The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbines


Basics

The Caliber .30 Carbine Manufacturers


The Basics Here
The U.S. Caliber .30 CarbinesThe Carbine ManufacturersThe Barrel ManufacturersParts, Variations & Markings
Carbine NomenclatureThe Serial NumbersThe Stocks & HandguardsPost WWII Ordnance Operations


Overview of the Primary M1 Carbine Contractors

Interesting & Helpful Facts
  • Early in 1942 an advisory and oversight committee was created, consisting of personnel from U.S. Army Ordnance and each of the prime contractors.
    The committed changed names several times but is commonly referred to as the Carbine Committee.

  • Out of ten primary contractors that manufactured .30 Caliber Carbines, Winchester was the only one with prior experience manufacturing weapons.

  • When receiving their contract(s), not even one primary contractor had all the tooling necessary to build carbines. Date of initial contract is not the date actual production started.

  • None of the ten primary contractors manufactured all of the parts that went on their carbines. The majority of parts were
    manufactured by hundreds of companies that served as subcontractors to each prime contractor.

  • Each prime contractor had to provide spare parts in addition to the completed carbines. The amount of spare parts varied. As an example, for every 100 complete carbines NPM supplied 4 trigger housings (4% extra) and 40 firing pins (40% extra).

  • For quality control purposes, all of the prime contractors and many of the subcontractors were assigned a letter code (manufacturer's mark)
    to place on their parts (discussed further on page regarding part markings)


Credits

Much of the information below was extracted, condensed, and placed in a table format with the permission of the author from his book "War Baby!, the U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine", Volume I, by Larry Ruth. This book is 495 pages of detailed research that was continued in "War Bay Comes Home!, The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine", Volume II, for a total of 846 pages of detailed information. The author would be the first to tell you the research was not complete, has some information that has since been found to be different than what appears in the book, and neither book should be viewed as 100% accurate. The nature of historical research is question everything and don't believe it 100% even if there's documentation. Larry is currently working on Volume III, which will include updating the earlier material and adding to it. Volume III should be available before Fall 2011, if all goes as planned.

Many average carbine owners and shooters prefer books less technical. For these folks, Larry Ruth and Scott Duff co-authored "The M1 Carbine Owner's Guide", which is paperback, 136 pages, and sells for under $20.00. It covers all the basics you need to know, plus some interesting basic history.


Inland Manufacturing Division
General Motors Corporation

Dayton, Ohio

Common Moniker

Inland

    Information of Interest:

  • First to start production of the Ordnance approved Winchester design, as Winchester had other weapon commitments

  • Manufactured 3-10x more carbines than all the other primary contractors

  • Was the only manufacturer of the M1A1

  • Was one of only two primary manufacturers that made the M2 (some M1's were converted to M2 post WWII)

Overview Model Production
January-February 1942
June 1942-August 1945
   Background prior to WWII: automotive products     M1 2,084,189
   Date of 1st Contract: November 14, 1941     M1A1 140,000
   Manufacturers Mark: I     M2 est. 400,000
   Parts made in-house: 9 (includes receiver)     Total est. 2,392,388+
Notes:
  • M1A1's were manufactured during two separate time frames: November 1942 through October 1943,
    and May 1944 through December 1944. Records for quantity of M1A1 Carbines manufactured March and May
    through September 1943, and May 1944 through November 1944, were minimums estimated from a bar graph.

  • Records for quantity of M1 & M2 Carbines manufactured June through August 1945 have not been located.
    Quantity is estimated assuming they continued production at the rate produced in the months prior.

  • For a short period of time in 1943 Saginaw in Saginaw, MI provided receivers to Inland. These have the letters SG or SI on the left side of the receiver.


Winchester Repeating Arms Company

New Haven, Connecticut

Common Moniker

Winchester

    Information of Interest:

  • Winchester's production of the .30 Caliber Carbine was overshadowed by the production of many of the other companies as Winchester was unable to devote their full resources to the carbines alone. The Winchester name alone has increased the value of their carbines to be on a par with the company that made the fewest carbines, Rock-Ola.

  • Was one of only two primary manufacturers that made the M2 (some M1's were converted to M2 post WWII)

Overview ModelProduction
September 1942-August 1945
   Background prior to WWII: small arms and
ammunition production
    M1 809,541
   Date of 1st Contract: November 24, 1941     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: W     M2 17,500
   Parts made in-house: 15 (includes receiver)     Total 865,394


Underwood-Elliott-Fisher Company

Hartford, Connecticut

Common Moniker

Underwood

    Information of Interest:

  • Manufactured more of their own parts than any other prime contractor

  • Manufactured 1,706,436 carbine barrels; Enough for their own carbines, even more for other prime contractors and providing over 400,000 replacement barrel assemblies

  • Received the annual Army-Navy Production Award for high achievement in the production of war material for their .30 caliber Carbine Model M1, in 1942, 1943, and 1944.

Overview ModelProduction
November 1942-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII: typewriters, adding machines, cash registers, office equipment     M1 545,616
   Date of 1st Contract:March 25, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: U     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 35 (includes receiver)     Total 545,616
Notes:
  • many of the Underwood parts were built at their Bridgeport, Connecticut facility

  • opened a third facility in New Hartford, Connecticut, to help with the machining of parts


Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation

Chicago, Illinois

Common Moniker

Rock-Ola

    Information of Interest:

  • In August 1943 U.S. Ordnance personnel temporarily took over Rock-Ola management to reverse management problems that had resulted in unacceptable low production numbers the three months prior. As a result, management/employee relations improved significantly, resulting in increased performance that allowed Rock-Ola to continue carbine production.

  • Produced the least number of carbines of any of the prime contractors, securing a higher value for their carbines in the future

  • Stocks and handguards manufactured by Rock-Ola have been considered some of the best looking stocks and handguards made.

Overview ModelProduction
November 1942-May 1944
   Background prior to WWII:coin operated phonographs,
pinball games, parking meters...
    M1 228,500
   Date of 1st Contract:June 22, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: R, RMC     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 13 (includes receiver)     Total 228,500


Quality Hardware and Machine Corporation

Chicago, Illinois

Common Monikers

QHMC, Quality Hardware

    Information of Interest:

  • The one and only part manufactured by Quality Hardware was their receiver. All other parts were provided by subcontractors and other prime contractors.

  • The production of 28,949 receivers used by Quality Hardware was subcontracted to Union Switch & Signal. The subcontractor code assigned to Union Switch & Signal was UN. In a rare play with manufacturers markings, Union Switch & Signal placed the manufacturer name UN-QUALITY on the receivers, then sent them to Quality Hardware.

Overview ModelProduction
December 1942-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII:manufacturing tools, dies,
machinery, stampings
    M1 359,666
   Date of 1st Contract:May 13, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: Q     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: receiver only     Total 359,666
Notes:
  • All receivers used the detachable recoil spring tube,

  • Receivers made by Union Switch & Signal (UN-QUALITY), the tube was integral


Irwin-Pedersen Arms Company

Grand Rapids, MI

Common Monikers

Irwin-Pedersen, IP

    Information of Interest:

  • Produced 3,542 M1 Carbines, none of which were accepted by the government. The Irwin-Pedersen contract was given to Saginaw Steering Gear, who moved into the Irwin-Pedersen facility in Grand Rapids and took possession of everything Irwin-Pedersen and their subcontractors had produced. See Saginaw Grand Rapids for further details.

  • Irwin-Pedersen receivers and parts are some of the most sought after by collectors due to their limited production. Dishonest individuals have been known to place IP markings on non IP parts. Any carbine made up of all IP parts was very likely reconstructed into that configuration.

Overview ModelProduction
January 1943-March 1943
   Background prior to WWII:new company specifically formed
to manufacture M1 Carbines
    M1 3,542*
   Date of 1st Contract:March 21, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: IP     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 7 (includes receiver)     Total 3,542*
Notes:
  • *The quantity of Irwin-Pedersen receivers assembled into M1 Carbines by Saginaw Grand Rapids is unknown. None of these 3,542 carbines assembled by IP were accepted by U.S. Ordnance

  • made no barrels


National Postal Meter Company, Inc.

Rochester, New York

Common Moniker

NPM

    Information of Interest:

  • At the time of their first contract, the company had no tools, no employees, and no location for building carbines.

  • National Postal Meter's test fire range was built by raising the floor of the carbine manufacturing plant three feet above the buildings concrete floor and literally shooting under the feet of the production line.

Overview ModelProduction
February 1943-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII: metered mailing machines, postal scales, postal equipment     M1 413,017
   Date of 1st Contract:July 16, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: N     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 4 (includes receiver)     Total 413,017
Notes:
  • Had some of the finest walnut. Performance testing gave them the highest rating in adverse conditions.

  • made no barrels

  • On April 26, 1944, National Postal Meter Company became Commercial Controls Corporation

Commercial Controls Corporation

Rochester, New York

Overview ModelProduction
July 1944
   Background prior to WWII: metered mailing machines, postal scales, postal equipment     M1 239
   Date of 1st Contract:NPM contract     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: ?     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: used NPM parts     Total 239
Notes:
  • National Postal Meter Company changed the name of their company to Commercial Controls Corporation on April 26, 1944. The 239 Commercial Controls M1 Carbines were the last of National Postal Meter's contract.

  • The Commercial Controls M1 Carbines are the rarest of all manufacturers. Researchers have been trying to locate them to examine and document exactly what they were, leading many to form unsubstantiated conclusions as to their existence. Their rarity has led to the forgery of their markings, requiring close examination by a group of experts to verify authenticity.


The Standard Products Company

Port Clinton, Ohio

Common Moniker

Standard Products

    Information of Interest:

  • One of the many challenges facing Standard Products was where to obtain the personnel necessary to manufacture their M1 Carbines. Port Clinton, Ohio was a rural area with other wartime industries competing for a workforce. Early in WWII units were commonly made up of enlisted personnel from the same towns and counties. At the Battle of Bataan units made up of male residents of the Port Clinton area were wiped out by the Japanese. The few survivors who survived became POW's whose next challenge was the Bataan Death March and all that followed.

    When Standard Products announced they needed employees to manufacture M1 Carbines, the call was answered by the wives, parents, grandparents and siblings who had lost loved ones at Bataan. Many of these workers already had jobs elsewhere. When an evening shift was started to boost carbine production, many residents stepped forward and took on the second job.

Overview ModelProduction
April 1943-April 1944
July 1944
   Background prior to WWII: automobile trim accessories     M1 247,155
   Date of 1st Contract:August 6, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: S     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 4 (includes receiver)     Total 247,155
Notes:

  • made no barrels


Saginaw Steering Gear Division
General Motors Corporation

Saginaw, Michigan

Common Moniker

Saginaw

    Information of Interest:

  • In addition to M1 Carbines, during WWII Saginaw Steering Gear manufactured Caliber .30 Browning Machine Guns (i.e. M1919A4), Oerlikon and BOFORS guns, tanks, tank destroyers, vehicle subassemblies, and armor piercing projectiles.

Overview ModelProduction
May 1943-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII:automotive steering gears     M1 293,592
   Date of 1st Contract:February 13, 1943     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: S.G.     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 17 (includes receiver)     Total 293,592
Notes:
  • Receivers manufactured by Saginaw in Saginaw, MI July 1943 and later had a wide recoil plate tang, like the IBM receivers made by Auto Ordnance.

  • For a short period of time in 1943 Saginaw in Saginaw, MI provided receivers to Inland. Some of these receivers were retained and used by S.G. and have the letters SG on the left side of the receiver.


Saginaw Steering Gear Division
General Motors Corporation

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Common Moniker

Saginaw Grand Rapids

    Information of Interest:

  • When the Irwin-Pedersen carbine contract was given to Saginaw Steering Gear, Saginaw wanted to use the IP facility for manufacturing diesel parts. The Grand Rapids facility became a second Saginaw M1 Carbine production facility.

  • Saginaw Grand Rapids inherited all of the parts made for, or by, Irwin-Pedersen. Saginaw inspected the IP parts and those that met Ordnance specifications were integrated into the carbines manufactured by Saginaw at Grand Rapids.

Overview ModelProduction
May 1943-January 1944
   Background prior to WWII:automotive steering gears     M1 223,620
   Date of 1st Contract:March 20, 1943     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: S'G' or IP     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 7 (includes receiver)     Total 223,620
Notes:
  • The total carbines manufactured includes those with Irwin-Pedersen receivers.

  • Irwin-Pedersen parts that passed inspection included an unknown quantity of IP receivers with the IP markings. These were assembled into carbines by Saginaw Grand Rapids and retained their IP markings with no additional S'G' markings. Parts used on these receivers were the parts used by Saginaw Grand Rapids (S'G', IP, subcontracted parts, any of the parts provided to Saginaw Grand Rapids by other primary contractors)

  • made no barrels


International Business Machines Corporation

Poughkeepsie, New York

Common Moniker

IBM

    Information of Interest:

  • Auto-Ordnance of Bridgeport, CT, was subcontracted to manufacture all of IBM's bolts and slides in addition to 50% of their receivers. Difficulties at Auto Ordnance caused IBM to assume control of the carbine parts program at Auto-Ordnance, while at the same time locating other subcontractors and sources for some of the parts.

  • The IBM facility in Endicott, New York, produced 14 of the 19 parts used on the IBM carbines including the trigger housings.

  • The stamped/brazed variation of the carbine trigger housing was developed at IBM's Endicott facility.

Overview ModelProduction
August 1943-May 1944
   Background prior to WWII:business machines     M1 346,500
   Date of 1st Contract:February 16, 1943     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: B     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 19 (includes receiver)     Total 346,500
Notes:
  • IBM receivers made by Auto Ordnance have a wide recoil plate tang. Receivers made by IBM and all other manufacturers (except Saginaw in Saginaw, MI July 1943 and later) have a narrow recoil plate tang.

  • IBM receivers manufactured by Auto-Ordnance have the letters AO on top of the receiver on the bevel located below the serial number.


Barrel Manufacturer information is provided on the Barrel Manufacturer page.


Locating the Manufacturer Name & Serial Number on the Receivers

Things you should know:

Location

The primary contractor's name was always stamped on top of the receiver behind the rear sight. The serial number was always stamped directly below the primary contractor name.

The adjustable rear sights often obscure part or all of the primary contractor's name. If you don't see the name, look close under both sides of the adjustable sight. You can usually make out the first and last letter or two. Compare the marks you find with the serial number assignments.


Adjustable Rear Sight obscuring
QUALITY H.M.C.

Adjustable Rear Sight partially obscuring
I.B.M. CORP.


Markings on the Receiver Bevel

The receiver bevel is located on top of the receiver at the rear, below the serial number. Several subcontractors who manufactured receivers for the primary contractors placed their subcontractor mark on the bevel. Several primary contractors who obtained receivers from other primary contractors placed their mark on the bevel. Countries other than the United States occasionally placed unit markings on the bevel.

Things you should know:

The information below starts to go beyond the basics and for this reason the depth of content has been intentionally limited. Further information is available in War Baby! and other books, as well as the internet discussion forums related to the U.S. Caliber .30 Carbines.

Receiver Bevel Primary Contractor and Subcontractor Marks
Name on ReceiverBevel MarkSubcontractorFrom Primary ContractorTo Primary Contractor
IBMAOAuto Ordnance IBM
WinchesterA B WSinger Manufacturing Co. * UnderwoodWinchester
UnderwoodA W UnderwoodWinchester
WinchesterA W UnderwoodWinchester
UnderwoodBSinger Manufacturing Co. * Underwood
UnderwoodSUnited Shoe Machinery Co. * Underwood
UnderwoodTIntertype Corp. Underwood
WinchesterTIntertype Corp.UnderwoodWinchester
National Postal MeterUUnion Switch & SignalNational Postal Meter
UnderwoodWUniversal Winding Co. Underwood
UnderwoodW A UnderwoodWinchester
UnderwoodW T AIntertype Corp.UnderwoodWinchester
UnderwoodW W AUniversal Winding Co.UnderwoodWinchester
    * NOT Singer Sewing Machines

Underwood receiver
with flaming Ordnance bomb
and
Singer Manufacturing
B subcontractor marking.


Markings on the Left Side of the Receiver

The table below is not all inclusive but includes the markings used to identify receivers made by one prime contractor for another and the most commonly encountered additional markings.

Receiver, Left Side Marks
Name on ReceiverMarkSignifies
InlandSImade by Saginaw S.G. for Inland
InlandSGmade by Saginaw S.G. for Inland
Irwin-Pedersen3possible significance only within IP or S'G'
Irwin-PedersenJpossible significance only within IP or S'G'
Saginaw S.G.Jpossible significance only within IP, S'G', or S.G.
Saginaw S.G.SGmade by Saginaw S.G. for Inland, but retained & used by Saginaw S.G.
Standard Products 3G, 6T, 8U, etcbelieved to be lot codes, increase numerically and alphabetically as serial numbers increase


Markings on the Bottom of the Receiver

These are most always located on the bottom of the front lug the trigger housing attaches too and/or the area in front of this lug. These are markings that had meaning to the manufacturer internally within their operation.


Where and Who to turn to for More Information and Further Assistance

I wish I could help everyone, but with over 6 million U.S. Carbines and almost 1 million post war commercial carbines one person can't handle all the requests for assistance. However, there are a number of resources available that can answer any question you might have, including groups of knowledgeable collectors and shooters on discussion forums. The internet is ripe with experts on almost every topic, so you would be wise to get opinions from more than just one person.

This Website & it's Sister Website Discussion Forums
Links Page Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) M1 Carbine Forum
Books Page M1 Carbine Forum
  MilSurps Forums: M1 Carbine
Post War Commercial Carbines Military Surplus After Hours
   New Zealand M1 Carbine Collectors


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