U.S. Carbine Caliber .30
In 1944-1945, the more than 1000 companies which had been involved in the production of over 6 million U.S. Caliber .30 Carbines, their individual parts and accessories, reverted to peacetime manufacture of other products. Wartime records were turned over to U.S. Army Ordnance or destroyed.
The massive amount of documents in the possession of Ordnance were assessed. Many of those were eventually passed onto the archival assessment system that determined which were of historical interest for retention by the National Archives. Some of the documents went through similar assessments at various government/military museums.
Historical publications by the companies and various government entities have generally focused on the company, the government, and/or general information. Thus, the details and depth of the production history of the U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine have had to be reconstructed by individual researchers and collectors, often one piece at a time, from whatever documents remain in the National Archives, various museums, people with first hand knowledge, and by examining as many carbines as possible.
In 1976, six acquaintances (H.J. “Sonny” Saunders, Joe “J.B.” Powers, Mike Stratton, Billy Thompson, Vernon Owens, and Phil Barr) who had met at gun shows, corresponded with each other and discussed their mutual interest in carbines. They decided to pool and share their observations in order to advance their knowledge of the many carbine variations, production changes, parts code markings, and accessories. Five of those acquaintances met that summer and finalized plans to form a club. A data sheet form was designed to document observations and standardize terminology, and these fellows began to collect and share as much information as they could find. From this beginning, over a period of 39 years, a cooperative effort was developed by thousands of researchers and collectors of varying knowledge levels. This effort was known as The Carbine Club. The Carbine Club’s first newsletter, dated November 1, 1976, was 6 pages long and composed on a typewriter. It was distributed to about 25 members. As the idea of collecting carbines grew over the years, a large bank of data was accumulated, and The Carbine Club became the foremost authority on the production history of the M1 Carbine. Newsletter #384, the final issue, was published in October 2015.
With the changing times and members’ interest in sharing carbine information via the internet, it was decided to evolve the Carbine Club into an online format only, beginning in January 2016. Despite the fact that we’ve been researching and studying the Carbine for more than 40 years, there is still much to be learned, and new variations of carbine markings are still being discovered.
Of the six founders, Sonny Saunders was initially the most experienced researcher. Mike Stratton was very active, serving as researcher, writer, editor, and publisher until killed in an accident in 2003 (see Newsletter 319). Throughout the entire 39 year history of the club, J.B. Powers was the most influential member, establishing the standards of excellence in research and writing, and contributing more significant material than anyone else. Powers continues to contribute and mentor others. He and Saunders have remained members.
Dozens of others have made significant contributions of data, research, and writing over the course of more than three decades, and it would be impossible to name them all. They know who they are, and what they helped to accomplish. Well done!
The authors of almost all of the books authored on the U.S. Caliber .30 Carbines, other than the most basic, have been members of The Carbine Club. Significant data used for these books has often come from the collective effort of many members.
If you cannot find the answer to your question on this website, or are eager to learn more and share your observations, you are invited to visit the USCarbineCal30.com forum. The forum will be a “work in progress” through 2016, and your patience will be appreciated. Volunteers are always welcome.
The Discussion Forum also serves as a reference desk for the more advanced material that could easily overwhelm a website and is often subject to opinions that may vary
due to a lack of original documentation. A number of researchers and authors are present on the forums, helping others and seeking information for various research projects.