What is a carbine?


PDA






Big JJ
January 6, 2013, 03:31 PM
Carbines by definition are lighter and smaller than full sized rifles.
However I have notices that carbines came in all shapes, weights and sizes.
It seems to be a term that is loosely used to describe the rifles by the different manufacturers or the person we are talking to..
I.E. one mfg my call there 18 inch barreled rifle a carbine and another mfg will call that a rifle.
Some people will say that it is overall length that determines what it is.
May question:
Is there an industry wide standard for the definition of a carbine?

If you enjoyed reading about "What is a carbine?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
taliv
January 6, 2013, 03:39 PM
not really. try not to lose sleep over it :)

Auto426
January 6, 2013, 03:46 PM
Some firearm terms are just not clearly defined. Carbine is one of those. Another is battle rifle. You just have to live with it.

Sam Cade
January 6, 2013, 04:40 PM
carbine (n.)
1580s, from French carabine, used of light horsemen and also of the weapon they carried, perhaps from Medieval Latin Calabrinus "Calabrian" (i.e., "rifle made in Calabria").

Brockak47
January 6, 2013, 04:45 PM
In my opinion I think a carbine is a rifle with the following features: short(er) barrel with a magazine to hold the rounds in an intermediate caliber.

303tom
January 6, 2013, 04:47 PM
A carbine is a intermediate rifle & intermediate cartridge............

351 WINCHESTER
January 6, 2013, 04:49 PM
A carbine is a short barrel rifle of a full power round or a lesser round.

Sam Cade
January 6, 2013, 04:50 PM
carbine (n.)
1580s, from French carabine, used of light horsemen and also of the weapon they carried, perhaps from Medieval Latin Calabrinus "Calabrian" (i.e., "rifle made in Calabria").

Dr.Rob
January 6, 2013, 05:32 PM
Well back when the 'carbine' was invented the average infantry rifle was 4 or 5 feet long.

3 feet of rifle probably felt like a sawed off shotgun to those who first got to carry them.

dvdcrr
January 6, 2013, 05:33 PM
There really is no set def. It's a changing standard.
A carbine can be intermediate or full power cartridge but barrel length can vary. As late as 60 years ago some carbines were 24"

Ar180shooter
January 6, 2013, 05:44 PM
^^^

Yep. The first thing that comes to my mind is the M44.

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss158/5757_photos/001-30.jpg

mac66
January 6, 2013, 05:48 PM
A carbine is a descriptive term for a shorter version of a rifle. It can be any length, caliber or configuration. There are no set parameters of specifications.

Big JJ
January 6, 2013, 10:18 PM
You guys are just as confused or knowledgeable as I am.
mac66 has the same definition that I got out of Webster's dic.
I think I will take taliv's advice in post #2.
Thanks for all the advice

Sam1911
January 6, 2013, 10:24 PM
We had a great little eddy of thread drift on this exact subject a few months back: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=8265705

My comments:

A carbine IS a type of rifle. The word carbine also is pretty flexible in definition, looking at how it has been used by the various people who designed, built, issued, and carried them. (I mean, heck, my kids' Savage Cub-T is a "rifle" though it is far smaller than even an M1 Carbine.)

I'd say "most" enthusiasts would consider a K98, M1903, Enfield, M1 Garand, M14, FN-FAL, Win Model 70, Rem 700, etc. to be "rifles" -- and M1 Carbines, M16s, AK-47s, SKS, FNCs, AR-180s, FAMAS, etc., etc. to be "carbines" because they are smaller and lighter than traditionally sized (and chambered) main line battle (or hunting) rifles.

Here's a trick question: Which of these is a carbine, and which isn't? SKS, M1 Carbine, FNC, Swiss K-31?

Right on! " Karabiner Model 1931"

SKS = "Самозарядный карабин системы Симонова, 1945" (Pronounced, roughly: "Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945") and translated as, "Self-loading Carbine of (the) Simonov system, 1945"

FNC = "Fabrique Nationale Carabine"

And there are many others. Some were derived from, or were somewhat similar to, larger/longer/more powerful weapons issued previously, and some were brand new designs that were called "carbines" right off the bat. (SKS, M1C)


See the whole thing becomes a nearly absurd debate given one more example:

What is (arguably) THE quintessential RIFLE? The one that's the granddaddy of what most of us think of as THE rifle that all rifles exist in relation to, one way or another?

Why the Mauser, right? The K-98.

And what's a K-98? "Karabiner 98 Kurz!" A shortened version of the Gewehr 98 battle rifle. But the K-98 became the "Mauser" to most shooters. Within a fraction of an inch of the same size as an M1 Garand, and the primary main-line battle rifle of Germany throughout WW II.

So what's a carbine? Darned if I know! :)

Heh heh! Sure. But all carbines are rifles, so that doesn't even answer the question!

If you're going to claim that an AKM is NOT a "carbine" you'll have to define what would make it one, or make it not one. And that's entirely in the eye of the beholder!

I'm willing to believe a K-98 Mauser is a carbine, but an AKM isn't, if you can give me a great reason why that would be so.


Sure, Avtomat Kalashnikova doesn't have the word "carbine" in it. And if the word "carbine" bestowed by the designer is how we identify one, then aboslutely.

An AK-47 or AKM is a RIFLE, and an SKS (made in the same country at almost the same date, firing the same round, but 6" longer) is a CARBINE. But that's no stretch, because a K-98 Mauser and a K-31 are CARBINES, too, because that's in their official name, but a wee little M-16 isn't. No other reason matters.

AlexanderA
January 6, 2013, 10:43 PM
In the U.S. service, carbines were traditionally shorter, lighter weapons issued to cavalrymen. For example, there were both long versions (for the infantry) and carbine versions (for the cavalry) of the Trapdoor Springfields and the Krags. The M1903 Springfield, an intermediate-length weapon, was adopted to fill both roles, and was given an extra-long bayonet to make up for the lack of length compared to the long Krag infantry rifle. The WWII M1 carbine, really a glorified pistol, was a different concept entirely.

MaterDei
January 6, 2013, 11:02 PM
Once we all agree on how to say the word we can start to work on defining it.

a-sheepdog
January 7, 2013, 12:29 AM
When I think "carbine", I think of a standard rifle that has been reworked with a shorter barrel and maybe a bit lighter.

RPRNY
January 7, 2013, 01:05 AM
In my opinion, Alexander has done the best definition of defining it : a rifle of shorter barrel length intended for use by cavalry or ancillary troops. Of course, that has changed...

Jaws
January 7, 2013, 01:06 AM
Sure, Avtomat Kalashnikova doesn't have the word "carbine" in it. And if the word "carbine" bestowed by the designer is how we identify one, then aboslutely.

An AK-47 or AKM is a RIFLE, and an SKS (made in the same country at almost the same date, firing the same round, but 6" longer) is a CARBINE. But that's no stretch, because a K-98 Mauser and a K-31 are CARBINES, too, because that's in their official name, but a wee little M-16 isn't. No other reason matters.

The Ak-47 is not defined as rifle by the Russians. Nor is it called a carbine. It's called "Avtomat" just like the PPSh-41. That's the the role the AK-47 was designed for.

Bobson
January 7, 2013, 01:21 AM
Once we all agree on how to say the word we can start to work on defining it.
Car-bine (car as in vehicle; bine rhymes with line, as in fishing line). Now I'm curious. How else might someone possibly try to say it? Rhyming it with carbon? Ridiculous.

wlewisiii
January 7, 2013, 01:32 AM
Well back when the 'carbine' was invented the average infantry rifle was 4 or 5 feet long.

3 feet of rifle probably felt like a sawed off shotgun to those who first got to carry them.
This.

CraigC
January 7, 2013, 01:59 AM
Is there an industry wide standard for the definition of a carbine?
No, it is a very subjective term. It may just be a short version of a "rifle" or perhaps not so simple. In the case of lever action rifles, the devil is in the details. Rifles and carbines are differentiated by certain features and barrel length is for the most part irrelevant. Rifles have crescent or shotgun buttplates, forend caps, dovetailed magazine hangers and can have either a round, octagon or half round/half octagon barrel. They can also have pistol grip stocks, button, half or full length magazines. Carbines have a carbine specific buttplate, a forend band and barrel band magazine retention. Barrels are always round and there is often a saddle ring, though they were available on both. Magazines are typically full length. A rifle with a 20" or shorter barrel is typically called a "short rifle". So it is possible for a "rifle" to have a barrel shorter than a carbine, which may be as long as 20".

This Cimarron pic is the most descriptive. Note the 20" "short rifle" and the 19" carbine.
http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/miscellaneous/1873%20Cimarron.jpg


Once we all agree on how to say the word we can start to work on defining it.
KAR-bēēn.

Bobson
January 7, 2013, 03:29 AM
KAR-bēēn.
Tomorrow I'm gonna walk into Academy and ask to see an ARE ONE FIVE or an ACK FOUR SEVEN. Maybe even a shiny new ONE NINE ONE ONE.

Sam Cade
January 7, 2013, 05:16 AM
The Ak-47 is not defined as rifle by the Russians. Nor is it called a carbine. It's called "Avtomat" just like the PPSh-41.

The PP in PPSh is Pistolet-pulemet (Пистоле́т-пулемёт).

Machine Pistol (designed by Shpagin) (adopted) 1941.

"Автомат" means simply "machine" and the Rooskies argue among themselves about what precisely that means, but it is usually considered synonymous with "assault rifle" in the proper, select fire, intermediate cartridge sense.

http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%90%D0%B2%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82_%28%D0%BE%D1%80%D1%83%D0%B6%D0%B8%D0%B5%29


...and I've got a couple East German manuals around here someplace for something called a "Karabiner AKM" ;)

Art Eatman
January 7, 2013, 11:59 AM
The difference between a rifle and a carbine was fairly clear-cut on up through the Korean war. After that, things started changing.

Rifles, generally, had barrels of 24" or longer. Carbines had barrels of 20" or less.

In the 1960s, arms makers who catered to both the military and the civilian markets began producing all manner of "long guns" with barrels from "real short" to "full length". The result in today's world is that for modern production, there is no clear-cut definition.

Sam1911
January 7, 2013, 12:09 PM
The difference between a rifle and a carbine was fairly clear-cut on up through the Korean war. After that, things started changing.

Rifles, generally, had barrels of 24" or longer. Carbines had barrels of 20" or less.Right...except for the K98, K-31, etc! :)

It's truly in the "eye of the beholder" I think.

Carl N. Brown
January 7, 2013, 12:16 PM
My concept of carbine is biased by early exposure to the calvary carbine versions of the .45-70 Springfield and .30-40 Krag infantry rifles from sources like WHB Smith "Small Arms of the World" when I first started studying firearms history.

HoosierQ
January 7, 2013, 12:23 PM
Heck the Germans referred to their standard WW2 8mm service rifle that had, I think, a 22" bbl as a "carbine" because it was quite a bit shorter than their WW1 rifle. It was the "Karabiner 98K" or "short model 98 carbine" translated very roughly to English.

kludge
January 7, 2013, 04:58 PM
Once we all agree on how to say the word we can start to work on defining it.

CAR-bean FTW.

CAR-bine just sounds dumb.

:)

If you enjoyed reading about "What is a carbine?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!