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Choosing the right M1 Carbine

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    Choosing the right M1 Carbine

    Based on what I've read it appears that most people buying the vintage M1 Carbine(s) are collectors as opposed to using them for accuracy (competition) shooting. As such what should I be looking for in terms of an accurate-shooting Carbine? I have the muzzle gauge so hopefully I can check the muzzle wear, but beyond that am looking for advice.

    I'm going to assume you are talking about the originals, not the modern made ones.

    Eyeball down the barrel with a light and see the general condition of the bore. If it's looking pretty nice and it gauges out great (including go/no-go for the bolt if those gauges are available), it probably will be pretty slick overall. Don't worry if it's a mixmaster. There are lots out there and they usually shoot pretty great. Many have been arsenal refurbed, so that's why you find ones that some of the main parts don't seem "right". That said, some came out shiny new with barrels from another maker for example. Depends on what maker produced it and at what time. Many other major makers subcontracted certain things to others to hit quotas once production really got rolling. You really want one that the action fits the stock nice and snug. (Stocks are fairly findable if you need a "new" one, or you can dutchman in some shim walnut to snug it up a little if need be, especially if it isn't a minty Carbine.) I have one that is a shooter and it wiggles in the stock a little, has an Inland barrel on a Winchester receiver and an Underwood trigger group, but it shoots fine for what I ever have asked it to do. A tighter stock fit would keep the groups from wandering, but they are manageable for me. I probably could shim it with cardstock or walnut shims, but that's not high on my list at the moment. I've heard that the ones with the Marlin barrels aren't that great shooters, but don't quote me on it. You'd think it would have been the other way around as their barrels tend to be really good, but this was a late-ish wartime subcontract and they were more focused elsewhere I think. Inland (not the new guys), Winchester, and Underwood have the most made if memory serves, so those receivers should be available. Inland is the overall biggest producer with over 2.6 million made.
    Get yourself the Craig Reisch book on the Carbine to school yourself on it a bit. There are a few errors that are known in it, but it's a good starter book and covers a lot in detail. Robert Gibson's Guide To Collecting The M1 Carbine is also handy for reference. Obviously, War Baby is the pinnacle tome to get familiar with as well. You could also start to peruse (or join) the Carbine Collectors Club. Lots of good info there.
    Also peruse the newest Blue Book to get an idea on pricing per condition.

    Obviously, some paper punching time with a couple of mags would tell you plenty if that's an option, but if not, the above should get you on a decent path for starters.


      I would think that if one ran upon a carbine at an reasonable price and looked ok and gauged out, then buy it. They are not ‘dime a dozen’ anymore and as stated above, many are mixmasters but shoot just fine. I have never thought of them as precision weapons like the super match M1A, but a hoot to shoot especially for the kids.


        My IP will clean an SR target at 200 yards.
        These are typical groups with my IP at 100 yards. These were shot on 2 different ranges a year apart so it wasn't just a "lucky" day. Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by TJT; 12-30-2022, 02:57 AM.