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Winchester m1 carbine being brought back to life..

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    Posted: Mar 15 2017 at 11:58am
First post, been reading here and on other sites about these little rifles.  Recently I've picked up the shooting bug again and my father and I went through his gun safe to see what was in there.  The most interesting to me was this M1 Carbine.  Anyway, I'm trying to piece together how it is in such great and original shape...

winchester SN 1318649
winchester barrel short skirt, marked W with small P over it (I belief proof mark) and no date stamp - interestingly, barrel seems to be new condition.  I don't have bore gauge, but I do have gauge pins.  .300 fits, .301 does not.  Headspace is pristine
winchester recoil plate marked w
winchester type 3 bayonette barrel band marked with C
winchester trigger group with push button safety marked with EW.  Another interesting part, from reading seems like trigger group pins often were very loose from shooting.  This trigger pin still had a tight fit.
winchester round bolt - I haven't disassembled it yet, but type 3 firing pin.
winchester slide
winchester type 3 rear sight, H inside of shield
type 3 stock, crossed cannon mark but no other markings
all other parts are winchester as well

From reading, it sounds like these were rebuilt after the war but what is interesting is that these rebuilt guns were taken down and all parts were comingled.  This rifle is strange in that the likelihood of all winchester parts making it back into the rifle seem low.  Were there rifles that didn't go through the rebuild process?  This rifle does not have any large P on the stock.  What doesn't make sense is the following... How can a rifle with ALL winchester parts have a push button safety, a bayonette band, winchester type 3 sight, etc.  Could this gun have been manufactured with all these late production items from the factory?  131xxxx is close to winchesters 134xxxx max serial number and production in early 1944..

History of the rifle.  It was originally my grandfathers  who passed years ago.  My father has had the gun since 1990 and had said that it had always been in the family but he had no information on it.  Just that it had always been in the safe.

I've been getting the gun ready to fire again.  Everything is operating well, but it seems like the extractor is tough to get to engage the cartridge.  With the age of the gun, I was hesitant in pulling the charging handle back and releasing into the cartridge, worried about a slam fire.  What I did was to ride the charging handle forward and bump the charging handle into the cartridge.  That didn't seem to work.  The extractor moves smoothly, just pretty darn stiff.  The ejector is the same, smooth but stiff.I'm currently waiting on snap caps from midway to load the rifle correctly.  If that doesn't work, I'll purchase the bolt tool and ensure that the spring cavities on the bolt are clean.

Anyway, can't wait to fire this rifle.  The more I read up on them, the better they get.  Thanks in advance - Ernie


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Charles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 15 2017 at 12:17pm
The bolt is the most sensitive to dirt. Get that bolt tool, watch a demonstration on YouTube of it a couple of times and give it a good cleaning.Good luck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Why Carbines? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 15 2017 at 4:08pm
Welcome to the forum, Ernie. It sounds like you have an interesting Winchester carbine. Is the C on the left side of the barrel band even with the swivel or slightly below it? Also, with the barrel band in its normal position, does the W and intertwined P&W proof show? Since it's been in your family so long I doubt if it would corrected, but it could be since that was going on, even back then. What I'm thinking is could be a serial number from a scrapped receive, a rebuild with replacement barrel or someone's attempt at a correction. BTW, if you plan on shooting that carbine after so long, soak the bolt in some CLP Break Free and clean the barrel too. Enjoy your rediscovered carbine!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ekruegerv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 17 2017 at 10:56am



I'm attaching some pics to clarify the questions above.  First, interesting point about the proof marking being visible with the bayonette barrel band.  I didn't think of taking pics of all of the components marks, but next time the rifle is apart, I'm going to do so.

Lastly, the receiver was not demilled, parkerizing is perfect and there's no indication of a weld. 

Hopefully going to the range today to put some rounds through it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Why Carbines? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 17 2017 at 2:09pm
Ernie, what I meant by a serial number from a scrapped receiver is if there was an issue with a receiver during production that was terminal, they put the receiver in the scrap pile and used its intended serial number on a later carbine. I was not implying it was torch cut or welded in anyway.

I am actually thinking your carbine has a serial number from one of the receivers I just mentioned. In other words, one receiver dies, but its serial lived on in your carbine, if that's true it's pretty neat. It could also be a replacement barrel from a later Winchester carbine...who knows? Enjoy your range time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NewScotlander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 17 2017 at 2:51pm
Post a picture of the serial number and the rear of the receiver area. Also, is the left rear detail measurement of the receiver 9/16" or 1/4"? You could have a late carbine with a reused serial number. More pictures, more pictures, more pictures.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ekruegerv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 17 2017 at 3:46pm
taking the rifle apart now.  Will get lots of pics

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ekruegerv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 17 2017 at 4:31pm
28 pics of every group..

m1 carbine folder on photobucket

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Marty Black Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 18 2017 at 6:19pm
Man, oh man, Ernie! That is definitely a re-used serial number! Scrapped in 1943, used again in 1945. Minty condition! You REALLY lucked-out on that gun! Don't you dare change a single part on it ! ! !   That is a hugely collectable carbine! ! ! ! !

We have long suspected that Winchester "saved" the serial numbers of scrapped receivers, and used them again on new production carbines later in production. We've had reports of carbines similar to your's over the decades, but we've never found any documentation that "proves" Winchester's re-use of scrapped numbers. We've also had a number of reports of Winchester receivers (on mixmaster carbines) that had receiver construction characteristics that were "too late" for the serial number, which is another indication of reused serial numbers.

Although documentation is lacking, there is a "smoking gun" - so to speak. Winchester's overall receiver scrap rate was only about half of what Inland's was. Does anybody believe that Winchester was that much better than Inland?.....I don't think so either.

Your carbine has obviously been fired a number of times, judging from the soot "blow by" in the slide "bucket" from the piston, but I'd take care not to risk damage to that carbine. Take it to the range, if you like, and enjoy shooting it - but take good care of it! Buy a "hard" carrying case for it. Those canvas cases are nice to look at, but useless. They won't protect the carbine if you bang it into something, and they hold moisture, which will rust the carbine.

Congrats! Marty Black
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 19 2017 at 10:51am
Marty,

Do you know if initial serial number range allotments exceeded initial contractual quantities, in anticipation of scrap without serial number re-use? In other words, was there a financial incentive to re-use scrapped serial numbers?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marty Black Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 19 2017 at 11:41am
David,

In Newsletter 357, JB Powers wrote "in some cases, the quantity of serial numbers exceeded the number of carbines by 10%, probably in anticipation of some wasted numbers....it may come as a surprise to most collectors to learn that the scrap rate for numbered receivers was usually in the range of 10% to 11%. The scrap rate for serial numbers would depend somewhat on the sequence of production steps. In the case of Inland, it is known that serial numbers were stamped just prior to heat treatment. Thus, it seems likely that their scrapped numbers would have been mostly due to heat treatment problems (warpage, wrong hardness, etc.), because the receivers were inspected many times during the machining operations that preceded heat treatment. It seems unlikely that any contractor would have stamped serial numbers on receivers after the receivers were heat treated."

Collectors interested in "numbers" should get a copy of NL 357. JB Powers, a "numbers guy" compiled everything that the Carbine Club had learned about serial numbers over the decades, and wrote a highly detailed analysis in that newsletter. Dry stuff for the average collector, but very significant in the production history of the M1 Carbine. A "bean counter's" delight! - that will stand the test of time. I refer to that newsletter on a regular basis, and always find something "new" on every review.

I'm the farthest that one can get from a numbers guy. But I'll ask JB about possible financial incentives for the reuse of serial numbers. There had to be, right?! And we know that Winchester, in particular, marched to the beat of a different drummer in wartime production.   

In Garand production, Springfield Armory the (the engineering and production leader) was barely on speaking terms with Winchester, they were so hard to deal with. I suspect the same was true between Inland (the engineering and production leader) and Winchester. Winchester refused to make any design/production changes to either the Garand or the Carbine until they were paid to make that change....Hence we see early parts on Winchester rifles, when the other manufacturer(s) had already switched over to improved/modified parts. Winchester dragged their feet on everything.

Fascinating history! MB
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 19 2017 at 11:57am
Marty,

I don't think you'll find anything written about financial incentives for re-using scrapped serial numbers. The incentive would have been based on being able to produce more Carbines, if the serial number range were limited. I'm not sure what it took to be issued a new range of serials, if a high scrap rate occurred.

I deal with somewhat of a similar issue today with service tags (unique ID numbers) on computers, monitors, and printers. There are ranges issued to various vendors, and getting additional ranges can be difficult. There have been times where the same serial ranges were given to different vendors, and it creates all kind of havoc, because warranty service is based upon each unique ID.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eestes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 19 2017 at 6:59pm
Just thinking out loud here...
It is unlikely they would have done it if there was no financial incentive. There must have been some sort of advantage to more completely filling a serial number block with produced carbines than not. If my reject rate was high I would likely reuse #s to make the metric being looked at better.
Maybe there were overhead costs of some sort with moving to the next block or some other constraint that made it worthwhile? There was something in it for them even if only to be able to show much lower reject rates on paper. That alone could have been a calculated effort to put them in a stronger position for future contracts even if it was just ledger/marketing magic.
Were there any performance clauses their contract that might suggest an incentive? All government contract awards will take a very close look at past performance. This is all speculation on my part of course.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marty Black Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 19 2017 at 7:30pm
Eric and David,

Good points, but I'm not knowledgeable on the various contracts. I'm sure War Baby will tell us what type of contract that Winchester had. IP had a "cost plus fixed fee" contract, which bred inefficiency for the manufacturer and wasted taxpayers' money, whereas Inland and Saginaw had (modern type) "bid" contracts.

(Mr. Doerfner at SG discussed this in the interviews he did for the newsletter. He took great pride in having to work hard to keep his costs down, competing head-to-head with Inland and the others with bid contracts, bidding below them by several cents per carbine. Knowing that an efficient operation at SG would serve them well in the postwar years, when the military contracts dried up and the automobile industry revived.)

What other types of contracts were awarded to the various carbine manufacturers, and WHY the differences, is beyond my knowledge.

It may have been difficult for carbine manufacturers to obtain additional serial numbers from the Ordnance Department. Too much bureaucracy, too much time wasted. Maybe too much pride on the part of Winchester, not wanting to admit their actual scrap rate? (as Eric suggested)

And Winchester didn't get paid until they shipped rifles, so they didn't want to sit on their hands while waiting for the slow gears of the Ordnance Department to turn.

Also, Winchester was the only carbine manufacturer that had produced rifles for the government before WWII, so they had a much better knowledge of the Ordnance Department's workings than the other manufacturers, who had never even built rifles before!

But I find it amazing that Winchester - for example - apparently kept a (handwritten) running log of scrapped serial numbers, and maintained that list over the course of more than 2 years. Then, when they got around to re-using those numbers on new production carbines, the stamping guy had to manually set the serial numbers in the machine for every gun stamped!   Talk about slowness and inefficiency!   And the opportunity for errors was great. But my guess is that this technique/procedure had worked for them in WW1, and so it was used again in WWII.

We've still got a lot to learn about the production history of the carbine!

Regards, MB
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marty Black Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 20 2017 at 10:17am
Hi all, I asked JB Powers - one of the founders of the Carbine Club, and our best researcher over the decades, about what he had learned about the re-use of serial numbers by the carbine manufacturers. Below is what he had to say:

"With the exception of the big block of numbers assigned to Inland, the government provided no elbow room in early contracts, and the contractors automatically reused scrapped numbers because their contract quantities matched the number of serial numbers given to them. I don't think there were any financial concerns at that time. It was a matter of filling the contract, using the serial numbers that were provided. Inland may have kept a list of scrapped numbers with the intent of reusing them when they approached the end of the million block, but we have no clues on this.

But then the light bulb came on in someone's head in Autumn of 1943.   Money could be saved by the contractors if they stopped reusing scrapped numbers. The government issued a small block of spare numbers. I believe it was to NPM. From that point on, extra serial numbers were provided for each contracted quantity of carbines. With two exceptions, the contractors phased out the reuse of serial umbers in late 1943 and early 1944. Inland was one exception. We have no indications that they ever reused a scrapped number. WRA was another exception, in the opposite direction. They kept reusing scrapped numbers until about Spring 1945. R-O is still a mystery. We have no evidence that they reused any numbers, but when you compare their serial number usage to the number of carbines they delivered, it appears that they must have reused some numbers. Otherwise, their scrap rate was much lower than that any other carbine contractor. Not likely.

To summarize, in the beginning, no one thought of the inconvenience and inefficiency of providing a carbine for each serial number assigned. Maybe they assumed the serial number would be applied after the receiver passed final inspection? But when the inefficiency became obvious, extra numbers were assigned."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ekruegerv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 20 2017 at 2:32pm
Thanks for the detailed replies and discussion. I've attached some pics of the carbine assembled, spiffed up and ready to go.  Thanks again







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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ekruegerv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 20 2017 at 2:39pm
Forgot to add, rifle loads and ejects 30 carbine precision snap caps (dummy rounds) perfectly.  Seems like it's ready to go.  I couldn't find any magazines for the rifle so I've purchased some Keep Shooting 10rd magazines (CA specials) that cycle perfectly.  My father is very sentimental and always keeps stuff around.  He has no idea that I've been bringing back this rifle to working condition.  Thanks again
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Marty Black Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 20 2017 at 2:54pm
That's the real McCoy! Beautiful weapon, Winchester's best production carbine!   And in mint condition, no less.

Where are you in CA? I retired to Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo. Halfway between LA and SFO.

The large-cap magazine ban in CA doesn't go into effect until July 1st, and CALGUNS and CRPA are fighting it tooth and nail.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ekruegerv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 20 2017 at 3:25pm
I'm in Anaheim, CA.  As a profession, I'm an engineer, so fit and function I'm comfortable with in determining if something is in good shape.  Is there anything extra that I should do to this rifle?  I see some have graded theirs, does that add anything or is it just bragging rights?  Since I'm new to this, any do's and don'ts that I should be aware of??


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Why Carbines? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 20 2017 at 4:39pm
Ernie, from my perspective I wouldn't change anything. Just keep it clean and lubricated and shoot it whenever you want to. These old carbines can take lots of rounds through them with nowhere near the abuse say a Garand round does barrel wise. You have something unique, congrats!
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