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Thread: Seeking gunsmith recommendations for M1 Carbine

  1. #1
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    Seeking gunsmith recommendations for M1 Carbine

    I'd like to get my dad's M1 Carbine checked out to make sure its in good operating condition. I looked up its serial number on the web and I found it likely just turned 70 years old. Who can I trust with this piece of history? I live in Linn County and don't want to have to drive too far. Anyone have suggestions on where to take my rifle? Any gunsmiths I should avoid?

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    Take the rifle and put it on a shelf ... 70+yrs ? No gunsmith is going to say "looks OK to shoot" and anyone that does, I would avoid.

    Assuming you want to keep it all original ... which you should

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Unless it was damaged, there is no reason to suspect a GI M1 Carbine is not safe to shoot. Clean it, shoot it.

    I shoot in vintage military rifle competitions. We are regularly using rifles 100 years old.

    A GI M1 Carbine is not some hardware store gun. It was one of the best made guns from its time. Clean it and shoot it with the same confidence as the modern deer rifle you put in the safe last year.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    A GI M1 Carbine is not some hardware store gun. It was one of the best made guns from its time. Clean it and shoot it with the same confidence as the modern deer rifle you put in the safe last year.
    This is Truth!

    I have used Military weapons for my entire life. They are always over engineered in the extreme. They think the average Troopie is going to be hard on it and abuse it. Great weapons come from well funded R&D. Take advantage of this and fire it. If you are concerned about damage, do a good inspect, function checks and use a few reduced pressure rounds at first.
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Take the rifle and put it on a shelf ... 70+yrs ? No gunsmith is going to say "looks OK to shoot" and anyone that does, I would avoid.

    Assuming you want to keep it all original ... which you should
    The two biggest threats to guns is rust and politicians. I'd think that using it occasionally is the best way to keep both away. People should not think of such rifles as relics, they need to be seen used responsibly.

    I'm not sure this rifle has so much value as something to be on display. The Army had millions of these rifles made and they were not concerned about keeping the rifles it had in original condition, parts were replaced with new as needed. Good chance this rifle has already had parts replaced. I saw no markings on the rifle that would indicate it is rare. Best guess this rifle is worth about $800, mostly because that is what a new one costs from Auto-Ordnance. The value it has to me is that Dad gave it to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Unless it was damaged, there is no reason to suspect a GI M1 Carbine is not safe to shoot. Clean it, shoot it.
    I'm concerned about bolt wear. If the bolt has worn to the point of having the chamber out of spec there could be excessive pressures produced.

    I believe I need to explain my concern in more detail. I took the rifle to the range last weekend and I noticed that some of the spent cases did not have primers, this is an indication of excessive pressure. I had a mix of ammunition brands and all the cases that lost primers were of the same brand, Magtech. It's possible that the Magtech ammunition was out of spec. It's possible the rifle is out of spec because of wear. It's possible the rifle was damaged by that ammunition. It's possible I did not clean it properly. I'd like to have someone that knows what they are doing verify the rifle is safe to shoot.

    I'm also dealing with the suspect ammunition. I called the store where I purchased the ammunition and they were unaware of any issues or complaints with that ammunition. They offered to exchange the ammunition with another brand, they agreed the ammunition may not be safe. I've not yet taken advantage of their offer.

    Gander Mountain in Cedar Rapids does have a gunsmith in their store, depending on their work load they might be able to help me out quickly. Scheel's in Coralville said they'd have to ship the rifle to their gunsmith in Des Moines but the rates given were lower than Gander Mountain if I recall correctly.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Rusty Young Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IA_farmboy View Post
    The two biggest threats to guns is rust and politicians. I'd think that using it occasionally is the best way to keep both away. People should not think of such rifles as relics, they need to be seen used responsibly.
    Love it.

    Quote Originally Posted by IA_farmboy View Post
    I'm concerned about bolt wear. If the bolt has worn to the point of having the chamber out of spec there could be excessive pressures produced.

    I believe I need to explain my concern in more detail. I took the rifle to the range last weekend and I noticed that some of the spent cases did not have primers, this is an indication of excessive pressure. I had a mix of ammunition brands and all the cases that lost primers were of the same brand, Magtech. It's possible that the Magtech ammunition was out of spec. It's possible the rifle is out of spec because of wear. It's possible the rifle was damaged by that ammunition. It's possible I did not clean it properly. I'd like to have someone that knows what they are doing verify the rifle is safe to shoot.

    I'm also dealing with the suspect ammunition. I called the store where I purchased the ammunition and they were unaware of any issues or complaints with that ammunition. They offered to exchange the ammunition with another brand, they agreed the ammunition may not be safe. I've not yet taken advantage of their offer.
    SNIP...
    Were the primers of the other cases visibly bulged out, or was the Magtech ammo the only brand that showed any signs of excessive pressure? If you have some calipers, you could check that the bullet diameters are in spec. Maybe the Magtech is just slightly larger? Maybe even slug your barrel with a soft lead fishing weight to further verify.

    Another thing could simply be some fouling left in the barrel. Recommend a good scrubbing with a bronze brush, followed by MSG Laigaie's recommendation of reduced pressure rounds.
    Last edited by Rusty Young Man; 05-24-2014 at 03:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IA_farmboy View Post

    I believe I need to explain my concern in more detail. I took the rifle to the range last weekend and I noticed that some of the spent cases did not have primers, this is an indication of excessive pressure. I had a mix of ammunition brands and all the cases that lost primers were of the same brand, Magtech. It's possible that the Magtech ammunition was out of spec. It's possible the rifle is out of spec because of wear. It's possible the rifle was damaged by that ammunition. It's possible I did not clean it properly. I'd like to have someone that knows what they are doing verify the rifle is safe to shoot.

    I'm also dealing with the suspect ammunition. I called the store where I purchased the ammunition and they were unaware of any issues or complaints with that ammunition. They offered to exchange the ammunition with another brand, they agreed the ammunition may not be safe.

    <snipped>
    I have not heard many complaints about Magtech .. I have shot their ammo w/o issue. But not M1 ammo.

    Lost primers would be a concern .. they may cause issues in the chamber. A good example of why even with a new gun to check the casing of the first few rounds in great detail as well as the gun in general.

    I have a few old guns from relatives who have passed ... I just keep & clean/oil them .. for sentimental reasons.

    If intending on shooting more, maybe post some pics ~ there maybe some M1 experts who post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Young Man View Post
    Were the primers of the other cases visibly bulged out, or was the Magtech ammo the only brand that showed any signs of excessive pressure?
    The primers on the Remington ammunition are flat to begin with, it's difficult for me to tell if they were over pressure. I did see plenty of soot on the fired cases, a possible indication of too much pressure and/or out of spec headspace. I need to decide how much I want to invest in having the rifle checked. Just to have a gunsmith look at it will cost $50. If it needs repair then it may be more prudent to get a new range toy and keep this rifle for sentimental reasons only.

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Soot is often a sign of underpressure, as a case like the Carbine's will headspace on the case mouth, and if it doesn't expand rapidly enough, soot will come back along the case. It can also happen with properly charged cases, so it really isn't an indication of anything unless you have other symptoms.

    Don't base value on a new Auto Ordinance. The value of USGI Carbines is in them being USGI. As it is, $600-$1000 is a rough idea. Honestly, AO's are overpriced, big time.

    The primers is interesting, though. If it hadn't happened with the imported (Brazil?) MagTech brand, you'd have never noticed it. I suspect the MagTech ammo.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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