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djbooya
09-28-2008, 12:46 AM
Is a carbine basically a rifle with a 16" or shorter barrel? Or are their some other definitions which constitute what a "carbine" is vs. "rifle"?

technique
09-28-2008, 12:48 AM
If your talking AR's, then the gas tube length.

ar15barrels
09-28-2008, 12:53 AM
http://www.ar15barrels.com/gfx/gas-block-seats.gif

stphnman20
09-28-2008, 1:03 AM
Check out Randell's page.. ar15barrels.com. there are tons of info about ar upper.. I learned a lot from his page..

hybridatsun350
09-28-2008, 1:08 AM
carbine |ˈkärˌbīn; -ˌbēn|
noun
a light automatic rifle.
• historical a short rifle or musket used by cavalry.

Does that work? :D

djbooya
09-28-2008, 1:10 AM
I like the pic Randall has. Also I wasn't being specific to ARs anyhow, but it does look like the 16" thing is generally where it starts. Interesting though how everything above 16" is basically just called a rifle though.

NeoWeird
09-28-2008, 1:21 AM
Carbines are rifles or firearms based off a rifle that has been shortened to be more compact. Being automatic or even a repeater is not a requirment as there are such rifles as the Sharp's carbine that are single shot carbines. There are some carbines that started life as rifles and were later shortened; there are a couple muskets that come to mind for calvary use but I can't think of their names right now. The M4 carbine was variation of a rifle (the M16) that retained as much common parts as possible while offering it in a shortened package. There are also those firearms that are entirely new, such as the M1 Carbine. The M1 Carbine was based off the M1 Garands design to retain as much familiarity as possible while sharing no parts nor even functioning of similar systems - the fact that they are semi auto and their bullet diameter are the only things they have in common and even then the bullets themselves are of different design.

Barrel length is not a defining characteristic either as many carbines, such as the M4, have barrels shorter than 16" and many older breech loader and rolling block carbines had barrels much longer than 16". It's the fact that they were based off an exisiting rifle and then shortened for any reason that makes them a carbine.

ETA: One more thing. I've heard some people claim that carbines use a smaller cartridge than their original firearm that they are based off of. Not true at all, as is the case with the M4. A rifle using pistol rounds is not a carbine by default either, it's simply a rifle (or a submachine gun if full auto). Those Marlin Camp Carbines are not truely carbines either as they are the original rifle design - it doesn't matter if they were designed to be short and compact from the begining, they are rifles. Now if they created a new line of rifles that was the exact same gun but with a 1/2" less in barrel length then technically that could be a carbine. Ruger did this with their 10/22 line which started as a rifle and later they released their SLIGHTLY shorter barrel 10/22 that they call the 10/22 Carbine.

dfletcher
09-28-2008, 4:57 AM
In general, a shorter more compact version of a rifle that already exists? Of course using that definition the M1 carbine, being a replacement of the 45 ACP 1911, should be called the M1 rifle?

And the M3 "grease gun" was never called a carbine.

I think the only determining factor is that someone at sometime decided a particular gun was small - and decided that small equals carbine.

Vigilante
09-28-2008, 9:47 AM
In general, a shorter more compact version of a rifle that already exists? Of course using that definition the M1 carbine, being a replacement of the 45 ACP 1911, should be called the M1 rifle?

And the M3 "grease gun" was never called a carbine.

I think the only determining factor is that someone at sometime decided a particular gun was small - and decided that small equals carbine.

I've never hear that the M1 carbine was a replacement for the 1911. I think that you may have been fed some bad information there.

The Grease gun was a sub machine gun, not a carbine.

Generally a carbine is a shortened version of a rifle, but in some cases companies just name their already short rifles carbine. Example M1 carbine and Ruger PC9/4.

hybridatsun350
09-28-2008, 10:28 AM
My personal definition of a carbine is a rifle that is relatively compact in size, relatively lightweight, and can be used for a wide variety of tasks (clearing rooms, use while in a vehicle, mid-range engagement, etc.).

Would an AKMS be considered a carbine? Discuss. :)

UBFRAGD
09-28-2008, 12:32 PM
Doesn't the discussion of carbine/rifle not only include barrel length for gas system sizing but also buttstock sizes for proper buffer spring selection?

Killer pic Randall thanks!

ar15barrels
09-28-2008, 12:37 PM
Doesn't the discussion of carbine/rifle not only include barrel length for gas system sizing but also buttstock sizes for proper buffer spring selection?

Yes.

I actually worked on a new drawing last night as I lost all my old ones when my hard drive failed a couple years ago.
The new one includes all common variations of barrel length and gas system and shows the length of barrel past the gas port.

.22guy
09-28-2008, 12:44 PM
I've never hear that the M1 carbine was a replacement for the 1911. I think that you may have been fed some bad information there.

Nope, he is correct. From surplusrifle.com: Developed as a replacement for the M1911 & 1911 A1 Service Pistol. The U.S. Military had a need to arm second line and non-combat (support) troops with a shoulder based weapon.


http://www.surplusrifle.com/m1carbine/index.asp

Patriot
09-28-2008, 12:45 PM
"Little rifle" (Makes up with concision what it lacks in detail :D )

NeoWeird
09-28-2008, 4:19 PM
The M1 carbine was not a 1911 replacement. It was a bridge between the 1911 and the M1 Garand. Part way through the war it was realized that there were many troops who required a shoulder fired rifle, but needed it to be compact, small, and light. Such men as radio opperators who were carrying more than enough as it was and couldn't add on 15 pounds for a rifle and several more pounds for ammo. Medics who lacked the room in their jeeps to carry a full sized weapon. etc.

The problem arose that these troops had gone through basic and learned on the M1, but most had never even fired a handgun let alone their issued 1911. The result was troops that were essentially defenselss against attack. So Winchester was given the task or creating a small rifle with controls similar to the M1, that these troops were familiar with, but with equal or better stopping power to the 1911 that they were already carrying.

Some troops were even issued both a 1911 and an M1, so it was NOT a replacement. It was a supplement and a bridge between the large gap that was formed between the inexperience of the 1911 and the trained but bulky M1 Garand. Because it was designed to be a smaller version of the M1 Garand it was given the Carbine designation ad they create the M1 Carbine and subsequent M1A1 carbine with folding paratrooper stock.

As already said, the M3A1 was a Submachine gun. It was actually the third in the line, which is why it was called M3 (for Submachine gun Model 3 Advance 1); the first being the M1A1 Thompson (though the M1 was technically first it was nothing more than 1928 Thompsons - the M1A1 was the first submachine gun designed for military contract).

DrunkSkunk
09-28-2008, 4:22 PM
HERE YOU GO (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/carbine)

joe_sun
09-28-2008, 4:31 PM
Here's a post that I stole from a guy named DocAV from the gunboards.

This is pretty much inline with what I've heard in the past as well.

The term is as old as guns themselves. It denotes a short, easily handled Fire-lock, which could be slung across the back, hung on a leather sash, held in a Horsebucket;

Initially it is though to have been the favourite arm of the Caribes (or Caraibes), Ne'er-do- wells from the Carribean (or Spanish) Main.

With the development of Hussars in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries, the Carbine came into its own. It was the secondary arm of such mounted troopers (after lance and Sabre), and made to "shoot and scoot", especially whilst on "Recon".
Carbines were generally better made than ordinary Muskets (whilst Muskets were still Matchlocks, Carbines were either Wheel-locks or later, "Snaphaunces"; the use on Horseback avoided the perils of "ground pounder" use...and Mounted Gentlemen knew how to look after their weapons.

The handling ability of a short compact firing iron on horseback gave rise to a range of carriage solutions ( leather buckets, Saddle rings, Shoulder sashes with a hook, and so on.

Captive ramrods were designed, so as not to lose one in battle (your gun is useless without one), and the barrels were made to permit easy reloading (whether rifled or smooth); they were short enough to be classed with "Horse Pistols" and had to be capable of being used "one-handed" if necessary. The Prussian M1851 Cavalry carbine is a case in point; it handles beautifully in one hand, either free hand or with the stock tucked into the elbow.
The safety on the Nipple also prevents untoward discharges ( as you cock the Hammer, you release the Safety cover, by pushing it forward, much like a Frizzen (it is spring loaded).
One of the prime distinguisher of a "Carbine", was that when Slings were introduced (in the 1870s), the Carbines were made so that they lay flat on the tropoper's back, and didnt "dig in"; This was accomplished by the use of side mounted sling attachment points. Some carbines maintained also the Hussar type "saddle ring" well into the 20th Century.

IN German (Prussian) practice, the correlation "Karabiner" == "side slung for mounted use" became the raison d'etre of German denomination of Short rifles (ie, shorter than the general Infantry "Gewehr").
They even distinguished between the "Carbine" (for Mounted troops) and the ordinary "Short rifle" (or as the French referred to it, the Musketoon (Musqueton)), which had normal Infantry type sling attachments, and usually used an overlong bayonet...and since such SRs were used by Engineers, Artillery etc, the Bayonet was usually a sawbladed affair or even a heavy "FascinenMesser" ( "Bush Knife" for cutting brush to make protection around Guns.) Cavalrymen didn't as a norm, have bayonets...they used sabres or Pig-stickers(Lances) Only in the 1890s did the Italians introduce a Cavalry Carbine with a Folding spike Bayonet, which could be used as an improvised "sticker" from Horseback if necessary; some earlier European carbines used a version of the old Musket socket bayonet, which could be reversed on the gun for use in a saddle bucket. Again, Italian Vetterli Cav carbines had a bayo socket rounded off so that the entire unit could slide into a Horse Bucket easily, without catching.

Now length of barrel: carbines have been found with barrel lenghts of between 15 and 24 inches, and all have correctly been classed as "Carbines" because of the side slinging feature...of course, the germans carried it a little too far, when they converted the WW I Gewehr 98 to be side slung, for troops on trucks, motorbikes, and on Horses in transport columns...hence the "Kar.98b" is the same length as the Rifle (Gew98) but as it is "side slung" the by Prussian Logic, it MUST be a carbine....who would dare disagree?

So, remember one thing; if it is normally slung (underneath sling swivels and loops) then it is a "short rifle," or "Stutzen" or Musketoon, etc; if it is short and is side slung, then it is a Carbine. occasionally one gets a combination of the two (Stutzen-Karabiner or reverse, depending on original piece), the italia TS and M41 rifles (double slung) and even some Fucile Corto (M38s) were double slung, although many were "Carbine slung" even though they were called "Fucile Corto" (Short rifle)..the Italians already had "Carbines" with shorter barrels.

The US .30 M1 carbine is a True Carbine ( short, side slung, and lighter cartridge ( many earlier (BP and ML carbines had their own "lighter charge" ammo)
whilst the famous Kar98k, is a carbine according to Prussian diktat, but is actually a short ,
"Universal" rifle in concept. ( the original and true Kar98, of 1900 to 1905, would blast other similar carbines into the shade. So much so, that the Rifle Commision redesigned the "Carbine" into a Universal Rifle (the Kar98AZ (later "a"). The original Kar98 scared both men and more importantly, the Horses.

So some short rifles are "Carbines" but not all shorter rifles are Carbines; and even Long rifles can be Carbines (if one is Prussian). But the side sling swivels (or NONE at all -- M1890 and 1891 Mausers, and the saddle ring equipped M1895 Spanish Mauser,) are the distinguo for a carbine, as a cavalry or mounted implement.

dfletcher
09-28-2008, 4:40 PM
The M1 carbine was not a 1911 replacement. It was a bridge between the 1911 and the M1 Garand. Part way through the war it was realized that there were many troops who required a shoulder fired rifle, but needed it to be compact, small, and light. Such men as radio opperators who were carrying more than enough as it was and couldn't add on 15 pounds for a rifle and several more pounds for ammo. Medics who lacked the room in their jeeps to carry a full sized weapon. etc.

The problem arose that these troops had gone through basic and learned on the M1, but most had never even fired a handgun let alone their issued 1911. The result was troops that were essentially defenselss against attack. So Winchester was given the task or creating a small rifle with controls similar to the M1, that these troops were familiar with, but with equal or better stopping power to the 1911 that they were already carrying.

Some troops were even issued both a 1911 and an M1, so it was NOT a replacement. It was a supplement and a bridge between the large gap that was formed between the inexperience of the 1911 and the trained but bulky M1 Garand. Because it was designed to be a smaller version of the M1 Garand it was given the Carbine designation ad they create the M1 Carbine and subsequent M1A1 carbine with folding paratrooper stock.

As already said, the M3A1 was a Submachine gun. It was actually the third in the line, which is why it was called M3 (for Submachine gun Model 3 Advance 1); the first being the M1A1 Thompson (though the M1 was technically first it was nothing more than 1928 Thompsons - the M1A1 was the first submachine gun designed for military contract).

Thanks for the full explanation, I suppose replacement was the wrong choice of words.

M. Sage
09-28-2008, 5:28 PM
Carbine generally means any short, handy rifle. The common way to accomplish "designing" a carbine is to simply shorten a rifle already in service.

Barrel length doesn't mean a lot, since rifles like the Mauser used by the Germans in WWII and the M38 and M44 Mosins (these had 20" barrels) were carbines. It just means that the rifles were short...er.

nazgulnarsil
09-28-2008, 5:55 PM
I'm very fond of the m1 carbine paratrooper version. wish i could buy one in CA.