In M1 Carbine Part 2, we disassembled the M1 Carbine into its major groups.
In M1 Carbine Part 3, we disassembled the Trigger Housing Assembly into its individual components.
In this edition, we’re going to disassemble the bolt.
Disclaimer: Being the slightly over-confident, independent, farm boy, redneck that I am, I performed the entire disassembly and reassembly of the M1 carbine with no special tools (or special knowledge…or special intelligence for that matter). If you choose to duplicate my stupidity, I hereby lawfully declare that it’s not my fault if you can’t get it back together, break it, lose tiny parts or otherwise can’t get the darn thing to work anymore after you finish.
I have ordered both from the CMP’s e-store, but I haven’t gotten them yet. I’ll post a review and new and improved (and hopefully much easier) bolt disassembly/assembly instructions after I get them.
My carbine is a fairly high serial number and was produced pretty late in the war. The barrel is dated 9 – 44; that isn’t necessarily the same as the date the receiver was produced but it should be fairly close.
Because it was a later production it didn’t surprise me that it came with a round bolt versus flat.
The assembly/disassembly should be identical, because they were very similar in every respect other than aesthetics.
I’m actually not disappointed at all that my rifle has the later features. Although the collector value is increased with earlier features, the later revisions were generally improvements and made the rifle function better and more reliably. I didn’t buy this rifle to look at, but to shoot so the later features are a plus for me…but I digress.
Basically, the firing pin, ejector and spring, extractor spring and extractor spring plunger are all held in by the extractor.
Therefore, the primary goal of disassembly is to remove the extractor (sounds easy, doesn’t it?).
The problem is that the extractor spring plunger has a flat on it that catches on the bottom of the extractor. This is what holds the extractor in during normal operation.
In order to disassemble the bolt, the extractor plunger must be pried out of the way of the extractor, then the extractor can be removed, freeing the other components.
I initially tried to hold the extractor in my hand while also retracting the extractor spring plunger and prying out the extractor. It rapidly became obvious that that wasn’t going to work.
At that point, I clamped the bolt body into my padded vise jaws. I used a very small screwdriver tip to pry the extractor spring plunger out of the way. A jeweler’s screw driver would have worked but I was just feeling this evolution out as I went and the long but narrow screwdriver tip was the weapon I chose for this particular battle.
There was very little room to get to the extractor spring plunger and you’re actually trying to move the extractor, under which the spring plunger resides. Several times when I moved the extractor to try to pry it out, the long screwdriver bit would slip releasing the spring plunger and locking the extractor back into place.
It took me about 3 or 4 tries before I found the exact right combination of screwdriver bit positioning and movement to get the extractor out.
As soon as I got the extractor released from the evil clutches of the extractor spring plunger, I stopped prying. I didn’t want to just pop the extractor out and have all the other springs and sundries flying all over my garage workshop.
I released the pressure on the extractor spring plunger, placed my hand over the bolt face to keep anything from flying out and then GENTLY removed the extractor.
The ejector immediately attempted to violently depart the bolt face but I had my hand at the ready, heinously restraining it from achieving the freedom it so desperately sought.
After the extractor was completely out, I pulled the ejector and spring out of the bolt face, the extractor spring and extractor spring plunger out if its well just inboard of the camming lug, and pulled the firing pin out the rear of the bolt.
The only things we have left to disassemble are the stock group and the receiver group. I didn’t actually completely break them down and only removed things that I wanted to clean and inspect (or clean and inspect under) so I’ll probably combine the post about them.