Originally Posted by robocop10mm
Pretty much any M-1 carbine is the same (mechanically) as the next one with the exception of the Universal brand. They are unique and almost no parts interchange.
Both Auto-Ordnance and Universal are civilian makers of a COPY. USGI parts are NOT interchangeable with either of these makes. You can get a Universal for $400, but apart from fun to shoot, it has no real value.
Spend a few hundred more to get a TRUE M1 carbine.
If you can, have the owner strip it down and look at EVERY part; they should all be marked with the manufacturer (there were 11 of them).
Price range of $600-800 is typical for a good condition WWII M1 carbine. Fun to shoot, good for beginners, but they WILL NOT hold zero. With the separate receiver and recoil plate, there's just too much movement to hold zero. I did hear about a guy during initial testing who welded the two and was able to hold zero for a long period. Why they didn't require this was probably due to the cost of milling a receiver with the recoil plate. Easier to mill separately and combine. Never meant to be a long-range shooter, so not that big a deal for most.
With eleven different makers, quality had to be very high, as the makers would often swap parts to build a gun. And when it was clear we were going to win, production was halted and all the parts used to build as many remaining guns from those parts as possible.
The same happened with the Garands; late-war/post-war mash-ups. In fact, all the M1 Garand "Tanker" rifles are post-war builds. That was NEVER an approved model (though the design was tested). Lots of people get scammed with the "Tanker" Garands.
It takes only a screwdriver to field-strip it (or a bayonet edge, by design), and just a few minutes to separate the receiver from the stock, and the trigger assembly from the receiver. You use the slide guide rod to help tear down the trigger assembly! Again, this was by design. You can see many of the maker's marks that way.
I'd suggest buying "The M1 Carbine Owner's Guide
" By Scott Duff
. it has ALL the info you'll need to find a good shooter. Well worth the price of the book for all the info.