I just picked one of these up on the cheap, and can't seem to find much information on the web about them. I'm interested in finding a manual, and maybe some information about a vertical pistol grip and the method for full auto conversion.
Volunteer Arms was a Tennessee outfit that built SEMI only rifles. There were some that ran fine and others not so good. This other question is not appropriate and should not even be asked. With some research you can find a manual, but it's not going to be easy.
i had one a few yrs ago that someone tried to twist the barrel off with a pipe wrench...twisted the chamber damm near 90 degrees.. i used it for a dummy gun in the scabbard of my 1942 harley WLA.. all i know about them is they used grease gun mags.
i sold it to a guy on these boards about 3 yrs ago for parts for his.... the finned part on the barrel isn't part of the barrel it's a sleave that fits over it.. thompson rear stock will fit it with no mods.. no such luck with the fore grip but you could probably make one from a thompson grip.
I saw one in a pawn shop in Utah about a year ago, asked about it here on the boards, as I had never seen one, and the reviews were strickly negative so I passed on it
Last edited by MP517PRCT; 05-08-2009 at 04:25 PM. Reason: add info
I Swear On My Life, And My Love Of It, That I Will Never Live For The Sake Of Another Man, Nor Ask Another Man To Live For Mine. - John Galt
Hmmmm, one post & it's about class III no-no's. Things must be slow at the BATFE office today .......
I will give you the history but that is it. They were originally manufactured outside of K-town on Clinton Hwy. You could drive up to the factory and pick one up. They were made in both 9mm and .45ACP but the later is far more common. They were several trade names and quality was all over the place from maker to maker as ownership changed hands several times. The last builder/owner was an elderly gentleman who apparently made it a family affair and moved production to a multi story facility in K-town down close to Lenoir City. He passed away and his wife and son in law and daughter apparently tried to continue on with the rifle. It all came to an abrupt end when a dolt doing a test fire had an accidental discharge up through the floor of the building striking a worker up stairs in the leg doing some life threatening damage. The usual lawsuit ensued and that was the end as the company was already operating on a shoe string. Most of the rifles in question took Thompson mags in the .45 and Sten in the 9mm I believe. For reasons known only to the buider the ejection port usually blocked the front sight picture or nearly doing so making a good sight picture almost impossible to obtain. The trigger is totally ridiculous and your comment about full auto is absurd. Not only is it illegal but you will spend all your time just trying to get the stupid thing to cycle in the semiauto. I believe the asking price for a surviving examples is around 400.00 which by any standard is well ridiculous like your Full auto comment. They were around 200.00 in the late 80s so the double in price is nuts.
If you don't know the rules and laws regarding full auto firearms go down to the class3/full auto board here and look around. Very serious stuff not to be toyed with and it tends to produce cold calculating silence and comments here because providing such info is conspiracy to manufacture a big no-no and Felony.
Just to pass on my experiences with a Volunteer Enterprises Commando:
One of my clients gifted me a, I believe, Mark 45 sans magazine.
This particular one took Thompson mags that I got a local gunshow. (As an aside why do I see hundreds of Thompson mags at shows? Do they sell that well?)
I cleaned out 20 years of neglect and took it to the range. The first inking this wouldn't be a keeper was the rear sight had to be removed to clean the rifle. There was just no way to keep a zero. Also, unfortunately, I didn't have any dummy 45 cartridges to check the auction.
The next thing I found was it wouldn't feed worth a damn. It wouldn't strip the first round off the magazine without jamming. In all fairness to the firearm, I suspect this was more due to the way the magazine caught in the mag well than the design of the rifle. I think a judicious removal of metal on the mag so it sat higher in the mag well would have fixed that. In the end, I didn't really care.
The last thing I found was that it shot several feet off point of aim (when it shot). I wasn't even on the paper at 50 yards. I finally ended up shooting at a bush on the berm to see if I could note any dust cloud. It turns out I was about 2 feet up and over.
In the end the most I could get out of that thing was five consequtive rounds without either a spectacular FTE or FTF. I mean this thing shredded brass better than Cap'n Crunch.
In short, I wouldn't recommend this rifle to anyone who didn't have extreme masochistic tendencies (and I like to translate romance novels into Latin and back again).
As far as turning the thing full auto, I was sure I had the plans in my pocket just yesterday. On second thought, just bugger off. Do svidanya, Comrade Usha.
Last edited by CDMead; 05-10-2009 at 10:13 AM.
I also have a commando .45 mkIII and was wondering if the lower frame assembly can be changed with an original thompson lower frame assembly. Or is the receiver way different and uncompatable to add the lower part? thanks.
I bought one years ago from a forum member of these boards and it is junk. The firing pin was broken in half and I don't think it can be repaired or replaced. At least I haven't figured out how to fix it yet. It does have the vertical fore grip and takes grease gun mags though. Interesting looking but that is about it, I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.
These rifles remind me of phoenix arms hp22's that are strangely a low cost popular .22 for sale at nearly all gunshops and all gunshows, that have aluminum mag catches that wear out after 500-700 rounds(being generous on that figure). I had to make a steel mag catch from an allen wrench and make a button for it out of an hk g3/cetme buttstock retaining pin, and make my own replacement recoil spring cut down that was from something else. Next I'll likely have to make my own firing pin, wouldn't doubt I'll have to one day make a replacement receiver or convert some other cheapo steel framed receiver to take the parts cause the frame cracked slightly when I pinched it too hard with my fingers, but doesn't crack more.
Moral of the story is that maybe one could hand make a replacement firing pin or improve these "somehow", but they are really the phoenix arms .22 of the rifle world, in a bad way. I actually have a book on police firearms from the 70's that show one, how to take it apart, etc, almost wonder if some didn't sucker themself into carrying one on duty. The earlier ones took thompson mags, I suspect those were better made, I wouldn't mind having one of these for a low cost just to tinker with talking about just exactly what the problems are, as long as I could use thompson mags, but these firearms are with a bad reputation, I am sure some must have worked "okay" out of the box, likely after 500 rounds the bad ones were basically clapped out.
Actually I think the earlier ones used grease gun mags (MK III) and the later ones use Thompson mags (MK V.) But I'm no expert. I suspect the ones that use the Thompson mags work better, but can only speculate. Thisone has never fired a round since I had it. The fellow conveniently forgot to mention that it was broken before I bought it, not worth sending it back to him and dealing with that hassle. I sure would like to fix it, but even if the firing pin was replaced I bet it is still a piece of junk. Oh well, live and learn. I only have a hundred and fifty bucks in it and fifty of that was for the two magazines. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to make her go bang.
Anyone know where I could find a feed ramp/bullet guide for one? If so please send me an email Mauser88@comcast.net
There's hope with a scope!
I have a Mark III that my Dad bought probably 30 years ago.
We have shot a few thousand rounds out of this gun and I can't remember it ever jamming once.My son and I just shot 150 rnds two days ago and it shoots right on and flawlessly.The feed ramp is worn down alot but never misses a beat.
03man - Don Voigt
Author of "The Japanese T99 Arisaka Rifle" 2010 edition
Co-author of "The Knee Mortars of Japan 1921-1945" 2011 edition
Near Charlotte, NC
The POS I had would jam every three rounds and was usually 2 to 3 feet of the target. Only good thing about the "weapon" was that a LE officer wanted it for his collection and bought it from me for what I had in the gun.
yeah, and the BATFE surfing this site is quite sad really. I'd figure they have a building to be burning down, or unarmed Americans to be gunning down somewhere.......
I Have a manual, e-mail me and I will send you a copy. email@example.com
I have several manuals for this gun E-mail me and I will send you a copy firstname.lastname@example.org
Is the one that uses grease gun magazines the one that also fires from an open bolt? Weren't those deemed NFA by the ATF and were to be registered as full-auto or destroyed a few decades ago? Or am I thinking of something else?
Yep, that's the one. They weren't destroyed, as they were grandfathered in like UZI A models, and Open Bolt MAC-9s and MAC-10s. HIgh dollar. I saw one sell for over $1,000 a couple years ago.
They're pretty neat little weapons... I saw one at the range the other day. Fired like something you don't want to step in (jammed about once every 30 rounds), but it looked pretty darn cool from a distance (up close it looked like one of those little toy stamped sheet metal guns I had as a kid with the crank on the side that made a rattling noise). It was actually the one with the dual triggers (one for FA one for SA), and the build quality (or lack thereof) kinda reminded me of an M11... or maybe an MP3008...
I wouldn't waste the $4K to get one, but if you're really jonesing for an SMG, it's definitely in the price range for a first SMG... I'd still recommend saving up the extra grand to get a Form 4 Reising though...
Owner, sole proprietor, and chief of cantankerousness for Sergei's Armory.