Springfield Armory M1 Carbine Part 2
An American Military Classic
By Dennis Adler
Why a Springfield Armory M1 CO2 Carbine and not an M14? Considering that Springfield Armory builds the M14, that is an even better question. The answer is simply that the M1 Carbine is an historic WWII firearm, the M14 is not. One reason Springfield builds the M14 today is that it was developed at the original Springfield Armory with the legendary John Garand. The M14 is essentially a modernized select-fire M1 Garand with a detachable magazine. The M2 Carbine (with a 30-round magazine) was a select fire version of the M1 Carbine developed in 1944 and used toward the end of WWII and again in Korea and during the early years of the Vietnam War. WWII M1 models were also converted to M2 variations with a kit (“Kit, Carbine, T17”) developed at the Inland Division of GM, which built the greatest number of M1 Carbines.
By any other name…
The M1 name is forever associated with the WWII Carbine, while the M1 Garand is most often referred to simply as the “Garand” just to make it easier to separate the two. When most military arms enthusiasts say M1, they are talking about the Carbine with no disrespect to the M1 Garand. The Air Venturi Springfield Armory CO2 model is referred to as the M1 Carbine.
Springfield and Air Venturi worked closely on the M1 just as they did for the XDM CO2 pistols and it again shows in the fine attention to detail. And will be even more so with a full hardwood stock version like the .30 caliber WWII models.
Having come close to the 5.2 to 5.5 pound average weight of the WWII era models, and very close with overall dimensions, the attention to fine detail is again very important. The Springfield is based on the late 3rd variation of the WWII model with the bayonet mount under the barrel. The majority of M1 Carbines did not have a bayonet mount. There were also changes in the sights between Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 version M1 designs, and the CO2 model uses the Type 3 cast rear sight, though it is not adjustable for elevation on the air rifle, only for windage. The later Type 3 design is also used for the manual rotary safety on the right side, which is identical to the .30 caliber models. The Type 3 magazine release was another modified design, and this too, is reflected in the CO2 model. The airgun also uses a Type 3 style barrel band and forward sling mount, oval stock oiler recess, late model bolt design and “low wood” stock (around the bolt handle) introduced early in 1944. The Springfield is as close to a late model M1 Carbine as possible.
Air and .177 caliber BBs vs. the .30 caliber model
The looks are right on the Air Venturi Springfield Armory model (and in the 1990s Springfield Armory also built M1 carbines, so they have first hand knowledge). Of course, comparing velocity or range between a .30 caliber cartridge and a steel BB is impractical but the factory specification for the CO2 model is 425 fps. That’s a fair clip downrange from the 17.75-inch smoothbore barrel.
Before I get into loading the CO2 BB magazine, which holds 15 rounds to match the capacity of the original .30 caliber M1 Carbine magazines, let’s look at the use of a plastic stock and handguard for the standard model vs. the hardwood stock and handguard. Plastic has worked well for models like the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action and the Gletcher Mosin-Nagant rifle and cut down pistol version. Plastic also worked well in the 1960s when Crosman developed its synthetic Croswood stock for their variation of an M1 Carbine. That was 1968 to 1976; prior to that they used wood in 1966 and 1967. Although it looked like an M1 it used the Model V350 push barrel cocking system and a gravity fed 22-shot magazine with a 180 round reservoir. It looked good for the 1960s, but no comparison to today’s Springfield M1 model.
The magazine releases easily and is very quick to load with both CO2 and BBs. Unlike some seating screws which can be a bear to thread back in, the M1’s finds its way back home pretty easily. As for BBs, the magazine has a large follower tab and it locks well below the loading port which allows all 15 rounds to be easy poured in. Lots of plus points for the magazine design!
To wrap up today, the velocity test was done with a fresh CO2 and 10 rounds fired at 15 second intervals. The M1 clocked an average of 397 fps with a high of 423 fps, and a low of 389 fps on the 10th round. The distance from the target for the velocity test was 21 feet and all 10 rounds grouped inside 0.93 inches, three in the bullseye and seven grouped in the 8 and 9 rings center of aim at 0.59 inches. No corrections for elevation or windage. Not a bad start!
In Part 3 it is off to the test range for 21 foot and 10 meter comparisons.