Fulton Armory M1 Carbine .30 Carbine
For whatever reason, lots of shooters like the M1 Carbine. Can you still get one today? Sure, no problem. Is that one better than this one? Well, maybe, and Gun Tests magazine looked at a few. Here's what they said about the Fulton Armory M1 Carbine .30 Carbine:
Based on a design by David Carbine Williams, the M1 Carbine was developed by Winchester around 1940. It was a gas-operated weapon that used a short-stroke piston. In a series of tests involving several manufacturers carbine designs, the Winchester version won out, and was adopted by the Army in 1941 as the U.S. Carbine, Caliber .30, M1. It was supposed to take the place of a pistol, i.e., be a better overall weapon than a handgun, for company and non-commissioned officers, communications personnel, some tank and artillery units, truck drivers, and support troops. Army brass apparently thought a short, light carbine would be a good substitute for a sidearm in that it would be able to reach farther and of course be easier to hit with than the .45 Auto. It was also felt that many servicemen who were commonly in cramped quarters couldnt conveniently use the only other service weapon available, the over-9-pound M1 Garand, so a carbine made a lot of sense.
The carbine was not only accepted, but was built in enormous numbers, and served very well in its capacity. (There was nothing to prevent a carbine-equipped soldier from also packing a .45 Auto, and thus always have a weapon on his person.) About 6.5 million carbines were produced by the end of WWII. Among them were also the M1A1 (folding metal stock for paratrooper use), M2 (selective fire), and T3 (receiver grooved for big sniper scope) versions, but they came later. The initial version was semiautomatic only.
Various manufacturers made M1 Carbines, all to stringent mil-spec standards. The receivers and bolts were forged and machined of WD 4140 Special steel (WD, for War Department, was the fixed, mil-spec requirement on what was also known as SAE 4140 steel), and the barrels made of WD 1350 Special, all with lengthy heat-treat sequences to give specific tensile strengths (110,000 psi for the barrels) and hardnesses. In short, original GI M1 carbines were very well made.
The cartridge itself was an offshoot of Winchesters .32 self-loading round, absent the latters slight rim. The .30 Carbine round used a 110-grain FMJ bullet driven to just under 2,000 fps, and was powered by flake or ball powder. Today we can get soft-nose versions as well as FMJ, all of it having about the same ballistics as original ball.
Our Fulton Armory Service Grade M1 Carbine ($1,000) was a fully reconditioned beauty looking just like it did when carbines were new and the world was young ($1,000).
At first blush, the Fulton carbine looked like an expensive proposition. However, lets see what you get, borrowing the description from that companys website, www.Fulton-Armory.com:
The Fulton Armory Service Grade M1 Carbines are as close to new as you can get Because we hand-build them one at a time, they easily surpass the beauty and reliability of the mass-produced carbines of the 1940s. Sure, you can buy one elsewhere for less, but by the time you replace the awful wood, replace the worn or excessively headspaced barrel, replace the unserviceable parts and pay somebody to get it working, you will have spent far more [than ours costs].
What does Fulton put into a carbine? How about: Original USGI receivers; all USGI parts, all checked with applicable gauges; an excellent-condition (refinished) original USGI stock and hand guard; a period sling and oiler; plus The M1 Carbine Owners Guide, a 140-page book by Ruth & Duff (autographed by Duff). This book was so filled with intensive details about the M1 Carbine that after reading portions of it, we had to rewrite portions of this report. Also in the Fulton package was one 10-round magazine. Theres a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you ample time to fall in love with your new purchase, or to find some good reason to reject it, which we dont think you will.
The sample we had looked absolutely new. The metal had crisp edges everywhere, as though the parts had been machined last week and Parkerized yesterday. The metal finish was close to black, and evenly applied. The wood was good walnut, with a smooth finish that smelled like linseed oil. The wood pores were somewhat open, much as they were on original-issue carbines. The barrel was like rifled glass inside.
It had an Underwood-marked barrel, and beneath that was the date, 1-44, and beneath that was a winged-bomb ordnance mark. The receiver was by Standard Products Co. (STD.PRO). The sling was original, as was evident from the old green corrosion on the brass snap. Unfortunately, the sling snap had slightly marred the forend wood during shipping, but this didnt detract from the overall totally authentic look of this remanufactured carbine. Were sure many new carbines had slight packing damage on their stocks as well. If anyone were offended by this, it could easily be fixed with sandpaper and linseed oil. This stock had the later pot-bellied forend, and you can see the difference by comparing its profile with that of the Winchester, with its flatter, earlier, stock-forend profile.
Some of the details we discovered in the The M1 Carbine Owners Guide were that Standard Products Co. was the third rarest manufacturer of carbines, producing just a few more than Rock-Ola and Irwin-Pedersen. Also, Underwood barrels were considered to be the finest of all, even better than Winchesters. So our Fulton carbine was, in many respects, a doozy. The barrel interior was one of the finest weve seen, including the latest, most modern match-rifle barrels that have come our way.
The trigger pull was creepy and broke at a consistent 6.4 pounds. At the range, the first round was reluctant to chamber. We tried it again and from then on it was all smooth sailing with never a bobble, no further malfunctions whatsoever. The Fulton struck the center of point of aim at 50 yards. It did its best with mil-surplus ball, averaging 1.2-inch groups. It didnt like the American Eagle ball as well, and averages were over 2 inches. Caveat ammo!
Gun Tests Recommends: Fulton Armory Service Grade M1 Carbine, $1,000. Our Pick. If we had a desire to own an M1 Carbine that was as close to what GIs were issued during WWII or Korea, we would not hesitate. Wed choose the Fulton remanufactured version and be glad a company cared enough about this countrys history to provide one of the more compelling bits of firearm technology in exactly the form it was originally intended, with no investment-cast compromises, no matter how good the castings might be. We liked this original looking one a whole lot, and think you will, too. No other M1 Carbine weve seen had the authentic look and feel of this one by the folks at Fulton Armory. Their care in building it was reflected in its performance and handling qualities. We felt the overall high quality of the package thoroughly justified its price.