M1 Carbine quandry...


June 3, 2009, 08:23 PM
I bought this thing off Gun Broker at the starting price with no other bidders. Think I know why... I paid too much, it's a mess. Maybe somebody who knows these can help me out.

Inland and Saginaw were both divisions of GM and both made Carbines but they were separate manufacturers, right? This rifle's barrel is marked Inland Manufacturing Division, General Motors Corporation (or something real close to that) and has the number 44 underneath the text. Would this be for 1944?

Now, the receiver is stamped Saginaw. My first thought was that an Inland barrel had been installed on the Saginaw receiver. I tried to find a site listing the carbine serial numbers to determine the date on the Saginaw receiver but all I could find was a list of the serials assigned to the various manufacturers. This one is 514800 and according to the site I found this is an Inland number. But the receiver is clearly stamped Saginaw. What gives?

Correction; Misread serial, actually 5,148,000. Doh!

Any ideas on what's happening with this Carbine? Is there a web site with dates of manufacture by serial? Anyone know when this one was made?

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Doug S
June 3, 2009, 08:35 PM
I don't have my book at the moment, so maybe someone else can confirm. That said, I do not believe that Saginaw made their own barrels. They used the barrels of other manufacturers.

June 3, 2009, 08:35 PM
What *exactly* is the receiver marking? Is it Saginaw S. G. or Saginaw S' G' ?

Saginaw S' G' marked carbines used barrels made by Saginaw or Inland (among other manufacturers).

June 3, 2009, 09:02 PM
Um... It says Inland Div.

I must be losing my mind. I swear it said Saginaw. Maybe I just had that in my mind and saw what I expected rather than what was really there.

OK, so the rifle appears to be a matching Inland example with the serial 514800. Can anyone pin down the month of manufacture?

Here are some quick pics I shot.

Here's where the UPS driver left it. :eek:


Here's an overall view. See anything I should know about?


Here's a detail. The stock is in very sad shape with lots of dents and is soaked with grease. Speaking of grease, yeah, it had some (like about 5 pounds worth). The metal has very little finish remaining but the good news is that there is no real corrosion evident. No pitting, just bluing wear.


This is my first WW II veteran and it's intriguing to hold this rifle and think about where it might have been. Could it have gone ashore on Omaha Beach? Might it have been cradled by a young soldier in the bitter cold of the Ardennes in December of 1944? Perhaps it was in the hands of a Marine watching the flag raised atop Mount Suribachi.

I know... Most likely it banged around in a truck moving supplies on base at Fort Dix.

June 3, 2009, 09:07 PM
I dunno... I think it's a safe bet that most carbines went overseas to fight. It's not like we had a whole lot of spares lying around.

June 3, 2009, 09:26 PM
I understand that something like 6 million were made 1942-45 so maybe there were a few to spare... :D

Doug S
June 3, 2009, 09:30 PM
You typed a serial number in the 500,000 range. If that is the case your rifle serial number fits between the following: 6 - 999,999 which would make the production type somewhere between May 42 to Sept 43. Your barrel would be a bit late for that.

If on the other hand, there serial number is in the 5,000,000 range, that puts your rifle in the range of 4,879,526-5,549,820, manufactured sometime between Jan 44 – Aug 44 which better fits the barrel date.

Source - J.C. Harrison's "Collecting The M1 Carbine III"

June 3, 2009, 09:36 PM
Yeah, I think you are right, I was thinking of the M1 rifles. There were always in short supply during the war, but the carbines were cranked out in a hurry.

June 3, 2009, 10:20 PM
It is 514,800, just shy of half way in the 4.9 to 5.5 range you cited. If the date range is 1/44 to 9/44 and assuming production was at a relatively steady pace a good guess might be 3 to 4 months into the range, or April to May of 1944.

I think that means it is not impossible for this rifle to have seen action on 6/6/44 or in the Battle of the Bulge although it's equally likely it was issued to some rear echelon type and never fired a shot in anger.

June 3, 2009, 10:23 PM
I think you got a very nice rifle that will clean up fine. Depending on the bore, it could also be a good shooter.
Before shooting it you might want to get the headspace checked.


June 4, 2009, 04:22 PM
These were often rebuilt by the army, so mixed parts are not unusual. Have a gunsmith check it out before firing since you did not buy it from CMP.

There is an article on 'the box o truth' about stipping cosmoline from wooden stocks that might help, as yours looks soaked in it.

Doug S
June 4, 2009, 05:07 PM
I think that means it is not impossible for this rifle to have seen action on 6/6/44 or in the Battle of the Bulge although it's equally likely it was issued to some rear echelon type and never fired a shot in anger.

The Bulge was Dec 44 - Jan 45. It could have seen action in that one. Also, there was plenty going on in the Pacific at that time. Here is a list of battles your gun could have seen, some of which were the bloodiest battles of the war. Also, don't forget your gun is a "parts" rifle. Some of the parts may be older than 1944.

July 19, 1944 - U.S. Marines invade Guam in the Marianas.
July 24, 1944 - U.S. Marines invade Tinian.
September 15, 1944 - U.S. Troops invade Morotai and the Paulaus.
October 20, 1944 - U.S. Sixth Army invades Leyte in the Philippines.
December 15, 1944 - U.S. Troops invade Mindoro in the Philippines.
January 9, 1945 - U.S. Sixth Army invades Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippines.
February 3, 1945 - U.S. Sixth Army attacks Japanese in Manila.
February 16, 1945 - U.S. Troops recapture Bataan in the Philippines.
February 19, 1945 - U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima.
March 2, 1945 - U.S. airborne troops recapture Corregidor in the Philippines.
March 10, 1945 - U.S. Eighth Army invades Zamboanga Peninsula on Mindanao in the Philippines.
April 1, 1945 - The final amphibious landing of the war occurs as the U.S. Tenth Army invades Okinawa.

1999 The History Place

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 4, 2009, 05:18 PM
May I ask the price you gave?

June 4, 2009, 05:19 PM
I'll tell you, I'd take her. It is an arsenal "mix master" which is OK. It will clean up and you'll have a nice gun. I am envious. You did fine I think...I'd be pleased as punch and I'd have me a project cleanin' 'er up!

June 4, 2009, 06:22 PM
I would take her too! she would go well with my 3 other M1 carbines.

June 4, 2009, 07:53 PM
I paid $519 for it.

How do you know it's rebuilt with mixed parts? The barrel and receiver are both Inland and I don't know enough to know how to check other parts.

The serial is hand-engraved in the stock, whatever that may mean.

June 5, 2009, 01:00 AM
Wait, the serial was hand engraved into the stock? Hmmmmm ....... sounds like you got an actual GI issue weapon .... and you only paid $519 for it? Dude, you made out pretty good then. I picked up a Plainfield police issue that was like new in box for $525.

Time to give the girl a bath and clean her up. I have a feeling you're going to find you've got a nice piece of history.


June 5, 2009, 01:50 AM
Sax here a little info from the CMP. I'll see if I can find more.
This info is similar to what my father told me recently too.
I don't have my book at the moment, so maybe someone else can confirm. That said, I do not believe that Saginaw made their own barrels. They used the barrels of other manufacturers.
From what I've read many carbines have mixed parts when assembled. Your date on the barrel should have a month then year such as 5/44 also. If it just 44 then yes 1944. There were tons of parts manufacturers for the carbines. Thus the reason for mixed parts/dates.

This info is similar to what my father told me recently too.
The M1 Carbine was designed primarily to offer noncombat and line-of-communications troops a better defensive weapon than a pistol or submachinegun, with greater accuracy and range, but without the recoil, cost, or weight of a full-power infantry rifle. The carbine was also easier for less experienced soldiers and smaller-framed people to fire than the .30 caliber infantry rifles of the day. The carbine was more convenient to carry for officers, NCOs, or specialists encumbered with weapons, field glasses, radios, or other gear. Tankers, drivers, artillery crews, mortar crews, and other personnel were also issued the M1 Carbine in lieu of the larger, heavier M1 Garand. Belatedly, a folding-stock version of the M1 Carbine was developed, after a request was made for a compact and light infantry arm for airborne troops. The first M1 Carbines were delivered in mid-1942, with initial priority given to troops in the European theatre of war.


Read this thread also it's a short one.

June 5, 2009, 06:51 AM
Got to love the UPS guy!! It is good you have neighbors who do not steal ya blind!!

June 5, 2009, 11:55 AM
I made a correction on the serial. It is 5,148,000, not 514,000 as I stated earlier. I missed the last digit.

I will look again, but I think the barrel jsut says 44 with no month.

But then, I haven't been right yet in reading the stampings...

Dave Markowitz
June 5, 2009, 12:32 PM
IMO, $519 is a fair price for that Carbine, assuming it's in good mechanical condition and has a good bore. It bears hallmarks of a postwar rebuild:

--Adjustable rather than flip rear sight
--Barrel band with bayonet lug
--M2 handguard (4 rivets)
--M2 "potbelly" stock

Again, if it's in good mechanical shape it'll make a good shooter after you clean it up. I would recommend replacing the recoil spring as only G-d knows how many rounds have been fired through it. Wolff carries them.

June 5, 2009, 01:10 PM
Alright, I am learning as I go. I blew the barrel date. It is stamped 4-44 so I assume the rifle (if the barrel is original and I think at this point it likely is) was made in April of 1944. Interesting timing. The barrel band is stamped MMO. Meaning?

I took a photo of the serial carved into the left side of the stock. The cutting looks as old as the gun. Is this something GIs did sometimes? Was there a reason?


I also noted the initials MG carved into the bottom of the pistol grip, looking like a cattle brand with the right leg of the M forming the back of the G. Again, maybe the initials of the GI issued this rifle?


Here's a better shot of the overall rifle. The initials MG appear again on the right side of the buttstock but not with the "cattle brand" design as on the grip. This is one of those you wish could talk.


I guess that if it was rebuilt after WWII it may have been reissued during the Korean War or saw some other duty to explain the wear and crude engravings done on the wood. It just looks and feels like it's been around the block more than once.

BTW- I have another Inland coming from the CMP (someday... someday... I know they are busy...) and it will be interesting to compare the two said by side.

June 5, 2009, 01:21 PM
I may have missed it if you mentioned it...does it have an import stamp. It's usually on the side or bottom of the barrel. Often the stamp is so faint that it bears looking at with a magnifyer. This affects the value as well. No import means better deal. Still a good deal if even for a shooter. Good work. Also, check out http://www.milsurps.com/. It used to be called Jouster or culver's Shooting Page. I learned a lot from that sight. It might help you out.

June 5, 2009, 01:24 PM
I lost my mind once and am still looking for it.:mad:


June 5, 2009, 01:57 PM
Yup, CAI.

Century Arms International?

I take it that means at some point the rifle was sold or lent to a foreign nation and was subsequently imported back for civilian sale.

June 5, 2009, 02:49 PM
You might get some of the stock dings out with an iron. I use a clothes steamer on my surplus stocks and metal to loosen up the cosmoline. Check out the CMP forums and search for stock restoration, lots of good info there. Some even put their stocks in the dish washer to pull the cosmo. out and raise the wood.

Dan Crocker
June 5, 2009, 03:07 PM
+1 on taking it apart and putting it in the dishwasher. It's great for getting the grease off! Then you can sand the stock and refinish it, oil the metal parts and put it back together. Viola!

June 5, 2009, 03:32 PM
Getting an actual GI M1 Carbine for under $600 -- even if it needs a little work -- is a good deal.

I paid $600 for mine (Rockola) three years or so ago, and I got lucky. Had no idea how to shop for them, no idea what was good, what was bad.

I lucked into a "bright bore" rifle that had evidently only been shot by a little old lady at church socials on Sundays.

Three years ago, $600 was a "fair price" for a Carbine in good shape. Today, that same Carbine is at least $800. Or $1,000 if you buy it retail at Big-5 (west of the Mississippi, I believe).

You done good.

June 5, 2009, 05:00 PM
Take it to the local $1.50 diy car wash. The soap and hot water will cut the grease, it'll also help to take the dings out of the stock. If the stock is real oilly spray it with Easy-Off oven cleaner first.

The above will also keep the wife much happier than using the dish washer.

Dan Crocker
June 5, 2009, 05:56 PM
The above will also keep the wife much happier than using the dish washer.
It's never left residue when I've done it. And if you wait til she goes shoe shopping, you've got allllll day.

June 5, 2009, 07:33 PM
they were imported in the early 90's bought 1 for $200.00 inland mfg. friend bought a winchester mfg . m1 carbine same price.

June 6, 2009, 02:58 AM
In today's market a solid shooter for under $600 is a good deal. I recently sold a beater with a replacement birch stock, little finish and a (well documented) pitted bore for over $500. You did OK.

June 6, 2009, 07:29 AM
I thought it would be appropriate to take it out and shoot it today.

June 6, 2009, 07:44 AM
Post some pictures of how it looks after the cleanup. Shoot a mag for me, I am surrounded by soldiers at camp cupcake Iraq and they was no D-Day ceremonies here.

June 6, 2009, 07:49 AM
There are better ways to reat a grease soaked stock with dings.
Sanding may remove stamps and markings that reveal the history of the stock. If you must make your carbine look "pretty", there are plenty of other options, like just getting a like new GI stock.
My own CMP carbine came with an M1 RockOla stock that was fairly dry, and had a few dings. I look at the dings and try to picture how they happened...A GI taking cover on rocky ground, the scrapes on the bottom of the forend, maybe by resting it on a rock or blown out window...
I love to see the ordnance stamp on the buttstock, and the rebuild stamp on the side...so much history in a piece of wood...All I did was clean it with furniture cleaner, rub it down with BLO, and put some wax on it...Now it looks great.
My service grade Inland also had just about 100% GI green park on the metal, and the stock has the early I-cut oiler slot, which is what led me to look it over more closely when I picked it out at North Store.
It shoots so well, and is so handy, that right after my first range trip, it became my HD long arm.

June 6, 2009, 10:47 AM
I would be very proud of that gun. Mine looked almost that bad when I first got it. Im sure you remember my thread where I refinished mine. Its really not that hard, but it does take some time.

June 6, 2009, 11:16 AM
If it is stamped CAI then what you have is a Century Import. These were guns that were sold off to foreign countries, and then repurchased by importers, stamped with their markings, and sold in the US. You have to be careful of these carbines, because they have typically not been taken care of, have not been inspected like CMP guns, and some have had damage done to them when the import marks were stamped on them. If the import mark is on the barrel, you need to make sure they didnt bend the barrel with the stamping. That is a common problem.

June 6, 2009, 10:05 PM
Many late production Inlands were manufactured with the bayonet lug and other features that we generally consider to be "post war" features.

So, don't assume it's a post war rebuild into you do some more reading. It might still be an original configuration rifle. If it was anything *except* an Inland, I'd be sure it was a rebuild, but with the Inland's it might be original.

Doug S
June 6, 2009, 10:41 PM
Most likely, unless you have a wartime bringback, your gun will have undergone at least one refurb. That isn't unusual, it's the norm. $500 is a decent price for a carbine, and also an indicator that the gun is not in original configuration. If it were, you could expect to pay at least double that. The Century imports that I've seen do seem to have seen a lot of use. It's easy enough to take apart and identify the parts by manufacturer. It appears to be in a Type V potbelly stock, which I believe was standardized and produced after WWII, so again most likely it's seen at least one refurb.

June 7, 2009, 02:13 PM
ALL carbines in service at the end of WWII were Arsenal inspected, and updated to use the bayonet equipped front-band. Any that had worn parts were also updated with the latest parts available, and many were re-parkerized. The added parts were from whichever manufacturer they had on hand. The weapons were dis-assembled in batches, and the parts were checked, replaced, or refinished, and THEN the guns reassembled from bins of inspected parts. THAT'S where the "mix-master" (an old-time electric mixer brand) reference comes from. AFTER the initial re-work, carbines were placed in storage, re-issued, or sent out in Military Assistance packages. Germany, Korea, France, Holland, Japan, and Thailand all received them. As did the Vietnamese. Many of the late-80's early 90's carbines imported commercially were from Korea.

After Korea, this was done again, and some were even re-arsenal built after use in Vietnam.

June 7, 2009, 03:05 PM
I don't doubt it was overhauled at the end of the war. From what I hear the stock is not original. Also, since it is import stamped it must have been sold or given to a foreign nation at some point.

But what I find interesting is that the stock has crude markings that seem likely done by whomever was issued this rifle, like the initials and the serial being carved into the wood. Would this not indicate usage after the rebuild? This to me sounds like an American thing and at the very least the markings are not any Asian language. Also, it was packed in grease for long term storage. I got the feeling when handling it that it had been in this condition for many years, maybe since it was imported and who knows how long in total.

So... I just don't know. Looks used beyond it's rebuild following WW II but where or by whom is a mystery. I suspect that the barrel and receiver are original together but I don't know for sure. Other parts are beyond me to identify, I simply don't know enough about these to recognize different manufacturer's parts.

I did shoot about 40 rounds through it and it seems to work fine. A couple failures to feed with the old magazine that came with it but the new one I bought seemed to work OK. The old mag's spring may be tired.

I bought this one while waiting for my Inland from CMP to arrive (some day... some day...) thinking to keep the better of the two and sell the other. But now I find myself becoming attached to this one.

I may wind up with two of them...

June 7, 2009, 07:25 PM
Many of the countries that were given M1 Carbines re-worked them as they saw fit. Those of the Bavarian Police were modified to use a Mauser style rear sight, as that was what the men were used to. The Thais also modified theirs in many ways. They were also repaired by the countries issued them.

The Carbine that you have has definitely seen hard use, though probably not in a declared war. Many of these Asian countries had serious smuggling and bandit issues, and the Carbines saw some extensive action with their Police forces, and military, in those capacities.:D

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