Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 590: United Defense/Marlin M42 Submachine Gun

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Scarce United Defense/Marlin M42 Submachine Gun, Class III/NFA C&R Fully Transferable Machine Gun

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $25,000

Scarce United Defense/Marlin M42 Submachine Gun, Class III/NFA C&R Fully Transferable Machine Gun

Manufacturer: Marlin Firearms Co
Model: M42
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 9 mm
Barrel: 11 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1203
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 353
Class: Class III

Originally designed by Carl Swebilius of High Standard, the M42 was intended as a competitor for the Thompson SMG in police and military contract sales. One of the last generation of "heavy metal" SMGs, the M42 used machined steel and polished wood much like the Thompson, though with a more streamlined design with easier takedown. Unable to commit to the design due to a massive U.S. order for M2 machine guns, High Standard sold the design to the United Defense Supply Corporation, a private outfit established and run by then-members of the British Purchasing Commission, who went to Marlin for the actual act of manufacturing. While the M42 achieved substitute standard status with the U.S. Army, its main claim to fame is use with the Office of Strategic Services (who found the M42 to be more sensitive to dirt than the Thompson but easier to clean and more accurate) and in airdrops in hostile territory. Traveling abroad, the M42 armed the partisans in Crete, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and France (with some unfortunately falling into the hands of the Free French's collaborationist nemesis, the Milice), as well as both the Nationalist and Communist Chinese forces facing off against Japan. Fitted with a fixed blade front and windage/elevation adjustable rear sights, with a circled "P" stamped on the right side of the chamber, the three-line address and model markings on the left side of the lower receiver, and the three-position selector ("SEMI-AUTO", "-SAFE-" and "AUTO") on the right side. The upper receiver is numbered "11571", with the lower numbered "11484" (the serial number of record) and "11573" (two digits off from the assembly number on the upper, possibly a factory error or accidental field swap). Contoured front pistol grip and smooth buttstock, with a tan canvas sling and a checkered steel trapdoor buttplate. Included with the lot is one "double magazine" (a pair of magazines welded together, essentially a permanent "jungle" magazine).

Rating Definition:

Very fine, with 95% of the arsenal refurbished dark blue finish, showing some light wear and handling marks overall, patches of covered pitting on the upper receiver, and some mild dings. The stock is fine, with a chip absent from the bottom of the foregrip and scattered dents and scuffs. Mechanically fine. NOTE: This weapon is a National Firearms Act (NFA), fully transferable Class 3, which is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (BATFE) that is classified as a "Curios or Relic" as defined in 27 CFR, 478.11. These weapons are still subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478.

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