Fulton Armory M1 Carbine Review

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JCooperfan1911, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    As some here may know, I’m a bit of a “carbine bug” as it were. One of my favorites is the M1 carbine, and I believe in redundancy. My original 1943 Underwood is a dandy, but a very valuable and historically collectible dandy. As a camp or truck gun, it’s got too much inherent value that goes beyond the price tag. I cringe at the thought of damaging it.

    Enter the Fulton Armory M1 carbine I just picked up from my dealer’s today:

    989-B7-C47-2-DFB-4-F21-A2-AF-E431-AE669-DB0.jpg

    This is a top tier, world class reproduction of the famous War Baby. Now don’t run away just yet, many experts in the M1 field consider Fulton Armory M1 carbines to be the very best repros ever made, with quality that meets or even exceeds the originals (yes, you read that right).

    These guns feature forged and milled Lewis Machine & Tool receivers, Criterion match grade barrels, and a mix of original USGI and 100% milspec parts throughout. Even the stocks are linseed oil finished (and boy do they smell good!). Nope, as you might guess these new rifles aren’t so cheap, but they are really, really nice and are MILES ahead of any other repro made, be it past or present.

    Upon arrival at home I stripped the gun and degreased the thick factory preservatant, replacing it with CLP. I noticed the machining on all parts was extremely well done. Dark and even parkerizing throughout. The bolt was extremely smooth. Trigger is a service example but is very crisp with no excess creep, quite nice for a milspec trigger. Everything fits together and locks solidly into the wood stock.

    1-BFAFD0-E-43-A6-436-D-9639-8-B7-B744-F3-FD5.jpg

    With plenty of daylight left, I loaded up 200 rounds of Korean ball and three 15 round virgin never used USGI “UN” (Union Hardware) magazines into my bag and drove into the desert. To sum it all up, the Fulton Armory is an EXCELLENT weapon:

    601-FEFBC-8-BF9-40-A7-B583-5-FE87-CE11364.jpg

    The carbine fired all 200 rounds with perfect reliability. When shooting off the trunk of my sedan, it deposited the casings into a handsome pile at my 4 o’clock rear. Consistent ejection, perfect feeding, just ideal. I even did a 15 round mag dump firing as fast as I could pull the trigger and the gun happily chugged along.

    Shooting off the elbows, inconveniently with the sun in my eyes due to the range design, at a target 30 yards away the gun placed all rounds into a roughly 1” group. I am absolutely sure it would shoot much tighter than this off a bench in better lighting conditions, and I am certainly pleased with these initial groups. The rifle was sighted dead on at this distance for windage and I’ll check/adjust elevation on my next outing to the local outdoor rifle range.

    34-B7-E6-DA-0-D8-C-4-AD1-B35-D-02-A76-D0-C2-C07.jpg

    Can you tell I’m happy yet? These carbines are made to order one at a time by hand so there was a waiting period, but I am VERY happy to have waited. This carbine is SUPERB and I’ve finally got my desert companion and range gun that I won’t be afraid to run hard and hit the trail with.

    The Fulton Armory M1 Carbine scores a 10/10!

    -J.C.F.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  2. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    Uhhh somebody is having some fun lately, good job man, enjoy the hobby
     
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  3. Jimster

    Jimster Member

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    Looks great and sounds like a rock solid shooter. Good shooting and nice photos.
     
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  4. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Indeed. Now that I can’t shoot my AK due to the recent happenings, my focus is shifting back towards M1 carbines.
     
  5. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    So I note that Fulton Armory's website shows a suggested retail price of $1949.95 for the standard M1 carbine.

    Out of curiosity, if you don't mind, is that more or less what you paid for this beauty?
     
  6. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    I paid less. I ordered this about 10 months ago and asked to delay the build as I was out of the country. I recently returned and it took them about a month to do the work. Their prices have risen since I place my orde (what hasn’t risen).
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  7. Eugen

    Eugen Member

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    That's a beautiful carbine. I can see why you like it. Thanks for sharing your story.
     
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  8. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    Ever since I found an old metal top cover, and later a casing in the garden, I have wanted a carbine like my Grandfather carried in German while repairing tanks. He had one after he got out, but sadly he was never one to keep anything.

    Yours is quite beautiful @JCooperfan1911! And well worth it. Perhaps one like this would be a good choice for myself. I hope it serves you well!:thumbup:
     
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  9. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 Member

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    No bayonet lug, but it’s got the adjustable sight and rotary safety. I wonder if they were ever issued like that.

    Beautiful gun though.
     
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  10. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    When I saw the @SUBJ I had no doubt about how this Review ends as I have been a big fan of Fulton Armory for a long time.

    Thank you for taking the time to craft and share this Review with us!

    I built one of my M14Variants on a Fulton Armory (FA) receiver ... a semi-auto M14 receiver that is as close to perfect as I could ever hope to find.

    That said, I have never been able to talk myself into buying one of their firearms. Two Reasons. [1] Price (not that their high-quality firearms are not well-worth the prices they command) and [2] almost all of my (primarily longgun) firearms action occurs on the hoof, wand'ring about the forests, hills and fields. For that I really prefer milsurps (or old, "vintage", dented/gouged/scratched/stained commercial rifles) that already possess a wealth of Character in the marks on their wood & metal.

    If I dropped an expensive (especially, but not necessarily), pretty/perfect firearm on the stony ground or had it get inadvertently scraped across a length of barbed wire (for example ... lottsa old, rusty fence wire on the VA farm), that would decidedly harsh my mellow ... for awhile, at least. ;)

    I would consider one of those Fulton Armory M1 Carbines (or any of the FA firearms offerings) to be a true Jewel in my pass-along kit. :)
     
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  11. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Me...I wanted one of those Fulton carbines when I first heard of them - then learned that they were well built (and one was even used to win in competition...). At the time, and still today... their price was out of my budget (and they were only $1400 when I was looking...). As a result I bought another commercial carbine and haven't been particularly successful with it... It's quite accurate but doesn't cycle well despite all new springs, etc. Congrats on your purchase and hope you're not thinking of keeping it in pristine condition. I think any carbine should be "well used".
     
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  12. Bayou52

    Bayou52 Member

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    Outstanding, OP!

    I fully enjoy those carbines as well. Although I do not have a GI model. Not the quality of a FA, mine is an after market Iver Johnson, circa 1979. With a new recoil spring and a steel GI trigger housing I installed, this thing is a real reliable contender. I shoot handloads exclusively - both FMJ and my own cast and powder coated.

    So, I'm a very happy carbiner as well!

    Pics:

    2-B821-A68-FF89-46-FC-AC68-C2-EB554-E22-A4.jpg

    D11-B9-BF8-A98-F-48-C6-86-FE-C1672-A72-CA51.jpg

    Bayou52
     
  13. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I was able to address my M1 Carbine Jones that I think many/most of us guys eventually experience in Summer'07 when i ordered a pair of the first batch of Inland M1 Carbines (the least expensive of the MFRs, $495/ea) from the CMP (one, each, round bolt & flat).

    I checked & adjusted their sights at 25yds, as is my wont, so that the test is more of a rifle test than an eye test. ;)

    I was stunned at how accurate both of these little rifles are.

    After finishing up the 2nd one, before I took it back into the basement, I sat down and fired 3 rounds slowly at an open target section:

    2v2u13amFxAW38L.jpg

    Ayup, both of them shoot that well. Amazing ... to me, at least.

    Odd thing is, that the barrel timing on both is apparently goofy. Both require that the rear sight be adjusted 14-15 clicks left from center, effectively maxing out the adjustment in that direction. Seems to me that I should be able to easily see that much of a barrel-rcvr clocking discrepancy by eye, but I cannot.

    Not a biggie. I am not one to apply in-the-field mechanical windage adjustments, anyway. Especially when I won't be aiming at anything much over 100yds. :)


    EDIT:
    Here is one of a few "section" pics that I found of my carbine#2:

    2v2u1UmthxAW38L.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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  14. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I have also been impressed with the accuracy of all my carbines. Have you considered drifting the rear sight assembly in its dovetail to recenter the peep? Also, might want to check for a bent barrel, its a thing on old GI guns.
     
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  15. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Damn those are Nice! But expensive!!:uhoh:
     
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  16. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    They were. I ordered my carbine with the type-2 barrel band (wider than the earliest type) yet with no bayonet lug as on the type 3 band. I don’t really need a bayonet for anything and the type 2 wide band keeps the barrel snugged to the stock for increased accuracy, at least that’s what dedicated carbiners claim.

    Late war rifles such as some Winchester shipped from the factories with adjustable sights and as guns of all types were repaired in the field at depot, they were upgraded with the new features so a mix of things could be seen on carbines late in the war. It’s true that the vast majority of guns would have earlier features but no doubt some were equipped as such.
     
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  17. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    My Underwood is like that. The rear adjustable had to be shifted nearly all the way to the left.
     
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  18. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Yeah, I thought carefully about drifting the rear sight assy but decided that it would then look odder and be more cumbersome than having the sight adjusted far left.

    At the time I had a lot of experience checking/setting/correcting barrel timing with YeOldDrillRod Method ... y'know, secure the barreled receiver in a vise and center identical, dead-straight ~3' drill rods horizontally on flats on the receiver and front sight then eyeball how they line up. Both carbines passed that test.

    I also checked for bent barrels but I have no specific memory of my method.

    After considering all of my options I decided that I could easily live with the rear sight maxed to the left. Not a big deal for me.

    Funny thing happened regarding this ...

    I walked over to the farm one day at about that time and my rifle du jour was one of my M1 Carbines (always carry a rifle when I walk over to/around the farm). I came across my primary cousin and the husband of a cousine. Both were discussing Farm Things.

    Husband (not a gun guy) perked up when he noticed the carbine and asked about it. I gave him a brief rundown, checked for an empty chamber & removed the mag (did I mention he is not a gun guy? :)) and handed him the rifle to inspect while I turned to my cousin to talk about something else.

    After about a minute of talking to my cousin, I realized that a tiny mechanical clicking was occurring ... click-click-click-click- ... we exchanged a bit of a HUH? look and turned to find the husband (did I mention he is not a gun guy? <chuckle>) happily adjusting the rear sight.

    I smiled and quietly said something like, "What-cha doin'?" and he informed me that my rear sight was out of proper adjustment, but it was OK now, he had fixed it for me. My cousin looked at me, eyebrows raised, to see how I was going to respond ... and I just laughed.

    ... and 'splained some things to husband ... uh, did I mention that ... :D
     
  19. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Hmmmm ... hopefully one of the "dedicated carabiners" (I have no doubt that we have a few here at THR) will wander by this Thread and share to current theory(ies) on such Strangeness. :)
     
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  20. WilsonCQB1911

    WilsonCQB1911 Member

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    Nice rifle. I've considered buying one. I have a FA Garand Peerless grade that I like. However, I'm keeping my buying in check and reminding myself that I have carbines that serve similar purposes and more guns than I can really shoot. Plus I'd have to buy more mags and ammo that I don't already have. But that is an enticing little rifle.
     
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  21. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Yes.
    Type III barrel Band (with bayonet lug) was designed in '44, but did not see extensive issue until 1945.
    The "corrective" change of deleting the push/push safety & mag release combo for push/twist was given priority over use of bayonets.
    The It took some time to get the M4 bayonet out as well.
     
  22. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Really nice looking wood on the stock of your Fulton Armory M1 Carbine. I carried an M1 Carbine made by Inland in Dayton, Ohio for four years while serving in the USAF and haven't so much as touched one since. I've always thought I'd get one for "old times sake" but never followed through with the idea. I used to be able to tear mine down and reassemble it blindfolded but I've forgotten almost everything after sixty years. The M1 Carbine concept is why I like my Mini-14 so much.
     
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  23. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Another photo:

    29-EBE8-D3-5784-4-B53-9721-29-BE7-DED2077.jpg

    This is a 6-round magazine modeled after rear echelon field modified examples. Lt Col John George describes such a magazine he made in the Pacific campaign during WW2 in his excellent book Shots Fire in Anger, describing it as making the carbine the “neatest weapon in the world” and carrying better than a Colt M1911A1.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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  24. Batty67

    Batty67 Member

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    Very nice! I picked up a rebuilt, re-sprung, and re-parkerized mix-master (by a gunsmith on hard times).M1 back in 2013 or so. I made it tacticool, putting an ultimak forward rail, choate synthetic stock with pistol grip, and a red dot (recently upgraded from old Vortex SPARC to a Holosun). It runs like a top. Maybe 1-2 misfires out of 2-3k rounds. Plenty accurate (say 3" group at 100m). If I did not go that route I would have gone Fulton, Enjoy your carbine!
     
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  25. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Nice! I have an Ultimak rail as well and it works very well. Really turns the gun into a very modern little fighting rifle. I might eventually put it on this Fulton and keep my ‘43 Underwood in correct military configuration.
     
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