Springfield Armory M1 Carbine Part 3
An American Military Classic
By Dennis Adler
One of the true requisites for a firearm being deemed a classic design is that no matter how old it is, no matter how many firearms are regarded as superior in design or capability, it is still being manufactured to this day. Reproductions of firearms from the past are similar validations, but with the M1 Carbine, like the Colt Model 1911A1, the design is still being used and current models still manufactured. How this relates to CO2 models is much the same; today we have Colt Peacemakers, multiple versions of the Colt Model 1911, and now, the beginning of M1 CO2 models. And yes, that raises the question “are there other versions forthcoming?” Perhaps, given that there were different variations of the original M1 Carbine.
The Type 3
As with most firearms, the later versions offer a few refinements born of experience in the field; the M1 Carbine being a prime example. The best improvements for the M1 were copied in developing the Springfield Armory CO2 model. Given the already impressive accuracy of the gun during velocity testing, the absence of an elevation adjustable rear sight has not proven a detriment and, as set by the factory, the windage has not required any adjustments at 21 feet. The original WWII M1 Carbine used an L-type or “flip” rear peephole site with no windage adjustments and two settings (flipping the one peephole to the other) changing elevation from 100 to 300 yards. The Type 3 introduced toward the end of the war had a cast rear sight that was adjustable for both elevation and windage, the design duplicated for the CO2 model without the elevation feature.
The front sight design remained the same on all three M1 Carbine versions. The CO2 model uses the Type 3 handguard design, front sling mount but the stock is actually somewhere between the earlier flatter straight stock and the late rounded or “pot belly” stock. The handguards also changed and the Type 3 used four rivets on the underside to secure the separate wood handguard to the receiver. The look is copied for the CO2 model but no rivets are used to secure it. When the hardwood stock is available for the CO2 Carbine it will use the same flange mounts as the plastic handguard but the look will be more authentic. Bear in mind that parts for the WWII era M1 Carbines were supplied by different manufactures (for handguards as an example, there were 15 different suppliers). While there were 10 companies (actually 11, as there were two Saginaw Divisions of GM, one in Saginaw and the other in Grand Rapids, as well as the Inland Division) assembling M1 Carbines during the war, the parts for those guns came from hundreds of different contract suppliers. At least with the CO2 model there is only one manufacturer.
Velocity and accuracy
Having established Umarex Precision steel BBs at just under 400 fps, I decided to run the same test with Hornady Black Diamond, and lighter weight Air Venturi Dust Devils. Unfortunately, Dust Devils did not work well in the magazine feed system so that’s out of the picture for now. Black Diamond BBs are the same weight as Umarex steel BBs so they should do about the same. Ten rounds averaged 400 fps with a high of 426 fps, and a low of 387 fps, so almost identical performance. My 10-round group with Black Diamond measured 1.18 inches with a best 5-shot group clustered at 9 o’clock measuring 0.62 inches. Again there were no windage adjustment and the sights held at the bottom of the bullseye at 6 o’clock.
I ran a second test with Umarex and this 10-shot group had a spread of 0.875 inches with seven out of 10 almost all overlapping and close enough to cover with a dime. The 7-shot group (too close to measure only five) was 0.53 inches.
Knowing how well this gun can do fired from the shoulder at 21 feet, I decided to move back to 10 meters and fire 10 rounds using a Hyskore gun rest. Shooting at a 10-meter pistol target, my first 10-shot group with Umarex measured 0.56 inches with either seven or eight rounds inside one ragged hole measuring 0.437 inches. At 10 meters the gun shot a little high and right, with shots in the eight ring at 10 o’clock. I ran a second target with Hornady Black Diamond, corrected my POA elevation and adjusted windage three clicks right. This gave me 10 shots in the 10 ring and bullseye measuring 0.625 inches with 8 of 10 at 0.4 inches. I doubt I could do that shooting without the gun rest, but it does prove that the M1 Carbine is a straight shooter even at 10 meters.
Trigger pull on the test gun averaged 4 pounds, 6.4 ounces, with light stacking, a take up of 0.25 inches and quick reset, which makes it a light enough trigger for consistent shots. As for accuracy, the M1 Carbine is a winner. The next time we see this gun it will have a hardwood stock.