Firearms Review — First look at the new Inland M1 Carbine


Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Today I’m going to present a first look at the new Inland M1 Carbine, or, as it was known in Army-speak — United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1.  Inland is a storied name in the M1 Carbine story.  The Inland division of General Motors were the primary source for the M1 Carbine, making 2,362,097 of the 5,510,000 produced.  Inland were also the sole source for the M1A1 paratrooper model with folding metal stock, producing 140,591 copies.  The remaining versions of the M1 were made by Winchester (which developed the M1 Carbine), Underwood Elliot-Fisher (the typewriter company), the Saginaw Steering division of General Motors, IBM, Quality Hardware, National Postal Meter, and even Rock-Ola (yeah . . . the jukebox maker!).  Irwin-Pedersen made around 3,500 copies, but none were accepted by the War Department because of quality control issues.

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Later full-automatic versions of the M1 Carbine were also made — the M2 Carbine (early 1945) and the M3 with infrared night scope — but all use the same rotating bolt and short-stroke piston design of the original M1 Carbine.

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U.S. Army Ordnance Corps cartouche

So, Inland Manufacturing is back in business and once again making U.S.-specification M1 Carbines?  Well, not so fast.  This Inland is not the GM division of old, but rather a new incarnation founded in 2013.  The original Inland merged with Delphi Automotive Systems back in 1989, and both were spun off from GM as a single independent company a decade later.  Bad news?  Not really.  This Inland’s iteration of the M1 Carbine remains so true to the original that the parts . . . all the parts . . . are fully interchangeable with the original.  And the oiler you see below is Army surplus.  That surplus oiler and a sling ship out to the customer at no charge when Inland Mfg. receive your registration form.  Yes, mine came with oil still in it, and I had to clean it off before installing it into the stock.  Things don’t get much more authentic than that.

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

The version you see here is Inland’s 1945 model with a Type 3 barrel band that includes a bayonet lug mounted onto an 18-inch/45.7-centimeter barrel.  The 1945 also comes with one 15-round magazine (Really?  Just one, Inland?  Isn’t that being just a bit on the cheap side?).  The 1944 model comes with a Type 2 barrel band and one 10-round magazine to make it compliant in those states that believe only body guards protecting politicians should have access to “high-capacity” magazines (see: The Myths Driving the Magazine Capacity Debate — and How They Get You Killed), and that bayonets somehow present a clear and present danger to the public.

Inland 1944 M1 Carbine with 10-round magazine and Type-2 barrel band absent the bayonet lug

Inland 1944 M1 Carbine with 10-round magazine, an 18-inch/45.7-centimeter barrel and Type-2 barrel band absent the bayonet lug

Inland also make a paratrooper M1A1 version;

Inland M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine

Inland M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine with an 18-inch/45.7-centimeter barrel

as well as aJungle Carbine” with a 16.25-inch/41.3-centimeter barrel and flash hider;

Inland M1 Jungle Carbine with a 16-inch/40.6-centimeter barrel and a flash hider

Inland M1 Jungle Carbine with flash suppressor

a pistol version calledThe Advisor” (patterned after a model used by U.S. advisors in Vietnam);

Vietnam-era M1 Advisor pistol with 12-inch/30.5-centimeter barrel and flash hider

Vietnam-era Inland M1 Advisor pistol with a 12-inch/30.5-centimeter barrel and flash suppressor

and even a modernizedScout” version that comes with black polymer-and-textured wood stock, flash suppressor on a threaded barrel, and an upper handguard made of anodized aluminum and featuring a Picatinny rail for mounting a scope or other accessories.

Modernized Inland M1 Scout Carbine

Modernized Inland M1 Scout Carbine with 16.25-inch/41.3-centimeter barrel, anodized aluminum Picatinny rail, and flash suppressor

Attention to detail is the name of the game with Inland, clear down to a duplication of the stain used on the original Inland carbines.  On Friday I’ll be doing a side-by-side comparison with an inferior copy from the now defunct Universal Firearms.  Universal started out using surplus USGI parts, but as those items dried up they started making non-specification versions and cut some serious corners.

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Inland M1 Carbine with oiler and sling (both sent free after registration)

Let’s take a look at the Inland disassembled.  As with the original M1 Carbine, disassembly begins by loosening the screw below the barrel band, sliding the barrel band/bayonet lug forward, and then emoving the upper handguard.  The barrel band with bayonet lug is permanently affixed to the barrel.  The whole barrel assembly, and receiver and trigger groups lift out of the stock as a unit.

Taking apart the M1 Carbine

Taking apart the M1 Carbine

Next comes the removal of the recoil spring, which is easily accomplished by slightly compressing the spring and pulling it away from the housing containing the short-stroke piston.

Recoil spring removed from the piston housing

Recoil spring removed from the piston housing

After that you punch out the pin holding in place the trigger group.

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Trigger group assembly and retaining pin

After the trigger group is removed from the receiver the slide can now be dismounted.

Slide removed from receiver, leaving the bolt in place

Slide removed from receiver, leaving the bolt in place

Inland disassembled

Inland disassembled

Good luck getting it back together.  Just kidding.  The most difficult reassembly task for me was getting the slide mounted back into the receiver while mating it to the rotating bolt.  But some detailed online tutorials eventually solved that predicament.  After that putting everything back into place was a snap.

Now would be a good time to explain how this marvelous piece of engineering works, so let’s take a look once again at the actual receive group removed from the carbine (see below).  As the .30-caliber carbine bullet travels down the barrel it passes a small hole (port) above the piston housing.  Pressurized gas flows down this port and into a small piston that then moves forcefully back a short distance, impacting the slide with sufficient force to overcome the tension of the recoil spring.  This cycles the slide back.

Inland receiver, slide, piston housing, and recoil spring

Inland receiver, slide, piston housing, and recoil spring

Below is an image of a Universal M1 Carbine receiver that I’m using here to show what you cannot see on the Inland.  The Universal has a slotted slide that engages the bolt lug of the rotating bolt, which is also how the Inland operates hidden from view behind a solid slide.  Until the slide goes back, the bolt of the weapon is securely locked in place because of it’s orientation.  As the slide travels rearward it rotates the bolt by engaging the bolt lug.  This rotation unlocks the bolt, allowing it to travel back to extract the spent cartridge, which is then ejected from the weapon.  The recoil spring then takes over, moving the slide forward taking the bolt with it.  The bolt strips the next round from the top of the magazine, chambers the round, and then rotates back into the locked position for the next firing.

Rotating bolt, bolt lug, and slotted slide from a Universal M1 Carbine

Rotating bolt, bolt lug, and slotted slide from a Universal M1 Carbine

I hope I made that all clear as mud.

Now for the specifics on the Inland 1945 M1 .30 Carbine.  MSRP for the 1945 version is $1,079, but if you shop around you can snag one for under a grand.  Barrel length is 18 inches/46.7 centimeters.  The rifle is incredibly compact and extremely light weight, coming in at just under 36 inches/91.5 centimeters in length and weighing a feather-light 5 pounds 3 ounces/2.35 kilograms.  This weapon was, after all, designed to replace the M1911 pistol for officers, tank crews, and rear echelon troops, giving them a compact yet powerful alternative to a handgun.

For those wondering about the ballistics, the .30 carbine bullet weighs 110 grains/7.13 grams, travels at just under 2,000 feet/610 meters per second, and generates 964 foot-pounds/1,307 joules at the muzzle.  Energy-wise that puts the .30 carbine round on par with a .357 Magnum out of the same length barrel, and even exceeds the energy from a .44 Magnum round coming out of the six-inch/15.24-centimeter barrel of a typical .44 Magnum handgun (although out of an 18-inch barrel the .44 Magnum easily wins over both).

See you Friday for a comparison between the Inland and a 3rd generation Universal Firearms M1 Carbine.

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