Auto-Ordnance Carbine

Post WWII Commercially Manufactured M1 Carbines (U.S.A.)

Worcester, Massachusetts


The Original Auto-Ordnance Corporation

Auto-Ordnance Corporation was incorporated in Queens, NY in August 1916. The company was founded my an ex U.S. Army Ordnance officer, John T. Thompson. The company has been best known for the submachine gun that was named after the company's owner. In 1939 Auto-Ordnance was acquired by businessman Russell Maguire. In 1940 Auto-Ordnance moved to Bridgeport, CT. [New York and CT Corporate records; Shotgun News, October 2007]

WWII, the U.S. M1 Carbine and the Auto-Ordnance Corporation

In October 1940 U.S. weapons manufacturers were given notice of the basic specifications for a light infantry rifle that the War Department was interested in having developed. In response to this opportunity, Auto-Ordnance Corporation submitted two models of a light rifle for U.S. Army Office of Ordnance preliminary trials in May-June of 1941. An improved version was submitted for the final trials in September 1941 but lost out to a design submitted by Winchester. The Winchester design quickly evolved into what we now know as the U.S. Carbine caliber .30 M1.

Government contracts for the production of the U.S. Carbine caliber .30 M1 were granted to ten primary contractors. The final two contracts were granted in January 1943, to Saginaw Steering Gear and International Business Machines. The M1 carbine, at that time, consisted of 87 different parts. None of the ten primary contractors manufactured all of their own parts. Each required the assistance of various subcontractors. In March 1943 Auto-Ordnance was subcontracted to manufacture all of I.B.M.'s bolts and slides, and 50% of all of I.B.M.'s receivers. The bolts and slides manufactured by Auto-Ordnance were marked with the letters AOB. The receivers show the name I.B.M. above the serial number, with the letters AO stamped in the receiver bevel below the serial number.

During 1943 Auto-Ordnance was unable to fulfill their contract for I.B.M. due to a variety of internal problems related to the management at Auto-Ordnance. The situation became critical enough that the Office of U.S. Army Ordnance placed an I.B.M. management team with an Ordnance contingent within the Auto-Ordnance facility. Changes were implemented that included adding a second subcontractor for manufacturing bolts for I.B.M. and a second subcontractor manufacturing slides for I.B.M. By the end of 1943 Auto-Ordnance was able to meet it's revised quotas. Between August 1943 and the cessation of production in May 1944, I.B.M. produced a total of 346,500 M1 carbines using a large quantity of parts made for them by Auto-Ordnance. [War Baby! The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine by Larry Ruth pp. 191-195]

Changes in Ownership leading up to the Kahr Arms Acquisition of the Auto-Ordnance Name
1945 to 1999

Ownership of Auto-Ordnance changed hands several more times between 1945 and 1951 when it was acquired by Numrich Arms of West Hurley, N.Y., (Gun Parts Incorporated). Numrich Arms Corp. specialized in acquiring bulk lots of guns and gun parts from the inventories of defunct gun manufacturers then reselling the parts as replacement parts. Included in their purchase of Auto-Ordnance were a large number of parts for the Thompson Submachine Gun. In February of 1999 Auto-Ordnance was sold to Kahr Arms of Blauvalt, N.Y. [Shotgun News, October 2007]

Kahr Arms was founded and incorporated in New York in September 1994 by the Reverend Sun Myong Moon of the Unification Church. Kahr Arms was a subdivision of the Saeilo Group (pronounced "Say-low"), also founded by the Reverend Sun Myong Moon and incorporated in Queens, NY in September 1981. Kook Jin (Justin) Moon, 4th son of the Reverend Moon, has been the CEO of Kahr Arms since the beginning. Justin Moon was born in South Korea and educated in the United States. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the designer of a number of the semi-auto pistols manufactured by Kahr Arms. Justin Moon is justifiably recognized as the driving force behind Kahr Arms, and as a very capable gun designer. [New York Corporate records; "The Rise Of The House Of Kahr" by Massad Ayoob, American Handgunner magazine, November & December 2001, p.58-67]

Birth of the Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine

Israel Arms International (IAI) of Houston, Texas had contracted with SMI-MA Inc. (Saeilo Manufacturing Industries Inc., Massachusetts) for the manufacture of barrels and receivers for the M1 carbines being sold under the IAI name in 2002/2003. IAI filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Texas in August 2003. The court documents list SMI-MA Inc. as one of the creditors IAI owed a substantial sum of money. [U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Houston, TX, Case #03-42315 August 29, 2003]

At the annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (S.H.O.T. Show) January 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Kahr Arms booth displayed an M1 carbine the company planned on manufacturing and marketing under the Auto-Ordnance name. The Editor-In-Chief of The American Rifleman magazine, Mark Keefe, convinced the management present, including Justin Moon, that the carbine they should manufacture "is a gun that looks just like a World War II gun, a D-Day gun. If you have to make new parts anyway, you might as well make parts that guys want." With the assistance of the NRA's National Firearms Museum and a number of people knowledgeable about the original U.S. M1 carbines, Kahr Arms ala Auto-Ordnance redesigned their M1 carbine. The end result began appearing on the shelves of retailers in the Winter of 2005. ["The Return Of The M1 Carbine" by Mark A. Keefe, IV, Editor-In-Chief, American Rifleman, May 2006, Pages 50~51, 76~78]

Kahr's corporate headquarters is located in Blauvelt, New York. M1 Carbine production and assembly operations are located in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Auto-Ordnance .30 Caliber Carbines

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
Announced in 2004
M1 CarbineAOM110.30 Carbinebirch418"35.75"5.4 lbs15Parkerized
M1 CarbineAOM120.30 Carbinebirch418"35.75"5.4 lbs10Parkerized
Announced new for 2005
M1 CarbineAOM130.30 Carbinewalnut418"35.75"5 lbs, 4 oz15Parkerized
M1 CarbineAOM140.30 Carbinewalnut418"35.75"5 lbs, 4 oz10Parkerized
Announced new for 2006
ParatrooperAOM150.30 CarbineMetal folding stock
walnut forestock
418"25.75" Folded
35.75" Extended
5 lbs, 6 oz15Parkerized
TacticalAOM160.30 CarbinePolymer folding stock
metal handguard
418"27.5" Folded
36.5" Extended
5 lbs, 13 oz15Black Oxide

All models are built using the same receivers and parts. The difference is either the type of stock and/or a 10 round magazine vs. a 15 round magazine.

Model AOM110

Birch stock, ventilated handguard, late barrel band with bayonet lug, adjustable rear sight, and rotary safety.
[photo courtesy of Bruce Fenstermaker]

The carbine announced in 2004 was the Model AOM110. It featured a birch stock, metal ventilated handguard, round bolt,
adjustable rear sight, rotary safety, and barrel band with bayonet lug. The Model AOM120 was announced in 2005. The
difference between the two models was the AOM120 came with a 10 round magazine to comply with CA laws at the time.
At some point the metal ventilated handguards were replaced with birch handguards.
The AOM110 and AOM120 models were discontinued in 2007.

Model AOM130

Walnut stock, walnut handguard, early GI type barrel band, flip sight, and push safety.
[photo courtesy of Bruce Fenstermaker]

The Models AOM130 & AOM140 were announced in 2005. These models were walnut stock versions of the AOM110
and AOM120. With the introduction of the AOM130 and AOM140 the following parts were changed on all models
in keeping with their intent of producing a replica of the carbines used on D-Day in June 1944.

PartOriginally Used by AOReplaced With
Barrel BandWide band with bayonet lugThin band absent bayonet lug
Rear SightAdjustable for windage/elevationFlip, adjustable for two elevations only
SafetyRotaryPush button

Model AOM150

Folding metal stock with walnut forestock

The Model AOM150 Paratrooper carbine with replica M1A1 folding stock was added to their carbine lineup in 2008. Over time the type of rivets used and manner in which they were riveted to the plates has varied.

Model AOM160

The Model AOM160 featuring a folding polymer stock manufactured by
Choate Machine and Tool was introduced late in 2008.

The Shot Show - January 2017

The Auto-Ordnance/Kahr display at the 2017 Shot Show in Las Vegas included the carbine below. No information was available at the time. The carbine was simply on display with many other firearms absent name placards or other means of model information.

The stock and handguard are the same as used for their M1A1 carbine replica (Model AOM150) absent the metal folding stock. The muzzle had been threaded for the use of a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, etc. The threads are protected by a muzzle protector.

The M1 Carbine Manufactured by

The carbines manufactured by Auto-Ordnance are replicas of the carbines manufactured for U.S. Army Ordnance during WWII. Some of the parts are interchangeable with their GI counterparts some are not. The dimensions of various parts used by Auto-Ordnance are not the same as their GI counterparts. Their carbines lack most of the finish machining required by the specifications that produced the original carbines during WWII. Some surplus GI parts may appear to fit and operate properly but may not work during actual firing. If you replace the Auto-Ordnance bolt with a surplus GI bolt or any bolt other than those made for Auto-Ordnance or the current Inland Manufacturing for your safety and the safety of others be sure to have the headspace checked. The bolts used by Auto-Ordnance are slightly longer than the original GI bolts. The dimensions of the bolt lugs are not the same as those of a surplus GI bolt.

Break-in Period

Auto-Ordnance carbines purchased new typically have a break-in period of about 250-300 rounds. One of the issues common during this break-in period is occasional failure of the bolt to move fully forward, rotate and lock into the receiver causing a failure to fire. Occasionally during firing the bolt sometimes fails to travel far enough to the rear to cock the hammer. When the trigger is pulled the hammer is in the forward position and unable to strike the firing pin.

During this time the finish along the top of the bolt may wear quickly and/or become scratched. This is caused by a failure to properly finish machine the inside of the receiver to remove any metal left from the casting and insure the path of the bolt is straight and smooth. Failure to properly machine the slide's cam cut can also impede the movement of the bolt (see below). Failure to properly finish machine the surfaces on the right side of the receiver creates additional friction impeding the slide and bolt in addition to removing the finish where the slide and receiver come in contact with one another.

The problems usually tend to lessen the more the carbine is fired. The repeated movement of the parts eventually wear down the areas of resistance.

Changes over Time

In an apparent effort to remain competitive with the ebb and flow of the availability of surplus GI carbines and rising production costs Auto-Ordnance has made a number of changes over time that have allowed their carbine prices to remain fairly constant and competitive. Some of these changes have resulted in a drop in quality. Most notably with the quality of the wood handguards and stocks. This will be discussed further in the section on Stocks below.

The Receiver

The receivers used by Auto-Ordnance are cast by Lamothermic Corporation in Brewster, NY. The same mold is used to cast receivers for the current day Inland Manufacturing. Prior to Auto-Ordnance Lamothermic cast the receivers used with the late production carbines by Israel Arms International in Houston, TX.

The markings on the receiver ring are part of the casting die. The "CAL 30 ML"
is a trait carried over from the carbine receivers manufactured for IAI.

The serial number is located at the front of the left side of the receiver.

To separate the receivers made for Auto-Ordnance from those made for Inland Mfg, Lamothermic
engraves the name of the company along with the serial number on the bottom of the receiver.
The only difference between the receivers cast for both companies are the ML CARBINE vs
M1 CARBINE cast in the receiver ring. This is accomplished by use of a
removable metal plate inside the casting mold.

The casting process leaves excess or uneven metal in various locations on the receiver.
Machining the ridges, uneven areas and finish machining to final specifications is left
to the resources and discretion of the manufacturer.

The receivers cast by Lamothermic have shown varying degrees of warping along the bottom of the receivers. The
best indication as to the degree of warping has been the amount of force required to remove and insert the
trigger housing pin. Force repeatedly applied to either side of the front receiver lug the housing pins too has
the potential of eventually cracking the lug where it attaches to the receiver. If the pin is tight be sure to
support the side of the lug opposite the side where the force is being applied.

The greater the warping the greater the likelihood of altering the alignment, fit and/or performance
of other parts that rely on proper alignment. One example is the angle at which the magazine sits as
the bolt passes over it to chamber a cartridge.

Barrels used on the original WWII carbines have an extension on the chamber end of the barrel referred to
as a barrel skirt. The purpose of the skirt is to guide the bolt into alignment with the chamber face. The
receiver mold used by Lamothermic has been designed to include a substitute for this purpose, thereby
eliminating the need for the barrel skirt.

The rear sight is a replica of the original early rear flip sight used on GI carbines.
These sights are not adjustable for windage. Elevation is limited to the use of one of
two peepholes selected by rotating (flipping) the L shaped metal in which the peepholes
are located forward or backward.

Some of the earlier Auto-Ordnance carbines featured an adjustable rear sight.

The Barrel Group

The Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Company in Conway, NH manufacturers the barrels used by Auto-Ordnance.
The barrels have 4 lands and grooves with a 1:20" right-hand twist and a 45-degree chamfer at the muzzle.

The front sight and operating slide are made by investment casting.

Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Company manufactures the barrel using a cast gas piston housing
swaged to the barrel. The wear on the sides of the cylinder was caused by the slide.

A word of CAUTION BEFORE FIRING carbines made by Auto-Ordnance (or Inland Mfg):

The .30 caliber carbines use a short stroke gas piston (black arrow) to operate the firearm. When
the cartridge is fired gas exits the bore through a small hole into the gas cylinder forcing the
piston out of the gas cylinder and into the slide. The force of the piston strike to the slide is
sufficient to drive the slide and bolt rearward to facilitate extraction and ejection of the empty
casing and cock the hammer.

The piston is held in place by the gas piston nut (white arrow). The nut is threaded and staked to the
gas piston housing to prevent it from rotating out of the gas cylinder.

Physically check the gas piston nut to make sure it's tight. The design of these nuts does not include the recessed
areas specific for staking and holding the nut in place that was mandatory on carbines made to Ordnance specifications
during and after WWII. Historically the stake marks as applied on the gas piston nuts used Auto Ordnance and those used
by the modern day Inland Mfg have been insufficient to secure the nut in place. Check that the nut is tight before you
fire the carbine and periodically thereafter to make sure it stays in place.

The Bolt Group

The bolts and firing pins used by Auto-Ordnance are machined from forged steel.
Their extractors are cast then hard chromed.

The scratch running lengthwise above the opening for the firing pin tang is caused by the top of the hammer.
Other scratches running lengthwise were caused by ridges inside the rear half of the receiver that were
not machined smooth.

Bolt hardness tested within GI specifications for the front half of the bolt. The rear of
the bolt tested at the same hardness as the front of the bolt. GI specifications called
for a second hardening of the rear of the bolt rarely present on commercial bolts.

The Trigger Housing Group

The trigger housing, sear, safety and mag catch are made by investment casting and absent machining.
The hammer and trigger have been machined making it difficult to determine if they were made by
casting or by machining forged steel.

Current production Auto-Ordnance carbines feature a push button safety.
Earlier models featured a rotary safety.

Cast magazine catches used by Auto-Ordnance can vary in their degree of quality. The example shown
failed to seat the magazine properly causing failures to feed. Replacement with a surplus GI mag
catch rectified the problem.

The Stock Group

The first stocks used by Auto-Ordnance in 2004 were made from birch with a metal ventilated handguard.

In 2005 Auto-Ordnance discontinued the use of birch. They switched to new stocks made from American
walnut by Boyds Hardwood Gunstocks in Mitchell, South Dakota. To date these have been the nicest stocks
used by Auto-Ordnance. The stocks were made to GI dimensions and interchangeable with GI stocks,
handguards and parts. The slingwell was cut properly to enable the use of a sling with an oiler
like the original carbine stocks.

In early 2011 a company specializing in commemorative carbines, Historical Armory in Fort Collins, CO,
chose the Auto-Ordnance AOM140 M1 Carbine for 500 D-Day commemorative carbines. The stocks were laser
engraved with D-Day related images.

At sometimes prior Auto-Ordnance had discontinued the stocks made by Boyds Hardwood Gunstocks and
began using M1 and M1A1 stocks manufactured by the Altamont Company in Thomasboro, IL.

The stocks and handguards manufactured by the Altamont Company are not machined to GI specifications. They
are approximately 1/4" shorter. Neither the stock or handguard are interchangeable with their
counterparts made to GI dimensions unless both the stock and the handguard are replaced as a set.

The commercial company Inland Manufacturing also uses stocks and handguards made by Altamont.

Note what follows is mentioned earlier on this page in reference to apparent attempts by Auto-Ordnance
to remain competitive with the rising costs of parts and the availability of surplus GI carbines over time.
With the entry of Inland's carbines to the market Auto-Ordnance is beginning to make a few small changes
which will become apparent below.

Stocks purchased from Altamont by Auto-Ordnance have varied somewhat over time with the finish becoming lighter
and the cut of the stocks changing to require less machining. The nose of this stock is absent the cut that
rounded the nose. These have been used by Auto-Ordnance for a number of years up through approximately the
end of 2016 or beginning of 2017.

The grade of wood used by Auto-Ordnance from Altamont appeared to be a "B Grade" wood. Knots became
acceptable as did knot repairs.

This stock was purchased as a new replacement direct from Auto-Ordnance in 2009. When contacting customer
service for a return the buyer was advised knots and repaired knots were acceptable and not considered cause
for a warranty return.

This handguard was on an Auto-Ordnance carbine purchased new in the Spring of 2016.

The stock and handguard were returned to Auto-Ordnance due to a number of issues discussed below. When they
were returned to the customer the damage from insects was still present and not considered cause for replacement.

The fit of the handguard to the stock has been a constant since Auto-Ordnance began using stocks and
handguards made by Altamont. The handguards extend out over the sides of the stock presenting a sharp
edge on one or both sides. This also exposes the edges along the sides of the handguard to damage that
doesn't occur when the handguard fits the stock properly.

The machining of the stock often causes the barrel and receiver to sit at an angle most noticeable in
the barrel channel at the front of the stock.

The stocks and handguards purchased by Inland from Altamont are either cut properly or modified by
Inland before assembly of their carbines. The stock/handguard above were returned to Auto-Ordnance
for warranty service to correct the overlap of the handguard. Interestingly Auto-Ordnance corrected
the fit under their warranty. These issues are the rule, not the exception, with the stocks and
handguards used by Auto-Ordnance.

Since Auto-Ordnance began using stocks from Altamont the slingwell has not been cut properly to accommodate
the standard sling and oiler used with the M1 carbines. The stock on the right is a WWII stock manufactured
by S.E. Overton for the Inland Division of General Motors. The Auto-Ordnance stock on the left is absent the
extra cut to accommodate the sling and oiler.

At the 2017 Shot Show in Las Vegas the Auto-Ordnance booth/display included their standard M1 carbine along with
this variation of an M1A1 stock absent the folding metal stock. The wood on both guns was stained dark walnut. The
cut in the slingwell of their full size carbine included the cut for the sling and oiler. By March 2017 these
changes began appearing in retail stores with some online sellers still having the stock and handguard used prior.

The dark stain and cut for the sling/oiler as well as the M1A1 stock absent the metal folding stock may have
been prompted by the carbines being sold by Inland Manufacturing. What has yet to change is the shorter length
of the stocks made by Altamont, the fit of the handguard to the stock or the fit of both to the carbine.

While some of the features of the stocks used by Auto-Ordnance made by Altamont appear to have been at the
direction of Auto-Ordnance the stocks and handguards made by Altamont since they began making them for the
carbines have had a number of shortcomings in relation to the sling cut position and angle, the location
and dimensions of the handgrip below the rear of the receiver and the overall cut of the wood.

Replacement Parts

Auto-Ordnance maintains an online parts ordering system or parts can be ordered by downloading their M1 carbine parts catalog (pdf format).

Before buying any of these parts, you should be aware they are manufactured specifically for the Auto-Ordnance carbines, not a GI M1 Carbine or any of the commercial variations manufactured by companies other than Auto-Ordnance. The one exception being the carbines being made by Inland Manufacturing as Inland obtains their parts from the same sources as Auto-Ordnance.

Note the warning and disclaimer in their catalog and on their website indicating "Parts may need to be hand fitted"... "Improper fitting parts may result in a malfunction, damage to the firearm, and injury to the shooter and other persons." "It is the responsibility of the purchaser to be absolutely certain that parts ordered from the factory are correctly fitted and installed. The purchaser and installer of parts must accept full responsibility for the correct adjustment and functioning of the firearm after such installation."