Harrell on the US M1 Carbine: Effectiveness, Accuracy, Relevance

   07.15.19

Harrell on the US M1 Carbine: Effectiveness, Accuracy, Relevance

In this video, Paul Harrell takes a close look at the US M1 Carbine, that handy and fast-handling short rifle that was adopted specifically to replace the 1911 in its role as a smaller alternative to a full-size battle rifle.

After a short intro, he begins by talking about the power (or lack thereof) of the 30 carbine cartridge, which is a diminutive round about the length of a 357 magnum, but considerably smaller in diameter.

This brings to mind a conversation I had with my father nearly 40 years ago. We were talking about the 30 carbine and I asked about using it for hunting. Dad said it was underpowered for deer. I thought it odd that a round designated for people-killing was not powerful enough to reliably take whitetail deer, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget his reply:

Son, people are easy to kill.

He expounded some on the toughness of deer and the psychiatric effect of being shot if you’re a human, and his point was made… especially as time went by and I grew up hunting and killing deer and learned how truly tough they can be.

Back to the video: After much discussion and point-making — all of which is worth listening to — Paul gets down to comparing actual effectiveness using his own personal yardstick: The meat target.

With comparable jacketed hollowpoint bullets, his carbine showed good effectiveness; with hardball (FMJ, or full metal jacket), it did not. So he decided to compare hardballs: 30 carbine vs 5.56 NATO.

The 5.56, which is essentially .22 caliber, produced much more damage with less penetration than the .30-cal carbine FMJ. This is of course due to the 5.56 bullet moving at a much faster speed than the 30 carbine slugs.

Next comes accuracy, and the 30 carbine did pretty well.

More facts follow: Weight of rifle, weight of ammo, and a bunch more stuff that gun people ought to be interested in.

So what’s the bottom line? Well, the M1 carbine is a nice little firearm which can get the job done with the right ammo, but if you’re shopping for a defensive rifle in a “military” caliber, you’re probably better off finding an AR in 5.56/223.

Enjoy the video.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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