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

PLAINFIELD MACHINE CO., INC.
Middlesex, New Jersey

Overview

    Time Span:
    1962-1978
    Quantity Produced:
    approximately 112,000
    Calibers:
    .30 Carbine
    .22 Carbine (5.7mm Johnson)
    Serial Numbers:
    B001 - Z999
    0001 - 89000+
    A001 - A328 (5.7mm Johnson)

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The Plainfield Machine Co. Carbines are presented in four different sections, each consisting of one or more pages.

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V
History
of
Plainfield Machine Co.
1951-1978
Serial Numbers
&
Dates of Manufacture
Models
&
Flier/Manual
Downloads
Receivers
&
Markings
Parts
&
Markings

Part I
History
of
Plainfield Machine Co.
1951-1978


The Beginning: A Small Machine Shop

Plainfield Machine Company was incorporated by machinists William Haas and William Storck in New Jersey on February 20, 1951. Their articles of incorporation stated they would be operating a machine shop. Haas and Storck were brother-in-laws by marriage, having married sisters and Alice and Louise Castro (respectively). Between 1951 and 1962 they were contracted by various different companies for all types of machining. According to one of the sons of William Haas his father and his uncle (Storck) had no experience with the manufacturing of firearms or firearm components during these years.

In 1959 or 1960 a sporting goods store named Millville Weapons was opened in Union, NJ, sixteen miles northeast of Plainfield Machine Company. The store was a retail outlet for the owner of Millville Ordnance, Charles Colle. Prior to opening the sporting goods store, Colle had operated a military surplus business from a warehouse behind his home in Millville, NJ (100+ miles south of Middlesex). Along with many other weapons, Colle had assembled U.S. GI Carbines from parts using demilled (cut) receivers sold as scrap by the government. According to family members of Colle, he did not have the skills or machinery to make barrels, weld receivers, or manufacture other parts he needed to make surplus weapons functional. He obtained these services elsewhere.

In June 1959 Colle and others were indicted in Miami for attempting to smuggle small arms and ammunition to Batista, who had fled to the Dominican Republic after the fall of Cuba to Castro. The weapons were intended to be used by Batista's forces in an attempt to retake Cuba (for further info refer to the page devoted to Millville Ordnance). During the trial and appeal of his subsequent conviction Colle did mail order business as Millville Ordnance and sold retail from his sporting goods store Millville Weapons.

It is not known exactly when Charles Colle initially contacted or contracted Plainfield Machine for work on M1 Carbine receivers and barrels. Given the distance between Millville and Middlesex it is likely Colle contracted Plainfield Machine sometime after opening his store in Union, NJ.

Millville Ordnance advertisements in Shooting Times magazine in 1960 and until October 1961 advertised various parts that included parts for the U.S. Carbines including commercial .30 caliber carbine barrels referred to as "the all new MOCO barrels". The later ads during this time period announced an upcoming all new MOCO carbine. The carbine was first advertised in the October 1961 issue of Shooting Times magazine and advertisements continued through the April 1962 issue (deadline for the April issue was February 15th).


The last Millville Ordnance Ad
Shooting Times April 1962

The Transition from Machine Shop to Gun Manufacturer: The H&S M1 Carbines

In early 1962 Charles Colle was taken into custody to begin serving a sentence in a Federal penitentiary. His appeals had finally been denied and the case caught up with him. Millville Ordnance abruptly ceased to exist.

One of the sons of William Haas related Millville Ordnance had neglected to inform Plainfield Machine Company of the ongoing criminal case and the possible outcomes. As a result, Plainfield Machine Company found themselves in possession of M1 Carbine receivers and barrels Colle was unable to pay for. In addition to other bills Colle had not yet paid. The money owed was sufficient to significantly impact the finances of Plainfield Machine. Because of this, Haas and Storck decided they would complete the carbines that were in progress, negotiate with Mrs. Colle for the carbines and related parts and accessories left at Millville Ordnance, and sell everything in an effort to recover some of their losses.


Haas & Storck
Owners of Plainfield Machine Company
(Surplus from Millville Ordnance)

Haas and Storck were machinists not gun dealers. Their initial intent was to return to the machining business once the carbines had been sold. As they sold the Millville Ordnance leftovers they realized the profits that could be made by manufacturing and selling M1 Carbines versus what they had been earning from their machine shop. For further information on the H&S Carbines, refer to the page devoted to H&S.

Plainfield 1962-1965

The first advertisement placed by Plainfield Machine appears in the May 1, 1962 issue of Shotgun News, using the name Plainfield Ordnance. Ads for this issue had to be submitted by April 1st, six weeks after the deadline for the last Millville Ordnance ad that offered the MOCO carbine. From this and the knowledge of Plainfield's involvement with Millville Ordnance it is estimated the first Plainfield Machine Co. M1 Carbines were manufactured in approximately April of 1962. The Plainfield Ordnance name was soon dropped and not re-instituted until the 1970's with the introduction of their small semi-auto pistol line (see below). The carbines continued production using the name of Plainfield Machine Company.


The First Plainfield Ordnance Ad
Shotgun News May 1, 1962

In the early years the Plainfield Machine sometimes used a rural delivery address in Watchung Township, Plainfield, NJ which was the residence of William Haas. From 1962-1978 the shop was located on the west side of Wilton Avenue on the second lot south of South Street in the borough of Middlesex, Middlesex County, NJ. They used several post office boxes in Dunellen, NJ as their business address.

1962-1965 was a time of acquiring the extra machinery, parts sources, personnel, organizing, and distribution system necessary for a small machine shop to become a full time carbine manufacturer. Although the quantity produced during this time isn't known, it is known production started slowly and had increased significantly by 1966. Carbines with serial numbers beginning with a letter prefix were manufactured during this time period.

Haas & Storck had no prior experience with marketing, distribution or sales. After the first advertisement (above) no retail direct marketing ads were found for Plainfield until the late 1960's. It is very likely they discovered what National Ordnance and Universal Firearms (as Bullseye Gun Works) had learned in the 18 months before them: responses to advertisements for manufacturer direct retail sales of M1 Carbines quickly overwhelmed their resources. The responses caused National Ordnance and Universal Firearms to use wholesalers and retailers.

The family of Charles Colle indicated Colle was very good friends with, and a possible business associate of, the owner of Greeley's Range & Gun Store located in Cedar Grove, NJ. Greeley Arms Company was incorporated in New Jersey in March 1956 by Thomas Greeley at 448 Pompton Ave. in Cedar Grove, NJ. This was approximately 30 miles north of Plainfield Machine. Greeley is believed to have assisted the wife of Charles Colle with her husbands assets after Colle was incarcerated. Given Haas and Storck acquired Colle's carbine assets and Greeley was experienced in gun sales it is believed Greeley assisted Haas and Storck as Plainfield Machine's first M1 Carbine distributor.

The below advertisement began with the August 15, 1962 issue of Shotgun News. It's the first advertisement found for Greeleys in any of the publications of the time period.


Shotgun News August 15, 1962

Greeley's advertisements for M1 Carbines continued on the 15th of each month until July 15, 1963. The August 15, 1963 issue of Shotgun News carried a Greeley Arms Co. advertisement that listed only surplus GI rifle parts and M1 Garands. The M1 Carbines, carbine barrels, and surplus M1 Carbine parts were conspicuously absent, as were any further Greeley Arms ads afterwards.

Beginning in the January 1963 issue of Shooting Times magazine Powder Horn in South Plainfield, NJ began advertising M1 Carbines for sale. South Plainfield is adjacent Middlesex, NJ. The distance between Plainfield Machine and Powder Horn was less than 4 miles. In the mid 1960's Larry Ruth, author of War Baby! Volumes I & II, wrote to Plainfield Machine requesting information. The response he received was from Powder Horn.


Shooting Times January 1, 1963

Powder Horn continued handling Plainfield Machine's retail contacts until approximately 1967, after which Plainfield sold factory direct, mail order, and through distributors and wholesalers.

The supervising machinist throughout most of Plainfield's carbine history was Jim McNultey. McNulty constructed most of the prototypes and organized the machines and machining protocols necessary for full scale production. Experimentation and prototypes were not uncommon at Plainfield Machine. In 1963 the company experimented with, and manufactured for a short production run during the D series, eliminating the recoil plate and replacing it with an extension at the rear of the receiver. They went back to the use of the recoil plate after several hundred receivers. The change to and from the recoil plate is covered in more detail on the pages devoted to Carbines, Parts, and Markings.

In 1963 the company introduced their first carbines chambered for the 5.7mm Johnson cartridge which Plainfield called the 22 PMC. The cartridge had been developed by Col. Melvin Johnson USMC (ret.), founder and owner of Johnson Guns in Hamden, CT (later became Johnson Arms in New Haven, CT) as a more effective cartridge than the .30 caliber M1 Carbine cartridge and suitable for the military, police, and hunting. From 1962-1964 Johnson attempted to start mass production of his own carbines for this cartridge, using converted M1 Carbines for evaluation purposes. Bruce Canfield in his book Johnson's Rifles and Machine Guns (p. 243) related Johnson was unable to start production due to unreliable suppliers giving Johnson's company a lower priority than their domestic sales and "off shore" military sales. Though Canfield doesn't name Plainfield Machine, the words "off shore military sales" were almost a hallmark of Plainfield's marketing material during the 1960's. Johnson died in 1965 and his sons continued operating his business, manufacturing and converting carbines in 5.7mm Johnson (by then called the .22 Spitfire) for the commercial domestic market. Of interest is the 5.7mm Johnson/.22 Spitfire/.22 PMC cartridge was not manufactured by any of the major ammunition manufacturers and was being sold by Johnson Guns/Johnson Arms.


Plainfield 1966-1969

Gun Digest is a yearly publication devoted to firearms and hunting that lists new and current production firearms. Carbines manufactured by Plainfield first appear in the 1966 Edition. In the 1967 Edition (published in late 1966) (p. 237-242) is an article devoted to the M1 Carbine's continued popularity. Plainfield is quoted as stating "It sells guns [carbines] to Formosa, Lebanon, the Philippines, and South Viet Nam in M-2 version, and stays busy furnishing complete rifles to a few mail order houses and barrel actions to several specialty carbineer's making 22 wildcat versions".

Stories of Plainfield Machine providing carbines to the U.S. Government for use by American troops in Vietnam most likely come from American soldiers having acquired Plainfield carbines from the South Vietnamese military. One such case has been verified by a family member who shared the photograph below. Their father had served as an American advisor to the South Vietnamese Army in the early to mid 1960's. He acquired his Plainfield paratrooper model during combat action from a South Vietnamese officer who had been mortally wounded.


U.S. Special Forces Advisor with "Paratrooper" model Plainfield M1 Carbine acquired from South Vietnamese officer
South Vietnam April 1966

In addition to the countries above, carbines manufactured by Plainfield have been discovered amongst U.S. M1 Carbines returned to the U.S. from Greece, Italy, and El Salvador. They have also been observed in the possession of soldiers in Mexico.

Rioting broke out in Newark, NJ in July 1967 and spilled over into adjacent cities. Plainfield Machine provided carbines to various police agencies and officers during the riots. On Saturday July 15, 1967 Plainfield Machine was broken into and 46 carbines were stolen. The stolen guns were passed out to men on the streets of Plainfield that night. This was one of several break-ins that occurred at Plainfield Machine over the years.

On April 7, 1969 black activist Angela Davis purchased a Plainfield Machine Paratrooper model M1 Carbine s/n 18504 at Western Surplus in Los Angeles [Long Beach Independent, 07 Apr 1972]. This carbine was recovered in Marin County, CA on August 7, 1970. Along with others guns it had been smuggled into the Marin County courthouse by Jonathan Jackson, where Jackson and a second suspect "rescued" an associate on trial for robbery. During the "rescue" attempt the three suspects took the entire court hostage and after negotiations with police were provided with a van. As the suspects entered the van with the judge as a hostage a gunfight with police ensued, the judge was shot and killed by one suspect with a sawed off shotgun and all three suspects were killed by police.

At the time of Marin County courthouse shootout Jackson's older brother, George Jackson, co-founder of the Marxist Black Guerilla Family, was imprisoned in California's Soledad State Prison. After killing a prison guard the elder Jackson was transferred to San Quentin State Prison where he was shot and killed August 21, 1971 during an armed prison escape attempt by a prison guard armed with an M1 Carbine manufactured by National Ordnance.

In April 1972 a jury acquitted Angela Davis of conspiracy charges in connection with the Marin County shootout, charges brought against Davis for having purchased a revolver and the carbine used by the suspects [Long Beach Independent 07 Apr 1972].


Marin County Courthouse Shootout
August 7, 1970

In 1968 Military Armament Corporation (MAC) in Georgia was contracted by the U.S. Government to produce a silenced 9mm carbine for use in Vietnam. MAC obtained the carbines for this project from Plainfield Machine. Between 1968 and 1970 MAC redesigned and converted no more than 50 of these carbines to single shot 9mm carbines fitted with suppressors manufactured by Sionics in Atlanta, GA [War Bay Volume II page 562-563].


Plainfield 1970-1974

By the early 1970's four additions had been added to the Plainfield Machine facility for a total of approximately 17,000 sq ft with 35-40 employees. Production of M1 Carbines was 50-60 a day. During this time period Plainfield was contracted to manufacture 5,000 M1 Carbines complete with 5000 sets of bandoleers, 5000 cleaning kits, 5000 slings, and 15,000 magazines for the Panama National Guard.

On October 12, 1972 the London Daily Express reported a special investigation into the sources for weapons of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) revealed many of the weapons were purchased in the U.S.A. and illegally smuggled into Northern Ireland. One seizure by British soldiers in Ulster included 160 M1 Carbines manufactured during WWII for the U.S. Government, Universal Firearms, and Plainfield Machine. Separate sources have shown the officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary were armed with M1 Carbines during the same time period before switching to the Ruger Mini-14 later in the 1970's.

Gun Digest 1973 p. 246 indicates Plainfield Machine Co. announced the design of a new handgun line at the 1972 National Sporting Goods Association Show. On display was a prototype of the Model 71, a compact semi-automatic pistol chambered in .22 long rifle. Plainfield indicated they were working on a second, the Model 72. The handguns were designed by Gary Wilhelm who had also designed semi-automatic pistols being manufactured and sold by High Standard. Wilhelm applied for a patent for the design of the Models 71 and 72 on Sep 24, 1971 and was issued patent number 3728939 on April 24, 1973.

The handgun line was sold under the revived Plainfield Ordnance name and manufactured within the Plainfield Machine facility used to manufacture their carbines with a post office box in Middlesex, NJ used as the Plainfield Ordnance business address. At the time the handgun line was introduced the Plainfield logo was changed and used for both Plainfield Machine and Plainfield Ordnance.

Plainfield Machine actively experimented with a variety of firearm designs including variations of their carbines. One such design utilized the Model 71 handgun with a 12" barrel and removable rifle stock and scope. This design has been likened by one of the Plainfield machinists of the time to "the convertible guns that you would see in the spy movies ... very much like the prop used on Man From Uncle only that it was a real firing weapon". The design never went into production.

During the early to mid 1970's Plainfield teamed up with inventor John L. Hill of Houston, TX and his Hill submachine gun. This weapon was unrelated to their carbine or carbine production and Hill had been working on the design since at least 1949 (Patent # 2624241, Patent # 2773325, Patent # 2882635, Patent # 3064382). The design was unique as it utilized one of the first top-mounted, cross-axis feed magazines with ejection of spent casings through the bottom of the handgrip.


Hill SMG
Gun Digest
1962

Plainfield Machine Co. marketed it as the PMC/Hill SMG in both 9x19mm and .380 ACP. A detachable tubular stock was added, magazine capacity was 30rds. The cyclic rate was reported as 400rpm for both models. The 9x19mm model was 20.5" long w/o the stock and 30" with it attached. The .380 was 4.5" shorter overall. Both had 8" barrels. The 9x19mm model weighed 5 pounds, and the .380 model was one pound lighter [Daniel E. Watters, 13 February 2007; later known as the Hill H15 SMG].

Unfortunately for Plainfield, flaws in the design were not able to be corrected and the impact of the financial burden associated with this project caused the subsequent demise of their carbine production. [War Baby Comes Home by Larry Ruth, Volume II, p. 751]


Plainfield 1975-1978

In the April 1984 issue of The American Rifleman appears the article A Fresh Start for Iver Johnson by Pete Dickey. The article provides a brief history of the Iver Johnson name and the sale of the company by Louis Imperato to Arkansas investors in 1982. A time line indicates Louis Imperato purchased Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works in 1973 and changed the name to Iver Johnson Arms in 1975. Within the 1975 heading, following the name change: "Acquired Plainfield Machine Co. of Middlesex, NJ, makers of M1 Carbines". The next entry is 1977 and indicates the Iver Johnson firm was moved to Middlesex, NJ.

From one of the sons of William Haas who worked at Plainfield Machine at the time: "There were some tough years in the mid 70s and in early 77 we started to negotiate with Lou Imperato who had purchased Iver Johnsons Arms & Cycle Works several years earlier. Lou did not purchase the company [Plainfield Machine Co.] but only some of the assets. He purchased the building, most of the equipment, plus the carbine tooling & inventory. He did not want the pistol lines. Lou retained most of the factory personnel, maintained my father as basically head of Engineering, and I was made V.P. of Operation with total daily control of the facility in NJ. William Storck was not retained by Iver Johnsons. I then moved Iver Johnsons from Fitchburg, Mass into the Middlesex, NJ building in the fall of 77. I left [Iver Johnson] in the fall of 78."

New Jersey corporate records indicate Iver Johnson Arms was incorporated in New Jersey by Louis Imperato in November 1977 with an address of Wilton Ave. in Middlesex, NJ. This was the location of Plainfield Machine Company. The operations of Iver Johnson Arms are detailed on the pages devoted to their company and carbines elsewhere on this website.

The conflict as to the actual year of purchase is the subject of further research but it's clear the transition from Plainfield Machine M1 Carbines to Iver Johnson M1 Carbines occurred after moving what was left of Iver Johnson to New Jersey in the Fall of 1977. The records of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms showing yearly production for rifles since 1975 indicate Plainfield Machine manufactured 4,264 rifles in 1978 and in 1979 the company manufacturing handguns using the name Plainfield Ordnance. The same records indicate Iver Johnson manufactured no firearms in 1977 and 3,080 rifles in 1978. Data as to caliber or models was not collected.

In 1977 and 1978 Haas and Storck as Plainfield Ordnance continued to manufacture their handgun line in the same building as Iver Johnson produced the Iver Johnson carbines.

The first indication Iver Johnson's Arms was manufacturing carbines was an advertisement that was repeated in the October, November, and December 1978 issues of The American Rifleman.

The two Enforcer model carbines depicted below show one of the last Plainfield Machine Enforcers and one of the first Iver Johnson's Arms Enforcers. Notice the similarities. The Plainfield Enforcer has a serial number inconsistent with the serial numbers used by Plainfield Machine throughout their production 1962-1978. The serial number is preceded by the letters PP, which is consistent with Iver Johnson serial numbers which consisted of two or three letters followed by numbers. The PP appears to have been short lived and specific to the Plainfield Enforcers as the first Iver Johnson Enforcer carbines had a serial number starting with the letters EAA.


Box Lid

Box Lid

Notice the "PP30" on the receiver below "Dunellen"

Notice the "PP" on the receiver below "Arms"

The Plainfield Machine M1 carbine on the upper left had the following card inside the box.


Post Plainfield Machine Co.

In late 1978 William Haas and William Storck turned over the entire Plainfield Machine and Plainfield Ordnance facility to Iver Johnson.

Haas purchased the heat treating facility in Rahway, NJ that had been doing the heat treating on the Plainfield M1 Carbines and renamed it H&H Heat Treating Co., which Haas registered as a corporation (NJ Trademark) in November 1978.

By June 1979 Storck and his wife purchased a home at 16930 NW 14th Ave, Miami, FL, 33169. They resided at this location until they sold the home in November 1986 and returned to New Jersey. One of the sons of William Haas, a nephew of Storck, related Storck had moved to Florida and did work for Universal Firearms and their carbines. A tool and die employee at Universal recalled an elderly man named Bill (Jersey accent) who began meeting occasionally with Abe Seiderman (owner of Universal Firearms) in the 1980-1983 time period. The employee was advised that Bill was a technical consultant. Universal ceased operations in Florida in 1984 when the company was moved to Jacksonville, AR. Refer to the pages on Universal Firearms for information on their operations.

William H. Storck passed away in New Jersey on July 21, 1992 at the age of 73.

From the newspaper The Milford Cabinet in Milford, NH on May 24, 2004

Obituaries
Week of Thursday, November 20, 2003

William Arthur Haas, 82, died Nov. 5, 2003, at his home in Dunellen, N.J.

Born in North Plainfield, N.J., he lived in North Plainfield for most of his life. He and his wife, Alice, lived in Wilton for six years before moving three years ago to Pluckemin, N.J., and most recently, Dunellen, a short time ago.

Prior to his retirement in 1990, Mr. Haas owned and operated H&H Heat Treating Co. in Rahway, N.J. He was also founder and owner of the Plainfield Machine Co. in Middlesex, N.J.

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V
History
of
Plainfield Machine Co.
1951-1978
Serial Numbers
&
Dates of Manufacture
Models
&
Flier/Manual
Downloads
Receivers
&
Markings
Parts
&
Markings