Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record
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|Title:||GUN, SUBMACHINE - U.S. SUBMACHINE GUN M3A1 .45ACP SN# 675550|
|Maker/Manufacturer:||HYDE & SAMPSON|
|Date of Manufacture:||1944-1945|
|Catalog Number:||SPAR 1550|
|Measurements:||OL: 57.7CM 22 3/4" BL: 20.3CM 8"|
U.S. SUBMACHINE GUN M3A1 .45ACP SN# 675550
Manufactured by Guide Lamp Division of GM, Dayton, Oh. - Modified M3A1 "Grease Gun" equipped with silencer. Silencer developed by Bell Laboratories. Stamped metal construction. See description below. Barrel attached to this weapon is SPAR-5369. Barrel put on weapon by National Park Service. Original barrel for this weapon is now in 206/6.
Magazine housing (left): SUB MACH GUN/CAL. 45 M3A1/GUIDE/U.S. NO./675550.
Weapon transferred to the Museum on 14 October 1965. At that time weapon was appraised at $50.40.
Notes: 1550 - "One More On The Grease Gun - I read with pleasure the article by Field Editor Bruce Canfield, 'The Grease Gun' (September, 2005, p. 72). The brief reference to the M3's suppressor caused me to dig through my old photos. Enclosed is a picture of my friend and fellow warrior, George H. Houston. Both of us were assigned to Co. A., 5th Special Forces Group, Bien Hoa, Republic of Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. Houston was a medic, and I was a weapons sergeant. Both of us liked to shoot whatever gun was at hand - the M3 being a favorite.
The suppressor was very efficient, as the only noise the gun made was the bolt clacking back and forth.
Years later, I talked with an ex-grunt who said he carried an M3 in his armored personnel carrier. When I asked him if he liked the magazine-loading tool built into the wire stock, he gave me a blank stare. He finally confessed, 'You mean I got gorilla thumbs loading those mags the hard way'? - Richard Peterson, Colorado." American Rifleman, December, 2005
"In the early part of World War II studies and experiments to develop satisfactory equipment and training methods were underway at the Infantry Board, Fort Benning, Georgia, and the question of using silencers on submachine guns was considered. The silencers developed were both bulky and heavy and in most cases utilized changeable rubber of felt washers and a series of baffles. In some cases special ammunition loaded to velocities under that of the speed of sound were experimented with when used in conjunction with silencers.
The Office Of Strategic Services (OSS) tested the M3 submachine gun with the Bell Laboratory design of silencer and requested that the Ordnance Department furnish 1,000 special barrels for use with the 'silenced' M3 submachine guns. The standard M3 submachine gun barrel was modified as follows: The barrel was drilled with a total of 48 one-quarter-inch holes, four groups of 12 holes each, equally spaced longitudinally in each quadrant. The muzzle was threaded for one-half inch to attach the rear sleeve of the silencer. The front face of the barrel collar was undercut to form a seat for the rear of the silencer.
The silencer itself is composed of two sleeves, the forward sleeve being 7 inches long and 1 1/8-inch in diameter, and the rear sleeve 7 1/2 inches long by 1 1/2-inch in diameter. The two sleeves are connected together by means of a reducing bushing. The rear sleeve incloses the wire mesh which is wrapped around the perforated barrel and front sleeve contains a compact series of wire mesh washers (baffles). In operation, the gases behind the bullet pass through the holes in the barrel and into the wire mesh, thus 'bleeding' the gases. As the bullet leaves the muzzle of the barrel and passes through the series of wire mesh washers, additional bleeding takes place. The absorption of heat and a slight reduction in gas velocity has the effect of noise absorption and dissipation throughout the mass of wire mesh.
This silencer was not as effective as that the British Mk II S STEN submachine gun since it only reduced 80% of the sound." - Thomas B. Nelson
"UNITED STATES M3/M3A1 - Soon after the United States entered World War II, the U.S. Infantry commenced experiments toward weapons which would be suitable for such raiding units as Rangers and Commandos. Included were silenced weapons. The first of these were developed on a 'cut and try' basis by the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. These early silencers were not veThe U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the ancestor of the present Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was engaged in clandestine activities both in occupied Europe and in Asia. For such activities a silent weapon was ofttimes essential. The OSS had the Bell Laboratories develop a silencer for the M3/M3A1 submachine guns. This effort was so successful tha the OSS procured one thousand of the 'Bell Lab' silencer. Procurement was through Army Ordnance, with Guide Lamp Division of General Motors fabricating the 1,000 special barrels and nuts, and with High Standard Manufacturing Company fabricating the remaining parts and assembling the complete silencer unit.
The barrels were identical to the standard barrel, except that: the barrel nut was machined on its front face, to form a seat for the expansion chamber; the barrel proper was drilled with 48 one-quarter-inch-diameter holes arranged in straight 12-hole patterns, one pattern on each quadrant of the barrel; and the muzzle of the barrel was threaded for one-half inch, to mount the front end of the silencer assembly.
The silencer itself consists of two sleeves: the rear sleeve (expansion chamber) is 7 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and the front sleeve (silencer housing) is 7 inches long and 1-1/8 inches in diameter. The two sleeves are joined by a connector. External threads on the front sleeve screw into the connector; the connector, in turn, screws onto the muzzle of the barrel, and holds the rear sleeve in place against the modified barrel nut. The rear sleeve, or expansion chamber, contains a tightly rolled coil of stainless steel wire mesh. The front sleeve, or silencer housing, contains 230 stainless steel wire-mesh discs,perforated to permit passage of the bullet. An end cap screws onto the front of the silencer, to hold the discs in place.
Upon firing, the bullet travels down the perforated barrel, and the propellant gas expands through the 48 ports into the expansion chamber. The wire mesh coil serves both to cool these gases, and to control the volume of the expansion chamber so as not to reduce bullet velocity excessively. As the bullet passes through the stack of 230 wire-mesh discs, the remaining gases are entrapped int he interstices of the mesh; after the bullet leaves the silencers, these gases, along with those trapped in the expansion chamber, slowly seep into the air.
The Bell Lab M3 silencer, while fairly effective, is only about 80% as quiet as the Sten Mark IIS silencer. At one time, the British were considering use of the M3 submachine gun, and developed a silencer for its based on the Sten Mark IIS silencer. This silencer, complete with canvas hand protector, never went part the prototype stage, mostly because the British did not like or accept the M3 gun.
There was some low-level development work in the 1950's, using a the M3 as a vehicle. The knowledge of what created noise during gunshots was greatly expanded, and efforts to utilize sound against itself, by reflecting sound waves so as to cancel noise generation, were looked into; however, none of the post-war devices ever went past the laboratory models or prototypes." - Nelson & Musgrave
"...But another SOG submachine gun had great lethality despite its suppressor. The .45 caliber M-3 'Grease Gun' retained deadly terminal ballistics because its hefty 230-grain slugs weighed twice as much as 9mm cartridges. An OSS product, the M-3's muffled muzzle generated sound only a few dec
Iannamico, Frank. UNITED STATES MACHINE GUNS: FROM THE AMERICAN 180 TO THE ZX-7. Moose Lake Publishing LLC. Henderson, NV. 2004.
Mullin, Timothy J. THE FIGHTING SUBMACHINE GUN, MACHINE PISTOL, AND SHOTGUN. Paladin Press. Boulder, Co. 1999.
Nelson, Thomas P. THE WORLD'S SUBMACHINE GUNS. T.B.N. Enterprises. Alexandria, Va. 1977.
Nelson, Thomas B. & Daniel D. Musgrave. THE WORLD'S MACHINE PISTOLS AND SUBMACHINE GUNS. Vol. II. T.B.N. Enterprises. Alexandria, Va. 1980.
Plaster, John L. SOG: THE SECRET WARS OF AMERICA'S COMMANDOS IN VIETNAM. An Onyx Book. N.Y., N.Y. 1998.
Standard barrel for weapon on 59/4.
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