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America’s Forgotten SMG: The Hyde/Marlin M2


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today at the Morphy
Auction Company taking a look at a fantastically rare, transferrable, US World War Two submachine gun.
This is actually an M2 submachine gun. If you’ve ever wondered why the US went from
the M1 to the M3, the Thompson to the Grease Gun, well, they actually didn’t. There was an
M2 in the middle. It’s just very, very scarce. So, the deal is this was designed
by a guy named George Hyde, who … was a very talented, but very much
unrecognised today, firearms designer. He had actually worked before the war
working on some submachine gun designs. In fact, I have a previous video on his 1933 pattern, so if you’re interested I’ll link that from the end
of this video, you can take a look at that one. That kind of gives you an idea
where he’s coming from on this. At any rate, during World War Two he was
working for GM, specifically the Inland Division, which of course did a tremendous
amount of production of M1 carbines, and he put together a submachine
gun design for the US military. The thing is, the US went into World War
Two with the Thompson gun, which was a pretty darn good submachine gun in 1920, and it
was kind of a totally obsolete submachine gun in 1940. It was way too heavy, and way too expensive. And the US government saw what the
British were doing with the Sten gun and said, “We don’t want a Sten gun, but that gives us some ideas.” They wanted something that was gonna be a lot lighter
and a lot cheaper, and that’s what Hyde put together here. So this is about 2 pounds lighter than the Thompson gun,
still uses Thompson mags, was a lot cheaper to manufacture. And this went into its initial trials in April of 1942.
They put it through about a 6,000 round endurance test, which it did either really well or kind of
mediocre, depending on how you look at it. In 6,000 rounds it had 20 malfunctions,
which is a lot more than it ought to. However, 18 of those 20 were simply a failure of the
bolt hold-open to lock open on an empty magazine. Not exactly a critical thing. They also … put it through an accuracy
test, a comparison to the Thompson. They put up a 6 foot square target at 50 yards, a
piece of cloth, and fired 100 rounds at it, all in full-auto. And the Hyde put 99 out of 100 rounds on that target,
compared to 50 out of 100 rounds from the M1 Thompson, and 49 out of 100 from the 1928 A1 Thompson.
So this was substantially more controllable. That’s one of the real shortcomings of the
Thompson, in addition to its weight and its cost. They look at that whole trial, things look really good. … Hyde takes the gun back, does a few tweaks
to improve the performance of the hold-open, brings it back in June of ’42, they do some more testing.
They put it through another like 2,800 round endurance test. Passes really well that time, and this
thing is formally recommended for adoption. Now we have the problem of who’s gonna
make it. So actually before we get to that, let’s take a look at how it actually works, because
it’s got some unusual design elements to it. There’s a fair amount to go through with this,
and there are a lot of cool design elements to it. So let’s start (gonna pull the magazine here first), this
does by the way use standard Thompson magazines, that was what was available. Now the Grease Gun that came
later would use its own different magazine, but not yet. Now if we look at the top of this,
this is a remarkably wide gun. In fact, it’s kind of a hugely wide gun,
and that is to limit the length of the receiver. If you need a certain amount of mass
for a simple open-bolt blowback action, which this is, and if you have a narrow diameter
tube you need a long bolt to get that mass. Well if you make the tube larger in
diameter you can make the bolt shorter, and then it can still have the same amount
of travel with a shorter overall receiver. We have a nice big protected front sight. We have a rear sight with two different options for you, there is
an aperture in the centre, and there is an open notch at the top. The notch would probably be for your
very immediate short-range shooting, and the aperture is probably for 50 or 100 yards,
although I don’t know specifically which. The magazine release button just slides
backwards and the mag comes out. It has a lug right here that locks into (there we go),
the hole in the back of the magazine, right there. The controls are actually kind of reminiscent of the Thompson,
sort of. This is your fire selector and this is your safety. So this is fire, that is safe.
And then this is … full-auto, sorry, and flipping it rearward is semi-auto,
and you can tell that easily enough with the click of the disconnector resetting
in semi-auto. In full-auto it’s just .. nothing. The markings are on the left
side rear of the receiver tube. So this is submachine gun, calibre .45, M2,
made by Marlin in New Haven, Connecticut. And this one is serial number 386. Spoiler – they only
made 400, so this is right at the very end of production. There’s a neat feature in the butt plate. This is not a
button that does something, this is actually an oil bottle. And if you rotate it 90 degrees, it has two
little lugs that unlock and this comes out. So it looks very much like an M1
carbine oil bottle, but fits into the buttstock That little rod is just sort of an applicator. And then we have a fixed sling bar on the left side
on the back, and a sling bar on the front barrel band. Now for disassembly we’re actually
going to start by taking off this barrel band. It’s held on by a spring clip here, pull that off, then the upper handguard slides right off. And then we have a very cool disassembly method. There are some screws that you can see here,
we don’t have to mess with any of those. Instead we just have this latch (and this
actually covers the front trigger guard screw), just take that, … rotate it 90 degrees over, and then the whole barrelled action pivots out of the stock. So there’s my stock and fire control group. At this
point if I want to take the fire control group out, then I can take out these two screws
to remove it, but there’s really no need. You can see the sear functioning here. This is full-auto which
stays in the downward position until I release the trigger. Now if I switch that to semi-auto it pops back up so it catches the bolt
on each shot, and fires in semi-auto. Now there are two elements that actually lock the action into
the stock. One of them is here at the back with this little… Well, there’s a hook that goes in there, this hook on the rear end cap
of the receiver. That locks into that little recess. And then at the front this lever rotates that plug, which locks into this recess at the front. So a
very simple, but nice and secure, takedown method. Now once we’ve got the action
out, in order to take the bolt out we’re gonna take this end cap and rotate it, something
that can’t happen when it’s in the gun because of this lug. I’m just gonna pivot that around, and there it goes. It has a remarkably small
recoil spring, but this is actually two recoil springs. There is a guide rod in the plunger here and then you’ll
notice there’s actually (and it’s stuck inside this tube), but there’s actually a second small diameter
recoil spring inside that guide rod extension. So as this compresses, you’re actually at the end of travel,
getting a second recoil spring coming into play right there. Now we can just pull the bolt out. That is a chunky big bolt with
a little narrow thing at the front. The charging handle then also comes out, you slide
it all the way back and it drops into the receiver. That’s pretty simple right there. And then you’re left with just a receiver.
You’ve got your magazine well. There’s a little screw right there, that simply holds the ejector
in place. You’ve got a barrel screwed into the front of it. There is nothing fancy about this bolt. It is just a
great big chunk of metal to act as mass and inertia. You can see there’s only the small
diameter hole for the recoil spring. The front extension of the bolt of course has
the firing pin, extractor, a track for the ejector. This is a fixed firing pin, so
nothing fancy going on there. However, we do have an interesting subject for
manufacturing processes here in the receiver assembly. So the back end of this is a tube,
that’s simple enough, that’s cheap. The front end is a barrel, there’s not really a super
cheap way to make a barrel because it has to be rifled. So that’s a fixed cost, we can’t cheap in that. However in the centre we have
what is a fairly complex shape. How do we make that in the
most efficient manner possible? Notice the rough surface here. The answer
that George Hyde came up with was, well the first answer would be you forge it. That
allows you to get the general shape pretty quickly. You can leave the top here unfinished
because it doesn’t matter, it’s just aesthetic. And then you machine out the specific
surfaces in the bottom that you need. Well forging is an expensive process, and what Hyde
came up with was to actually use metal sintering. This is the process of using
powdered metal, poured into a mould and then apply a tremendous amount of heat and
pressure and you will basically melt the powder and effectively cast it, or forge it,
well cast it, into a finished solid part. This is something that we do today, … sintering is in a
way the basis of today’s additive 3D printing technology, although done one small particle at a time,
instead of done … in a single mould all at once. This is the most innovative thing about the M2 submachine gun,
and it’s ultimately what would cause problems in its production. We’ll get to that in a moment. Well there you have a complete field-stripped
Hyde, or GM, or Inland, M2 submachine gun. A couple extra little things I can show you here. With the receiver assembly put together, that is
the body of the bolt, and then that is the sear surface that our sear, right here, locks into. And then I can show you when I go to reassemble
this, what I’m gonna do is just hook that in there, and then the whole thing pivots
down nicely into the stock. I come up here and just rotate this back into place and, presto, the gun is reassembled.
I just have to put the handguard back on. So we’re back at June of 1942, the Hyde gun
looks great, we’ll adopt it, put it into production. Inland will p… No, no Inland’s not gonna
produce this because Inland is building a whole lot of other stuff already, and they don’t
have the production capacity available to spare. So instead the government looks
around and they find the Marlin company. Marlin is willing to take on a new contract
for a new gun, so they sign a deal with Marlin. The problem is Marlin doesn’t really have
any institutional expertise with sintered metal. And there were substantial delays in getting
this gun tooled up for actual production. Even once they did have it set up
and they started producing guns, they ran into problems with the
production versions of the guns. That’s always a potential roadblock, when
you … go from prototypes to mass production. The prototype guns worked great,
they were all hand-built and hand-fitted. When they started getting the first guns off the
production line they had new and different problems, and that took them some time to resolve as well. Ultimately, it would take a year to get the very first
deliveries of these. So they showed up in May of 1943. June of 1943 they go ahead and cancel the contract
with a grand total of about 400 actually delivered. Now, why would they cancel it
just when they start getting guns? Well, the reason is almost as soon as this was approved
for production Hyde and some of his counterparts went back to designing to come up with
something that was actually better still, cheaper and easier to produce than that M2,
and that of course would be the M3 submachine gun. So, right about the time the M2 starts
getting delivered the M3 is also on the line. This fits the US government’s needs better, we don’t need
the M2, we’ll just cancel it, cut our losses and move on. So, there are something like a half a
dozen of these guns that still survive today. They’re extremely rare, and it’s really cool
to get a chance to take a look at one here. So hopefully you guys enjoyed taking a look at it. If you
want to see more about this or a bunch of other cool machine guns and other assorted firearms, make
sure to check out Morphy’s auction catalogue. They’ve always got something cool in there to take a look at. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “America’s Forgotten SMG: The Hyde/Marlin M2

  1. I think that might be the nicest disassembly/reassembly procedure I've seen in a gun of that era.
    Anyone know of anything better that didn't rely on screw threads?

  2. Really neat gun, I noticed a lack of heat shields I would think the wood stock would get scorched pretty quickly.

  3. Very handsome looking gun. Borrows from the M-1 Carbine: side-mounted sling, similar front band, almost exact copy of front band retaining spring, oiler, and rear retaining plate. Add a good muzzle brake to meet the required 16" barrel, make it take a magazine that is fairly common, and sell it for $400 and modern copies would sell like hotcakes.

  4. The pleasing outline of this SMG is similar to an AR SMG: straight line stock, magazine close to pistol grip, high front site. Come to think of it, the short, fat bolt problem was overcome by Stoner''s large spring and counterweight in the stock!

  5. a nice looking gun, I am surprised they didn't try to market it to the civilian law enforcement. Why let a god design go to waste.

  6. THATS COOL AS, in my Opinion, i think the M2 is a better gun, however i think the "situation" at the time was (need guns now – make as many guns as cheap as you can), would have been great to see the combat reports of the M2, rather then the M3
    "To all who read this comment – Like it if you would like to see Ian shoot the M2"
    Cheers from AUS

  7. The longer barrel should give it more power than a 1911 Pistol or even the grease gun . The full auto M2 carbine. would be preferable !

  8. Thank GOD " we" didnt adopt a sten gun variant- brit POS., the m3 grease gun was better for CQB

    The M2 looks like a M1carbine and a Thompson had a bastard baby..

  9. I can totally see that thin wood at the base of the stock cracking and breaking, and then the whole damn gun just falls apart. Maybe not the best design ever…

  10. Wouldn't you think the Thompson would be extremely controllable because of it's weight? Maybe an issue with the center of mass of the gun?

  11. Never thought of it before but you can seen the family lines on the roundness of the reciever tubes of the M2 and M3..

  12. That hook on the rear of the receiver looks exactly like the hook breach you would find on a Hawken rifle circa 1830. That style is called a slant breach. Hyde must have been cognizant of the Hawken rifle. That is the exact same use for that part on these two wildly different types of firearms. It's true that there ain't nothing new, Certainly not in firearm design.

  13. In a pinch after you run out of ammo the gun bolt in a sock makes a great sap to knock the crap out of an assailant.

  14. I really love this thing! It's like the Cadillac version of the Grease Gun xD They got a good sample also, the flame on the stock is absolutely beautiful!

  15. The thing that amazes me about these videos is Ian's tremendous ability to communicate everything you could need to know about whatever firearm he's presenting.

  16. Wow… I don’t know exactly how they do those tests, but if the M2 got a 99/100 accuracy, and I doubt the guy shooting it had much training on it, not knowing how well it performs or how it behaves, I bet a trained person who knows how to control it expertly, you could get 100/100. And I realized while writing this, the M2 looks a lot like an AA-12.

  17. Cool info. Never heard of this gun.

    But wouldnt the m1 carbine a much better choice? Why the need for a smg if u can equip a soldier with a m1c?

  18. 3:45 Thank you for saying this! I have been wondering as of late why so many WW2 era sub guns have ridiculously long receivers with comparatively short barrels, but could not seem to find an answer anywhere.

  19. If anyone could make a reproduction of this, i'd buy it right away! And while we're at it, please someone make a Winchester G30R reproduction.

  20. I love this design. Wish someone could make a good reproduction of this weapon. But ultimately it would pretty obviously too niece to be profitable.

  21. Its so simple its genius. Plus woodstock… This is why we need to get rid of the fullauto ban i need one of these lol. The marlin sub gun i love everything marlin.

  22. Always liked the looks of the M2, sort of reminds me of the Italian Berretta World War Twice SMG's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beretta_Model_38

    and Ian's take on it
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERra12KuEvw

    and "The Best SMG of WW2"

    https://www.gunsamerica.com/digest/berettas-model-38-9mm-review/

    and the derivative Colombian Cristobal Carbine

    http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=3996

  23. Ian please shoulder more of these firearms. It would give us more of a feel for the ergonomics and size. .02$ Love you Ian!

  24. what about the greaser,? I truly believe that was the pinnacle. this gun is not reliable, how many timies it lokes…

  25. 4:09. Opposite (for general knowledge).
    Moving rear sight up always raises elevation.
    Rear 'peep' sight for shorter range (perhaps 50 yds).
    Rear 'notch' sight for longer range (perhaps 100 – 150 yds).

    Thank you.

  26. This would be a cool semiautomatic only PCC with a 16" barrel. I wish someone would build one, but I couldn't afford one if they did. I've been thinking about Thompson mags for a while, wishing that there was something that used them other than the over rated Thompson.

  27. It's too bad it's so rare, (and therefore, expensive). That straight inline stock and simple design mechanism probably makes it a sweet shooter.

  28. I did not expect the use of MIM in this "forgotten weapon".
    I certainly didn't expect the way the firearm was made to be the most interesting aspect!

  29. One of the things that struck me was how thin the walls of the stock were by the bolt/upper receiver. It would not take much to crack or break that area. That would be the Achilles heel for this weapon and would be much better to have as either stamped steel or milled aluminum.

  30. My first thought upon seeing Ian looming over this thing is that the wood seems really, really nice. That's a pretty stock for something that is, ostensibly, a military firearm.

  31. If only this gun was developed earlier before the US entered the war, it could've been the face of American gangsters instead of the Thompson, and actually be a decent gun lol.

  32. Interesting piece… Fair to say maybe Marlin used some design elements in later years? maybe even some influence with the Camp 9/45 more recently? I even recall seeing a FA Camp carbine- experimental I believe not a serious contender in the SMG market of the 80's .. maybe one of their designers found a long forgotten M2 in the vault and got inspired…

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