Guns I Wanted

It is funny to notice how things change.  When I was an early teenager, I wanted a rifle that I could strap onto my backpack and cart around in the woods, should I encounter a rabid dog, black bear, or invading communist Red-Dawn style.  I spent many a summer nights in the backyard tent in Westminster, MD, and in the woods of Jersey, VA, setting up tents, tearing them down, and hiking about, mostly carrying a pellet rifle.

The two rifles of most interest were the M1 Carbine and the Marlin Camp Carbine series.  I was drawn to pistol calibers for their likelihood of being stopped by trees, should I have to fire in a tense situation.

I first saw the M1 Carbine in an issue of Shotgun News for the whopping dealer price of $225.  I figured for $300, I could get one with a sling, several spare magazines, and enough ammunition to practice and stay locked and loaded (in 1993ish prices).

The Camp Carbines were found only in The Shooter’s Bible, and I never saw one in person.  I wanted the .45 ACP version, as it used the same magazines as the 1911, and I figured that would be my first handgun, if I could find one.  The Shooter’s Bible had a high retail price, probably $600-700, but they always do.

Years later, I fired my first M1 Carbine at my very first Civilian Marksmanship Program shoot.  Not only was the short sight radius troublesome, but it was quite underpowered, as I found out with bullet drop at longer ranges.  It is a neat piece of history, and I wouldn’t mind getting one, but it is certainly not the “Go-To” gun I had thought it would be.  Plus, the price has skyrocketed on them, as they aren’t being imported from allied countries (for sale at the CMP Store) very quickly.

I never did get or fire a Camp Carbine 45.  I did, however, get a Camp Carbine 9.  One appeared, as a friend of mine was moving out of the country, and couldn’t take it with him.  I bought it right away.   As it turns out, it is not quite as utilitarian as I had hoped, either.  The first problem I had was that recoil buffer failed, and it would not feed.  I had that rebuilt, and my gunsmith said that the .45 version chews up buffers, and there is nothing that can be done about it.  The 9mm version is a little easier on the buffer, and he machined one from a different material that should last much longer.  Also, I was surprised at how much recoil there was with “only” a 9mm.  I did also buy a Smith and Wesson 5906, which uses the same magazines.

Overall, everything these rifles do, my AR-15 does better.  I do love my Camp Carbine, mostly as a childhood wish come true, but my AR is much more utilitarian.

Thank you for reading my post.

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