Inflation: We Haz It

I remember being mocked on these very pages — and it wasn’t that long ago — for paying $275 for my Inland M1 Carbine.  Here’s an ad from J&G Sales:

Had I not lost it in the Great Canoeing Accident On The Brazos, I would now be sorely tempted to sell it and pay off the Ferrari. [/hyperbole]

I know, I know:  some of you Olde Pharttes got yours for $50 (and no doubt some of you likewise sold them for “stupid money” — $350, for a 7x ROI — thinking yourselves clever).

Given that said rifles were made in these quantities:

Inland Mfg. Division of General Motors — 2,362,097
Winchester — 828,059
Underwood Elliott-Fisher — 545,616
Saginaw Steering Gear — 517,212
National Postal Meter — 413,017
Quality Hardware — 359,666
IBM — 346,500
Standard Products — 247,000
Rock-Ola — 228,500
Irwin-Pedersen — ~4,000

…one would think that there would be little or no “scarcity” pressure on their resale prices.

But what with the attitude of various Socialist politicians towards eeeevil guns (Clinton, Obama, Biden, Schumer etc.), I suppose it’s not at all surprising that the humble M1 carbine is now being priced at secondhand Ferrari levels, relatively speaking.

Still makes me sick, it does.


  1. The worthy M1 Carbine is a much more comfortable Vehicle of Democracy than the Ferrari is, was, or ever will be.
    Cheaper in upkeep too.
    Wish they were legal to own here, would be nice to go plinking again (haven’t since my parents moved away from their 2 acre plot out in the woods for health reasons nigh on 25 years ago).

  2. J&G Sales is not known for their cheap prices. Still, point taken. Ammo ain’t cheap either. Best price over at Ammo Seek is 64 cents/per. Ah well, at least you know someone (ahem) who can keep them running.

  3. Gun ignoramus here (I’ve only got one handgun, and no long-arms, which situation I WILL rectify this year), so I’ve got a question. To wit: what’s the advantage of a carbine (if any) over a rifle? I’ve got your post on recommended basic firearms open on another computer (which I can’t check just now), and I don’t recall whether you included a carbine amongst your recommendations.

    So should I get one, or go with an AR-15 (or something comparable)? I don’t do nearly enough target shooting, and I’m definitely not a collector, so my priorities are ease of use, ease of maintenance, durability, availability of ammo, and price. More or less in that order.

    1. Snarky answer: It depends (on what you want to do). Short answer: Rifle is heavier, but longer range. Carbine is lighter weight, but more maneuverable.

      My recommendation would be an AR, if for no other reason than they are so versatile. Get an additional upper assembly and you can switch from rifle to carbine in less than an minute. An AR will also check all of your above boxes.

      1. Or an AK clone. AK isnt nearly as nice though.

        It’ll start a holy war, but ammo for both is still widely available

    2. The AR15 has a little more power and better ballistics at anything over about 150 yards. AR15 ammo will be more available and less expensive under any foreseeable circumstances. The AR15 will be more reliable and repair parts will be more available. The AR15 is better set up for modern accessories like modern optics, lights, etc.

      All that said, if I’m forced to choose which one to save as I escape a burning building I’ll be grabbing the M1 carbine. It feels right in the hand and on the shoulder in a way the AR never will. The carbine is more fun to shoot. For quick handling the carbine shoots like a good .22 rimfire rabbit gun. In WWII it seems like the guys who grew up shooting rabbits and squirrels for the family dinner were the ones who really liked the carbine.

    3. Jab,
      RHT and Fast Richard pretty much nailed it.

      The M1 Carbine is a fine carbine for historical purposes, is great fun to shoot and in a pinch can be used for social work at moderate distances. It was developed to give support troops a little something more than a pistol to use when they were exposed to combat.

      An AR15 would be the route to go. The cartridge is a little cheaper, easier to find and effective. The AR is far easier to customize and obtain replacement parts if needed. Another option is a pistol caliber carbine but remember, the cartridge won’t retain energy at significant distance.


    4. Thanks to all respondents. Looks like I’ll be getting an AR. Now I need to start some research!

      1. You will quickly discover that the possible combinations of AR components are literally endless. It can be a bit daunting. Don’t get too wrapped around the axle trying to get it perfect. Some things you simply won’t know for sure until you run it. Make your best guess and go with it. The good news is there is NOTHING on an AR that can’t be changed by the owner. YouTube is your friend, along with the folks here.

        1. Thanks for the encouragement. I need to learn more about “uppers” as the apparently default .223 ammo seems like it might be a bit underpowered should the SHTF.

  4. a couple M1 Carbines came my way in the past. My wife liked it a lot. Ammunition doesnt come into my local shop at any great quantity. Rarely we get a carton of it and it doesn’t linger on the shelf despite the high prices. If we get any in stock then it is from PPU. Hornady made or makes a great soft point but it was expensive. It’s a very fun and enjoyable carbine to shoot but the cartridge isn’t as useful as others.


  5. I had an uncle who was in training when WWII ended. He trained with the M1 Carbine. When he got back to civilian life he got a M1 Carbine and latter on a revolver in 30 carbine. The M1 was a soft shooting rifle and the revolver was loud but both were fun to shoot.

  6. Ever think about trolling the Brazos River with a big, honking magnet to see if you could recover any of those tools?

    1. Sadly, I don’t remember the exact location of the accident, and the Brazos is a long river.

  7. Have a post-war reworked Underwood, that I am the 3rd owner of:
    Dept. of Army, Republic of Korea, me.
    Was first introduced to the Carbine in my stint in the USAF, when only the AP’s guarding SAC bases got to touch an AR-15. Shot one in Basic, and again 2-years later for a re-qual – aced the re-qual and have the medal to prove it. Those two times at the range were the only times in a four-year hitch I shot anything.
    Shot an Urban Rifle course once weekend, and my new M1a had teething problems, finished the course with the Underwood, and it never missed a beat.
    Carbines are great!

  8. I picked up an IBM long since. It was a rebuild with an Inland barrel, but most of the rest of the parts are still IBM. I love that carbine. It is more fun to shoot than any other long gun I have, and loaded with soft point ammo it is a capable self defense gun. I reload for it and collected components for a long time; its still somewhat expensive to shoot but such a joy that it doesn’t hurt so much to send 50-60 cents per round (35 cents for FMJ reloads) downrange with every pull of the trigger.

  9. I think my father purchased his for $25 from the director of civilian marksmanship. Sadly its whereabouts are unknown. Along with the rest of the historical artifacts he collected from the Great War, World War II and the Boer War (1888 something).

  10. The Surplus Market is out-of-control. Had a Mosin Nagant M91 that I bought in 2011 for $135. They’re now going for over $800. You want to talk production numbers? Try around 37 MILLION of them made so ‘rarity and scarcity’ should NOT be an issue… That’s enough to arm every. single. person. Man, Woman and Child with a Mosin in MULTIPLE Countries!!!!

    Hyper-Stupid Inflation IMO

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