was a tanker in the Army National Guard in 1988, and the M3A1 was what he was issued. Used to have a picture of him with one, perched on an M60 tank, somewhere out in the boonies of Alabama....



J.C.
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:22 PM   #6
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Snake, you're 100% correct. I asked my youngest son what their small arms were when he drove tanks at Camp Casey, RSK, along the DMZ in 1989 & '90. He said they were issued 45s and grease guns. Oh, and he didn't transition to M1 Abrams until he was back stateside at Ft Lewis, WA.
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Old 01-03-2005, 06:10 AM   #7
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Tank crews and maintenance folks. We had M3 (both originals and M3A1s) as late as '89. When the tankers got the M1 series tanks, they switched to the M16 as the M1 had racks for them and not the M3s. Not sure about the M88 or M578 crews. They may have had M3s for awhile later.

Shot the M3 once (finally got enough ammo allocated) and they were not very impressive. Magazines sucked.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:16 PM   #8
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

I finally got the chance to shoot the litttle beast today.

It's heavy. Somewhere in the 8-10 pound range. Three pounds or more of that are the 16" fake suppressed barrel, and a good deal of the rest is in the massive (blowback) bolt. Sound signature was, I'd say, a little louder than my 16" barreled .22LR DPMS M4, but nowhere near an M1 carbine or even a .22LR handgun. Didn't wear ear protection and it wasn't unpleasant and my ears didn't ring afterward. I was surprised at how much recoil it had for all that weight. I thought there'd be about none but it was maybe a bit like an M1 carbine, maybe a bit less than a standard-weight AR. Funny to get that much recoil with that little noise. I noticed that with each shot there would be a blast of gas in the face--not awful, about like a child blowing in your face at half effort. The ejected brass (ricocheted forcefully off the inside of the range's roof!) was quite sooty. Dunno if this is characteristic of all grease guns or the chamber on THIS one is just overly generous. Functioning was 100%.

The owner forgot to bring the mag loading tool so we were forced to stuff the mags, with great effort, one painful round at a time. I quit at 10 or 12 rounds per mag but my kid managed to put 20 in one that way.

Trigger pull was long, light, and spongy. I found the best way to manage it was to just line up the sights and "go for it." We were shooting at my 1/6 scale silhouettes at 50 feet (like shooting full-size at 100 yards) and I hit mine a satisfying percentage of the time and would have scared hell out of him the rest. I think I could make life miserable (and short) for anyone out to 50 yards without too much trouble.

Fun to shoot, but I wouldn't put it in "heavy rotation" unless I had someone else paying for the ammo--and loading the mags.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:48 PM   #9
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

I was issued an M3 in 1957. The thing that surprised me was it's really slow rate of fire. Kind of like bang, bang, bang. They did that on purpose so it would be easy to fire single shots since there was no provision for semi auto fire as with the Thompson. Yes the mags are a pain to load without a loader, as I recall the M3A1 had a sort of mag loader built into the wire stock. It was a little tab and you could take the stock off and press down on the rounds with it as you loaded them.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:47 AM   #10
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

Our motor pool guys carried this as standard weapon, and that was in the middle 80s. It was issued to those who worked or were in and out of close quarters.
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:00 PM   #11
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

A tanker in Vietnam told me you could speed up the cyclic rate of an M3 by putting in and extra pair of recoil springs. I don't know abou this for sure as I have never seen it done.
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:28 PM   #12
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

Quote:
A tanker in Vietnam told me you could speed up the cyclic rate of an M3 by putting in and extra pair of recoil springs. I don't know about this for sure as I have never seen it done.
Id be afraid that it wouldn't extract or eject due to more resistance. Then again I'm not that familiar with this gun.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:36 PM   #13
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

Good find, Snake!

I remember seeing some guys on TV boarding a plane with them in the days of Desert Shield.

I think the Peruvians' anti drug police carried them up until recently too. Maybe they still do.

It's a neat gun, and I agree about McQueen.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:14 AM   #14
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

If we're talking star power, this was the preferred weapon of the "Dirty Dozen"!
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:08 AM   #15
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

www.smallarmsreview.com/february.htm

While there are resemblances, the Peruvian MGP is 9mm, and has been through a number of variants since it was introduced in 1979. From a distance, it could be mistaken for an M3A1. It has the advantage of using Uzi magazines.

Snake, the original rate of fire for the M3A1 was listed as 450 rpm, almost a walk when compared to the cyclic rate of most other SMGs. I have friends who said that they had them in their vehicles during the First Gulf War.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:32 PM   #16
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

"Anyone remember Steve McQueen in Hell Is for Heroes?"--Snake45

Is that the one where he had 3 mags taped together? I saw the movie as a kid, and even then I wondered how well such an arrangement would work in real life.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:42 PM   #17
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Re: Here's one you don't see every day!

I have the Valkarie arms version of this gun. My dummy barrel is a solid piece of tube, with the end slightly drilled out to look like a barrel.

The weapon fires suprisingly good. Goes bang, hits the target. I don't have any accuracy testing, but I was able to consistetnly hit a steel plate from about 25 yds.

Ejection was BRISK! it would throw empty 45ACP brass consistently about 15 yards behind me in the 4 O'clock position. My friends girlfriend was sitting in a chair and was in a literal rain of brass.

Only bad part about the Valkarie arms version is that the stock is fixed open, as it was built in the ban years.
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