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Posted: 3/17/2006 4:43:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 4:55:56 PM EDT by BerlinVet]
Please don't flame me but...

My son wants to get started in shooting and really would like an M1 Carbine. Unfortunately, the USGI carbines are way too expensive for my budget and I've been eyeing up a really nice Universal M1 at the local gun store. Externally, it appears to be the same as the real deal (early model?) although I'm aware that there are differences.

The serial number is in the 858XX range. I figured it would be an ok rifle to get him started off with.

What do you think?
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 5:36:19 PM EDT
Some of the Universal carbines are good, some are not. The ammo for 30 Carbine is expensive about $15 or so for 50 rounds. You might be better served by getting your son a Ruger 10-22 in 22LR. Ammo is cheap, about $9 or so for 500 rounds at Wal Mart, IIRC.

If something were to break on the Universal Carbine remember that some parts interchange with the US GI but many are unique to the Universal and are hard to find as I believe it has been out of production for some time.

Charles.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:10:29 PM EDT
Ok - thanks...
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 7:09:02 PM EDT
Yeah, what the other guy said. With a little work, you can make a 10/22 look and feel quite a bit like a carbine, and it's MUCH cheaper and easier to shoot.

If you still want a "real" carbine, don't give up, and don't settle for a Universal. Look for a Plainfield or Iver Johnson. These will at least take USGI carbine parts if need be. It shouldn't be too hard to find one of these in the $350 range, or if you're patient or a good scrounger, less than $300.

I'd stay away from a Universal, and wouldn't pay over $150 for one at any rate. And I'd have to REALLY be in the mood to spend $150 to pay THAT for one.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 6:24:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Snake45:
Yeah, what the other guy said. With a little work, you can make a 10/22 look and feel quite a bit like a carbine, and it's MUCH cheaper and easier to shoot.

If you still want a "real" carbine, don't give up, and don't settle for a Universal. Look for a Plainfield or Iver Johnson. These will at least take USGI carbine parts if need be. It shouldn't be too hard to find one of these in the $350 range, or if you're patient or a good scrounger, less than $300.

I'd stay away from a Universal, and wouldn't pay over $150 for one at any rate. And I'd have to REALLY be in the mood to spend $150 to pay THAT for one.




I agree completely. Great advice.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 1:37:31 PM EDT
Ok.. First of.. the early Universals use GI parts.. it's the later models that use a 2 recoil spring are not good.. they use a different trigger housing and slide.. if they break.. you have a paper weight.. If the Universal you see at the gun shop is around $250 or so.. it's a good bargain... BUT!! make sure it's a early single recoil spring version!!! If it's the later 2 spring version... RUN AWAY!!!!
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 9:23:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HighPowerShooter:
Ok.. First of.. the early Universals use GI parts.. it's the later models that use a 2 recoil spring are not good.. they use a different trigger housing and slide.. if they break.. you have a paper weight.. If the Universal you see at the gun shop is around $250 or so.. it's a good bargain... BUT!! make sure it's a early single recoil spring version!!! If it's the later 2 spring version... RUN AWAY!!!!



I picked up a two spring Universal back in 1972 at JC Penney in Jacksonville.(yes, they sold guns back then). I have put probably 5 or 6K rounds through it since then. I used it for clearing feral dogs off our timber property in N Florida, and as a plinker.

Now I will be the first to tell you that my Inland, RockOla, and Winchester M1 Carbines are better rifles, but I just can't fault the Universal I own. If something ever breaks, Numrich has parts.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 6:33:59 AM EDT

Numrich has parts


They haven't had any late model Universal slides or trigger housings for a few years now....
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 3:14:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 5:23:18 PM EDT by BerlinVet]
Well guys...I went ahead and got it.

It's in outstanding shape and my son is delighted with it.

The following is on the underside of the operating rod:

D-7161843
S6

I got three 15 round magazines with it - one is marked with a "UN", another has a "AI" and another has a "U" stamped onto it.








Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:14:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 7:15:01 PM EDT by dfariswheel]
You have a probable winner.

This is one of the Universal's that were "more or less" interchangeable with GI Carbines.
These earlier models were made with many USGI parts, and often make great shooters.

The magazines are USGI surplus.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 2:26:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/25/2006 2:58:08 AM EDT by BerlinVet]
I'm going to try to head out to the range with it this weekend.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 10:51:59 AM EDT
Good call - as others have pointed out, it looks like an early model that works much better than the later flavors.

Ammo for the carbine is just as cheap as .223 plinking ammo if you get it from Georgia Arms - look for their "Canned Heat" flavor.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 12:52:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
Good call - as others have pointed out, it looks like an early model that works much better than the later flavors.

Ammo for the carbine is just as cheap as .223 plinking ammo if you get it from Georgia Arms - look for their "Canned Heat" flavor.



Thanks - quite a price break from the $17 / 50 rounds I paid yesterday.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 1:35:46 PM EDT
Looks like you did okay. I've never seen a GI-spec Universal before, only the cheap stamped-parts ones they started making about 35 years ago or more.

Be careful when buying cheap carbine ammo. There is some BAD stuff going around. Personally I wouldn't shoot any off-brand or remanufactured ammo in mine. I stick to the Winchester, Federal, and PMC generic stuff. You can find this for $10 a box at gunshows sometimes, more often $12. Some Walmarts carry carbine ammo, but not mine.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 2:50:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Snake45:
Looks like you did okay. I've never seen a GI-spec Universal before, only the cheap stamped-parts ones they started making about 35 years ago or more.

Be careful when buying cheap carbine ammo. There is some BAD stuff going around. Personally I wouldn't shoot any off-brand or remanufactured ammo in mine. I stick to the Winchester, Federal, and PMC generic stuff. You can find this for $10 a box at gunshows sometimes, more often $12. Some Walmarts carry carbine ammo, but not mine.



PMC stuff scares me - it's loaded hot to the point of popped primers. I got through three boxes and then decided it wasn't worth it to keep up with it. No malfunctions, however - just hot hot hot.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 4:26:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Snake45:
Looks like you did okay. I've never seen a GI-spec Universal before, only the cheap stamped-parts ones they started making about 35 years ago or more.

Be careful when buying cheap carbine ammo. There is some BAD stuff going around. Personally I wouldn't shoot any off-brand or remanufactured ammo in mine. I stick to the Winchester, Federal, and PMC generic stuff. You can find this for $10 a box at gunshows sometimes, more often $12. Some Walmarts carry carbine ammo, but not mine.



I hear that...the .30 carbine offering from Wolf is gaining a pretty good rep
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 6:29:40 PM EDT
Huh. I had NO problems with PMC in my Inland. Function was perfect, primers looked normal, and it was very accurate. Maybe I got a good batch, or maybe you got a bad one.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 12:17:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 12:19:22 PM EDT by BerlinVet]
Had it out to the range this afternoon using Federal American Eagle 110 gr. FMJ. Out of 100 rounds, 10 of the shells didn't eject completely and got caught between the bolt face and chamber. The problem was sporadic so I couldn't nail down what could cause the malfunction. I think that I'll try a few more brands of ammo before I have someone have a look at it.

Anyone have an idea what could be causing the problem?
(Thanks in advance...)


Groups were pretty decent (although it took a little getting used to after shooting AR's for so long).
Below are my 25 yard sighting in targets (six o'clock hold) - not the best but...



Thanks for looking!
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 6:44:00 PM EDT
Ejection problems could be extractor or ejector, or a simple lube problem, or the gun might just need some breaking in. Doesn't sound like a major problem, at any rate.

Looks like you've got it sighted in well. Not an awful group, either. Looks like you'd be deadly out to 100 yards, which is all anyone can really ask of the carbine. Drive on!
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