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CARBINE COLLECTORS: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

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m1a1fan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: CARBINE COLLECTORS: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
    Posted: Apr 26 2016 at 9:56pm

May 2016-A
CARBINE COLLECTORS: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED….

by Marty Black
 
Even advanced collectors can sometimes forget that we must always “expect the unexpected” with carbines, their part types and their markings…and even more important than that, we must keep an open mind to “accepting” that odd part as legitimate, if the carbine otherwise appears to be factory-original. In other words, if the carbine looks right to you, don’t be in a hurry to change out that odd part because your friend or someone on the internet tells you that it is “incorrect.”

We must remember that over 4 million parts from over 1000 subcontractors were transferred among the 10 carbine manufacturers in a little more than 2 years of carbine production.  Anything is possible!  The transfer records of the Carbine Industry Integration Committee (CIIC) have been published in War Baby!, but we must bear in mind that these are only the records that have been found in the National Archives.  Other records were undoubtedly destroyed at the end of the war, lost or misfiled in the decades since.  Also, we have found ample evidence that carbine manufacturers helped each other out by transferring parts amongst themselves without going through the bureaucracy of the CIIC.  Hence, we have unknown quantities of “undocumented” transfers.

I well remember the winter of 1980-1981, when I drove over 2 hours on a snowy, slippery evening to meet a real greasy, shady-looking character in Cicero, IL (home of the old Chicago mafia).  He had an absolutely mint Type 2 WRA carbine 1097xxxx, that he wanted the astronomical price of $400 for!  That was when original carbines could still be found for $200 - 250.  And he wouldn’t budge a penny on that price.  But this Winchester was eye-watering perfect!  It had been on a dealer’s table at the Wheaton gun show the Sunday before, but no one was willing to pay that kind of money for a carbine.  After deliberating the entire following week, I decided that I couldn’t pass it up. Although I cringed at paying twice what a carbine was worth, I gave the gangster cash in his cold and dark house, and hurriedly got out of there before I got mugged.

But, in filling out a Carbine Club data sheet the next evening, I was extremely disappointed to notice that the flip rear sight was marked with an Inland-type “round s” instead of the Lyman “square s.”  Oh no, my carbine is not factory-original!  Every collector knows that Winchester used Lyman sights!  My gun is not right!

Thankfully, in those days, minty flip sights could still be found at gun shows, and I picked up a square-s flip sight a month or two later.  But in my haste to knock off the round-s sight, my punch slipped and I buggered the dovetail.  I raised white metal!  And in pushing on the square-s sight past the original stake marks in the dovetail, I damaged the “new” sight, bending over the right sidewall of it, jamming the aperture, and leaving a mark from my flat punch that damaged the parkerizing.  I was now even more disappointed that my incompetence in swapping the sight showed the world that the sight had been replaced.  Now, it was even more “messed with!”

But this disappointment was nothing compared to my reaction when I read the Winchester Update article by J.B. Powers in Carbine Club Newsletter 58, that stated “below (serial number) 1,100,000 a few round s sights have been found.”  Totally bummed by my very expensive (and personally risky) purchase, followed by my inept haste in damaging a perfectly legitimate carbine, I sold it to another collector.  And now, 35 years later, I’m still mad at myself over that fiasco!  I’m sure other advanced collectors have similar, if not worse collecting stories.  Be patient and studious, and learn from our mistakes.

Moving on to 2016…..I was recently contacted by a beginning collector who had purchased a National Postal Meter carbine that had a few odd parts.  Some collectors had already poo-poo’d it.   Upon closer examination, I believe that this carbine, rather than being a mixmaster or “a hump,” is actually a prime example of transferred parts by the CIIC and from other manufacturers.
 
NPM 4081855 has a Marlin barrel, and was assembled in the Oct-Nov 1943 timeframe.  It shows wear from being handled, patina from age, and some rust from improper storage.  All wear patterns match, and with the exception of a few parts, matches up with what we expect to find on a factory-original piece.


It even has a ragged and rusty S-N marked sling with the “round profile” buckle.  These slings were marked in ink on the inside of the
sling, where it folds around the sling swivel.  As such, the stamp is usually worn and difficult to see.  The oiler is marked IS.




The first unusual part to catch one’s eye is the #1 band marked UR (upside down).  We would expect to see the band marked U or UI (either right side up or upside down). This is the first ever report of a UR  marking to The Carbine Club!  Roger Larson’s book states that U-R bands (with hyphen) were made for Rock-Ola.  That indeed sounds logical, but The Carbine Club has not seen any evidence to support that assertion.  Ordnance Department documents indicate that Rock-Ola used only one subcontractor for their #1 barrel bands, the Maid-O-Mist Company of Chicago.  These are marked M - R right side up.  It is certainly possible that Union Hardware (U) received a contract to produce #1 bands for Rock-Ola, but the author has seen no evidence of that, either documentary or observed on Rock-Ola carbines.

Note that the band is blued/black-oxide, whereas the collar that engages the hand guard is parkerized.  This has been observed before.  The swivel is parkerized and marked UN as expected.  The band has 3 weld scars on top, also as expected.

Close examination of the barrel finish forward of the front sight, the front sight staking and most importantly, the front sight pin, show absolutely no evidence of removal.  That band has been on this carbine since it was assembled at the factory.   Explain the marking? - well, I can’t.

Note also that the unmarked milled front sight has the “thumbnail” milling pattern seen on most Winchester carbines.  However, this is not particularly significant, as this type sight has been reported before on NPM carbines, and the milling pattern is dependent on the milling machine and operator technique.  Front sight milling patterns are good guides for determining the probable carbine manufacturer, but are by no means definitive.  Never say never, and never say always!


Most, if not all, original-finish Marlin barrels are blue-black in color, not gray-green Parkerizing.  Marlin barrels are not common, but every factory-original Marlin barrel this author has ever seen has been blue-black in color. Marlin also made an unknown quantity of Garand barrels during WWII, but most were rejected for poor indexing with the receiver.  They were blue and called “Blue Marlins” by Mr. Garand’s troubleshooter, Art Tuttle.

Color differences in these two photos of the front sight are due to flash/no flash and ambient lighting conditions.  My point in showing them here is that there is absolutely no evidence of the front sight ever having been off the barrel.  Hence, the oddly-marked barrel band is factory-original.

As an aside, this carbine was assembled in the time frame that NPM was transitioning from the N and NN-marked milled front sights to the fabricated SN-marked sight.

Rear Sight at right: Again, the differences in the photos here are due to differing light conditions.  The rear sight is marked only with the Lyman “square s” on the left. The right side of the base and leaf are unmarked.  Unexpected perhaps, but not unheard of with NPM carbines.  War Baby! page 454 lists Lyman as a subcontractor of complete Rear Sight Assemblies to NPM.

The dovetail and staking show no evidence of rear sight replacement.  NPM used this chisel-type staking. The forward stake mark is longer than normally seen, but again - nothing to raise eyebrows over.



But here’s something that will certainly raise the eyebrows of most collectors.  A LT-Q hammer and 22 coil spring!  No way, we say!….But let’s take a closer look.  The carbine manufacturers that used the early “dogleg” hammer and 22 coil spring began transitioning to the late “straight” hammer and 26 1/2 coil in approximately July-August 1943.  This was an effort to reduce the trigger pull, and was not considered a critical revision to the carbine.   These two parts were integrated as the supply of old parts was exhausted, and original carbines from other manufacturers have been reported with dogleg hammers and 26 1/2 coil springs, as well as straight hammers and 22 coil springs.

NPM didn’t make the transition until about November, the time frame that this carbine was assembled.  NPM 4093xxxx with an Underwood 10-43 bbl was reported by Joe Wanamaker in 1979.  It too has a LT-Q hammer and 22 coil spring, corroborating the use of both these parts by NPM during the fall of 1943.  Inland hammers marked HI have also been reported on NPM carbines in this serial number range.

The last odd part on this carbine is the late recoil plate marked AU on the side of the tang.  Before swapping this part out to please his friends, a wise collector would consult the CIIC records in War Baby! page 457, and note that Underwood sent 5000 recoil plates to NPM shortly after Oct 1, 1943, again the time frame when this carbine was assembled.
 
In summary, we must always be careful to judge a carbine in its entirety, based on its condition and wear patterns, before we declare it “incorrect”  because of one or more unexpected parts markings.   I’ll admit to being quite startled upon reading Brian Quick’s Standard Products Update article in Carbine Club Newsletter 366.  Std Pro received an enormous quantity of parts that were marked for other carbine manufacturers.  If you have what appears to be a factory-original Std Pro carbine, I would expect it to have one or more “wrong” parts, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t.  I can only wonder how many factory-original Std Pro carbines have been erroneously “corrected” by collectors and then reported to the Carbine Club as originals.  Garbage (data) in = Garbage (data) out.

Enjoy your carbine, even if it has a “wrong” part or two…or three.   Accept it and celebrate it!   It’s part of the WWII production history of the M1 Carbine.

Comments are always welcome.

Marty Black



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wctriumph Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 2:04am
Great read, thanks.  I purchased my first Carbine from the CMP in February this year.  It is a Underwood, in excellent condition and it has the Bavarian Police markings.  It shoots excellent and I could not be happier with it.  This one is a keeper.

Thanks again for the information. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chama kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 8:51am
enjoyed reading your article mb.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote hunterman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 9:40am
Informative article and a neat gun. Congratulations to the author and to the collector!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weimar_police Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 9:41am
Very good article and so true - any collector who has collected for a while is liable to have tried to 'fix' something and made a mistake. I have have...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpilot2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 9:58am

Nice read, I am now going through a Saginaw that I'm convinced is "as issued" because of the way it was obtained along with the visual examination. But it is with some discrepancies from published "expected" parts. If I ever figure out how to post a set of pictures easily, I will share this rifle with everyone to comment on. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gene of oregon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 12:40pm
       I really enjoyed reading this, one of the best articles I've read. Thank You I have a couple that I feel are original but with one mixed part. I've acquired the correct parts but gut feeling says leave it alone. I've always said and heard others say it, there was a war going on and we needed weapons ASAP, beg, barrow and steal, what ever it takes. Thanks Again
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom.30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 4:24pm
Mr. Black, what a great article. Thanks!!!!! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 4:56pm
Great article.  A valuable lesson.  Think before one "corrects".  Better yet.....Don't do it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scott C. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2016 at 8:57pm
My 1069031 Winchester has a scripted S rear sight.  No doubt in my mind that it is original.  The thing had not been cleaned since the war!!
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Thanks Hunterman, appreciate it...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lupus Dei Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 02 2016 at 6:22pm
Originally posted by Johnboy490 Johnboy490 wrote:

Thanks Hunterman, appreciate it...
 
Neat option we have here. To thank someone for help click the "Thanks" button above and to the right of their post. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnboy490 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2016 at 9:25pm
Was looking on the cmp auction site and saw a npm with the same type1 barrel band,,, so more of them exist ...
As the article states" Note that the band is blued/black-oxide, whereas the collar that engages the hand guard is parkerized" . the CMP carbine is the same and also has  a parkerized UN swivel!

 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SeoulFood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2016 at 4:33am
Thanks- that was an awesome read!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lupus Dei Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2016 at 5:43pm
Johnboy, Excellent reporting! And notice once again the hand guard retainer it parkerized and the band is blued.
Some may erroneously point out the wide range of serial numbers. however if you refer to CCNL 125 you will see both of these carbines were made in the fall of 1943. I would make a note of these two markings and serial ranges in your newsletter. Lets see if there are more.
 
I would encourage others to keep their eyes open and report back with any items to help fill the gaps!
 
 
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