Universal M1 Carbine - What can I do?


January 3, 2009, 07:24 PM
My father, may he RIP, made rather spotty choices in firearms. He left me some real gems (model 40 lemon squeezer for example) and then there's his Universal M1 Carbine. He bought it at a hardware store probably in about 1970 or so.

Now I know what the whole world think of the Universal...so be it. For looks the thing is really nice. When I was a kid, he let me finish the teak stock so I sanded it very lightly and put on about 20 coats of Tung oil. So the thing looks great. It has the ventilated metal handguard and it has a bayonet lug.

So I've got this thing I want to get it working well. Is there hope?

The main problem it that it often fails to feed a round, the bolt hangs up and doesn't push the round into the chamber. This is a relatively frequent occurance. The thing was absolutely bone dry...he never once took it apart. I did so and cleaned and oiled it all. The two parallel guide rods were rough almost like a diamond hone so I figured they had corroded. I had to use a copper chore boy with CLP to smooth them out. My next thing to try is Gunslick...a supply of which he also left me.

So I guess I am looking for some ideas here. Anybody had or have a Universal? Anybody get one to work well? Anybody got any ideas on what to do to make this thing a handy carbine? Anybody actualy have one and like it? Will I ever be happy with it? (Too dramatic?) Anyway, I would never buy a Universal so please don't go that direction. But I own one and if I can improve it then I'll have a nice little carbine even if it is totally un-milspec.

Is there any hope for this accidental Universal M1 Carbine owner?

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Dean Williams
January 3, 2009, 08:05 PM
I don't know what yours needs to get it running well, except that maybe you should try another mag. I do have one, and I like it a lot. I got it quite some time ago, I believe in the early '90s. I bought it because I wanted a 30 Carbine, and not for any military collection reasons.

For what it's worth, mine has never FTF with factory ammo, and the only time it has problems with reloads is if I have missed a case that should have been trimmed. I don't know how many rounds I've fired through it, but I'll guess it's in excess of 5k. I used mine one season for my 100 yd match shooting, just for kicks. I didn't win anything that year, for sure, but it was fun. It will make 3.5 moa when I'm sitting or prone.

I've read a lot of bad about this rifle, but I don't know the reasons. I asked once in another thread about a month ago, but got no replies.

January 3, 2009, 08:49 PM
I have a Universal that functions reliably and shoots as well as an M1 carbine should.

The only issue I've had with feed problems were all related to magazine quality.

January 3, 2009, 08:55 PM
A good source of info on Universals is: http://www.m1carbinesinc.com/carbine_universal.html

I'd say grease it in the appropriate places and try different mags. How many rounds would you say it has through it? On many new commercial carbines it's not unheard of to have these kind of FTF's at first, smoothing out after 50-100 rounds.

January 4, 2009, 09:27 AM
I would say a new mag and a set of Wolff springs should fix it up. The springs did wonders for my Universal carbine.

January 4, 2009, 09:40 PM
... and it works very well. I almost never have a problem with good ammo and 10 or 15 round magazines. With a 30 round magazine it's like a bolt action rifle with an unhandy handle.

It has some great looking wood on it, too.

January 4, 2009, 11:19 PM
Yeah I have got a universal m1 and it has FTF so many times I was also wondering if there way a way to make it more reliable or is it just a lost cause???

January 5, 2009, 12:21 AM
I've got a Universal with an aftermarket folding stock. Battered old truck gun. Never failed to work.

January 5, 2009, 12:31 AM
Universals have a really bad reputation, but the one I ever got to play around with on the range ran just fine for the 100 rounds or so I shot through it. I don't recall the friend of mine who owned it saying he had any problems with it to speak of either.

January 5, 2009, 12:44 AM
I've got a Universal with the wood upper handguard & a Postal Meter Early war2 carbine, only problem I've had with the universal is the mags don't lock in as well as on the Postal Meter & if my son rests the mag on the bench it will misfeed. It's a fun gun to shoot but I loke the WW2 one better lol.

January 5, 2009, 01:04 AM
I had one and fired the bejeebers out of it back inthe 70's and 80's.It ran best on 10-15-20 round mags,30 rounders not at all.I was talking on the phone to it's ''new'' owner [he's had it 25 years] and it's STILL going strong.Try those Wolff springs.

January 5, 2009, 01:59 PM
Well that is good stuff. He had the original 15 rounder and a 30 rounder he bought at a gun show I think. I'll bet I've used the 30-rounder more!

I think I am going to do what y'all say...new springs, gunslick 'er up real good, and try stick with the 15-rounder.

Thanks guys...may have myself a very nice little gun for very little money here.

January 5, 2009, 05:56 PM
Get the set of replacement recoil springs from Wolff. The Universals are pretty badly undersprung from the factory and the Wolff springs solve that. Both of mine have the replacement springs and both run perfectly with all the factory ammo that I've tried.

Alas, installing the springs is a bit of a nightmare. At least, I've never figured out the easy way, if there is one. The guide rods are free floating pieces, and there are two of them, and two springs that have to be compressed. Have all your reserves of patience on hand, and be prepared for a lot of :cuss: :banghead:

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