The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbines
|The Basics Here|
|The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbines||The Carbine Manufacturers||The Barrel Manufacturers||Parts, Variations & Markings|
|Carbine Nomenclature||The Serial Numbers||The Stocks & Handguards||Post WWII Ordnance Operations|
U.S. Ordnance redesigned a number of parts over the course of production and after WWII, several parts more than once. Most of these changes were to improve reliability and/or function, manufacture time, and/or cost. None of the changes were so critical as to merit a massive recall. A few of these changes were important enough to merit replacing the earlier part with the later variant when the carbine could be inspected by U.S. Ordnance personnel. For most carbines this wouldn't happen until after the end of the war (see below).
Two of the unique things about the U.S. GI M1 Carbines are almost all of the parts are backwards and forwards compatible regardless of whatever change was made, and, all of the parts are interchangeable from one carbine to another without requiring individual fitting.
Generally, the earlier parts tend to be less common and more expensive. The later parts generally tend to be more common and less expensive. A few parts manufactured as replacements can still be found in new unissued condition. Some parts were contracted to be manufactured as late as 1967 (e.g. M2 stock, M2 handguard, cast recoil plates).
A Few Examples of Parts that were Redesigned during WWII
Barrel BandsThree Variations
(The barrel band with bayonet lug was used late 1944 and later. Bayonets were being manufactured by the end of WWII but none have been seen, so far, on the carbines used during WWII)
1st style Barrel Band
2nd style Barrel Band
3rd style Barrel Band with bayonet lug
SlidesMore than Six Variations
(Angled face above chamber on later designs deflects spent casings away from chamber)
Slide w/ straight face (top) - Slide with angled face (bottom)
Magazine CatchSix Variations
(M on Magazine Catch face means "Modified". Indicates the rail thickness was reduced to provide better operation and has nothing to do with the mfg)
One of several different
early style mag catches
Later design with Modified
Later design Modified mag catch
with support arm
The arm to support the extra weight
of a 30 round magazine
(The first three were push buttons, the fourth was a rotary to eliminate pushing the wrong button)
Rear SightThree Variations
Adjustable Rear Sight
Adjustable Rear Sight
A "primary contractor" was a company that produced the entire carbine. None of the primary contractors produced all of the parts necessary to produce their carbines. Hundreds of subcontractors filled this role. On parts that were marked, primary contractors who manufactured the part used their mark only (refer manufacturer marks under each manufacturer), subcontractors who manufactured the part placed their assigned mark and the mark of the primary contractor they made the part for.
At first glance, these markings may appear to be pretty simple and straight forward. Sometimes they are, sometimes they're not. A few examples:
A Few Words of Caution
Front sight manufactured by Super Metal Manufacturing of North Bergen, NJ for National Postal Meter
Adjustable rear sight manufactured by Packard Mfg. Corp. of Indianapolis for Inland
Barrel Band w/ Bayonet Lug manufactured by Donaldson Co., Inc. of St. Paul, MN as a replacement part for all carbines
Flat Bolt (right lug face) manufactured by Union Switch & Signal of Swissvale, PA for National Postal Meter
Handguard manufactured by Rock-Ola Manufacturing Co.
(the number was added later by a police department)
Manufactured by Lyman Gun Sight Company of
Middlefield, CT, for National Postal Meter
Rock-Ola Manufacturing Co.
Winchester Repeating Arms
Manufactured by Parker Mfg Co. of Worcester,MA
Manufactured by Wadsworth Watch Case Co. of Dayton, KY
Manufactured by Garden City Plating
as a replacement part
Manufactured by Dayton Mold Co. of Dayton, OH
Manufactured by H.B. Rouse & Co. of Chicago, IL
for Quality Hardware Mfg
Post WWII Cast Recoil Plate marked E2
If you'd like to see examples of WWII M1 Carbines with a breakdown of their parts and manufacturers, CLICK HERE.
If you are interested in further details you may wish to check out the page devoted to books. War Baby! by Larry Ruth identifies many of the markings and the manufacturers they represented along with carbines they were used on. U.S. M1 Carbines Wartime Production by Craig Riesch has quick reference charts that identify the part variations and the markings used by each manufacturer.
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