M1 Carbine: A Whole New Class of Weapon

The United States developed the M1 carbine very quickly at the beginning of World War Two, once the German “blitzkrieg” made it clear that highly mobile enemy forces could threaten rear echelon troops in a modern war. The M1911 pistol was seen as a difficult weapon to use well, and a light carbine would offer much greater effectiveness with less training. It was estimated that 500,000 would be needed, and more than 6 million were eventually produced during the war. The M1 Carbine would equip drivers, artillery crews, mortar men, headquarters staff, paratroops, and many more.

The M1 Carbine was developed by Winchester, but they were not participants in the first round of trials, Instead, their design came about when Rene Studler (head of the Ordnance Department) saw Winchester’s “M2” rifle prototype, a lightweight .30-06 intended to compete with the M1 Garand. He urged them to scale it down for the light rifle trials then ongoing in 1941, and Winchester complied. The design used a Garand-like rotating bolt and a gas tappet system designed by David Marshall Williams for the .30-06 rifle. The new carbine was cobbled together in less than two weeks, and is a truly fantastic achievement.

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84 Comments

  1. these things are turds. you can not own one with out the sear breaking and going full auto. originals anyways.

    • Funny how I’ve owned an original for over twenty years and have never, ever had this problem, nor heard of it happening from anyone else I’ve ever talked to about them. So whether it CAN happen or not, it is certainly not true that “you can not own one without” the problem you describe. Also, no one I’ve ever let fire it has considered it anything other than the most fun they had shooting.

    • My older brother was a paratroop officer in Korea during that war;
      he never had a good thing to say about the M-1 Carbine. He declared them “too fragile” and “temperamental” in the fierce Korean winters.

  2. The carabiner itself is very good.
    The only serious (but ubiquitous) problem is the barrel.
    Since these idiots planned to use a carbine in the role of PDW, from which you do not need to shoot a lot, he has very weak grooves in the barrel. Therefore, all the carbines I saw that were in military use, have grooves, if not dead, but already in the hospice. Although they were all in good condition.

    I will wait for the second part of the story with pleasure.

    A good example of the idiocy of military bureaucrats.
    When in the European and Pacific theater, for a trophy pistol, almost anything could be exchanged, since everyone who replaced the pistol with this carbine actually remained unarmed.

    • If by “idiots” you mean U.S. Ordnance and the much-maligned René Studler, I would say that they had a situation in which it was correctly identified that a)most people in the U.S. army can’t shoot a pistol worth a darn, and that the U.S. army was expected to vastly increase to millions of men fighting on battle fronts all over the world, and that b) most soldiers don’t actually need a rifle, and that c) those soldiers who did carry a rifle would be toting a 12-pound M1 Garand or a 9 pound M1903 Springfield bolt-action and basically be serving as “bait” for artillery support, mortars, tactical bombers and the like–the “American Way of War” if you will… And so, therefore, a small light-weight carbine was desirable for all of the people humping boxes of machine gun ammo, artillery shells, mortar bombs, etc. etc. etc. Far, far more combat effective than any pistol, even the vaunted M1911A1 of God’s chosen designer John Moses Browning…

      6 million made, many of them by companies that never produced firearms before, and in such a rapid rate of production that the contracts were fulfilled something like a year ahead of schedule. Officers, crew-served weapon personnel, drivers, even cooks had a better weapon than they would have otherwise had.

      In hindsight, it might have been “better” to go with the Garand rifle in its original 10-shot .276 iteration, obviating the need for a “lighter rifle.” Basically, the U.S. might have gone the French route: Some sort of cheap, reliable, robust bolt-action for the “Etappen schweine” or rear-echelon troops, who might have to fight against mechanized infantry and paratroopers after all, and a snazzy self-loading battle rifle and squad automatic for the “front schweine” or “tip of the spear” infantry?

      • “(…)God’s chosen designer(…)”
        What does that position(?) imply? Was it hold only by John M. Browning?

        “(…).276 iteration, obviating the need for a “lighter rifle.”(…)”
        I doubt in that, one of requirements for Light Rifle was to be selective-fire, this was dropped as it was found that would allow production to commence sooner. According to hindsight alteration to change self-loading (M1) into selective-fire (M2) was minimal, but this was not obvious back when decision were made.
        https://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=3968

        I suspect .276 rifle would be still far from controllable in full-auto mode.

        • John Moses Browning–It’s a joke intended for U.S. readers tovarish! Do Commies serve as God’s chosen firearm designers I wonder? Ha!

          .276: You miss the point here, I’m afraid. The .276 Pedersen cartridge was ruled out by the “top brass” in the form of one narcissist named Douglas MacArthur. If every U.S. MG was in .30-06, and the BAR was still the automatic rifle, and the vast, huge stores of rifle ammunition in reserve were in .30-06, and all the American arms manufacturers in “God’s Own Country” (this is a joke, blame Bertolt Brecht!) were set up to make “God’s own caliber” .30, then no little .276 would do… French Canadian/ Quebecois American John Cantius Garand therefore re-designed his self-loading rifle from a 9-pound .276 ten-shooter to a 11 or 12 pound .30-06 eight-shooter.

          It was the adoption of the .30-06 M1 Garand–very expensive, very heavy, rather large–that led to the “Light Rifle” concept of U.S. Ordnance… The Garand was “too much gun” for most U.S. army personnel.

          A .276 automatic rifle would have been just the thing… Or perhaps even a “true” LMG design?! In the end, it didn’t matter… Until the 1950s.

          Had full-auto been retained in the Light Rifle/ M1 carbine trials, the SMG might have been disposed of, no?

          Had the Winchester company and U.S. Ordnance been rather less conservative in resurrecting the .32 WCF cartridge for the failed M1905 self-loading rifle–a very nice and accurate cartridge slated for oblivion because it wasn’t a deer hunting load–in U.S. colloquial terms, a “dog that wouldn’t hunt” if you will, it basically died until it was selected as the perfect load for a future U.S. “light rifle program.” Had a different cartridge been brought in, it might have been an “Assault Rifle” intermediate cartridge before the concept finally got going under German fascist tutelage, what with all the pre-war experimenation going on pretty much every place: Denmark, Switzerland, Russia, Germany, Italy, etc.

          • “(…)Ha!(…)”
            Assuming hermetic joke.

            “(…)9-pound(…)”
            That is still much more than 5 pounds max specified for light rifle.
            Would be .276 rifle be deemed easy enough to use with minimal amount of training?

  3. The M1 Carbine is thankfully a weapon that fulfilled its calling. For anyone (who wasn’t military) suggesting that it is anything but useful at killing, be advised that the M1 Carbine isn’t intended to replace a full-strength rifle. Just look at what happened with the later M14!

    • Of course he did.
      But a carbine is worse than a pistol in that it is not a pistol.
      Imagine yourself on the spot, say, a medic…
      Which, when he finds a wounded man, must not only help him, but also take him out of the field. And not only man, but also his weapons. And in addition to everything, he must also drag his own stick, which he will not be able to use, because his hands are busy.
      The gun is worn in the army not because it is cool, but because it is small, light and does not interfere.

      Farthest of all, the engineering corps went in this direction, who directly ordered pistols sewn to work gloves for themselves. You think they just had nothing to do?

      • If one is a medic or Corpsman in the Pacific Theater, then the Japanese are going to kill you. So having an M1 carbine versus a pistol is a much, much better option. There’s a sling on it, so you can put it over your shoulder while you jab morphine into the fallen man….

        • Some troops didn’t even have a place for the carbine. Airmen, for instance, although one MAC survival package included a carbine and 300 rounds of ammunition. But it was intended for transports like the C-47 and C-46.

          My uncle who commanded a Sherman troop said that the M1A1 carbine with the folding “paratrooper” stock was preferred by the tankers to either the Colt .45 or the Thompson with the detachable stock, as it was lighter than the TSMG, easier to hit something with than the Colt, and reached out farther and hit harder than either one. As it turned out, they went into France in June ’44 mostly with Colts and TSMGs, as the M1A1s were in short supply.

          Even with 6 million carbines and about 1 million M1 Garands made, with over 12 million men under arms, even if you subtract rear area and naval shipboard personnel, there were never enough rifles or carbines for everyone who might need one.

          Just like every other war we’ve ever fought, going back to the American Revolution.

          cheers

          eon

          • The US Army had no shortage of long arms. There were over 5mil M1 Garands made. Plus 1903’s. Plus M1 Carbines.

          • IDK about the Sherman, but I served aboard an M-48, and an M-60; “There was a place for everything, and everything was in its place.” But there was no place to stow an SMG or carbine.
            One idiotic major insisted that our loaders’ .45s be traded in for M-14s(!); ‘long story short’, they all “came to grief” during our next training exercise!

      • I was in a Combat Engineering Company in Germany. We were tasked with building and blowing bridges, laying and finding minefields.
        Sewing 1911s onto our work gloves?? That’s the silliest thing I ever heard of!

  4. So near and yet so far. A tidied-up Reising, with interchangeable parts, decent metallurgy, sturdier magazines etc. could have filled the same role, without adding another cartridge into the supply chain.

    • “(…)without adding another cartridge into the supply chain.”
      Note that .45 Auto is much heavier than .30 Carbine, so you can carry less ammo for some weight. Also .45 Auto has relative low muzzle velocity and thus trajectory less flat, which is important in case of combat sub-machine guns and carbine, as it allows to hit target with greater error of distance-to-target judgment.

  5. I purchased one from Royal Tiger last week. It is an Underwood from early 1944. I am really pleased with it. All parts are Underwood, correct, with flip sights, two rivet handguard and type one barrel band. The barrel looks good with crisp lands and grooves. The muzzle gauged out to between a +1.0 – 1.5. This was a great opportunity to get an early type that had not been rearsenaled.

  6. Great design with huge popularity to follow. If I point one single detail, which has made it progressive, it was gas tappet. Only question I’d have is – how to clean it inside?

    • @ Denny: There is a vast literature on the M1 carbine in the United States. The U.S. carbine caliber .30 M1 was the first U.S. shoulder arm to fire non-corrosive ammunition. Part of the reason, was that in order to disassemble the gas tappet requires specialized tools and equipment only available to armorers. The system was basically “self cleaning” in that it had a small port placed relatively close to the chamber such that fouling from the propellant was thought to be relatively light. The op-rod–effectively the bolt carrier–can be wrenched up and away from the bolt, and the bolt removed from the carbine. Then a pull-through or muzzle-end cleaning rod with a crown protector can clean the barrel and chamber. For a detailed cleaning, the front barrel band is removed with the aid of a cartridge, the top hand guard is removed, and the action is lifted up and out of the stock. The bolt-carrier/ operating rod can then be detached simply and the underside, a sort of “U” shaped trough that surrounds the gas tappet on three sides can be cleaned. On my carbines, it is usually quite dirty from powder fouling. With solvent in the barrel, I work the semi-fixed piston back and forth to ensure it can move and is not “frozen.”

    • To clean the inside of the gas block you need a gas nut wrench, a popular aftermarket item. They usually had a socket for a two-slot nut on one end and a three-slot socket on the other end, for either G.I. or commercial carbines.

      I still love my Alpine M-1 carbine that I bought in the ’60s. It had a new receiver and barrel (2 groves!) with most of the other parts being surplus.

  7. U.S. carbines supplied to Haile Selassie during the Cold War are being imported.
    Not so the M1 Garands and much of the stock of M1 carbines in South Korea. All of the Garands there are superfluous to any conceivable need by the ROKA, and the police only need a relative handful of the carbines. “What’s up with that?”

  8. It’s strange that at this time nearly every army on Earth was trying to make the simplest straight-blowback submachine guns it could, while the M1 carbine with its gas system was several orders of complexity greater, used a wooden stock, yet ended up being built faster and cheaper than most submachine guns.

    Why was the ammunition designed to be roundball only? Why would a pointed bullet be a disadvantage to the intended users?

    • I agree with Daweo (“good enough” for intended performance envelope).

      Also (not that it would have been extremely disadvantageous) using a spitzer bullet would have dictated a much longer cartridge overall length, therefore deeper magazines, longer recoil stroke, receiver, etc.

    • 1. The ammunition was in fact based on the existing .32 Winchester Self-Loading cartridge, which normally used either a RN FMJ bullet or a semi-flat-nosed JSP. The major difference between the two is that the .32 WSL is a semi-rimmed cartridge, the .30 USC is a true rimless round. Using their existing .32 SL cartridge as a starting point is one reason Winchester got the design process done so fast.

      2. The reason for the choice of .30 caliber was that the Army stipulated that the weapon has to be built with exiting barrel-making machinery. This meant that the choices of bore spec were .30, .30, and .30, since the Army didn’t want another .45 caliber weapon.

      3. Within those two constraints, the Army wanted a muzzle velocity of at least 1,600 F/S and a bullet weight between 100 and 120 grains to deliver a minimum energy of 750 FPE at 100 yards. (Which BTW eliminates any pistol-caliber round from consideration.) A RN FMJ bullet is what you get in .30 caliber with those constraints.

      4. The choice of gas operation was caused by the Army stipulating an upper weight limit of seven pounds fully loaded. Blowback submachine guns firing 9mm or .45 ammunition have heavy bolts to keep RoF within reasonable bounds. While a 9mm or .45 ACP SMG can be built weighing less than 7 pounds fully loaded (see MAC-10, Micro Uzi, etc.) the usual result is a RoF on the high side of 1,000 R/M cyclic due to bolt weight limitations.

      The original RfP called for selective fire with a cyclic rate of no more than 650-700 R/M. Winchester determined that between that and the breech pressures associated with launching a 110-grain .30 caliber bullet downrange at over 1,600 F/S from a barrel that could be no more than 18″ in length, gas operation was the only viable alternative.

      The moral is the old Engineer’s Axiom;

      Tell Us What You Want And Go Away Until We Call You, And Nobody Will Get Hurt.

      cheers

      eon

    • “It’s strange that…yet ended up being built faster and cheaper than most submachine guns…”(C)

      The M1 carbine is no coincidence that it looks so much like an M1 rifle.
      Literate technologists took part in the design. And it is intended for manufacturing by the same technology, on the same equipment and even using the same tools as the rifle. And the existing production line will make life easier.
      In addition, the M1 carbine turned out to be really very simple and technological.

      • Except that it was decidedly not manufactured on the same equipment, nor using the same tools as the rifle? Winchester manufactured both M1 self-loading rifles and M1 carbines… 13.5% of carbine production. Springfield Armory never made carbines but yes M1 rifles. Inland Manufacturing of General Motors (automobiles) made 43% of WWII-era carbines. Underwood-Elliott-Fisher (type-writers and adding machines) 8.9%, Saginaw Steering Gear Division of GM (automobiles, trucks, etc.) 8.5%, National Postal Meter (Rochester, NY postal meters) 6.8%, Quality Hardware & Machine Co. 5.9%, IBM (business machines) 5.7%, Standard Products (Cleveland, OH automobile parts) 4%, Rock-Ola (juke boxes) 3.7%. Grand total of 6.2 million, 1941-1944 and mostly built by non-firearm companies. Yeah. “literate technologists” like the U.S. automobile industry and its workers all right.

  9. Looking at the complaints in this thread against the Carbine, I wonder whether this is the difference between the intended US Army use of the gun, and the effects of so many of them being passed on to allied armies after the war. The intended use would have put little wear on the guns and their barrels. I know that ARVN actually used these as frontline combat weapons before the M16, because the Viet Cong ended up capturing many of them and doing the same. I think this was common in Asian and Latin American armies supplied by the US, many involved in their own counterinsurgency campaigns. Just the necessity of frontline troops to practice fire in peacetime would put a lot of wear on them over a couple of decades.

    • I might point out that while Korea really killed the carbine and sullied its reputation for good, that it was widely used by the French army in Indochina, and concomitantly by the Viet Minh/ PAVN and early NLF/Viet Cong, in addition to the vast quantities disbursed by “Uncle Sugar” to East Asia, Latin America, and, like the example here, Africa. If one were to re-examine points raised in the discussion area of the K50M 7.62x25mm Shpagin “tropicalized” to more resemble the MAT-49, you would see that the huge, heavy drum magazine of the Shpagin was discounted in favor of 35-rd. magazines. Well, ARVN… Would you rather tote a Garand and 120 .30-06 cartridges alongside the BAR gunner? Or an M1 carbine?

  10. I’m not sure I saw specific figures about the service life of the barrel of the M1 carbine, but for some reason 6K is spinning in my head.
    But I’m sure I read about the test progress when the shooting program was 5K, but during the tests it was reduced to 4.5K(?) shots.
    In fact, due to the characteristics of reality, the life of the barrel was 3-4K. To a large extent due to the use of bimetallic shells of bullets of military issues.

  11. In 1957 when standing 2400 to 0400 bow watch on a Tin Can tied up in Norfolk Va. I was issued a carbine and two 15 (I think) round mags. Then, standing the same watch tied up to the pier at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo we called it) I was issued a carbine and NO ammo. What am I to do if some Cuban comes climbing up one of the mooring lines I asked the OD. Scream, and swing that gun like a baseball bat! Oh how I loved the Navy!

    • US Army in Germany (at the height of the Cold War): They had us pulling guard duty at the motor pool and the AMMO DUMP with no ammo.
      Our only defensive weapon was a bayonet.

  12. I’ve got a 1943 original and a civilian copy made by Universal. They are just handy, light, useful and pleasant little carbines. Obviously, I have never used them in combat but I think they met their design purpose very well.

    • I’ve got two: Both Inland 1943 production. The first was somewhat updated and handed over to some outfit in AMGOT Bavaria post-WWII during “stunde null” called the “Bavarian Forest Police” instead of whatever Carcano carbine they’d had to rely on previously. I doubt very much it was ever fired. Then Bavaria, a “bundesland” in a Bundesrepublik Deutschland decided to get rid of it, and make some money, and handed it over to the Landesgendarmeriekommando in Steiermark on the border between Österreich/Austria and Slovenia–then a federal republic in Yugoslavia. From there it went back to the U.S. The other one was given a brand-new Springfield barrel (Springfield manufactured no carbines, but did make parts post-war) by the Italian arsenal workers in Terni, and then apparently put away. Came back to the US, and well, you know the rest…

      These are a lot of fun. They are great little guns to introduce new shooters, since they are so handy, but still seem to command some sense of respect and reverence from being ex-U.S. army issue? As for combat, no, I’ve never carried one into harms way. I’m inclined to think that is how the thing got such a bad reputation in Korea… When a shrill bugle blows and Chi-coms or KPA troops are throwing grenades and firing burp guns and sceaming at a dead run, there is no way anyone armed with a carbine would imagine that it could be relied on to stop the charge… Short of a tank or an M2 Browning or similar, it would seem distinctly inadequate.

  13. Dave, I know a man who faced one of those mass charges. They were so close he and his men were bore sighting their artillery piece at them. He was found after the battle wandering naked amongst the carnage, nonspeaking and seaminly unthinking. Bad scene!

  14. What’s with all this talk about the Garand being “too heavy”??
    Have we raised a generation of weaklings? Really?? I trained on the Garand as a skinny 18 year-old; nobody in our company complained about the rifle’s weight. ‘It was what it was’. No M-1 ever weighed “11-12 pounds” unless you counted the sling, the mounted bayo, and a full clip. Remember, Germany and Japan nearly conquered the world with five shot bolt-actions.
    The M1 Garand Rifle: “The greatest battle implement ever devised.”-George S. Patton

    • Try carrying the vaunted M1 rifle on your back while hauling a ridiculously heavy artillery projectile with your bare hands so that you can shove that huge thing into the breach of a heavy field gun. I bet you’re going to break your back in the process. Could you easily and quickly yank a long rifle out of a backseat while exiting a (not convertible) truck cab? I think not!

      Just kidding!

    • For people whose primary job was lugging mortar base plates, spools of wire, boxes of ammunition, belts for the MGs, crates of rations, medical supplies, cans of gasoline, spare parts, binoculars and maps and radios, etc. etc. etc.? Yeah, for them the Garand rifle was inappropriate. At least U.S. Ordnance held that view. I’m inclined to agree. The Garand is an excellent rifle. Also a real handful. sling, full en-bloc clip plus many, many more, and the clever little cleaning kit, oiler, cleaning rod, patches, etc. stuffed inside the buttstock…

      https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/a25644619/soldier-weight/

  15. Here, a good discussion of accuracy issues.
    https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?445273-M1-Carbine-accuracy-expectations

    I was familiar with one “fan” of the specified M1 carbine.
    I’m not sure what he was doing, but if I remember correctly, he started by long and carefully choosing one with a suitable barrel from a pile of carbines …
    Then he conjured for a long time and licked it. I installed a bracket for the sight and all that …
    In the end, he got a pretty decent device that provides a minute or a half and up to 200 yards.
    He said that over a long distance hits become too random.
    And after about 3K shots, he began to look for a new carbine again…

    There is such a grandfather story that in Korea M1 carbines did not penetrate the winter uniforms of commies.
    I think the point is dispersion. If the grooves are quite worn out, then with a sufficiently strong cold, the bullets could turn out to be unstable and just miss the target.
    A similar story was with the early M16s near polar lands.

    • What is the twist rate of the rifling used in the carbine?

      I’m going to assume that for the sake of common tooling, such as single point cutters, gang broaches, buttons, mandrels…

      That it was the same as the full sized rifles – about one turn in 10″

      Shultz and Larsson, demonstrated with their highly respected target rifles that a one in 14″ twist gave excellent target accuracy with the 150 grain boat tail spitzers used in 7.62 x51

      The more usual one in 10″ twist, provided excellent accuracy with the 180grain boat tail Spitzer in .30-06 M1 Ball.

      Why would it not provide adequate stabilisation for a 125 grain flat based round nose?

  16. I’m intrigued by the tales of bores wearing out with some few shots.

    Nominal bore dimensions for all US .30″ military guns are:
    Diameter across top of lands; .300″
    Diameter to base of grooves ; .308″

    You can mess about with the number of grooves and the proportions occupied by lands and grooves, and the twist rate of the rifling, for example M17 barrels had lands the same width as grooves, M1903 rifles had lands about 1/2 or 1/3 the width of the grooves

    M17 s therefore had less bore area, but were reckoned to last a bit longer – The parent P14 barrel had a design life of around 10,000 rounds).

    Materials used for barrels were the same across the spectrum of US rifles and machine guns, these were (and still are) broadly;

    SAE 1350 – manganese steel with 0.5% carbon

    SAE 4150 – chrome, molybdenum steel 0.5% carbon

    SAE 4350 – chrome molybdenum nickel steel 0.5% carbon

    Given the similarities in jacket materials, and that .30 carbine had only about 80% of the Peak pressure, followed by a much more rapid pressure drop compared to any of the full sized rifle cartridges…

    Where are the claims of short barrel life coming from?

    If it is happening, how is it happening?

    I’ll accept that an M2 or M3 selective fire carbine, that gets abused on full auto, is likely to have reduced barrel life, but when bench rest shooters get the same or more rounds out of a (way hotter than .30 carbine) 6mm PPC barrel before groups start to open up beyond quarter minute…

    Something doesn’t add up at all

    • Yeah, it appears people ABUSE the full-auto thing and/or use wrong types of propellant powder. A select-fire rifle/carbine is NOT a machine gun by tactical definition, so don’t treat it as one. Seriously, I’d like to see anyone snipe with a Colt M1911. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

      If, as someone suggested, a Medic was going to use his pistol when under attack and expect to actually do ONE-SHOT=ONE-KILL, that would imply that the intended bullet-catcher is ALREADY WITHIN BAYONETING DISTANCE!! A random secondary trooper, given a semi-automatic pistol or revolver of any kind that fires something like .38 Special or .357 Magnum, is more likely to miss at point-blank in stressful combat conditions and in the worst case, accidentally shoot his own eye (and his brains) out the back of his own head on the third missed shot!

    • “Something doesn’t add up at all…”(С)

      Only if you do not have enough fragments of the picture. 😉
      The carabine barrels were made to much milder standards than the Garand barrels.
      Looser tolerances on bore diameter, hardening to less hardness.
      Perhaps the use of less quality steel was added.
      To this can be added longer shot time, greater practical rate of fire and thin barrel walls.
      Apparently, a combination of factors can give such a result.
      I also like the version with more aggressive gunpowder.

  17. I’m not even sure that you can significantly damage the throat of the rifling in the number of shots being suggested, by incorrect propellant choice.

    The case doesn’t have sufficient capacity for that.

    Normal propellant choices for .30 carbine are the same as for magnum pistol and shotgun loads, and for the likes of .22 hornet.

    I’ve not heard of anyone trying to make a firework out of a carbine by using faster burning powders – but I suspect that they’d probably be disappointed, there’s not much case capacity to fill up with fast burning powder – the faster the burning rate, the lower the bulk density of the powder.

    I’m not saying that you can’t damage a carbine with incorrect loads (I have seen one with cracked bolt lugs), but I think you would be hard pressed to damage the throat and rifling in the number of rounds being suggested.

    With slower burning powders, you possibly wouldn’t even get reliable ignition; Winchester Western withdrew 295 spherical powder (which had a burning rate that was tailored to. 30 carbine and magnum shotgun loads) because of poor ignition characteristics during cold weather.

    I can’t remember what changes were made to achieve the replacement Win 296.

    Anyway, small case and light bullet, I don’t think that slow burning powder is going to do anything nasty to the throat of the rifling

  18. My late father was issued one of these at the end of WW2. He was in the Royal Signals attached to an Indian army tank brigade so he was just the kind of soldier this was intended for. He bloody loved it and wished he’d been able to get one home. Why? Because the alternatives were heavy, and he was a mighty 5′ 2″ tall…

  19. It is interesting that GIs in Korea thought that their carbines (110 grn bullet at 1990FPS) were inferior killers but had respect for the Chinese burp guns (85 grn bullet at 1800FPS). I think there were two things going on here. Lubricants stiffen up in cold weather. The carbine needed to be lubed with a synthetic lube that did not turn into a solid mass in -30F. The Russians washed the working parts of their small arms with diesel fuel and the little bit that remained in the mechanism was sufficient and I suppose the Chinese did as well.
    I watched a documentary on the Korean war and it showed some POWs wearing their winter padded uniforms and I would guess that most of them weighed not much more than 100 pounds. They made a big target but most of it was cotton.

  20. Wow, sounds like we have a boat load of experts that have never used one of these rifles in combat. I don’t know crap about grooves etc, but I was an army helicopter pilot in Vietnam May 6-67. I carried a .38 special as normal issue and a friend left me his Carbine when he went home. I adored my rifle as most did not have a backup for their pistol. I used it regularly from the cockpit out the window, unfortunately I broke several windows I propped it on from the recoil.
    On a mission when I ended up on the ground with an infantry platoon, the platoon leader went berserk and the platoon sergeant asked me to take over. Fortunately I had grabbed my Carbine as I exited the helicopter. The platoon had been ambushed by an NVA battalion and the battle was hot and heavy. I was able while coordinating gunships overhead to shoot at about 75 yards an NVA running. I said “wait one” and fired three rounds and saw him do a double summer salt before I was shot and evacuated by a helicopter under fire and we were shot down. The platoon sergeant later confirmed that they had found my dead NVA in the field. Unfortunately I left my Carbine on the hill trying to get to the chopper under fire. It worked perfectly for me and I regret not getting it back to sneek home. Although I am sure I would have passed it on. I had two 30 round clips taped back to back. I loved my carbine and still miss it!

  21. Random comments
    1) The cadre XO at my ROTC detachment had been a forward observer armed with an M2 in Korea. He bought the “wouldn’t penetrate Chinese winter uniform” story and said it had happened to him. Conclusion – A, There was a problem with penetration or B. There was a problem with ammunition ballistics in Korean cold causing it to miss or C. It was a latrine rumor and US troops were just plain missing. I’m inclined to C as the Army would have investigated and fixed A and B AND the Army totally revamped marksmanship training post-Korea by deemphasizing known distance and introducing Trainfite (c) ranges with pop up targets
    2) My uncle was a heavy weapons (MG’s and mortars) infantryman in the Northwest European Campaign in WW2. He was also the hunter among my male relatives. Post-war, he volunteered to serve in the Army of Occupation in return for Sergeant’s stripes. Anyway, he and several others were given permission to hunt to supplement the company cooks’ issued rations. His weapon was an M1 carbine and he nailed a deer with it on his first trip. He claimed he chased the darn thing the length and breadth of Germany and into parts of Poland before it went down. He said it was a good shoulder shot, he checked. Hmmm, full grown deer weighs about as mush as a man…..Hmmm
    3. Russell Davis, author of Marine At War
    https://www.amazon.com/Marine-at-War-Russell-Davis/dp/0553271172
    was a battalion runner in the First Marines on Pelileu in the brutal and futile frontal attacks against Bloody Nose Ridge. On the third day, things got totally, unbelievably hopeless, so he threw away his carbine and picked up a Garand and 30-06 from one of the dead and went forward to fight as an rifleman. That says something about how at least one front line troop thought of their comparative merits.
    4. The M1 was unique and had only one other weapon to use its ammo, the Cristobal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristóbal_Carbine and https://www.forgottenweapons.com/rifles/san-cristobal-carbine-model-2/
    with no other descendants – unless you consider the M2 to be a sort of Submachine Gun or an Early Assault Rifle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ateT144BgPk

  22. After the american troops had been through the south of France there were so many carabines in the countryside that the local Prefect authorized its use for hunting in the postwar period. They were mainly after roe deer about 50 pounds in weight.
    Up here in the Charente some hunters were still using K98’s with exploding ammo on wild boars up in to the 60’s. Very illeagal but worked well

  23. I love the deer story 🙂

    The main species of European deer

    Roe, pretty little things – about 50 to 80 pounds

    Fallow – I think technically they’re asian. Palmate antlers… doe 80 to 100 pounds, Bucks around 200 pounds – about the same size as American White tail.

    Red – on Scottish hills, about 200 pounds – their growth is stunted.

    In European woodland, reds range from about 300 to over 500 pounds – still a lot smaller than American elk (same overall species), but a lot heavier than even a very big fit human.

    Even a little roe buck can run around for almost a minute with a hole that you can stick your thumb through, through both lower chambers of his heart.

    I’ve got to say – I strongly suspect that the “failure to penetrate” quilted Chinese winter wear…

    Was far more likely to be failure to hit the tough, fired up little China-men.

    I’ve read accounts of people claiming greater success with a Thompson than a .30 carbine, and I’m curious. Even in the wonderful days of shooting pistol cal carbines in the 1980s, I never got to try a Thompson.

    Was the Thompson providing a steadier aim?

    Were its sights easier or more foolproof to use?

    I think we can safely rule out the idea of the Thompson having greater penetration – some fans of .45 argued that the likes of 9mm p and .30 carbine over penetrated.

    • “Insufficient penetration into winter clothing” is bullshit.
      More plausible is the version of the insufficient stopping effect. A completely similar picture was with 7.62×25 cartridges. If the single bullet did not hit large bones, the target often found a wound only when it saw blood or died.
      It is likely that when the enemy after the shelling did not fall in place, but continued to move, it was perceived as a miss or something else.

  24. FMJ vs. SP ammo. U.S.Police were generally favorable, used SP ammo.
    Some girls in Texas take their first deer with the carbine and SP: white tails and Asian Axis breeds…
    The Model 1902 Winchester rifle and .32 WSL cartridge, while accurate, were derided and ultimately died because they were inappropriate to deer hunting, which is the sine qua non of the U.S. rifle market–well, at least it used to be.

    Korea: missed. Every. single. time. Look at the terrain. Look at the foe. No wonder no one was confident.

  25. does anyone remember an article in a US gun mag in the late 1960¬s in which the writer converted an M1 carbine into 7.62mm x 1.5 inch and moved the gasblock up the barrel.
    It basically made a Kurz light rifle

    • I’ve never seen the original article, but there are references in Barnes; Cartridges of the World to .308×1.5″ being chambered in a carbine

      Then reference to .256 win mag (a .357 mag rimmed pistol case necked down to take a .257″ cal bullet of between 60 and 87 grains) as a factory chambering in some Universal made carbines.

      I think there was also a ref to someone (John T Amber?) having a carbine modified to .44 magnum.

      Those are on top of the Johnson spitfire rounds based on the original carbine case necked down. The .30 Carbine based wildcats are fairly close in dimensions and powder capacity to .22 Hornet based wildcats.

      I guess that now, it would be recognised as sacrilege to Bubba a carbine

      An old battered Ruger Mini 14 or AR15 clone would be a much cheaper and better suited base for Bubbafication

        • Hi Daweo,
          That Universal Vulcan carbine and the others covered on that page are interesting.

          Limiting it to pump action was probably a wise move. There’s much more freedom in loading for revolvers and manual repeaters than there is loading for semi or full auto operation.

          The problems caused by a simple change in propellant for 5.56×4511, without any change in bullet or external ballistics, is a good example.

          I took a quick look at the Chiappa carbine in 9mmP that the site covers. It’s interesting that it uses the same Browning GP35/Beretta/S&W pattern mag feed lips as the 1980s Marlin “Camp Carbine”

          Also interesting that it’s blowback and uses (like the Winchester 1905 and 1907 Self Loading rifles) additional weight hidden in the fore-end.

      • Oops!
        I just checked Barnes COTW 10th Edn.

        “.30 kurz” wildcat was developed for the carbine

        It’s a .470 diameter rimless case (8×57, ’06 etc) necked to .30 and shortened to 1.290″ same as the carbine case

        I don’t know what shoulder angle was used, but neck length looks minimal (I’m not going looking for its detailed dimensions in Donnely).

        Skinner has been doing excellent work as editor, weeding out some of Barnes’ more egregious errors and misconceptions.

        But it looks like he hadn’t got the entry for .30 kurz re written before the 10th edition went to press.

        It still refers to the “pressure limits” of the carbine, as though they were independent of the (internal) area of the case head

      • I am late in replying but one of the minor disappointments in my life was finding an excellent looking Universal M1 Carbine with a mounted 4x scope for $300 at a local gun store in about 2015.I thought myself in great luck until I realized the gun was chambered in .256 Win Mag, a cartridge far too expensive for teenage me to afford.

  26. Well now its a Thompson. IN my unit in Vietnam we banned Thompsons because they had no safety and we had a couple of incidents where they went of and no one was hurt.First. They are heavy, second we never used the sights. Third, loading 45s into the big round magazine was a chore no one liked. Steadier aim ? you kidding holding on to it was a difficult thing as it tended to climb as you shot it. You just kind of pointed it in. the right direction. Penetration? The 45 has more knockdown power than a 9mm from experience. Never had either not penetrate, but was suspect of the stay down power of the 9mm.

    • Thanks Robert 🙂

      I never got to try a Thompson of any sort. IIRC, there were some semi auto only conversions of old open bolt ones, as well as the closed bolt, newly manufactured commercial ones, circulating in Britain in the 1980s.

      Looking at the designs on paper, in video coverage by people like Ian, and accounts by people like yourself…

      I’ve got to say that I’m less impressed with the mechanics of the Thompson with each new thing I learn about it

  27. The M1/M2 carbines have a huge influence on modern firearms. Not because of the mechanics or the cartridge, but the idea of a small, light carbine. The US Air Force adopted the AR-15 in 1961 because they wanted an M1/M2 replacement. The USAF fight for the AR-15 would lead to what we see in the USA commercial market today.

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