Gun Review: Inland Mfg M1 Scout Carbine

Inland Manufacturing, distributed by MKS Supply, has specialized in historical reproduction firearms including the M1 Carbine, 1911, and M37 Trench Shotgun. While most are faithful reproductions, a couple models get the modern touch. Adding a forward Picatinny rail and 1/2-28 muzzle threads, the new M1 Scout Carbine balances historical looks with modern functionality.

The .30 Carbine has been in use since WWII. It fires a .308″-diameter projectile to the tune of about 975 ft-lbs of energy (110 grain bullet at nearly 2,000 fps). Which is actually about 125 ft-lbs less than a .357 Magnum out of a 16″ barrel. As you might guess, it didn’t always have the best reputation as a man stopper when compared to practically any other rifle round.

Of course, it’s also soft-shooting, fairly accurate, and chambered in a reliable, lightweight (~5.2 lb) little rifle that uses 15- or 30-round detachable box magazines. This at a time — late ’30’s early ’40’s — when the only other semi-auto battle rifles weighed at least twice as much and were fed from the top into a fixed, internal magazine.

Despite ballistic inadequacies the M1 Carbine’s handy size and weight has maintained its popularity among recreational shooters for plinking, CMP use, and general “ranch rifle” duty. Patty Hearst and Malcolm X were notoriously photographed with M1 carbines in-hand. In 2017, though, selling a wood stock rifle with meager iron sights and a pressed-on conical flash hider in a market filled with high-tech plastic fanstastics may be an uphill battle.

So what’s a girl to do? For starters, slap a Pic rail on it! Inland’s M1 Scout has a forward-mounted section of Picatinny rail that’s solid and long enough for a magnified scout scope or great for a red dot. An offset mount could also be used to attach a flashlight or other accessory. Opening the door to modern optics and accessories instantly brings this venerable gun into the 21st century.

The rail actually manages a relatively subtle look. It’s nice and low, and is finished in such a way that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Without an optic mounted, I don’t think it ruins the lines of the rifle at all, and the iron sights still remain fully visible and functional.

As on the M1 Jungle Carbine, with which this Scout shares most dimensions and features, a conical “flash hider” graces the muzzle. Unlike the historical examples, though, it isn’t pressed in place.

Rather, this [weird] muzzle device is threaded onto 1/2-28 threads. There’s plenty of thread length and sufficient shoulder width to mount a suppressor.

I’ve long-since looked at the compact, minimalist M1 Carbine and wondered why almost nobody suppresses it. While the ammo is supersonic, it doesn’t have a ton of powder behind it, is standard .30 caliber in diameter, and I figured it would suppress pretty nicely. Apparently Inland was on the same wavelength and decided to make this M1 Scout Carbine with silenced shooting in mind.

The M1’s short sights won’t actually clear the top of a suppressor, but you can hardly see the jet black front blade in normal conditions anyway. Plus that’s what the Pic rail is for.

SHIELD SIS on, suppressor on, I fired one shot and mostly regretted it. An epic jet of hot gas and debris blasted right back on my cheeks (the ones on my face), up under my shooting glasses, and into my eyes. A few more rounds and my eyes had teared up to the point that it was difficult to see. It isn’t painful, it’s just that these combustion gases cause your eyes to water like mad. You can man up, keep your eyes open, and keep on shooting, but your world is going to be blurry.

That was the result with my Dead Air Sandman Ti, an actual .30 caliber rifle suppressor. Obviously it has a tight bore to scrub gas and pressure away from a .308″ projectile and it has lots of aggressive baffles. Despite the M1 Carbine’s locking delayed action, it was still opening up a mite too soon and releasing high-pressure gas and debris backwards out the chamber as the case ejected.

Switching over to a pistol suppressor, my Liberty Cosmic, completely resolved the gas-in-the-face issue. While the Cosmic is extremely overbuilt (capable of use on 5.56 and even .458 SOCOM), most decent 9mm or .45ACP cans should easily shrug off .30 Carbine from a rifle. Check with your suppressor manufacturer first, of course.

Thanks to the large bore and different baffle design, backpressure was greatly reduced and the gas coming back out of the action was nothing but a poof. It wasn’t noticeable to the shooter, let alone annoying or distracting.

On the downside, it wasn’t quite as quiet either, but overall I was impressed with how nicely .30 Carbine suppressed. It’s comfortable without hearing protection and most of the noise was the gun’s action — which does click and clack fairly loudly — and the supersonic crack of the bullet flying downrange.

With the Cosmic weighing in at only about 11.5 ounces including the mount, the M1 Scout maintained its sprightly handling. This would definitely be an awesome “ranch rifle” setup. Even better, perhaps, with an even smaller suppressor like the SilencerCo Omega 9k on it.

Things got a little weird when I buckled down for accuracy testing. Slapping the great SIG Optics TANGO6 5-30×56 scope onto the little M1 reminded me of the Korean War-era infrared night vision variant — a lot of optic for a tiny rifle. At any rate, I made the eye relief work just fine by dialing down the zoom level a bit and I rested the Scout on front and rear bags.

With a 110 grain load from Aguila, classic and Custom loads from Hornady, plus a box of Hornady Critical Defense (not pictured), I began putting 5-round groups on paper at 100 yards. Though I had just come off my 6.5 Grendel AR-15, which shot five consecutive, half-minute groups with Hornady BLACK, I couldn’t get the M1 Scout’s groups under two inches. Everything hovered between 2.5 MOA and 3.5 MOA.

Basically, battle rifle accuracy. Though I’m pretty confident of the stability of my rest and the clean breaks on each shot, the ~7.5 pound trigger pull with plenty of creep and grit doesn’t help group sizes. Hitting a steel plate at 100 yards offhand wasn’t an issue, but if anything else on this rifle could use modernization it’s the trigger.

Additionally, the “textured wood” stock is disappointing. While lightweight and simple, it looks and feels cheap. It isn’t a dense wood and it feels like it was spray painted with a rattle can and then dusted with sand. Functional? Absolutely. But it doesn’t really feel at home on a $1,295 rifle.

Over the course of 370 rounds, almost all of which were shot suppressed, the M1 Scout Carbine didn’t suffer a single stoppage. It ran reliably and the action stayed quite clean.

With the notable exception of that rough, heavy trigger, this gun is a ton of fun to shoot. It’s very light and nimble, yet soft-shooting, while firing a speedy little .30 cal bullet that was easy to hear impacting steel out to 300 yards. The steel action has a nice feel to it while it’s cycling, and overall the shooting experience is very enjoyable. With the right suppressor, it’s a great rifle to shoot suppressed.

Specifications: Inland Manufacturing M1 Scout Carbine

Caliber: .30 carbine
Magazine capacity: 15
Barrel length: 16.25″
Total length: 34″
Barrel groove: 4
Twist rate: 1 x 20″
Weight: 5lb 3oz
MSRP: $1,295

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * *
Average for a “battle rifle.”

Reliability * * * * *
I took it straight out of the box and ran just shy of 400 rounds of varied ammunition through it, almost entirely suppressed, without cleaning or lubrication. On hot, dusty Texas days. It appears to be a highly reliable little rifle.

Utility * * * *
It’s a lightweight, easy-to-shoot, reliable, handy little carbine with available 10-, 15-, and 30-round magazines. The M1 Scout version accepts modern optics and suppressors. It would be a great plinker, “ranch rifle,” or possibly even home defense gun with the right ammo.

Suppressed Use * * *
I wanted to concentrate on shooting this thing suppressed, as .30 Carbine is rarely suppressed and the M1 Scout here is designed for it. Though the volume level and tone of the rifle was better than I expected, the choice of suppressor was clearly important in managing backpressure and there’s no subsonic ammo available in the caliber. Ultimately, that puts a firm limit on how quiet a firearm can be. The muzzle threads and optics rail both worked great.

Overall * * * 1/2
While very enjoyable and handy, I’m rating the M1 Scout Carbine as about average. The stock and trigger are sub-par for the MSRP, though the Picatinny rail and threaded muzzle provide a lot of utility and a nice, modern touch. With an upgraded trigger and a price point under a grand it might be a “best buy,” but as-is I’m calling it average-plus. When does the 9mm version come out?

comments

  1. avatar derfel cadarn says:

    WoooW ! Buck Rogers Lighting Quick Rabbit Killer. No just NO.

  2. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Nice little plinker. But for $1300. Less the fun parts.
    It will stay on my bucket list of someday maybe rifles.

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    I’ve fondled one. Way cool and awsome looking. But down the list with a levergun in 357 ahead of it. And a multitude of others 😢

  4. avatar Slow Joe Crow says:

    This whole exercise feels like a upscale version of a tacticool SKS, and calls for an Ivan Chesnokov style excoriation of hamfisted nincompoop who butchered beautiful capitalist carbine of Williams and Sefried. “rifle is fine”.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    M1 carbines are great little plinkers and powerful enough for most uses, but the price of original GI rifles has spiraled out of control in the last few years. Good ones sell for north of a grand, and way north for paratrooper models and all-original guns with important stampings.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I’ve seen plenty of armory rebuilds with mix and match parts selling for the price of this rifle or more. Complete original rifles in very good or better condition go for over $2K. Which is why I don’t own one; they are out of my price league.

  6. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    Take the silly looking rail off, give it a real oiled wood stock, and price it around $800 and this old man will buy one. In short give me the rifle that I admired and occasionally carried 45 years ago.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      The rail is the best part! 🙂

  7. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    i want a carbine in 7.62×25.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      10mm! 9×25 Dillon!

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        I would love, LOVE a carbine in 10mm or even better .357 Magnum!

        (Is a magazine that reliably feeds .357 Magnum even possible?)

        1. avatar JSW says:

          Ask Coonan.

        2. avatar Mr Lizard says:

          Magnum Research has one

        3. avatar samuraichatter says:

          I am pretty sure you mean detachable magazine. I always thought some company could try a tube fed semi-auto .357 kinda like semi-auto shotgun. Theoretically sounds cool like but like so many ideas it might not work out.

        4. avatar =BCE 56= says:

          I have a sweet little Win ’94 Trapper in .357, one of my favorite carbines.
          Similar rifles are available from Browning, Marlin,Taylor’s and Rossi etc. at various price points.

          A guy could do a lot worse.

          And if you prefer a different chambering, check out the Marlin conversions by Ranger Point Precision.

    2. avatar Mike says:

      7.62×25, or 10mm would be great, but I lost interest when I read the price, wow expensive

    3. avatar JSW says:

      I’ve always wanted one in .357. When Ruger came out with the .44 mag carbine, I thought th e.357 would be next. Been waiting quite a few decades for it to emerge.

      1. avatar Aaron says:

        I had a Ruger Deerfield .44 mag carbine with the rotary 4 rnd mag. Fun, but a jam-o-matic and magazines aren’t in production. I found some old production mags online but can’t see paying $50 for a 4 rnd mag. Traded it out.

      2. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        Even a 357 maximum would be cool. The little carbines are neat and compact but a person can get several better rifles for the price.

  8. avatar Swilson says:

    Pretty cool concept and I’ve always enjoyed these carbines when I have shot them. I think it’s awesome that someone is making a modern version. But $1300 is way too steep. Get it under a G and we’ll talk.

  9. avatar Mark N. says:

    I remember when these first hit the market a few years back, and it is good to know that they are at least reliable, unlike the Century Arms or Auto Ordinance versions that are notorious for jamming. Fulton Armory also builds new M1s (including a scout version with a rail), but they usually start at around $1500. (Currently on sale at 10% off, so a bit more than this rifle. Their Garands start at about $2K.)

    There are (at least) four US service rifles that I would like to own, starting with the 1861 Springfield, the 1903 Springfield (and/or an M1917 Remington), a Garand, and an M1 Carbine. Maybe I should start playing the lottery.

  10. avatar b725 says:

    The M1 carbine was not really meant to be a man killer at 100 yards. It was to fill the gap between the 1911 and the M1. Unfortunately it was placed into service for use it was never originally intended and suffered a bad reputation as a result. In the early 70’s my father and I (WWII/Korea Army Vet) would hunt with a co-worker (Korea/Vietnam) vet and his son. His son was about four years older and had a carbine for deer hunting, (Supposedly brought back from Vietnam in parts). For what it’s worth this was in the mountains of WV and VA at the time, things were different then. His son took a deer with the carbine from about 50 yards with two shots. I remember his dad commenting how he had to take a second shot. Later after a larger rifle was acquired for his son, my dad purchased the carbine for me. I never shot a deer with it, but a few ground hogs and oil cans met their demise.

    I still have the carbine, but it has virtually no collectors value. The previous owner, was a gunsmith as well, and installed a really good Williams rear peep sight and a ramp sight on the front. He also re-blued it, worked the trigger and some other stuff. While it still has the same barrel, people have been amazed with the accuracy it has at 100 yards. I don’t shoot it often, good ammo is hard to find for it. Back in the day Norma made some hot JHP’s, which is what was used for the deer. I also have a Ruger Blackhawk in the same caliber, so it’s fun to have a day with them when I can.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      The .30 Carbine is effective well beyond 100 yards, closer to 200, but shots can be made beyond that range with accuracy. It has ballistics similar to a .357 mag lever action rifle. The issue as to killing power has more to do with the bullet used than the ballistics; hunting bullets with a soft lead nose are much more efficient than the original FMJs; however, there is a wide variety of good hunting bullets for the .357 that inflict much greater damage at the same range.

      Report that the bullets would bounce off Chinese soldiers during the Korean War were determined by testing and observation to be untrue; instead, between the very bulky winter clothing worn by and the very thin build of the average Chinese soldier, the FMJ rounds would fully penetrate often with little damage.

      You are correct that it was not designed as a main battle rifle for front line troops, but instead as a replacement for artillery, tank, truckers and other rear area personnel in lieu of the .45 Colt. It was small, light, and had much greater range and accuracy than the pistol. It found its way to the front, however, because of its larger capacity detachable magazine and its light weight at around 5 lbs, compared to the 9.5 lb Garand.

      1. avatar b725 says:

        My dad was a Platoon Leader for a tank destroyer unit during the war. He had a love hate relationship with the carbine. He carried the Smith and Wesson revolver in .45 acp as his side arm, I have a picture of him in France with it. But he told me that as things evolved during the Bulge, they “procured” M1’s to keep in the open turret tanks they used as an additional asset. But he just loved plinking with the carbine whenever he could. Your comments are exactly what my father would say.

      2. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

        Here is more proof that the m1 carbine had more than enough power to penetrate frozen clothing.
        https://www.theboxotruth.com/the-box-o-truth-36-frozen-clothing-and-the-box-o-truth/

  11. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

    You can buy a nice clean WW2 era carbine for 1300 dollars. Why would I want to buy this gun?

    1. avatar b725 says:

      Herr Von Schmitto, I agree, but a new one does come with a warranty. But that aside, economy of scale comes into mind. If there was more quality .30 carbine ammo being made there might be more of a demand for the carbines. Years ago, Marlin made a magazine fed lever action rifle in .30 carbine and my father bought one. After he passed, we couldn’t find it. Must have sold it. That gun was a tack driver. But, the production costs involved with producing a carbine now is much more than an AR, so in a way, why bother.

      1. avatar tiger says:

        Lack of quality ammo? Garbage. Most major firms carry loads & Hornday & Cor Bon have great self defense loads.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Why would I want to buy this gun?”

      The WW II issue guns don’t come threaded?

      And threading a vintage gun is something no sane person ought to do, perhaps?

  12. avatar jwm says:

    When I was a kid you could cut an order form out of a magazine, page kind, not ammo kind, and send the filled form with a money order for the carbine plus shipping and the mail man would bring you a carbine. Until JFK nobody thought twice about mail ordering guns.

    If memory serves the carbines were south of a 100 bucks.

    To spend 1300 bucks on a non military new made carbine seems a bit stiff when the market is glutted with disposable plastic rifles at half that price.

    1. avatar tiger says:

      Times change. I think 40k for a Hyundai is a stretch, but here we are. There are aftermarket handguards to fit optics on other brand M-1 Carbines for a lot less. I wish Iver Johnson still made a copy. I loved mine till I sold it. Auto Ord makes nice ones much cheaper than Inland.

  13. avatar Aaron says:

    FYI, there’s a report from the Korean War about how craptastically unreliable the M-1 carbine is in severe cold weather.

  14. avatar doesky2 says:

    With the bad rap of this carbines history with mag feeding I’m surprised that it ran without fails.

    Anyway, like many others I don’t get it. If I want a fun plinker I can find an effective equivalent at 1/2 the price and with 1/2 the MOA.

    If its not in it’s historical form it just brings nothing to the table.

  15. avatar Darkman says:

    I’ve had a Universal 30 caliber carbine for almost 40 years. Carbines are great guns for deer hunting and killed a few hogs too. People who don’t think they are powerful enough never spent any amount of time hunting with one. Made kills out to 100 yards a couple of times but most were 50 yards or less. Unfortunately Inland is to proud of their carbines and priced them out of the reach of most consumers. If they weren’t so expensive I’d buy 1 in a heartbeat. I’ve always liked to shoot the 30 caliber and you can still find good ammo. I’ve still got some bought back in the 80’s that is military surplus that shoots fine.

  16. avatar =BCE 56= says:

    I just composed a rather lengthy comment regarding the prices of various M1 Carbines, milsurp weapons in general, sources for parts and restoration and ammunition over the last 30 years or so.

    Comment disappeared before I was able to submit. Grrrr!

    A brief recap:
    In the mid-90s I procured an unrefurbished RockOla M1 Carbine in excellent as-issued condition for $325.00 at my LGS. Price seemed a bit high at the time but in retrospect it was a great deal.
    Prices for nice originals and professionally restored weapons are now hovering around $2000.00. Expect these prices to rise.
    Forget CMP, at least for the foreseeable future.
    You might find a decent M1 from a private seller for about the price of a new production rifle. Worth a try if you must have an original. Watch out for counterfeits.

    Current prices may not be too far out of line.

    Enjoy your Carbines, people!

  17. avatar DubbleD says:

    2 MOA “accuracy” (from sand bags!)
    Cheap furnitue
    Lousy sites
    Marginally competent cartridge
    Four figure price tag

    Gee, sign me right up.

  18. avatar Shawn Graber says:

    Just like Bart Simpson, I appreciate the availability of a “loudener” for my firearm. That cone-shaped flash hider will do nicely.

  19. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Then one carbine is a very nice historical gun
    It was a pistol caliber carbine before there even was such a thing
    I had one and used it to teach my children shooting as each child turned 10 years old
    Light rifle, nice soft recoil, plenty accurate for plinking
    I’ve never seen one suppressed before
    Nowadays you can buy a CZ scorpion pistol for $700 and suppress that
    I liked my M1 carbine but I love my CZ scorpion

  20. avatar Rock says:

    Buy a Fulton, Milspec receiver along with reliable USGI parts. Tough little rifles that are simple to work on & reliable. Look up Audie Murphy and see what he did to the Germans with one of these under-rated carbines. It’s amazing how the myths are still being told. Go with a USGI or Fulton, anything else is inferior.

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