swampfoxoutdoors

Universal & Plainfield M2 Carbines

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How good are these guns? 

 

I understand that real M2 are most describable followed by converted M1s. But how well do the universals and plainfeilds hold up?

 

Are they good shooters or have issues?

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FOX, this exact question comes up quite often and I enjoy helping with answers. but there is no easy short one. when considering a carbine, understand the ONLY difference in a M-1 or a M-2 is the markings!    early WWII carbines were all semi auto only, the first FULL auto's were "field" conversions and some FULL ONLY. in late 1943 INLAND started exploring  select fire options and came up with a set of parts that were a simple "plug and play" change of parts. many left the plant with a "2" hand stamped over the "1" on the receiver. which brings up a VERY IMPORTANT LEGAL ISSUE. any carbine stamped M-2 in any fashion is a MACHINE GUN even if it will only fire SEMI auto no matter the circumstance. ALSO, any complete set of conversion parts OR near complete, is a MACHINE GUN even if no carbine is present. (more later) in our market if the receiver say's M-2, it MUST be a registered receiver and a "law full" owner may have all the full auto conversion parts he wants as "spares". over the years prior to the 1986 cut off, many complete sets of parts were registered and they can be moved from carbine to carbine at will. MANY OWNERS OF THOSE REGISTERED CONVERSION PARTS, stamped a host gun M-2 on the receiver to make it look "correct". BAD mistake because now the parts can ONLY be used in it FOREVER ! unless one completely destroys it to move the registered parts B-4 moving them to another M-1 carbine. now enter the "COMMERCIAL PRODUCED" CARBINES. at the start, the receivers were the same as the USGI carbines and ALL the GOVT parts would fit and they used them in production until they could no longer buy enough to keep up. they started making their own parts that matched USGI, but slowly began to make changes to make production easier and at a lower cost. soon many parts were so different the receivers and barrels were changed to match and USGI parts would no longer fit. THOSE GUNS ONE SHOULD AVOID IF POSSIBLE, as the quality dropped at the same time. without hard study and serial numbers in hand I cant say when / where or who, but there are some key factors the give them away. the easiest guide can be seen at a quick glance of the operating rod, where the bolt lug engages the OP-ROD there is a large angled hole and you can see the bolt lug in the cam groove with the action open or closed. AVOID THAT TYPE ! they seem to work OK when in good condition but fail with much use and NEVER have faith in one as a MG. ONE CAN STILL BUY A GOOD CONDITION USGI CARBINE WELL UNDER $800 with care full shopping and I would suggest that or better as first choice all the commercial variations except the one mentioned at $400 or less make decent shooters for some, I would not spend $150 for one if I had to use it! if considering a select fire carbine everyone has different goals in mind, as a "shooter" the registered parts make sense if the cost fits. for a long time that was the lowest cost option, but lately asking prices have jumped big time and registered receivers are offered for less more often than not. I beat the dog poop out of mine and use a "kit" moving it gun to gun to save barrels. the original M-2 never gets shot anymore. I still have my first QUALITY M-1 as it came from DCM in 1963. the total with shipping was under $70.00 it looks unfired, has never been rebuilt and has EVERY early feature. there have been well over 300 since it came and they are HIGH up on my favs list. I consider myself a CARBINE EXPERT because I have used them so much and continue to do so weekly when I can walk and use demands legal knowledge. stay away from the commercial guns, if a bit short, take the time to save for a USGI at the level that suits your needs  and you wont regret it. parts are still reasonable so gather a couple extra "ROUND BOLTS", an op rod or two, and all the parts in the trigger group or better yet a complete group. MAGAZINES are very important and every one wants 30 round. DONT BUY ANY MARKED M-2 ! they have been around so long most folks believe they are USGI and that is FAR from the facts. OLD SARGE had them made and the m-2 was applied to ID them and make them "appear' to be correct. few will work, and if they do wont work long. I take them apart, throw the body in the scrap pile and adapt the parts to USGI 15 round mags. there are USGI 30's but almost always more than $100 and hard to positively ID unless book in hand. the EUROPEANS made the best 30 round mags prior to 1970 and I kept several cases and that's what I use. the new KOREAN mags are the best buy now BUT don't expect much spring life , buy extra's and NEVER leave them loaded. LAST? final LEGAL info . NEVER, buy more than 1 or 2,  M-2 carbine part B-4 you have an APPROVED TRANSFER IN HAND! they are a favored "STING" device and a kit need not be complete to be a violation. 90% of the parts is a violation if certain parts are present and I can NEVER get a straight answer  from ATF since 1971 that is the same next time I ask, so its best to avoid the issue, until you are approved, then you can have it all.  if you have either a registered receiver OR a registered trigger group/parts kit. YOU CAN OWN ALL THE SPARES YOU WANT! as replacement spare parts. they MUST be included with the sale of any registered item! if you attempt to sell them after wards, you just sold an unregistered machine gun. the main collection I am managing right now has a registered trigger group, the owner bought one wanting to use it in several "hosts"  it was purchased from a known current and well respected TEXAS NFA DEALER that offered him the "host" for $500 more, and he bought it also. the DEALER filled out a 4473 and let him leave with the "HOST" in hand while waiting for the approval . while doing inventory , i found it in a standard products M-1 with the A-1 folding stock and moved on. many weeks later while logging all the carbines, I picked up a INLAND marked M-2! that was semi only. I found out IT WAS THE "HOST" that came with the group and almost passed out . several million dollar's was placed at risk, simply because the DEALER ignored information PLAINLY posted as a ruling concerning carbine's on the ATF webb site! that dealer was present at an organized Mg shoot and when asked about the 2 over stamped on the 1, he proudly replied, "I DID THAT MYSELF in order to make the package appear more realistic and correct"  the price was the same so no harm done. my point is, few people are aware and you cant always believe what you hear. ALL OF THE ABOVE IS CORRECT and easily documented ! I hope it helped. it was certainly more than you asked for,  ignore what you don't need but believe it ALL. cheers mike


I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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Thank you so much for the wealth of information. 

I have a IBM M1 and is mostly a parts gun that I acquired on a trade of all things a lawn mower. lol 

It is a SKY marked gun on the bottom of the barrel at the front sight I think. From what I remember researching 2 years ago on it was a company in TN brought in a large batch from Austria I think that was lend lease guns and mine is one of those. It was still wrapped and in the cosmoiline when I received it. 

The transferable M1/M2 have always interest me. They seem to be the cheapest American WW2 MG one can buy and price is in the ballpark of what I can afford. I currently own a Mac11/nine and enjoy the gun but want a second MG and something with a soul too it. Would prefer something that I can shoot and swap parts on. So with that said the M2/M1 do interest me. 

 

So if one was wanting to have a Shooter Grade M2 would I be better looking for a registered receiver or an registered parts kit?

Which parts of a M2 are most likely to fail critically? I have seen registered trip bars & registered housings. The housings seem to be the way to go but could be wrong.

 

Thoughts? 

 

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Use to be while @ gun shows many M1 carbines contain a large amount of M2 parts. Round bolts, M2 trigger housings, M2 slides. These are the parts you would need on a carbine to go along with the registered parts kit. M1 to M2 parts are pretty easily installed.

I've seen a M2 bolt desinegrate, while in full auto. A new disconector lever might need tuning. The rivet on the disconnector lever can also give way. I have seen the selector levers knurled knob lost from a bad rivet. A M2 operating slide spring is a must as the M1 won't work.

I have a buddy who owns M2 carbines. They are ammo finicky! Cheap low power ammo generall won't work. He has just about every tool & part one might need for a M2 & brings them with him.

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2 hours ago, swampfoxoutdoors said:

So if one was wanting to have a Shooter Grade M2 would I be better looking for a registered receiver or an registered parts kit?

Which parts of a M2 are most likely to fail critically? I have seen registered trip bars & registered housings. The housings seem to be the way to go but could be wrong.

Thoughts?

I have two M2 Carbines - one is a registered housing and one is a registered receiver. Both are reliable and of high quality. 

For a high volume shooter, a registered housing is the way to go. For a guy who goes out a few times a year, a registered receiver may be a better, cheaper option.

If you take care of it, a registered receiver Carbine will last a long time. A registered housing should damn near last forever. 

In Liberty,

Kristopher

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I would say first choice would be the reg housing/parts kit. the disc lever/ selector/ all springs with several "9" springs. one slide at least a couple round bolts and 1 hammer and you should be good to go. the parts are cheep with no paperwork so get plenty. no way would I consider ANY bolt not original USGI. also I never use any bolts that have been refinished. funny things happen to some alloys and some chemicals. and its easy to avoid. I have never seen a CARBINE break a round bolt with USGI ammo, but have seen countless break. its NOT THAT EASY to duplicate the pressure curve when reloading even a LOW pressure/velocity round will do it, because the curve is wrong and too much residual pressure when the gun unlocks is the issue. I shoot countless thousands of reloads, but my carbines only see USGI or top quality commercial (not much) your BLUE SKY carbine is fine. most came back from KOREA and once they learned to go easy stamping the barrel no problem. at first MANY barrels were ruined. a high volume dealer is offering a WINCHESTER HOST with a reg'td group  at $10k and its been there a while so shop with care and you will be good to go. carbines are tough to beat. easy to handle care for and use. kids love them as much as you will ENJOY!  mike


I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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Once again thanks guys for the information. 

3 More questions.

What makes a Round bolt superior to what I am assuming is a square bolt?

What price range would a Reg housing be in? 

30 Carbine Reloads? What are yall rolling? Plated? FMJ? Powder? etc... 

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1 hour ago, swampfoxoutdoors said:

What makes a Round bolt superior to what I am assuming is a square bolt?

The round bolt is heavier and more durable. It will not run as fast and will be less likely to jump out of the receiver during full auto fire.  

What price range would a Reg housing be in?

Depends. I've seen them as high as $11k. Shop around and you should be able to pick one up for less. I got mine in 2016 for just shy of $8k.  

30 Carbine Reloads? What are yall rolling? Plated? FMJ? Powder? etc...

I don't reload. I use Prvi Partizan FMJ that I buy in bulk. It works great and is reasonably priced at about $0.35 per round. 

 

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MONTANA'S response was RIGHT ON TRACK a little more detail is in order. when they first came about, round bolts were called M-2 BOLTS. because of all the scare when GCA 68 became law in 1970 many vendors refused to sell them without providing NFA forms t time of purchase. almost all of the rebuilds for and after KOREA got round bolts even as M-1's. the MAIN reason the flat bolts break is as forged when flat is the profile of the bolt lug is wrong. when rounded it allows more metal where the lug turn is. least that's the scuttlebutt that flew when the field conversions started breaking in EUROPE. however I DID break a flat bolt in a semi only gun also but only one. as I mentioned previously its very difficult and as an individual impossible to know if you have created the proper pressure curve with the load. if wrong when the gun starts to unlock , it can . break the bolt / chip the receiver behind the bolt lug / damage the op-rod. is slight the damage is progressive, and maybe the gun seems sluggish due to case grip to the point it wont open.  if misjudged many increase the load to the point its so heavy, things break. for a while PATS reloading had actual carbine pull down powder and bullets, making reloads simple. all gone now so its best to stick to commercial. Midwest has a reg'td receiver @ $7800. and a WIN-HOST w a kit @ $10k and they have sat while. recent auction house  reg'td receiver military hammering at $6k/$6.7k +prem  no kits offered this year.


I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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Thanks for all of the information guys. 

I am still looking at all my options on a second MG and do like the carbine. 

Still undecided if I should be looking at other iconic starter MGs. Sten, UZI, Berettas etc....

Open to suggestions as well. 

The M1/M2 carbine just has that iconic American WW2 history and feel and is just awesome. Do with the ROF was less. Have watched a few YouTube videos and it seems pretty fast. 

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2 hours ago, swampfoxoutdoors said:

Thanks for all of the information guys. 

I am still looking at all my options on a second MG and do like the carbine. 

Still undecided if I should be looking at other iconic starter MGs. Sten, UZI, Berettas etc....

Open to suggestions as well. 

The M1/M2 carbine just has that iconic American WW2 history and feel and is just awesome. Do with the ROF was less. Have watched a few YouTube videos and it seems pretty fast. 

The M2 Carbine was my second (and third) machine gun. I love both of mine.

A functional machine gun is a great machine gun, and that's something that most people do not have. You will most likely enjoy whatever you end up with. Good luck!

Kristopher

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Finally shot my semi auto M1 carbine at the shoot this past weekend. First time ever shooting a M1 carbine and man was I impressed. 

It felt like a 22 and just really amazed me. The noise of the action the feel and recoil just really made it a joy to shoot. 

I said that to say this. I was previously kinda on the fence with a M2 carbine and just poking around for information now I really want one. Just need to get the funds togeather and find the right deal.

I like the idea of a registered trigger housing. Can thay be used on any M1? War production and new Inland/fulton armory guns? 

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