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Thread: Introduction; John Thomas of Retro Arms Works

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    Introduction; John Thomas of Retro Arms Works

    Gents

    It's time to let you in on a little secret I recently discovered - searching other forums and various places on the Internet I happened to stumble across the guy we have all been waiting for ; the Neo or Chosen One for Retro AR's

    His name is John Thomas a recently retired career Air Force veteran ( which is fitting due to that service being the first to adopt the AR15 in sizeable numbers ) and his business is Retro Arms Works

    He builds museum quality replicas of early AR's - and trust me when I tell you museum quality; I have seen several of the guns he builds clones of in the KAC collection ( the worlds finest AR collection) and John's clones are superb

    I am going to highlight Johns work on TacTV next season as he is building me a clone of Armalite AR15 serial number 000003 from the Black Rifle book ( pages 76,68, and 69) - I'm confident it won't be the only early replica he builds for me

    Expect John to pop on here soon to post pics- stand by cause his stuff is dynamite

    Enjoy the view.....

    LAV

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    Larry, thanks very much for the kind words, and for steering me to this group. It is greatly appreciated, but don't get too carried away, you'll make my head swell up.

    Anyway, some photos of my work follow, but I can't take the credit for all of the work. I'm fortunate to have a great engraver that helps me out tremendously on my projects. Beyond that aspect, I anodize, parkerize, mount front sight bases, pin/weld muzzle devices, shorten/thread barrels, reprofile barrels, modify and make parts in the spirit of the early rifles, apply the mottled brown finish to stock sets, apply "601 green" to stock sets, and a lot of "custom-type" request work.

    Enjoy the photos, and if you have questions, you can contact me at: jntmjt1@yahoo.com

    (Just as a side note, everything pictured below is non-NFA, what appears to be an auto-sear pin is actually just a circle stamped in the surface of the lower)



































    Last edited by jntmjt1; 12-15-12 at 19:22.

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    Very cool. I look forward to seeing more of your work.
    FUNDAMENTALS: A crutch for the talentless

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    I'm very happy to see you here. I've followed your work elsewhere and it's nothing short of impressive.

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    Excellent work for sure. Looking forward to that episode.
    Between two groups of people who want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, I see no remedy but force. - Oliver Wendell Holmes.

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    Beautiful work.

    What model does the "Shop Test Only," L1A1 carry handle rifle replicate?

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    Wow, absolutely gorgeous work. I think I will be in the market for some of your work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KalashniKEV View Post
    Beautiful work.

    What model does the "Shop Test Only," L1A1 carry handle rifle replicate?
    Thanks very much. That rifle you ask about is just a "concept" rifle I made up. No such thing ever existed. I call it (and engraved it) an "AR-14". I made it up in the spirit of some of the early AR10 designs. Fun stuff! That rear sight elevation knob is a G3 cocking tube end cap.

    John Thomas
    Last edited by jntmjt1; 12-16-12 at 11:53.

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    Where did you engrave your info on those guns?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccosby View Post
    Where did you engrave your info on those guns?
    My information is engraved in front of the trigger on the underside of the lower. You can see the engraving if you look closely at the photo below:

    John Thomas

    Last edited by jntmjt1; 12-16-12 at 13:55.

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    I don't usually cry when I see guns, but the works of art here brought the tears out.

    Are you related to Rembrandt?





    "A firearm should be considered a fighting weapon first. Any other use should be considered a bonus." -Me

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    Outstanding craftsmanship! Thank you for sharing.
    "Restricting the rights of free and law-abiding Americans is not a solution to anything, and only makes government and its force more powerful."
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    Owner of Wildwood Custom Woodworking, F-Class Rifle Stock Builder

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    Crap.... A thread that should have been entitled... Dravur signs over his payroll checks to.....John

    I love these builds! My jealousy level is right through the roof

    I do have a question.... Do you make the "Faux Moderators" for an XM177 type build? I am looking for an accurate representation. I also would love to send my new Carbine build over for re-anodizing as the parts don't match up.

    Also... Are there plans on making small parts for sale... like dimpled pins etc?
    Last edited by Dravur; 12-17-12 at 10:17.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dravur View Post
    Crap.... A thread that should have been entitled... Dravur signs over his payroll checks to.....

    I love these builds!

    I do have a question.... Do you make the "Faux Moderators" for an XM177 type build? I am looking for an accurate representation. I also would love to send my new Carbine build over for re-anodizing as the parts don't match up.

    Also... Are there plans on making small parts for sale... like dimpled pins etc?
    Thanks very much. I can help you out with your requests, and I do make the small parts for sale, but please email me at jntmjt1@yahoo.com for details.
    Last edited by jntmjt1; 12-17-12 at 10:43.

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    Beautiful work!

    What's the cut-down minimalist AR in the 'survival' bag? I've never seen one like that before.

    I love the "Retro Dissipator" and the M231 is just gorgeous.
    Cyril: Oh now that's a breach of trust!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LHS View Post
    Beautiful work!

    What's the cut-down minimalist AR in the 'survival' bag? I've never seen one like that before.

    I love the "Retro Dissipator" and the M231 is just gorgeous.
    Thank you... the survival rifle is a model 608 replica. About 10 were made, and they were considered for use as an aircrew survival rifle. None were ever fielded.

    The "retro dissipator" is a model 605B replica. The first of the carbines. Some were actually issued and used in extremely small numbers by SEALs and other special operations-type guys. There were reliablility concerns so the carbine was not officially adopted for service in any numbers. I open the gas port on the 605 replicas to a specific diameter and have had no reliablity issues with mine, nor any negative reports from customers. The flash hider is also permanently attached so the barrel length meets the 16" requirement. Another interesting fact about the 605B was it had a 4-position selector... safe, semi, auto, and at the 6:00 position was burst.

    You may have also noticed the rifle that my wife is shooting has a M14 bipod attachment. This is not just an A1 with a bipod. It is a model 606 replica. It used the M14 bipod with special adapter as shown, it had a nylon buffer (which I replicated as well), and a heavy barrel. It's actually a really nice shooter. The 606 was tested for military use, but not adopted.

    The M231 replica was a real challenge. I had to farm out the work on the front collar, but beyond that, the fire control group on the authentic M231 is completely different than that of the M16 (it fires from an open bolt). As a result, on the M231, there is no hammer pin as the M16 has. So, to make my replica as authentic as possible, I had to make a self contained "hammer/trigger pack" that fits down in the receiver. So, there is no need for a visible hammer pin on the replica. Yeah, I know, I'm nuts... I also had to make the authentic "fat head" style trigger pin, and a fake "fat head" sear pin head is actually attached to the selector plate, It is the head of the pin only, and doesn't enter the lower at all. If you remove the selector plate, the fake pin head comes off with the plate. As you can see, the M231 has no sights at all. Tracers were used to "walk" the projectiles onto the target. Since that isn't too practical, especially with a semi auto, I have an Armson OEG (retro "red dot" type sight), that easily mounts to the carry handle, so I can still shoot the gun with some accuracy.

    Thanks again,
    John Thomas
    Last edited by jntmjt1; 12-17-12 at 21:10.

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    Mr. Thomas, thank you for taking the time to post your work. It truly is art.

    Mr. Vickers, thank you for introducing him to us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jntmjt1 View Post
    Thank you... the survival rifle is a model 608 replica. About 10 were made, and they were considered for use as an aircrew survival rifle. None were ever fielded.

    The "retro dissipator" is a model 605B replica. The first of the carbines. Some were actually issued and used in extremely small numbers by SEALs and other special operations-type guys. There were reliablility concerns so the carbine was not officially adopted for service in any numbers. I open the gas port on the 605 replicas to a specific diameter and have had no reliablity issues with mine, nor any negative reports from customers. The flash hider is also permanently attached so the barrel length meets the 16" requirement. Another interesting fact about the 605B was it had a 4-position selector... safe, semi, auto, and at the 6:00 position was burst.

    You may have also noticed the rifle that my wife is shooting has a M14 bipod attachment. This is not just an A1 with a bipod. It is a model 606 replica. It used the M14 bipod with special adapter as shown, it had a nylon buffer (which I replicated as well), and a heavy barrel. It's actually a really nice shooter. The 606 was tested for military use, but not adopted.

    The M231 replica was a real challenge. I had to farm out the work on the front collar, but beyond that, the fire control group on the authentic M231 is completely different than that of the M16 (it fires from an open bolt). As a result, on the M231, there is no hammer pin as the M16 has. So, to make my replica as authentic as possible, I had to make a self contained "hammer/trigger pack" that fits down in the receiver. So, there is no need for a visible hammer pin on the replica. Yeah, I know, I'm nuts... I also had to make the authentic "fat head" style trigger pin, and a fake "fat head" sear pin head is actually attached to the selector plate, It is the head of the pin only, and doesn't enter the lower at all. If you remove the selector plate, the fake pin head comes off with the plate.

    Thanks again,
    John Thomas
    I could have sworn I've seen your M231 somewhere else before, maybe another forum?. It's an enormous undertaking, and an incredible result. That kind of innovation, skill and dedication is praiseworthy. On a related note... that buttstock really looks like it was the inspiration for AAC's "Honey Badger" PDW, at least in the locking mechanism and buffer tube.

    Thanks for the info on the M605B and M608. I'm not up to speed on all the early AR variants, but I find it fascinating to learn about them. Maybe I should start by expanding my Collector Grade library out of the WWII era
    Cyril: Oh now that's a breach of trust!

    Lana: Do you really want to open this can of trust-breachy worms after I just found you and my ex-boyfriend with a dead hooker in the trunk?

    Cyril: ...I do not.

    A Dream of the Dark Continent

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    Quote Originally Posted by LHS View Post
    ... Maybe I should start by expanding my Collector Grade library out of the WWII era
    For any of you guys that are interested in these types of guns, I highly recommend the book "The Black Rifle." As with any publication, there are a few mistakes here and there that have been pointed out, and the organization is a little tough to follow, but the information in the book is really, really good and in depth. I'm sure many of you have the book, but I want to recommend it to those who don't.

    John Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeriousStudent View Post
    Mr. Thomas, thank you for taking the time to post your work. It truly is art.

    Mr. Vickers, thank you for introducing him to us.
    Although it isn't AR15 related, some of you may appreciate another replica that I made (pictured below). From the Cold War era, it is a replica of an uncommon military issue pistol, the Hi-Standard HDM, silenced pistol. It was used by the OSS, and other "special" individuals.

    John Thomas


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