The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30
|Select an image to view the models other than Model T3 and Model M3|
Avoiding Nomenclature Confusion
While the designations below seem fairly basic the similarities have led to much confusion and misinterpretation. Especially when part of a running narrative.
The table below shows nine separate items that are uniquely different from one another.
An example of the confusion is when you see the term M3 Sniperscope. Is it referring to the Model M3 Carbine with Sniperscope or the Model M3 Sniperscope?
To avoid this confusion this web page uses quotation marks when referring to the sniperscopes (i.e. "Sniperscope M3", "M2 Sniperscope"). Absent the quotation marks these terms refer to the carbines.
Another common source of confusion has been the Army's use of the letters T or M preceding a number. The meaning of the T or M isn't as important as realizing these designations were not necessarily related. An example is the T4 Carbine which was eventually adopted as the M2 Carbine. The M3 Carbine incorporated the select fire capability of the T4 and M2 along with the infrared sniperscopes used on the semi-automatic T3 Carbine. The Model T4, Model M2, Model M3 and Model T3 Carbines shared some of the same parts and features but were four different carbines.
On 27 Sep 1943 the Engineer Board and Engineer School were directed to procure or arrange to procure a quantity of infrared sniperscopes and snooperscopes for deployment. The method of mounting the sniperscopes on a .30 caliber carbine was to be coordinated with the Small Arms Division, Office of Chief of Ordnance. (Engineer Board Report 908, Snooperscope and Sniperscope, Project XR 441, 30 Jan 1945)
This web page and the information below is devoted to the .30 caliber carbine components developed by the Ordnance Dept. for this purpose. The research, development and production of the infrared scopes and equipment by and under the direction of the Corps of Engineers is presented separately on web pages that may be accessed by clicking on the image below.
Infrared Sniperscopes, Equipment & Their History
Several months prior to the above events the Inland Division of General Motors had begun testing a means by which to mount the 2.5 power Model M73B1 sniper's scope to the M1 carbines. The commercial version of this scope was the Weaver Model 330. The M73B1 scope had been in use with the Springfield 1903 rifles and the 1903A4 sniper rifle. The project for the carbine had been requested by Headquarters, Army Ground Forces. The carbines developed during these tests were designated the U.S. cal. 30 Carbine, Model M1E7.
The design of the M1E7 went through several changes during development. For upcoming tests in November 1943 Inland modified a Model M1 carbine receiver by machining the metal on top of the rear of the receiver in the area of the rear sight dovetail flat. They then brazed the rear of a Redfield Jr. type scope mount to the flat area and the front of the mount to the front of the receiver.
Inevitably this brings up the question of why would anyone want to put a scope on a carbine given the carbine's less than perfect accuracy? The scope is to assist the shooter with accuracy. In a combat environment a scope is generally mission specific. The mission of the first infrared scopes was within 100 yards at night.
(photo from Engineer Board Report 908, Snooperscope and Sniperscope, Project XR 441, 30 Jan 1945)
Model M1E7 Prototype with Weaver Model M73B1 scope
(photo courtesy of the Office, Chief of Ordnance)
Testing of the M1E7 prototype in November 1943 and January 1944 proved the mount to be a reliable means of mounting a scope to the carbine. But the damage sustained to the internal parts of the M73B1 scopes and a commercial Weaver Model 330 scope prevented the project from proceeding further.
A letter from the Subcommittee on Small Arms to the Ordnance Technical Committee on 5 Feb 1944, subject "Carbine, Caliber 30, T3 "Sniperscope" - Recommendation for Limited Procurement of" detailed events that had taken place leading up to that date without providing the dates of the events [Ordnance Technical Committee item #22910 dated 5 Feb 1944]. The events are as follows.
For use with the infrared scopes Inland had produced three variations of brazing the mount to the carbine. The three prototypes were turned over to the Corps of Engineers with two of the prototypes undergoing immediate testing at the Ordnance Research Center. The prototype selected for the T3 carbine was described as having a "brazed on telescope mount, base centrally located with respect to the centerline of the bore, and having forward part of base cut away to be flush with the back of the chamber".
The Engineer Board through the Chief of Engineers requested 750 carbines similar to the test carbine selected (s/n XA-83) with the associated equipment below to be obtained through Limited Procurement. Completion of the carbine and the items were to be by 1 Apr 1944.
The Subcommittee on Small Arms went on to recommend the above be adopted as Required Type, Development Type, Limited Procurement. War Baby, volume 1 by Larry Ruth indicates the M1E7 was recommended for adoption as the Carbine, Caliber .30, Model T3, on 17 Feb 1944. This date appears on the bottom of the Subcommittee on Small Arms letter indicating it was the date the proposal was approved by the Ordnance Technical Committee.
Several weeks after the letter above the Infantry Board trials of the Snooperscope and Sniperscope for the Corps of Engineers started on 23 Feb 1944 at Fort Benning, GA using two of the M1E7 carbines developed for use with the Model M73B1 sniper's scope. The trials were still in progress when approval of the T3 was granted by Ordnance 16 Mar 1944. [Engineer Board Report 908, Snooperscope and Sniperscope, Project XR 441, 30 Jan 1945]
U.S. Carbine Caliber .30
|35.58" (without Flash Hider)|
|26-27 lb. (carried)|
|*Number of parts carried was less than number of parts included as optional,|
replacements and/or for support/maintenance
|Data extracted from:|
TM 9-1276 Cal. .30 Carbines M1, M1A1, M2, M3 (1953)
TM 5-9341 Operation and Maintenance Instructions for "Sniperscopes Models M1 and M2" (1951)
The Model T3
|as manufactured by|
The Inland Division of General Motors
The letter from the Subcommittee on Small Arms to the Ordnance Technical Committee on 5 Feb 1944 (above) indicated the Corps of Engineers had already requested 750 T3 carbines with the carbines and related parts to be delivered by 1 Apr 1944. The request had included four Inland drawing numbers for the related parts. The letter did not indicate the date the Engineers had made the request but it was prior to the Subcommittee on Small Arms letter 5 Feb 1944. Given the dates above it's estimated Inland T3 carbine production probably started at about the time Ordnance gave their final approval of the T3 on 16 Mar 1944.
Inland's first T3 carbine contract was issued serial number block 0001-1700. Inland's barrels during this time indicate the month and year the barrel was manufactured. Barrels were in high demand during the time period of the first contract and normally installed on receivers within a month or two. Barrel dates observed on T3's in the first serial number block have primarily been March 1944.
With production underway and approaching 0800 Inland was awarded a second contract (W-33-008 ORD-1748). To separate those produced under the R&D contract from those produced under the second contract Ordnance directed Inland to discontinue using the 0001-1700 block and instead use the serial number block 00001-00900 for the second contract. The records did not indicate dates.
Due to the front mount being brazed to the top of the front of the receiver, the T3 model
and caliber markings were placed on the right side of the receiver below the rear mount.
Several sources have indicated Inland secured their mount to their receiver
using dowels and brazing. Several receivers have been observed with screws
or threads instead of dowels.
An Inland Model T3 with "Model M2 Sniperscope (infrared)" & Power Pack
The information extracted by Clawson from the Springfield Armory records indicates Inland had delivered 811 T3 carbines under the second contract. In a 1965 document provided by Rock Island Arsenal in response to a 1973 inquiry by H.J. Saunders the T3 carbine quantity received from Inland in 1945 was 811. The document did not include the quantities from the first contract in 1944. The serial numbers recorded so far exceed the second contract serial number block by about 40.
This brings up the issue of attempting to estimate quantities manufactured by serial numbers. Serial numbers were placed on the receivers before the receivers were hardened and finished. At some point prior to being assembled into a carbine some receivers were rejected for various reasons. We also don't know if Inland reused some of the serial numbers from receivers that were rejected.
Total T3 production by Inland is estimated to have been less than 1700 with production completed before the end of WWII.
Inland T3 Carbine Contracts
|Contract #||Serial Number Block||Total Production|
|unknown (R&D)||0001-1700||+/- 800|
The first "T120/M1 Sniperscopes" were shipped overseas in late 1944. The carbines these first sniperscopes were mounted on were from Inland's first T3 carbine contract. They saw combat during the Okinawa and Philippine Island campaigns in 1945.
The Model T3
|as manufactured by|
Winchester Repeating Arms
Winchester engineers visited the Inland T3 production line and met with Inland's engineers in March 1945. On returning to Winchester they changed the Inland design by milling the receiver to include the scope mounts. Winchester submitted their design drawings followed by two prototypes for testing in April 1945. The design was approved the same month.
Winchester received their first Ordnance T3 contract W-19-059 ORD-2906 in April 1945 [Major War Supply Contracts, Cumulative, June 1940 through September 1945, Civilian Production Administration, Industrial Statistics Division, 1946]. A Winchester contract log book entry May 3, 1945 indicates the Springfield Ordnance District contracted 5,160 Cal .30 T3 carbines at $34.83 each. Winchester was assigned the serial number block 01701-07545.
Winchester authored their T3 receiver production drawings from 19 May 1945 through 03 Jul 1945 [McCracken Research Library Online Archives]. The Winchester polishing room kept a log book of the dates they completed T3 receivers along with the highest serial number for the day. The log with the T3 receivers begins 30 Jun 1945 indicating the starting s/n 01701 with s/n 01763 as the final receiver that day. T3 receivers were finished in only five days over a three week period into August 1945. [McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, WY]
A Winchester Model T3 with "Model M2 Sniperscope (infrared)" & Power Pack
The chart below places Winchesterís T3 production into historical context, with wartime events resulting in the cancellation of T3 contracts. Inlandís T3 production records have not yet been found; however it is likely that their contract was also abruptly canceled at warís end.
Final Receiver Serial Number/Event
|Jun 30||s/n 01701-01763|
|Aug 6||1st Atomic Bomb dropped on Japan|
|Aug 7||s/n 02300|
|Aug 8||s/n 02413|
|Aug 9||2nd Atomic Bomb dropped on Japan|
|Aug 11||s/n 02806|
|Aug 15||Japan announces its surrender|
|Aug 17||Winchester ships their first 10 T3 carbines to Ordnance|
|Aug 18||s/n 03106|
|Sep 02||Japan signs the surrender documents|
|Sep 03||Springfield Ordnance District notifies Winchester all contracts are canceled|
|Sep 07||Winchester ships 1,098 T3 carbines to Ordnance|
A Winchester log listing the contracts, quantities that had been completed and quantities
canceled also revealed Winchester had received a second T3 carbine contract.
Winchester T3 Carbine Contracts
|Contract #||Contracted Quantity||Quantity Completed||Quantity Canceled|
Rock Island Arsenal information provided to H.J. Saunders in 1973 indicated Ordnance had received 1,108 T3 carbines from Winchester. As with the quantities Rock Island indicated for Inland's T3 carbines, the document did not include a date.
Had Winchester assembled every T3 receiver from the polishing room into a T3 carbine that passed final Ordnance inspection, the quantity would have been 1,405. The totals provided as shipped were for completed T3 carbines. We don't know how many receivers had been rejected, if Winchester recycled any of their serial numbers or how many receivers were still in the production line and yet to be assembled when the contracts were canceled.
The design of the "T120/M1 Sniperscopes" and first two contracts for the "M2 Sniperscopes" attached their light assembly to the bottom of the front of the carbine stock. Since both were used with the T3 carbine the stock is referred to as a T3 stock. From the trigger housing to the rear of the stock the design was the same as an M1 carbine stock. The handguard was the same as used on the M1 and M1A1 carbines. The T3 stocks manufactured during WWII did not have the cutout for an M2 selector switch.
The focus here is to show and provide information regarding the stock as it was manufactured under contracts to Ordnance. The light assembly and scope are covered in more detail on the pages devoted to the scopes.
The light was attached to a grip with a bracket that was secured to the stock using three bolts.
The grip had a trigger switch for activating the light.
A plate with a thumbscrew was mounted to the left side of the stock to support the power cable.
Early sniperscopes used a clasp around the cable that fit over the side plate and were held in place by the thumb screw.
A stronger cable support bracket soon followed with an integral piece that slid between the plate and thumbscrew.
Inland's T3 stocks were manufactured by S.E. Overton who had been subcontracted to manufacture both M1 and M1A1 stocks and handguards for Inland. Their stocks had the markings IO or OI (depending on how you look at them) in the slingwell.
Jewell Brothers of Winsted, CT manufactured replacement stocks for the M1 carbine during WWII. Their manufacturer's mark was the letter J stamped within the slingwell. T3 stocks having the letter J in the slingwell were manufactured during and/or after WWII. The assumption has been these were also manufactured by Jewell Brothers though evidence of this has yet to be found.
Shortly after WWII, a mount was made available to relocate the infrared scope light assembly to the top of the infrared scope, eliminating the need for further T3 stock production.
One company is known to have had T3 stocks reproduced in the late 1960's and/or early 1970's for restorations of the T3 carbines.
During the years following the truce in Korea, U.S. arsenals started receiving a massive influx of Ordnance material that had been built and shipped out worldwide for over 15 years. The infrared sniperscopes were the responsibility of the Corps of Engineers. The T3 carbines and their receivers belonged to Ordnance. The quantities arriving at America's arsenals led Ordnance to declare many items as surplus in excess of needed inventory. Many carbines, T3's included, were dismantled with the receivers rendered useless pending sale with tons of other scrap metal to metal recyclers.
The method of rendering receivers useless varied with location and time. Initially the volume of material prevented processing one receiver at a time. Disassembled receivers and other metal was heated in a furnace at a very high temperature to cause deformation then sold to metal recyclers. In time the destruction of receivers was accomplished by cutting the receiver in halves or thirds using a saw or torch.
A number of T3 receivers that had been annealed or cut have been restored and may be found on reconstructed T3 carbines.
The Discussion Forum also serves as a reference desk for the more advanced material that could easily overwhelm a website and is often subject to opinions that may vary
due to a lack of original documentation. A number of researchers and authors are present on the forums, helping others and seeking information for various research projects.