UNITED STATES CARBINE, CAL .30, M1
BRIEF OVERALL HISTORY
During WWII, the US identified a need for a light rifle. Troops that were not on the front lines were either given an M1 Rifle or M1911 Pistol. The rifle was large and cumbersome, impeding the troops tasks. The pistol was not effective enough as rear troops were often coming in to direct contact with the enemy. It was decided a carbine would fill this role. The M1 carbine was half the weight of the M1 rifle and was effective out to 300 yards, much farther than a pistol. It would become the most produced small arm of WWII, with over 6 million produced.
On the top of the receiver towards the front is the model. It is marked "US CARBINE CAL .30 M1" and is partially obscured by the slide when the bolt is closed.
MANUFACTURER AND SERIAL NUMBER
At the rear of the receiver is the manufacturer and serial number. This one was produced by National Postal Meter. National is obscured by the rear sight. National Postal Meter was one of the Prime Contractors and this serial number is toward the beginning of their third block of numbers provided by Ordnance. Based on this and other indicators, this rifle was like produced in 1943.
Just behind the front site is the barrel manufacture, manufacture date, and ordnance bomb. Buffalo Arms, located in Buffalo, NY, was contracted by the US to produce barrels for Carbine manufactures who did not produce barrels. National Postal Meter was one of these manufacturers. With the manufacture date of October 1943, this is likely the original barrel on this rifle.
BARREL PROOF MARKS
There is a "P" proof mark on the top of the barrel in front of the barrel band. This is covered by the bayonet lug protrusion of the barrel band when assembled. This proof mark was likely done by Buffalo Arms, although not required. The punch mark below and to the left of the "P" was used by National Postal Meter as a proof mark after they had assembled the rifle. This is further evidence that this is an original barrel.
FLAMING ORDNANCE BOMB
In addition to the flaming ordnance bomb with the manufacture marking, two others can be found on this barrel. One on the flat of the barrel between the gas piston and breach, and the other on the gas cylinder. These are believed to be ordnance inspector markings, although this is not confirmed.
TRIGGER HOUSING GROUP
The trigger housing group was produced by Winchester as indicated by the "W" on the right side and is capable of accepting the components for the M2 conversion. The safety is the later rotary style and marked "J.A.O." indicating post WWII manufacture. The hammer is a Type IV, designed to accommodate the disconnector for the M2, and was made by Inland as indicated by the "I-I" marking. With various manufactures and M2 modifications, this trigger housing group would have been assembled and installed as part of a rebuild.
The "M" on the magazine catch indicates that it is a modified catch capable of supporting the 30 magazines designed for use with the M2 Carbine. It provided a 3 support point on the magazines.
This stock appears to have been sanded and refinished at some point removing most of the markings. The manufacturer marking is still visible on the left side sling well. It is an OI, indicating manufacture by SE Overton for inland. There also appears to be a very faint "P" on the front of the pistol grip which was used to indicate a proof after a rebuild by U.S. Army Ordnance. The stock is a considered a Type IV M2 stock and has the cut out for the M2 selector.
Interestingly, the but plate is likely one produced for commercial sale by Iver Johnson.
The recoil plate located in the stock is the later Type III that is milled. It is marked D.I. indicating Inland and could be original to the stock.
The handguard has 4 rivets on the rear. This was done to increase strength but was not started until after National Postal Meter had ceased production, indicating a replacement handguard.
The slide on this carbine is marked D-7161843. This is the drawing/stock number of this variation, known as a Type VI. This was the final variation of slide produced and was designed to engage the disconnect lever of the M2 carbine but was used in both M1 and M2 carbines. Being the later variant of this part, It would not be original to the gun and likely indicates a military rebuild. The SG below the drawing number indicates production by Saginaw Steering Gear Division of General Motors Corp.
The bolt is of the round type and does not have the lightening cut of early bolts, including all bolts produced by National Postal Meter. It is marked "OI" indicating SE Overton production for inland.
BOLT PROOF MARK
After test firing, bolts received a punch mark on top of the bolt head between the lugs. This acted as a proof mark for the bolt.
FRONT BARREL BAND
The front barrel band is the final type and includes a bayonet lug. This type was not adopted until after National Postal Meter ceased production and would have been a replacement during a rebuild. The "Q" on the left side indicates it was produced by Quality Hardware as replacement barrel band.
The front sight is of the original milled type and is marked "N" indicating it was manufactured by Niedner Rifle Corp. of Dowagiac, MI. This contractor was used by National Postal Meter and supports the belief this is an original barrel.
The magazine was produced by Stanley Works for IBM, as indicated by the "SY-B" marking. It has what is referred to as a Type II base.
The M1 carbine can be field stripped with nothing more than a cartridge. The barrel band retainer can be depressed with a cartridge tip through the hole in the front barrel band and if the barrel band need adjusting, the screw is designed to use a cartridge case rim.
A small oiler, inset in the stock, is used as the rear sling attachment point.