The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30
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Front Sight Key
Front Sight Pin
Barrel Band Assembly
The end of the barrels were machined to a slightly smaller diameter to accommodate the front sight. This down turned area was approximately 1.5" in length. An oval keyway running lengthwise was cut into the top of this area. Most keyway's were oblong but a few barrel manufacturers cut the keyway in an I shape. An oblong key slides lengthwise into either keyway, the front sight slides tightly over this key. The front sight's pin hole aligns with a notch in the top of the key. The front sight pin engages the front sight and key to hold the front sight in place.
Milled from a solid piece of steel (two separate examples)
TR was manufactured by Taylor Freezer Co. of Beloit, WI for Rock-Ola
N was manufactured by Niedner Rifle Corp. of Dowagiac, MI and used by Inland, Quality Hardware,
Irwin-Pedersen, Saginaw Gear in Grand Rapids, National Postal Meter, Standard Products and IBM.
The exact location and orientation of the N varied, sideways it appears to be the letter Z (see pic directly below).
Machining of the area between the sight blade & shoulder varied between manufacturers and sometimes changed.
Not all milled front sights have a manufacturers mark. Those that did, it may be on top, on the front, on the rear, or on the outside of the right wing.
Second from the left, what appears to be the letter Z is actually a sideways N. Far right, JQ was manufactured by the O.D. Jennings Co. of Chicago, IL for Quality Hardware.
Stamped & Brazed Front Sights
(arrows indicate brazing)
Note the difference in thickness of the metal surrounding the barrel and forming the two ears from that of the milled sights.
SN was manufactured by Super Metal Mfg. of North Bergen, NJ for National Postal Meter
Post WWII Cast Front Sight
(arrows indicate mold mark)
RIA was manufactured by Rock Island Arsenal
The front sight key was sometimes staked to the barrel fore and aft of the key.
PO B was manufactured by the Prestole Division of Detroit Harvester in Dayton, OH for IBM.
Occasionally the rear of the front sight was staked to the front sight key.
The Saginaw Steering Gear facility in Grand Rapids, as did Irwin-Pedersen before them, stamped a number between 2 and 7 on the
left side of the front sight to signify blade height. No other manufacturers are known to have done this. Number or no number,
some front side blades were later filed down by those in possession of the carbine to increase elevation.
As issued (left), filed down (right). Refer to the overhead photo of the 4 milled sights (above) for additional examples.
Weld marks are visible on top of the outer band.
Location and shape of the weld marks varied from one manufacture to the next.
If a manufacturers mark is present it is located on the left or right side of the outer band and/or the outside of the
swivels used on the narrow barrel band. The two types of wider barrel bands that followed use a wire swivel with no markings.
The head of the barrel band screw has a very unique design allowing it to be removed or installed using the lower edge of a .30 Caliber cartridge casing.
Screws having a head other than this design (flat head, round head) were not used on any of the carbine barrel bands for the U.S. Caliber .30 Carbines
manufactured for U.S. Army Ordnance during or after WWII.
The earliest barrel bands used were .40" wide.
The opening for the sling was 1/4" wide.
(note: barrel band retention spring is discussed as part of the Stock Group)
Early swivels had a sling opening 1/4" in width (left) and were soon replaced with a swivel having a wider sling opening of 5/16" (right).
(examples above have been rotated sideways for comparison purposes)
Manufacturer codes, when present, sometimes appeared on the swivel in addition to, or instead of, the barrel bands.
First Barrel Band, second style swivel with sling opening widened to 5/16".
Swivel marked KV B manufactured by Knapp & Vogt Manufacturing Co. of Grand Rapids, MI for IBM.
The earlier barrel band was superseded in 1944 by a barrel band .70" wide that held the barrel and stock together more securely.
The swivel was constructed from wire. The screw was shortened and relocated to the bottom of the barrel band and staked to
prevent removal. Manufacturer codes were often omitted on these bands. On this one look close at the left side just above the screw where there
is single \ used as a manufacturer's mark.
The outer band of the third style barrel band remained the same as the band used prior.
The inner band was extended farther forward ending with a bayonet lug for the M4 bayonet.
This third and final barrel band style received final approval from Ordnance in May 1944. Manufacture contracts and
subcontracts were awarded starting in June and July 1944. All prime contractors but Inland and Winchester had already
ceased carbine production. The barrel bands with bayonet lugs were also designated as replacements, eventually
becoming a mandatory replacement for carbines with the earlier barrel bands during U.S. Army Ordnance overhauls
of carbines after WWII. Manufacture of this style barrel band continued post WWII and well into the 1960's.
Documentation has been found indicating a limited number of M4 bayonets made it into the Pacific Theater
towards the end of WWII. It was found the improvement in accuracy with this barrel band warranted it's
manufacture and use regardless of whether or not a bayonet was attached.
Manufacturer marks were placed on the left or right side of the outer band.
Inner bands were sometimes manufactured by a separate company. Markings
found on the bottom of the bayonet lug identify the separate company who manufactured the inner band.
Quality Hardware was contracted by Ordnance to manufacture barrel bands with bayonet lugs as spares and replacements after they had ceased carbine
production. They subcontracted the manufacture of both the outer and inner band in addition to the quantities produced by Quality Hardware.
Bands and/or lugs having the letter Q alone or as part of a sequence of letters were made by or for Quality Hardware but were not used by
Quality Hardware on their carbines. If one is present on a Quality Hardware carbine it was used as a replacement.
It's not uncommon to find a barrel band with the bayonet lug having been sawn off due to the rarity of the earlier band
or due to laws prohibiting the use of the bayonet lug. Most, but not all of the bands made without the bayonet lug have
a slight lip under the front of the band. Note the saw marks across the front of this band.
The Fit of the Barrel Band to the Barrel, Stock, and Handguard
The early type I barrel bands are usually of far more interest to collectors with a value equal to their rarity and condition. The significantly less expensive type III barrel band with the bayonet lug provides a far more secure method of holding the barrel band to the barrel, stock and handguard without shifting and therefore provides far more reliable and better accuracy than the narrower barrel bands.
The type I barrel band was known to shift it's position and alter a carbine's accuracy during firing and particularly if the swivel had a sling attached that was drawn tight to aid in sighting.
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