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Old December 18, 2013, 01:38 PM   #1
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.30 carbine commercial ammo

A friend wants to know, when was commercial ammo for the USGI .30 carbine first produced?

None of my usual sources mentions this. The only info we have been able to find is that in a (reprint) of a 1951 Gun Digest, .30 Carbine is not listed in the ammo tables (Rem, Win, etc)

He feel pretty sure it was shortly after Korea, but we have no proof.

Anyone know when Win/Rem, etc., introduced .30 Carbine sporting ammo to the civilian market?

Thanks!
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Old December 18, 2013, 09:02 PM   #2
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The first issue of the Gun Digest to show .30 Carbine was 1964, by no coincidence the year after the Army released thousands of carbines for sale through DCM. (Of course, due to publication delay, anything in the GD is at least 6-8 months prior to publication date, so .30 Carbine would have been available in 1963.) But at that time, commercial ammo was a drop in the bucket, and sold mainly to provide hunting ammo for those who didn't reload. Hundreds of tons of surplus .30 Carbine ammo was available at a cent a round or less, as was .30 M2 Ball. (The ammo production figures in WWII and Korea were staggering. For example, from late 1941 to late 1945, Frankford Arsenal was producing 1.2 million rounds of .30-'06 ammo a day.)

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Old December 19, 2013, 03:30 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I knew about the big release of carbines in 63. It just seems strange that none of the major ammo makers apparently made any commercial ammo for so many years.

Not strange they didn't sell much, because of so much cheap surplus ammo, just strange that they didn't list any in the usual sources, until 64?

I would have thought, with so many carbines "coming home" that somebody would have at least offered SP ammo after Korea, but we can't seem to find any ads or listings from the mid 50s.
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Old December 20, 2013, 01:03 AM   #4
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What carbines "coming home"? There is a myth that every WWII GI brought back his carbine, M1911A1 pistol or M1 rifle. In fact, it was illegal to do so (it is called theft of government property) and most vets wanted to come home, not serve 20 years in Leavenworth for the sake of getting a gun. Of course, bringing back ENEMY captured weapons was generally OK (MG's or heavy stuff could not be legally brought back), but NOT U.S. or Allied weapons.

So, until c. 1963, there were almost NO carbines on the U.S. market. One or two companies had made small numbers using surplus parts, but most of the commercial manufacturers didn't start up until after the Army release of GI carbines. And of course there was plenty of milsurp ammo, which was something of a drag on the market since there were no guns to shoot it.

(BEFORE TELLING ME ABOUT YOUR UNCLE'S LUGER OR YOUR GRANDFATHER'S JAP NAMBU, READ THE FIRST PARAGRAPH. Those were OK. But if your grandfather brought back an M1 rifle or carbine or GI pistol, he stole it, and took a lot of risk. Of course, few who did "liberate" Uncle Sam's weapons would admit it to their families; so the stories grew that some one (usually General Patton, for some reason) "gave" them the weapon, or some officer sold it to them, or they took it from a German or Japanese soldier.)

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Old December 20, 2013, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
But if your grandfather brought back an M1 rifle or carbine or GI pistol, he stole it, and took a lot of risk.
yes, and sometimes, no. The M1 carbine does have the reputation as being the most stolen US rifle, mostly because it was the first US rifle that could easily be fit inside a duffel bag (without creating a noticeable lump...)

I have known a lot of vets, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and now, some from the eastern sandboxes. Each one tells a different tale, about what, when, where, and why things could be brought back, legally.

Several different WWII vets have told me their experiences, and it basically depended on where you came back, and what time to day it was when you were processed (meaning who was on duty to process you out), when it came to how thorough they were about things.

More than one I have known was offered to buy their arms, and some did. And some still have paperwork to prove it. Not all the guns they brought back were "stolen" from the govt, but many were.

One friend is a perfect example. He was a Signals Sgt, finished the war in the Aleutians. When he outprocessed, he bought his .45 (and has papers for it). He had been given a carbine too, which he also kept. When he asked about buying it too, the Sgt looked at his paperwork and told him "You don't have a carbine." When he tried to explain that he did, he says the Sgt looked him in the eye, and repeated, with emphasis, "You don't have a carbine!". So it stayed in his duffelbag....

He knew it was "stolen", and for many years kept it in a closet, hidden, even from his family. His pistol was openly owned.

While I know lots and lots of guns were "stolen" from the govt after the war, I have never heard of the govt expending any energy trying to find them, or prosecute anyone for having one. (those who took case lots of guns were a different matter).

I can see where, the general belief that there would be trouble kept a lot of carbines "in the closet" for a long time, so there was little demand for new factory sporting ammo, especially with all the surplus stuff around.

That does explain a lot.
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Old December 20, 2013, 11:36 PM   #6
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Yep, there were a lot of stories, but no officer or NCO or anyone else in wartime had the authority to sell or give away U.S. government property of any kind. Even if a GI lost has rifle and had to pay for it on a statement of charges, he could not "find" the gun later and keep it. I have heard all those stories, some many times, but they are all untrue. The only weapon in the U.S. military that was actually given to an individual soldier and was his to keep was the General Officers' Pistol (different kinds at different times). Those were the personal property of the general, and could be legally kept after he left the service. (After the war, duly authorized property disposal officers could sell off specified types of materiel, but that was strictly controlled when it came to weapons. If a rifle, why not a tank, or a B-29?)

I had a personal experience with one of those stories. I met a young man whose deceased father I had known well. He told me that he had his father's M1 rifle that General Patton had given the old man for his bravery at the Battle of the Bulge. Patton was going to award him a medal but the soldier told the general that he would rather have the rifle he had used to such good effect in that battle. Patton gave the order, and the GI was allowed to bring the rifle home. It was a touching story.

There were a couple of problems. I had known the father before the son was even born, and knew that he had never been out of the states in WWII, let alone at the Bulge. And I had been with him when he picked up the DCM M1 at the Railway Express Office. In the bosom of his family, the vet, like others, had "expanded" on his wartime service.

No, I didn't tell the man; it made no difference to me to let him think his father was a combat hero.

Jim
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Old December 24, 2013, 09:39 PM   #7
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It is hard to go a week on the gun boards without a gun, usually a 1911, turning up with the United States Property stamp removed and often the serial number, too.
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Old December 25, 2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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That is correct, Jim, and kind of interesting. No one much cared about a "liberated" .45 automatic, and after tens of thousands were sold surplus prosecution for theft would have been nigh unto impossible. But by removing the serial number, the "owner" violated a law with no statute of limitations ("possession" is the violation, not the serial number removal) and greater penalties.

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Old February 11, 2014, 09:53 AM   #9
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When my father came back from the SP (41st Inf Div) where he carried a carbine, you couldn't give him a Carbine, Garand, or 1911, he was tire of them and wanted nothing to do with them again.

Fast forward, he went back in when they started the Air Force in '47 and was sent to Germany during the Berlin Air Lift.

Up on coming home from that adventure, as he walked from the terminal to the plane, they had venders lined up selling 1911s and Carbines. Two mags each, Holsters for the 1911s, for a total price of $15 which included papers making them legal.

Again, he wanted nothing to do with them. He liked guns, but had enough of military weapons. It wasn't until Ruger came out with the BlackHawk in 30 cal carbine did he mentioned he wanted one. He liked the round, but not in a Carbine, had enough of those.

I kind of felt the same way when I came back from Vietnam..........My father never got over it, I did. Now I'm big into US Surplus weapons.
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Old February 11, 2014, 06:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy

When my father came back from the SP (41st Inf Div) where he carried a carbine, you couldn't give him a Carbine, Garand, or 1911, he was tire of them and wanted nothing to do with them again.

I kind of felt the same way when I came back from Vietnam..........My father never got over it, I did.

I didn't - why I never have, and never will, own an AR, AK, etc.


My research indicates that commercial .30 Carbine ammo showed up shortly after WWII, when the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) began receiving US semi-auto rifles and carbines (until 1946-47)

The ammunition supplied with the guns was either (both) old wartime stock (Military headstamp) or new Manufacture ( commercial headstamp).


.

Last edited by PetahW; February 11, 2014 at 07:10 PM.
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Old February 11, 2014, 08:09 PM   #11
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All I know was that there was no commercial carbine ammo on the U.S. market before c. 1963 because there were NO legal carbines. The Army insisted that none had been released or sold to civilians, and the FBI arrested people who had them for receiving stolen government property. (I don't recall any prosecutions, the government was apparently content to seize the guns.)

Then it was revealed that Benecia Arsenal had sold a few carbines and had NOT recorded the serial numbers. The sale was not authorized, but it was done and could not be undone. So any carbine could, in theory, have been one of those sold, and the arrests stopped abruptly.

Then carbines were released for sale through DCM. At about the same time, the Army was also planning to release M14's for sale through DCM; they would be welded to semi-auto and an "M" stamped after the "M14", making a new model which had never been a machine gun. ATTD had no problems, and the announcement was to be made in the January 1964 Rifleman.

Then came November 22, 1963.

Jim
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