The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30
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Recoil Plate Screws
Recoil Plate Escutcheons
Of the ten prime contractors who assembled U.S. Carbines during WWII only one, Underwood, made their own buttplates. The other nine subcontracted other companies to make them. There are eleven known buttplate manufacturers responsible for manufacturing buttplates for over 6 million U.S. Carbines, plus extras for use as spare parts/replacements. Unlike other parts for the carbine, only two of these eleven manufacturers placed letters on their buttplates to identify who made them and for whom.
Unfortunately U.S. Army Ordnance records, or the records of anyone else from the time period, did not document (or the documents have yet to be found) which buttplate was manufactured by which subcontractor. What has enabled us to identify which manufacturers made which buttplate has been the patterns on the metal dies they used, as each manufacturer used a different pattern. Several different collectors have compiled lists of what they believe to be accurate based on many years of examining stocks and the buttplates thereon. Not all of these collectors agree.
The nature of ongoing mass production at ten different contractor locations resulted in each having varying quantities of various parts on hand at any given time. If the inventory of a particular part ran too low at one contractor it was common for them to seek and obtain quantities from another contractor who had a surplus on hand, to keep their production lines going.
The few documents found regarding lateral support of buttplates indicate the quantities and occasions were very limited. Lateral support for stocks was far more common. Some of these records indicate stocks with buttplates attached, some do not. Experience examining which stocks have which buttplates on which carbines infers there is a good likelihood many of the lateral support stocks came with buttplates attached.
While each subcontractor manufactured buttplates for a specific carbine manufacturer, at various times several of these subcontractors made buttplates for more than one of the prime contractors.
Buttplates were formed from sheet metal using dies. No information has been found regarding the exact steps involved in manufacturing buttplates during WWII or that all buttplate manufacturers used the same machinery and same steps.
On the buttplates themselves, slight variations in the centering of the flat area around the screw hole have been observed. This indicates that the dimpled pattern may not have been formed in the same step as the screw hole with its tapered recess for the screw head. It appears some may have been stamped with more or less pressure than others, however, over time the volume of production may have caused increasing wear to the dies, making patterns less distinct than when the dies were new. It's also possible some dies were replaced as they wore out.
Slight variations in the patterns of buttplates made by the same manufacture are not uncommon. The causes for this are not known.
The buttplate existed to absorb or prevent damage to the one place of a carbine that suffered more impact than any other, the butt of the stock. In serving this purpose they typically show more wear, damage, and/or rust than any other part on a U.S. Carbine. Typically the pattern on the outside of the buttplate is worn to varying degrees and not as well defined around the edges. Sometimes to the point of the exterior edge pattern having been worn almost smooth. Examining the inside of the buttplate often reveals the original pattern.
|Front||Inside||Inside Image Reversed for Comparison|
When WWII ended Springfield Armory assumed control of the U.S. Carbine program and parts inventory. Replacement stock production continued well after WWII. Buttplates used were obtained from surplus/replacements made during WWII that had yet to be used. Springfield Armory is known to have manufactured buttplates post WWII using equipment left over from at least one subcontractor. Springfield Armory also packaged surplus used and new buttplates for long term storage. A buttplate covered in grease and packaged for long term storage may or may not be "new and unused".
A few of the buttplates manufactured for the U.S. Carbines during WWII are somewhat rare and therefore can have substantially more value than the others. The most notable are those made for Irwin-Pedersen and marked IP-PM or PM-IP. The PM identified the subcontractor who made them. After Saginaw's takeover of the Irwin-Pedersen facility the same subcontractor continued to manufacture buttplates for Saginaw in Grand Rapids marked PM-S'G'. With the increase in value has come an increase in fakes.
Some of the fakes have been made by simply stamping the letters in the right place on a buttplate made by a different WWII manufacturer. Some have been buttplates manufactured during WWII that have been physically altered to look like a rare one. Others have been commercially manufactured copies of varying accuracy.
Some retailers tend to list buttplates as being for the M1 and/or M2 Carbine without identifying them as authentic GI versus commercially manufactured (particularly on Ebay, Gunbroker, and other auction websites). A few retailers claim a buttplate is authentic when it's not (beware of "...selling them for a friend" - plausible deniability). Some retailers unintentionally mis-identify buttplates.
Due to the number of commercial buttplates intentionally or unintentionally sold as authentic WWII manufacture, photo's of the commercial buttplates follow the authentic buttplates below.
|This table has been divided into the following sections:
|All we can do is the best we can. A lot of effort has gone into the accuracy of what appears below. It has been reviewed by a number of long time |
researchers and collectors in an attempt to provide the most accurate information possible. That said, it's the best guess of experience, not set in stone.
U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine Buttplates
|Face||Center||Inside (not reversed)|
This buttplate is often confused with a very similar
This buttplate was also used by Saginaw in Saginaw, MI.
Beware of Fraud
National Postal Meter
Note dot missing at 3 o'clock
Note missing dot at 6 o'clock and
Also used by Inland.
Note missing dot at 5 o'clock
Beware of Fraud
This buttplate is often confused with a very similar buttplate
The same buttplate screw was used throughout production by all government contracted manufacturers.
Note shape of head and screw point
Buttplates with Foreign Service
Large quantities found with GI buttplates sold as surplus by
West German Ministry of Defense
Found on walnut M2 stocks with the acceptance
Observed on U.S. and foreign manufactured carbine
Inverted GR on inside at bottom.
Center pattern 1
Center pattern 2
"Early Inland" Replica
new production commercial replica
Buttplates Manufactured for
Israel Arms International
|This buttplate is smooth & blued, with no dots.|
The texture you see here was caused by the lighting.
The dark squares you see here are impressions into the buttplate.
Unknown commercial manufacturer
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