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Rare & Early WWII Quality Hardware M1 Carbine

Product Description

Rare and Very Early WWII Quality Hardware M1 Carbine c. March 1943

Please check out my website at newmarketarms.com for this and other antique military firearms.

See Photos Here

This is an excellent condition and scarce early WWII M1 Carbine manufactured by the Quality Hardware and Machine Company, of Chicago, Illinois.

This M1 Carbine’s serial number is 1555722, which places the date of production in early 1943. This M1 is very early in Quality Hardware’s first assigned serial number block, which ran from 1,550,000 to 1,662,519, and was Quality Hardware’s 5,723rd carbine manufactured. It is likely that this particular carbine was manufactured in March 1943 as the company only manufactured less than 1,500 in January 1942 for testing and only 513 in February 1943 because of a lack of barrels. Quality Hardware only manufactured 359,666 M1 Carbines during WWII, or only 5,9 percent of total carbine production, and they were unique in that they were the only M1 Carbine subcontractor who only manufactured one component, the receiver (and spring tube), with all other parts being manufactured by further subcontractors.

Quality Hardware operated out of a plant located on Ravenswood Avenue and was originally established in 1914 as a retail hardware store by Hilding and Leonard Laystrom. The Laystrom brothers added a machine shop in 1919. Prior to WWII, Quality Hardware designed and manufactured tools and dies as well as the development and production of specialty machinery and stampings.

Shortly after the United States entered WWII, Quality Hardware began to work on the design and development of items for the Army Air Force and Ordnance Department. Quality Hardware even did some limited work on the Manhattan Project.

With the advent of the M1 Carbine program in early 1942, Quality Hardware was initially approached by the Ordnance Department to participate in the program but the company declined since they were then working on the redesign of the Spanish Star Model S.I. 35 submachine gun to accept the US .45 ACP cartridge. As a result, the Ordnance Department planned to award a carbine production contract with the General Fireproofing Company with Quality Hardware serving as a subcontractor. General Fireproofing proved to be a problematic contractor and they quickly lost their M1 Carbine contract. Quality Hardware then began to lobby the Ordnance Department for an opportunity to become a prime subcontractor for the Carbine program. The Ordnance Department felt Quality Hardware was a logical choice for the carbine program and awarded the company an initial contract for the production of 175,000 carbines on March 21, 1942 at a unit price of $50.45 per carbine. See “War Baby!”, Larry L. Ruth, author, Collector Grade Publications, 2012.

Like several of the M1 Carbine manufacturers, Quality Hardware did not contract with the Ordnance Department to manufacture barrels but, instead, relied on the government free issue barrel program. Unique among contractors, however, was Quality Hardware’s decision to subcontract all carbine components except for the receiver, which was the most complicated to manufacture. Eventually, Quality Hardware engaged 62 subcontractors for the manufacture of various M1 Carbine components. Interestingly, Quality Hardware did not use its plant on Ravenswood Avenue for any carbine production. For all carbine related manufacturing, Quality Hardware used a factory it rented from the Dietzgen Company located on Fullerton Avenue in Chicago.

Quality Hardware’s initial carbine production contract was amended 22 times up through September 15, 1944 and the company eventually produced 359,666 carbines. The contract was terminated on May 1, 1944.

As noted, Quality Hardware did not manufacture its own barrels but, instead, relied on other companies’ barrels under the government free issue barrel program. At the beginning of production, Quality Hardware intended to rely heavily on Rock-Ola for barrels since they were also located in Chicago. This carbine has its original Rock-Ola barrel with the correct long skirt and contains the standard “ROCK-OLA” stamp on the barrel over the barrel date, “2-43.” There is a firing proof "P" on the top of the barrel approximately 6 1/2" from the muzzle. The Gas Piston is in the white and is correctly unmarked. The Gas Piston Nut retains 90% of its blued finish and is staked into place at the 5 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. The Gas Cylinder is also marked “ROCK-OLA” on the right side just above and to the right of a Rockwell Hardness Test punch mark. The Barrel gauges at approximately 0.5 at the muzzle and has a mirror bore with strong rifling. The Barrel retains approximately 95% of its parkerized finish. The breech face remains in the white. There is no wear on the barrel from a later Type III barrel band.

The Receiver is the very early Type A with the detachable operating slide spring housing and it retains approximately 95% of its parkerized finish with thinning finish over the side rails and wear noted on the interior surfaces. The rear of the receiver has the crisply stamped “QUALITY H.M.C.” over the serial number, “1555722.” There is a Rockwell Hardness Test punch mark on top of the receiver forward of the rear sight base. The original operating slide spring housing retains 95% of its original parkerized finish and it is correctly marked with a “Q” on the end as it was the only other part manufactured by Quality Hardware aside from the receiver.

The Operating Slide is the correct Type II with partial circular milled out portion of the back, top of the piston well that is marked with a “DA-Q” stamp on the inside, bottom of the piston well, indicating that it was manufactured for Quality Hardware by A. Dalkin and Company of Chicago. The Operating Slide retains approximately 90% of its parkerized finish with wear noted on all friction points and in the bolt lug recess. The Operating Slide Guide is the correct type with flat tip and it retains 85% of its dark finish. The Guide Spring is still correctly in the white and it maintains its tight coils on both ends.

The Bolt is the correct Type II Flat Bolt that is marked “EM-Q on the right locking lug, indicating it was manufactured under contract for Quality Hardware by the Elgin Metal Novelty Company of Elgin, Illinois. The bolt retains approximately 95% of its dark finish with wear on the friction points. The bolt face is very clean and it retains the majority of its dark finish. The Firing Pin is the correct Type I, that is marked on the left, rear side with a “NL-Q” stamp, indicating it was manufactured under contract for Quality Hardware by the National Lock Company of Rockford, Illinois. The Firing Pin retains 95% of its original blued finish. The Extractor is a correctly marked “IN” Type III flat tip type manufactured by Inland Division of General Motors, who provided numerous parts to Quality Hardware during production. The Extractor retains approximately 95% of its blued finish. The Extractor Plunger is the correct Type III with the modified flat half cone that retains the majority of its original dark blued finish. The Ejector is the correct, early Type I with the three bevels on the face and it retains considerable original blued finish. The Ejector Spring remains in the white.

The Trigger Housing is the correct, and scarce, milled Type II single bevel housing with the wide magazine wall with the “Q-NL” stamp on the left, rear side as manufactured by the National Lock Company. The “Q-NL” stamp was only used very early in Quality Hardware M1 Carbine production. The Trigger Housing retains the majority of its parkerized finish and there is only a hammer impact mark for the Type II hammer. The Trigger is the correct Type II that is marked with the “LT-Q” on the leg, indicating it was manufactured for Quality Hardware by the Ludlow Typograph Company of Chicago. The Trigger retains the majority of its dark finish with wear on the trigger face. The Trigger Spring is the correct 2nd Type with two coils in the center and no bends at the open (cut) end and it remains in the white.

The Sear is the correct Type II with no hole that is marked with the “GE-Q” stamp on the top, indicating it was manufactured by the Gerrard Company of Chicago for Quality Hardware. The sear retains the majority of its dark finish. The Sear Spring remains in the white and has 16 coils that taper at the end.

The Hammer is the correct Type II dog leg hammer that is marked with a “Q-LT” stamp on the left side as manufactured for Quality Hardware by the Ludlow Typograph Company. The Hammer retains the majority of its parkerized finish with wear noted on the face.

The Magazine Catch is the correct Type III with a short, un-serrated face and thick wall. The Magazine Catch retains 95% of its parkerized finish with wear on the sharp edges and is marked with the “LT-Q”, indicating it was manufactured for Quality Hardware by the Ludlow Typograph Company. The Safety is the correct Type II "push-button" type with the smooth, un-checkered face and the oval and dimpled plunger recess that retains approximately 95% of its parkerized finish and it correctly unmarked. The Hammer Spring Plunger retains the majority of its original blued finish and the Hammer Spring, which remains in the white, is the correct early type containing 22 coils.

The Magazine Catch/Safety Plungers both retain the majority of their original blued finish and the plunger spring remains in the white and has 6 exposed coils. The Magazine Catch Plunger also retains the majority of its original blued finish and the spring, which remains in the white, has 18 coils.

The Rear Sight is the correct and early Type I “flip type” sight marked with an “S” on the left side base and “GE-Q on the right side of the base. The Rear Sight Spring retains remnants of its original blued finish. The Aperture adjusts smoothly and the Rear Sight Pin is correctly staked. There is one punch stake mark on the receiver dovetail at the right rear. The Front Sight is the correct and early milled type that is marked with a “JQ” on the top, indicating it was manufactured for Quality Hardware by the O. D. Jennings Company of Chicago. The Front Sight is still tightly secured to the barrel and it has its original stake marks on both sides of the pin. The front sight retains 98% of its original parkerized finish.

The Stock is the very rare, correct and fine condition Type I, low-wood stock with the “I-Cut” oiler cutout. The right side of the stock contains the correct and rare “giant wheel” Ordnance Cartouche. Inside the sling well is the sans serif “RMC” stamp, indicating the stock was manufactured for Quality Hardware by Rock-Ola. The stock has normal dings and scratches from use but no cracks or chips noted. The Butt Plate retains the majority of its parkerized finish. The Butt Plate is retained by a fine condition single slot screw. The original Recoil Plate is the very rare and very early Type II marked “Q-RO” on the bottom, indicating manufacture for Quality Hardware by H. B. Rouse & Company of Chicago.

The Handguard is the correct and early Type I Handguard with two rivets. The handguard is marked with an Ordnance Bomb stamp on the bottom left and vertically stamped “RMC” on the bottom right indicating that it was also manufactured Rock-Ola for Quality Hardware.

The Barrel Band is the correct Type I early band marked that is correctly unmarked with the wide swivel that is also unmarked. Both the band and swivel retain the majority of their dark parkerized finish.

The M1 also comes with a scarce and original Quality Hardware 15-round Magazine that retains 95% of its blued finish. The Magazine is the early type with the Type II flat floor plate that is marked with sans serif “UQ” on the spine indicating it was manufactured by the Union Hardware Company for Quality Hardware.

This M1 Carbine headspaces correctly using Clymer .30 Carbine “GO” and “NO GO” gauges and it functions perfectly.

This carbine is C&R eligible and will come shipped in a new Plano rifle hard case. This carbine will also come with a historic writeup and a CD containing all of the photos in the listing. I accept Visa and MasterCard and charge NO FEES. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like additional photos posted.

 

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