Here I go again

Apparently, it is my place in this world to provide a home for abandoned cats and mistreated guns,  This time it is a mistreated gun, in particular, the Plainfield M1 carbine you can see in pieces to the left.

I am not sure how I wound up with this job.  What does one do in a previous life that makes one’s karmic destiny “savior of Gandpa’s unwanted firearms”?

At any rate, I’m pretty sure that I bought another of Grandpa’s guns at the recent Dixie Knife and Gun Show in Charlotte, NC.  I noticed a pair of folks who were about as out of place at a gun show as I would be at the opera, wondering around sort of randomly looking at things.  Seeing the M1, I decided to ask him to dance.

“Are you selling the M1?”

Blank look.  OK, then.  I pointed this time.  “Are you selling the M1 Carbine?”

“Oh yes!  $250.”  We stand there.

“May I have a look at it?”  Thankfully I had Daughter with me, so I had an extra set of hands who could relieve me of the 7.62×25 ammo I was already carrying (a story for another time).  I took the gun from him and examined the customary location on the receiver.  Blank.  Huh.  I looked a little more, and found the name “Plainfield”  on the front of the receiver near the barrel along with the manufacturer’s location and the caliber information.  What the heck is a “Plainfield”?  Never heard of that one.  It has a little surface rust on the barrel.  Well that’s not a surprise.  Bore is dirty, but not too.  Rifling is distinct.  Crown is in good shape.  Can’t function check it, security has the works tied down so we can all be safe and secure.  Wood is decent, one nasty spot on it, no cartouches in sight.  Gr-r-r.

“How much do you want for it again?”  Can’t hurt to see how desperate he is.

“$250.”  Not desperate, but $250?  M1 Carbines are selling for a minimum of $650 hereabouts and can range over $1000 depending on exactly what model you have.  I figure at $250, I can part the thing out and more than make my money back if it doesn’t shoot.

“Will you take $225?”

“No, I need $250.”

Well, I don’t know the maker, so it’s a bit of a header, but I see enough GI parts I’m still confident in my assessment.  “OK, $250.”  I hand the man $250, the gun show loophole is exercised again, Diane Feinstein gets another mysterious goose, and we’re both on our respective ways.

Daughter arches an eyebrow but asks no questions.

Did you know that carrying an M1 Carbine at a gun show is the surest way to meet people known to man?  Well, it is.  How the previous owner managed to get as far back into the show as he did without selling it started to concern me.  So I danced the dance with a couple of dealers, was offered $350 for it both times and decided that it was some sort of dumb luck.

I now know better,  The gun was looking for me.

The next day, I Googled “plainfield m1 carbine” and learned all about the Plainfield Machine Company of Plainfield NJ and their foray into the production of commercial M1 Carbines.  Further searches got the usual gun fora posts of “they suck, they misfeed, blah, blah” and a few “never had any trouble with mine”, reminding me yet again why I don’t go to gun fora any longer.  Searches on Gun Broker and Gun Auction got an idea of the going price.  Nope, didn’t get hurt if it shoots.

Time to get to work.  On the workbench, I pulled the barreled action from the stock.  The barrel band screw is not peened, which is unusual.  The whole works that couldn’t be seen is gooey.  Grandpa liked 3-in-1 Oil, I see.  At least not enough to screw up the wood, so that’s good.

Cleaning the barrel took maybe 10 minutes.  Using Eezox, I first scrubbed the barrel a few times with a brush, then started running patches.  Maybe 20 patches later, it was clean.  Nice.

The outside got 0000 steel wool and Eezox.  That took the rust right off.  At first I thought I had misread the rust and that the surface was pitted, but an examination with a magnifier showed that it was simply a less than great quality original machining job.

After this, I took the gun down to pieces, took the pieces outside and took the brake cleaner to it.  A can and a half later, it was de-gooeied.  Shit.  There was surface rust all over the place, hidden under the goo.  I guess when the oil had dried out enough, the rust managed to start.  Nothing pitted, but man, rust, rust, rust, rust, rust.  Nothing for it but steel wool, a brass brush, Eezox and elbow grease.

I have heard, but never actually seen, guys talk about steel soaking up oil.  Well, I’ve now seen it, or something that looks like it.  Not sure if the steel actually soaks it up or not, but when I put a light coating of lubricant on a part and let it dry I did not have not a properly lubed part, but a dry metal part instead.  Some parts took 3 applications, and heavy ones at that, before they began to appear to have a proper application of Eezox on them.

At any rate, that is the story to date.  Mrs. Freeholder rang the supper bell, so the gun is lying in pieces, just as it is in the picture.  It will probably stay that way for a few days, my work being what it is these days.  But with some luck I’ll get it back together and get to the range in a week or two and we’ll see if I have a gun, a project or some parts I need to sell.

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