The Inseparable Winchester M1 Carbines
By Joel Kolander
Time is a relentless force. Marching on and on, it never throws things back into order (or so says the second law of thermodynamics if you’re into that sort of thing). Which is why when you find something that has resisted this ceaseless onslaught to remain ordered and organized, it is a rare thing indeed. Let us introduce you to three such M1 carbines in our May 2017 Premiere Firearms Auction.
Not only are these three very collectible U.S. military arms Winchesters, increasing their desirability even further, but they remain in pristine condition, and in their original shipping crate. How can you tell it’s the original shipping crate? The packaging list that identifies the original contents is still affixed to the box and legibly lists all ten serial numbers of the original occupants.
As you can tell by the serial numbers listed, the M1 carbines in this crate are very late production models. In fact, they were produced so late as to run concurrently with the M2 Automatic carbine, the full auto version of the M1 carbine. Originally, the pinewood crate would have contained 10 M1 carbines, as the packing list indicates. Two more carbines would fit in-between the three shown and face the opposite direction. Then, more dividers would be placed on top of these bottom five, and five more carbines would be placed on top to complete the shipment. Other accouterments would have also had a spot in the crate, though I am unable to find out how those were packed as of this writing. Perhaps a knowing veteran would care to describe it in the comments?
Knowing that these three Winchester M1 carbines have stayed with their original shipping crate for so long, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise that they remain in immaculate condition. The official catalog description explains it by stating, “the carbines retain the majority of a protective plastic film, effectively making them about as close to ‘factory new’ as you’ll ever see.” Having inspected the carbines personally, I can say they’re right. The wood is near perfect and a new benchmark for what to look for in future M1 carbine purchases. The parkerized finish is 99% present and bears only slight handling marks on all the carbines, an impressive feat considering they were certainly not coddled in their military days. The Winchester range of rifles produced in this serial range, the penultimate range of all military contract produced of M1 carbines, places their manufacture date approximately in January 1945.
How these pieces of U.S. military history remain together, let alone in such immaculate condition, is a mystery that borders on divine intervention. Maybe with a few prayers of your own you’ll be lucky enough to add these extraordinary pieces of U.S. military history to your own collection and can begin a search for the other occupants. Good luck!