The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30
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Recoil Plate Screws
Recoil Plate Escutcheons
Stocks & Handguards - General Overview
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.
The M1 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.
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.
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.
B) Gap below Recoil Plate (left), added wood supporting Recoil Plate (right)
C) Change in angle of cut to support wood below Recoil Plate
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.
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
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.
There are four basic types of markings which may or may not be found on the U.S. Carbine stocks.
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.
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
Winchester sometimes stamped a letter (any letter) in the barrel channel, and/or inside
the opening for the trigger housing, and/or on top of the bridge at the front of the opening.
SA marking used by Springfield Armory is usually found inside the stock to the left of the barrel channel.
By Prime Contractor
|Charts extracted and reproduced from the book War Baby!, with permission and review by the author, Larry Ruth|
Things you should know:
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.
A circled P in san serif within a 1/2 inch diameter circle stamped in the bottom of the handgrip (above left) was sometimes used as a proof mark at several prime contractor facilities to indicate a completed carbine
had passed inspection. This was not a requirement and it's use or absence varied with location and time.
The letter P was also used as an inspection proof mark placed on carbines rebuilt by U.S. Army Ordnance. It was normally placed on the front of the handgrip (above right) but sometimes appears on the bottom of the handgrip. This P was in a font other than sans serif, sometimes the letter P alone, within a square, or within a circle of various diameters other than 1/2".
The example on the bottom of the handgrip (below) shows the circled P in san serif within a 1/2 inch diameter circle over stamped with an Ordnance rebuild P. Carbines having been rebuilt more than once will sometimes have two Ordnance rebuild P's.
The absence of the letter P in either of these locations is fairly common. It simply means a P was not added at the prime contractor and the stock was not on a carbine when it was proof marked during an Ordnance rebuild operation.
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.
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.
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
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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.
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