Universal M1 carbine 2 generation.


April 1, 2011, 11:16 PM
Someone at my workplace has a Universal M1 carbine 2nd gen and they want to trade me for my Mossberg 500 Persuader with the overfolding stock, front pistol grip, and tacstar side saddle.
I was wondering if that's a good trade or not. I have about $375 in my shotgun. All I'm going to do most likely is sell the M1 and get another shotgun.
While doing research I learned that the company that makes the M1 has a bad rep sprouting from their 3 gen carbines.
Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.


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April 1, 2011, 11:20 PM

April 2, 2011, 08:30 AM
If you were going to sell the shotgun, how much? A Universal M1 carbine is not worth $375, unless there are lots of accessories (like magazines). And I own one. Mine runs fine, with occasional use, but there are not spare parts around, unless you buy a spare gun.

Generally, Universal's rep is that they are "not USGI". Not sure how many people (like me) bought them thinking they were USGI design with new parts, and in fact they are a different design. Then the company went away and no spare parts.


April 2, 2011, 11:29 AM
i would skip it.

April 2, 2011, 12:25 PM
The 2nd. Gen. isn't as bad as the 3rd., but it is still chock full of cost cutting measures that make it less durable and sacrifice reliability. I'd hold out for a 1st. Gen. Universal (built mostly from surplus parts) or if possible a genuine USGI copy (which will continue to grow in value due to exhaustion of the supply).


April 2, 2011, 12:57 PM
I've had 2 universals over the years. A 2nd gen and a 3rd gen with the BHO. The 2nd gen was very reliable but I sold it because I listened to the negative hype about them. I missed it so much over the years that I bought the 3rd gen, and it was the most unreliable gun i ever shot. much worse than the tec 22 which had previously claimed that title.

Ithink that you are valuing your shotgun slightly high, and that the Universal would be worth more than the Mossberg IF:

1) It is truly a 2nd gen gun (1st gen is better, 3rd gen is worse)
2) It is in excellent condition
3) It runs reliably.
4) it comes with at least a few magazines and some ammo

definately DON'T do it if you can't shoot it first

April 2, 2011, 01:49 PM
I wouldn't enter into this sale with the hopes of 'flipping' the carbine for cash to buy another shotgun. I don't think you'd be likely to find anyone willing to pay more for it than what you've got in your shotgun. In fact, at "even-up" trade value, I'd say you're taking a bath.

If you don't want that carbine for yourself, to shoot, I'd skip this deal completely.

April 2, 2011, 03:01 PM
I might have been "stuck" by a "friend" who sold me a 3rd gen universal. Least he could have done was told me about the suppossed problems. I say suppossed because you will find many on this forum own/owned one, and never had a problem. The one thing about my purchase was that it was in very good condition, slightly used,& came with sling, mag, and oiler AND shoots very well with the reloads i feed it. Took it to a gunsmith who broke it down and inspected it at its suppossed problem points and found nothing. Have since got '43 NPM and would sell the universal if asked. Agree w/above that at $375, i'd pass though.

April 2, 2011, 04:15 PM
The only reason I would trade my shotgun for the rifle was to help a friend. For some reason he didn't want to sell it, he wanted to trade it for a shotgun so he could get rid of his FN police tac for a higher end 1911. He's funny like that. All I was going to do was sell the gun for another shotgun.
I have a Charles Daly 1911 that I wouldn't trade for his FN due to the wife claiming it as hers and it being one of my favorite guns.
Either way I'm not making the trade. Thanks for everyone's input.

April 5, 2011, 12:03 PM
As I recall, one problem area was that the bolt carrier/charging handle (not sure about the correct terminology on the M1) cracked.

April 5, 2011, 12:59 PM
I had a problem with the stamped sheet metal bolt carrier on my Universal that malformed over time and caused the bolt to bind. I would occasionally also have issues with the twin guide rods coming out of their mounts and also causing the bolt to bind.

There's no such sheet metal parts on my Kahr/AO M1 carbine and I can't even begin to explain how much happier I am with it. From my understanding, 100% of the parts interchange with surplus M1 carbines.

April 5, 2011, 01:32 PM
FWIW, a good friend of mine had an OOBD with a 3rd. Gen, which conveniently displaced the bolt, with bits scarcely missing the shooter. This is a result of a reduction/elimination of safety features in the last design (the second gen. wasn't very well constructed, but retained a far safer design similar to the original). I'd make darn sure that the bolt is locked before pulling the trigger.


April 5, 2011, 08:48 PM
hell ive got a inland 30 carbine and cannt seem to trade it for anything right now lol

April 6, 2011, 02:50 AM
Maybe not, but you could sell that Inland for a minimum of $600.00 unless it's a total basket case. Even with an import mark.

April 6, 2011, 07:09 AM
its actually a inland inland 4-44 with doesnt have any inport marks. and still cant trade it. lol if your interested let me know

April 6, 2011, 02:15 PM
nastynatesfish, if you are willing to sell, PM me with a price; I have a buddy that is interested in purchasing a USGI carbine (in fact he's the same guy that had the ill-fated
Gen. 3 Universal).


April 6, 2011, 06:04 PM
See, I told you if you offered it for sale, you'd get someone interested in it real quick. I'd love to add another to the collection, but my bank account (and wife) says not right now. I'd still say 6 bills is a good base price, more if in better condition.

April 6, 2011, 06:25 PM
those later Universal carbines are a POS. I have a first generation that runs perfect. Except for the wood, it looks like a GI carbine......chris3

April 6, 2011, 06:55 PM
The first-gen Universal guns used surplus GI parts, and were pretty well standardized with military M1 Carbines. The later ones, though, differed greatly in parts and quality. USGI parts won't fit, and they're lower quality overall.

April 6, 2011, 07:12 PM
Pm sent maverick

April 6, 2011, 08:49 PM
TY Nate.


Justin Holder
April 6, 2011, 08:51 PM
Sorry to high jack the tread but how can you tell the difference between the 3 different generations?

April 6, 2011, 09:11 PM
You can discern the vintage and generation by the SN (a Google search should take you to someone that has compiled this info), or the easy way...which is as follows:

1st Gen. utilized GI surplus parts and can be immediately identified by the solid slide. This one is on par with USGI, but not worth as much mostly because it says "Universal". That said it can sometimes be found for a very good price for that very reason.
2nd. Gen. was somewhat redesigned and used a stamped slide with dual recoil springs. This one isn't as good as USGI or the 1st Gen. copies, but is serviceable and retains safety features inherent to the original.
3rd. Gen. wasn't true to the original design at all; it is easily identified by a peculiar switch at the rear of the receiver (this is the slide lock). I'd stay away from this copy, because safety features were deleted to cut cost...it has been known to fire out of battery. It would be wise to make darn sure that the bolt is locked before firing one of these!


Justin Holder
April 6, 2011, 09:42 PM
Big thanks, That info means my Universal carbine is a second generation also.

Its just a beater but $350 wouldn't buy it from me. It was my dads very first centerfire rifle. The story goes the man that owned it before shot a hole in his ceiling with it and from then on was scared of it. That's why my dad was able to trade him out of it. I think he traded a coon hound for it. ;)

April 7, 2011, 10:57 AM
Justin, I wouldn't sell it either. It is a serviceable carbine and isn't terribly valuable. My only suggestion would be to purchase a replacement slide and recoil springs as those are the likely replacement parts that you might need (these can be difficult to find and will only get scarcer).


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