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Review: Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine

by James Tarr   |  December 29th, 2011 28
Auto-Ordnance M1 carbine firing

Auto-Ordnance’s M1 Carbine is all-new—no surplus parts—and is just as much fun to shoot as it always was.

There are a number of companies out there offering refurbished WWII-era firearms, but Auto-Ordnance is currently the only manufacturer of new M1 Carbines. Okay, confession time. Reagan was in office the first time I ever shot an M1 Garand, but it wasn’t until August 2011 that I actually fired an M1 Carbine. I have no good explanation for this other than perhaps always being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I realize now what I was missing. I suspect I’m not the only one.


In fact, I’d bet there are a whole generation of shooters out there who know next to nothing about the M1 Carbine. As I was picking up my test rifle at my local gun store a boy who looked about 12, who was there for a hunter safety class, said “What’s that?” I’m sure he’s not alone in his ignorance of a piece of American firearms history, and considering how light, handy and soft-recoiling the carbine is, that’s a shame.


Auto-Ordnance M1 carbine fore-end

The Auto-Ordnance M1 carbine is designed to emulate D-Day era carbines, and it doesn’t have a bayonet lug.

The M1 Carbine was not designed to be a front-line combat weapon but rather was meant for support troops, something a little more powerful and easier to hit with than the .45 ACP 1911 pistol. U.S. soldiers carried the carbine into battle all over the world, and more than 6.2 million carbines were produced during World War II alone, more than any other U.S. small arm.


During World War II close to a dozen manufacturers produced carbines, and the design evolved in small ways over time. The Auto-Ordnance carbine, made with all new parts (no surplus), is designed to replicate D-Day-era carbines and a Saginaw-made carbine was used as a model for this version, and in fact the paperwork provided with my rifle uses the phrase “Saginaw Packing.” It also features a one-year warranty.


The Auto-Ordnance carbine has a flat-top bolt, no bayonet lug on the barrel and a push-button magazine release (marked with an M) just forward of the cross-bolt safety on the front of the trigger guard. The rear sight is a non-adjustable flip version, with one aperture for 100 yard usage and a taller one for 300 yards.


With its standard 18-inch barrel the carbine balances just forward of the magazine. There is a metal buttplate on the stock. The bolt handle, which is actually part of the operating slide which controls the bolt, is the perfect size for a finger and reciprocates when firing. At the front of the receiver is stamped, “US CARBINE CAL 30 ML”. At the rear of the receiver is “AUTO-ORDNANCE WORCHESTER, MA”.


Auto-Ordnance M1 carbine receiver

The stock on the author’s sample was perfectly fitted to the receiver, with no gaps, scratches or dings.

The stock on my sample was perfectly fitted to the receiver, with no gaps, scratches or dings, but it had rather boring grain and color—true GI grade. However, the Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine in the rack at my local gun shop had a much prettier stock, as have most of them I’ve seen. A screwdriver is all you need to replace the stock on a carbine.


The carbine’s ease of use is a big reason for its huge popularity. I can’t say enough just how light and handy the carbine is. It comes to the shoulder quickly, it points naturally, is even lighter than it looks, and it recoils about the same as a .223 of equal weight, only with less muzzle blast.

  • RW49

    Got one about a year ago. My WWII model was getting old, a little tired and balky about ejecting. It needs a little work. But the new model is right on fun. And, as the writer said, you do have to break it in. Some people moan about how it doesn't work out of the box and jams on occassion. Keep plugging away, it will loosen up work just fine after a few hundred rounds.

    • Dirtdobber

      OOOOOOOooooooooooo RAWWWWWWWWWWWwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww !.
      M-1 Carbines , Forever !. … :O )

  • Michael

    As the saying used to go I cut my teeth on one growing up. My dad somehow had two of them shipped home at the end of WWII, one for him and one for his dad. I haven't seen either one of them in about thirty years. Hope they found good homes. As soon as my gun dealer can get me one I will own one as my father, and his father did. My dad hunted with his up until the mid 60's when he got himself a new fangled 30-06.

  • James Richardson


    if the records are checked you will find the little carbine w as classified as a pistol.


    • Michael Edwards

      How do u do sir
      I believe your statement is right. the government was looking for something with a little knock down power the the previous side arms could offer. They are short with very little kick and they are long enough to make them more accurate at close range.

  • Michael Edwards

    Well I got my carbine and it is just as much fun to shoot now as when I was a kid. Mine cames with no blueing on the barrel or receiver, no finish to the stock and I had to adjust and sand where the forarm and top pieces fit together. It is now as fine a looking weapon as any except for no blueing. I oil soaked the woodworks and finally sanded enough to make the wood parts to meet better considerably. I love my m1 30 caliber. It will be and is a beautiful addition to my collection of guns.

  • middle o da road

    I live in NJ and the original M1 was banned (supposedly) because of some photos of Black Panthers carrying them in the 70s. Was excited when my dealer got some in, but the next day they had to all be returned. I think because they stamped "M1" on them! If anyone at Auto-Ordnance is reading this, please take the M1 designation off and make it a NJ compliant model. I'll pay extra!!!

    • Ben Enjerry

      New Jersey's AG (Paula Dow) put the squash on this one. The manufacturers can stamp whatever they want on the receiver, it will still not fly in New Jersey.

  • Dennis Ksmith

    I had one once, fun to play with but extremely loud. It would be nice to own one again.

  • Criss Morgan

    What is the selling price of the Auto-Ordnance Carbine?

    • Keith Todd

      Chris – I picked up a new one for $695 in March, 2012.

  • Michael Edwards

    Criss Morgan
    They have a list price somewhere around $833 Your local dealer may be able to give some on the price. I bought one not long ago but i did not pay attention to the price. I have said it before my dad had one when i was a kid i fell in love with it then. I had to put a better finish to it, and it took a little sanding with a 320 grit sandind pad. I am really proud that I bought one. have fun and be happy.






  • Cody

    I remember my grandfather had one of these from his service in the 82nd Airborne as glider infantry…he also picked up a Ruger Blackhawk chambered in .30 Carbine. Now, this being Texas and all, his firearm collection was split up according to his will, with me receiving the Blackhawk (Dirty Harry may have the most powerful handgun in the world, but I have the loudest), and one of my other relatives receiving the M1. Sadly, he had the misfortune of marrying the "I don't want these guns around our kids" type, and seeing as how it was her or the gun(s), he wound up selling the thing.

    I would personally love to pick up one of these beauties…just out of curiosity, do they have the same "everyone on the range stops and checks their ear protection when you shoot" factor the Blackhawk .30 Carbine does?

    • just a man

      i have one real nice .with great scope for sell

    • Frank Szabo

      It can’t be as loud and produce the concussion of my Desert Eagle with 29 grains of H110 under a Nosler 200 gr. projo. Shot it at an indoor range some years back and a woman peed her pants when it went off.

  • Phil

    My LGS had one sitting on their back shelf with a little red tag that was barely visible. It read manager's special for $550 so I snatched it right up. My grandfather and father-in-law have one and I've always wanted one of my own. Can't wait to shoot this beautiful rifle, but with all the craziness going on with ammo and firearms. I'm having a hard time finding .30 ammo.

  • Tony

    I just bought one here in the CA SF Bay area, it was the last one they had at Big Five, I was told it would be the last one they bring into CA, I also picked up the last box of .30 cal ammo. Nice little rifle. Looking forward to breaking it in. I have been reading a bunch of bad reviews but I figure if the unit is a bit difficult to run ammo through I will take it apart and polish it and clean the rough edges up.

    • Jeff

      Just did the same for an new A-O in Camarillo CA. Gave it a quick cleaning to get off the "shipping grease" and make sure everything was oiled and in working order. It shot great, in the first 50 rds of Winchester had no issues and the second 50 of Wolf had one feed jam. Which I attribute to the harder steel casing dragging on the un-worn edge of the mag.
      I had the added benefit of getting smiles from the old timers who knew and confused looks from the kids who know nothing but the E.B.R. The same kids who were fighting over the last box of .223 at $2/RD compared to mine at $0.20/RD. ENJOY!

  • Bo Zo

    Trying real hard to get my hands on one so I can retire my WWII era Inland carbine. I take it pretty easy on the old girl. I need something I can shoot the crap out of. Thank you, Liberal pussies in Washington, for making these things so hard to come by. Some day, they will come back to haunt (hunt?) you.

    • alen

      I would caution one against making veiled threats these days, in particular against people in Washington. People are a bit on the touchy side these days, And the courts are starting to frown on people who claim to be making attempts at humor.

      • andrew

        I don’t make veiled threats… I point up to those deserving of being summarily shot, the exact reason they are pushing their luck.
        Oblowhard, and his infantile idea of trying to disarm the American Public is one fine example… What a Joke…

  • J. Allseits

    The noisy reputation of the Ruger Blackhawk in 30 carbine is shared by the Automag III, and the Enforcer pistols in 30 carbine. Factory loading is for an 18-inch barrel, and gives a LOT of muzzle-blast in shorter barrels. Try a handloading using 2400 powder; faster burning, less noise…

  • John

    owned a M1 carbine many years ago
    and have kicked myself in the @#&^ some many times for selling it when I was younger. I still wish I still had it but now I have a M1-22 carbine and it is a great shooter.

    • zeus234

      Is it an EM1 .22 Erma Werke? If so I was beginning to think I was the only one. Picked up a used one in very good shape about 32 years ago.

  • Joseph Kool

    These are good guns just don’t be discouraged if you have jamming issues at first. The factory magazines are junk just throw them away and buy some 30 round magazines since the Auto Ordnance carbines come with the M2 magazine catch. They’re much more reliable and hold the bolt open after the last shot. These rifles are also extremely accurate for what they are. Sub 3″ groups at 100 yards are a piece of cake as long as you replace the flip sight with an aftermarket adjustable sight $25.

    • jfbtx

      Where did your jamming problems come at? The Feed or the failure to load correctly. I have one and the first 40 rounds out of it were really hard to imagine that this was used in combat. Of course I fired it right out of the box; no cleaning or anything else. It repeatedly would not load correctly. The bolt wouldn’t close on the round correctly and thus the firing pin wouldn’t engage the primer. Don’t know if that’s factory grease or not. Will take it apart and clean it and see if that make a difference. As far as shoot ability very accurate. I was please with the trigger and the accuracy down range. Nice tight groups. Given the issues with the bolt locking correctly I was very please with it’s grouping. If what I read is correct then it will need about 500 to 1000 rounds in it to begin to break it in. Not problem I will enjoy that. This will make a great little rifle for shooting and for hog hunting.

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