The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine Stocks & Handguards


The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30


Stock Group

Barrel
Group

Bolt
Group

Receiver
Group

Slides

Stock
Group

Trigger Housing
Group

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Stocks
(this page)
Handguards

Stocks & Handguards - General Overview
 

  • American Black Walnut was the most common wood used. Anticipated shortages led to the use of yellow birch. Black cherry was approved and saw very limited use.

  • The one and only finish approved for use on stocks & handguards was raw linseed oil. Lighter colored wood such as birch was often stained darker before being finished.

  • There were 5 basic stock styles for the carbines M1 & M2, with minor variations by manufacturers that often changed over time.

  • There were 3 basic handguard styles for the carbines M1 & M2, with minor variations by manufacturers that often changed over time.

  • During WWII most, but not all, stocks & handguards had manufacturer markings. After WWII many stocks & handguards did not have a manufacturers mark.

  • Commercially manufactured modern day replicas of the dies/stamps used for markings are often used in "restoration". Forgeries are a serious concern for collectors.

Wood & Finish


Walnut


Birch

The two most common types of wood used for Caliber .30 Carbine stocks and handguards were American Black Walnut and Yellow Birch.

During WWII the only stocks made with Birch were made by Sprague & Carleton Co. of Keene, NH for IBM (SC-B). As the war progressed, shortages in Walnut led to the approval of Black Cherry as an alternative to Walnut or Birch. Jamestown Lounge Company of Jamestown, NY, is known to have manufactured stocks using Black Cherry. Standard Products used a limited number of these stocks but discontinued their use as they considered them a poor substitute.

After WWII Birch became much more common. Although additional woods were approved it does not appear any were manufactured using other than Walnut or Birch.

American Black Walnut heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Color can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white. Yellow Birch heartwood tends to be a light reddish brown, with nearly white sapwood. There is virtually no color distinction between annual growth rings, giving Birch a somewhat dull, uniform appearance. Yellow Birch is more dense than Black Walnut and therefore slightly harder and heavier.

Walnut stocks were placed in raw linseed oil for a period of time, then allowed to dry. Birch stocks were treated with a dark stain, then placed in raw linseed oil for a period of time and allowed to dry.

The one and only finish approved for use on the wood of the Caliber .30 Carbine was raw linseed oil.

Stock Variations

The M1 Stocks

Type I


I shaped sling cut, High Wood covers slide
Used early in production

Type II


Oval sling cut, High Wood covers slide
Sling cut changed from the I cut to the Oval cut for expediency in production.

Type III


Oval sling cut, Low Wood exposes slide.
The thin high wood area was eliminated as it was perceived as a weak point.
Earlier stocks sometimes had their High Wood area removed.


Transitions with the Type III Stocks

During the course of production of the Type III stock for the M1 Carbine several manufacturers began making changes
to strengthen the Type III stock that were carried over into use in all of the M2 stocks.


Longer and Thicker Barrel Channel and Thicker Side of the Stock

Late during the production of their type III M1 stocks, Winchester and Inland increased the length
of the barrel channel from approximately 3 3/16" to 4 1/16" to strengthen the wood in the area of the barrel band.


3 3/16" (approx.) barrel channel (top)
4 1/16" (approx.) barrel channel (bottom)


Thinner wood along the right side adjacent the slide on the earlier stocks (top)
Thicker wood along the right side adjacent the slide (bottom)

If a stock has the longer barrel channel and thicker wood but is absent the cutout for the
M2 selector switch, it was a type III stock manufactured by Winchester or Inland prior to
the first M2 stocks.


Added Support below the Recoil Plate

During the production of their type III stocks in 1945 Winchester changed
the machining of the wood below the recoil plate to provide better support.
This change was not implemented in conjunction with the longer barrel channel
and appears to have come later.

Winchester continued this practice with their type IV M2 stocks and it became the
standard for all type V M2 pot belly stocks by all manufacturers.


All type I and type II stocks.
Majority of type III stocks.
 
 
 
Introduced by Winchester on
their type III stocks in 1945.
Continued with Winchester type IV M2 stocks.
Used on all type V M2 stocks.
 
    A) Bottom side of Recoil Plate
    B) Gap below Recoil Plate (left), added wood supporting Recoil Plate (right)
    C) Change in angle of cut to support wood below Recoil Plate


Elimination of the Bridge

Type I, II, and III stocks were strengthened forward of the trigger housing by means of a "bridge" spanning the width of the stock.

This bridge was eliminated with all M2 stocks and removed from earlier stocks later converted
for use with a select fire mechanism. A few unconverted type III stocks absent the bridge have
been observed but are uncommon. It appears the bridge may have been eliminated on type III stocks
on a limited basis prior to the introduction of the M2 stocks but no documentation has been
found to indicate this was done by the original manufacturer(s). Until then it remains an unknown.


M2 Stocks

Type IV


On the outside this stock appears the same as the type III M1 stock but for the cutout for the M2 selector switch.
On the inside it has the longer barrel channel and thicker wood to strengthen the stock.

The elimination of the bridge strengthening the stock forward of the trigger housing weakened this area making it prone to cracks. Resulting in the change of the design to the type V stock.


Top: M1 stock with no cutout for selector switch
Bottom: Cutout for M2 selector switch inside the left side of the stock

Type V


To strengthen the stock where the bridge had previously been located the wood of the type V
stock was thickened below the slide earning this stock the nickname of the "M2 Pot Belly stock".

The M2 stocks were often used as replacement stocks for the M1's. After WWII it was not uncommon for M1 Carbines to be converted to select
fire carbines like the M2's. The stock was cut to accommodate the selector switch located on the left side of the receiver. The markings on the
majority of M1's converted to select fire were not altered, nor were markings added to indicate a conversion.

Stock Markings

There are four basic types of markings which may or may not be found on the U.S. Carbine stocks.

  • Manufacturer's Markings
  • Ordnance Department Acceptance Marks (cartouche)
  • Rebuild Marks
  • End User Marks added in the years after issue

  • Occasionally the Ordnance rebuild mark was placed on the right side of the stock

    Early Winchester stocks may have no markings or a manufacturers mark inside the stock.
    Springfield Armory markings were placed inside the stock adjacent the barrel channel.
    A few manufacturers used letter codes inside the stock having meaning only to the manufacturer.

    Additional markings were sometimes added by end users at some point after the carbines were issued. These marking(s) and their location(s) varied based on needs and/or intent.


    Manufacturer Marks


    Most often found inside the stock's left side slingwell and not always obvious.
    In this case, the IO is actually an OI, manufactured by S.E. Overton for Inland
     
           
    The W used by Winchester is sometimes found in the barrel channel or on top of a bridge at the front of the opening for the trigger housing.
     

    SA marking used by Springfield Armory is usually found inside the stock to the left of the barrel channel.


    By Marking

     

    By Prime Contractor

    MarkingManufacturerPrime Contractor
    BR-BMilton Bradley Co.
    Springfield, MA
    IBM
    HI Hillerich & Bradsby Co.
    Louisville, KY
    Inland
    IO see OI  
     
    IR Robert W. Irwin
    Grand Rapids, MI
    replacements
    IR-IP Robert W. Irwin
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Irwin-Pedersen, Saginaw S'G'
    J  
     
    T3, replacements
    JL-B Jamestown Lounge Co.
    Jamestown, NY
    IBM
    LA S.E. Overton
    South Haven, MI
    Inland
    LW Lumb Woodworking Co.
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    replacements
    LW-B Lumb Woodworking Co.
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    IBM
    LW-U Lumb Woodworking Co.
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Underwood
    M Marlin Firearms ?
    New Haven, CT ?
    replacements
    M-U Marlin Firearms Co.
    New Haven, CT
    Underwood
    O S.E. Overton
    South Haven, MI
    Inland
    OI S.E. Overton
    South Haven, MI
    Inland
    PJ  
     
    replacements
    P-U Pedersen Bros.
    Wilton, CT
    Underwood
    Q-RMC Rock-Ola Mfg Co.
    Chicago, IL
    Quality Hardware
    RI Richardson Bros. Co.
    Sheboygan, WI
    Inland M1A1 only
    RMC Rock-Ola Mfg Co.
    Chicago, IL
    Rock-Ola
    RSG Robert W. Irwin
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Saginaw S.G.
    SA Springfield Armory
    Springfield, MA
    replacements
    SC-B Sprague & Carleton Co.
    Keene, NH
    IBM
    S-HB Hillerich & Bradsby Co.
    Louisville, KY
    Standard Products
    SJ Jamestown Lounge Co.
    Jamestown, NY
    Standard Products
    TN Trimble Nursery & Furniture Co.
    Rochester, NY
    National Postal Meter
    Trimble/TN Trimble Nursery & Furniture Co.
    Rochester, NY
    National Postal Meter
    W Winchester Repeating Arms
    New Haven, CT
    Winchester
    Prime Contractor MarkingManufacturer
    IBM BR-BMilton Bradley Co.
    Springfield, MA
    JL-B Jamestown Lounge Co.
    Jamestown, NY
    LW-B Lumb Woodworking Co.
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    SC-B Sprague & Carleton Co.
    Keene, NH
    Inland HI Hillerich & Bradsby Co.
    Louisville, KY
    LA S.E. Overton
    South Haven, MI
    O S.E. Overton
    South Haven, MI
    OI S.E. Overton
    South Haven, MI
    Irwin-PedersenIR-IP Robert W. Irwin
    Grand Rapids, MI
    National Postal Meter TN Trimble Nursery & Furniture Co.
    Rochester, NY
    Trimble/TN Trimble Nursery & Furniture Co.
    Rochester, NY
    Quality Hardware Q-RMC Rock-Ola Mfg Co.
    Chicago, IL
    Rock-Ola RMC Rock-Ola Mfg Co.
    Chicago, IL
    Saginaw S.G. RSG Robert W. Irwin
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Saginaw S'G' IR-IP Robert W. Irwin
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Standard Products S-HB Hillerich & Bradsby Co.
    Louisville, KY
    SJ Jamestown Lounge Co.
    Jamestown, NY
    Underwood LW-U Lumb Woodworking Co.
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    M-U Marlin Firearms Co.
    New Haven, CT
    P-U Pedersen Bros.
    Wilton, CT
    Winchester W Winchester Repeating Arms
    New Haven, CT
     
     
    Replacements IR Robert W. Irwin
    Grand Rapids, MI
    J  
     
    LW Lumb Woodworking Co.
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    M Marlin Firearms ?
    New Haven, CT ?
    PJ  
     
    SA Springfield Armory
    Springfield, MA

    Charts extracted and reproduced from the book War Baby!, with permission and review by the author, Larry Ruth


    Ordnance Department Acceptance Marks (cartouche)

    Things you should know:
    • Not all stocks were marked with an inspection mark and crossed cannons

    • Some stocks were marked with the crossed cannons only

    • Sometimes the cartouche has worn off over time and use

    • Many inspection marks and/or crossed cannons were stamped at a slight angle causing a deeper imprint on one side than the other

    • The inspection mark and crossed cannon designs are specific to the prime contractor who assembled the carbine

    • The height, width, and positioning of the inspection mark and crossed cannons in relation to one another were also specific to the manufacturer

    • Replica metal stamps with which to forge or duplicate the cartouches are sold by a number of retailers


    One of the inspection marks and crossed cannons used by Winchester Repeating Arms. The
    initials of the Chief Ordnance Inspector in charge of the Ordnance District in which
    the manufacturer was located were added. In this case, Lt. Colonel Guy H. Drewry,
    Chief Ordnance Inspector of the Springfield Ordnance District.


    A close up of a clear set of crossed cannons. Compare these to the drawing and you can see minor differences that help identify which manufacturer made the stock.


    P on the Hand Grip

    A P located on the bottom of the handgrip was an inspection mark. Sometimes the P is within a circle or a square. Winchester dropped use of the P in early 1943. Underwood and Inland continued its use throughout 1943. The requirement appears to have been dropped sometime during 1943 as it was no longer in use by 1944. A P on the front of the handgrip was used as an inspection mark on carbines rebuilt by U.S. Ordnance. Sometimes the P is within a circle or a square. Sometimes stamped more than once if the carbine was rebuilt more than once. Not all carbines have these. Meaning they may or may not be present.


    Replicas, Fakes & Forgeries


    Photograph has been reversed to show the appearance of markings that would be produced by the fake stamps.

    These stamps were commercially manufactured for use on the M1 Garand rifles, though some could be used to replicate or forge the markings on the U.S. Carbines. The stamps used for the Caliber .30 Carbine stocks are also available. Some stock and/or carbine restoration businesses offer to include stamping the "correct" cartouche on the customer's carbine. A few stock and/or carbine restoration companies intentionally place the inspection mark and crossed cannons in a location and orientation that makes them recognizable as replicas to those familiar with authenticity.

    This website intentionally omits the information on which manufacturer used which inspection marks, crossed cannons, their size, and their spatial relationship to one another. It is this author's opinion these replica stamps should be altered in a manner that makes the marks readily identifiable replicas and not the originals, as most people wouldn't know the difference.


    Rebuild Marks


    Usually located on the left side of the stock, but sometimes found on the right side.

    Refer to the page on Post World War II Activities for a list of the markings and further information.

    Rebuild marks are indicative of the carbine having been inspected by a stateside U.S. Ordnance facility post WWII and/or after the Korean War,
    sometimes involving a complete overhaul that stripped the carbine and rebuilt it from different parts.

    Rebuild marks are rarely forged as they devalue the carbine in the eyes of most collectors. Keep in mind,
    U.S. Ordnance depots outside the continental U.S. and foreign facilities contracted by U.S. Ordnance
    also inspected and refurbished carbines and were not permitted to use rebuild marks.


    A Note Regarding Cracks

    Wood being wood, it is subject to cracks. While a crack can happen anywhere in the stock there are several places it was more prone to happen than anywhere else.

    Below the Barrel Band


    Right side of stock at front, above barrel band retainer

    Over tightening the barrel band screw
    Less likely with stocks having the longer barrel channel

    To the Rear of the Recoil Plate

    Inside the Recoil Plate Area


    Over tightening the recoil plate screw

    Between the Trigger Housing & Recoil Plate Escutcheon/Nut


    Attempts to remove the recoil plate escutcheon/nut


    Should you have questions, assistance is available on our Discussion Forum.

    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.