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Buying Your First Carbine

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Why Carbines? View Drop Down
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    Posted: Mar 05 2016 at 9:47am
I thought, given the addition of some new members, that I would rework a thread I posted when this site first started back in January. It was about the do's and do nots of buying your first M1 carbine or to some degree buying a collectible carbine early in your collecting career.

First, and I can't emphasize this enough, before you buy your first carbine do as much research as you can! It's possible you won't even want one after you learn some of the highs and lows of the gun itself and the field of collecting the carbine.

Second, once you do the research part and have decided you want a carbine, look around locally online or locally. I have had really good luck picking up stuff online given that my local market is one step away from awful. Most of my online deals have gone really well, but there have been exceptions that were due to no fault of the people I was buying from. Of course if your local market is better than mine, a hands on look should help alleviate some or most of your concerns.

Third, if you are a first time buyer, please consider NOT buying a collector grade carbine right off of the bat. Buy yourself a shooter grade and advance your knowledge of the carbine before you throw out big bucks potentially for a collector grade. Learn to recognize fake parts through what ever means you can. Also, and this takes time, take the time to get a feel if something looks real or is no more than a put together of varying quality. This kind of knowledge will save you big bucks, but recognizing a put together is sometimes daunting for nearly all collectors. All of what I just said is an attempt to save newer members money.

Fourth, the term condition, condition, condition cannot be emphasized enough. Look for outward pitting on the receiver and barrel. Chances are that if there's pitting on the outside of the carbine, it may be inside of the barrel too, but not necessarily is that 100 percent true. Also, consider the chance that a receiver has been welded or has an import mark on it. Welded receivers are paperweights, while import marked carbines are sometimes embraced, sometimes reviled. If you buy an import, just be aware of the highs and lows of obtaining one as far as potential condition issues go and maybe more importantly the future negative resale value too.

Finally, passion in carbine collecting is a double edged sword. In one hand passion drives you to learn about carbines and expand your collection eventually. On the other hand, and I know this for a fact in my case, passion will drain your wallet faster than a politician makes promises. What I've finally learned, but still have to remember seemingly everyday, is to be highly objective, even critical of what I am looking at and keep an extremely questioning attitude about do I need this carbine or part and just how bad.

To sum all of this up, research is vital...do not buy without without some level of research! This site, the CMP forum and the Milsurps forum are all excellent starting places. The latest Craig Riesch book is a good starting place, but is also, like all M1 carbine books, imperfect. Another lesson I learned is do NOT rely on one source. In other words, Google, Google and Google again to try and find a set of facts, if possible, that seem everyone generally agrees with. You may never find a consensus opinion since there are always people online who will argue, but at least you can pick up a feel for the particular subject you are trying to research.

Good luck on your first purchase or even if you already have one the items I just brought up should help you along the way in collecting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (7) Thanks(7)   Quote Lupus Dei Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 14 2016 at 8:13pm
Excellent advice, If this or any article/post has been useful to you there is a thanks function which shows your appreciation. It is on the upper right side of the post with a smiley face.
This awards points to that person which goes to their overall ranking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 14 2016 at 9:12pm
Another great resource is other collectors. Identify the ones who know and are willing to help. Learn from them. Appreciate it. Pass it along. Some specialize in things like identifying flips, others are carbine encyclopedias. Lots to know and lots of resources/ppl to help. Hoping all new collectors get the chance to to crack open an original USGI carbine. Like Christmas over and over again. Nothing wrong with a mixmaster. I have a few. They come in handy for upgrading and sometimes hold surprises. It's a catch 22 but there are ways to speed up the process.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Sledge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 08 2017 at 5:36pm
re. Grunt:  "First, and I can't emphasize this enough, before you buy your first carbine do as much research as you can! It's possible you won't even want one after you learn some of the highs and lows of the gun itself and the field of collecting the carbine."

That is worth a second look.  False representations of originality are common, some unintentional, some not.  That part of collecting the carbine even has me a bit discouraged.  Now that I have learned a bit, it is relatively easy to spot a misrepresentation.  Each time I feel letdown, and relief that I didn't buy it and find out later.  Plus a bit peeved at the guy who looked me straight in the eye and lied to me.

Still looking though. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 09 2017 at 7:43pm
Started out not knowing how to spot a fake, rework, etc... Much easier now and gernally takes less time. Even if it is though to spot, it's a chance to learn more as there is always room. Makes a nice one more rewarding especially when other might be busy bidding on something that isn't original.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Why Carbines? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 11 2017 at 1:32pm
A healthy dose of skepticism will keep your wallet full of cash!


Spelling...dang it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 11 2017 at 8:20pm
Can be very rewarding being patient. Even if one discovers something they passed on was in fact original, there will always be another one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dchrys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 03 2017 at 9:36pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ronnie Fry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 05 2017 at 11:07am
All of the above!!

PLUS

You never have to apologize for quality!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sledge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 05 2017 at 12:01pm
Originally posted by Why Carbines? Why Carbines? wrote:

A healthy dose of skepticism will keep you wallet full of cash!

You mean until my wife takes it out to go shopping for more clothes?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote tenOCEE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 11:13am
Here's an example of what to look out for on Carbines. Here's one I received and was an apparent put together when held in hand. There are 2 indicators of a rebuild in this pic. One is the dove tail where a type III sight once was installed/removed. You'll have to guess at the other, though it's not much of a mystery.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tenOCEE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 11:23am
Bayonet shadow markings; here are other indicators to look out for on them. Held in hand, nobody can mistake what we have here. Band shadow from Hades. Confused In pic 2, note the circled area that doesn't photo well shows the pad wear from the type III barrel band. There will usually be at least one more mark from the 3 pads on a bayo lug. Someone chemically treated it to hide the shiny spot of the pad wear.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Why Carbines? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 12:23pm
Must have used a hammer to get the adjustable sight off.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1st M1 88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 12:33pm
Looks like rear sight leaf has a casting line running down the center.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tenOCEE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 12:59pm
Originally posted by 1st M1 88 1st M1 88 wrote:

Looks like rear sight leaf has a casting line running down the center.


Yeah, it does. And as we know originals were not cast.

Originally posted by Why Carbines? Why Carbines? wrote:

Must have used a hammer to get the adjustable sight off.


Or a crow bar. I've seen them with smaller divot contact marks from a stamped type III but wow...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 1:04pm
Looks like a repop flip.

Attempting to remove or install a rear sight the wrong way usually ends up with some kind of blunt instrument involvement. Subtle signs are also usually left behind even if the replacement sight is USGI.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RClark9595 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 2:15pm
     I think I maybe like many new Carbine owners who put the horse before the wagon, in other words, I bought a carbine on a whim without much information because I just liked and wanted the little rifle. Then I joined the Carbine Club years later to find out that I knew almost nothing about it when I purchased it, and I may have paid a little to much for it.

     I've sense learned a lot more now about it and a little of it's history from the club. it is a mix-master, but is in very good shape, I think it was stored after the upgrades, because only the round bolt shows blueing wear on top, and the exterior and barrel needed a deep cleaning. The receiver says Winchester, (ser.# equals Nov 1943) and that is what I thought I had bought. but all the hardware I've looked at sense says Underwood, haven't done a data sheet yet, but will.

     The stock has an early I oilier cut and was re-cut to low wood, hand grip has a clear circle P. on the bottom. Stock has a clear .U. proof mark. Hand guard is two rivet. Shot the rifle only once, worked like a dream, (emptied a 30 round mag). Wonder if I should care about the mix of parts and just enjoy the gun as a great shooter, or try to make it manufacturer original (all Winchester) early/late like I thought I was getting?

     When I purchased the gun I thought I was getting a Winchester made rifle, that's how they advertised it, that's before I learned about the re-build program, now it looks like the gun is a little Winchester and a lot Underwood, so I don't really know what I have, just a fun shooter. Thought about trading some Underwood parts for Winchester, and maybe the stock for same, just to get it back closer to original Winchester. but is it worth the effort?

     Just throwing it out there, any thoughts, what have members done who bought their gun first and learned about them later like me, did you start correcting the gun, or just left it be, what's your first Carbine story?
Ron

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tenOCEE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 2:26pm
"Just throwing it out, any thoughts, what have people done who bought their gun first and learned later about it like me, did you start correcting the gun, or just left it be, what's your first Carbine story?"

Probably need to keep this on topic since it's such a valuable tool especially for the new collectors to evaluate their first Carbine...or future first Carbine purchase.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RClark9595 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 3:58pm
     I don't think you can have one focus like this (pre-purchase only) without the other (after purchase also), all the research before you buy is great and is the smart road. But that sexy new 'car' on the lot often takes you in, and you buy on passion only to learn about it latter. People usually don't do much research at first, they often buy first and hope for the best latter.

     If my thinking is wrong, then maybe we need a new thread talking about Carbines purchased before we knew much about them. and doing we do the restoration dance.
Ron

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Knows rear sights!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tenOCEE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2018 at 4:03pm
Definitely a new thread. This is about Buying your first Carbine. It's an instructional.
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