My buddy has a 95% Universal 30 cal carbine folder that is about 30 years old... I've convinced him that he needs an AR15... So we are looking at finances... He has 2 extra mags (30s)... What's a good ballpark price on this item???
They are not worth as much as the USGI ones are. Most of the Universals don't have any USGI parts in them & are thought to be inferior. I have one & it has always worked great for me & is quite accurate.
I have always liked the folding stock version, I'd give your buddy $200.00 for it, that's what I paid for mine a few years ago.
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Since he's a friend and has owned the Uni for 30 years, how does it shoot? If it shoots fine and the cam area of the operating rod handle is solid - meaning you cannot see the lug on the bolt that engages the op rod through a parallogram-shaped hole in the op rod, then the rifle might be OK for $200 to $250.
If the bolt lug is visible through a see-through cam section of the op rod, or if the weapon jams now and again, I'd let it pass.
The earliest Unis had a number of GI parts and usually a die-cast trigger group. I have a low S/N wood-stocked Uni that I replaced the die-cast trigger guard/housing with a GI unit, and had to fit the front lug a bit is all. I still have it, having sold an Inland, a Rock Ola, and a Saginaw because they would occasionally jam on ball ammo (esp. the as-issued Rock Ola with early safety, upper HG, and flip sight) and this Uni would not. The GI carbines went on the block to fund the first of a few FALs.
The early Unis were actually fairly reliable shooters, then Universal got inconsistent and also started de-contenting the weapons. A few friends also bought early Unis and with the exception on one that is deceased, the others still have theirs, or passed them to sons ro grandkids. I used to mess with M1 Carbines a lot in the 70s and in my experience, the Unis and Plainfields with the open op rod cam slot were trash. 30 years would potentially place your friend's weapon in the right time frame. If he is trying to sell it outright and not to you, I would add about $50 to the $200 - $250 I mentioned above. You will not get half that in trade from a dealer, so I recommend walking it around a show. A Uni para is fairly priced at $250 to $300 should be gone inside 90 mins at a decent sized show.
I paid 200.00 for my Universal at a pawn shop in Febuary.
The gun is worth more to the owner than the buyer.
I suggest he keep the M1.
The only guns that I wish I had are the ones that I have sold.
I have used this suggestion before and I have aquired guns this way.
Buy a Rock River Arms assembled lower. approx: $150.oo.
Then surf eBay until you and your friend find the post-ban upper that you like.
The most I have ever paid for a complete upper on eBay was 400.00.
It was a pre-ban Colt HBar. It looked like new when I got it.
Worst case senario your friend has to spent 600.00 for a new AR.
That is almost unheard of.
Stay away from Century Arms parts.
Thanks a bunch guys... We'll try to get him to take it to the next local gun show...
I just saw a standard stocked Universal for $160. I passed when I saw the tag say Universal. It was on a store's rack behind the counter.
Thanks for the tip on the op rod Noah. Did these rifles use USGI op rods or were these still a Universal part that was higher quality? I didn't even see the right side of the above mentioned carbine.
Back in the early 70s I saw blued op rods with USGI markings, either strong stampings or partially polished out. Some had no markings, but looked to be GI, and then came the infamous open slotted POS.
Mine has a GI stock, piston tappet, op rod, barrel (no bull, it is polished and blued but has marks), bolt, rear sight, front sight, and action group parts. IT came with an OD electroplated die cast trigger housing that I later replaced with a steel GI one, and only had to fit the front dovetail a bit. It has a S/N of 4XX.