Springfield Armory M1 Carbine CO2 Blowback Airsoft gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine airsoft
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine Airsoft gun.

This report covers:

  • History
  • M1 Carbine production
  • Carbine performance
  • Carbine requirement
  • It lives on
  • M1 Carbine airsoft gun
  • M1 Carbine BB gun
  • Two stocks
  • Expected power
  • Adjustable Hop Up
  • Which model Carbine?
  • Sights
  • Can’t be disassembled
  • So much more!
  • Summary

Today we start looking at the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine airsoft gun. It’s not rifled so no matter what anyone says, it’s not a rifle. It’s a smoothbore airsoft gun.

The M1 Carbine is a favorite of B.B. Pelletier, so this blog may sound a little different — as in having a lot more history attached to it. In fact, let’s go there now.

History

Ask any red-blooded American shooter what was the standout soldier’s weapon in World War II and they will not hesitate to say it was the M1 Garand. Canadian-born firearm designer John Garand (pronounced GAR-und, with Gar rhyming with care) worked for years to perfect a design that was initially created in the late 1920s or early ’30s by firearm company, Irwin Pederson. By the late 1930s the design was accepted and in September 1937 low-rate production (10 rifles a day) began. During the war 3.5 million-ish Garands were produced, and production continued into the 1950s. It is believed that a total of approximately 5.4 million Garands were eventually produced.

M1 Carbine production

In sharp contrast, the requirement for the M1 Carbine first saw the light of day in 1938. It was formalized in 1940. Two tests were run in 1941 and on October 22 of 1941 the Winchester design that is called the “13-day rifle” (because of the accelerated time in which it was developed) was accepted for production.

David Marsh “Carbine” Williams had little to do with the development of the Carbine beyond his invention of the short-stroke gas piston that made the entire concept feasible.

The Carbine production program was one of the high points of the war, from a logistical standpoint. In 38 months 10 prime contractors and hundreds of subcontractors produced over 6 million Carbines — nearly twice as many as Garands during the war and in far less time. Ironically, the only prime contractor that never had a Carbine accepted by the government was Irwin Pederson, whose production methods were decades out of date and were thus incapable of meeting the requirement for parts interchangeability. Their contract was cancelled and their plant was taken over by Saginaw Steering Gear — a division of General motors.

Carbine performance

The M1 Carbine had performance requirements that were not equalled for decades after production ended and, indeed, are not being equalled even today. The primary one is weight. The carbine had to weigh no more than 5 lbs., yet had to handle the pressures associated with a centerfire rifle.

Carbine requirement

The Carbine was created because the Army felt its soldiers were not well-equipped with the M1911A1 pistol. Too many soldiers had problems shooting the pistol accurately, and the Army felt a small light rifle would be more effective. That sounds reasonable but two things worked against the notion. First — they named it the M1 Carbine and by the time it got to the field the Garand had already entered its days of glory. It was even made in the same .30 caliber! Too many people expected it to be a “baby Garand,” which it is not. And the second reason for its unpopularity is very similar. The Carbine looks like a rifle (which it is, of course) so people expected it to perform like one. But it didn’t. It’s cartridge is more closely related to a powerful pistol cartridge than to a rifle cartridge. The bullet is lightweight and it leaves the muzzle 700 f.p.s. slower than the Garand bullet. Instead of almost 3000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy the Carbine bullet develops less than 1,000. And the lighter bullet sheds energy rapidly, so beyond 100 yards it hits like a .30 caliber pistol.

For the purpose it was designed the Carbine is a brilliant weapon even today. But when it is compared to a powerful .30 caliber rifle cartridge used by the Garand it falls short.

It lives on

However, with all the downside I’ve just mentioned, people love the Carbine when they get to handle and shoot it. It’s just right for carrying all day and for certain tactical situations. For example, a fully automatic M2 Carbine is quite handy in close-quarters engagements. As a result of the popularity, more than 30 commercial gun manufacturers have copied the Carbine since government production ceased, and it is still in commercial production today!

The M1 Carbine is the father of Ruger’s popular Mini 14 and the grandfather of the Army’s M16. I own a Carbine that has been converted to shoot the 5.7mm Johnson Spitfire that Melvin Johnson created in the 1950s. The Army used that as the starting point in the development of their 5.56mm cartridge that’s still used today.

M1 Carbine airsoft gun

Today we will start looking at the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine airsoft gun. It is a CO2-powered semiautomatic 6mm airsoft gun that features full blowback of the bolt. It holds 15 rounds, just like the firearm it copies. Don’t let anyone tell you that the M1 Carbine holds 30 rounds, because it doesn’t. The M2 Carbine holds 30 rounds in a curved magazine that is called a “banana mag”, but nobody who knows the rifle ever carried a banana mag fully loaded. They start having feeding issues when fully loaded. The 30-round mag does fit the M1 carbine and soldiers would stock up on as many of those mags as they could get, but they loaded them with around 25 rounds to be safe. What I’m saying is the 15 rounds in the airsoft mag are correct for the firearm it copies.

M1 Carbine BB gun

We looked at the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB gun last year in a three-part test. In that test we learned that the BB gun is extremely accurate — to the point of being not too far behind the Daisy Avanti 499. Can this airsoft version that looks incredibly similar be far behind? I hope not!

Two stocks

You have a choice of stocks when you buy the airsoft gun. I’m testing the synthetic stock that is available right now for $199. Add $100 and you can get one with a hardwood stock.

Expected power

The description page on the Pyramyd Air website says the velocity is 470 f.p.s. which I think is too fast for airsoft. Reader Michael asked me to test the M17 airsoft pistol with heavier 6mm BBs because when I tested it with 0.25-gram BBs it became more accurate than with the 0.20-gram BBs Sig recommends. I ordered in a slew of heavier BBs for that test that’s still to come, so you can be sure I will try them in this gun, too.

Adjustable Hop Up

The Hop Up (method of putting a backspin on the BB for improved accuracy) is adjustable, but it isn’t mentioned in the manual anywhere. I went online and could not find it anywhere — including in the information on the Asian models this gun is based upon.

So I asked Tyler Patner to show me and he was kind enough to send a video. The adjustment is a tiny 1.5mm (I measured it) Allen screw that’s located at the top rear of what is the chamber in the firearm. Just pull the bolt back and lock it, then there is access for the wrench.

Springfield Arm,ory Carbine airsoft Hop Up
The Hop Up adjustment is a 1.5mm Allen screw deep inside the receiver, at the top of the chamber.

Springfield Arm,ory Carbine airsoft Hop Up wrench
The Allen wrench is set to adjust the Hop Up.

The wrench for this doesn’t come with the gun, nor are there instructions in the manual. I think that is an omission that should be corrected — however, I haven’t yet seen if the adjustment really affects anything. If it doesn’t then the adjustment isn’t helpful and you should just consider the gun to be not adjustable. As long as we can find a BB that’s accurate, I don’t care about the Hop Up unless I need it.

Which model Carbine?

The Carbine evolved over its life cycle. Some things, such as the stock changed right away, while others like the bolt, the bayonet lug, the rear sight and the flash hider, came toward the end of its production cycle.

This Carbine represents the final configuration of the Carbine. It has the “low water” stock that shows a lot more of the operating rod handle than the first “high water” stock.

Carbine right high water
This Winchester Carbine was one of the first 15,000 Carbines made and subsequently was not interchangeable with all other Carbines because Springfield Arsenal changed the drawings after Winchester began production. Consequently these rifles never went to war and are often found in excellent condition like this one. This one has the early “high” water” stock.

Universal Carbine
This “Carbine” was made commercially by Universal. It shows none of the operating rod — something genuine Carbines never did. There is that 30-round banana mag, by the way.

Sights

The first Carbines had a rear sight with two peepholes drilled into an L-shaped steel bar. Flip the high side up for long range and the short side up for close. Soldiers didn’t like that one and it was soon switched for a fully adjustable rear sight, of which there are three types.

This airsoft Carbine has a rear sight that looks like the all-stamped metal “type 3” rear sight that was the last version made. The firearm sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. The airsoft sight adjusts for windage only. The peep is fixed at the highest sight setting, which on the firearm is 300 yards. I will have more to say about that when I shoot the gun for accuracy.

Springfield Armory Carbine rear sight
A type 3 rear sight graces the airsoft Carbine.

Can’t be disassembled

The original Carbine can be disassembled, of course. The airsoft replica isn’t designed to be disassembled. Of course it can be taken apart, but that isn’t recommended and it doesn’t come apart like the firearm anyway.

So much more!

Can a bayonet be attached? Why anyone cares is beyond me, for the Carbine was never good for a bayonet. But the lug is there so can it be? How hollow is the plastic stock? I’m sure is is somewhat hollow but it doesn’t sound like it. Is the upper handguard loose? Yes — just like the upper handguards on all the firearms! Can a sling be attached? QUICK — everybody who knows how to attach a sling to an M1 Carbine take a step forward!

I didn’t think so!

Summary

I don’t know what I’m testing today. Is it a replica or is it an airsoft long gun? It’s probably a little of each, with the accent on replica.

I will say this — this airsoft gun looks just as nice as the BB gun, and I thought very highly of that one. So, get ready, folks, ’cause we’re gonna have us some fun!

35 thoughts on “Springfield Armory M1 Carbine CO2 Blowback Airsoft gun: Part 1

  1. My dad bought a carbine for cheap thru the NRA. I loved it. I had cartridge adapters for the .30 Carbine round so I could shoot it in both my .30-30 Winchester M94 and in a Contender. What always amazed me was how LOUD this small cartridge was, no matter what I fired it in.

    So which gun shall I buy—this airsoft version or the BB version. Both? :^)


  2. BB is gonna have some fun now! I have owned and messed with these carbines off and on over the years. They are fantastic.

    By the way, I know how to sling them.


  3. BB
    3AM and I’m still up so this entry will be short. There is a metal tube like oiler (container) that the sling wraps around in that slot in the stock. But you already know that. It has a dipstick under the cap that screws off. I used a wood dowel capped off with 45cal shells on each end on one of my dressed up versions.



      • B.B.,

        Not to be outdone for weight reduction is the wire stocked M1 Paratrooper Carbine repleat with wooden pistol grip.

        They should build a Replica version of that in AirSoft!

        Totally inadequate and inacurate weapons beyond 125 yards!

        shootski


        • Shootski

          Paratroopers probably did not need to shoot that far much being sort of undercover, sneaking in behind the lines and weight/size reduction for the drop was the main concern. I was under the impression the M1 Carbine was designed for support troops to replace the 45 pistol. Not front line troops but some sort of did a trade off for the weight reduction and ease of firing.

          Airsoft has the Para model out already but you never find them in stock. May be easier to get them directly from overseas?




          • B.B.,

            I flew missions with a highly modified M14K 7.62, 12″ barrel in a leg scabbard with not a scrap of wood on it but rather a custom tube stock and fiberglass forend; no oiler. Most folks just couldn’t handle the 14 on FULL AUTO, and many couldn’t handle even BURST. I recall all the accuracy issues that were blamed on the wood perhaps partially true. Interestingly SOF used M14 variants to good effect in the Delta until the bitter end. Although I loved my M14K+ I lusted after a Stoner AR10 a few of which saw action in Laos.

            shootski


  4. My nephew got a M4/M16 airsoft gun for Christmas and a red dot to mount on it. It has a better trigger and is just as accurate as my Winchester M4 bb/pellet gun with a rifled barrel at 7 yards indoors.


  5. The Carbine is a great WW II firearm to have. The one I have is an early war Inland in excellent condition. I bought it at a Gun Show 25 years ago for $225.00 dollars. Prices sure have gone up since then but even then that was a great price. It works well. About 10 years ago I used it to win a local three gun match beating the tricked out AR’s. Probably wouldn’t be able to do that today as things have changed a bunch in Three Gun Matches.

    Mike


  6. B.B.,
    I think the M1 carbine is one of the coolest guns ever made! This looks like a nice replica, and I hope it shoots as well as the BB version you tested last April…that reminds me, perhaps you could tack an extra report on to the end of this report and do the 10-meter accuracy test you mentioned here on the BB version:
    “The M1 Carbine I am testing can shoot! In fact it is one of the most accurate BB guns I have ever tested. I think I’m going to test it again at 10 meters to see if the accuracy holds that far.”
    Since the guns are so similar, even to the point of both of them being available with wooden stocks, this series of reports might be a good place to tie things back and complete the accuracy testing on its twin…just sayin’!
    These things are cool; a friend let me borrow one of his two carbines he brought back from across the pond. It was a great shooter out to 100 yards (all the range we had at the range I shot at the time), as well as being a boat load of fun. =>
    Take care & keep up the good work,
    dave



      • BB
        And I had a few points I wanted to add to that missing last BB shooting M1 report, forgot myself. I believe I did mention that the stocks were too wide to grip easily. Except for the King Arms wood stock airsoft one I have. I switched it with the Springfield Armory synthetic stock BB Carbine for a very nice set up with a metal picatinny railed upper handguard, that fits tight.

        Noticed Umarex launched their latest arrow firing PCP. Am I missing something here? Shouldn’t there be a pellet shooting long bow out there someplace?
        Just mount a springer receiver / barrel to the bow and replace the piston spring with the bow string operating through a vertical slot cut in the receiver. Makes about the same sense to me. 😉
        Bob M



        • Bob,

          Interesting idea. It would work. But,…. if X-spring can push a 16 grain pellet out the barrel at 800 fps,…. what will that same spring do with 100,200 grains of arrow. You know from shooting heavier pellets,… you will get lower fps.

          Assuming the valve is built right for application,…. a PCP will keep pushing and filling behind the arrow/bolt.

          On that,… a cross bow is essentially spring powered (leaf spring),…. so why does it work for cross bow application and not a coil spring?

          Chris




              • BB,

                Not even sure how to respond. I re-read Bob’s comment and see now that he is talking about a string (attached to a traditional piston),…. driven by a drawn cross bow spring (leaf spring),..instead of a coil spring,… to launch a (pellet,.. not an arrow). It seems as if it would work.

                In hindsight,… I see my question was geared more towards why would not/doesn’t,.. a coil spring work to launch an arrow,… when a leaf spring (cross bow) does work. They are both springs. Both store energy.

                Not sure what you want to make of that,…. but I think that both questions,.. are good questions.

                Chris


            • Chris
              Sorry for the delay, thought I woke from the dead but it was only a long nap.

              The formula is Force=Area x Pressure.
              It’s not the coil spring that is pushing the pellet but the PSI (Force) created when you rapidly reduce the (Area) the air is contained in by increasing the (Pressure) created by the piston at the end of the spring as it rapidly expands and compresses the air.
              The spring is only a mechanical device that changes the numbers used in the formula.

              Now you have another formula(s) that I guess you can use to figure out what kind of FPS you will get when you apply that PSI to the back of a pellet that sort of decreases the force as the pellet moves down the barrel and creates more area for that PSI in the bore, but that’s way over my head. Barrel length, pellet size and weight, air resistance for the pellet as well as for the air passage and friction involved..

              A chronometer will tell you the answer much faster 🙂 … With another formula that measures speed!

              Now the crossbow springs are also just a mechanical device that changes the numbers in the string speed movement and force created. They don’t actually push an arrow.

              With a PCP the Force is already there and the PSI is known. No springs needed. The compressor replaced them.
              The short answer, the tip of the leaf spring probably moves much faster than a coil spring can and is directly involved in the speed transmitted to an arrow or piston through the string.

              Like the tip of a helicopter blade that moves faster than the speed of sound. As the blade rotates the tip is moving much faster and further through more air than the portion attached to the hub mounting area. Like the tip of a whip. By the way, those blade tips do lag like a whip. ( Drag )
              Bob M.


              • Bob,

                Thank you for the added discussion and insight. Hank makes his own bows and am sure that he could explain things better when it comes to making one. I am not ready to dive into that “pond” just yet. 😉

                My cave man style would be a junk yard leaf spring, some 2×10’s, some lags bolts and cock it with a come-a-long,……….. 🙂 LOL!

                Chris


        • Bob M
          This has been done. I bought such a device back in the early ’80s but never used it much – maybe just a couple of shots. The problem it had was it wasn’t designed very well to attach securely on all bows. The ones I had made it difficult to mount and I was very happy with leaving all my pellet shooting to my two FWBs (124 & 127).
          Larry


          • Larry
            To be honest I was being a little facetious about an airgun shooting an arrow instead of a pellet. Unless you use a silencer? you are no longer under cover for one thing. Bullets replaced arrows a long time ago and you surely lost the experience of vintage hunting or target shooting with a bow.

            I was using a reversal of the idea as a way of demonstrating the ridiculousness of it all. I had no idea it was actually considered although it would create an interesting challenge for as you mentioned, it did not work out too well.
            I’m sure that it would require an intentional ground up design from the start but still only be a novelty item in todays world. Kind of like a PCP shooting an arrow. Effective perhaps, but why bother? Just something else to sell?

            Now I’m beginning to sound like the people that always cut down all kinds of airguns that were not top of the line heirloom quality when they were only designed to be low cost plinkers, fun guns or economical pest eliminators in the first place, not perfect creations.
            Bob M


  7. BB

    Sorry to be a total pedant, but Garand developed his rifle while employed at Springfield Armory.

    It was selected in preference to the Pedersen rifle, designed by John Pedersen.

    Irwin Pedersen Inc was a company set up in WW2 by John Pedersen to manufacture M1 carbines in Grand Rapids MI. It was contracted to make 100,000. It only made 3,500, all of which were rejected by the US Army as sub-standard. Apparently Pedersen was a great gun designer, less good as a production engineer.

    Incidentally, the government arsenal Springfield Armory in MA was closed in 1968. The current “Springfield Armory” is a commercial gunmaker in TX which appropriated the name. It has absolutely no connection of any kind to the previous government arsenal, despite extensive attempts in its advertising to suggest that they are one and the same.

    Finally (and again huge apologies for being a pain), the Johnson 5.7mm Spitfire was not part of the development of the 5.56mm/.223” cartridge. Converted M1 carbines were used in experimental .22” chamberings at Aberdeen Arsenal in 1952-53 as part of the programme that led to the 5.56, but Johnson was not involved, and his Spitfire was introduced in 1962, after the .233”/5.56 round had been perfected.



      • Geezer,

        HOWEVER,

        I didn’t say Johnson was involved in the development of the 5.56mm cartridge — did I? I said he tried to sell the 5.7 to the Army and they were already looking into smaller calibers than .30. So that part wasn’t wrong. It was misconstrued.


        • BB
          If I remember right the last new production commercial M1 Carbines Iver Johnson came out with were not given very good reviews. Everyone was going for vintage carbines that were mostly armory rebuilds. Not true collectables but operationally reliable for resale.


          • Bob,

            I had a .22 Carbine by Iver Johnson, but not a .30. I owned that Universal shown above, the Winchester also shown and an Inland that I really liked. My current Carbine is an S primed G primed from General Motors. It has all S primed G primed parts (that are possible) which no production gun ever did. But collectors want them that way.

            B.B.


            • BB
              I pretty much destroyed the collectability of my three M1’s by refinishing the stocks. It was not my intention to collect but use them. When I got mine they were mostly just armory refurbished surplus from foreign countries and some were going for as little as $80. I think the real collectability came about later when they started to run out and originals became popular.

              You need a manual to determine which parts are original after all the repairs and overhauls they went through. A real challenge to find one with so many companies using other companies parts in the first place from what I remember.
              Bob M


        • “the 5.7mm Johnson Spitfire that Melvin Johnson created in the 1950s. The Army used that as the starting point in the development of their 5.56mm cartridge that’s still used today.”

          Sorry, but that’s still not quite right. The Johnson/Plainfield Spitfire was designed separately and after the 5.56. It came to market in 1962. The 5.56, in its original form, was finalised as the “.222 Special” in 1958, and renamed the “.223” Remington” in 1959 to remove confusion with the slightly different civilian varmint .222 Remington Magnum round.

          The small calibre experiments using M1 carbines were done in the very early 50s at Aberdeen, mostly by a guy called Gustaffson, starting in 1952.

          The USAF tried buy the AR15 from 1959. They were finally allowed to do so in 1962. The US Army was allowed a “one time buy” of AR15s in 1964. The rest being history. So, while there is a very small period in which the Spitfire might have been a rival to the rifle that became the M16, I haven’t seen any evidence that the US military in any form was interested in Johnson’s .22” carbine. If he’d brought it out in 1953, it might well have been adopted. But 1962 was far too late. And the AR15 was in so many ways better (and I say that as a carbine fan).

          Appreciate you tolerating my historical nerd thing on this particular subject.

          Best,

          Geezer


  8. Wasn’t this made in the proprietary .30 M1 Carbine caliber? Ruger used to make a Blackhawk single action revolver chambered for it. I think TC made some Contender barrels too.


  9. Universal M1s were made/assembled in Miami, FL; I was a customer of the associated retail store, Bullseye Guns. Never bought a carbine there, but purchased a Walther P-38 and later an 1863 “Zouave” replica .58 cal muzzleloader, happily both still residing with FM. The store owner, Jerry Resnick, was a cantankerous no-nonsense type, who did not suffer BS-types gladly. He did know his firearms and was fair and upfront with the customer – as long as you “behaved accordingly.” Two perps who walked into the shop in May ’73 found out how much of a straight shooter he was when, after being wounded, Jerry took them down, permanently.

    I went to visit him after his recovery and, provided this is not Fawlty memory, believe he said he’d shot them down with a .22 WMR revolver, the make unknown to me.

    http://www.m1carbinesinc.com/carbine_bullseye.html


  10. Hi Folks,

    Way off topic, Rush drummer Neil Peart has left the building.

    Gone at 67 years old, wanted to post some music but found I would have to post every Rush song of all time.

    Mike


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