I’ve always loved the little WWII-era M1 Carbine, because it’s so much fun to shoot, it doesn’t weigh a ton, and the ammo isn’t fearfully expensive (relatively speaking, in today’s market).
In my various travels about Teh Intarwebz, I came across a YouTube video which looked at the ” Most Overpriced Mil-Surp Rifles On The Market”, in which the host opined that the M1 Carbine is the second-most over-priced. (I think that ALL guns today are overpriced, thank you again, Urkel Obama and Hillary Bitch Clinton, but I’ve ranted about that before.)
I’m not going to argue much with the man’s take on the M1 being overpriced; it is, and horribly so. (A refurbished Korean Inland M1 Carbine for over $1,200? Are you shitting me?)
However, welcome to the gun nut’s Rock (fun to shoot etc.) and Hard Place (damn spendy). It’s a problem as old as time, and one we gun nuts have always had to deal with — only now, it’s worse than ever.
Let’s just assume, however, that the Rock has won you over, and you just have to have this lovely little gun in your safe. How can you get some kind, any kind of a cost saving out of this? Here’s the rundown, as I see it:
- Rifle: $1,200 (which seems to be about the cost of a decent mil-surp M1 Carbine these days; less, and buyer beware; more, and you’re looking at IBM and Rock-Ola rifles, most probably)
- Three spare 15-round mags @ $11 each: $33
- Bulk .30 Carbine ammo (250-round bulk pack): $85
- Total cost: $1,318 (ignore shipping and FFL transfer costs, because they’ll be a constant no matter what you buy)
Here’s a thought. What you’re paying for with one of those WWII / Korean War M1 Carbines is history — the fact that some GI might once have used this rifle to whack Nazis and/or Commies (always a Good Thing, IMO). But if you can forego that nostalgia (and it’s hard, believe me), you can get a newly-manufactured M1 Carbine from Thompson/Auto-Ordnance (Kahr) for about $765… which means if you forego the history and end up spending the same $1,318 for the whole package, you’d essentially be getting the same shooting fun — only now with three free mags and 1,250 rounds of ammo.
Or, if you can’t shake all aspects of nostalgia and you want a carbine which can take the good old M3 bayonet, you can get a new Inland M1 Carbine (yes, they’re making them again) for about $980, which would mean your “package” cost of $1,318 would get you three spare mags and 750 rounds of ammo.
Or you could just pocket the savings, either way.
As with all my opinions on matters such as these, please don’t pepper me with “I can get this cheaper at X” or my favorite: “OMG I paid $250 for my Carbine” comments — yes, so did I… back in 2004. Unfortunately, we’re living in a different world now, where panic buying (did I forget to thank Barack fucking Obama again?) has caused prices of all gun-related stuff to skyrocket. On the one hand, I like the fact that more guns are in private hands today than there were in 2007, but on the other, those additions to armed citizenry have come at a cost to us Old Gun Nuts in the form of higher gun prices. Intellectually, I’m cool with the outcome, but the dollar-cost reality makes my nuts ache.
Also, don’t think you’ll be able to snap up an M1 Carbine for $600 at a gun show. One, there are no more decent deals to be had at gun shows anymore which leads to two, your $600 “cheap” Carbine will most likely require five hundred dollars’ worth of parts and quality gunsmithing to make it work properly.
So, if you have a spare grand and a half (shipping and FFL transfer costs, ugh), here’s one way to spend it.
One last thought: the regular .30 Carbine round with its little 110gr. bullet has always been knocked as being underpowered. Well, Buffalo Bore now makes these puppies with a 125gr. bullet, and with BB’s amped-up power, the muzzle energy of the .30 cartridge has been increased by over a third — more than twice as much, in other words, as a .357 Magnum firing the same bullet from a 6″ revolver barrel — which turns the .30 Carbine into a bona fide stopper. (Don’t ask about the price of Buffalo Bore ammo; but if you want the best, ya gotta dig deep, as any fule kno.)