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Commando Mark III Carbine Loose Barrel and Feed Ramp Repair

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Commando Mark III Repair - Introduction, Ammo, Description of Feed Ramp Problem
Photo of Commando Mark III - five rounds of ammo that jammed in the gun, and fired brass.

Photo of some ammo that jammed in the Commando Mark III, and fired brass. The marks on the bullets were made by the flaw in the feed ramp, and the bullets have been pushed down into the cases (unsafe). The ruptured round must have fired out of battery.

Photo © Russ Chastain
The Commando Mark III is a Tommy gun look-alike - or, let's say, a resembler. It resembles the Thompson 1927A-1 submachine gun outwardly, burns the same ammo, and that's about it.

Quality is one area in which the Commando differs greatly from the Tommy gun; where the Thompsons were well-designed and well-made, the Commando is... not so much. This fact is strongly hinted at by the Commando Mark III's outward appearance, but is manifest once you take a peek inside. It ain't pretty.

When I got this gun, it was much-rusted and very gunked up. It hadn't been cleaned in ages, and I have reason to believe it had been neglected for more than 25 years. So, with the use of some internet research and my gun cleaning kit, I tore the old gal down and cleaned 'er up. That was when I first noticed a potential problem - a rough spot in the feed ramp where the barrel and receiver meet.

How it's Made

Here's how the gun is built, so you can better understand the problem.

The receiver is made of sheet metal, folded into a square tube. A steel block is welded into the front of this, and drilled & threaded for the barrel. The barrel threads all the way through the steel block until the breech end of the barrel is flush with the rear end of the steel block. Then the manufacturer placed a small spot of weld on the bottom of the barrel at the front of the steel block to hold it in place, and cut a feed ramp into the rear of the steel block/barrel - as you can see in the photo on the next page.

The fit between the male and female threads is very sloppy, which has led to two problems. First, the seam between barrel and receiver had formed a shallow groove in the feed ramp. This rough spot liked to catch bullets and stop them from feeding. As pictured above, I have several rounds of 45 ACP ammo with the bullets jammed down inside the case as a result of this.

So, I tore the gun down, polished the feed ramp, and put it back together. I'll continue the saga on the next page.

The Ammo

The photo above shows five rounds of ammo that jammed in the gun, resulting in each bullet being shoved down inside its case. You can see the marks on the bullets' noses, where the rough spot in the feed ramp snagged the bullet. I believe the one on the right was fired after I did some initial cleanup of the ramp, therefore the mark is much less pronounced - but it still jammed. These rounds are unsafe to fire with the bullets jammed down inside.

The ruptured case is one that I picked up after firing. One of the rounds sounded different than the others, and this must have been the one. The gun must have fired out of battery (without the action fully closed), which is never a good thing.

As you can see, the firing pin strikes the primers well off-center, but so far they have all gone bang, so I have no complaints about that.

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