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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I always blew off the M1 carbine as just another pointless rifle wannabe. Over the last year or so, I began to develop an interest in them to replace the Mini14 I always wanted (but never bought).
A friend picked up a nice Winchester M1 carbine with adjustable sights and we took it to the range. I grabbed a box of Remington FMJ rounds to feed it. We were going to pop my M1 carbine cherry.

I sat down at the 50 yard range and drew a bead on the shoot-n-see. The first four rounds grouped high and left. I made an adjustment in my hold and put three more rounds low and to the left. Then, I put the bulls eye outside the top left corner of the front sight and went after it. 16 rounds went into the 3" X ring (and two just outside it) before a cease fire was called. Here's the resulting target:



I've gotta get me one of those things! They're like 10/22s for big kids! I love it! My desire for a Mini14 and/or a pistol caliber carbine have morphed into a strong NEED for a M1 carbine. The 50 rounds of ammo in that box simply evaporated.

I simply can't justify the prices the GI carbines are demanding. That's just absurd in my book. I couldn't care less about collector status. I want to take one out and destroy those mutant bowling pins and zombie water bottles.

Everything I've heard says stay away from the old civilian Universals and Plainfields. Are they really that bad? What's the most cost effective way to get into a M1 carbine?
What should I look for and what should I avoid?
 

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I'm just going to quote something my dad said on the carbine. Oh, hell, I'll quote wikipedia instead of typing it all.

Prior to World War II, Army Ordnance received reports from various branches (infantry, armor, artillery, supply) that the full-size M1 Garand rifle was unsuitable as issued for an increasing number of soldiers with specialized training (mortar crews, machine gun crews, radiomen, tankers, artillerymen, forward observers, signals troops, engineers, headquarters staff etc.) who did not use the service rifle as a primary arm. During prewar and early war field exercises, it was noticed that these troops, when issued the rifle, often found their individual weapon too heavy and cumbersome. In addition to impeding the soldier's mobility, a slung rifle would frequently catch on brush, bang the helmet, or tilt it over the eyes. Many soldiers found the rifle slid off the shoulder unless slung diagonally across the back, where it prevented the wearing of standard field packs and haversacks. Alternate weapons such as the M1911 pistol and M1917 revolver, while undeniably convenient, were often insufficiently accurate or powerful, while the Thompson submachine gun, though reliable, was heavy and limited in both practical accuracy and penetration at typical combat ranges
The carbine was really a pistol. It didn't get selective fire until a bit later. It was also stated that training soldiers how to use a pistol well took a lot longer than training them to use a rifle. So they just gave all these dual-use grunts M1 Carbines that were light, easy to use, didn't get much in the way, and could help out when the poo hit the fan.
 

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IF you get one, do NOT buy a 'Universal' M1. It's hard to find after market parts to fit them.

And also if you get an M1 carbine, get the Ultimak top hand guard rail. I have it on my Inland, and I love it. You can get a red dot and co-witness with your irons.
 

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Auto ordinance is making a reproduction that has mixed reviews. If you know what to look for I think it would be a good choice.
http://www.auto-ordnance.com/PA-2.html
Collectors have driven the price of real ones to the point of not wanting to shoot one even if you had it. I have one of those terrible Universal brand ones that evrybody complains about. Mine is great. I got it for $180 about 3 years ago at a gun show. Its a hoot to shoot and so far it has yet to jam or misfire.

My stepfather carried one in WW2. When I showed mine to him with pride after I had bought it; he said" What did you buy that piece of for?"

If I had any spare change I would buy one of those auto-ordinance repro's.
I wouldn't buy it on line as I would want to visually inspect in particular the fit of the stock.
 

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I had an older Plainfield that was mostly USGI, and I never had a bit of trouble with it. I had a newer one once, and had several problems with it. A new Auto-Ordnance repro lists for $899. I see USGIs' at shows around $600-plus. I have a beat up Inland that shoots as nice as your friends' Winchester. I had to do a little work to it, but I did it myself. I'd study these fine little rifles for a while, and look for a decent USGI one. A Winchester usually sells for more than the others. I never had a Universal.

Charlie
 

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As others have said GI's are not that expensive. The 15 round mags usually work better than 30's and the JSP ammo is quite effective as a defense or hunting round, think of it as a .357 mag rifle. I got my first one almost 40 years ago, after hearing for years how underpowered it was I got a shot at a cottontail at about 25 yards, hit it dead center with a Remington 110 grain JSP. Left half of rabbit fell over where it was, right half flew about 10 feet to the right, I gained a whole new appreciation for the round. Biggest drawback to them now days is the price of ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've studied a bit about the carbines since I'm prone to study history as well as anything I'm interested in spending money on. That means I'm well versed in the reason the little buggers came to exist.
I'm looking at putting holes in paper, popping bowling pins, and putting random bullets wherever a random bullet needs to be. Essentially, a truck gun to go banging around without worry of a ding in the stock or a scratch on the steel. If it puts the bullets where want them to go (within reason) that's good enough for me.
$600 is painful for something of that nature. $750 is absurd. In my mind, that's stupid money for me to be spending if a lesser priced item will fill the need.

Again, I have absolutely zero collector's interest.

I might pay a wee tiny bit more for a Rockola but only because I think it'd be kinda nifty. All other GI makes and models don't mean anything to me. It can be a parts gun for all I care as long as it runs well enough to strike fear in the hearts of tin cans inside of 50 yards.

I understand that Plainfields used GI parts. I saw one at the last gun show for $300. That was very tempting but I don't know enough about them. I want the adjustable rear sight, GI style front sight, and a wood stock.
As for the rail garbage, I'm very anti-tacticool when it comes to my rifles. Give me wood and steel. The guys who want to play SpecOps Operator can keep all the garbage in the Tapco catalog.
I know how to inspect a bore, crown, and general mechanical condition. I'm an amateur machinist and have an eye for flaws in metal.
What else do I need to know before stepping off into the bargain side of these things?

If I do get into a Plainfield, I guess I should plan on going through a few carbines before getting one that runs properly?
 

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Bought a Universal back around 1979....sold it 3 months later, junk an it was brand new.....this yr. I bought my first real Carbine...1942 Inland with original barrel ME 1.5, excellent stock, shoots perfect....388.00 at local gunshow...couldn't turn it down.
 

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feets, I understand where you're coming from from. All my rifles are shooters whether they were made pre, during, or post WWII, but my attitude is if I can spend a little more on a rifle that will appreciate in value, then that's the direction I'll go. I'm both a WWII and an early Vietnam war reenactor and I had been looking for a reasonably priced M1 Carbine for for some time. I was willing to settle for a commercial carbine, just to get one, anyway, last year a buddy of mine called me from the gunstore in Canton, TX to tell me that they had an M1 Carbine in good condition for sale for $269.00. well, any carbine is worth $269.00, right? so I faxed them my C&R and was delighted to receive a National Postal Meter M1 carbine complete with mags and original sling! So be patient buddy, there are still deals out there.

RNGR1 Derek


I always blew off the M1 carbine as just another pointless rifle wannabe. Over the last year or so, I began to develop an interest in them to replace the Mini14 I always wanted (but never bought).
A friend picked up a nice Winchester M1 carbine with adjustable sights and we took it to the range. I grabbed a box of Remington FMJ rounds to feed it. We were going to pop my M1 carbine cherry.

I sat down at the 50 yard range and drew a bead on the shoot-n-see. The first four rounds grouped high and left. I made an adjustment in my hold and put three more rounds low and to the left. Then, I put the bulls eye outside the top left corner of the front sight and went after it. 16 rounds went into the 3" X ring (and two just outside it) before a cease fire was called. Here's the resulting target:



I've gotta get me one of those things! They're like 10/22s for big kids! I love it! My desire for a Mini14 and/or a pistol caliber carbine have morphed into a strong NEED for a M1 carbine. The 50 rounds of ammo in that box simply evaporated.

I simply can't justify the prices the GI carbines are demanding. That's just absurd in my book. I couldn't care less about collector status. I want to take one out and destroy those mutant bowling pins and zombie water bottles.

Everything I've heard says stay away from the old civilian Universals and Plainfields. Are they really that bad? What's the most cost effective way to get into a M1 carbine?
What should I look for and what should I avoid?
 

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Wow

M1 Carbine in good condition for sale for $269.00. well, any carbine is worth $269.00, right? so I faxed them my C&R and was delighted to receive a National Postal Meter M1 carbine complete with mags and original sling! So be patient buddy, there are still deals out there.

Wow sapper740, that's one sweet deal! Good for you
 

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I just did a quick search for, National Postal Meter M1 carbine, and found several sold in the $1200-$1400 range. This is what I see at gun shows and gun shops in my area. I have seen them (other brands)for well over 2 grand. I don't know if anyone buys them at that price, I am not going to. If I saw one for less than $500 I would probably snag it up. I just don't see them around here for that.
 

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I applaud anyone who becomes enthused about the M1 Carbine. I think no household should be without one. You really ought to treat yourself to one. I'm not in favor of the civilian clones though.

The only thing I ever noticed on some M1 Carbines is that a loose recoil plate (at receiver's rear) is not your friend with regards to accuracy. Somewhat connected with this issue is the sometimes "hog-wallowed" stocks that may sometimes be seen on "mix-'n'-match Carbines.

I love the M1 Carbine. The first firearm I ever fired (with my dad's help) was an M1 Carbine in 1963 when I was 6. I've always had one available my whole life and think the world of them. I prefer the M1 Carbine for most uses to either the Mini-14 or the AR 15. It is a more capable round than many think it is, both in accuracy and in penetrating power. It does peter out at longer ranges but ain't half bad out to 200 yards or so. I've shot it informally out to 300 yards and can keep bullets on watermelon sized rocks once hold-over is determined (as in walking bullets onto target).

My 10-43 Underwood is capable of 2 1/2-inch 5-shot groups from the bench at 100 yards. My dad's all factory original Quality Hardware only manages 4-inch groups. An early 1990s Blue Sky re-import Inland I once played with gave a fluke 1 1/4-inch 5-shot group and was a really accurate rifle. It was a fluke though since that front sight gave the appearance of covering much more target at 100 yards than that group's size.

Carbines are generally found with bores in quite good condition as most have been fired only with U.S. military contract ammunition or commercial ammunition. Re-imports may not be so fine though so watch out.

Not too many powders are suitable for handloading the .30 Carbine round but all one really needs to know about suitable powders is H 110. Cases seem "everlasting" and rarely develop cracks or fail in my experience.

Have posted these photos before on other forums but here's a June of 1945 photo of my dad and the carbine he still has along with one taken a couple of years ago. It's acquisition was a bit irregular. He bought it from a Marine who came down to their dock and who claimed it was a battlefield pickup. The captain of his PCE allowed him to keep it on board and later to send it home in his sea bag.





Here's the Underwood kept around here. We prefer it to any short shotgun as a front line home defense arm and it stands ready to serve.
 

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feets, I understand where you're coming from from. All my rifles are shooters whether they were made pre, during, or post WWII, but my attitude is if I can spend a little more on a rifle that will appreciate in value, then that's the direction I'll go. I'm both a WWII and an early Vietnam war reenactor and I had been looking for a reasonably priced M1 Carbine for for some time. I was willing to settle for a commercial carbine, just to get one, anyway, last year a buddy of mine called me from the gunstore in Canton, TX to tell me that they had an M1 Carbine in good condition for sale for $269.00. well, any carbine is worth $269.00, right? so I faxed them my C&R and was delighted to receive a National Postal Meter M1 carbine complete with mags and original sling! So be patient buddy, there are still deals out there.

RNGR1 Derek
I'm calling either BS on this, or THIEF!!! If you bought a USGI carbine for that price, you got one heck of a deal.GI1 Pics of that little carbine would be appreciated.

As far as the original post, the CMP had rack grade carbines for around $500 and Inlands, since they made so many and are very plentiful, were around $425 for rackers. Normally CMP rifles sell for around $100 more on the open market than the CMP prices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
CMP has been out of stock for some time and says they do not expect to receive any more.
They have a few to toss out on the auctions but they run $1,000 and up.

McG, thanks for the story. That's a neat piece of history.
 

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I've had several of the Plainfield brand carbines and as stated they had mostly USGI parts. Mine were all reliable and accurate. I had a few Universals and they are really hit and miss. There were three or four variations of Universals and some worked better than others. As for parts, I don't think there was any or very little interchangability with USGI rifles.

I got my first carbine in the mid 1960's from a barrel-o-carbines down at a buddy's fishing tackle shop. My twin and I spent our lawn mowing money on it and a can of surplus ammo. We used it all summer for shooting rats at the city dump. Fun!

I got rid of all my carbine stuff back in the late 70's and am kicking myself now, but it's hard to look ahead sometimes. I got caught up in the AR15 craze and figured it could do anthing the Carbine could do and do it better. I did later purchase a Quality Hardware from Blue Sky back in the late '80's for the princely sum of $180 and it sat in my safe until about five years ago when I got the Carbine bug again. Now I have six of 'em and bunches of accouterments.
 
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