Please tell me about M1 Carbine Reliability


October 8, 2004, 02:19 AM
I really like the M1 Carbine, but so far, the testimonies of those around me has lead me to believe they are not all that reliable.

So I want to hear your stories, be it good or bad, about the M1 Carbine.


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October 8, 2004, 02:39 AM
Never had one fail with good mil spec US ammo...

Then again I never used one in a SHTF scenario...

Whne the mutantdemocratkerryriotersalliedwiththeforcesofzombie evil attack, it wouldnt be my first choice..:)


October 8, 2004, 04:30 AM
Well, I want a gun that's got good pointability, 100 yards or so coverage, and one that my gf can lift and tote around...

I was thinking M1Carbine with Synthetic Ramline Stock.

October 8, 2004, 08:23 AM
Most of the bad rap on the Carbine came from the Korean war, where unrebuilt WWII rifles were put into service.

I've heard veterans of the WWII Pacific theater, including vets from Merrill's Marauders and Wingate's Chindits wax poetic about the light, pointable M1 Carbine and the ability of the round in jungle combat against Japanese helmets and body armor.

There was a massive M1 Garand rebuilding program after WWII, but a lot of the Carbines sent to Korea were not in as good shape.

October 8, 2004, 08:59 AM
I know several guys who used them in WWII and loved them, however as others said some got abused pretty bad and the Korean War ones (especially the full auto M2 with 30 round mag) had some problems.

The 15 round mag models, decently cared for, will run forever.

October 8, 2004, 02:02 PM
The keys to a reliable M1 carbine are:

1. A USGI (NOT a commercial copy) that's in GOOD condition.
Remember, the last carbine was built at least 60 years ago, has been "through the wars" both as a military issue rifle AND through who knows how many civilian hands.
A worn carbine with possible "replica" non-USGI parts, or one that has a gas cylinder full of 60 years of burned lube and fouling isn't going to work well.

2. GOOD USGI type ammo.
Many people complain about unreliable operation, then we find they're using "Billy Bob's Budget Brand Ammo, $2.99 per 500 rounds".
The carbine was designed and built to work with USGI carbine ammo, not commercial ammo with different powders, steel cases, or soft-point ammo.
Some carbines WILL feed soft point ammo, but again, they weren't designed for it.

3. GOOD USGI magazines.
Most carbine problems are traced to worn-out carbine magazines or commercial "replica" magazines.
The 30 round magazines are particularly bad about problems, since almost all 30 round mags are either worn out or abused GI, or worse, bad commercial replicas.

So, if you want a reliable, accurate carbine, buy a USGI in good condition, then have it checked out/repaired/rebuilt by a qualified carbine gunsmith.
Use high quality USGI specification ammo, and use USGI magazines in good condition.
If you can find good USGI 30 round mags, fine, but otherwise stick with USGI 15 round mags, which can still be found new-in-the-wrap.

Do this, and you'll have the same reliable battle carbine that was favored over all other weapons by such experts as Audi Murphy.

Vern Humphrey
October 8, 2004, 05:06 PM
I was issued an M2 Carbine (full auto capability) as an Adviser during my first tour in Viet Nam. This weapon would sometimes fail to lock, resulting in an embarassing "click" when the trigger was pulled.

It also would not put a man down quickly enough.

It got wrapped around a tree, and from then on I carried an M1 rifle I bummed from the ARVN unit I was advising.

October 9, 2004, 12:45 PM
dfariswheel said it best:

1. A USGI (NOT a commercial copy) that's in GOOD condition.
2. GOOD USGI type ammo.
3. GOOD USGI magazines.

If you need your old carbine fixed up, consider Miltech Arms ( or Fulton Armory ( Miltech rebuilt a Winchester for me using all Winchester period-correct parts, put it into a tight new stock, and I can get 4 out of 5 shots to cloverleaf at 50 yards!!!

I keep one of my Winnies pristine (it is pretty much all original, with low miles) but the MilTech gets a work out and also has an UltiMAK ( forward rail mount on which I put a Leopold scout scope...

I have no rifle that is more fun to shoot, period. For home defense? Grab a shotgun.

October 9, 2004, 02:54 PM
My 61 year old M1 carbine (Infield) functions flawlessly. It digests all the ammo I have fed it so far. But at 61, it is just about through the "break in period". I plan on passing it down to my Grandson, along with my Garand, and various others.


October 9, 2004, 04:36 PM
A friend of mine shot a Nazi soldier with his carbine. The Nazi jumped up and started to run off. So my friend shot him again. Same result. On the third shot the kraut went down for the count.

My friend then got himself a Garand.

Some histories of the Korean War point out that the carbine had a problem in very cold weather. Would not function reliably.

Vern Humphrey
October 9, 2004, 08:32 PM
A friend of mine shot a Nazi soldier with his carbine. The Nazi jumped up and started to run off. So my friend shot him again. Same result. On the third shot the kraut went down for the count.

My friend then got himself a Garand.

I learned the same lesson, and applied the same solution, some 22 years later. ;)

October 9, 2004, 08:55 PM
My Grandfather carried one in the WWII Pacific Theater. He died when I was very young. He cussed them as long as he lived. I got the impression that he was not fond of their battle field performance. I hope to find a good GI carbine one day to try one out for myself.

October 9, 2004, 09:18 PM
I think that a large part of the problem with the M1 carbine in combat was its wimpy military FMJ load. This doesn't transfer energy to the target in an efficient way - it zips right on through, making a neat hole, but not really delivering much "punch". Its velocity is too low to have any major impact or hydrostatic-shock effect. The M1 Garand, on the other hand, with a heavier bullet moving much faster, would produce the latter effects in abundance, even with FMJ ammo.

If one uses a soft-point or hollow-point load in the M1 Carbine, I suspect it would be a very efficient short- to medium-range defensive weapon. After all, it's producing energy levels slightly superior to a .357 Magnum carbine: and no-one doubts the ability of a JHP .357 Magnum at carbine velocities to produce some very nasty wounds indeed!

Oleg Volk
October 9, 2004, 10:24 PM
My experience with IAI mags turned up some problems, but the main one afected all M1Cs -- magazines often failed. Feed lips spread under pressure or floorplates fell off.

October 10, 2004, 10:39 AM
Preacherman beat me to it.

It's like the 9mm.. The FMJ's make a small neat hole, and keep on going..

I suspect the softpoints would yield much better results. I find that people think the M1Carbine as a Garand replacement, it's not, it's a 1911 replacement, and so you gotta think about it as a hand pistol..

I suspect something like this hollow-softpoint would have done much better than FMJ..

I have to admit, most of the magazines I've seen though, say "I've been in 2 wars, and I look like I've been in 4.."

October 11, 2004, 03:24 PM
I bought an IAI 30 carbine. The first one failed, the second one failed, the third one however was accurate, reliable and had an ugly birch stock.
I put an UltiMak forward mount on it with a Loopie Scout scope and QD mounts. It shoots close to the same POA when the scope has been removed and replaced. I have the GI peep on the rear as an auxiliary.
I took this carbine to a Louis Awerbuck (Yavapai Firearms Academy) tactical carbine/pistol class. It was superb. I had one FTE after about 300 or 350 rounds w/o cleaning. This was a very dusty environment at Turock CA. The class was given in "the pit" a hole scraped into a cow pasture. The dust was so fine it was almost talcum. There were may stoppage problems with the AR platform rifles. One Ruger 9MM carbine went the whole course w/o a jam!
Good Luck

October 11, 2004, 03:31 PM
Get a GI gun.

Good Magazines.
Replace the springs.
Use good ammo.

You should be good to go. Ours is an Inland that works very well considering it is in desperate need of new springs and magazines could probably use a spring replacement as well. We get a malfunction about every 150 rounds or so. Once again this is an old gun with old springs and magazines.

They are extremely fun. Not my first choice for defense though.


El Rojo
October 11, 2004, 03:52 PM
I shot my M1 Carbine this weekend for the first time in a year or two. Boy I forgot what a great gun that is! I have a Saginaw rework that I bought at a gun show back in 1996. I was doing head shots at about 15 yards and it was hitting right where I wanted it to. My friend and I went through 2 30 round mags with no problems. My non-jacketed lead reloads weren't all that reliable though. This is a fun little gun and it would be better than nothing in home defense. The good point of "use a shotgun" has been brought up and it should be noted. I have my Remington 870P and my M1 Carbine next to my bed.

Vern Humphrey
October 11, 2004, 04:28 PM
I find that people think the M1Carbine as a Garand replacement, it's not, it's a 1911 replacement

And a very poor one at that. A pistol is a weapon of desperation -- used when the enemy is within spitting distance. A weapon that won't put the enemy down at that range is a poor substiture for the M1911.

October 11, 2004, 05:20 PM
Doc GKR on Tactical Forums has tested the Remington 110 gr SP 30 M1carbine:
It gives 13" to 16" of penetration and .53 to .58 expansion in ballistic gel, bare or clothed, through windshield glass or level IIa vests. The chrono reading averaged 1864 fps. This is for Remington SP, the Winchester HSP expands a little less and penetrates a little more. The Federal SP acts like ball.
I tried to post the link to TF but it didn't work. You can read DocGKR's comments for yourself if you go to TF and do a search for 30 carbine. The thread is from 2002. Thank You DocGKR!
You can also expect to see a CorBon Powerball load in 30 M1 carbine very soon.
Good Luck

October 11, 2004, 07:57 PM
The only problems mine had when I took it to the range was a failure to lock, and we had to pry the round out. My dad rode the bolt home, and so things didn't work quite right. The other was a failure to feed the first round, though I'm pretty sure I didn't pull the bolt back far enough.

It was an Auto ordinance with the included 15 rounder, and the Remington full metal case ammo. I only had fifty rounds, so that's all I put through it. I was able to do good groups at fifty yards I think it was, though they were all a little high. I'd say they were all within three inches, with one group all three were touching. I'm not good yet, so that's probably going to get better.

I ordered some thirties from Cheaper than Dirt. I'm guessing those might not work too well, even with some work?

Jim K
October 11, 2004, 08:28 PM
The military had to use the carbine with full metal jacket bullets. It was not designed to feed or function with any other kind, though it might.

No one should believe that the carbine is equal in effectiveness to a full power military rifle like the M1 rifle ("Garand" for the kiddies). It was intended to provide people who would in WWI have been issued a pistol with a weapon they might actually hit something with. The theory was that an enemy soldier hit with a carbine bullet was more likely to be hurt than one missed by a pistol bullet. The carbine was never intended to be used by front line infantry, except for company grade officers.

Naturally, some GIs tossed their rifles and latched on to the carbine because it was lighter to carry. Also naturally, they cussed and complained (and maybe died) when the little rifle could not do a job it really was not intended to do.


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