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New member + Carbine question

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TheDude2 View Drop Down
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    Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 10:48am
Good morning,

My name is Cody, and I’m an active duty Marine. The milsurp bug started out in college when I restored a dirt cheap sporter Lee Enfield No.1 Mk. 3. It’s far from perfect, but I’ve been hooked since. Now that I have more disposable income, I’m getting pulled deeper into the hobby. Below is my very modest collection.

I’m hoping to get a knowledgeable assessment of an Underwood M1 Carbine I bought from a gun shop. $1300 asking, talked down to $1000. I have a copy of my data sheet below, but there are a few things unknown because I didn’t break some components completely down yet. 1.4mil Underwood M1 Carbine with plenty of early features. 3-43 barrel. No import marks. Other than the hammer and recoil plate (Both Inland), everything appears to be Underwood. The stock appears to be an M1 low wood Winchester. It has W.R.A. G.H.D. and crossed cannons on the right side and a “.U.” on the left side. From my research and help from Painter777 on Reddit, the stock appears to have been refinished by Underwood post-war. I just have a few questions that I hope someone can help me answer.


1) How original and/or historically accurate does this carbine appear to be as a whole?

2) Are there any resources I can use to see if it was ever carried by a Marine?

3) Is the high gloss finish historically correct or did someone add that later? I don’t care much for the glossy look personally, but I won’t be one to butcher history.

4) Would I be doing this Carbine a disservice installing a flip sight? I can’t find an Underwood marked one anywhere, so are there other manufacturers that would be period correct? If it's just a matter of waiting for an Underwood to turn up, would a Fulton Armory reproduction work in the meantime?


Thanks for having me! I hope to become a more knowledgeable and productive member over time.







\









Edited by TheDude2 - Sep 17 2021 at 11:14am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 11:16am
Welcome to the forum Devil Dog! 
It is very difficult to find Marine provenance with carbines, don't believe there are any records/resources available.
Glossy finish would not be original, the only approved finish for carbines was raw linseed oil.
If your rear sight is staked in place, leave it alone.
Would like to see some more pictures of the barrel band and swivel.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Oldboy53 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 11:31am
And the trigger housing, several different angles?Wink Great looking collection, BTW! Welcome aboard!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheDude2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 11:51am
As requested,

I originally thought there were three "O" looking marks on the barrel band, but now one looks a lot like a "U."








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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheDude2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 11:52am
Also:





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheDude2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 11:56am
Would you suggest I refinish it according to CMP instructions? I planned on buying Minwax antique furniture stripper and reapplying RLO. The stock markings are very faint, so I didn't plan on sanding.

Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 12:11pm
Originally posted by TheDude2 TheDude2 wrote:

Would you suggest I refinish it according to CMP instructions? I planned on buying Minwax antique furniture stripper and reapplying RLO. 

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat and a bunch of different opinions on what to use to strip a stock. What you use depends on what that current finish actually is but I had a few glossy stocks that looked similar to yours and had very good success with just wiping them down with acetone then wiping them with a soapy rag (Dawn) followed by a very quick rinse with water, towel dried and then sun dried for a couple hours. Once dry many coats of RLO.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 3:08pm
Cody, the "markings" on the top of your barrel band are weld scars not actual markings.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote bonnie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 3:31pm
I've used the Formby(now Minwax) furniture stripper a number of times on old military stocks. Does an excellent job removing the old finish and no sanding required. I believe the directions call for using steel wool to rub the stripper onto the wood. I did on my first stock and had steel wool particles imbedded in the stock that I had to remove. Was a pain.
Started using the green scrub pads after that. Work much better then steel wood. Make sure you do the stripping outside and with gloves and safety glasses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Smokpole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 3:48pm
As far as the rear sight goes, the original was a flip sight. I'd wait til I found an Underwood before removing the adjustable. And check with us before buying a marked flip sight. There are a lot of fakes out there and certain sellers from California have a reputation for selling fakes. That stock on your carbine is worth a bundle. You should be able to find someone who has a nice high wood Underwood stock that might be willing to trade even up for that Winchester stock.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheDude2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 4:27pm
Forgive my newbie question:

The small indent indicates that this has been staked to secure the sight, correct? I was looking at a Matrix Precision rear sight removal/install tool. Is that all I would need to change the sight? Haven't completely decided on changing it yet...just want all the info to make an informed decision.

As far as the stock, I had no idea it was that valuable. Do you have a rough price estimate? Should I avoid restoring the stock at all until I decide what to do with it? I would definitely consider searching for a correct Underwood stock. Thanks!

Edit: The wood isn't exactly flush. Is this a sign that it could have been a Type II that was cut down?




Edited by TheDude2 - Sep 17 2021 at 4:55pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 4:59pm
Yes that stake mark is from the adjustable sight being staked in place, if you put a flip sight on it that stake mark will be a tell tale sign that the receiver once had an adjustable sight on it. As far as your stock value goes, not sure it will be worth a "bundle" since it has the .U. rebuild stamp on it, possibly a cut down to low wood type 2 stock. Maybe $150-200 range.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Matt_X Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 5:01pm
Weld scars.   To eleborate, this is the deformation of the metal from resistance welding.  The machine clamps the two peices of sheet metal between two copper electrodes and the heat from electric current flowing through the steel melts them together.  Also commonly called spot welding.


Original?  How much to restore?  
Here's my take.
 It depends on what you want.  

To paraphrase Ruth and  Duff, what are your primary goals, shooting or collecting?
Does it matter to you if the gun is "as issued" at some point in its service, or must it be "as manufactured"?  If "as manufactured" how precisely correct will it take until you are satisfied?

Yours was rebuilt by Underwood, assuming the stock has been with the carbine since then.  Presumably its parts are largely "as issued" or ready to be issued at time of the Underwood rebuild.

Personally I think am Underwood  reconditioned carbine is pretty cool.  So I'd be less inclined to change the sight on it, especially if shooting it in places that can have windy conditions.

Wood finish.
I'm in agreement with everyone on this.  I too don't like shiny stock finishes on military weapons.  You can test solvents from mild to more agressive to discover what will work best.   There was a thread a few months back on which solvents tend to be effective on various finishes.  Dampen some clean cloth or and see what comes off. 
Alcohol will take shellac (seems like an odd choice for refinishing a gunstock but thats what was on the handguard of my SG).
Acetone probably will disolve a wider range of finishes, as will "laquer thinners" a cocktail of solvents.
If none of that works, it might be a polyurathane and require a paint remover like discussed above.  Cheese cloth may do the job without resorting to scotch pads or steel wool.

While I'm writing an essay (sorry), might as well mention an important caution.   All of the "oil" type finishes give off heat as the dry.  Any materials, especially cloth, with oil on it must be allowed to dry in a safe location.  Rags used to clean up or wipe down these oils should be opened up and placed in or on something non-combustible.  Don't ball them up and throw them is a waste paper basket! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt_X Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 5:09pm
Service use:
One place to ask is for someone with the Springfield Research Service books to look in them for the serial number.
If you dont want to join that forum, or prefer to further distance yourself from a serial number posted on the web, send me a PM, and I can post the request.


Edited by Matt_X - Sep 17 2021 at 5:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheDude2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 5:28pm
Thank you everyone for sharing your experience!

Tearing this down and documenting all the parts was an absolute blast...I'm now likely hooked on milsurp for a lifetime. I asked about originality on the rare chance I won the lottery, but I'm perfectly happy with mine just the way it is (Minus the glossy finish and maybe rear sight). There will probably be more carbines in the future, but this one is staying with me forever.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote kro1970 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 17 2021 at 6:59pm
I would leave the sight as is. It could have been a field replacement and as stated earlier if you put a flip on it the stake mark will show. I wouldn't bank on it being rebuilt at Underwood. Without seeing it in person except for the rear sight and hammer it looks like the metal could be original. If it had been rebuilt at Underwood I doubt it would still have as many early parts as it does. The stock could have just been replaced by a previous owner. The Underwood rebuild program was conducted after the war and updated parts were plentiful.
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