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Posted: 9/4/2023 3:55:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: DonFlynn]
This is just my 2 bits, based on own 20 of them over the past 40 years (damn I'm old). I own 10 now, and hopefully that'll due me (unless I win the lottery....then Fluffythecat has a competitor )

1st, buying a USGI model.

This is the 1st versions most future M1 Carbine owners ''want". It has the history most Carbine owners desire and will still be the best made M1 Carbine's made (outside of 1 current production I'll cover down the post here). Here are some things I like to look for when buying 1.

The best way IMO to buy one is real-time. You can inspect the Carbine and look for issues. The major things I look for are the following. These are 75-year-old weapons after all and some have seen lots of rounds or poor cleaning.

1st, barrel wear. I always recommend getting 1 of these even if you only plan on buying 1 Carbine (or Garand for that matter). Their cheap and will save you headaches down the road.

Muzzle Wear Gauge, .30 cal.

Any good .30 gauge will do.

The lower the gauge reading the better of course. Anything under a "1.5" is good enough for a shooter Carbine and with care will last you a lifetime. I currently have 2 USGI carbines that gauge ".05" which is excellent given their age.

2nd, play on the trigger housing side to side. IMO this can affect Carbine reliability. Too much play and the magazine fit is sloppy IMO, that will cause feed issues based on my experience. Slight movement is OK and fixable by a good Carbine gunsmith, but if it flops side to side I would avoid it myself.

3rd, Import markings. M1 Carbines were sold or transferred to every country the US was allies with. Now in 2023 that's only an issue for "purists" who collect them. I mention it for 1 major reason. "Blue Sky" marked M1 Carbines they had issues with overstamping the barrel with the import mark. This could cause wrapping of the barrel.

If the stamp is on the "heavy" side I would avoid personally.

4th, overall wear and tear. USGI Carbines are 75 years plus old, parts do wear out. I always replace recoil springs and rebuild the bolts any USGI Carbine I buy. The latter you do need a special tool for (or 3 hands).

The next place to look for a USGI Carbine would be Gunbroker or the like. This carries the risk of not being able to inspect the Carbine so keep that in mind. I've only bought 2 Carbines off GB over the years and got very lucky with my USGI 1944 Inland. Set a price your willing to pay, and ask the seller questions. If they can provide photo's of barrel wear ask for those.

Pricing on USGI Carbines.

Expect to pay dearly for one compared to a AR15. M1 Carbines have become collectors items and can fetch good money. They can be had anywhere from $1200-2000 dollar range. They also pop up on the EE here from time to time

Next, older Commercial Carbines.

The M1 Carbine was the "AR-15" of the 1960's and 70's. Many companies popped up making them, some good, some crappy. I would use this site as a source and also ask here

http://www.m1carbinesinc.com/

There are 2-4 decent older commercial Carbines. I currently own a 1967 model Plainfield that a nice shooter, have owned another that was good 10-12 years ago. I also owned one briefly that had issues, hindsight being 20/20 I think it needed a new gas piston but I returned it to the LGS and they refunded me for it. I've also owned 1 Iver Johnson 15-20 years ago that was a decent shooter but a tad mag picky.

Pricing on older Commercial Carbines. Expect to pay between $600-900 bucks depending. Ask here if you want, someone recently did and we helped him out.

Modern Production M1 Carbines.

There are currently 2 "mass production" and 1 "custom" manufactors for new production M1 Carbines. The former are Auto Ordnance and "New" Inland of Dayton Ohio. "New'' Inland is NOT to be confused with the WWII era Inland Division of GM, they share only the name.

These are copies of the M1 Carbine that will not share some parts with their WWII or other commercial made Carbines. They also have QC issues. I myself owned a 2007 made A/O M1A1 model that was the biggest POS I ever owned, I ended up trading it to a reenactor for a USGI "Blue Sky" marked Carbine because he wanted to turn it into a blank firing gun and I wanted the USGI one he had (which ended up getting traded of course ).

Now, keep in mind for every horror story you'll hear about either of these you'll find a happy owner. You have to decide your risk factor. Right before Covid hit I passed on a new A/O at 50% off store price based on my bad experience and bought the 1967 Plainfield I mentioned up thread.  

Now, if your willing to spend the dough the best M1 Carbine out there right now is the custom ones made by Fulton Armory. Their also the most expensive.

Base Price FA Carbine

I own 3, but I got mine either when they were a LOT cheaper (2 of them) or buy stalking Gunbroker and buying 1 "used".

Used FA M1 carbine

They do pop up on GB from time to time. I saw one a few weeks ago sell for what I paid for this one roughly. You have to look every week IMO.

Fulton's are made to USGI spec, and the trigger groups and slides are LNIB USGI. It's as close to being issued a new USGI WWII M1 carbine as you can get.
VP
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 4:44:26 PM EDT
[#1]
The "you get what you pay for" will apply to well researched firearms purchases.  Sure, Fulton Armory guns are expensive, but they are also really high quality.
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 4:50:26 PM EDT
[#2]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Genin:
The "you get what you pay for" will apply to well researched firearms purchases.  Sure, Fulton Armory guns are expensive, but they are also really high quality.
View Quote



Yeap.
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 7:08:58 PM EDT
[#3]
What about magazines? I see the occasional Korean ones but do you have any info on what to purchase and where versus what to avoid with your average cost per mag?
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 7:25:44 PM EDT
[#4]
About to pick up my seconds Carbine. National Postal Meter. Honestly have ZERO clue about NPM but the price is right in my opinion. Are these good to go?
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 7:32:58 PM EDT
[#5]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By M1Zeppelin:
What about magazines? I see the occasional Korean ones but do you have any info on what to purchase and where versus what to avoid with your average cost per mag?
View Quote



Again, speaking from experience. USGI mags are the best but also can be pricey. If you look around deals can be had. Midway for example had NOS ones recently at $25. bucks a pop. Expect to pay $30-50 bucks though for NOS ones.

The KCI Korean mags can be good. I've had issues with some and others have been good. Generally the issue will be failure to feed the last round on the 15 round mags. Avoid the 30 round mags.

Actually USGI mags can have the same issues. That was the weakest part of the design. GI's would replace those on a regular basis, its why you can still find them 2023.

The best price I know of for those is here.

KCI Mags, $10.99

$10.99 (up a buck from the last time I ordered, thanks Bidenomics).

I had 1 KCI mag last 3000 rounds as a range mag (loading 10 rounds at a time) before it wore out.

Most KCI mags will come with the M2 style mag follower, that holds the bolt open on an empty mag. Some will have the M1 style, those seem to not have the last round feed issues but its a crap shoot of what you find in stock and most recent ones I've bought (I have 40-50 of them here "just in case") will have the M2 style.


I would avoid Promags at all costs.
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 7:40:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: DonFlynn] [#6]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By StillGonnaSendIt:
About to pick up my seconds Carbine. National Postal Meter. Honestly have ZERO clue about NPM but the price is right in my opinion. Are these good to go?
View Quote



Any USGI WWII Carbine will do what you want as long as its been cared for. I have a NPM myself, a "Bavarian" that was rebuilt by the Austrians with a new Erma barrel and is one of 2 Carbines I'll never sell'

What price? I paid $1300 for mine 2021, spend my "Biden Bucks" on a weapon of war



That's it in its "shooting" stock. It came with an "I" cut stock that I display it in.
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 7:51:09 PM EDT
[#7]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DonFlynn:



Any USGI WWII Carbine will do what you want as long as its been cared for. I have a NPM myself, a "Bavarian" that was rebuilt by the Austrians with a new Erma barrel and is one of 2 Carbines I'll never sell'

What price? I paid $1300 for mine 2021, spend my "Biden Bucks" on a weapon of war

https://images15.fotki.com/v1673/photos/9/4114449/16407412/photo-vi.jpg

That's it in its "shooting" stock. It came with an "I" cut stock that I display it in.
View Quote

$900 from a local shop. Everything matches up and the rifling is in great condition. I’ll see if I can’t get some numbers or mfg year. Guns.com has a few decent looking carbines too.
Link Posted: 9/4/2023 9:05:49 PM EDT
[#8]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By StillGonnaSendIt:

$900 from a local shop. Everything matches up and the rifling is in great condition. I’ll see if I can’t get some numbers or mfg year. Guns.com has a few decent looking carbines too.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By StillGonnaSendIt:
Originally Posted By DonFlynn:



Any USGI WWII Carbine will do what you want as long as its been cared for. I have a NPM myself, a "Bavarian" that was rebuilt by the Austrians with a new Erma barrel and is one of 2 Carbines I'll never sell'

What price? I paid $1300 for mine 2021, spend my "Biden Bucks" on a weapon of war

https://images15.fotki.com/v1673/photos/9/4114449/16407412/photo-vi.jpg

That's it in its "shooting" stock. It came with an "I" cut stock that I display it in.

$900 from a local shop. Everything matches up and the rifling is in great condition. I’ll see if I can’t get some numbers or mfg year. Guns.com has a few decent looking carbines too.



$900 bucks??? FO NOW!!!!!

I ain't seen a USGI Carbine that price LGS since 2019.
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 3:40:35 PM EDT
[#9]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DonFlynn:



$900 bucks??? FO NOW!!!!!

I ain't seen a USGI Carbine that price LGS since 2019.
View Quote


I agree, at this point a functional USGI carbine for $900 is a buy on the spot situation.
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 4:46:29 PM EDT
[#10]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By vellnueve:


I agree, at this point a functional USGI carbine for $900 is a buy on the spot situation.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By vellnueve:
Originally Posted By DonFlynn:



$900 bucks??? FO NOW!!!!!

I ain't seen a USGI Carbine that price LGS since 2019.


I agree, at this point a functional USGI carbine for $900 is a buy on the spot situation.



You said it, I would have jumped all over that and I have too many now and not enough ammo for them
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 5:08:05 PM EDT
[#11]
Thanks for taking the time to write this up! I really appreciate this!
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 5:10:07 PM EDT
[#12]
I think I lucked out with mine, at least that's what I tell myself.  A few months ago my LGS had a second year production Iver Johnson for sale with 3 mags.  I got it OTD for $400.  A USGI would be sweet but the IJ was what was in front of me at the time.  I still haven't shot it yet
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 5:49:40 PM EDT
[#13]
Great thread!
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 6:19:51 PM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By EndlessSteven:
Thanks for taking the time to write this up! I really appreciate this!
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I see the question asked enough I figured it was worth it. Hopefully others who know more about Carbines will chip in their thoughts
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 6:23:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: DonFlynn] [#15]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By d1b3:
I think I lucked out with mine, at least that's what I tell myself.  A few months ago my LGS had a second year production Iver Johnson for sale with 3 mags.  I got it OTD for $400.  A USGI would be sweet but the IJ was what was in front of me at the time.  I still haven't shot it yet
View Quote



I would have bought that myself. I had a IJ that was a decent shooter, tad mag picky and it was in a gaudy looking tiger stripped stock.
n
I can relate about not being able to shoot 1 right now. I'm down to 1100 rounds for 10 carbines so if the SHTF I'm only able to do a combat loadout on 3 of them.

If it were my Carbine I would change the springs in the bolt, and swap the extractor and firing pi for a USGI ones.
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 9:48:44 PM EDT
[#16]
Every USGI carbine should be test fired before purchase.  Too many out of spec parts cannot be judged by visual inspection alone.
Link Posted: 9/8/2023 10:21:08 PM EDT
[#17]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ckbk:
Every USGI carbine should be test fired before purchase.  Too many out of spec parts cannot be judged by visual inspection alone.
View Quote


I agree in theory but how many gun shops allow or have a range were a buyer can do that. Slides are the hardest to know if they are out or spec, unless the shop or seller lets you field strip it and it falls off.

The last 2 USGI Carbines I've bought I test fired when I could, then sent them to Fulton Armory for a tech inspection. It took some time but at the end of the day was worth it IMO.
Link Posted: 9/9/2023 2:58:33 AM EDT
[#18]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ckbk:
Every USGI carbine should be test fired before purchase.  Too many out of spec parts cannot be judged by visual inspection alone.
View Quote



Good luck finding shops and sellers that let you do that.

Most of the parts are easy enough to swap out.
Link Posted: 9/9/2023 3:11:23 PM EDT
[#19]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ckbk:
Every USGI carbine should be test fired before purchase.  Too many out of spec parts cannot be judged by visual inspection alone.
View Quote


I've test-fired every Carbine I've owned, over a dozen, after I bought them. The worst one needed new springs in the bolt. They're far more reliable and low maintenance than people give them credit for.
Link Posted: 9/9/2023 4:33:35 PM EDT
[#20]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ggibbs:


I've test-fired every Carbine I've owned, over a dozen, after I bought them. The worst one needed new springs in the bolt. They're far more reliable and low maintenance than people give them credit for.
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Originally Posted By ggibbs:
Originally Posted By ckbk:
Every USGI carbine should be test fired before purchase.  Too many out of spec parts cannot be judged by visual inspection alone.


I've test-fired every Carbine I've owned, over a dozen, after I bought them. The worst one needed new springs in the bolt. They're far more reliable and low maintenance than people give them credit for.



The "worst" USGI Carbine I've owned was the "field grade" I bought from CMP in 2007. When I ran it past Fulton Armory several years ago because I was having FTE issues they told me that the slide was worn out of spec. That's not something you can test in a causal test fire of a few rounds IMO.

They said it was rare but does happen.
Link Posted: 9/12/2023 11:54:51 AM EDT
[#21]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By d1b3:
I think I lucked out with mine, at least that's what I tell myself.  A few months ago my LGS had a second year production Iver Johnson for sale with 3 mags.  I got it OTD for $400.  A USGI would be sweet but the IJ was what was in front of me at the time.  I still haven't shot it yet
View Quote


As a second-year production, I think you'd be in good to great shape.  You can still get great pricing while having a carbine that is built to original specs.  The only IJs that I would avoid are the later production ones with the Universal parts (dual spring, slotted charging handle, etc.).  I think these later models tarnished IJ's reputation, with the plus being getting their good models at lower prices.
Link Posted: 9/12/2023 12:06:33 PM EDT
[#22]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By HeavyArtillery:


As a second-year production, I think you'd be in good to great shape.  You can still get great pricing while having a carbine that is built to original specs.  The only IJs that I would avoid are the later production ones with the Universal parts (dual spring, slotted charging handle, etc.).  I think these later models tarnished IJ's reputation, with the plus being getting their good models at lower prices.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By HeavyArtillery:
Originally Posted By d1b3:
I think I lucked out with mine, at least that's what I tell myself.  A few months ago my LGS had a second year production Iver Johnson for sale with 3 mags.  I got it OTD for $400.  A USGI would be sweet but the IJ was what was in front of me at the time.  I still haven't shot it yet


As a second-year production, I think you'd be in good to great shape.  You can still get great pricing while having a carbine that is built to original specs.  The only IJs that I would avoid are the later production ones with the Universal parts (dual spring, slotted charging handle, etc.).  I think these later models tarnished IJ's reputation, with the plus being getting their good models at lower prices.



I agree, later models of IJ's with the mixed parts have the same QC issues Universals did. The IJ I owned was a USGI spec model also.
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