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
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?