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What was the ubiquitous carbine before the AR15?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by DMK, Nov 20, 2016.

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  1. DMK

    DMK Member

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    The AR15 seems very ubiquitous today. There will be a rack of them in every gun shop. Nearly every time you go to the range, someone will have one. There's likely one in ready mode in a large percentage of gun owners homes.

    So before the AR15 came to be, what was the go-to rifle? (Sure, most folks had a shotgun for this role, but this is a rifle forum and that would be too easy an answer, so lets ignore the trusty 12ga for this thread)

    I'm thinking 30-30 lever action, maybe M1 carbine. Maybe both filled the niche, with the M1 being the plinker and range gun and the 30-30 used more in the hunting and homeland defense role.

    Your thoughts on the subject?
     
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  2. stoky

    stoky Member

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  3. gbeecher

    gbeecher Member

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    I've heard that before the 1934 NFA, the Thompson sub-machine gun was popular in the civilian market. Otherwise the M1 carbine, Garand or Winchester '94..
     
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  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The M-1 or Ruger Mini-14. While introduced after the AR, Ruger sold a lot of Mini-14's for that role. I had a few over the years and Ruger sold a lot more to common folk than AR's were sold up until the AWB. I think the AR was always the better rifle, but when a Mini was 1/3 the price of an AR it made a very attractive option. If they were significantly cheaper than an AR I'd buy another. But I won't pay more for the Ruger than I can get an AR for.
     
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  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I would go with the Winchester '94 as the ubiquitous carbine back in the day.
     
  6. JackSprat

    JackSprat Member

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    I agree the 94 ,but I always liked the old 141 Remingtons,but never owned one..
     
  7. stoky

    stoky Member

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    Minis were 1 in 10 twists when ARs were 1 in 12 and Minis were a lot less expensive. Minis were much better with the "new and improved" M855s than the older 1:12 ARs.
    Don't know if they fit the carbine moniker or not, but the Remington 600s were sweet, IMO.
     
  8. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Winchester 94, hands down.
     
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  9. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    In my little part of the world, the Marlin 336 or Winchester 94 were the ubiquitous carbine.
     
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  10. Orcon

    Orcon Member

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    Thompson-submachine-gun-advertisements.jpg

    Gotta love these old ads.
     
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  11. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    Practically everyone I know has a Marlin 336. These have always been popular in my area, possibly more than the Winchester 94, at least in my circle.
     
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  12. tahoe2

    tahoe2 Member

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    I agree with the 30-30 lever and the M-1 carbine, as there was one of either in every home that I remember, growing up,
    or a short barreled dbl barreled or pump 12 ga.
     
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  13. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Mass production of the over priced, inaccurate Mini-14 began in 1974. Originally priced at under $200($200 was more money in 1974 than it is now. U.S. Federal minimum wage was $2/hour. Average annual income was roughly 8 grand. About $153 per week. ). A brand-new Colt SP1, precursor to the AR-15, ran $200 to $250. Biggest thing was that the Mini didn't look like an M-16.
    Anyway, prior to 1974, it was the M1 Carbine, if you could find one. The Carbine was still in use by militaries and wasn't exactly common.
    "...what was the go-to rifle..." Depended on where you were and how much money you had. Something milsurp like a 1903A3, Stateside. A No. 4 Lee-Enfield, up here. Win 94s were hunting rifles, not really defensive rifles.
     
  14. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    Win 94.
     
  15. md7

    md7 Member

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    I'd say a Marlin or Winchester lever action on 30-30 around these parts. AR's used to be rarity, now they're everywhere it seems.
     
  16. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    20 or 30 years ago where I live it was the SKS and AK. Mini 14 was a bit more expensive but popular. AR's were $1000+ and considered unreliable in comparison to the combloc guns and the mini. Leverguns were mostly for hunting pigs in the hills.
     
  17. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Mine was the Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. Got this one used from my uncle, than I purchased the Winchester in 1977.
     
  18. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    The Thompson, at $200.00 apiece, was a commercial failure. Had not WW2 happened it would probably be a forgotten gun, an asterisk in the gun history books. Back in the 20's no one wanted to pay that much for a gun, in the 30s no one could pay that much.
     
  19. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Sunray

    You took me back in time with those prices! Yes, I was making $2.00 an hour at my first job and if I had the money (tough to do at $2.00 an hour), I could have had a brand new Colt SP1 for $236!
     
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  20. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    I would say the marlin/winchester 30-30 lever action would be "Thee" quintessential carbine. The Ruger mini probably tailing close behind for a decade or two. I think the "buzz" that propelled the popularity of AR and AK platforms was right about early 90's and ever since then it's been kind of a get em' while their hot kinda deal...... I believe the 30-30 lever action was probably not only the most popular but also most practical for the average Joe. Think of everything you might need a carbine rifle for. Hunting (check) Self Defense (check) Protecting Livestock (check) Occasional Plinking (check). The 30-30 levergun could and still does fit the bill for most average people.
    Probably not the most popular now that high volume and semi-high volume shooting has become more and more the norm and semi auto's are better suited for that role, also not to mention alot of AR/AK sales can probably be attributed to people buying them in fear that they won't be able to in the not to distant future, whereas without that fear a good ol' levergun would probably satisfy the the shooting requirements of the aforementioned "Joe". JMO
     
  21. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    "I've heard that before the 1934 NFA, the Thompson sub-machine gun was popular in the civilian market."
    Well, it was available on the civilian market from 1921 to 1934. Most Thompsons appear to have bought by domestic and foreign military and police. In 1921 about 19,000 were made by Colt for AutoOrdnance and by WWII AO still had four or five thousand of the original production run still in inventory (until production re-started for WWII, most M1927 and M1928 Thompsons were modified M1921s).

    As a carbine (short rifle) Thompson was not really popular (15,000 sold) compared to the millions of Marlin and Winchester lever-actions in both civilian and police use as carbines. I'll bet HiPoint has sold more than 15,000 carbines.
     
  22. gbeecher

    gbeecher Member

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    True, popular is probably an exaggeration, but it was well liked by police, military, ranchers and criminals..lol
     
  23. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    I'd say it was the 30-30 lever action. I chose the Marlin 336C in 1970.
     
  24. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Carbine being a broad term and AR15 being a rather specific focus of it, I'd say that only one firearm fits the question. M1 Carbine. They were very inexpensive, surplus ammo was dirt cheap (all this, regardless of fanciful "inflation" & "today's dollars" conversions) and they had quite a following for modification with either distinctly civilian themes or using the myriad military parts and versions.

    Hunt, defend, plink, tinker... It did everything the AR currently does expect satisfy extreme accuracy pursuits but then, neither do any of the previously listed alternatives.

    I really don't see anything even remotely close to the M1 Carbine when compared to the AR15.

    Todd.
     
  25. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    The "Thutty-thutty", whether a Winchester, Marlin, Western Field, Ted Williams, or other house brand.
     
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