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M1 Carbine, military's maintenance routine?

Wolf1811Wolf1811 Member Posts: 7 ✭✭
edited March 2015 in Ask the Experts
I remember reading on a web page somewhere that the US Military had a definite scheduled routine for replacing parts on the M1 Carbines. Unfortunately, the web page didn't elaborate on what those components were and how often the replacement was advised. I don't remember what the web page was. Would any of you readers be able to specify which of those parts were supposed to be replaced and at what intervals? Also, in the case of M2s, where there any parts which were especially prone to failure? I remember reading that when the carbines became publicly available, that people simply never continued to follow the maintenance routine, and so the overall conditions of the guns was likely to vary quite a bit, like parts or adjustments being out of spec. Thanks.


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    11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,588 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Not really a maintenance practice per se- but military weapons are subject to a "Tech Inspection" based on either time in use, or number of rounds fired (for LARGE weapons)

    The tech inspection includes checking various moving parts for wear using standard gauges for that part. My experience was with the M14 rifle, and for THAT it included checks of the bolt dimensions, bolt roller, headspace, throat erosion, muzzle erosion, springs. Parts that did not pass the go/no go would be replaced. A rifle that failed headspace checks would be pulled from service, and returned to the depot for rework.

    Unless you are shooting a footlocker full of .30 Carbine a week, you will likely not reach the stage of needing a tech inspection.

    IIRC, there was one point on the Carbine that was not user serviced, but might be serviced at higher levels was the gas piston. It was not intended to be removed by the user, and requires some tooling to replace correctly (which is why all carbine ammo was non-corrosive). IMHO, if it is working, leave that alone.
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    gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    I have the "tooling" for inspection, removal & replacement of the M1 carbine gas piston; it's a little wrench with a screwdriver on the other end.
    Not hard to use, but kinda hard to find.
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    v35v35 Member Posts: 12,710 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I ran 7th Div Ordnance small arms shop in KOREA 1953-4.
    Slide springs did soften and needed replacing, maybe also the mag springs-I forget.
    Stocks were changed to potbelly style as earlier stocks were subject to cracking in forend area.
    M2 selector switch spring may also soften.
    All U.S. carbines not originally M-2 or previously converted to M-2 were converted to M-2.
    ROK Army carbines stayed M-1.
    Pistons were checked for freedom and disassembled ONLY if not, The retaining nut is staked in. That requires the 3 prong spanner wrench. If someone used steel wool in the bore the port needed to be cleared.
    Assembly of the bolts is tricky without the tool and is generally unnecessary.The tiny extractor spring and follower fly and disappear.
    The carbine was kept dry because freezing and ice disabled it otherwise it was a nice weapon.
    As with Thompson magazines, Carbine feed lips needed to be kept straight or malfunctions occurred. We kept rubber magazine caps
    on and mags in our field jacket pockets unless we carried web belts, then you could carry a pouch.
    US Forces only used the 30 rd mags.
    Everyone carried a Chapstick . The cap was a perfect fit on the barrel end keeping weather and dust out. You could safely shoot through it. They were metal then and plastic now.
    The stupid looking strap-on muzzle brake worked well on full auto.
    Nice padded carbine cases existed but I never saw one in the Division probably since all arms were kept at the ready.
    It was my TO&E weapon and a favorite but alternatively carried the 1911.
    Of course that was 60 years ago so condition of these guns may reflect wear that didnt exist then.
    Although I did have headspace gages nothing was gaged on the Carbine then.
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    machine gun moranmachine gun moran Member Posts: 5,198
    edited November -1
    I don't think it was necessary for the armorer to replace the selector spring on my M2, I lost 6 of them in the grass every time I was reassembling it after cleaning [:D][:D][:D].
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    nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,881 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It shouldn't be difficult to find a copy of TM9-1276, CAL. 30 CARBINES M1, M1A1, M2, AND M3. It details the inspections that anyone can do, but it's really written for ordnance folks, because of all the specialized tools required to fix problems.

    I am unaware of maintenance problems related to the public availability of carbines. I suspect that most problems were with those carbines previously used by the Korean Army, as they were subject to hard use; when USGI parts ran out, Korean armorers improvised as best they could.

    USGI mag springs rarely fail. Best performance is with USGI 15 rd mags. Most 30 rd mags sold today are either poor commercial copies, or fakes.

    I recommend NOT using the rubber caps when storing mags; the caps trap moisture & the mags will rust.

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    Laredo LeftyLaredo Lefty Member Posts: 13,451 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a copy of the TM9-1276 manual. I bought it when I started collecting carbines. I use it once in a while but most of the work described in it requires specialized tools as Neal mentioned. I have a 3 prong spanner wrench for the piston nut, a needed tool for complete takedowns.

    I don't replace parts unless a gun begins to malfunction. It's usually easy to diagnose what parts are worn out based on what it's not doing right.
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    v35v35 Member Posts: 12,710 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    30 rd Carbine mags worked perfectly unless dropped on feed lips.
    I souped up a carbine to fire at least 1000rpm- one heard only a single noise, not distinct shots.Magazine springs were stretched to keep up but never failed to feed. What did fail was the locking lug containing the extractor, being hollowed out for extractor and spring, it is the weak point of an overstressed Carbine.
    There weren't rust issues with mags. Boots were used exclusively to keep mag interiors clean. Bluing or antirust agents must have been better then and also guns were inspected daily. Living in the field and being subject to rainy seasons, there was certainly plenty of inescapable wet there.
    In one company, we found all M-2 Carbines misassembled.
    That company armorer didn't know the gun. As a consequence we set up theory of operation and repair classes in Yong dong Po for all 7th Div armorers, covering all small arms up to the 4.2 rifled mortar & 105mm recoilless rifle.
    My MOS incidently was Light AAA fire Control not small arms.
    My shop was 7th Division Ordnance. Company armorers were allowed up to a low level of parts replacement. Repairs exceeding their authority went to Div. Ordnance. I can't speak for Marines or AF or the ROKs. ROKS only had Carbines, not Garands at that time.
    My predecessor worked at APG for Davis (late NRA Author) and his predecessor, I bumped into running a gunshop in NJ. Small world.
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    Wolf1811Wolf1811 Member Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thankyou to all who wrote back. This is interesting reading material for me.
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