View Full Version : "M-2 carbine"? Lever gun from Vietnam?

Jeff, CA
July 24, 2000, 05:31 PM
A guy I work with was in Vietnam circa 1969. He says he remembers using a small, lightweight lever action gun in .30 carbine, or something similar. He describes it as looking like a Red Ryder BB gun with a detachable banana magazine. He says he and his fellows would get them in trade from Korean soldiers who were also there.

I can't get anything more specific from him, because he's not a gun nut, and it was 30 years ago. However, he is adamant about the "M-2 carbine" designation, and the lever action part.

Does this ring any bells with anybody? I've suggested he may be thinking of the M-1 carbine, but he insists it wasn't.

Jeff, CA
July 24, 2000, 07:47 PM
I'll answer my own question.

False alarm. He called me into his office, where he had Ruger's web site on his computer. He was looking at the 96/44, and he said it looked like that, except with the magazine. I pressed him a little more, and he admitted he wasn't positive about the lever action. I asked him if the case had a shoulder like the .308, or was it straight-walled. The straight-walled case jogged his memory, so we went to Fulton Armory's website and clicked on the M-1 carbine link. When the photo came up, he recognized his old friend.

July 25, 2000, 10:17 AM
Jeff, CA, Well darn! I was just watching "Soldier" w/Kurt Russell (again), and saw a guy holding what looked like a Win 92 w/M1 Carb. "like" clip just in front of the trigger guard. I figured it was just a mock-up/dummy, looks like I still might be right!

James K
July 25, 2000, 11:38 AM
FWIW, Marlin made the Model 62 Levermatic in .30 carbine (also .256 Mag.) in the 60s. They came with only a 4 shot mag, but of course bigger mags could have been made.

The "Red Ryder" description would almost fit; they were not impressive looking.


July 25, 2000, 11:58 AM
SOG legend Jerry Michael Shriver had a .444 Marlin sent over to him in Vietnam. He got it for anti bunker use, apparently the only lever gun to see action in that conflict.

Jeff, CA
July 25, 2000, 05:22 PM
Jim - Do you have a link to a picture? As I said, he seemed pretty sure about it being a lever action (and his accounts of the M-60 are pretty detailed).

Bob Dakota
September 3, 2005, 07:34 PM
I've been interested in a .30 carbine lever rifle for some time, read this thread a while back. I finally bought this one.


Jeff, photos at the bottom. I'd be interested in knowing if your co-worker thinks this is the rifle.

The ruger 96/44 levre rifle wasn't around back then

James K
September 3, 2005, 10:43 PM
Hi, Jeff,

I guess Bob answered your question with a pic of the Marlin. I find it hard to believe anyone would carry a civilian lever action rifle in a combat zone instead of the GI carbine or an M16, but I understand strange things happened in VN and some strange guns turned up.

(The M2 carbine is not a lever action; it is the selective fire version of the M1 carbine. It does have a "lever" inside that runs from the slide back to the disconnector to give full auto fire. Maybe it is that lever that he is thinking about.)


September 6, 2005, 07:57 PM
I am not sure, but I suspect that the last military issue lever action was the Winchester 1895, as used by the Russians. (Ordered by the Czar, mostly used by the Soviets. I understand it was used as late as WWII. I seriously doubt any made it to SEA, though.

In its day, it made a lot of sense. Lot of quick, rifle caliber firepower. Unfortunately, it was too complicated for average soliders to maintain, and did not fire well from prone position.

The Turks were the ones who taught the Russians about the military value of the lever action. Lever actions are just as much eastern as they are western!

September 12, 2005, 07:07 PM
If anyone can find some photos of the Cuban revolutionaries who fought Batista, they might come across a photo to Fidel or Che with a Winchester M92 what was converted to use a snail magazine. Apparently there were more than a few of these conversions in use in Central America.

James K
September 13, 2005, 03:15 PM
I recall seeing pictures of Cuban revolutionaries with Winchester Model 1907's (.351 semi-autos) with drum magazines of some kind, but never the 1892. Converting a tubular magazine lever action to a drum mag would be an interesting project, and I would like to see a picture if anyone has a source.


September 13, 2005, 07:41 PM
I remember reading an old Soldier of Fortune magazine that had an article on the Cuban guns. It gave the name of the designer, (or is it re-designer?), and some of the details. As I recall, some of them were converted to use Sten gun magazines, and would fire FA.

This is a dimly remembered recollection from a long time ago. I have no personal knowledge of any of this, and I could be the victim of a hoax.

September 14, 2005, 03:37 PM
My first duty station in the USAF was Kincheloe AFB, 1969. I was a K-9 handler, and whenever it got too cold for the dogs to be out on post, we would leave them in the kennels and go back out ourselves with M-2 carbines instead of our usual S&W Model 10. They are a selective (full auto or semi) .30 carbine. They were fun to shoot, but that cartridge doesn't have much muscle. We practiced and qualified with those things, and could actually strip 'em down and reassemble them blindfolded. Overseas we got CAR-15s which were much more comforting than pistols or M-2s.

Thanks for the memory blast.

September 22, 2005, 10:51 PM
I would like to learn more about SFC Shriver and his .444 Marlin. One of the
drawbacks to using anything other than government issue weapons is that ammunition supply and Ordnance support are non-existent, though Vietnam, like the Phillipines and the Northwest Frontier in India, had a thriving local
cottage industry of gunsmiths.

November 1, 2005, 01:50 PM
How could someone mistakenly remember a Carbine - M1 or M2 - as having a lever action? I mean, I can imagine someone who's not a "gun guy" being mistaken about a M1 vs. M14, or M-16 vs. M4, but a lever action Carbine?

November 2, 2005, 09:19 AM
It's easy to not remember details from almost 40 years ago. He also said the guy isn't a "gun guy" so those details probably weren't important to him anyway. To him it was just a tool to get the job done.

Long Path
November 5, 2005, 08:11 PM
Forty years ago, hell! This thread got dredged up after more than five years of lying dormant. One might wonder if even Jeff remembers his origination of it! :)

Sounds like Jeff's friend and his mates were getting old M2 (selective fire) carbines.