The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine Buttplates


The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30


Buttplate Identification

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    Buttplates
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The Dilemma of which Manufacturer used which Buttplates during WWII

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.


Lateral Support

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.


Understanding the Manufacture of Buttplates

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.


Use, Wear, Damage, etc.

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.

FrontInsideInside Image Reversed for Comparison


Post WWII

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".


Real vs. Replicas vs. Commercially Manufactured: Words of Caution

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:

  • Known WWII Original Buttplates
  • Buttplates of Unknown Origin
  • Buttplates Manufactured for Commercial Carbines and/or Retail Sales

Disclaimer

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

FaceCenterInside (not reversed)
 

IBM

 

Inland

This buttplate is often confused with a very similar
buttplate used by Winchester. Note the gaps between
dots at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions. Also the
width of the circle surrounding the screw hole
inside the buttplate. The Winchester buttplate
does not have the gaps The diameter of the circle
around the screw hole on the inside of the Winchester
buttplate is noticeably larger.

This buttplate was also used by Saginaw in Saginaw, MI.

 

Irwin-Pedersen

Beware of Fraud
These are the most forged and faked buttplates for the M1 Carbines.
Look real close at the dots around the screw hole.


 

National Postal Meter

 

Quality Hardware

 

Rock-Ola

Note dot missing at 3 o'clock

Note missing dot at 6 o'clock and
2 missing dots at 12 o'clock.

 

Saginaw Gear
Saginaw, MI

Also used by Inland.
Refer narrative there.

Note missing dot at 5 o'clock

 

Saginaw Gear
Grand Rapids, MI

Beware of Fraud
Refer to the narrative for Irwin-Pedersen above, same manufacturer.

 

Standard Products

 

Underwood

 

Winchester

This buttplate is often confused with a very similar buttplate
used by Inland and Saginaw of Saginaw, MI. Refer to the
Inland buttplate narrative (above) for further details.


Buttplate Screw

The same buttplate screw was used throughout production by all government contracted manufacturers.


Note shape of head and screw point


Buttplates with Foreign Service

 

The Netherlands

Large quantities found with GI buttplates sold as surplus by
The Netherlands in the early 1990's.
Also occasionally observed in the USA prior.
If you know source please Contact Us

 

West German Ministry of Defense

Found on walnut M2 stocks with the acceptance
mark/eagle of the West German Ministry of Defense.
(Note the 3 offset dots in bottom row)

 

South Korea

Observed on U.S. and foreign manufactured carbine
stocks returning from South Korea

 
 

GR

 

Inverted GR on inside at bottom.
Possible foreign manufacture.
Quality of rows, columns and dots are not consistent
with dies used by U.S. contractors/sub-contractors.
Center has two variations. Rows, columns and dots
are the same.
If you know source please Contact Us

 

Center pattern 1

Center pattern 2

 


Replica Buttplates

 

"Early Inland" Replica

new production commercial replica

 


Buttplates Manufactured for
Commercial Carbines
and/or Retail Sales

 

Auto Ordnance

 

Chiappa
Model M1-22

 

Erma Werke
Model EM1 .22

 

Howa
(for U.S. Army Ordnance circa 1949-1952)

 

Israel Arms International

 

Iver Johnson
New Jersey 1978-1981 & Arkansas 1981-1992

 

National Ordnance
&
Alpine

This buttplate is smooth & blued, with no dots.
The texture you see here was caused by the lighting.
 

Universal Firearms
1963-1986

Iver Johnson
1984-1992

The dark squares you see here are impressions into the buttplate.
The faint dots between them are the raised areas.

 

Unknown

 

Unknown commercial manufacturer

 


Should you have questions, assistance is available on our Discussion Forum.

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.