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


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Part III: Universal Sale and Universal Redux


The End of Universal Firearms of Hialeah, Florida

Ruth indicates "In 1983 100% of Universal Firearms was sold to Lynn Lloyd of Little Rock, AR, becoming part of the Iver Johnson's Arms acquisitions". This is a good starting point for the information now available.

The Florida corporate records for Dynamic Merchandise 1970-1983 show Abe Seiderman first as Vice-President, than as President. In February 1983 Abe Seiderman paid the 1983 corporate taxes for Dynamic Merchandise. All other names present on this document were lined out, and consisted of the prior management. In March 1983 Dynamic Merchandise canceled the "Universal Firearms" trademark. Production of all of Universal's products ceased.

Keep in mind that what appears next in the Florida records happens over two years later and over the course of about 2 months

In May 1985 Dynamic Merchandise paid a reinstatement fee to Florida, along with taxes for 1984 and 1985. The annual report for 1985 identified the President as Glenn Barber and Secretary as Mickey McSpadden, both of 2202 Redmond Rd in Jacksonville, AR. The Chairman of the Board was identified as Phillip L. Lloyd of Little Rock, AR.

In June 1985 Phillip Lynn Lloyd incorporated Dynamic Merchandise in Arkansas. In August 1985 Florida received Articles of Merger from Dynamic Merchandise of Florida indicating the company was merging with Iver Johnson Arms, Inc. of Arkansas and that Dynamic Merchandise had ceased to exist. In July 1985 Florida received Articles of Merger from Dynamic Merchandise of Little Rock, AR for "Universal Firearms, Inc." to be merged into Jacksonville Ordnance Company of Jacksonville, AR. Universal Firearms of Hialeah, Florida ceased to exist.

The address 2202 Redmond Rd, Jacksonville, AR was the manufacturing facility of Iver Johnson's Arms for their M1 carbines. Jacksonville Ordnance Company was incorporated in Arkansas in June 1985 by a corporate attorney, using his office as the business address. This company appears to have existed on paper only. Keep reading.


Universal Redux

When Universal started production again, their operation was located at the Iver Johnson's Arms facility at 2202 Redmond Rd. in Jacksonville, AR. The carbines they produced remained separate from Iver Johnson's, and retained the Universal markings and model numbers used by Universal Firearms of Hialeah, FL. However, the number of models offered and the quantity produced was nowhere near what it had been in Hialeah, FL.

The information received by Ruth indicated it took the new owner and his management two years to recalibrate the machinery and start production again. The source also indicated none of the Universal employees stayed on with the company. The source did not indicate where the company was when it started production again. It appears the reason it took two years to start production again is the equipment was relocated to Jacksonville, AR from Hialeah, FL, and, none of the employees from Florida wanted to move to Arkansas with the company. Ruth indicates the new owners inability to retain any of the Universal employees was a significant factor in the new owner's inability to produce what once was.

"Iver Johnson's Universal Models"

ModelBarrel BandStockFinishDrill/TapScopeMisc.
1003 GI typeAmerican hardwood, metal handguardsatin blue, metal handguardyesnoGI model w/ no bayonet lug on band
 
1006 GI typeBirch, walnut opt., metal handguardStainless Steelyesno 
 
1256roundAmerican hardwoodhigh gloss bright blueyesyes1003 in caliber .256, no sights, tapered bbl
 
Enforcer 3000roundAmerican Walnut, metal handguardhigh gloss bright bluenonoblade front sight, L type fixed rear sight
 
5000 PTGI typefolding MP40 type, metal handguardsatin bluenonoparatrooper model
5006 GI typefolding MP40 type, metal handguardstainless steelnono5000 PT in stainless steel
5016 GI typefolding MP40 type, metal handguardsatin bluenono5000 PT with 16" barrel
Model Numbers do not appear on the carbines


Universal Model 5016 PT Paratrooper Carbine w/ MP40 style folding stock

If there is a way to distinguish these carbines from those manufactured before the takeover it has not been shared by those who know. Serial number 444,2xx was in the box and included the paperwork indicating Univeral Firearms/Dynamic Merchandise at their address in Hialeah. Serial number 455,2xx had the black Teflon-S finish, which does not appear to have been continued after the change of ownership.

One feature that may indicate the difference is the lever/pin that held the bolt open. The lever/pin with the ball on top lasted until at least serial number 464,7xx. By serial number 471,0xx this was changed to a straight lever/pin, without the ball on top.


Straight pin/lever (no ball on top), for locking slide back & bolt open

The highest serial number I have seen is 484,6xx. Second hand information, from another researcher, indicated the highest he had seen was in the 488,000 series.


Bankruptcy

In November 1986, less than two years after the corporate record changes show Universal had moved to Jacksonville, AR, Phillip Lynn Lloyd filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Little Rock. Phillip Lynn Lloyd had financed and/or owned a number of different companies, all of which went into Chapter 7 about the time he did.

Iver Johnson's Arms Inc. filed Chapter 11 in Little Rock in October 1986. Lloyd was one of several who owned the company. Iver Johnson's Arms Inc. survived, clearing Chapter 11 in May 1989. Universal was no longer part of their business. Further regarding Iver Johnson's history is documented on the web page devoted to the Iver Johnson's carbines.

Ruth's source indicated new machinery had been acquired by Universal after the company's purchase by Lloyd. This was not paid for in full and repossessed. The disposition of the machinery that had been in use before this new equipment, is not known. Because of the design of the Universal carbines the majority of their parts were not capable of being used on the Iver Johnson's carbines, or any other carbines. At some point in the 1990's many of Universal's spare gun parts showed up at Numrich Gun Parts in West Hurley, New York. Numrich purchases wholesale lots, often from companies that are going out of business. The Universal parts at Numrich can be viewed here: Numrich Gun Parts.

No further record of Universal Firearms has been found. Jacksonville Ordnance Company is not identified in any of the bankruptcy proceedings and, as of 2008, Arkansas corporate records indicate the company is still active. However, it does not appear to have ever existed.

In 2001 Phillip Lynn Lloyd was indicted and found guilty of failure to reveal all of his assets, along with perjury in his testimony to the Bankruptcy Court. Lloyd appealed his conviction and sentencing. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction but returned the case to the lower court for resentencing.

Ruth's source indicates Universal Firearms ceased to exist in 1987.


Known Issues with Universal's Carbines

Out of battery firing

This issue is not specific to the Universal carbines, contrary to many rumors circulating the internet. Several Universal carbines have experienced this (out of over 400,000 manufactured), but so have carbines manufactured by Iver Johnson, Auto Ordnance, and probably others. The cause of this malfunction is covered on the web page devoted to Safety Issues as it applies to all M1 carbines, including the original WWII GI carbines.

Excessive Wear on Parts

This is another issue not specific to Universal and discussed on the page devoted to Safety Issues. Many of the parts manufactured by many of the commercial carbine manufacturers were not hardened to GI specifications, causing the part to have a shortened life span that could lead to a safety issue.

Broken Slides

Universal carbines manufactured in the early to mid 1960's utilized GI surplus slides or commercial counterparts. When Universal changed their gas and recoil system they also changed from the GI style slide to the slide with the hole all the way through it where the bolt lug engaged the slide. This style slide was specific to Universal's carbines and was not interchangeable with any slides manufactured by any other company. Universal changed parts of the slide after adopting the hole, but the issue that has been consistent is cracks and breaks of the slide at the weak points around this hole. This is not a problem with every Universal carbine, but it has happened enough that it warrants periodical examination of the disassembled slide for cracks in the area surrounding the hole. The problem had to do with proper heat treatment of the slide.

Cracked or broken slides cannot be repaired, they must be replaced.

There are two separate sources for new replacement slides. One (Numrich) is less expensive than the other but the weld of the handle to the slide body is done in a manner that they will not have the lifespan of the other more expensive slide (BKHose). The weld on the more expensive slide is worth the extra money if you plan on keeping the gun. Having closely examined both I'd recommend going with the ones manufactured by BKHose.

Newly Manufactured Replacement Slides

Seller BKHose on Gunbroker

Numrich Gun Parts

Before you buy, make sure the slide you buy is the same type as the slide you are replacing. The Universal slides came in at least four different variations used at different times that are not interchangeable with one another.


GI slide (all variations mfg by original GI contractors are interchangeable ... very rarely break)


Universal slide with screw hole and removable key


Universal slide for round barrels

Universal slide for square barrels

Part I: The Early Years

Part II: Universal Changes

Part IV: Details on Specific Models