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Old February 8, 2020, 08:55 AM   #1
jski
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Universal M1 Carbine design v. GI Carbine design?

Awhile back, on an M1 Carbine website, I posted a question: Is it arguable that the Universal M1 Carbine design is a better design than the GI M1 Carbine design? Had the Universal M1 Carbine been implemented with 1st class materials, would it have proven to be more reliable than the GI Carbine?

Well, what came back at me wasn’t exactly exemplary of the “gentle art of conversation”. Some of it was downright personal !

So let me try that one more time. Is that an (reasonably) arguable position. Given the write up on the site (The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30), I’d say: yes. And that website is by far the best I’m aware of for the presentation of GI and commercial carbine designs.
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Old February 8, 2020, 11:06 AM   #2
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M-1 Carbines are a hoot to shoot.
Per your linked article,production of the originals stopped in 1945.

Those carbines have historic significance. That cannot be reproduced.

There is a desirability/collectability factor that has an effect on the price/value of original carbines. As high as that price is,there is a buyer for every original carbine that comes up for sale.

For myself,given 30 carbine ammo is not all that cheap,compared to 223,and giver that rifles like the Mini-14 and the AR can be had for less money than an original carbine...The potential carbine buyer has some decisions to make.

My opinion is just another opinion. You are free to disagree.

If a company were to choose to get into the M-1 carbine business,a quality faithful reproduction to the last detail is what the market would want.

Any "improvement" would likely cause most buyers to think "Not original" and walk away.

However! I do think there is an appetite for an M-1 carbine "class" shooter..unique enough that it stands on its own,without trying to be a "fake" M-1 carbine.
The Ruger 44 mag carbine,the 10-22,and the mini-14 are testimony.

The basic lines of the M-1 carbine are sweet,appealing. and marketable.

The 30 carbine cartridge was fine for the original purpose ...an alternative to the 1911 for folks not depending on a battle rifle.

Today,its not being used for anything but feeding M-1 carbines.

A carbine-like rifle might expand the interest in the 10 mm cartridge,for example.

Make a 10 mm rifle that's not far from a Ruger 10-22 or an M-1 carbine general package, (A conventional,politically correct looking rifle,not plumbing and plastic tac mall ninja wannabe) and price it not more than $800 . You might have something.

Bt a "new improved" M-1 carbine in 30 carbine would be ineligible for CMP games,would have no historic connection,and the 30 carbine cartridge isn't so bad,really,but its not real good at anything,particularly being cheep to shoot.

An M-1 carbine scaled to 223 pretty much gets you a Mini-14.

I'm not sure what "improvement" you have in mind
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Old February 8, 2020, 01:52 PM   #3
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The Universal M1 Carbine design is not the improvement Universal thought it was. The poorly made, stamped, op handles tend to break. There's no need for 2 return springs and most issue parts do not fit either.
Mind you, a lot depended on the individual Universal Carbine. There were two Universal Carbines. Early and Late. The early one used mostly issue parts. The Late did not and are junk.
Buddy of mine had one, a Late I think, that never gave him any grief. My Plainfield would shoot circles around it though. My Plainfield will shoot circles around any Mini-14 too.
The Ruger .44 and 10/22 are not even close to the design of a Carbine.
"...website is by far the best..." Absolutely.
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Old February 8, 2020, 02:53 PM   #4
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HiBC, there is a company that makes VERY high quality reproductions of the GI M1 Carbine: Fulton Armory. They’re also VERY expensive. And I want one.

But the Universal Carbine is the only significant rethink of the GI design and its “significance” lies in that, which isn’t insignificant. Abe Seiderman, the Universal Carbine designer, had justification for what he did (and not just reducing costs).
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Old February 8, 2020, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
The Universal M1 Carbine design is not the improvement Universal thought it was.

My Plainfield would shoot circles around it though. My Plainfield will shoot circles around any Mini-14 too.
I agree with your statement on the Universal design, however, it's clear by your second statement that you don't know the accuracy capability difference between the 30 Carbine caliber vs a .223/5.56 caliber because what you are claiming is that your Plainfield will shoot sub MOA at 100yds! And we both know that the 30 Carbine rd is not capable of anywhere near 1 MOA accuracy while the .223/5.56 is capable of sub ½ MOA accuracy in the right platform. Even in a single shot TC Contender, the 30 Carbine isn't an accurate caliber.

I've owned a real GI, 1943 NPM carbine since 1977 when I got an arsenal rebuild in pristine condition that shoots 'minute of coffee cup' or about 4" at 100yds with my handloads. That's excellent accuracy for a GI carbine. I don't shoot it much at all as it's worth a lot in it's pristine condition so I also picked up a NIB Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine in 2012 that is more reliable and will shoot groups about ½ the size of my NPM, just over 2", at 100yds with the same 110grn handloads. That's considered phenomenal accuracy for an M1 Carbine.

My 1943 GI NPM on top and my 2012 AO on bottom



I also picked up a NIB 583 Series Mini-14 in 2015 that I handload for and it shoots just under 1¼" groups at 100yds reliably and sometimes it's right at 1" or 1 MOA if I'm really on. I use my Mini to shoot bowling pins at 200yds. While they are about 15" high, only about 2" of that is a 2 MOA width at 200yds (4") and the rest is significantly narrower so they make interesting challenges to hit reliably. I've been shooting them for well over 4 years and it's not that hard to do with my Mini, even though I use irons. What's hard is shooting them at 300yds.

My Customized 2015 583 Series Mini-14 (yes, I've set it up to mimic my M1A as my 'Mini M14')



I've tried to make my AO M1 Carbine capable of reliably hitting a bowling pin at 200yds and I never could get the accuracy out of the caliber to make it possible at anywhere near that distance. In fact, hitting them occasionally at 200yds is more a matter of luck than precision because the 30 Carbine caliber simply isn't that accurate of a caliber, no matter what platform it's in. At 100yds it's difficult at best while at 300yds it's pointless and a waste of ammo to even try.

So, while some of the older, pencil barreled Mini-14s might not have the accuracy of your Plainfield, since 2004 when the 58X series Mini-14s with their thicker barrels and different ejectors were introduced, the fact is that the current Mini, shooting the much more accurate caliber, can in fact shoot circles around your Plainfield.

Out of the box, the new Minis are 2 MOA shooters with decent ammo. With a few, cheap tweaks such as adding $2 per set 1911 buffers to the op-rod spring and a $25 reduced gas bushing to reduce the excessive cycling force Ruger builds the Mini with because they feel they need to ensure that the Mini will cycle even when shooting the cheap, under powered, commie ammo from Wolf and Tula, you can have a near or at 1 MOA capable Mini.

If you doubt this, go to PerfectUnion.com's Mini 14 and Mini 30 forum and you'll find dozens of threads on how to make your Mini super accurate. Look, I get it. I love shooting my M1 Carbine as much as I love shooting my Mini-14 but I accept the fact that the M1 Carbine is a small, light weight, semi-accurate military weapon that's a ton of fun even if it's not as accurate as some more modern carbines with more accurate calibers.
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Old February 8, 2020, 10:56 PM   #6
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I have a Universal which couldn’t get thru a 15 round mag without a stove pipe. Called Wolff and bought a complete spring replacement kit. After every spring had been replaced, it’s now is my one and only 99.9% reliable Carbine (nothing’s 100% reliable). I also have 2 GI Carbines.

What got my attention foremost were the 2 recoil springs v. the 1 spring in a GI Carbine. I noticed Ian on Forgotten Weapons comment about that being an improvement.
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Old February 9, 2020, 12:27 AM   #7
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I dunno about improvements but I've got a Universal that my dad bought new in 1969. I shot tons of hardball though it out of 30 round mags. It would hang up now and then but not enough to have a fit over. Maybe once or twice in 100 rounds. Soft points were another matter, they wouldn't feed worth a crap. When I was about 15 I polished the feed ramp. Now it feeds soft points very well. I haven't shot it in a long time but if it breaks on the next round it was worth every penny of the $99.00 my dad gave for it.
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:06 AM   #8
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Mine is a late model Universal, early 80s. This is the one the that really interests me because it’s where Abe separates from the GI design.

Two comparisons come to mind: Savage and SpaceX (yes, this may seem a bit of a stretch). Way back in the 50s when Savage’s fortunes were at an ebb they were face with the costly task of developing their own bolt gun. Well, Savage’s engineers brought in a manufacturing engineer who looked at the problems they were having with what has always been problematic: joining the barrel to the receiver and getting the headspace correct. So the manufacturing engineer made a (now) obvious suggestion: use a nut to accomplish this. Focus on functionality and put aside aesthetics.

SpaceX was facing bankruptcy and had one last shot at it. So they simplified and simplified and simplified their design to reduce costs and increase reliability (simple is more reliable than complex).

In both cases they succeeded!

These seem similar to what Universal faced as the supply of GI parts dried up. Their late model carbine are the result of their effort to reduce manufacturing complexity (and hence, costs) and still produce a reliable product. At least reliable enough to keep the market viable.

Their 2 recoil spring design seems to reflect this. Evidently, all manufacturers of the GI carbines struggled with drilling the hole for the recoil spring - getting it straight enough. Well, Universal always used forged receivers (to their credit) as apposed to cast receivers, so they couldn’t simply cast straight holes. To avoid this problem they devised the 2 recoil spring solution. And it worked, maybe better than the 1 recoil spring.

Last edited by jski; February 9, 2020 at 01:51 AM.
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Old February 9, 2020, 04:04 AM   #9
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.30 Carbine

I read somewhere the statement that a Universal .30 carbine was a good weapon for your enemy to have!

Back in the day, the U.S. .30 Carbine M1 was the approved rifled arm for the US Bureau of Prisons, and everybody, from corrections officer to secretary had to qualify on it, and on the .38 and 12 ga. The carbines at the academy had seen a lot of shooting, but were fun none the less, and most everybody shot them better than the pump or the revolver. I resolved that I would get one.

When they surfaced again with CMP, the money they wanted for one had to go to something else. Auto Ordnance repros were pricey too. I never did get a carbine.
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Old February 9, 2020, 09:14 AM   #10
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This is a interesting/pertinent quote from
Post WWII Commercially Manufactured M1 Carbines (U.S.A.):
Quote:
Over the years many M1 Carbine enthusiasts and collectors have had a poor opinion of the carbines produced by Universal Firearms. Some complained about the design changes, some claiming the changes were unsafe as they did not meet the standards set forth by U.S. Army Ordnance. Many companies in the history of firearms have manufactured "carbines" of various different designs, operating actions, calibers, etc. None comparable to the standards of a U.S. M1 Carbine simply because they were not based on the design and changes approved by U.S. Army Ordnance for the Caliber .30 M1, Carbine. Different is not the same as better or worsse. Confusing this issue is the fact the first 8000 carbines manufactured by Universal Firearms were of the same design as the U.S. M1 Carbine and most of the parts were interchangeable with surplus GI carbine parts.

Many owners of the carbines manufactured by Universal Firearms have enjoyed them for many years without encountering any problems. As with any other firearm, every part thereon and therein has a lifespan. All semi-automatic centerfire rifles share a number of common safety features that should be inspected periodically and when buying a used one. With a used gun, it's not the name on the firearm that matters as much as having a competent mechanic check under the hood before we drive it.

All of this should be kept in mind if and when you may encounter negative comments regarding the carbines manufactured by Universal Firearms. Investigations conducted by this author have found the majority of complaints were either not from first hand experience, did not include examination by a knowledgeable person to determine exactly why something went wrong (think semi-auto rifle gas systems, headspace, poor quality or worn out magazines), or one complaint was posted on an internet discussion forum and quoted on a dozen others making it sound like more than one. The issues discovered with a Universal Carbine or Universal M1 Carbine have been consistent with all commercially manufactured carbines, regardless of who made them. Refer to the Safety issues page on this website. Remember, a used semi-auto rifle requires more maintenance and safety inspections than most other firearms. Also keep in mind that if the carbines manufactured by Universal Firearms were as bad as the rumors, how did they manage to stay in business so long and make so many carbines?”

Last edited by jski; February 9, 2020 at 11:58 AM.
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Old February 9, 2020, 10:51 AM   #11
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jski: I.too have wanted a Fulton carbine for a long time,but yes,they are expensive. Priorities!!
I think I paid $65 for my first carbine.For a long time they were under $100.
In those days,Carbine ammo was 9 cents a round,some French made and berdan primed. At the same time,5.56 GI USA was 2 to 3 cents a round,and 22 lr was about 75 cents a box of 50.

The economics of feeding the rifle mattered. A NIB AR-180 was $175. I bought one.
When AIM Surplus had 7.62x39 ammo for $69 a thousand,I sawa Chinese SKS carbine NIB for $79. I bought a tool to shoot cheap ammo

Still,there is nothing quite like going "Clank clank clank " weth a carbine!

Mr Oheir: quoting myself :
Quote:
However! I do think there is an appetite for an M-1 carbine "class" shooter..unique enough that it stands on its own,without trying to be a "fake" M-1 carbine.
The Ruger 44 mag carbine,the 10-22,and the mini-14 are testimony.
Where in that statement did I suggest the Rugers shared a mechanical design with the M1 Carbine? Answer,I did not.

The Rugers were unique enough to stand on their own. Yet their M1 carbine like size,lines,and handling played into their success....As did the 10-22's M1 Carbine-like takedown..with a modular trigger group.

IMO,a 85% copy of an M1 Carbine in 30 carbine with some "improvement" probably would see limited sales unless it was really imexpensive.

Make it n 221 fireball and ramp up affordable ammo availability,and you might have something,or make it a locked breech 10mm. Both would require tweaking scale/dimensions and a unique magazine.
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Old February 9, 2020, 11:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC View Post
The 30 carbine cartridge was fine for the original purpose ...an alternative to the 1911 for folks not depending on a battle rifle.
Although widely repeated, that was never it's "original purpose".
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Old February 9, 2020, 11:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Although widely repeated, that was never it's "original purpose".
Quote:
The M1 Carbine was designed primarily to offer noncombat and line-of-communications troops a better defensive weapon than a pistol or submachine gun, with greater accuracy and range, but without the recoil, cost, or weight of a full-power infantry rifle. The carbine was also easier for less experienced soldiers and smaller-framed people to fire than the .30 caliber infantry rifles of the day. The carbine was more convenient to carry for officers, NCOs, or specialists encumbered with weapons, field glasses, radios, or other gear.
http://thecmp.org/sales-and-service/...e-information/
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Old February 9, 2020, 12:40 PM   #14
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jski. I spoke to someone from that website a number of years ago when they were trying to pin down changes in stampings and serial numbers to manufacture dates.
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:12 PM   #15
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TBM:

Quote:
Although widely repeated, that was never it's "original purpose".
Really? Please,go on,enlighten me
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:26 PM   #16
T. O'Heir
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"...couldn’t get thru a 15 round mag without..." Far more likely to be the mag vs any spring. Try tweaking the lips open a wee tiny bit with needle nosed pliers. Have a 30 rounder that wouldn't feed right until I did that.
"...a better defensive weapon..." It's far easier to train a guy who had never seen a real firearm outside of the movies to use a long gun than it is a handgun. Contrary to the myth of "A Nation of Riflemen", very few American recruits/draftees had ever seen a firearm prior to being in the military.
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
an alternative to the 1911 for folks not depending on a battle rifle.
If that was the case why were soldiers issued both?
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC View Post
TBM:
Really? Please,go on,enlighten me
Take the time to read the original proposals for the Army's "Light Rifle Program" as it details everything.
It was never designed to replace the 1911...
It was never designed for "noncombat" soldiers...
It was never designed for cooks, typists, or the many other often repeated tales.

It was designed as a "light rifle" to fill a myriad of roles including as an alternative to the Garand.
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
If that was the case why were soldiers issued both?
Yup
Just as many infantry men were issued the Carbine instead of the Garand. If folks repeating such stories took the time to browse the countless variations of WWII TO&E's they would be surprised to see how many frontline combat soldiers were issued the Carbine.

I don't believe any U.S. military weapon has had more BS information, rumors, and wild stories heaped upon it than the M1 Carbine has. My favorite are the "My grandfather told me..." ones, often including the emptying of a 30 Carbine magazine into the chest of an advancing German/Jap/N Korean/Cong who didn't stop until grandpa finally "pulled his 45".
The story usually ends with the Carbine being smashed against a tree/rock/jeep/etc.

There must be BILLIONS of Carbine parts laying under trees across Europe, the Pacific, Korea, and Nam
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Old February 10, 2020, 01:25 AM   #20
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T.O’Heir: Let walk thru this:

Quote:
The Universal M1 Carbine design is not the improvement Universal thought it was.
Abe Seiderman ran into a problem when the supply of GI M1 Carbine parts dried up and was searching for a solution that would keep manufacturing costs down and yet provide a reliable product. I believe he succeeded in the best American entrepreneurial tradition.
Quote:
The poorly made, stamped, op handles tend to break.
This slide was specifically designed to work with the Universal two spring recoil system. It was made of a quality steel plate but occasionally a slide will crack or break at the camcut opening that engages the right bolt lug. The cause was traced to occasional problems with heat treatment for proper hardening. This is not an issue for all of their slides and breaks/cracks on any carbine slide (GI or commercial) can be caused by several factors related to use, wear improper ammunition, improper headspace and/or a number of other causes.
Quote:
There's no need for 2 return springs and most issue parts do not fit either.
Unlike most other commercial Carbine manufacturers, Universal always used forged, not cast, receivers. But this presented a problem that most of the GI manufacturers also encountered: drilling consistently (very) straight holes for the recoil spring. Universal solution was to avoid that problem in their redesign using a dual recoil spring system. It also seems to be a more reliable solution as Ian on Forgotten Weapons pointed out.
Quote:
The Late [models] did not and are junk.
NONSENSE!

Last edited by jski; February 10, 2020 at 02:05 AM.
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Old February 12, 2020, 03:09 PM   #21
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I lucked into this Universal Carbine at a gunshow about 3 months ago.

It’s an extremely low serial number Universal (35XX) and it came with 7 USGI 15 round magazines, 2 5 round magazines and 350 rounds of USGI ammo.

If you look real close you will the see “custom” sling retention device is a loaded .243 round in place of the Oiler.



Total out the door cost for me was 400 dollars.

Since I’ve purchased it I’ve run 850 rounds of ammo through (the 350 USGI it came with plus 500 rounds of wolf steel cased) it and it hasn’t skipped a beat.

Best 400 dollars I’ve ever spent on a rifle.
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Old February 12, 2020, 04:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg
If that was the case why were soldiers issued both?
Yup
Just as many infantry men were issued the Carbine instead of the Garand. If folks repeating such stories took the time to browse the countless variations of WWII TO&E's they would be surprised to see how many frontline combat soldiers were issued the Carbine.

I don't believe any U.S. military weapon has had more BS information, rumors, and wild stories heaped upon it than the M1 Carbine has. My favorite are the "My grandfather told me..." ones, often including the emptying of a 30 Carbine magazine into the chest of an advancing German/Jap/N Korean/Cong who didn't stop until grandpa finally "pulled his 45".
The story usually ends with the Carbine being smashed against a tree/rock/jeep/etc.
All this over my statement "The carbine was developed as an alternative to a 1911 for those not depending on a battle rifle"

I stand by it. My critics have their soap box speech agenda waiting for the chance to unload it for all who will listen.

Nowhere did I say "Cooks,clerks,etc" and nowhere did I say that a 1911 and a carbine could not be issued together.

Sometimes I'd LIKE to be able to say something with a few words,but for some hyper critics everything must be written like a team of lawyers covering every contingency.

For a WW2 Rifleman,the best tool was usually the battle rifle. But among combat infantry troops,there are many jobs besides rifleman.

Like the Lt Platoon leader. Or the RTO. Or the guy who carries a mortar base plate. All critical jobs that must be done well.and likely can be done better carrying a carbine rather than the additional load of a Garand.

Yet the carbine,when needed,provided an effective weapon to fight with.

My critic read things into my one sentence that I did not say,nor did I imply
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Old February 13, 2020, 11:46 AM   #23
jski
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My interest has focused on the much maligned late model Universal carbines. I definitely think that Abe Seiderman, the Universal Carbine designer, made arguable improvements to the original GI design. I know, that’s heresy.
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Old February 14, 2020, 04:44 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC View Post
All this over my statement...
Well actually... no.
That was a response to someone else.
You were not quoted or even referenced in that response.

Quote:
I stand by it.
Stand by whatever you like, the fact remains your assertion was wrong.

Quote:
Nowhere did I say "Cooks,clerks,etc" and nowhere did I say that a 1911 and a carbine could not be issued together.
Nowhere did I say you did.

Quote:
Sometimes I'd LIKE to be able to say something with a few words,but for some hyper critics everything must be written like a team of lawyers covering every contingency.
You made a clear and simple assertion, it was false.
No need for the hyperbole.

Quote:
Like the Lt Platoon leader. Or the RTO. Or the guy who carries a mortar base plate. All critical jobs that must be done well.and likely can be done better carrying a carbine rather than the additional load of a Garand.
Like the riflemen, who were issued the M1 Carbine in great numbers through multiple wars.
Just as intended by the original scope of the "Light Rifle Program".

BTW
Platoon Leaders, RTO's, Mortar crews, etc, were still issued Garands during WWII and Korea as reflected in countless variations of TO&E's
Quote:
Yet the carbine,when needed,provided an effective weapon to fight with.
Which is just one reason why it was loved by riflemen, paratroopers, "special forces", Etc, to which it was issued.

Quote:
My critic read things into my one sentence that I did not say,nor did I imply
It was taken and responded to at face value, period.
Now try not to take things so personal, take a breath, relax, smile, kick back and enjoy life.
After all, this is the innernets
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