Investing in Springfield Armory’s M1 Carbine
By Dennis Adler
Today, May 18th, is Armed Forces Day, which was established by President Harry S. Truman after WWII as a day to pay special tribute to the men and women of America’s Armed Forces. Traditionally celebrated on the third Saturday in May, the first official Armed Forces Day took place on May 20, 1950 and next year will mark the event’s 70th anniversary. While Armed Forces Day events usually last an entire week it always kicks off on a Saturday. For WWII, Korean War and early Vietnam era veterans, the M1 Carbine and its variations were the most familiar arms in use, aside from the Colt Model 1911A1 pistol. The M1 was referred to as a “light rifle” and was originally designed for the military by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. It was based on a design by Ed Browning (John M. Browning’s brother) and originally known as the “Caliber .30 M2 Browning Military Rifle. That fact is somewhat of a footnote because the telling of the M1 story has always focused mostly around the improved firing mechanism used by Winchester, which was developed by David Marshall Williams, better known today as “Carbine Williams” and famously considered the creator of the M1 Carbine. While he did a lot of the work with Winchester’s design team, the M1 Carbine was a Winchester and Browning design, combined with the gas piston system invented by Williams. His design, which used the exhaust gases from the fired cartridge to power the piston running a rotating bolt and operating rod to eject the spent shell casing and load a fresh round from the magazine, is pretty much the heart of the M1 and why it is often regarded as his design. To commemorate the M1, Springfield Armory offers its new CO2 model, which is a very accurate reproduction of the WWII guns, with a magazine fed blowback action and, as my initial test of this gun revealed, it is also very accurate downrange, putting a dime-sized cluster of overlapping hits on target at 10 meters.
The Springfield CO2 model comes with an excellent wood grained plastic stock, but to make this airgun even more authentic, there is a hardwood stock version, and at some point, the hardwood stock will be offered as a separate item (as shown) to upgrade any existing gun with a plastic stock. The conversion is neither difficult, nor does it take more than about half an hour working slowly and carefully.
There are nine steps in the disassembly, which is removing the action from the plastic stock, along with the metal stock insert and the metal buttplate. So here we go.
Step 1: Remove the screw from the front band with a flat head screwdriver.
Step 2: Slide the band over the retaining pin in the stock and forward onto the barrel.
Step 3: Pull the retaining pin out from the right hand side of the fore-stock.
Step 4: Slide the bayonet lug forward.
Step 5: Pull the handguard (top part of the stock) forward and up. And remove it.
Step 6: Remove the screw on the right side of the barrel retaining strap (as shown).
Step 7: Pull the action up, forward and out of the stock. This may take some effort.
Step 8: Remove the screw holding the metal buttplate and lift it off.
Step 9: Remove the flathead screw holding the metal stock insert from the rear of the plastic stock and remove the insert.
With all of the parts removed from the plastic stock, reverse the order and reassemble the M1 on the new hardwood stock. The metal stock insert is hard to get into the wood stock, so take your time and start by pressing it in from the front and pushing it into the channel, rather than trying to set it into the stock. There is also a replacement wood screw for tightening it down. If you happen to scratch the collar on the stock insert when unscrewing the old screw on the plastic stock, or tightening the new screw on the wood stock, (I did) don’t worry about it, Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black will touch it right up as good as new. Also note that when putting the action in the stock, slip it in under the lip of the insert and press it down. Also, there is a replacement retaining strap screw that will screw into the hardwood stock, (the plastic stock has a nut inserted for the bolt that you removed). When replacing the handguard, it slips under the retaining collar on the part where “US Carbine” is printed. Replace the retaining pin in the right side of the stock and then slide the bayonet lug back in place. Put the barrel band back over the barrel and secure it on the retaining pin. Then replace the flathead screw into the front of the band and secure it tightly. The job is done, and your M1 is in a proper hardwood stock, as authentic as any M1 replica.