I need help with purchase of an M1 Carbine.


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Clint C
March 5, 2016, 10:36 AM
One of my local dealers has a Underwood M1 Carbine for sale. It's priced at $1300.00 which seems a bit high to me, but the thing looks brand new. Great condition, has sling, cleaning kit, and one mag, dated 7-43, rifling looks great. What are some things I should look for on this carbine? Thanks for your help everyone.

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carbine85
March 5, 2016, 11:11 AM
The price is too high. It's probably a refurbished model like most of them. Check the barrel for import marks. The dated barrel sounds right

Clint C
March 5, 2016, 11:48 AM
I did check for import marks, and there were none. It does have the bayonet lug, and updated safety.

Reloadron
March 5, 2016, 11:59 AM
Any gun on any given day is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, no more and no less. While I like the M1 Carbine there is no way I would pay $1,300.00 for one. The little war babies have appreciated in value and around me nice specimens run in the $800 to $1,000 range. For the most part with very few exceptions, they are mix masters and have all been arsenal reworked. Underwood-Elliot-Fisher of Hartford Connecticut produced about 545,616 of them or roughly 8.9% of the total production.

If you want the gun bad enough then pay the asking price. The fact that I would not go over a grand means nothing. I already have a few. I just see the asking price as a little high unless this one is some rare unmodified and never arsenal reworked model.

Ron

njl
March 5, 2016, 12:09 PM
I agree, that's too high. Of course, I bought all of mine from the CMP back around 2008, but I paid half or less than that. More recently, I bought a .308 special grade Garand from the CMP, which is basically a totally rebuilt Garand that looks new, and even it was a couple hundred less than that carbine's asking price.

Clint C
March 5, 2016, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the input guys. You've confirmed my feelings on the price. Nothing special to look for that might make this one better than another then? I'll see if I can talk the dealer down. Thanks, Clint

CapnMac
March 6, 2016, 04:07 AM
For $1300, it would have to be an all Underwood, never arsenaled copy.

except none of those exist--unless they were stolen and stashed back in '43 or '44. Otheriise a Division, Regiment, or Battalion armorer took every carbine passed into their hands down to bits. Said bits went into bins by parts type, not maker. They were put back together to make serviceable weapons, not factory-matched weapons. In 1945 all the Type I front bands were being replaced with Type II (bayonet lug) ones.

Unfortunately, Carbines have dried up a bit, so their prices have soard.

You can try and talk the dealer down, but, he's unlikely to come down to the $8-850 he ought to be at.. And, if you are willing to spend $800 on a Carbine, you might as well buy one for CMP, which would give some provenance to the cash spent.

That's my 2; others' differ.

statelineblues
March 6, 2016, 12:02 PM
I bought what I thought was an Underwood M1 Carbine about 3 years ago, only to discover it was a Quality Hardware carbine with an Underwood barrel. I was trying to build a "WW II Typewriter Arsenal - Underwood, IBM carbines, Smith-Corona M1903A3, and maybe, someday, a Singer 1911.

Remember, during WW II these guns were assembled at the factories with parts available - so it would be common for a carbine (and Garand, for that matter) to have parts from several different suppliers. In the field, armorers would fix them with whatever parts were at hand.
After the war, most of these guns went back to the U.S. for arsenal refurbishing. Again, old and worn parts were discarded and new parts put in their place. So getting an "all Underwood", "all Inland", or "all Winchester" would be next to impossible.
And remember, most of these went through the Korean War as well, so the same thing occurred in the 1950s.

Last I heard, CMP was out of M1 Carbines. But yes, market prices are around $800 - $1000 for USGI carbines.

bannockburn
March 6, 2016, 01:50 PM
Clint C

According to Bruce N. Canfield's book, "A Collector's Guide to the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine", total Underwood production was 545,616 carbines or 8.9% of total production. Underwood made their own receivers and barrels. Most barrels will have "Underwood" stamped on them along with the U.S. Ordnance "flaming bomb" symbol and the date they were made. The barrel will also have ridges on the exterior which resemble small screw threads. Type 1 and Type 2 barrel bands were used; later Type 3 barrel bands with the integral bayonet lug came out later after Underwood ceased production in April, 1944.

It is believed that all Underwood carbines had flat top bolts as well as the non-adjustable "L" type rear sight. Most original stocks should have the oval oiler recess along with a GHD/UEF (Underwood-Elliot-Fisher), cartouche on the right side of the stock. The push button type safety was also used on most of the Underwood carbines.

Reloadron
March 6, 2016, 02:00 PM
I bought what I thought was an Underwood M1 Carbine about 3 years ago, only to discover it was a Quality Hardware carbine with an Underwood barrel. I was trying to build a "WW II Typewriter Arsenal - Underwood, IBM carbines, Smith-Corona M1903A3, and maybe, someday, a Singer 1911.

Remember, during WW II these guns were assembled at the factories with parts available - so it would be common for a carbine (and Garand, for that matter) to have parts from several different suppliers. In the field, armorers would fix them with whatever parts were at hand.
After the war, most of these guns went back to the U.S. for arsenal refurbishing. Again, old and worn parts were discarded and new parts put in their place. So getting an "all Underwood", "all Inland", or "all Winchester" would be next to impossible.
And remember, most of these went through the Korean War as well, so the same thing occurred in the 1950s.

Last I heard, CMP was out of M1 Carbines. But yes, market prices are around $800 - $1000 for USGI carbines.
Quality Hardware never made the barrels, most of their rifles used Rock Ola barrels but an Underwood barrel on a Quality Hardware receiver would not be unusual. You sure won't find a Quality Hardware barrel. :)

Ron

CoalTrain49
March 7, 2016, 01:42 PM
$800-$1000 is the going price. I have an Inland that looks new but it got that way because somebody stripped it, replaced all non-Inland parts, except the barrel, and reblued it. No illusions here, it was an arsenal rebuild with mixed parts before someone changed out the parts. Look at the condition of the barrel. Gauge the muzzle. Look for <2 on the gauge, 3 is worn out. Also look for a recrowned barrel. That will also tell you the barrel has seen heavy use. Condition is what you want, not "looks like new". New or unused condition doesn't exist except in collections and museums. For a grand I would want one in very good operating condition. That would be next to new barrel (any WW2 mfg. with <1 on a MEG), rebuilt bolt, new springs and correct head space. If the seller can't guarantee all that it's an $800 gun, or less.

Or if you just want to roll the dice offer the dealer a grand and hope for the best.

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