Post WWII Commercially Manufactured M1 Carbines

Dachau, Bavaria

.22 long rifle
.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire

The ERMA-Werke Model E M1 .22 LR Self-Loading Rimfire Rifle

Directory of Pages
(with links)

History, Importers, MarkingsFunction Animations Cleaning & Disassembly
Part I: 1945-1990    
Part II: 1990-2000+ Parts & Diagrams Reassembly


Cleaning & Disassembly

Overview (Read this First)

Disassembling and Reassembling the EM1 can be intimidating as it requires more than just a screwdriver. Most EM1's are never taken apart for cleaning. Cleaning is usually limited to whatever can be done without disassembling the rifle. When the EM1 eventually malfunctions repeatedly, it's not uncommon for an owner to sell it rather than disassemble it and clean it.

The #1 reason an Erma Werke Model EM1 malfunctions is it has never been cleaned properly.

It hasn't helped that Erma Werke never produced detailed instructions on Cleaning, Disassembly, & Reassembly. So, here we are.

As you will see, disassembly and reassembly are not as difficult as building the courage to do it. The intent of the information contained on this page is to help you keep your EM1 clean and functioning. The cleaning instructions are from an Englishman who shoots competitively using an EM1, as does his wife. His maintenance routine is simple and has eliminated malfunctions in both EM1's.

Some of the disassembly and reassembly steps can be done slightly different than what is described on this website. Some people prefer one way over another. What is shown here will get you started so you can decide what work's best for you.


Oil may be a great lubricant but it's also a magnet for dirt, gunpowder and other debris that will transfer to the cartridges and cause malfunctions. For this reason oil should be used very sparingly on the bolt and removed from the feed ramp, in and around the breach, and inside the chamber. Whatever solvent you use, make sure it leaves no residue on the surfaces to which it is applied.

The EM1 should be cleaned after each use. Cleaning falls into one of two categories.

After each shoot (no disassembly required)

  • clean the barrel
  • clean the lead off the surfaces inside the chamber, imediately outside the chamber, ramp, bolt face, extractor and top of the magazine well

Main Servicing (when initially purchased & every 5000-6000 rounds)

  • Disassemble & Clean the Erma completely
  • Reassemble following the instructions (includes suggestions on lubrication)


Preparing for Disassembly

Before you start, remove the magazine, pull the slide back and bolt open. Look into the breach and make sure there's no ammunition. It's a real good idea to get in the habit of keeping all ammunition out of the area where you'll be cleaning and/or working with any firearm.

The EM1 has a number of small parts that are easy to misplace or lose. Replacing those parts can be an unenjoyable never ending adventure. You might want to consider doing the Disassembly and Reassembly over a white sheet or other contrasting flat surface that inhibits parts from bouncing, in case you accidental drop something. It's also helpful to have a container in which the small parts can be kept together in one place.

You may find it helpful to print out a copy of the parts chart, the diagram of the left side of the receiver, or review the page with the receiver charts and animations before you proceed.

Step One: Removing the Stock and Handguard

Remove the screw from the barrel band
Slide the barrel band forward, remove the handguard
Remove the screw from the bottom of the stock behind the trigger guard
Slide the stock slightly to the rear, lift up and remove the barrel and receiver assembly

Step Two: Separating the Receiver from the Trigger Housing Assembly

Before you start this step, make sure the safety is set to the on position (vertical). This locks the sear under the sear plate and prevents the sear spring and plunger from popping out when you separate the receiver from the trigger housing.

Turn the receiver and barrel assembly upside down, hold onto the spring and slide the guide rod forward and out of the spring and slide.
Remove the large screw from the left side of the receiver, drift out the pin next to it.
Hold the receiver upright, tap out the pin at the rear of the receiver
Keeping the receiver upright, slowly lift up on the back of the receiver assembly...
As you lift up on the rear, pay close attention to the slide arm and how it fits into the receiver assembly (circle), you'll need to remember this when reassembling the rifle

On the left side and right side of the lower receiver there are two parts that will be released when the upper receiver is removed. These parts may fall out as you separate the two parts of the receiver.
Not to worry, just keep an eye on them. If you separate the receiver and trigger assembly while holding them upside down,
you may have several small springs fall out of the trigger housing. Again, not to worry if this happens, just monitor it so you don't lose anything.

Step Three: Disassemble the Receiver Assembly

Notice the spring and guide rod are slightly offset from the center. You'll need to remember this during reassembly. The receiver assembly is held together by tension. Carefully and slowly compress the spring and guide rod on one end and bolt face on the other end, and remove the bolt group from the receiver. Pay attention to how the guide rod and front of the bolt fit into the notches inside the receiver.
Once the bolt is removed from the upper receiver, the guide rod, spring, and firing pin can be removed from the bolt.

Step Four: Disassemble the Trigger Housing Assembly

Throughout this step, try to hold the trigger housing in the upright position.
Place a finger or your thumb over the sear. Flip the safety to the off position (horizontal). Pull the trigger to release the sear. Tap out the sear pin.
Remove the sear. Remove the sear spring and sear spring plunger

Tap out the sear plate pin
Push down on the trigger bar
Slide the sear plate to the rear aligning it with the notches that allow it to be lifted up and out of the trigger housing.
Remove the sear plate spring.
Lift the trigger bar,
remove the trigger bar spring and plunger

Tap out the trigger pin
You are about to lift the trigger bar up and out of the trigger housing. The trigger will be attached to it by a small pin. While in the trigger housing the pin is held in place by the walls of the trigger housing. When you remove these parts, sometimes the pin will fall out. It's not a problem if it does, unless you didn't watch where it went. There is a small spring mounted in the underside of the trigger. It should lift out when you remove the trigger. If it doesn't, it's sitting in the bottom of the trigger housing and needs to be recovered.
Go ahead and lift up on the trigger bar and trigger, making sure you recover the pin and spring.

Step 5: Removing the Magazine Catch & Safety

Turn the trigger housing upside down. There are two springs under pressure that hold these parts in place. Both have small plungers attached. The springs and plungers tend to pop out when the pressure is released. Knowing this ahead of time helps in preventing it from happening or recovering the springs.
Lightly place your thumb on the face of the magazine catch. With your other hand, place the tip of a small screwdriver down into the hole on the bottom of the trigger housing behind the magazine catch. Wedge the tip into the front of the hole and push back on the small spring loaded plunger.

As the indentation in the back of the magazine catch clears the plunger, you'll feel the 2nd plunger push the magazine catch against your thumb.

Slowly release the pressure on the plunger being held back by the screwdriver tip and let the plunger rest against the magazine catch. DO NOT remove the magazine catch yet.

Place a finger directly in front of the magazine catch. Slide the magazine catch off the trigger housing. When the magazine catch clears the spring loaded plunger it will pop out against your finger.
Move your finger and you'll see the plunger and the spring. Remove both springs and their plungers from the trigger housing.
There should be a second plunger on the other end of the spring. If there isn't, it's still in the hole. When you have removed the 2nd plunger, remove the safety.

Directory of Pages
(with links)

History, Importers, MarkingsFunction Animations Cleaning & Disassembly
Part I: 1945-1990    
Part II: 1990-2000+ Parts & Diagrams Reassembly