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 A Universal Box of Chocolates
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americanboy
Advanced Member


USA
204 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2017 :  5:40:59 PM  Show Profile Send americanboy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I acquired a 17xxx Universal. I decided to crack the nut open to see what's inside. Forrest Gump said his daddy told him that life is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're going to get until you open it.

The early Universals had some quantity of USGI parts, or compatible parts. You can never be sure until you look and see.

Bolt: Round Underwood with Underwood extractor and Underwood T1 firing pin.
Slide: Type VI M2 marked D-7161843-7 HSA.
Barrel Band: T3 3-weld Inland marked AI on band.
Rear Sight: Authentic shielded H T2.
Gas Piston: Inland subcontract stamped WI.
Operating Spring: 10-1/4" appears to be USGI.

I have not pulled the TH completely apart yet, but I do detect a cast T3 hammer. I have also identified the sear as a Springfield Armory T3 M2.

The remaining components appear to be cast, but ALL are USGI replicas. The stock and hand guard are walnut and rather attractive I might add. The TH is a cast unit, but built better than an Iver Johnson I have. The component parts (safety and mag-release) fit as tightly as a USGI and operate just as smoothly.

I just thought others may be curious and all the components in/on this example will interchange with USGI components. Reasonably priced, shoots well and I'd consider not passing one up at or below this serial number range if you just want a shooter for the right price.



Edited by - americanboy on 05/11/2017 06:43:59 AM

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jski
Greenhorn Member



28 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2017 :  01:10:33 AM  Show Profile Send jski a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ruger casts many of the parts for its guns. NWWT (nothing wrong with that).

Edited by - jski on 05/11/2017 01:14:12 AM
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americanboy
Advanced Member



USA
204 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2017 :  05:26:25 AM  Show Profile Send americanboy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just about all manufacturers have gone the MIM route on many components. I have all the USGI guts to replace all the cast guts in this gun if need be, but I'll just shoot it like it is until something breaks and it may never break. I have also noticed a change in the method used to attach the gas-block. Most commercial guns have a brazed-on block. Universal adopted a welded attachment of the gas-block in the later generations and obviously started that early on in production of the generation 1. This barrel has a USGI type block welded in place as opposed to brazing and utilizes a USGI gas-piston and nut.

Edited by - americanboy on 05/11/2017 06:47:20 AM
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Tuna
Moderator



3079 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2017 :  10:00:10 AM  Show Profile Send Tuna a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A Universal in the 17,000 range would have a USGI trigger housing on it and not a cast one. SA did make cast parts post war for replacements. I am surprised the barrel is not a USGI barrel. Universal used all USGI parts except for the receiver in their first 25,000 carbines or it has been reported as such.
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americanboy
Advanced Member



USA
204 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2017 :  10:39:03 AM  Show Profile Send americanboy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think that's the case Tuna. I think some of the early guns below 18-19K do have a few Universal parts and it gets worse as the numbers increase. I've read that box trigger housings have been reported below 25000 and I've seen pictures of several in the lower generation 1 numbers wearing the Universal set-screw front sight and aluminum TH's. I certainly would have hoped this gun would have had a GI housing, but it doesn't and I knew it didn't when I purchased it. The red and green dots on the housing are a dead giveaway. Could someone have replaced it...sure I suppose. But, I think that if anyone purposely cannibalized this gun....they missed some pretty good GI parts they left on/in it. I think that if anyone thinks that any serial number below 25K is all GI....that could be in error. All GI compatible...yes. I think it pays to look closely if you purchase any Universal, generation 1 or not. If I really wanted to...you know I can get a GI TH in the $50 range and I have a spare complete Saganaw housing already loaded in my parts stash. I'm certainly not beating a drum for Universal, but the reproduction trigger housing in the early guns is fairly robust and I'd not let that cause me to not purchase one. I think it's going to shoot-on for a while.
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americanboy
Advanced Member



USA
204 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2017 :  2:54:13 PM  Show Profile Send americanboy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When you get so old that you can't remember what you read....you have to go back and read again!

I went back and researched this again and apparently, here is how it went based on my sources. In the very beginning, Universal used USGI parts just like other commercial manufacturers. The first "few" carbines were just about completely USGI. This would possibly be the fist 8,000-or-so. The supply of USGI trigger housings was exhausted and Universal produced a GI replica. Time passes and Universal designed and produced the rectangular (box) trigger housing. These have reportedly showed-up as early as 1875x and were in full use by around 44xxx. Many of the generation 1's have the box trigger housing. I have the first re-design housing built to (or close enough) USGI specifications. It is my understanding that any generation 1 will accept the USGI style housing and those with box style housings will leave a gap in the stock that matches the box style footprint.

Who's on first?
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Tuna
Moderator



3079 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2017 :  7:36:02 PM  Show Profile Send Tuna a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As I said before it all depends on who's books you reading and quoting from. I do know the early Universal I had was all USGI parts except for the receiver and that was after 12,000 serial number range. Had a Korean war vintage Underwood round bolt and an Inland trigger housing. The late last gasp one I had gotten in a trade and never fired and quickly got rid of was all Universal parts.
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jski
Greenhorn Member



28 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2017 :  12:20:33 AM  Show Profile Send jski a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Guys, by far the best website on the history of the Universal M1 Carbine is: You must be logged in to see this link..

Universal Firearms
Lowest & Highest Serial Numbers Observed thus Far

Hialeah, Florida
Lowest: 2054
Highest: 480985

Jacksonville, Arkansas
Lowest: 482143
Highest: 488363

Mine is 47XXXX. So she's a late model all Universal M1 Carbine. And like I've said, she's a good one.

Edited by - jski on 05/12/2017 09:40:22 AM
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americanboy
Advanced Member



USA
204 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2017 :  06:49:17 AM  Show Profile Send americanboy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Most members here probably have that site bookmarked....I do. A conflict or error will pop-up on occasion, but it's a work in progress and always will be as we turn-up anomalies. By-far...the most informative source for anything M1 carbine.
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Tuna
Moderator



3079 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2017 :  10:09:53 AM  Show Profile Send Tuna a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jim Mock has put many many hours into his work and is widely respected in the carbine collectors field. His site is most likely the best for carbines in general. There are a very few other places as good or better.
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americanboy
Advanced Member



USA
204 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2017 :  07:24:39 AM  Show Profile Send americanboy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Most of us out here do have that genuine USGI carbine. Most of us purchase them as shooters, but love them so much that some of us would rather not shoot them a great deal. I have a bad habit of collecting guns that may not be all that special except to anyone but me and I convert them to safe-queens. So, I launch myself on the idea of getting that carbine that I may not cherish so much that I won't shoot it, which brought me to a commercial carbine. I first discounted anything new in production. They are too expensive and most are in some way problematic. I also discounted anything with a cast receiver. I've seen examples of many of those that the manufacturer just never got right. This selection criteria will usually drag you back to a generation one Universal. These things can-and-do sell north of $600-$700. I've seen one sell recently for $780. Shipping and transfer fees added to that bring the price into the $800-plus range. I decided that when I found an early example that can be had for under $500, I would take a shot. Much research went into this purchase and most of it was done right here on this and like forums. Most of these guns have been sitting in closets or otherwise been very little fired.

I laid in the grass and waited for a serial number below 20XXX. I wound up with 178XX. Based on what I had read and learned, a 17xxx gun should be heavily populated with surplus USGI parts. I have reached a determination that this is not always the case. As they say...you can never say never and always does not mean always with any USGI carbine. This holds true for the commercial copies as well. My example was heavily USGI parts populated in the area of the bolt group and stock hardware. The trigger group was 100% Universal commercial aluminum of USGI spec. construction. I simply popped-out the housing and installed a spare Standard Hardware trigger group I had on the shelf. The wood on these carbines can be attractive and I got a good looking stock-set.

When/if one does look to purchase one of these, you need to have it in your hands for close examination, or be able to ask all the necessary questions to ascertain what it is. You cannot depend on the serial number. I am happy with my purchase. I have a shooter with a new barrel and a forged steel receiver built to USGI specs. completely loaded with USGI internals with less than $600 invested.

Prices on certain spare parts have drastically risen, even over the past few months since I started this quest. I purchased a fully loaded trigger group last year for right at $100 and a trigger housing for around $65. Today, those items go for closer to $250 and $100 respectfully.....and more.

Edited by - americanboy on 06/03/2017 07:26:58 AM
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jski
Greenhorn Member



28 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2017 :  01:22:17 AM  Show Profile Send jski a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Personally, I'm more interested in the late model Universals. The ones that deviate from the original Winchester/GI design. Because they represent a significant rethink of the original. The only significant rethink of the original.

Something new is always more interesting than a clone.
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