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Observation: Real or Perceived?

Printed From: The Carbine Collector's Club
Category: The Club
Forum Name: General Discussion
Forum Description: Carbine Related
Printed Date: Dec 09 2023 at 10:30am
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Topic: Observation: Real or Perceived?
Posted By: SSNPingjockey
Subject: Observation: Real or Perceived?
Date Posted: May 25 2023 at 10:49am
I just want to see if anyone else has noticed this and if my perceived notion is real or not.

I'm an Underwood guy.  Love all carbines and manufacturers and enjoy seeing and learning about all of the various intricacies, regardless of who made it.  Love the manufacturer stories and history of each of them.

I made Underwoods my niche carbine because I grew up typing school papers, if required to be typed, on my grandmother's old 1920s/1930s behemoth of an Underwood typewriter.  I also figured that UEF carbines have enough intricacies of their own that I could digest and learn them pretty well without clouding my brain with all of the others.  The 4 blocks, subcontracted receivers, and line-outs are a niche of their own.

Anyway, like most of us, I spend a lot of time looking at our CCC site and just about every website that sells carbines and parts on the internet.  Over the past several years, what I see about the least of is Underwood carbines discussed or for sale.  I see more common UEF parts and lots of UEF barrels (when I do see barrels), which makes sense with the amount that UEF made, but not a lot of carbines or other volume of parts compared to other manufacturers.

Since UEF made the 3rd highest amount of carbines, you would think that UEF carbines would be more plentiful and common to find than SG, Rock-ola, SP, IBM, QHMC, or NPM.

Anyway...IF anyone else has noticed this or agrees...what do you think the reason(s) may be?

My perception may be way off-base and not real....if so...hope bringing this up was not a waste.

Interested to hear any comments.

USN Retired

Posted By: Jond41403
Date Posted: May 25 2023 at 12:29pm
I'm not sure, this is only a guess but could it be a situation similar to IHC M1 garands mostly being sent overseas? For whatever reason a lot of those and HRAs got sent overseas and a lot of them never came back which makes at least the IHCs a little bit rarer seen. Not to mention they had a relatively low production number but I wonder if a lot of those got sent somewhere like the IHCs did?

Posted By: jackp1028
Date Posted: May 25 2023 at 1:35pm
Here’s another perspective to consider.

The Carbine Serial Number Spread Sheet's report, in total, over 2200 individual complete carbines that appear in the following places:

     Carbine Club News Letter Articles (CCNL’s)
     Carbine Collectors Club forum articles
     CMP Completed Auctions
     War Baby! series of publications
     Bavarian Carbines Armory web site

For the most part, the percentage of carbines reported corresponds to the percentage of carbines manufactured for the top three makers (Inland, Winchester and Underwood.   The comparison breaks down with some makers appearing to be significantly over reported (NPM, Standard Products, Rock-Ola and IP/S”G”) whereas others appear significantly under reported (Quality Hardware and Saginaw) compared to their percentage of the total manufactured.

What does this really mean? Well certainly there are favorites that may be getting more attention due to their popularity such as Rock-Ola and IP/S’G’. I guess Saginaw and Quality Hardware are not quite as “interesting”. Also, if one were to judge scarcity based on the quantity of serial numbers appearing in the Spread Sheets then Saginaw would win with just a little over three percent of the carbines reported. But the actual percentage of the total manufactured is nearly twice as much. The same goes for Quality Hardware.   Maybe these numbers are affected by circumstances such the IHC and HRA Garands “sent overseas” scenario but it’s hard to know for sure.

Bottom line, I think Underwood is not necessarily under reported based on the numbers in the Spread Sheets. However that may not be the case for Saginaw and Quality Hardware.


Posted By: SSNPingjockey
Date Posted: May 25 2023 at 1:50pm
That's a great point.  It makes sense when considering the IHC Garand circumstances.

In looking at some of the carbine history that we know of, like the USS Hornet armory log book, carbines appeared, at times, to go places in batches.  Maybe sitting in an arsenal, they came in and were stored in batches from the manufacturer....the ole "first in and last out" like Dan talks about with parts.  Ordnance did not care at all about which manufacturer was which, but when requests came in for 500 or 1000 carbines, they grabbed them from stores that happened to be unintentionally grouped in large batches by manufacturer.

The Hornet had:
15-IBM (7 of which were AO subcontract receivers)
8  -Inland
1  -Underwood

The carbines that were picked up from a battlefield in Korea were represented by multiple manufacturers (I need to go through the list to see how many and of which), but if I remember correctly, there is not one Underwood on the list out of dozens of carbines.

USN Retired

Posted By: SSNPingjockey
Date Posted: May 25 2023 at 2:28pm
Based on what Jack said...the tracker data sample that he has does not show UEFs as being underrepresented in "still existing" out there in the world somewhere.  Just feel like I don't see them available at the same rate as most others.

When I started collecting UEFs, I was curious as to what the deal was with barrel dates.  I always heard that with UEF..."there are no rules on barrel dates."  So, I wanted to see if that was true.  I keep a spreadsheet of every UEF carbine I can find and have been doing so for about 4 years.  There are many trends in UEF barrel dates that make dates much more likely or unlikely...even with the simultaneous s/n block assembly. 

I noticed that in the sources you listed, the "data sheets" were not on there.  I have no idea and maybe Dan, Marty, Jim, or someone who is in the know can reply....but have all of the carbine datasheets been put into an electronic database?

Totally understand that the s/n data would not want to be shared publicly, but is there an ability to make a statistical data report for all carbines that have been reported to the Club since the 1970's?  I am thinking that would be many thousands?

Also, maybe not directly related, but I wonder how many carbine receivers have been destroyed/demilled over the years?

USN Retired

Posted By: jackp1028
Date Posted: May 25 2023 at 4:45pm
Unfortunately the only Data Sheets available for the Serial Number Spread Sheets are the ones published in the CCNL's and the ones posted on the Club forum. I suspect this is a very small fraction of the total submitted. That's why I try to encourage members to include Data Sheets in their posts in the "Carbines of the Collectors" or "Featured Carbines" forums.


Posted By: Marty Black
Date Posted: May 25 2023 at 6:56pm
A very interesting discussion here.   Dan Pinto can jump in as soon as he finds the time, as he is our best source for data (in my opinion), but take a look at NL 357, which is the most comprehensive analysis of serial numbers reported to the Carbine Club from 1976-2009. It took the late J.B. Powers over a year to compile all that data, analyze it and type it.

For what it's worth, in the old days of carbine collecting (1970s into early 1980s), every collector had to find an IP. And second choice was S'G' with maybe some IP parts! No one seemed to have any interest in a SG, because they were boring. They're all the same - no variations, nothing very interesting...I lived in the Chicago area at that time, and everyone wanted a Rock-Ola, the "juke box" manufacturer.   But no one had any interest in Quality Hardware, also manufactured in Chicago.

I was always interested in SG, but they were very hard to find. Why, I have no idea. I wondered if shipments of them were lost in U-boat sinkings of cargo ships, and never returned to the US.

Of course, Winchesters and M1A1s have always had that "sex appeal," but they seemed quite common in the early days. I bought a minty Inland M1A1 for the very-high cost of $400 in 1979, but that was when original carbines could be found at most gun shows for $175-250.

In 1980, I bought a mint-condition Type 2 WRA for $400. It had sat on a dealer's table for an entire gunshow weekend, but no one was willing to spend that kind of money on a carbine! I thought long and hard for a week, before I swallowed hard, called the dealer and bought it.

Anyhow, enough blather. I certainly haven't answered anyone's questions, because I don't have the answers. But I've enjoyed this thread!

Regards, mb

Marty Black

Posted By: pchanu
Date Posted: May 26 2023 at 12:59am
Quite interesting discussion indeed, I had the same kind a few days ago on a french forum, with people here asking me why we could see so many Underwood for sale compare to Winchester although less carbine were produced by Underwood ! And as a matter of facts we see proportionnally a lot more Underwood showing up from cellars and attics than WRA. And most WRA are early ones.

But the figures don’t really tell the story. As all carbines but Inland’s and WRA’s were produced before may 1944. And then their whole production was possibly used AND many could be sent into the ETO. Tens of thousands were used, were parachute dropped, were re-used after war by occupation troops around, and so stayed after the war. 
But Inland and WRA still produced carbines til the end of war, but never sent them to ETO nor PTO. And so some part of their production is to be taken off the figures for that kind of statistics in Europe. With all the Inland production, we don’t notice anything, it is the most common carbine, but WRA production from mid 1944 til 1945 is quite important, and we never see it around here.
The latests « attic discovered » WRAs I have seen in Europe are dated july-august 1944.

As for Europe, Underwood is definitely more common than WRA. 

Posted By: SSNPingjockey
Date Posted: May 26 2023 at 7:20am
So that's where they all are!  I knew it! LOL

Wow.  Great perspective from France/Europe.  I'm curious as to how many carbines never left the country to go anywhere during WWII.  As you stated Patrick, maybe late 1944 into 1945 carbines had been distributed as much as needed and the remainder stockpiled in US depots, possibly pending a decision on an invasion of mainland Japan.

Very interesting....carbine migration patterns!

I understand that a sample of carbines left in Europe by individual GIs and possibly the US military (besides what became the Bavarians) may not be a large enough sample to draw any firm conclusions, but the fact that Underwoods are so common there makes me wonder.  Perhaps completed Underwoods happened to be the majority of "last in" at a large depot that outfitted troops in the US prior to going across to England, or maybe even in England.

USN Retired

Posted By: New2brass
Date Posted: May 26 2023 at 9:50am
Where are all the Underwoods? In my gun room!

Ok, well maybe there are about 5 other Underwoood collectors on this forum, which explains where they are.

Wait, I was using the new math and the decimal place doesn't make sense. We need a good basis for a start, how many carbines were produced?
How many were delivered?

using info from WB pg 494
5775448*  Unsure if this includes the M1a1 production and not including Inland June-Aug 45 unknown deliveries.
-758018 1945 deliveries
-802131 1944 May-Dec deliveries
+9938    1944 May RO and IBM deliveries
= 4225237 carbines that could have went to the ETO.
Oh wait, I forgot to deduct shipping time to VE day. Ouch
oh, How many carbines went to Africa that did not make it to Europe? and how many stayed home for training, home guard, Coast Guard, etc?

friking new math. the old math  you could back into an answer. Beer cup of coffee may help!

Ah, I did not check my premises. We are asking where are all the X carbines, Where did they go, how many came back.

Carbines were going where they were needed, touched on above. The carbines going to the Pacific theater were earlier carbines than you think, there are very few sightings of bayonet lugs.

After the war we left carbines everywhere, but most notably the carbines for the German and Austrian police agencies in the occupied zones.
The logistics of bringing every firearm home to be processed, rebuilt and stored was not feasible. If you look you can find videos of weapons and gear being pushed off the backs of returning ships. As far as I know there are no records of the numbers of specific items scrapped.

Then there is the Lend Lease and Military Assistance Program which the link can be found on the Import Export page" rel="nofollow -
Over 3 million distributed around the world, leaving how many in the possession if the US?

And there was also Korea and Vietnam. How many were lost or left there.

We also know that a great many were scrapped stateside in the 60s and 70s

How many are out there? I think there is  a CCNL on that topic, but I will let someone else look for that. I did have a similar discussion with J.B. Powers on how many carbines are left in the USA. The estimate of imports and returns (DCM, CMP) I believe was only 200,000. Then factor in how many were already here.

Then how many collectors are there? Divide the available carbines into that number, square root the collectors of owning more than 1, or 10, or 30, or 100+ and you will see where the carbines are.

Perspectives: bases on a point in time and what you are seeing available does not directly correlate to how many of X are out there. Items wind up in a collection, and eventually they wind up back on the market. With collecting people can collect anything, but with the perception that one makes is that one is more collectable will effect the visibility of those items. An example is the Saginaw Steering Gear, Grand Rapids deliveries of reworked carbines with IP marked receivers. (see what I did there) The perception that they are the rarest (they are not), and therefor the most collectable. Some would erroneously say they are the best, even though they did not make any deliveries. Yet If I want one and put it on my watch list I do not find one fast enough. Eventually I get one, but if I leave it on my watch list I will see many more show up. Be it from a collector diversifying, or the guys searching out the "rare" carbine to flip. This second scenario may be the contributor to seeing all the RO, WRA, S'G' out there.

Interesting I was just looking through the newsletters and Marty Black mentioned the lack of Saginaw made carbines being reported, were they all sent to "X"? The guys collecting the Grand Rapids carbines clearly overshadowed the SG reporting. The SG carbines seemed vanilla to the collectors.

During WW2 it makes sense that there were large groupings of a make being delivered and then sent to its destination. After the war it is still possible that there were un-issued carbines sitting in crates of ten, and many of those crates sitting in stores that could have been distributed as needed. But the mass of carbines coming back there was no attempt to group makes together.

Think about this, How many .U. rebuild markings do you see on non Underwood stocks?

So Patrick points out in Europe he sees more Underwood than WRA, but what is the exposure?
The recent import of the Italian Police carbines I noticed a many WRA early carbines, W dogleg hammers, W I-cut stocks. They were in Europe, but evidently not available to the collector market there. My guess was that because the T1 receivers were found to be prone to cracking, they may have been set aside so they did not go to the troops. Subsequently they were sent to Italy. probably after the war.

Though this may not answer everyone's questions, It was posed as food for thought.

BTW, when I was actively looking for Underwoods, I found no lack of availability, just lack of "the right ones"

-------------" rel="nofollow - Club Survey Saginaw Receivers

Posted By: pchanu
Date Posted: May 26 2023 at 10:43am
Actually, I wasn't talking about the entire market of Carbines, but only about the garage found carbines,  hidden since WW2 and showing up once the old guys pass away. And we really don't see much WRAs compare to a smaller maker like Underwood, it is not based on my own and only perception but on many contributor's, WW2 collectors from France and Belgium. And on this very specific market.
We had many imports lately, UK, Italy, quite a few also from Israel, and many other places probably, but our discussion on the french forum was absolutely not oriented on these.

Posted By: SSNPingjockey
Date Posted: May 26 2023 at 11:07am
Lots of great points!  So....I think the answer, if there is one, is "at this point in time."  At least for the US market.

In my relatively short time as a carbine addict (5 years, or so), the most desirable carbines appear to be Rock-olas, IP-S'G', WRAs, and very early or late Inlands.  I think the Singer subcontracted UEFs tend to be desirable and everyone goes crazy over "UN-QUALITY" carbines.

I always felt like Underwoods (except for Singers and lineouts) were not all that "exciting" for most collectors, so would have thought that there would be more "out there" due to people likely not hanging onto them.....and the fact that they made more than all but 2 of the prime contractors.  I feel like I see an inordinate amount of SP, QHMC, NPM, and IBM carbines.  That is only "this point in time", or....I'm just crazy.  Wacko

Great discussion....thanks all!

USN Retired

Posted By: welbytwo
Date Posted: May 27 2023 at 6:24am
nice thread, Underwoods have always intrigued me due to the serial ranges, the barrel dating, the subcontractors and the lineouts to U and lineouts from Underwood-bought my first carbine in 1973. Have bought several since. For me the elusive carbine has been a real nice original 95% plus T underwood but have to say I have seen more original IP's then Underwood subcontracts that were original.

Posted By: New2brass
Date Posted: May 27 2023 at 7:41am
Originally posted by welbytwo welbytwo wrote:

bought my first carbine in 1973. Have bought several since.


-------------" rel="nofollow - Club Survey Saginaw Receivers

Posted By: HARLEY08
Date Posted: May 27 2023 at 11:11am
I love M1 Carbines.
I have been having a hard time finding original as issued M1 Carbines.
I can find rebuild Carbines easy enough.
The movie Band of Brothers ruined it for collectors, all prices of military weapons jumped up high!


Posted By: Pro Libertate
Date Posted: May 28 2023 at 11:26am
Originally posted by HARLEY08 HARLEY08 wrote:

The movie Band of Brothers ruined it for collectors

One could argue that Band of Brothers is responsible for creating a great deal of collectors. Saving Private Ryan and the BoB series was really my first exposure to WWII as a kid and these films ignited a fervor in me for that period of time.

Regarding prices… I feel your pain! But back when prices were cheap, a lot of nice original carbines were sporterized (bastardized). I think the high price of original carbines precludes all but the most serious of collectors from acquiring them and prevents them from falling into the wrong hands: hands that would alter them from their untouched state.

NRA Life Member
NRA-Certified RSO
Project Appleseed “Rifleman”

When asked by the wife, "Just how many guns do you need?" the answer is always, "Just one more, honey... just one more!"

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