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nuke_em
09-03-2008, 1:47 PM
I’m interested in purchasing a M1 Carbine. Knowing absolutely nothing about them I have a few questions.

1. What are the most desirable manufactures? (collectability & reliability)

2. What would one expect to pay for one that’s in good-great condition?

3. If purchased over the “web”, does one still have to have it shipped to an FFL?

Thanks…

Fate
09-03-2008, 2:00 PM
1. Collectability/Reliability: Any USGI carbine will generally run great. Most commercial versions aren't the best, though Plainfield's aren't too bad. Universal carbines almost universally suck. USGI is obviously more collectible with RockOla, Winchester, IBM being the most collectible of the commonly found manufacturers. There are specific variations that change the picture though. Also, non-reworks are best (push button safety and flip sights), but there's a lot of fakery in M1 Carbines, so unless you know what you're looking at, don't pay top dollar for an "original." Better to get a Korean War rework that has the bayonet lug, adjustable rear sight and flip safety. Non import marked carbines are also worth more (these also don't have serial numbers added to stock). Blue Sky imports have issues, so stay away.

2. For a Korean War rework, prices range from $400 for import marked (or Italian army returns thru the CMP) to $750 for a rarer mfr. Original, as issued/non messed with carbines can be $1000 - $1500+.

3. If you buy from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) no FFL is needed. If your seller is in CA and you are too, no FFL is needed as long as it's a USGI version. If neither apply, yes, it has to go thru an 01 FFL (unless you have a 03FFL aka C&R license).

5hundo
09-03-2008, 2:07 PM
Most people will say that the Winchesters are the most desireable. There is a rumor that the build quality is better because Winchester was an actual firearms manufacturer, not a Juke-box producer...

I, personally, would rather have one from Rock-ola, Inland GM or IBM. They aren't any better than any other M1 but I think that they are symbols of a time when this country came together in Unity. During WWII, GM shut down their assembly lines to assist with the war effort. This is an example of that, which I think is cool as hell...

CMP doesn't have to ship to an FFL. That's really the best "deal" out there...

akjunkie
09-03-2008, 2:08 PM
A Pocket History of the M1 Carbine
by Robert Gibson

Someone wanted some info on M1 Carbine....maybe this will help. Much of it is copied from the NRA's booklet "U.S.Caliber .30 Carbine".

Over a span of just 38 months (the first carbines were delivered in June 1942, the last in August 1945) nine primary contractors established manufacturing facilities, tooled up and turned out some six million carbines of all types - M1, M1A1, M2 and T3/M3. The production program was such a success that, excepting Inland and Winchester, the remaining contracts were cancelled in mid-1944. Those two companies completed their carbine production runs in August, 1945.
M1 Carbine Production Inland Manufacturing Division, G.M.C...... 2,632,097 43.0%
Winchester Repeating Arms Co................ 828,059 13.5%
Underwood-Elliot-Fisher Co.................. 545,616 8.9%
* Saginaw Steering Gear Div., G.M.C........... 517,212 8.5%
** National Postal Meter Co.................... 413,017 6.8%
*** Quality Hardware & Machine Co............... 359,666 5.9%
International Business Machines Corp (IBM).. 346,500 5.7%
Standard Products Co........................ 247,160 4.0%
Rock-Ola Co................................. 228,500 3.7%
---------
Total: 6,221,220

* Note that Saginaw had two plants in operation, one in Saginaw, MI and one in Grand Rapids, MI. The Grand Rapids facility assumed a contract that had been originally awarded to Irwin-Pedersen Arms Co....I-P had assembled only 3,542 guns at the time, none of which were accepted by the government.

**Note that a few early NPM receivers are marked "Rochester", for the Rochester Defence Corp. A very few late receivers are marked "CCC", for Commecial Controls Corp.

***Note that some Quality Hardware carbines were assembled using receivers made by Union Switch & Signal Co, hence the "UN-QUALITY" marked carbines. These are highly prized by some carbine aficionados.

The history of who made what during the brief 38 months of production is a story that can (and does) fill a book. Might I suggest you find a copy of "WAR BABY" or "M1 Carbine Design, Development and Production" by Larry Ruth. Another recommended book is "Guide to Collecting the M1 Carbine" by Robert Gibson (no relation, by the way!)...they're all good books with tons of info. Another excellent reference book is "U.S. M1 Carbines: Wartime Production" by Craig Riesch, a North Cape Publications "For Collectors Only" series.

Which are the most collectable? Depends on what your own personal criteria might be. Rock-Ola's are always desirable, not only because there were fewer made than any other make but because Rock-Ola was a famous juke box maker of the period who's product was quite familiar to the WWII GI's. Others look to the Winchester carbines because of the name on the receiver....I own one these myself. There are all kinds of reasons to own a particular "brand" of carbine...I've worked with IBM mainframe computers systems for some 20 years, I think it would be rather fitting to obtain an IBM carbine sooner or later. 20 carbine owners might give 20 different reasons for owning their particular carbine....you really need to read up on M1 history and decide what YOU want.

Mechanically they were each and every one built to the same design specs as specified in the contracts the maker signed with the U.S. Government. You could strip 25 M1 Carbines down to their component parts, mixed 'em up in a box and then reassemble them at random back into 25 carbines....they would be expected to function within the specified performance parameters.

Finding what you want is another matter. If not available at your local gunshops or gunshows you could get a current issue of Gun List, the indexed firearms paper....many, many M1 Carbines will be found listed in the Military Weapons section. Another source is Fulton Armory....call (301) 490-9485; the current advertised price is $699.95 for service grade M1 Carbine.

On this subject....at a recent gunshow I attended in Birmingham, Alabama (Jan. 5, 1997) the prices being asked for typical M1 Carbines were running from low of $450 for Inlands to a high of $650 for Rock-Olas. The Carbines I examined appeared to contain the usual mixed parts one would expect....a combination of the original mix of parts by the manufacturer, augmented by the various arsenal refurbishment programs following WWII and Korean wars.

As a counterpoint my local gunsmith still has a few Quality Hardware Carbines for sale at $385....mixed parts so certainly not collectables, but they're quite acceptable "shooters" and would satisfy most who have an itch to own a GI Carbine of their own. On this subject I've heard reports of "shooter" grade M1 Carbines still going for between $250 to $300 in scattered locations around the country. They've not been this affordable in my local area since back in late 1994 or early 1995.

Something a Carbine newbie should know....none of the primary contractors made ALL of the parts for these handy firearms. Best among the prime contractors was Underwood-Elliot-Fisher, which made 35 of the M1 Carbine's 55-58 parts in its Hartford and Bridgeport, Conn., plants. At the other end of the spectrum, Quality Hardware made only receivers, depending upon government supplied parts and parts from other contractors and sub-contractors from which its guns were assembled.

Subcontractors involved in the carbine program number in the hundreds, and made everything from pins and springs to receivers and barrels.

The U.S. Cal. .30 Carbine was designed from day one as a true "mixed parts" military firearm....carrying the "any part from any source will fit" philosophy of the U.S. Rifle, Cal. .30, M1....the M1 Garand....one step further.

In my rather humble opinion the design and manufacture of the M1 Carbine by the American Military Industrial Complex of the WWII era would have to be considered a watershed event in the field of military firearms production.

It certainly goes without saying there are no "bad" USGI World War II era M1 Carbines seeing they were all built to the same milspecs and thoroughly inspected before acceptance by Uncle Sam. True, there are many out there now that are in need of large doses of TLC due to their hard travels around the world for the last 50 years. A good service rifle gunsmith can do wonders with one of these rather sad re-imports if someone were so inclined to rescue it, but....supplies of repatriates could be drying up. That WRA carbine I mentioned above was one of these neglected war dogs when I stumbled upon it.

It now rests in the gunsafe with my Garands, M1911 Govt pistols, M1903-A3 Remingtons 'n others from the World War II era...including a German KAR 98k. Quite a sight actually, old cronies...and mortal enemies...resting together with actions gleaming and stocks giving off the odor of fresh linseed oil.

There were also commercial M1 carbine models produced from 1960's to 1980's by Iver Johnson, Plainfield Machine Co., & Universal Sporting Goods. I don't much care for commercial M1 carbines so am not really up on their history, OTOH some do prefer them over GI carbines...different strokes for different folks. I did see a nickel-plated IJ once that was quite striking....well, to be perfectly honest I thought it was somewhat gaudy.

The commercial carbines simply *do not* compare well to a true-blue USGI M1 Carbine that's in good repair....my own biased opinion of course .

ADDENDUM: "Bavarian Carbines"....What Are They?

Following from the "For Collectors Only" edition of "U.S. M1 CARBINES" by Craig Riesch, published by North Cape Publications (revised, 2nd edition)

"After World War II, the United States, as one of the Occupying Powers in Germany, was responsible for providing community policing in the U.S. Zone. As the United States had no intention of either remaining as an Occupation force in Germany any longer than necessary, or in becoming involved in the day-to-day government of the community, local police forces were established to asume standard policing duties ranging from traffic control to criminal investigation to forestry protection. One of the most extensive of these police forces was the Bavarian Rural Police.

"Bavaria is one of the largest German states and included extensive forested and mountainous regions. The U.S. Army made M1 Carbines available to these local police units, many of which remained in service for more than ten years.

"Many can be identified by the stampings, "BAVARIAN RURAL POLICE", "BAVARIAN FORESTRY SERVICE", "BAVARIAN BORDER POLICE" and "BAVARIAN STATE POLICE" on the receiver. Other carbines were furnished to the federal border guard service, the "BUNDESGRENZSHUTZ". A variety of city and state police marks will also be noted. Most also had their component parts stamped with the last three or four digits of the original receiver serial number, as was standard German practice. Many of the carbines were reblued or refinished in "black oxide" which sometimes appears almost "blue/black' in color, depending on the polish of the metal beneath. On others, the issue rear sight was removed and the dovetail filled with a block of steel which was machined with a series of grooves across the top to prevent glare.

"Occasionally, they were rebarreled with new barrels manufactured by the German firm of ERMA Werke. A non-adjustable rear sight with a "Vee" notch was brazed on the front of the receiver behind the handguard. It provided a sight picture very much like that of the Mauser bolt action rifle, fam- iliar to its new users, many of whom had seen previous police or military service during World War II."
Hope this information is of some help.

Robert Gibson

Iknownot
09-03-2008, 2:12 PM
If you want a brand new one, Auto Ordinance is currently making an M1 carbine and it is pretty nice looking. Asking around, people said it's pretty decent too, in comparison to the USGI carbines. I saw turners selling the AO new carbine for $619, a couple of months back. It looked pretty nice with it's clean, shiny stock and metal parts.

Spodeley
09-03-2008, 3:05 PM
I have a Postal Meter, I just like it in a "The Postman Always Rings Twce" kinda way.

Winchesters with that flourishing script on 'em will cost a premium - that's *desirability* as a function of Brand Recognition, but Inlands usually just plain WORK good - and they made the most of 'em over any other Mfg.

Buffalo Arms had a high rate of barrel crappiness and rejection by the other builders and surprisingly so did Marlin - both ranging in problems from out of spec threads that wouldn't go into the receiver, to being crooked and requiring straightening.

Underwood made some of the very best barrels (and rifles), and so did IBM and they shared them with other Mfgs. Trimble Nurseryland (TN stamp/makers of baby furniture) made stocks for National Postal Meter and for others, so did Rock-O-La. It was a huge, combined effort.

All the aftermarket 10-round magazines (ProMag from Midway) I have used suck donkey-balls and turn a Carbine into a practice instrument for clearing jams. The baseplates are not interchangeable with USGI 15-rounders (which are often mistaken for 10-round mags) and the feed-lip geometry is too generous. Magazines themselves are a separate collector category with a FAQ of their own: Ones with a "-U-" stamp for instance are not Underwood (that's UU) but Union Hardware...

As far as "Subcontractors involved in the carbine program number in the hundreds" - having bought and read Larry Ruth's "War Baby" which is the definitive work, IMO that should be corrected to read, "Subcontractors involved in the carbine program number in the THOUSANDS" - and many had a little stamp they used to mark parts...

One authority you really want to start reading is the CSP Carbine Forum (http://www.jouster.com/cgi-bin/carbine/carbine.pl?#18412) where interesting discoveries are discussed and some of the arcane part stampings revealed. For instance I discovered that re-worked parts from Carbines loaned to Austria and Germany (Bavarian Carbines) have a purple tint from arsenal upgrading - it occurs because of the salts they use in their version of parkerizing.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v103/Spodeley/Sportsman/Carbine/DSC02985_x500.jpg

Mezcalfud
09-03-2008, 7:23 PM
I have an Austrian Underwood, the history adds to the cool factor.
The early spring tube Winchesters are neat. My Inlands are the nicest.
You will go mad with markings and "original". I would start with the CMP, either you will get the carbine bug or at the least you will get your shooter.

saki302
09-04-2008, 3:28 AM
I see no reason to buy a new carbine when you can still get CMP rack grades for <$500.

I got a rack IBM, and the bore is excellent- it has an underwood barrel, but the barrel looks so good I can't complain...

The most desireable is the M1A1 paratrooper model- but there are many fakes/rebuilds, and there are no distinguishing serial number ranges- just that all of them were made by inland (that would be a CA AW though unless you fix the mag and stock- boo!).
Other than the M1A1, any M1 in unaltered WW2 condition (no bayo lug, flip sight, pushbutton safety, type 1 mag catch, etc.) is worth big bucks now. The only way you can check for rebuilds is to see if the rear sight area has heavy stake marks- I think the original builds either were not staked at all, or lightly staked.

-Dave

thefifthspeed
09-04-2008, 6:24 AM
I’m interested in purchasing a M1 Carbine. Knowing absolutely nothing about them I have a few questions.

1. What are the most desirable manufactures? (collectability & reliability)

2. What would one expect to pay for one that’s in good-great condition?

3. If purchased over the “web”, does one still have to have it shipped to an FFL?

Thanks…

1) Irwin Pederson, rarest make out there. Realistically Rockola and Winchester are the 2 most sought after form the average joe. Reliability wise all of the USGI-carbines are pretty much identical. If you're not into collecting and want the best band for the buck, grab and Inland.

2) Average market for most USGI carbines would range between 550-750. But... you can't beat the slamming deal CMP is putting out right now (Inlands back in stock for $419 rack and$495 service grade). Of course with anything collectable carbines get up to the 3-4 thousand + ranges for rare stuff like as issued, IPs, lineouts etc... I have an as issued Quality Hardware that would ballpark for around 1600ish

3) With the exception of the CMP, a carbine does need to be shipped to an FFL (01 or 03(50+years or older)). Moral of the story is if you don't already have a 03 FFL, get it which would satisfy a req. for CMP as well.

Good luck, they are very fun rifles to shoot.

Quick Nick
09-04-2008, 6:45 AM
So would you need a C&R FFL to get one shipped directly to you through the CMP or can anyone that meets it's requirements do so?

nuke_em
09-04-2008, 8:04 AM
I knew I came to the right place to post this question.

I sure want to thank everyone for their very informed replies.

I believe I know enough now to make a somewhat of an educated purchase :D

Fate
09-04-2008, 10:02 AM
So would you need a C&R FFL to get one shipped directly to you through the CMP or can anyone that meets it's requirements do so?
The CMP rifles do not require a 03 or 01 FFL to get them shipped directly to you.

Re: non CMP sales: If the seller and buyer are both in CA, no FFL is needed for USGI carbines as there is no law prohibiting selling 50+yr old rifles to other legal, non-felon residents even if that is not done face to face (or requires shipping).

dfletcher
09-04-2008, 10:40 AM
I just returned from the gun show. Why do I see the occasional pristine looking M1 carbine priced at $2,500 - $3,000? I'm not talking about Colonel MaCauliffe's personal M1 carbine carried at Bastogne, I'm talking one of 6 million carbines - seem to recall the most recent one was a Winchester. Worth it or gun show trolling for $$$?

5hundo
09-04-2008, 11:09 AM
I just returned from the gun show. Why do I see the occasional pristine looking M1 carbine priced at $2,500 - $3,000? I'm not talking about Colonel MaCauliffe's personal M1 carbine carried at Bastogne, I'm talking one of 6 million carbines - seem to recall the most recent one was a Winchester. Worth it or gun show trolling for $$$?

Depends...

If it's an "all original", never exported, never re-worked or re-stamped Winchester Carbine, it's probably worth it to a collector.

To the standard lay-men...? Probably not...

Spodeley
09-04-2008, 4:26 PM
IMO if it's an "all original" -(good odds, out of six mllion two hundred thousand and you got Teh ORIGINALZ staring you in the face?) it's probably a fake, so enjoy it anyhow, or don't. Or get a CMP gun and shoot it, they're fun, accurate, and useful.

A lot of guys have spent a LOT of time returning a carbine to "all original" condition, with "all original" parts (there are many counterfeit "original" parts out there, be sure to get the good counterfeits...) just the way it left the factory in the first few weeks...(ah the scent of nostalgia!)...and BEFORE the NEXT week when it got taken apart by a bunch of sweaty GI's in training, stripped to nothing and mixed in a 55-gallon barrel full of kerosene and various parts for cleaning - and then miraculously and precisely assembled *exactly as it originated* by those same peerless GI's suddenly now with great attention to detail - who preformed exquisitely despite having a Sargent yelling at them to Hurry The *f* UP! Right. And when a new *thing* came out (like the mag catch) guys were Ordered to send stuff back for field-arsenal refurbishing, and they did because they had to.

To me the notion of a rifle (Carbine or Garand) that went to the Front and fought, and stayed "all original" after that kind of time and treatment, is a pleasant and lucrative fantasy perpetuated by certain gun-show sellers - unless you inherited it from your Grandfather who was there.

IMO spend a lot or get a CMP gun and shoot it - they're fun, accurate, and useful - and in a SHTF situation the wife or GF can handle one a lot more easily than a Garand.

CHS
09-04-2008, 4:49 PM
Is there any REALLY GOOD reason not to get one of the literally brand-new manufactured auto ordinance M1 Carbines?

I've always wanted an M1 carbine, but I like the idea of a brand-new one. Yeah, it may not have served in the war, but I don't really care about that, I just want one to shoot.

I know all the purists hate the idea of these M1 carbines, but what about for a guy like me who just wants one to shoot. A lot. ?

5hundo
09-04-2008, 4:51 PM
they're fun, accurate, and useful - and in a SHTF situation the wife or GF can handle one a lot more easily than a Garand.

Ain't that the truth! :eek:

Patriot
09-04-2008, 4:56 PM
Ain't that the truth! :eek:

IIRC the M1 Carbine is one of if not the lightest self-loading centerfire rifles produced. Even with an Eotech and mount they're REAL easy to handle :D

thefifthspeed
09-04-2008, 5:11 PM
Is there any REALLY GOOD reason not to get one of the literally brand-new manufactured auto ordinance M1 Carbines?

I've always wanted an M1 carbine, but I like the idea of a brand-new one. Yeah, it may not have served in the war, but I don't really care about that, I just want one to shoot.

I know all the purists hate the idea of these M1 carbines, but what about for a guy like me who just wants one to shoot. A lot. ?

Honestly, you're getting a better quality product with these 50-60 year old USGI rifles than you are from the post war ones. Out of all the post war carbines the AO ones would probably be the best but the quality and reputation of AO has declined over the last few years.

For 900 you're getting a new AO carbine.
For 900 you can buy a service grade Inland from the CMP, toss the beat stock and buy some new walnut and have a new looking rifle. And you're getting 1000 rounds of .30 carbine to practice with.