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Hello friends,

Recently I purchased an Universal carbine M1 .30 manufactured by Carbine Inc in New Jersey. It has serial Number AA 32xxx and only one recoil spring. Does anyone know when was it manufactured. I was in Vietnam war and used carbine M2 so I love this piece of history.

Thanks,
Van
 

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The Universal carbines are commercially made and never used by the US military. I doubt if any data base of serial numbers an manufacture dates exists.
 

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and it is supposed to have only one recoil spring.
If I understand the Universal situation, there are two distinct types of these. The older type was built on cast receivers with many (all?) USGI parts, like the Nat Ord/Fed Ord guns. Later, they did a gun that was basically an M1 lookalike that would accept few USGI parts. These can be instantly recognized by the stamped op-rods ("slides") with bolt lug cutout. I think these had two recoil springs.

The older guns are okay, but I wouldn't give you more than $100 for a "Type 2," as they are notorious for breaking parts, particularly that stamped op-rod, and replacement parts are scarce. When you can't fix it anymore, it's a wall ornament.

Sounds like the OP has one of the earlier, more desirable types.
 

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Snake45,

ImVho, "QUALITY Universal carbine" is an oxymoron like "military intelligence", "jumbo shrimp" and "government worker".

Back in my FFL dealer days/DAZE of long ago, I was offered Universal carbines by a large wholesaler & I ended up sending them all back, as I wouldn't sell anything that I couldn't "stand behind".

As popular as the carbine currently is, I've wondered why nobody in the USA or off-shore makes a QUALITY "GI copy" anymore.

just my opinion, sw
 

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If the Auto Ordnance carbines are going for 860.00 what are the real ones going for these days. I might be rich.
 

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I just saw an original (as far as I could see) Winchester sell for $750. I see lots of them for sale at shows but the only ones with prices that seem high are the rare models or original "jump" guns.

I guess the reason I didn't know about two springs is because the only one I ever looked at had only one. Their reputation is richly deserved.
 

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Welcome, Van.
Who were you with in Vietnam?
I was US Army, 5th Infantry Division.
 

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Geoff (and anyone else who may be interested): I have found a little-advertised source of Winchester .30 carbine ammo for 42 cents/round. I bought some an it's the real deal. If you're interested, PM me and I'll hook you up.
 

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Like Snake said, very early Universals werent bad. They used a cast commercial receiver with nearly all GI parts. Those tend to work and are okay. Later ones used a brazed on gas port on the barrels. Cast aluminum trigger housing, stamped slide with two recoil spring, and a receiver that would no longer accept many GI parts. They were sporting rifles that looked like an M1 Carbine, but were a LONG way away from being a GI carbine.

M1 Carbines as designed require a VERY high level of manufacturing precision and top notch materials. That's why a GI carbine is so utterly reliable; like an AK. Trying to make an inexpensive knock off has been elusive. I dont know how good the AO's are, but if they match a GI Carbine for quality, I'd be shocked beyond measure.

I just dont see how anyone could come close to GI quality for anything under a couple grand or more.
 

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If I understand the Universal situation, there are two distinct types of these. The older type was built on cast receivers with many (all?) USGI parts, like the Nat Ord/Fed Ord guns. Later, they did a gun that was basically an M1 lookalike that would accept few USGI parts. These can be instantly recognized by the stamped op-rods ("slides") with bolt lug cutout. I think these had two recoil springs.

The older guns are okay, but I wouldn't give you more than $100 for a "Type 2," as they are notorious for breaking parts, particularly that stamped op-rod, and replacement parts are scarce. When you can't fix it anymore, it's a wall ornament.

Sounds like the OP has one of the earlier, more desirable types.
Like Snake said, very early Universals werent bad. They used a cast commercial receiver with nearly all GI parts. Those tend to work and are okay. Later ones used a brazed on gas port on the barrels. Cast aluminum trigger housing, stamped slide with two recoil spring, and a receiver that would no longer accept many GI parts. They were sporting rifles that looked like an M1 Carbine, but were a LONG way away from being a GI carbine.

M1 Carbines as designed require a VERY high level of manufacturing precision and top notch materials. That's why a GI carbine is so utterly reliable; like an AK. Trying to make an inexpensive knock off has been elusive. I dont know how good the AO's are, but if they match a GI Carbine for quality, I'd be shocked beyond measure.

I just dont see how anyone could come close to GI quality for anything under a couple grand or more.
A quality GI Carbine Copy?

Auto-Ordnance AOM130 - Style # AOM130, Tommy Gun Shop / Firearms

I was told by the son of a LGS owner several years ago they sent the first two received back...and they are not known for extreme inspection of the goods.

Geoff
Who notes .30 US Carbine ball ammo is classed with "unobtainium" and "stable trans-uranics" at the moment.
Post Four of Four (Here and Elsewhere): One more thing to say before I disappear for another six months.

Don't know that I would hammer the recent manufacture Auto-Ordnance guns.

I have a good friend who now works for the Kahr organization and he tells me they shoot fine. The company sells the daylights out of them. And a good number are shipped for sale in Europe, where the end users don't tolerate things that are poorly made or malfunction and where the sellers (especially at the import/distribution level) won't handle anything that is unreliable or in need of constant repair for such things only create extra work for them (in many cases, more so than here) and diminish their overall profitability.

Those guns are a relatively recent addition to the A-O side of the house but I knew a number of people who were at Kahr when they purchased the company itself. To say that the manufacturing of its Thompson-related products at that time was nightmarish, would be considered by some to be an understatement for it reflected the then common practice of failing to change with the times. To their credit, Kahr stepped back and then "stepped up" by redoing a lot of what was going on in order to make consistent and reliable firearms.

Kahr has also been known to willingly address issues with their own-named products. So I would have to think that any issues the Carbines might have had (if they had any, for any company can make a bad batch of "something" for a wide variety of reasons) have been dealt with by now.

As to "commercial" carbines in general, I agree with the remarks offered up here and to some degree on the linked site (and the even more detailed pages it links to) that the 1st Version of the Universals weren't too bad. However, people in the part of the country where I came from in those days (the 60's thru the 80's) tended to prefer the Plainfield (a product I believe that ultimately fell under the Iver Johnson banner) over the Universal when it came to non-GI guns. Although it should be noted that everybody I knew really preferred and generally owned the Military version instead.

In the late 1960's, surplus ammo was so cheap that it seemed comparable to .22rimfire. Looking back, it probably wasn't but it was close. Cheap and plentiful and NOT corrosive. What more could you ask for? It was not only seen as a "fun gun" in those days (and in a time when a term like that could be used without causing a stir) but during the riots that sadly occurred during the same period, it became evident that even full-stocked Carbines could be easily (and quickly) taken in and out of a squad car, were fast handling indoors and were capable of successfully performing the task for which they were originally designed within typical urban environment distances outdoors.

Lastly, before I gave it away, I always had a "paperweight" on my desk during my engineering days that I had picked out of a representative-sample-giveaway-bin at a trade show that was actually a sandblasted-but-unfinished commercial carbine "slide" made by the people who were fabricating the part for the gunmaker itself. I was designing shop machinery and OEM vehicle drivetrain components at the time, and it always served as a reminder that it would have been pretty neat to be in the firearms industry instead.

Funny how things work out, isn't it Charlie?
 

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I spoke to Mr. Moon the Younger at the SHOT show in 2004 or 2005, shortly after the AO's came out. They rifles looked pretty darned good, with a few niggles here and there. Mr. Moon told me some of the pains they went to in order to make the rifle "right", some of which were evident and some things were evident that they could have went further (example, the contrasting silverish color of their extractors; poor attention to detail). I have not shot any of the AO's, but I've handled a few. On visual exam they appear to be the best made commercial carbine yet. That is 100% commercial. The early Plainfields and Universals with the cast receivers and all GI parts were pretty darned good. The biggest problem that all commercial makers have had is in proper heat treating of the receiver. The receiver is mostly low carbon steel and anything that is hardened is spot hardened so as not to affect the ductility of the rest of the receiver. Everyone in the commercial realm has done complete hardening of the receivers, which has been problematic in the past. But with modern metallurgy maybe they have that worked out now.

I didn't get the opportunity to disassemble the AO; I wish I could. But really, the acid test is to take them out and shoot the hell out of them. If it's made right, it will be a fantastic defensive carbine, or just fun gun. The design of the M1 Carbine is VERY SOUND, so if the manufacturing is up to par, it will be good.

I strongly doubt AO can match the quality of the GI carbines, but what's new about that? Pretty much no-one truely matches GI quality. But then again, it's not always necessary to match GI quality; best examples would be AR's.

One thing that is encouraging....I haven't seen a bunch of nightmare stories on the internet. So if they are selling well, then it would appear they are working well or else people would be raising hell.

Like I said, my only complaint on visual inspection were small inattention to details that really shouldn't affect anything functionally.

But now think about this...Let's say I'm going to spend over $800 of my hard earned dollars. Would I like a very nice looking brand new AO which may or may not be good. Or would I take an aesthetically displeasing GI carbine that I know will be right in every way? Since I'm a gunsmith; I think you know the answer. But for someone who doesn't really know guns, and doesn't really care for old, beat up looking guns; the AO is the obvious choice.

So since I'm just a Carbine lover, I hope the AO is good and they make a fortune on them.
 
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