Well, I’ve pretty much decided that it is virtually impossible to reassemble the M1 Carbine Bolt without the special bolt assembly tool.
This is the first time I’ve ever had to surrender and order the tool. I’ve ordered special tools before to make tasks easier, but not because they were otherwise impossible.
Basically, the extractor holds the firing pin and ejector in place. The problem is that there is a spring and TEENY-TINY plunger that holds the extractor in place. What you have to do is compress the ejector spring and position the firing pin so that the notches are lined up and the extractor can be inserted. Then you have to (somehow) compress the extractor spring and plunger while inserting the extractor.
I tried and tried and tried and just couldn’t get it. I ended up with the bolt clamped in my padded vice, using a rod to temporarily hold the firing pin and ejector in place, while trying to hold the extractor spring and plunger compressed with a jewelers screwdriver and press the extractor into place…
I found the extractor spring but that TEENY TINY plunger is in some nook or cranny in the garage and I can’t find it. Did I mention that the thing is REAALLLY small?
I just ordered the gas piston nut tool, the bolt assembly tool and a couple of replacement plungers.
Needless to say, the range report will be somewhat delayed.
I’ll get started on my disassembly, cleaning, inspection, reassembly reports though so it’s not a total loss.
Update: I found the plunger. I can’t believe I found that itty bitty thing (did I mention how small it is?) but I did this morning. I’m going to keep trying a couple of other things, but I’m leaving my orders outstanding. It won’t hurt to have a few spares of a part that small and hard to install without shooting it across the room.
Update 2: I actually got it put together so my predictions of range time being delayed may have been a bit premature. I’m not much of one for giving up so, after finding the plunger, I shortly got to work trying to shoot it across the room and lose it again. I’m not even going to TRY to describe the gyrations and innovations I had to use to get it back together without the tool. My advice: If you have an M1 Carbine…buy the tool.