Disassembly: U.S. Rifle M1 Carbine

The U.S. made M1 Carbine is a wonderful and reliable curio.  It’s also made of about a bajillion tiny parts.  Grab a magnetic tray and some hand tools and we’ll try to get you through this will all your fingernails and a minimum of cursing.  No promises on the bolt though.

Section I: The Field Strip

Parts Guide:

  1. Receiver
  2. Handguard
  3. Stock
  4. Barrel Band
  5. Barrel Band Screw
  6. Band Spring
  7. Operating Slide
  8. Bolt
  9. Trigger Housing
  10. Trigger Housing Pin
  11. Recoil Spring
  12. Recoil Spring Guide

Steps to Field Strip:

1. Remove the magazine and open the Bolt to make certain there are no rounds in the rifle.  Once sure you may close the Bolt.  Safety First!

2. Unscrew the Barrel Band Screw.  You should not have to remove it completely, just loosen it nearly all the way.






3. Depress the Band Spring  with a punch and use a non-marring hammer to tap the Barrel Band down the barrel.

4. Remove the Handguard up and out of the way.

5. Remove the Receiver and barrel from the Stock by pulling up and then out.  You may set the Stock aside.

6. Drift out the Trigger Housing Pin with a punch.

7. Remove the Trigger Housing from the Receiver by pulling straight back and then pulling away.





8. Pull back on the tip of the Recoil Spring Guide, compressing the Recoil Spring, and move it away from the recess in the Operating Slide.  Remove both the Recoil Spring and its Guide.





9. There is a notch along the Receiver that will allow you to release the Operating Slide.  Pull back on the Operating Slide slowly while pulling it rightward.  When it reaches the notch you will see it separate some from the Receiver.

10. Now push slowly forward on the Operating Slide while putting some counter-clockwise rotational force on it.  When the front of the Operating Slide reaches a notch on the underside left of the Receiver it will fall away.  You may set aside the Operating Slide.


11. Push the Bolt back all the way forward and in the locked position.  Now gently pull it rearwards while putting counter-clockwise rotational force on it.  When the left front lug of the Bolt reaches a gap in the Receiver it will disengage.  You may now pull it up and forward to remove.  If the rear snags, level the Bolt by rotating back clockwise and continue to pull forward.

Your M1 Carbine is now Field Stripped.  Reassembly is just the reverse.  You may have some trouble with the Operating Slide, just line up the Bolt‘s right lug at about the middle of its path.  Toe in the right side of the Operating Slide at the underside front first and then swing the left into the notch in the Receiver.  You can then gently move it forward or back to catch the notch at the top right side of the Receiver.



Section II: The Stock

Parts Guide:

  1. Stock
  2. Band Spring
  3. Recoil Plate
  4. Recoil Plate Screw
  5. Butt Plate
  6. Butt Plate Screw

Steps to disassemble your stock:

1. Unscrew the Butt Plate Screw and remove the Butt Plate.





2. Unscrew the Recoil Plate Screw and remove the Recoil Plate.





3. You may press the Band Spring out of the stock with a punch from the left side.  It is not, however, recommended unless necessary.

Your stock is now disassembled.





Section III: The Trigger Housing

Parts Guide:

  1. Trigger Housing
  2. Trigger
  3. Trigger Spring
  4. Trigger Pin
  5. Hammer
  6. Hammer Spring
  7. Hammer Spring Plunger
  8. Hammer Pin
  9. Sear
  10. Sear Spring
  11. Safety Spring and Plunger
  12. Magazine Catch Spring and Plunger
  13. Safety
  14. Magazine Catch


Steps to Disassemble the Trigger Housing:

1. Hold the Hammer firmly and squeeze the Trigger. Let the Hammer forward softly.






2. Insert a punch with as close a diameter as possible into the hole at the front of the Hammer Spring Plunger.  Do not let your punch extend very far from the other side or it will get in your way.

3. Use your punch to compress the Hammer Spring and move it left or right, away from the Hammer.  Once it is clear you can ease the tension off and remove the Hammer Spring and Plunger.



4. Drift out the Hammer Pin and remove the Hammer.






5. Drift out the Trigger Pin.  Tip the Trigger Housing over to let the Sear fall out.  The Sear Spring may fall out now or become snagged in the Trigger.  If it snags just keep an eye on it and pull it out after the next step.




6. Push the Trigger up and tilt back on it to disengage from the Trigger Spring and remove the Trigger from the gun.

7. Remove the Trigger Spring.  If you cannot reach it you may push it from behind with a punch through the hole in the Trigger Housing.




8. Note the hole at the base of the Trigger Housing.  This allows you to reach the Safety Spring Plunger.  Using a slim punch or flat screwdriver depress the Safety Spring Plunger and hold it back.





9. Press the Magazine Catch to the right and remove it.  You may also remove the Magazine Catch Spring and Plunger and tug out the Safety Spring and Plunger.





10. Press on the left side of the Safety to drive it out.

Your Trigger Housing is now disassembled.  Reassembly is just the reverse.






There is a special tool for helping replace the Trigger Spring but C&Rsenal has pioneered an easy way using pliers and a small zip tie.  Just thread the zip tie through the spring and then lock it in a loose band.  Push this through the hole at the rear of the Trigger Housing as you seat the Trigger Spring.  Then grab the zip tie from the other side with a set of pliers and roll it up like spaghetti, tightening the Trigger Spring into place.



Section IV: The Bolt

Parts Guide:

  1. Bolt
  2. Firing Pin
  3. Ejector and Spring
  4. Extractor
  5. Extractor Spring
  6. Extractor Spring Plunger

Steps to disassemble your bolt:

This is a good time to point out that there is a tool designed just for this operation.  If you have the patience, cash, and desire it makes this 1,000 times easier.  If you have a padded vice this could also be easier.  We have opted, however, to attempt the simple hand tools method.  It does work but may require some extra cursing.

1. Let’s just look at this bolt first.  What we are attempting to do is to is drive out the Extractor (A).  It would push right out but it is held in place by the  Extractor Spring Plunger (B).  We will need to depress the Extractor Spring Plunger while pressing out the Extractor.  It is an incredibly simple concept with an incredibly difficult effort.

2. Make room and get a white surface.  Invariably one or more parts are going to let themselves loose as you take this down.  They are small and under pressure.  Best if you can get some books or other material high around what you are doing but it isn’t 100% necessary.

3. Using a small, flat screwdriver depress the Extractor Spring Plunger.  If possible wedge it in there.

4. Now drive out the Extractor.  We have heard of people using a punch but it seems too hard to control freehand.  Instead we opted to lever it out with another, slightly larger screwdriver.  CAUTION This is the hard part.  You’re trying to push down on the plunger and lever the extractor at the same time and it will take some force.  These are small parts and when it finally gives you’re going to invariably over muscle it and things will go flying.  There are two components to worry about.  The Extractor Spring Plunger, which will generally just drop straight down as it does not have that much tension but may still fly a bit.  It is probably the tiniest military gun part you have ever handled so try not to lose it.  The other concern is the Ejector and its spring flying out as a unit.  When we did the breakdown we found it not much a bother to keep a finger over the Ejector but we’ve seen people go ahead and tape it down before the disassembly.

5. Find the Extractor Spring Plunger.  It has invariably fallen out during step 4.  Before panicking check within six inches of the bolt in all directions as it is rare that it goes far.

6. You may now simply pull out the Ejector and the Ejector Spring, the Extractor Spring, and the Firing Pin.  Remember, there is no firing pin spring, so you didn’t lose it.

Your bolt is now disassembled. Reassembly is just the reverse. This will require a balancing act.  We recommend lining up the Extractor Spring Plunger then replacing the Ejector.  Depress the Ejector into place and insert and hold the Extractor deep enough to hold Ejector in place.  Now depress the Extractor Spring Plunger and drive the Extractor home.  Very easy to say, very hard to do.  We did it twice for the shoot, so we feel your pain.



Section V: The Operating Slide and the Gas Piston

This one is a combination of two short segments

Parts List:

  1. Operating Slide
  2. Slide Lock
  3. Slide Lock Spring
  4. Barrel
  5. Gas Piston
  6. Gas Piston Nut

Steps to disassemble the operating slide and the gas piston.



1. Drift out the Slide Lock with a punch.  Drive from the top down.

2. Use a small punch or pin to fish out the Slide Lock Spring from the Operating Slide.





3. Pick up the Barrel and locate the Gas Piston on the underside.

4. Use a screwdriver or wide punch to unscrew the Gas Piston Nut.  If it does not rotate easily you may need to invest in a gas piston nut tool which is specially made to remove this part.

5. Remove the Gas Piston.

You have now disassembled both the gas piston and the operating slide.


Section VI: The Sights

It is not recommended to remove the sights on an M1 carbine without specialty tools.  Removing the front sight will enable you to remove the bayonet lug.  The rear sight can be removed by drifting it left or right with a special vice.  The front has a horizontal pin that you may drift out.  The front side and bayonet lug can be removed down the front of the barrel afterwards.



Section VII: The Magazine

Parts List:

  1. Magazine Body
  2. Magazine Floorplate
  3. Magazine Spring
  4. Follower





1. Use a punch to drive out the Magazine Floorplate out of the front of the Magazine Body.

2. Remove the Magazine Spring and Follower.

Your magazine is disassembled.




That’s it!  If you have any trouble or questions let us know in the comments below.

You can read more about the M1 Carbine here

If you have any further questions or comments about this article please comment in our forum by clicking this sentence.


5 Responses to “Disassembly: U.S. Rifle M1 Carbine”

  1. Ben Miles says:

    This page was fantastic. I will definitely buy some specialty tools to do the disassemble with. Hope there is a assembly page!

  2. Nelson Tolar says:

    Your disassembly instructions were great for the bolt. It came apart very easy and good thing, it was filthy to the point that the firing pin was stuck by all the accumulated yuck from being stored in a closet for 20 years. Got it cleaned. Then came the good part, PUTTING THIS INANIMATE OBJECT WITH A LIFE OF IT’S OWN BACK TOGETHER.

    You failed to mention that reassembly would require three men, a peg legged sailor, two lawyers and a dog.

    I was immediately made aware of the requirement that in order to reassemble this bolt, I was going to have to have, at minimum, 2 sets of hands. To start the exercise, I spent 2 hrs. on my hands and knees on a concrete floor of my garage with a 2 ft. long magnet sweeping the floor for the ejector plunger. Once I found the plunger, the spring took on a life of its own and decided to go for a walk-a-bout also, so, 2 more hours on my hands and knees with the magnet and cussing the gunsmith that designed this thing in 7 different languages.

    This was when I decided to take matters in my own hands and get serious. This monster was not going to defeat me. So, I mixed a good stiff rum and tonic and set about to figure out how this was going to have to go down if I was to be successful.

    1. Problem 1- In order to reassemble the bolt you have to compress the ejector plunger, insert the firing pin, then lock the ejector plunger and firing pin in place with the extractor. The extractor plunger (the design of which has to have sadistic origins) and its spring have to be compressed at the same time.
    2. Problem 2- Do this without the assistance of the special tool and/or extra hands?
    3. Solution – After attempting several methods that resulted in more sweeps of the garage with the magnet, more cussing, I deduced that the only way I was going to get this thing back together was to come up with a way of keeping the ejector plunger compressed with the firing pin installed. I tried a C-clamp. It landed off center resulting in more sweeps of the floor. I tried using a vice with padded jaws. This won’t work because the bolt has to be near vertical to install the extractor plunger and extractor.

    a. I inserted the firing pin and taped it in place with masking tape.
    b. Using the vise with padded jaws, I pushed down on the ejector plunger with a punch and inserted the extractor without the extractor plunger/spring, locking the ejector plunger and firing pin in place.
    c. I then stacked (3) #6 flat washers on top of the ejector plunger. (Washers needed to keep the plunger compressed)
    d. I then used a tie wrap wrapped around the bolt length wise and pulled it tight to compress the ejector plunger. Extractor was free to move now without losing the position of the ejector plunger.
    e. Inserted the extractor plunger and spring (make sure the notch is facing to the right looking at the bolt)
    f. Inserted the extractor and used a machinist awl to push down on the extractor plunger (in the notch) and, voila, extractor went home on the first try.

    • M. Basjoo says:

      Nelson Tolar: Invest in a bolt disassembly tool. You can pick one up through Riverbank Armory. Or Amazon. Or Ebay.

      Worth every penny.

  3. Nelson Tolar says:

    Here are links to the photos that accompany my previous reply
    Copy/paste to address bar

  4. Bob C says:

    Loose the gloves and touch that little beauty. LOL

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