M1 Carbine -- best quality makes, years?

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by G66enigma, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. G66enigma

    G66enigma Well-Known Member Supporter

    I know only a bit about the M1 Carbine. Have owned one, many years ago, and dearly loved the excellent balance, ease of shouldering, how it fired. My example wasn't all that reliable, but I've loved the platform ever since. Every other time I've had the opportunity to fire an M1 Carbine, it's been a good experience.

    Am looking to acquire another. I don't particularly care that it's all a matching-SN example. The primary thing is, for me: reliability. Not being even a minor tinkering gunsmith, I don't want to be fumbling with the thing for years in order to get it "right."

    Got suggestions on which of the vintages were of the best quality, in terms of reliability and general build?

    Make? Vintage? Variants? Issues to watch out for? Best, most-reliable magazines to use in the things?

    National Postal Meter
    Rock Ola
  2. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

    G66, I own a National Postal Meter 1944-vintage, with a Marlin barrel. It has been almost 100% reliable. I say "almost" because it was gifted to my Dad 35 years ago and hung in a nice frame in his office until he passed in 2004. He never shot it. I got it, and it sat for another ten years before I decided to see if it worked. Other than checking the bore for obstruction, and hand-cycling it a few times, there was no other prep. I fired crappy Wolf steel-cased ammo because that was all I had - bought at a gun show. There were cycling issues galore, but eventually every round fired. Really not that bad considering a 70+ year old carbine that hadn't been shot, cleaned, or maintained for 20 years (minimum), with some cosmoline still around, firing crappy ComBloc steel ammo. Afterward, I did a thorough cleaning (there was a LOT of gunk in it and it took several hours to really get things de-gunked and down to bare metal). Next time, it was 100% with PMC (brass) ammo and ran like a Timex. Next to my 181GB Mini-14 (my first firearm), it is my favorite.

    I love the form and am interested in finding a more recent model (not a War Baby) in order to preserve this fine Carbine for my Nephew and his son (who will inherit it along with the family history). The new Kahr/Auto-Ordnance ones are reportedly good, but don't necessarily use USGI parts and I frankly prefer the USGI rear sight to the flip-up rear sight offered for the Kahr/AO. My hesitation there is that USGI parts (and their counterfeits) are readily available and reasonable in price - all things considered. The new Kahr/AO, as I understand things, isn't necessarily compatible with USGI parts, so you need to go with them for replacement parts. As long as they're still in business, that isn't much of a problem. But they're not Ruger or S&W, so it is questionable whether they'll still be around ten years hence if you need a replacement part for your gunsmith to install. https://www.auto-ordnance.com/auto-ordnance-m1-carbine/

    I've become intrigued with Fulton Armory. They'll make a like-new M1 Carbine with a beautiful stock and 100% compatible USGI hardware to order. The stock is walnut, and there are a few variations. But they're very proud of their products!
    The quality is such that I would be disinclined to "beat the brush" with it, but cherish it with just range-shooting. Oh, and there's the price.

    I would be very pleased with a Ruger PC Carbine chambered in .30 Cal M1 Carbine, or a Mini-14 chambered the same, but that's not likely to happen in my lifetime.

    As for the manufacturers listed, they're all WW-II manufacturers, which means old guns that you may similarly hesitate to take into the brush and wear them out due to their history. That's my dilemma...

    My nephew was gifted a Universal M1 Carbine (post WW-II commercial) and it shot wonderfully. He offered me a swap (he's going to get everything anyway, so it was just a matter of timing). We shot it, and it did well, but I deferred due to some reports of it failing to properly lock the bolt prior to firing, with disastrous results. I consider all my firearms to have a secondary purpose for home/farm defense, so I passed. He still had it, and I still have my 1944 USGI Carbine. It is loaded up for home self-defense.

    I'm on the border of getting a Fulton Arms M1 Carbine. It seems to be a wonderful replication. But my Mini-14s are absolutely a joy to shoot, ammo is cheaper, etc.

    I can afford it, just not sure I want to invest that kinda money into a firearm I'll just shoot occasionally.
    G66enigma likes this.

  3. W.T. Sherman

    W.T. Sherman Well-Known Member

    you can't go wrong with any of the USGI carbines, they all work perfectly regardless of who made them. unless it has some worn out unserviceable parts in it or someone monkied with it to "make it better" .

    as for mags, my advice is to stick with USGI 15 round mags. just watch out for commercially made fakes, they are out there.
    G66enigma likes this.
  4. BillDeShivs

    BillDeShivs Well-Known Member Supporter

    Most, if not all, US GI carbines were assembled from parts made by the various suppliers-rather than by one maker.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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