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Topic - Barracks Rack Project
Posted: Jul 28 2021 at 5:48pm By jackp1028
Barracks Rack Project

I’ve always wanted a carbine barracks rack. I’ve seen pictures of them on various internet forums but was never able to find one for sale at an affordable price. There were posts on the CMP Forum that showed pictures of a barracks rack with a yardstick showing some basic dimensions, so I planned to “reverse engineer” one and make it myself. Only, I wanted to make some changes that would make it suitable for other firearms as well.

Here are examples of the pictures of barracks racks that I used as a basis of my build.



There are several Carbine Club News Letter articles that have been written about the carbine barracks rack. CCNL 65 describes adding casters and a bottom plate to serve as a shelf. CCNL 143 cautions readers that the wooden barrel rest causes discoloration of the barrel and the steel butt plate rest found on some original barracks racks promotes rust.   CCNL 219 describes a multi-purpose barracks rack that can hold a variety of military firearms including the M1 carbine, the M1 Garand and the M1903A3 Springfield rifle.

I planned to use my barracks rack for various other firearms in my collection besides M1 carbines. It needs to secure such firearms as Winchester and Marlin lever guns, a Hawken .54 cal. muzzle loader, Winchester gallery rifles, etc. I also have some scoped firearms that would take up both the front and back positions in the rack which means I had to eliminate the cross piece. The locking gate on an original rack has metal fingers that fit into the carbine mag wells. This had to go if I expected to use it for other types of firearms.   Even without the metal fingers and cross bar the rack is still secure because the locking gate blocks the upward movement of the firearm, preventing it from being lifted from the butt rest.   The only way to remove a firearm from the locked rack is to break the stock at the wrist. Also, the butt well on the bottom of an original was too short for some of my other rifles so it had to grow. A few other minor changes were in order and reflected in the drawings I made for the fabricator. There are four drawings; the main frame, the locking gates, the barrel rest and the base dividers. If you wish, I can share these with you.

Anyway, I had a local welder fabricate the frame and gates and I made the base dividers and the barrel rests. I had the fabricator make the frame first and then I used cardboard cutouts to simulate the locking gate. They would be the basis of the gate drawings that the fabricator would use. Here are a few pictures of that process;



Pictured below is the rack nearing completion after the metal fabrication and wood work.   As I noted earlier, I ended up deleting the crossbar so I could have room for scoped carbines (the scope takes up the rear position). The frame is still very rigid. Notice the spacers in the base dividers that secure the shorter carbine butt stock. Also, I added the green pool table felt to the areas of contact to protect the firearms from the discoloration and rust noted in CCNL 143.

The locking gate contacts the carbine trigger housings just above the lower mag well opening and it contacts the lever guns just above the trigger guard. With the base divider spacers installed, the rifles were a bit of a “loose” fit behind the gate.   I was concerned that the gate might scratch the lever guns and dent the carbine stocks so I added a wooden spacer to the edge of the gate. The additional thickness of the wooden spacer tightens everything when the gate is closed.

I also added plastic bumpers to keep the gates from banging when opened. Velcro secures the gates in the closed position when the lock is removed and also eliminates harsh metal to metal contact. Washers between the gates and frame eliminates rubbing and protects the paint on the sides.




It turns out that during the middle of this project, I met a fellow collector in a nearby town who had an original Underwood carbine for sale.   I traveled to check it out and what did I see?   Yes, he also had a carbine barracks rack for sale!   Now I have two!   I have room for 20 more carbines!   However, this rack has a metal barrel support and butt plate support with sharp edges so it’s not likely to see much use until I figure out a way to protect the barrels and butt plates of my collectible carbines.

By the way, I did buy his Underwood.

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