Disassembly: U.S. Rifle M1 Carbine

The U.S. made M1 Carbine is a wonderful and reliable curio.  It’s also made of about a bajillion tiny parts.  Grab a magnetic tray and some hand tools and we’ll try to get you through this will all your fingernails and a minimum of cursing.  No promises on the bolt though.

Section I: The Field Strip

Parts Guide:

  1. Receiver
  2. Handguard
  3. Stock
  4. Barrel Band
  5. Barrel Band Screw
  6. Band Spring
  7. Operating Slide
  8. Bolt
  9. Trigger Housing
  10. Trigger Housing Pin
  11. Recoil Spring
  12. Recoil Spring Guide

Steps to Field Strip:

1. Remove the magazine and open the Bolt to make certain there are no rounds in the rifle.  Once sure you may close the Bolt.  Safety First!

2. Unscrew the Barrel Band Screw.  You should not have to remove it completely, just loosen it nearly all the way.






3. Depress the Band Spring  with a punch and use a non-marring hammer to tap the Barrel Band down the barrel.

4. Remove the Handguard up and out of the way.

5. Remove the Receiver and barrel from the Stock by pulling up and then out.  You may set the Stock aside.

6. Drift out the Trigger Housing Pin with a punch.

7. Remove the Trigger Housing from the Receiver by pulling straight back and then pulling away.





8. Pull back on the tip of the Recoil Spring Guide, compressing the Recoil Spring, and move it away from the recess in the Operating Slide.  Remove both the Recoil Spring and its Guide.





9. There is a notch along the Receiver that will allow you to release the Operating Slide.  Pull back on the Operating Slide slowly while pulling it rightward.  When it reaches the notch you will see it separate some from the Receiver.

10. Now push slowly forward on the Operating Slide while putting some counter-clockwise rotational force on it.  When the front of the Operating Slide reaches a notch on the underside left of the Receiver it will fall away.  You may set aside the Operating Slide.


11. Push the Bolt back all the way forward and in the locked position.  Now gently pull it rearwards while putting counter-clockwise rotational force on it.  When the left front lug of the Bolt reaches a gap in the Receiver it will disengage.  You may now pull it up and forward to remove.  If the rear snags, level the Bolt by rotating back clockwise and continue to pull forward.

Your M1 Carbine is now Field Stripped.  Reassembly is just the reverse.  You may have some trouble with the Operating Slide, just line up the Bolt‘s right lug at about the middle of its path.  Toe in the right side of the Operating Slide at the underside front first and then swing the left into the notch in the Receiver.  You can then gently move it forward or back to catch the notch at the top right side of the Receiver.



Section II: The Stock

Parts Guide:

  1. Stock
  2. Band Spring
  3. Recoil Plate
  4. Recoil Plate Screw
  5. Butt Plate
  6. Butt Plate Screw

Steps to disassemble your stock:

1. Unscrew the Butt Plate Screw and remove the Butt Plate.





2. Unscrew the Recoil Plate Screw and remove the Recoil Plate.





3. You may press the Band Spring out of the stock with a punch from the left side.  It is not, however, recommended unless necessary.

Your stock is now disassembled.





Section III: The Trigger Housing

Parts Guide:

  1. Trigger Housing
  2. Trigger
  3. Trigger Spring
  4. Trigger Pin
  5. Hammer
  6. Hammer Spring
  7. Hammer Spring Plunger
  8. Hammer Pin
  9. Sear
  10. Sear Spring
  11. Safety Spring and Plunger
  12. Magazine Catch Spring and Plunger
  13. Safety
  14. Magazine Catch


Steps to Disassemble the Trigger Housing:

1. Hold the Hammer firmly and squeeze the Trigger. Let the Hammer forward softly.






2. Insert a punch with as close a diameter as possible into the hole at the front of the Hammer Spring Plunger.  Do not let your punch extend very far from the other side or it will get in your way.

3. Use your punch to compress the Hammer Spring and move it left or right, away from the Hammer.  Once it is clear you can ease the tension off and remove the Hammer Spring and Plunger.



4. Drift out the Hammer Pin and remove the Hammer.






5. Drift out the Trigger Pin.  Tip the Trigger Housing over to let the Sear fall out.  The Sear Spring may fall out now or become snagged in the Trigger.  If it snags just keep an eye on it and pull it out after the next step.




6. Push the Trigger up and tilt back on it to disengage from the Trigger Spring and remove the Trigger from the gun.

7. Remove the Trigger Spring.  If you cannot reach it you may push it from behind with a punch through the hole in the Trigger Housing.




8. Note the hole at the base of the Trigger Housing.  This allows you to reach the Safety Spring Plunger.  Using a slim punch or flat screwdriver depress the Safety Spring Plunger and hold it back.





9. Press the Magazine Catch to the right and remove it.  You may also remove the Magazine Catch Spring and Plunger and tug out the Safety Spring and Plunger.





10. Press on the left side of the Safety to drive it out.

Your Trigger Housing is now disassembled.  Reassembly is just the reverse.






There is a special tool for helping replace the Trigger Spring but C&Rsenal has pioneered an easy way using pliers and a small zip tie.  Just thread the zip tie through the spring and then lock it in a loose band.  Push this through the hole at the rear of the Trigger Housing as you seat the Trigger Spring.  Then grab the zip tie from the other side with a set of pliers and roll it up like spaghetti, tightening the Trigger Spring into place.



Section IV: The Bolt

Parts Guide:

  1. Bolt
  2. Firing Pin
  3. Ejector and Spring
  4. Extractor
  5. Extractor Spring
  6. Extractor Spring Plunger

Steps to disassemble your bolt:

This is a good time to point out that there is a tool designed just for this operation.  If you have the patience, cash, and desire it makes this 1,000 times easier.  If you have a padded vice this could also be easier.  We have opted, however, to attempt the simple hand tools method.  It does work but may require some extra cursing.

1. Let’s just look at this bolt first.  What we are attempting to do is to is drive out the Extractor (A).  It would push right out but it is held in place by the  Extractor Spring Plunger (B).  We will need to depress the Extractor Spring Plunger while pressing out the Extractor.  It is an incredibly simple concept with an incredibly difficult effort.

2. Make room and get a white surface.  Invariably one or more parts are going to let themselves loose as you take this down.  They are small and under pressure.  Best if you can get some books or other material high around what you are doing but it isn’t 100% necessary.

3. Using a small, flat screwdriver depress the Extractor Spring Plunger.  If possible wedge it in there.

4. Now drive out the Extractor.  We have heard of people using a punch but it seems too hard to control freehand.  Instead we opted to lever it out with another, slightly larger screwdriver.  CAUTION This is the hard part.  You’re trying to push down on the plunger and lever the extractor at the same time and it will take some force.  These are small parts and when it finally gives you’re going to invariably over muscle it and things will go flying.  There are two components to worry about.  The Extractor Spring Plunger, which will generally just drop straight down as it does not have that much tension but may still fly a bit.  It is probably the tiniest military gun part you have ever handled so try not to lose it.  The other concern is the Ejector and its spring flying out as a unit.  When we did the breakdown we found it not much a bother to keep a finger over the Ejector but we’ve seen people go ahead and tape it down before the disassembly.

5. Find the Extractor Spring Plunger.  It has invariably fallen out during step 4.  Before panicking check within six inches of the bolt in all directions as it is rare that it goes far.

6. You may now simply pull out the Ejector and the Ejector Spring, the Extractor Spring, and the Firing Pin.  Remember, there is no firing pin spring, so you didn’t lose it.

Your bolt is now disassembled. Reassembly is just the reverse. This will require a balancing act.  We recommend lining up the Extractor Spring Plunger then replacing the Ejector.  Depress the Ejector into place and insert and hold the Extractor deep enough to hold Ejector in place.  Now depress the Extractor Spring Plunger and drive the Extractor home.  Very easy to say, very hard to do.  We did it twice for the shoot, so we feel your pain.



Section V: The Operating Slide and the Gas Piston

This one is a combination of two short segments

Parts List:

  1. Operating Slide
  2. Slide Lock
  3. Slide Lock Spring
  4. Barrel
  5. Gas Piston
  6. Gas Piston Nut

Steps to disassemble the operating slide and the gas piston.



1. Drift out the Slide Lock with a punch.  Drive from the top down.

2. Use a small punch or pin to fish out the Slide Lock Spring from the Operating Slide.





3. Pick up the Barrel and locate the Gas Piston on the underside.

4. Use a screwdriver or wide punch to unscrew the Gas Piston Nut.  If it does not rotate easily you may need to invest in a gas piston nut tool which is specially made to remove this part.

5. Remove the Gas Piston.

You have now disassembled both the gas piston and the operating slide.


Section VI: The Sights

It is not recommended to remove the sights on an M1 carbine without specialty tools.  Removing the front sight will enable you to remove the bayonet lug.  The rear sight can be removed by drifting it left or right with a special vice.  The front has a horizontal pin that you may drift out.  The front side and bayonet lug can be removed down the front of the barrel afterwards.



Section VII: The Magazine

Parts List:

  1. Magazine Body
  2. Magazine Floorplate
  3. Magazine Spring
  4. Follower





1. Use a punch to drive out the Magazine Floorplate out of the front of the Magazine Body.

2. Remove the Magazine Spring and Follower.

Your magazine is disassembled.




That’s it!  If you have any trouble or questions let us know in the comments below.

You can read more about the M1 Carbine here

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