M1 Carbine Part 8: Bolt reassembly (ugh!)

I know its been a while since my last installment of M1 Carbine goodness. I claim laziness. How’s that for an excuse?

In M1 Carbine Part 1, we took a look at the external condition of the new old CMP M1 Carbine.

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 M1 Carbine Part 4, we disassembled the bolt without using the M1 Carbine Bolt Tool (don’t try this at home kiddies).

In M1 Carbine Part 5, we removed the components from the stock and receiver that were necessary to remove for inspection and discussed those items not removed.

In M1 Carbine Part 6, we examined the component markings and determined whether the parts are correct for the period and manufacturer.

In M1 Carbine Part 7, we reassembled the trigger housing group.

In this edition of M1 Carbine follies, we are going to reassemble the bolt without the benefit of the M1 Carbine Bolt Tool.

In demonstrating a procedure so difficult, so hazardous to mental health, so ridiculously stupendously frustrating, one would normally expect some sort of disclaimer like “trained professional on a closed course, do not attempt” or some such.

Here’s my disclaimer: “Untrained, inexperienced idiot with no clue what he was getting himself into. DO NOT try this at home if you value your sanity.

Spend the money on a bolt assembly/disassembly tool. I have one now that I purchased from the CMP e-store but they don’t seem to have them any more. Numrich Gun Parts has original WWII GI ones for about $45 or newly manufactured ones for $23.

Here’s what makes it so complicated:

As usual, click pix to make bigger

The bolt assembly consists of the bolt body, the extractor, extractor spring and plunger, the ejector and ejector spring and the firing pin.

Sounds simple enough right?

Here’s the problem, the firing pin and ejector have notches cut into them, the extractor has a pin that, when installed, extends through a hole in the bolt body, engages the notches in the ejector and firing pin and hold them in place. Underneath the extractor is the extractor spring and plunger which put outward pressure on the extractor and locks it in place. In other words, the extractor holds everything in place and all the other various pieces and parts have to be held in perfect alignment while the extractor is being installed.

Well, lets just do this.

First, insert the firing pin into the bolt from the rear.

Then insert the ejector and spring into the hole in the bolt face.

Rotate the ejector so that the notch is toward the cross hole that the “pin” part of the extractor is going to go into.

Next, carefully insert the extractor spring and plunger into its well in the locking lug.

Press the ejector down, compressing the spring, until the notch in the ejector is lined up with the extractor pin hole in the bolt.

At the same time, hold the firing pin in position so that the notch is lined up with the extractor pin hole in the bolt.

At the same time, carefully press down on the extractor plunger, compressing the extractor spring.

At the same time, ensure that the extractor plunger stays rotated so that the flat part faces the notch in the extractor when it is inserted.

At the same time, insert the extractor pin into the extractor pin hole and slide it in so that the notch in the extractor goes over the plunger…oh…wait…the jewelers screwdriver that I’m holding the extractor spring plunger compressed with is in the way…the extractor has to go over the TOP of the plunger…let me slide the jewelers screwdriver out of the way slightly so that I can….

Crap.

I just fired the extractor spring and plunger in different directions across the garage. I’m gonna go look for them.

While you’re waiting, for your enjoyment and contemplation, here is a picture of what I’m looking for. Yes, that’s it. That black speck on top of the dime.

Go get some coffee or something, this might take awhile.

In all seriousness, I actually gave up that night and ordered a replacement plunger from Numrich. Miracle of miracles, I went back out the next morning and found the plunger on the floor in the light of day.

I don’t have good pictures of this whole procedure because I tried so many different things and got so frustrated and came so close to loosing that verdammt plunger again that I gave up on the pictures.

Here’s what I ended up doing: I clamped the bolt body in the padded jaws of my bench vice. I clamped it so that the extractor spring and plunger were as close to perfectly vertical as possible. They go into the bolt body at an angle so getting them vertical put the bolt body at about a 60 degree angle or so.

Then I used a c-clamp along the length of the bolt body to compress the ejector and ejector spring to line up the notch. Before installing the clamp, I had to make sure that the ejector was rotated so that the notch was parallel to the extractor pin hole and wasn’t turned sideways to it.

Next, I used a very small jewelers screwdriver to compress the extractor plunger and spring. the extractor has a notch that must pass over the top of the extractor plunger and the plunger must stay oriented so that the flat on the plunger is facing that notch. As a result, it is quite tricky to get it to go on. You have to kind of slide the tool you are compressing the plunger with out of the way just as the extractor notch passes over it.

As soon as the extractor pops over the plunger and into place, the bolt is assembled. After trying umpteen thousand times with different configurations of makeshift contraptions to hold everything that needed to be held, different angles, different timing of moving the extractor and the tool being used to compress the plunger, over and over and over and over and over……….

It just popped in. After it went, I stood there dumbfounded for a good 15 seconds wondering what happened. It popped, the tools slipped, I didn’t get hit in the face by flying springs and plungers, the firing pin didn’t fall out onto the floor. Whaaaahhh?

OH. It went together. Kind of anticlimactic when it happened.

I can’t even really tell you what made the difference and why it went that time after all the other attempts. All I know is that I FINALLY got it.

So, this should be considered an emergency procedure only: i.e. a full fledged zombie attack is currently underway and all the ammo you’ve got left is for your M1 carbine and the bolt is on the bench in pieces and the bolt assembly tool is in your best friend’s range bag across town…

Unless, of course, you’re an impatient, stubborn, glutton for punishment like some nutcase gun blogger whom I won’t name but looks back at me from the mirror every morning.

The $25 – $30 for a bolt tool may very well be, dollar for dollar, the best investment you’ll ever make.

In the next M1 Carbine post…which hopefully won’t be two months from now…we will reinstall the few individual components that we removed from the stock and receiver and then we shall enjoy the premier of my directorial and starring movie debut “Reassembly of M1 Carbine Major Groups.”

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M1 Carbine Part 7: Trigger Housing reassembly

In M1 Carbine Part 1, we took a look at the external condition of the new old CMP M1 Carbine.

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 M1 Carbine Part 4, we disassmbled the bolt without using the M1 Carbine Bolt Tool (don’t try this at home kiddies).

In M1 Carbine Part 5, we removed the components from the stock and receiver that were necessary to remove for inspection and discussed those items not removed.

In M1 Carbine Part 6, we examined the component markings and determined whether the parts are correct for the period and manufacturer.

In this edition, we’re going to reassemble the Trigger Housing. It really wasn’t too difficult, but there were a couple of areas that required some patience.

The first step is to place the safety into the housing.

It goes in from the right side.

Then the safety/magazine plunger assembly goes in. That’s the spring with plungers on both ends.

It goes in from the front. It fits into a hole in the housing between the front of the trigger guard and the rear of the magazine well.

Next is the magazine catch spring and plunger. That’s the spring with a plunger on only one end.

It goes in from the right side in the hole forward of the safety.

Next is the magazine catch. It slides in from the right side. In order to get it to go in, you have to compress the safety/magazine catch plunger assembly. There is a hole in the bottom of the housing for this purpose, but I found it easier to compress the plunger assembly from the front and pull the pin punch out of the way once the catch was in far enough to retain the plunger assembly.

It really takes two hands but one was occupied with the camera so I simulated with one hand just to illustrate.

After the catch is pushed on far enough, the magazine catch plunger will snap into the groove and hold the catch in place. At that point, rotate the safety a couple of times to ensure that it moves freely but locks into the “safe” and “fire” positions correctly.

The next thing to put in is the trigger.

That’s pretty self explanatory.

Start the trigger pin into the holes but only put it in far enough to catch the edge of the trigger to keep it from sliding around too much while the sear and sear spring are going in.

For some reason, I failed to take a picture of the sear spring going in. There is a well in the top front of the trigger and a matching well in the rear bottom of the sear. Drop the sear spring into the well in the trigger.

Then the sear goes in over that. The longer end of the sear goes forward, the shorter end (may have a hole in it) goes to the rear.

The next part is also a two handed operation and was the most difficult part of the assembly.

You must press the sear to the rear to compress the sear spring, line it up with the mounting holes and the press the trigger pin through the hole in the sear, the hole in the other side of the trigger and then the hole in the side of the housing. What made it complicated was that, with pressure on the sear, it kept going too low to line the holes up; to get it to raise up, pressure would have to be relaxed which would allow the sear spring to push it forward, which would take it out of alignment again. Press to the rear and the sear would also go down at the same time. I ended up having to put slight pressure on the pin and then move the sear around gently until I lucked into getting them lined up enough for the pin to start into the sear…but then the whole thing went cock-eyed and out of alignment so I had to press on the part of the trigger sticking through the trigger guard to get it lined back up again, which made the sear shift enough for the pin to slide back out…ARGHHHH!

Needless to say, this took some patience. I can’t tell you any super whammy-dyne trick to do it. Just keep playing with it and eventually, when the stars (and the parts) align and the rifle Gods smile on you, it will just slip in like it was no big deal.

In fact, when the pin finally pushed in, it went so easily and took me so much by surprise I just stood there with a confused look on my face momentarily thinking “what happened?” It took me a second to realize it had actually gone together.

Next is the trigger spring. This can go in from the front or through the hole in the rear. I put it in from the rear.

After you force it into the right general area, you’ll have to pry it into the correct position. I used a jeweler’s screwdriver.

It should lock into a lip on the top of the trigger.

So far so good. Now the hammer goes in.

And the hammer pin. The hammer pin goes in from the right so that the head is on the right side of the housing after assembly.

Next, assemble the hammer spring and hammer spring guide.

The spring and guide go into a hole in the rear part of the housing.

Stick a pin punch through the hole in the front of the hammer spring guide for leverage.

Pull back on the guide to compress the spring. Make sure the guide goes into the hole in the housing. The spring will try to push to the side which will cause the guide to catch and not go into the hole. You may have to guide it a little with one hand.

Once you get it back far enough to clear the hammer, rotate the pin punch so it is horizontal.

Then pop the guide into the well in the rear of the hammer.

Remove the pin punch.

And

VIOLA! One fully assembled M1 Carbine Trigger Housing Group.

Yay!

Sorry…Too much coffee.

Next time we’re going to reassemble the bolt without the luxury of the M1 Carbine Bolt Tool.

Now THAT one required a lot of coffee! Not fun.

See you soon.

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M1 Carbine Part 6: Component markings and manufacturers

I know that this has been a long time coming and we’ve still got a long way to go; we’ve still got to reassemble everything, take her to the range and see how she shoots and I finally got the bolt tool and piston nut wrench from the CMP e-store so we need to discuss using those tools (as well as another cool toy I got from them).

To recap what we’ve done so far:

In M1 Carbine Part 1, we took a look at the external condition of the new old CMP M1 Carbine.

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 M1 Carbine Part 4, we disassmbled the bolt without using the M1 Carbine Bolt Tool (don’t try this at home kiddies).

In M1 Carbine Part 5, we removed the components from the stock and receiver that were necessary to remove for inspection and discussed those items not removed.

First I would like to recommend my resource for all the manufacturer information. Craig Riesch’s U.S. M1 Carbines Wartime Production should be considered a must have for anyone interested in the production history of the M1 Carbine. It even includes a handy-dandy fill-in table for documenting all of your component parts to help you compare what you have with what parts are correct for the manufacturer and production dates for your specific rifle. It was very helpful in identifying all the component parts of my rifle. All “type” numbers are as defined in Mr. Reisch’s book.

My rifle really isn’t bad for a “mix master” that spent a number of years in a foreign military. It only has three obvious post-war replacement parts:

The Rear Sight is a type III which is correct for the period of manufacture. It is marked I.R. Co which could indicate WWII manufacture, but it also stamped with the part number 7160060 which is a clear indication that this was a post war replacement.

The type IV safety is also a post war replacement. It should be marked either EI or HI if it were an original WWII Inland piece.

The final post-war replacement piece is the recoil plate. I didn’t take a close up of it because it is unmarked. It is a type III which is the correct style, but all WWII manufacture type III recoil plates bore manufacturer marks. A type III with no markings is post-war.

In addition to the three post-war replacement parts, the stock and a few of the other component parts are from manufacturers other than Inland.

The stock was very hard to identify. It is an oval cut, low wood stock, (not a pot-belly) and has no discernible ordnance markings. It does have the Italian “FAT” emblem.


There are three numbers stamped on one side and the letter “C” stamped on the other. I would imagine that these were some sort of unit markings or inventory numbers.

I could barely make out the manufacturer’s mark in the sling well. It is marked “M-U” which identifies it as an Underwood manufactured stock. It is very hard to see, I must have taken 30 pictures of it from different angles and with different lighting before I got a shot where I could actually read the letters.

The round, type III bolt is marked “EM-Q” on the lug which indicates that it was manufactured by Quality Hardware.

The type V trigger housing is marked S’G’ and was produced by the Grand Rapids Michigan located Saginaw Steering Gear Division of General Motors.

The type II trigger is marked “LT-Q” and so was manufactured by Quality Hardware.

The final non-Inland part is the type III hammer which is marked with a “B/R” inside a box indicating that it was manufactured by Rock-Ola.

The only other questionable part is the barrel band/bayonet lug. Very few M1 carbines were produced during the war with the type III barrel band that included the bayonet lug. Most of them were retrofitted with type III bands after the war. In this rifle’s case it was produced late enough in the war that it may very well have been originally produced with the type III band and the installed barrel band is correctly marked for WWII Inland production. In other words, there is a chance that the barrel band is correct, but it is not a given.

All other component parts have Inland manufacturer markings and are correct for a manufacture date around September 1944.

Anyone have any Inland parts they want to trade for other manufacturers?

Really though, I’d like to replace the post-war parts, but I’m not in the least disappointed with having some parts from other manufacturers on the rifle. I don’t expect this to ever be a collector’s piece so just having period correct WWII manufacture parts on it is authentic enough for me.

In the next episode of M1 Carbine follies, we’re going to reassemble the trigger housing group. I’m still really busy but I’m finding my motivation again so hopefully it won’t be so long between posts from here on out.

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M1 Carbine Part 5: Stock/Receiver Disassembly

There is an update in the section about the rear sight.

Welcome to the latest edition of my M1 Carbine Posts. To recap:

In M1 Carbine Part 1, we took a look at the external condition of the new old CMP M1 Carbine.

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 M1 Carbine Part 4, we disassmbled the bolt without using the M1 Carbine Bolt Tool (don’t try this at home kiddies).

In this episode, we are going to disassemble the stock and receiver components that need to be cleaned and inspected.

There really isn’t that much to do with the stock and receiver after the rifle has been field stripped. The only things that even CAN be removed from the receiver are the front and rear sights, the gas piston nut and gas piston, and the barrel itself.

On the stock, the only removable parts are the front band locking spring, the recoil plate, the recoil plate screw escutcheon, the butt plate and the metal liner in the handguard.

We’re not going to completely disassemble these two items because some of the parts are too difficult to remove without damaging them and are simply not necessary to remove in order to complete a good inspection.

I’ll briefly discuss removal of the other components, but the only things we well actually be removing are the gas piston nut and gas piston from the receiver, the butt plate, and the recoil plate from the stock.

First lets look at the stock.

On the stock, I wanted to inspect the wood underneath the recoil plate. It is only held in by one screw so removal is pretty straightforward.

To release the plate from the stock, after removing the screw, pull it forward, and then up and out of the stock.

For complete disassembly, the escutcheon on the underside of the stock would also have to be removed. I didn’t go that far because I felt it unnecessary and could damage the stock. To do it wouldn’t be difficult however.

Leave the recoil plate out but thread the screw back into the escutcheon. Screw it in far enough to prevent damage to the threads when driving it out, but leave the head of the screw high enough to tap it with a mallet.

Tap the screw head with a mallet to push the escutcheon out the bottom of the stock.

Next is the butt plate. It’s pretty simple too. One screw, then pry the plate free from the stock.

On my stock, there are two holes above and below the center screw hole. I don’t know if that’s standard or not but it gives the impression that there may have been a butt plate with two mounting screws installed at one time. Anyone ever seen this before?

The final piece on the main part of the stock is the front band locking spring.

There is a hole in the stock on the opposite side from the working part of the spring. Use a long, thin punch to drive the front band locking spring spindle out of the stock and remove the spring.

The last removable piece of the stock is the upper handguard liner. This tab of metal is what secures the rear of the upper handguard to the receiver.

It is held on by either two or four rivets. To remove it, the rivet heads will have to be drilled off and the rivets drifted out of the metal and wood. Obviously, this is something that, if done improperly, could render the handguard, the handguard liner, or both unusable so it should only be done if absolutely necessary.

Moving on to the receiver/barrel.

The only part I actually removed was the gas piston nut and gas piston. This is not something that should need to be done often, but the gas piston will, over time, build up carbon deposits and will need to be cleaned. There is a special tool for removing the gas piston nut, but I don’t have one yet. I’ve got one on order from the CMP e-store, but they are pretty overwhelmed trying to catch up with the Carbine order feeding frenzy so it may be awhile before I get it.

In any case, I used a punch to get it broken loose and then just a pair of 90 degree angle needle nose pliers to spin it out. It wasn’t too difficult.

After the nut is removed, the gas piston just pulls right out.

The front sight is crimped and staked in place so it should not be removed unless absolutely necessary. Also the band of metal that goes around the barrel is relatively thin and it seems to me like it would be very easy to damage it when removing the sight.

At any rate, if the front sight is to be removed, there is a cross pin that must be drifted out.

Then the front sight is driven off the front of the barrel. There is a special tool for removing the front sight (Fulton Armory has them), but I would imagine that I could use my gear puller just like I did with the SKS if I needed to.

There is also a key that locks the front sight to the barrel to prevent movement. The key is staked in place so it must be knocked loose with a punch or brass hammer after the front sight is removed.

After the front sight is out of the way, the front band can be pulled off the front of the barrel.

The rear sight base is a basic dovetail joint. The dovetail is beveled so that the sight can only be removed in one direction. There is some confusion at the present time about which direction the sight must be removed. If anyone knows the definitive answer, please enlighten us, but the the two references that I have contradict each other. One says it must be removed to the right, the other says to the left. I don’t know which one is correct. Also both references refer to the older style “flip” type sights. They don’t mention whether the newer style sights are any different. I can’t imagine that they would be but you never know. I’ve got inquiries out with a couple of gunsmiths so I’ll update this post if I get a good answer.

Update: I got an answer from a gunsmith that specializes in M1’s. Orion 7 Enterprises was kind enough to answer the question. The sight must be removed from right to left and installed from left to right. A reader who is working on restoration of an M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine needed the information. I’m hoping he’ll let me know how it goes and you may even be treated to a guest post about his rifle if he is so inclined.

The sights are also staked into place after installation so they may be very difficult to remove. You can see the staking at the top and bottom of the dovetail to the right of the sight in this picture.

I saw a homemade rear sight removal tool that looked like it was made from a modified drill press vise but I can’t find the link any more.

It had a jig to hold the receiver in place and a screw type mandrel that was used to press the sight out of the base. The sight could also be drifted out but I would imagine that it wouldn’t be easy with the sight staked in place. I would think that an enterprising amateur gunsmith could figure out a way to use a standard bench vise to press the sight out but I haven’t had the need to try it yet.

The only remaining piece to this puzzle is the barrel. The barrel is threaded in place and there are special tools for removing it. There is simply no reason to remove a barrel unless it needs to be replaced. In that case, unless you have the tools and knowledge necessary to adjust headspace and to ensure perfect barrel alignment, I would leave that evolution to the pros.

There you have it.

We have completely disassembled and detail stripped the M1 Carbine.

In the next post, we’re going to get into the details of the parts on my carbine, what parts are correct for the manufacturer and period and what parts aren’t. This particular part of discovering my new old rifle was a very interesting trip into the wayback machine. Of particular usefulness was Craig Reisch’s “U.S. M1 Carbines Wartime Production” (4th edition). Excellent resource for M1 Carbine collectors.

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M1 Carbine Part 4: Bolt Disassembly

Now that Mr. Completely’s E-postal match for the month is over, I’ve got time to continue the series on my new old CMP M1 Carbine.

In M1 Carbine Part 1, we took a look at the external condition of the new old CMP M1 Carbine.

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.

Save yourself some stress and heartburn and get, at a minimum, the Bolt Assembly/Disassembly tool and the Gas Piston Nut Wrench.

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.

Anyway, without further ado, M1 Carbine bolt disassembly…the hard way.

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.

To be honest, disassembly wasn’t nearly as difficult as assembly. It wasn’t exactly a piece of cake, but it wasn’t nigh unto impossible like assembly was.

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.

When I performed this evolution, I had to simulate for the photos because actually performing it took all three hands.

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.

While holding the spring back with the long narrow bit, I then took another screwdriver bit and used it to pry the extractor out of the bolt.

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.

And Bingo! One disassembled M1 Carbine 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.

Next Time.

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M1 Carbine Part 3: Trigger Housing Group Disassembly

In M1 Carbine Part 1, we took a look at the external condition of the new old CMP M1 Carbine.

In M1 Carbine Part 2, we disassembled the M1 Carbine into its major groups.

In this edition of M1 Carbine adventures, we’re going to disassemble the Trigger Housing Group.

The first step is to remove the hammer spring and hammer spring guide.

First, decock the hammer. I would assume that my readers will know how to do this but there is one oddity in the M1 Carbine: The spring tension on the hammer pushes the sear into place. If you remove the tension of the hammer against the sear, the trigger will not engage the sear and the hammer won’t release; so, just place your thumb lightly on the hammer to catch it once it releases, but don’t put any rearward pressure on it; otherwise, it won’t release when you pull the trigger.

With the hammer decocked, place a punch into the hole in the hammer spring guide. Pull the guide back until it disengages from the detent in the hammer.

Turn the punch and guide until you can move the guide off to the right side of the hammer.

Once clear of the hammer, release the tension on the spring and remove the spring and guide.

The next step is to remove the hammer.

Simply remove the hammer pin and the hammer will lift right out.

On mine, the hammer pin was loose in the assembly so it didn’t require a punch, It just pulled right out.

Next is the trigger spring. It is in housing above and to the rear of the trigger. You can see the back of the coils through a hole in the rear of the housing.

I used a dental pick to pry the bottom of the spring from its detent in the trigger.

It took a little jiggling and twisting but it popped out with out too much trouble. You could probably remove it through the rear hole also, but it seems like it would be much more difficult to get out that way.

Next to come out is the trigger pin which releases the trigger, sear and sear spring. The sear spring is in a well in the face of the trigger and presses against a detent in the bottom rear of the sear. You can’t see it until the sear is removed but be aware that it is there because it is fairly small and would be easy to lose.

Again, removing the pin did not require a punch, it was not a tight fit and pulled right out.

Put rearward pressure on the sear to prevent the spring from pushing it out too quickly, pull the pin and then gently release the spring tension. Lift out the sear, then lift out the trigger, being careful not to lose track of the spring.

The magazine catch involves two springs. One is the safety spring that goes fore and aft in the assembly and has a plunger at either end. The front plunger rests in a groove in the magazine catch and holds the catch in place. The rear plunger holds the safety switch in place and provides positive locking for the “safe” and “fire” positions of the switch.

Because the safety spring holds both the magazine catch and safety in place, the safety switch cannot be removed until after the magazine catch is removed.

There is a hole in the bottom of the housing through which you can see the front plunger of the safety spring.

The magazine catch spring runs laterally into a well in the housing and places outward pressure on the magazine catch button. This is what holds the magazine catch closed after a magazine is inserted.

Press slightly in on the magazine catch button to release any tension of the catch on the safety spring. Use a scribe or jewelers screwdriver to pry the safety spring plunger to the rear which will release the magazine catch. Gently release the spring tension of the magazine catch spring.

Once the magazine catch has been released and the spring has pushed it partially out of the housing, the scribe or screwdriver you are using to pry the safety spring plunger back can be removed. Place a finger across the front of the catch to prevent the safety spring from shooting out and pull the magazine catch to the side and off; then pull the magazine catch spring out of its well in the housing.

After the magazine catch is removed, tip the assembly forward and catch the safety spring as it falls out of its well in the housing.

Then the safety switch can be pulled from the housing.

And there you have it; one M1 Carbine Trigger Housing Group (some assembly required).

In the next episode, we’ll disassemble the Bolt…the hard way.

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M1 Carbine Part 2: Group Disassembly

In M1 Carbine Part 1, we took a look at the external condition of the new old CMP M1 Carbine.

In this edition, we’re going to disassemble the Carbine into its major groups.

The first step of any firearm task is (of course) make sure the firearm is unloaded…verify a clear chamber and safety on.

After safing the firearm, the next step is to remove the action from the furniture.

This is pretty easy with the M1 Carbine.

First, loosen the screw holding the front band. The screw is designed so that the rim of a shell can be used to loosen it in an emergency.

The screw does not need to be completely removed, just loosened enough so that the band can move around. On my rifle, the screw was staked so that it would not come all the way out without excessive force.

There is a spring clip with a tang that hooks into the front band.

After the front band screw is loose, Press in on the shaft of the spring clip to release the front band and slide the band assembly forward.

You may need to use a punch or screwdriver to press the spring clip in far enough to release the band.

Slide the band all the way up the barrel to get it out of the way.

Then lift the front of the upper hand guard away from the barrel and slid it forward. There is a metal liner on the rear of the upper hand guard that hooks into the receiver to secure it. Lifting the front of the hand guard and pulling forward will pull the rear liner free of the receiver and release it.

The next step is to remove the receiver and barrel from the stock. Simply lift the front of the barreled receiver which releases the rear from the recoil plate which stays in the stock. After the lug at the rear of the receiver is clear of the recoil plate, the receiver and barrel can be lifted free.

Set the stock aside.

Next, the trigger housing group is removed.

Remove the pin at the forward end of the trigger housing. On mine the pin was pretty loosely fitted and didn’t require a punch. It simply pulled out with my fingers.

Then slide the entire housing forward until the rear lug clears the grooves in the receiver.

The trigger housing group is now freed from the receiver and can be lifted clear and set aside.

Next is the Operating Slide group.

The first step in this is to remove the Operating slide spring.

The spring is clearly visible on the lower left of the receiver/operating slide.

At the forward end, the spring guide is held in place by a detent in the rear of the operating slide. The rear of the spring is inserted into a deep hole in the front face of the receiver.

To remove, grasp the spring and spring guide just behind the operating slide. Pull the spring and guide back until the tab on the end of the spring guide is clear of the detent in the operating slide.

Pull the spring and guide to the right until clear of the operating slide and pull forward until the rear of the spring is clear of the hole in the receiver.

To remove the operating slide itself.

With the operating slide fully forward and the bolt closed, grasp the charging handle.

While putting a slight pressure up and to the right, slowly pull the charging handle to the rear.

At about the point where the forward face of the stop is aligned with the forward face of the receiver, the operating slide handle will reach a detent in the guide track in the receiver and will pull free up and to the right.

Once the operating slide handle is free from the receiver and bolt, slide it back forward again while gently rocking it from side to side.

When it reaches a point about where the rear face of the stop is aligned with the front face of the receiver, it will be released from the guide rails on the receiver and will drop free.

The final step is to remove the bolt. This is a fairly straightforward procedure, but there are two protrusions that have to be aligned correctly one by one in order for the bolt to come out. One is a rail on the opposite side from the camming lug. The other is a protrusion on the rear of the firing pin.

Grasp the camming lug on the bolt and rotate the bolt so that the lug is pointed up.

Pull the bolt slightly to the rear and lift until the front rails are clear of the receiver.

Then rotate the camming lug back to the right until it is horizontal. This will clear the firing pin tab from the receiver.

Then pull the bolt forward and up to free it from the receiver.

There you have it. That wasn’t painful at all now was it?

Coming up next: Disassembly and inspection of the trigger housing group.

I keep forgetting to ask…what’s everyone think of my homemade maintenance/cleaning stand and box?

I had been thinking about buying one but I had some scrap wood laying around so I figured I’d just make one for temporary use until I had the money/motivation to go buy one. My homemade one worked out so well I just decided I really didn’t need to spend the money on a commercial one. That’s $30 or $40 I can spend on ammo instead.

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M1 Carbine Part 1

One thing I did when ordering the bolt tool, gas piston nut wrench and extra extractor spring plungers, is order a book on the production history of the M1 Carbine.

I have no doubt that my Carbine has been rebuilt at least once over the course of its 63 year life, but I still want to get an idea what parts my be original, what has definitely been replaced, what is out of place for the period of manufacture, etc.

To be perfectly honest, I know that there are many different parts variations, but at this point I don’t even know enough about M1 Carbines to know what to look for.

With that in mind, and also just to get a good starting point, I took a bunch of pictures of the rifle to catalog its condition and any distinctive markings.

I started out by taking pictures of the rifle fully assembled.

Parkerizing is actually in pretty good shape. This rifle doesn’t seem to have seen much use after its last refurbishment.

There is some wear on edges and at contact points, but very little otherwise.

As you can see, this rifle is equipped with a bayonet mount. It is possible that it was added sometime after initial manufacture.

The stock shows a lot of wear but no cracks or “show stopper” problems. It has a couple of pretty large gouges in the foregrip area. It is a “FAT” stamped stock. I’ve heard of some people getting these rifles with GI stocks but not many.

It also has a round sticker with the number 15 on it affixed to the side of the foregrip. This looks like it may have been some sort of unit inventory or rack number.

If any readers have purchased a CMP Carbine, have you noticed anything similar? Any insight as to what it may signify?

In addition to the wear and dirt, there are some pretty distinct wear marks on the butt from the sling.

I would imagine that those would be quite common.

I’ve been trying to decide what to do with the stock.

This rifle has a lot of “character” but I want her to look good. My Garand is a beautiful rifle and I’d like her little sister to be just as pretty. Since she’s been in service and has obviously been rearsenaled at least once, I wouldn’t imagine she’d have any particular collector value…especially with a fat butt…I mean…with the “FAT” stamp on the buttstock.

IN short, the stock is sound but ugly and dinged up.

My choices are obvious:

1. Leave her just like she is…character marks and all.

2. Smooth/repair the dings and refinish the existing stock.

3. Get new furniture and hold on to the originals for future re-installation.

As I said before, I’d really like to clean her up. Option one would pretty much rule that desire out.

If the stock she’s wearing now has no collector value at all…the Italian markings don’t mean much to me emotionally (we wouldn’t even be having this conversation were she wearing her originial USGI furniture)…then option two is very tempting because it is the most economical choice. But it is so permanent, after it’s done, it’s not un-doable.

Option three is the most expensive but the most flexible. I can get any type of stock I want her to wear for now and then put her back to original in a matter of minutes if the need arises.

What say my readers? Is there any reason to keep the original stock as-is or is refinishing a good choice?

Next Up: Disassembly into major groups.

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Oops

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 slipped.

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.

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IT’S HERE!!!!

Sorry about shouting, but I’ve been waiting for this for awhile.

I finally got my BAG day gun. I waited patiently for several months in between being notified that the CMP had received a shipment of M1 carbines and then finally starting to take orders on April 30. I got my order in on May 1 and, based on the sheer number of orders they received the first few days, was thinking I’d have to wait until August. Much to my happy surprise, I got the first email on June 2 saying that they were processing my order and last Friday the one saying it had been shipped (overnight Fedex). Today, the long awaited ring of the doorbell and VIOLA! I had her in my hot little hands.

Here is the preliminary picture.

The stock is pretty beat up but the metal seems to be in pretty good condition upon initial look. I’ll know more after I get her broken down, cleaned and have a chance to look her over.

I’m so happy to have a little sister for my Garand and to add to my collection of history.

Undoubtedly, much more to come.

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