CompareComparing...

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle Test Review

Overview
Testers

Doug Wall
Stephen Archer

Caliber

.177 caliber BB

Model Number

SA-M1CC4

Test Date

22 July 2020

Serial Numbers

000003608

Source of Supply

Supplied by Pyramyd Air

Condition

New

We Like

Outstanding reproduction of the original
Strong blowback action
Great appearance

We Don't Like

Only 3 months warranty
Low shot count
Some magazine issues

HAM Rating
Value for Money
90%
Comparison to Makers Claims
90%
Consistency
80%
Appearance and Finish
100%
Buying and Owning
70%
Realism, Looks Feel
100%
Realism - Trigger, Action
100%
Accuracy and Point of Aim
90%
Shot Count
50%
Muzzle Velocity
80%
Hard Air Magazine Test Conclusions

The Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle is an excellent reproduction of the classic US military firearm.

This Carbine has a long and strong blowback action. We loved it but it clearly hit the shot count, FPS and shot-to-shot consistency under test. This is not a complaint, simply a reflection of the physics involved and the power capacity of a single 12 Gram CO2 cartridge powerplant.

This is an attractive BB gun which will win many friends for its realistic looks and operation.

It's a solid HAM Bronze Award winner.

88%
HAM Rating
You have rated this
Full Review

VALUE FOR MONEY

The Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle is a CO2-powered version of one of the most-produced US firearms of all time. As such, there’s a huge interest in this CO2-powered BB gun, particularly as it’s such a close reproduction of the original.

With a Street Price of $200 for the synthetic stock version, this M1 Carbine is priced attractively. It’s about 10% less than other World War 2 replica long guns such as the MP40 and M1A1 Tommy Gun.

However, compared to these other two models, the M1 Carbine BB Rifle is – like the original – semi-automatic only.

It also has a lower BB capacity and delivers less shots per fill as it holds only one 12 Gram CO2 cartridge. The others hold two. Again, this is really a direct result of making such a close copy of the original. The original M1 Carbine magazine was shorter than those for the MP40 and Tommy Gun both of which are sub-machine guns whereas the M1 Carbine is not.

So it’s not really fair to penalize the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle for offering a different level of functionality compared to the MP40 and Tommy Gun. That’s just like the originals…

Overall, the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle is an excellent reproduction of the centerfire at an attractive price.

HAM Test Rating88%
Value For MoneyRealistic appearance and handling, great blowback. Low shot count.
Firearm it CopiesM1 Carbine
Best BB TestedDaisy Avanti BBs
Street Price at Time of Test$199.99
Ammo Type.177 BBs.
Power Source12 Gram CO2 cartridge
Useful Shots per FillAround 40.
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine, Blowback CO2 .177cal BB Rifle 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine

REALISM – LOOK AND FEEL

Just like the original, the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle is a little under three Feet long. The synthetic stock version being reviewed here has a weight of 5 Lbs 1 Ounce. That’s about 7 Ounces less than the military-issue version.

However, if the exact weight and a stock made from “real tree wood” are important features for you, this Carbine is also available with a solid wood stock at the cost of an additional $100.

The original M1 Carbine was not over-endowed with controls. However, the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle reproduces the safety, magazine release and operating slide very well. Fortunately – and unusually – there’s no “additional” safety located somewhere out-of-sight, as is the case with other airgun reproductions.

The serial number and Springfield Armory logo are well and appropriately printed on the receiver. However, the “BB gun-specific” warnings are printed on the operating slide in a rather brighter manner than has recently become the fashion.

If we’re being really, really picky, Springfield Armory did not make any wartime production M1 carbines and so the company’s logo on this gun is not strictly realistic. But the HAM Team’s not complaining!

 

ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT

The Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle tested by HAM gave us “Minute of Soda Can” accuracy at 10 Yards with all the BBs in our standard test suite. The Avanti Precision Ground Shot provided the best group on test, with a vertical CTC (Center to Center) measurement of 7/8-Inch and  1-Inch horizontally.

This accuracy is perfectly satisfactory for the gun’s intended purpose of plinking. It’s not a tack driver, but it’s very comparable – if not better – than other WW2 replica BB-firing long guns, HAM has tested.

The windage-adjustable rear sight is a huge advantage for obtaining a good Point Of Impact, as HAM Tester Doug Wall commented in his test notes. This is a benefit not found on many replicas.

Unlike the original, elevation is not adjustable. However the HAM test gun shot “dead on” at 10 yards, so this indicates a well-chosen decision by the manufacturer.

 

COMPARISON TO MANUFACTURERS CLAIMS

The Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle tested by HAM performed creditably compared to the manufacturer’s claims.

For Muzzle Velocity, the manufacturer claims 425 FPS. HAM testing showed that this would be met at 84 degrees F and exceeded at temperatures above this but below about 90 degrees.

The shout count claim – 40 shots – is also realistic. HAM typically obtained 41 or 42 acceptable shots before the FPS plunged.

It’s claimed that the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle holds 15 BBs in it’s magazine. That’s the same number of shots as the original. Unfortunately we could only manage to load 14 BBs into the magazine at any one time.

 

CONSISTENCY

Trigger pull weight for the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle tested by HAM was very consistent. It varied by just +/- 5 Ounces around the 5 Lb 9Oz average pull weight. That’s excellent performance for a replica BB gun.

It has to be said also that accuracy was very similar across the range of standard HAM test BBs. Again another indication of good consistency.

However, Muzzle Velocity showed poor consistency across a 10-shot string. The average decline in Muzzle Velocity across 10 shots was around 40 FPS. Yes, shot 10 was typically 40 FPS slower than shot one!

That’s a much wider spread than we normally see with WW2 firearms replicas. Why? It’s almost certainly due to the amount of gas that’s being used to operate that snappy blowback.

Moving the Carbine’s long, heavy bolt and operating slide back consumes a lot of CO2 per shot. As the CO2 is used, the gas remaining in the 12 Gram cartridge cools and loses pressure. That lower pressure causes lower FPS for the next shot. And so on…

It’s likely not the fault of the valve that’s included in the magazine (photo below).

We’ll talk more about this below, mainly in the “Shot Count” section..

 

REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION

As already mentioned, the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle has a very realistic blowback action.

The bolt rotates slightly and recoils realistically when fired. The operating slide recoils, too. Particularly with a fresh CO2 cartridge, the blowback was very snappy.

As with the original, the operating slide stop pin is functional – an unexpected surprise! – and operates as intended to hold the bolt back fully open when required. The bolt certainly has a long rearward travel, replicating the requirement of the centerfire original to handle ammo with an overall length of nearly 1.7 Inches.

The HAM Team found that the magazine held 14 BBs. The BB follower notch was a very useful feature that’s found surprisingly rarely on other BB-firing CO2 replica airguns.

On the down side, there’s no hold-open, so the M1 Carbine BB Rifle will continue firing blanks after the last BB has left the magazine. This makes it a good idea to count shots as they are fired to avoid wasting gas…

The trigger is a single-stage piece with no take-up or slack. You just pull back with around 6 Lbs of force and the gun fires abruptly.

Remember that the original is a battle rifle, so we’re not expecting precision target rifle performance here. We didn’t get it either! Again, that’s appropriate to give a high level of realism.

The magazine release is convenient and easy to use. It allows the magazine to drop free. Given that the mag itself is remarkably heavy – 1 Lb 3 Oz – Gravity certainly helps it on its way earthwards in a hurry. Watch your toes!

 

SHOT COUNT

HAM testing recorded just over 40 shots – typically 41 or 42 – from one CO2 cartridge before the Muzzle Velocity plummeted below 300 FPS as the remaining CO2 was exhausted. That makes it doubly important to keep track of the shots taken and not waste gas by firing blanks.

There’s no doubt about it. Shot count for the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle is disappointing.

But potential owners need to be aware that this is a result of a deliberate design decision. The designers prioritized a strong blowback action as a major benefit for the rifle. And most of us would probably agree that this was the right call. Here’s what that decision meant…

Firstly – unlike the MP40 and Tommy Gun previously mentioned – the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle uses only one 12 Gram CO2 cartridge at a time. There’s not enough volume to hold two. Straight away, shot count’s going to be around half of the others.

The second issue is that our M1 Carbine has a very long blowback from a big, heavy bolt that also rotates as part of its action. Furthermore that bolt is attached to an additional, heavy, operating slide.

Then there’s the issue of the respective centerfire cartridges. In fact the distance the Carbine’s bolt and operating slide travel back during one blowback action is 25 – 30% longer than than for the MP40 and Tommy Gun. That’s very significant!

As we know from previous HAM investigations of CO2-powered replica pistol actions, strong, long, blowback is purchased at the cost of either shot count, or Muzzle Velocity, or both. It can’t be any other way, there’s only so much energy potential in one 12 Gram CO2 cartridge.

 

MUZZLE VELOCITY

In HAM testing, the maximum Muzzle Velocity averaged across a 10-shot string was 387 FPS. That was for the 5.29 Grain Umarex Steel BBs at a temperature of 65 degrees F.

As we know from other testing, the Muzzle Velocity for CO2-powered airguns changes by about 2 FPS per change of 1 degree in ambient temperature. Taking 90 degrees F as a maximum operating temperature (before valve lock sets-in), that means that HAM expects a maximum of about 437 FPS for the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle.

As with the shot count, this relatively low Muzzle Velocity is a direct result of that long, strong blowback action we like so much!

BBsAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain374 FPS1.59 Ft/LbsGood.
Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain387 FPS1.76 Ft/LbsVery Good (except flyer).
ASG Blaster 5.32 Grain386 FPS1.76 Ft/LbsVery Good.
Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain357 FPS1.52 Ft/LbsGood.
Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain381 FPS1.76 Ft/LbsVery Good. Best tested.

 

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

Overall, the HAM Team feels that this M1 Carbine BB Rifle is an outstanding reproduction of the original. Yes the synthetic stock is a little light and hollow-sounding. However – as with other recent replica long guns – the printed woodgrain pattern is extremely realistic.

Apart from a slight mis-match along the seam along the top and bottom of the buttstock, it’s incredibly difficult to tell that this is not real wood.

As you would expect, the buttstock includes a slot for the regulation oil bottle and web sling. Pyramyd Air sells a kit of these in repro form – they would be an ideal compliment to the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle.

 

BUYING AND OWNING

The Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle is readily available online from Airgun Depot and Pyramyd Air. You may also find it from physical stores stocking products distributed by Air Venturi.

It’s accompanied by an excellent, full color manual in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

As mentioned above, the BB follower notch is a very useful feature that’s missing surprisingly often from other CO2-powered BB guns.

However, there were some issues encountered during HAM testing. The BB follower spring popped out of its raceway in the magazine. Then the BB follower itself broke. These issues were a reminder that – as with many other replica BB guns – the Carbine has just a 90-day warranty.

On the bright side, the modular design of the gun – including CO2 supply, valve and BB-feed system in the magazine assembly – means that such issues are easily resolved. We simply contacted Air Venturi and they sent us a replacement magazine. Problems solved!

We also received a comment from Scott Stevens, the National Sales Manager for Air Venturi:

“We are always looking for ways to improve our products. Gathering feedback from consumers directly and from our retail partners, one of the focuses for improvement has been in the follower on the M1 Carbine magazine. Customers experienced breaking followers typically as a result of the follower snapping back to the top of the magazine on a unloaded or partially loaded magazine.  We have been working to implement an improved follower that will eliminate this issue, but for any customer that experiences issues, we are always here to help and have parts on hand should they be needed.”

Thanks Scott!

SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.

 

10-YARD TEST TARGETS

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle Test Review

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle Test Review

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle Test Review

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle Test Review

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB Rifle Test Review

BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine, Blowback CO2 .177cal BB Rifle 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine

This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.