On the M1 Carbine Forum...
I have been opinionated, abrupt and fed-up with people that bash the latest "commercial" M1 Carbines. Don't get me wrong, I:
Appreciate/enjoy the USGI M1 Carbines that have been faithfully rebuilt/habilitated. They're expensive now, (in excess of $1100.00 - $1250.00 when they are in shape to run for another 75,000 - 100,000 rounds) Superb samples from Fulton Armory run $1650.00. They are, however too rich for my blood. I'm barely keeping myself fed, clothed and off the streets with a VA Pension.
In the long run, I'll start saving (at a rate of $200 per month in August) toward purchasing an M1 Carbine. I have many firearms in storage right now, but will be slowly saving for the little rifle. I had an Universal in the past (when my wife Mary was alive). After she died on August 31st, 1999 I had to sell my Universal. I have regretted it to this day.
I have been in personal contact with Ron Norton of Inland Manufacturing, and he assured me that the "teething problems" (soft bolts) of the early cast bolts and frames has been cured. I do hope this is the case, as for $900.00-$950.00 the Inland M1 Carbines have been set-up for using the 30 round magazines and are far more accurate than the old USGI Carbines. Ron's Inland Carbines have been consistently firing at 1" groups at 100 yards and 1.5"-2" at 200 yards. You have to rebuild a USGI carbine with a match barrel at accomplish this. (That, my friends, can get expensive).
Auto Ordnance had a reputation for poor fit and finish; their magazines have feeding problems. If you replace the magazine catch with one that is suited to retain 30 round Korean magazines and work the action until it is smooth, you may be happy with it's performance. You won't have a USGI rifle, but you'll have an affordable shooter you can take out into the field without having the "guilts" of beating up a collectible war relic. Their accuracy isn't half bad either. Some rifles shoot nearly as well as the new Inland models.
These are options I have been investigating, but not to exclusion of the Plainfield or Iver Johnson M1 Carbines.
I expect to have amassed approximately $1200.00 on January 1st, 2017. I would like to begin looking for my M1 Carbine about then. I'll be 62 then and still hope to enjoy my new rifle for another 20-25 years. Yep, I suffer from OFD (Old Farts Disease).
It is going to be a loooooong wait. :help: :censored: :|
Welcome to the party! Perchance, you also a member over at Northwest Firearms?
Much to learn, little to offer, but as someone with a similar interest--albeit never having owned a GI, and the "wear/etc." concern goes double since I plan to tactical-out one with rails, optics etc. as a home-defense tool--will watch this thread eagerly to see what the Old Guard have to say.
Like the thread and you had me searching found this Slightly modified M1A1 :)
Diamondback: Yes, I was over at Northwest Firearms (under another name at another time).
Javlin: Ron was really enjoying that M1A1 (M2) variant, wasn't he? While I like that SMG/LR (Submachinegun/Light Rifle). I hesitate to call it a subgun, because it still is a "light rifle" cartridge.
The select-fire variation is a great "fun gun" but has little practical use. Call me "practical pig" if you will, but the only way I would have any use for a select-fire weapon is with an 18 inch barrel.
I revere Jim Cirillo's use for the M1 Carbine. 110 grains of Winchester Hollow Soft Point goodness right where the evil ones assume room temperature when the projectile is properly placed. This makes the world a better place to live for all. (I liked it).
As an old Aviation Machinist's Mat (Jet) I wasn't preparing for warfare in the rice paddies, but as the son of a WW2/Korean Veteran Boatswain's Mate 1st Class, Underwater Demolition Team/Navy Rifle Team (pre-SEAL member) I learned rifle shooting at "daddy's knee" (literally).
I have always had a bit of distaste for the 5.56 x 45 (.223) not caring for the 55 grain, .22 caliber bullet. As a result, the AR-15/M4 platform bores me. Others shooters keep blasting me with "the .223 shoots better, is more accurate at longer ranges, yadda, yadda, yadda..." If I want to shoot at 300 yards or further, I'll take my bolt action .308 Spanish Mauser. At ranges between 150 and 300 yards, I'll take my Norinco MAK-91 National Match in 7.62 x 39.
As James Cromwell said in the film "Babe", "That'll do pig... that'll do". :D
I hear you on the .223 platform and most riles without wood do little for me.I can still hit the 18X18 inch plate @350yds just fine 4/5 shots with my M1a and open sights don't think I need anymore than that.My 44 Inland is my home protection piece some say to much velocity but it really is a point and shoot weapon.My handgun experience is really limited not enough range time.
Javlin: You're right. The "plastic, black, .22 caliber rifle" just has no appeal. In .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51) it is fine. The .30-'06 is even better. Yes, a stock by "Mattel" is boring.
A well placed .30 Carbine, Soft Point (or Hollow Soft Point) dumping 970-977 foot pounds of energy in a miscreant's chest should generally bring an altercation to an abrupt conclusion.
I'll worry about patching up wallboard after everything has settled out.
Works for me.
Long musings on commercial vs. GI M1 Carbines. (longest post I've done in years)
I hope I’m not wasting my time to do this long explanation because it sounds like you have your mind made up on commercial carbines. If you’re an open minded sort, please read on.
Just know that the M1 Carbine, because of the way it was designed, is a very difficult rifle to manufacture inexpensively. Something like an AR15 is worlds apart and far easier to manufacture commercially and do it well. The M1 Carbine was designed in an era that had very different ways of manufacturing things than we do today. And the design is VERY difficult to manufacture well and keep the cost down.
I have worked on truck loads of M1 Carbines; literally. When I worked for Pacific International in the '80's we imported 4,500 carbines from Israel and 7,000 from China and I was the lucky man to go through each and every one of them. So I'm lightly familiar with the design. And being a gunsmith for 30 years I’ve encountered the commercial carbines on more than a couple of occasions and you need to really take some things to heart. Myself I will not work on commercial carbines anymore, nor will most other gunsmiths I know. The reason for that is because I lose money every time I foolishly agree to fix something on those rifles. Due to tolerance stacking issues which I will discuss later in this post, often it turns out to be FAR more involved than what I thought I was getting into, and it often comes down to the fact that something major is out of spec, and would require a substantial rebuild of a rifle.
Let’s talk about why you want a GI Carbine vs. a commercial (especially if you're talking about older commercial carbines like Universal, Plainfield, or Iver Johnson).
The issue with commercial carbines is that the M1 Carbine is a VERY complex rifle to manufacture, even though it's an extremely simple rifle. The design of the receiver doesn't lend itself well to casting, and the earlier cast receivers varied from really poor, to at best acceptable. The newer cast receivers like the Kahr/Auto-Ordnance, and the new Inland are MUCH better made receivers; but back to those early ones… If you have a properly cast and heat treated receiver, on a rifle that was built very well, then you'll have an M1 Carbine that works just fine (for now). The problem is the quality control on the early cast rifles was just all over the place and you'll never find out if you're rifle is good or bad until something goes wrong; and when something goes wrong, then you’re more often than not in a world of hurt to get it fixed. So it's a big roll of the dice. There are oodles of guys out there with very early Universals, Plainfields, and Iver Johnsons that have been excellent rifles for decades. These are almost always made with over 95% GI parts on a commercial receiver. Now even if there are some external dimensions that are off, if the heat treating is done right, and headspace was done correctly, then often the rifle will work just fine if the rest is made with GI parts.
GI Carbine receivers were milled from a forging of medium carbon steel, then several places on the receiver were then spot hardened which was more desirable than full heat treating. This allowed areas like the locking lugs and barrel hood to be very hard, yet the rest of the receiver was much softer and ductile, which resists things like stress fractures (cracking) because the metal can flex/move rather than crack. The design of the rifle was intended to have a receiver that has some flex when operating…you have to remember that. Because a fully heat treated receiver is like a brick, there are no flex points, it’s just solid. And while that may sound great, and on some guns it is great, that is NOT how the M1 Carbine was designed. Same can be said for M1 Garand & M14 receivers. Early makers of cast Garand and M14 receivers had considerable issues with stress cracking because the receiver was fully hardened, not spot hardened like it was designed to be.
This is hard to swallow for some because everyone has always been told that harder is always better, but that’s not true at all; it always depends on the design of the gun.
With the earlier receivers the issues were a lack of flex built into receivers could result in stress fractures on the right hand side where the op-rod rides in the receiver. This is a thin section of the carbine receiver and it’s supposed to flex under recoil, and a fully heat treated receiver doesn’t flex because it’s too hard. And then of course the older cast receivers had a number of milling issues as well. Comically you’ll find quite a lot of early cast receivers that had the bolt hold open cut in the wrong spot; very common. Holes for the trigger housing will often be in the wrong spot, and often you’ll find a late model Iver Johnson actually won’t even accept a GI trigger housing because the holes don’t match up.
The older cast receivers often will not accept a GI barrel without modification of the receiver which is usually taking steel off the front of the receiver because the casting was oversized. VERY often if you look with a magnifying glass you’ll notice that only one locking lug on the bolt is in full contact with the lugs on the receiver; so that’s a broken bolt just waiting to happen. So when I see a receiver that won’t accept a GI barrel without modification, won’t accept a GI bolt without modification to the locking lugs on the receiver (which would require complete re-hardening of the receiver), and won’t accept a GI trigger housing; you’re talking about a gun that will be a whole lot of headaches when you put the rest of the gun together.
So that covers some of the more common receiver issues.
Universals, the later ones with the stamped operating rods. These guns have poorly cast receivers, poorly stamped operating rods, cast aluminum trigger housings that are WAY off and won’t even go onto a GI receiver. Additionally they have a gas port that’s welded or dovetailed onto the barrel, with a gas piston that’s completely different from the GI design, and finally a dual recoil spring system that is there not because it’s better, but because of the lack of mass in the operating rod (called a slide on a GI carbine). The Universals were an attempt to build an M1 Carbine-ish rifle and hit a certain price point. Some of them actually work and work very well, and when they do, they’re great. But you have to understand when something goes wrong (and eventually it will), fixing that carbine will be a real pain in the neck.
Plainfields – The very early ones made with all GI parts are worth consideration, but they’re not nearly as good as you think they are. Since YOU didn’t build the rifle, you have no idea what issues they encountered when assembling the rifle, and what their solutions were to move past those issues. So you can have a GI parts Plainfield that looks identical to a GI carbine, with some issues lurking underneath that you’ll never know about. Headspace was ALWAYS an issue when assembling these rifles, so how did they deal with that? Well you HAVE to modify the receiver, you can’t modify a GI barrel to attain headspace (sorry, I’m just unwilling to go deep into why that is, because this is already way too long anyhow), so it has to be addressed on the receiver. Do you really think they filed that receiver, installed that barrel, got the whole rifle working, then took it apart and sent the receiver back out for heat treating? Not likely! They put it together and it went out the front door.
Iver Johnson – Later Iver Johnsons made extensive use of cast trigger housings, decent cast receivers, barrels with welded on gas ports, and cast slides (operating rod). Since they were assembled from the get go with non-GI parts that by GI standards are WAY out of spec, you can’t expect any realistic kind of parts interchangeability. So when something goes wrong, you may or may not be able to fix it because the rifle was built with non-spec parts, and you end up with an issue of tolerance stacking. Which is to say because this part was .006 off, the next part will be .21 off, and the next part on top of that had to be completely customized.
Newer carbines (Kahr/Auto-Ordnance & Inland)
Thanks to exceptional investment casting, coupled with CNC machining it’s now possible to build a decent M1 Carbine at a semi-reasonable price point. The metallurgy of the newer carbines is worlds better than the older cast receivers. And while new receivers are very hard, they still are not as flexible as a GI carbine. But they at least do have some flexibility vs the old very rigid receivers. Now couple these much better receivers with the precision of CNC machining of parts and your issues with tolerance stacking are a fraction of what you had with early commercial M1 Carbines. Generally speaking the newer carbines are pretty darned decent, but even with all of the advancement in manufacturing technology they are NOT as good as a GI carbine. And again it would take a LOT to go into why that is, but suffice to say the precision levels of the machining of WW II era GI firearms is amazingly precise!
Some day you should read a government spec on how a 1911 slide is made; it’s amazingly precise and anal retentive (this grade of steel will be source from one of these 4 suppliers…the first cut will be placed in X fixture on XYZ model Bridgeport knee mill using X cutter and a cutting fluid flow rate of X….you get the picture). Suffice to say, there are NO commercial manufacturers of pretty much ANYTHING that are holding manufacturing standards to that level today.
Consider that of the 11,000 carbines I worked on I can count on perhaps two hands and one foot how many I found with bad headspace). 95% of the time you can take a bolt out of one GI carbine and drop it into another GI carbine and have safe headspace…I challenge you to try that with even the newest commercial carbines. So the precision with which they were made was amazing considering it was a guy turning a knob on a Bridgeport mill.
Anyhow, I have yet to work on a newly manufactured Kahr/Auto-Ordnance or Inland carbine, but I would give it a try (I refuse to work on Plainfields, IJ’s or Universals). I’m betting parts interchangeability with GI parts would be well over 90%. Meaning 9 times out of ten fixing a broken Kahr/Auto-Ordnance or Inland would be just like fixing a GI carbine…that’s pretty good.
But then you come to the question of why?
What does a new Inland or Kahr offer over a GI carbine; they’re new and they look nice. Really that’s it.
MSRP on the Inland is $1,079.00. Let’s say street price is $100.00 less (I have no idea if it is or not), that’s $979.00
Now look, here’s an IBM for the same price. The finish is pretty good, but the stock is kinda ugly. So you buy this rifle, spend $125 for brand new walnut stock and handguard and you have a FAR better rifle than the Inland. The bolt isn’t in question at all, it’s a GI bolt.
IBM Model M1 Carbine .30 Carbine 18" Barrel
So now let’s talk about the supposed accuracy enhancement of the Inlands.
What are the factors on an M1 Carbine that affect accuracy? Match barrel? BS…There’s no such thing as a “match” M1 Carbine barrel; where does the “match” part come from? And if you did put a “match” barrel on an M1 carbine would that give you “match” accuracy?
But it implies that GI barrels made during the war are inferior to commercial barrels made today, and I’m sorry to say, that’s just not true. The rifling quality of GI M1 Carbine barrels is excellent and there were no subcontractors who made “inaccurate” barrels. Yes you can find the occasional machine mark in the bore of a carbine barrel because the barrels are broach cut. Most commercial barrels these days are hammer forged, or button rifled. For an average barrel, broach cut tends to make a more accurate barrel than hammer forging because it doesn’t stress the steel to cut the rifling like hammer forging does (and wants to spring back). If you’re truly seeking match grade accuracy, then you have to do extensive hand lapping of a barrel, and there’s no way they’re putting precision hand lapped barrels on these new carbines. (all barrels receive some hand lapping, but a “match” or “benchrest” barrel will receive hours of hand lapping, where a standard barrel will receive, hopefully, just enough). When you’re seeking match quality the barrel making process really isn’t a deciding factor. Benchrest shooters have won with every different kind of rifling technology and what it comes down to is how much time and effort was spent hand lapping the barrel; not how the rifling was made.
If the commercial carbines are indeed out-shooting GI carbines, then the issue likely due to the stiffer receivers, not because of “better” barrels. Receiver flex is one of the biggest factors in M1 Carbine accuracy. There are two different styles of recoil plate (the part that attaches to the stock to support the rear of the receiver), and when you swap between the two, you can see how it affects the accuracy of the rifle because there are subtle changes in how it supports the rear of the receiver, and that can increase or decrease vibration of the receiver during recoil.
Due to the design of the M1 Carbine, barrel quality really plays a small role in the accuracy of the rifle. The problem with the little carbine is the same as the Garand and M14, bedding…Or lack thereof. Because the action rattles around in a cavernous stock with support at the recoil plat and the barrel band/Bayo-lug, even the most precise barrel known to man will shoot somewhat less than perfectly in an M1 carbine. I’m sure the new Inland using very good quality barrels, but I’m betting most of the accuracy enhancements (if they really are shooting better) are just because the receivers are stiffer than a GI receiver. I have never encountered a MOA M1 Carbine. My personal carbine will shoot 5 shots at 1.7” at 100 yards, that’s the best I’ve ever milked from it, but suffice to say that’s nearly half of what your average M1 carbine shoots. It was never intended to be a match rifle, but a replacement for a handgun. So MOA accuracy was the least of their worries. Most M1 carbines will shoot in the neighborhood of 4-5 MOA. A 1 MOA or even consistent 1.5 MOA would be very rare and quite impressive if they actually pulled it off (and personally I’d have to take the “see it with my own two eyes” approach.
And to be honest, such accuracy doesn’t really get you anything. The cartridge maxes out at 300m anyhow, and a 4 MOA carbine will hit a man sized target all day long at 300m, so I’m not sure what the extra accuracy gets you, but American shooters all demand MOA accuracy.
Either way, I’ll put my GI Inland up against the commercial Inland in an ACTUAL shooting match any day.
Magazines – The reason you encounter magazine issues with commercial M1 Carbines is due to the trigger housing, not the magazines or the presence of an M2 magazine catch. A GI magazine will have a pretty tight fit into the magazine well of a GI trigger housing and there’s a reason for that. It supports the magazine correctly during recoil, and it prevents flex in the magazine. The M2 magazine catch was a solution that really didn’t solve anything. The issues with feed reliability of M2 carbines and 30 round magazines were related to the design of the magazine that no magazine catch could ever hope to solve. It’s the straight, then curved design of the M2 magazine that is the problem, not the mag catch. That’s the same design that would plague the M16 30 round magazine to this very day. The 30 round M16 magazine has been re-designed countless times (usually internall). I’ve just plain lost count of how many different follower designs have been used, and I couldn’t tell you which follower is being used today. All to combat issues related to a very flawed design.
The M1 carbine’s 30 rounder never received any further development. It was used, it worked pretty well but was never extremely reliable and since they were looking at doing away with the carbine toward the end of the Korean war, they never got around to re-designing or further development of the carbine 30 rounder.
So after reading this, do you still want a new Inland carbine when you could have that Rock Ola GI carbine for the same price. Then you save your pennies for some new wood and you’ll have a GI carbine that even looks good. But more importantly, you’ll have a carbine that’s 100% GI spec in materials and workmanship. There doesn’t exist ANY commercial manufacturer of M1 Carbines that makes them to GI specs no matter how much they proclaim it. Because the receivers are not milled from a forging, the barrels are not broach cut from forgings, and so on…that’s because NO ONE manufactures that way anymore; no one can afford to. But because of how the little carbine was designed, if you were to actually match GI quality in a newly manufactured M1 carbine, you’d be paying 4 grand for the rifle. The new ones are the best commercial carbines ever made, no doubt about that. But they are still a ways off from being the equal in every way to the GI carbine.
Just consider when you buy the GI carbine, you’re not getting a manufacturers attempt at matching a GI carbine; you’re getting the REAL thing. The rifle built to the specifications set forth to create the most robust and reliable military small arm that they were capable of building. And GI carbines are proven! They are extremely reliable and robust. To this day, most anywhere in the world where you find conflict, you’ll find an M1 carbine.
If you’re still convinced that the new Inland is the way to go, I wish you the best of luck. I’m also betting you’ll end up with a downright decent little rifle. But hopefully you’ll see that it’s extremely reassuring to have the actual GI carbine, and no worries about how it will perform, or whether it can be fixed if something goes wrong.
Nice write up Kevin ;)
Kevin: You should make that post a "sticky" or have someone do so.
I would like to have a USGI "build" but the prices (yes even here in Northwestern Oregon) are outrageous. $1000.00 will get you a "fair" example. Tack $400 in it and you'll have a decent M1 Carbine. According to my personal, financial calculations, in February 2017 I'll have enough funds to purchase a comparable Carbine. With the way prices are rising, it may be as late as March. The wait is not only excruciating, but irritating, because the supply/demand for the available carbines, may drive the prices up even further. :argh:
I am stuck between a "rock and a hard place". (And people wonder why I become so angry)! :banghead: :mad:
One other thing to consider, Cap, is that those not from the Northwest frequently don't get the strange, out-of-step pricing patterns here versus the rest of the country. We're about what inflated CA prices would be, if CA could have hardware... and oh by the way, even before WA-594/OR-941 even if you were buying somebody's used gun when it came in from out of state you still had to pay sales tax on the LOCAL prevailing value. at least on this side of the Columbia...
Snake, a large part of my thinking is mounting an IR sight--I see pretty well in low-light conditions as has been mentioned in other threads, and IR would add capability to somewhat see through walls; the only thing I need a bright light for is blinding the other guy or in absolute blackout conditions.
The prices are outrageous and getting the Carbine here is NOT "half the fun".
When you get right down to it, I find the reason people shy away from the GI guns and gravitate toward the new commercial guns is aesthetics. There are those who just want a brand new looking gun, and specifically dislike a used looking gun. And if it were an AR15 that would be okay. But because the Carbine is a design that doesn't lend itself to cheap manufacture, I have never been able to recommend in good conscience a commercial carbine.
Now that commercial carbine quality has gone way up, I would recommend one but only if you found one a good 30% cheaper than a GI carbine. Because the newer ones just aren't proven in my book, and there are very few small arms in this world more proven than a USGI M1 Carbine. You did mention you wanted this for self defense...don't go with something un-proven just because it's pretty.
I just hate to wind up replacing so many parts that it will cost me more than $1300.00 in both purchase and repair costs. I'd likely be better off buying a James River Armory Carbine.
IF a person wants a M1/M2 carbine (I'm NOT too fond of the little carbine.), the seeming "going cash price" for private party or gun-show sales seems to be 500-750.oo, here in South Texas. = Carbines are anything but rare here.
Stan Watie: That is fine, but I want something that I'll run 5000 rounds of FMJ through as well as 200 rounds of Soft Points. I want to "shoot the beans" out of the rifle before I die. There's no other reason to buy a firearm, is there?
I don't think so.
Cap, found this Commercial for $695...
$NEW PRICE M1 Carbine .30 Caliber EFM Erma's C&R : Semi Auto Rifles at GunBroker.com
Guys, is it Fact or Crap? For me, it's either latest-gen or Milsurp, nothing in between... IF the price is ever right and we get this "universal background check even between family" bullcrap put down, unless I can get a blueprint and an unmachined raw casting/forging first.
I love the little Erma, It's all well and good, but I won't have any money of this kind until January 2017. It is frustrating to say the least.
I want a good M1 Carbine so badly that I can taste the steel and smell both the wood stock and Hoppe's #9! :grumble:
Keep watching Gunbroker and GunsAmerica closer to time, then... I checked Davidson's, and they have both Kahrs and Inlands with the latter running about $250 more than the Kahr A-O counterparts.
Like I said, unless somebody gets something done about the BGC backdoor-registration BS, at this point I'm holding out for a blank-and-blueprint option.
I really would like a USGI, but the "best of the breed" is a Fulton Armory M1 and they start at $1600.00. Grrrrr! :grumble:
Thanks DB, I'll keep this in mind at the turn of the new year.
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