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History of the
M1 Carbine

M1 Carbine
    Up until just recently, the M1 Carbine had the distinction of being the most mass produced U.S. service rifle. The M1 Carbine is gas operated with a rotating bolt that locks into the barrel. The charging handle is similar to that of the M14/Mini-14 rifles and the safety in the front of the trigger guard is somewhat like them, though the "switch" of the lever is much different. Oddly enough the magazine release is a button on the right side of the receiver--an arrangement that was later apparently copied by designers of the AR-15 rifle. The Carbine was the most unusually produced service rifle. It was designed by David M. "Carbine" Williams, a convicted killer. Williams helped engineers at Winchester perfect his basic design.  The Army was looking for a semi-automatic rifle more powerful than a handgun, but less powerful than the M1 Rifle, effective out to 300 yards and light enough to be issued to personnel who needed a weapon, but didn't need the M1 Rifle. The Carbine was one of over twenty designs submitted to the Government.  It took over a year and a half to decide on this example. There were over 6 million Carbines produced over a span of just 38 months (the first carbines were delivered in June 1942, the last in August 1945). The original gun was designated by the US military as the M1 Carbine.  Later a selective-fire version was fielded in an effort to create a more potent weapon.  The M2 carbine was designed to permit both semi-automatic and fully-automatic fire, allowing a soldier to select which mode of operation he required in the heat of battle. Finally a selective-fire version that could accept early infrared viewers was created and designated the M3.  In addition there were many experimental configurations of the firearm created for the commercial as well as foreign military markets. The M1 and M2 were the only ones to be made in large numbers. The M1 Carbine was appreciated, first and foremost, for its weight. Half as heavy as the M1 Rifle, it was quite handy and its fifteen, and later in the war, thirty round magazine gave a fair amount of firepower.

Washington, March 17, 1942

Specifications for the M1 Carbine:

Operation: M1, M1A1 Semiautomatic, M2, M3 Selective
Length: 35.5" (905 mm)
Weight unloaded: 5 lb 7oz (2.48 kg)
Barrel: 18" 4 grooves, right hand twist
Weight: 5.5 lbs.
Magazine Capacity: 15 or 30 round detachable box
Muzzle: velocity 1990 fps, 967 ft-lbs.
Rate of Fire: M2 on full auto, 650-700rpm
300 yds: 1035 fps, 262 ft-lbs
Ammunition: 108 gr bullet, 13 gr charge, US Service M1
Effective range: 300 yds
(The name on the receiver is in all caps)
  Rock-Ola Music Corporation (ROCK-OLA)
Standard Products (STANDARD PRODUCTS)
International Business Machines (IBM)
Quality Hardware (QUALITY HARDWARE)
National Postal Meter (NATIONAL POSTER METER)
Saginaw (Grand Rapids) S'G'
Underwood-Elliot-Fisher (UNDERWOOD)
Winchester (WINCHESTER)
228,500 247,160 346,500 359,666 413,017 293,592 223,620 545,616 818,059 2,642,097
Plainfield Machine Corp, produced M-1 Carbines from 1960 to 1977, when they were bought out by Iver Johnson Corp, who has manufactured them at least until a 50th Anniversay model in 1993. Universal Sporting Goods also made M-1 Carbine copies, but theirs were slightly different and some of the GI parts won't fit them.

Assigned Serial Number Blocks
1,000,000 1,350,000 1,450,000 1,550,000 1,662,520 1,762,520 1,875,040 1,937,520 1,982,520 2,352,520 2,912,520 3,212,520 3,250,520 3,651,520 4,010,000 4,075,000 4,075,010 4,432,100 4,532,100 4,632,100 4,879,526 5,549,922 5,834,619 6,071,189 6,099,689 6,199,689 6,219,689 6,449,868 6,629,884 7,234,884 7,369,661
999,999 1,349,999 1,449,999 1,549,999 1,662,519  1,762,519 1,875,039 1,937,519 1,982,519 2,352,519 2,912,519 3,212,519 3,250,019 3,651,519 4,009,999 4,074,999 4,075,009 4,432,099 4,532,099 4,632,099 4,879,525 5,549,921 5,834,618 6,071,188 6,099,688 6,199,688 6,219,688 6,449,867 6,629,883 7,234,883 7,369,660 8,069,660
Inland Division, General Motors
Winchester Repeating Arms
Inland Division, General Motors
Winchester Repeating Arms
Underwood, Elliott, Fisher
National Postal Meter
Quality Hardware Mfg. Corp
Rock-ola Mfg. Corp
Irwin Pedersen-Saginaw Gear
Quality Hardware Mfg., Corp
National Postal Meter
Standard Products
Underwood, Elliott, Fisher
Inland Division, General Motors
Irwin Pedersen-Saginaw Gear
Saginaw (Saginaw) Division
International Business Machines
Underwood, Elliott, Fisher
Winchester Repeating Arms
National Postal Meter
Quality Hardware
Rock-Ola Mfg. Corporation
Quality Hardware Mfg. Corp.
Inland Division, General Motors
Winchester Repeating Arms
Saginaw (Saginaw) Division
Rock-Ola Mfg. Corporation
Underwood, Elliott, Fisher
Rock-Ola Mfg. Corporation
Inland Division, General Motors
Winchester Repeating Arms
Inland Division, General Motors
Winchester Repeating Arms
Inland Division, General Motors

Carbine Collectors
'STRIKE-THROUGH' RECEIVERS- It was not uncommon for M-1 Carbine manufacturers to produce parts for another manufacturer. In the case of some receivers, they would be shipped from a manufacturer and then the name would be "struck through" with a line and the name of the second manufacturer stamped in.

SERIAL NUMBERS - The War Department would issue a contract to a manufacturer, and then assign them starting serial numbers to them. That way there was a contiguous series of unique serial numbers that went across company bounds. Note: THIS IS FOR USGI CARBINES ONLY AND NOT YOUR COMMERCIAL MADE MODEL.

'UN-QUALITY' RECEIVER STAMP- To avoid the extra effort in having to strike-through and restamp the receivers; when Union Switch & Signal made receivers for Quality Hardware, they merely stamped them "Un-Quality". Union Switch & Signal also made receivers for Postal Meter and stamped "U" on the bevel.

Errors in books. Underwood cartouche book errors. Thereís a commonly used book out there that states UEF had no periods. This is incorrect. Correct marking are U.E.F. over G.H.D. with cartousche. Look on page 118 the book states NO periods on UEF. Look at the picture on 122 of the same book and Use a magnifying glass and you will clearly see a period behind U.E.F. Both pages contradict each other. Also the book on Page 44 says barrels are 16 inchís long. This is wrong as they were 18 inches. Also page 30 he left out PB marked NPM flip sights. Barrel skirt change he says is mid 44, They were changed in 12-43. Iíll be adding more updates as I have time.

Any Carbine Inland paratrooper models issued with folding stocks.

M1 Carbine Family
US M1/M2/M3 Carbine By Duncan Long


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