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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking around for an m1 carbine for sometime. On a trip to a local pawn shop, I came across a universal m1 carbine for a reasonable price. I like the rifle but there is a risk that if i buy this rife, that money might be wasted on a piece of metal that wont be worth anything. Is there any universal caribne owners that can give me some feedback in their rifel. Any advie? Should i go for it? How can I tell by looking at the carbine if its the old or newer Universal m1 carbine? How big of a risk would i be taking here?
 

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I've been tempted by a couple of Universal Carbines because of the price but have been afraid to take the risk. Hopefully someone will be able to help you soon.

If I can ask, what was the asking price on this one?
 

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Reproduction M1 Carbines have no collector value and these aren't good shooters either.

Risk is no more than any other commercial light rifle. Value drops by 40% as soon as it leaves the gun shop. You know the drill.

-- Chuck
 

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Check and see which version of the Universal it is. If it has a cut-out in the operating rod that a lug on the bolt goes into then it is a later verson with 2 recoil springs and is not a good rifle. The earlier version has a solid operating rod and a single operating rod then it is a good buy. The early Universal will take USGI parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A little help understanding this better. The later version of the universal, does the bolt and operating slide look like that of a ruger mini-14 where the rod has a circle cut out and a round lug on the bolt fits into that circle?
On the earlier versions how does the bolt attach to the opertaing rod?
 

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The operating rod on the later Universal is something like the Mini 14. The earlier model has a slot cut into the back of the operating rod into which a bolt lug rides. If you take of the handguard so that you can see the recoil springs the older Universal will have 1 spring and the newer version will have 2.
 

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For some reason the online community tends to consistently side against all Universal M1's. But talking to many other people I have found that there is a fair bit of respect for the Universals. I'm a late model Universal owner myself and I enjoy shooting it. I haven't had any trouble with it and I saved myself at least $400. That works for me!
 

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I've owned a Universal for over 30 years, without trouble. I have the dual spring model. Several friends also have them, and are quite happy with them. :D
 

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Just for info, the double spring on the Universal was actually a technological refinement of the rifle. It was found during the Korean War, that in the bitter cold, the single spring wasn't sufficient to return the bolt to a fully seated posiition. If you live in really cold climates, an early model Universal with this refinement will serve you much better than a single spring USGI weapon. Another factor why a lot of people don't like them, is because only Universal parts, mags, etc. will fit the rifle.

Later model Universals, were stamped out of really cheap materials, and slides were often two piece that were welded together. Gas pistons are also welded in and cannot be replaced if they fail. These rifles work at first, but to go to the heart of the matter, these later models are inferior in materials and workmanship even though they have the two spring refinement. These cheap knock offs have a history of failure, some catastrophic. If you see see a welded slide and gas piston, pass on it. It is indeed a pig in a poke.
 

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No Moff, official manufacturers for the government only made single spring versions. If you have a later model Universal, then sell it quickly. Some people who don't shoot much might like one for home defense. If you keep shooting it, it will fail much quicker than a USGI model that is rated for 60,000-80,000 rounds (with proper ongoing maintenance).
 

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Hannibal said:
No Moff, official manufacturers for the government only made single spring versions. If you have a later model Universal, then sell it quickly. Some people who don't shoot much might like one for home defense. If you keep shooting it, it will fail much quicker than a USGI model that is rated for 60,000-80,000 rounds (with proper ongoing maintenance).
What do you mean by "fail" exactly?
 

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Sorry for taking so long to respond. Failures that can occur are pistons freezing up, bolts wearing prematurely and failing to open and close properly, especially the two bolt locks wearing prematurely failing to lock to the barrel properly. This last one is dangerous, because excessive headspace can become too great causing catastrophic blowbacks.

This latter problem is not as great as the much greater pressures developed in the Garand, M1A/M14 or the FN FAL where the pressures at the headspace are around 50,000 psi, and can result in barrels actually exploding and splitting causing maiming and even death. Even with the much lower pressures of the Carbine, you still don't want to pick pieces of 110 grain lead or receiver shrapnel out of your cheek or eyes. Again the risk of this latter catastrophic failure is relatively light in M1 Carbines, but it exists to a greater statistical chance with a newer model Universal than with carbines made with original USGI parts or to USGI mil specs as early Universals were.

Ultimately it also depends on how well you keep it spotlessly clean and well lubed, and how many rounds a year you shoot through it. If you are approaching 20,000 rounds then it might be time to retire it and get another. But Hell, I knew some guys who got two hundred thousand miles out of an original Ford Pinto. You might be lucky. Happy shooting.
 
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