First A Universal M-1 Carbine is a Clone of a Real USGI Carbine. Second check the Slide at the Square Hole for a Crack and if no crack look for a Weld. Last look at the Reciever and see if it is painted black if it is that means it's made of Aluminum. Walk away , you don't want it.
IIRC the first Universal carbines were near USGI clones. However the later ones went off in their own direction. While borowing from the original design, they made some manufacturing shortcuts. The most notable being a stamped op rod and a proprietary plasic triger group ( as I recall). My brother has one of the later ones and I am not impressed. The later ones do not have parts interchangeability with the original.
I have one and it baffles me. It is a later version but comes with a lot of GI parts. Has the single op rod spring vs the double op rod spring. The op rod is the older version without the cutout for the bolt. I just replaced all the springs with GI springs and some of the bolt internals without issue. I almost think the PO made a lot of changes. Though the trigger group is aluminum...I do like it though, but then I would like any carbine...
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