Don't, don't, don't buy one unless you know it works, the price is cheap, and you only plan to bump it around on the floor under the seat of your 1947 dump truck.
The story: A good shooting friend is the son-in-law of an affluent and aged local man who buys everything new which shoots, as soon as it comes out. He heard about the Kahr carbines in late 2005 and thought he might like to have one for conversion to 5.7mm Johnson (the M-1 carbine round necked down to .223). So he bought two of these brand new Kahrbines in early January 2006; bought two new 5.7 barrels, case forming dies, reloading dies, Clymer GO and NO-GO gauges, chamber reamer, both versions of stocks (sporter and military style) for both guns, two S&K scope mounts, new scopes...i.e., the works. He spent a bundle. Then he sent the guns off to two different professional gunsmiths for conversion and setup. (The thought process sort of escapes me, but what the hey?)
Well, it all turned out to be a disaster. The guns didn't feed right, didn't function right otherwise, were not accurate or reliable, and became something he simply did not want to think about anymore. So he didn't. This man is in his late 80s, and has always gathered around him the finer things in life. But when he runs into a problem, he takes the bypass right away; won't hassle with warranties and resale of a clunker.
Recently he heard my friend, his son-in-law, wanted to build another gun, so he told him he could get rid of these two Kahr turkeys in the process maybe, to raise money. And would I replace the .30 barrels, check things out, and make them marketable or give-awayable? Silly me: "Sure."
Well, I got more hands-on experience with brand new non-functional Kahr carbines than I ever wanted or expected, even though all the Kahr Thompson quality stories on this board had me in the alert mode. I finished the whole nightmare last night, after working on them off and on over January. I never want to see another Kahr Arms M-1 carbine again. Here's what I found.
All four stocks were poorly made from wood best described as trash. On both military style stocks, the recoil plate nut holes were drilled twice too deep, so they had to be epoxy filled, to keep the too-long bolt from pulling the nut all the way up into the stock and sticking out. Thus repaired, the action stays in there a little better.
Two of the investment cast recoil lugs had the hole drilled undersize, so they ground the recoil plate screws undersize to fit. (This turned out to be a common Kahr solution to dimension problems. Wherever they made something wrong, they just ground up something else to make it fit; they chase wrong dimensions.)
The barrel band assemblies (both types used on two military stocks) were...well, stamped metal garbage. Nothing fit right. Best to just throw it away.
The sporter stocks were disasters. Both appeared to have been factory inletted for some other type of action than M-1 carbine, with large...I mean LARGE...gaps, 1/2" wide or so at various points. A joke. The front retaining assemblies were both screwed up and chewed up from the factory. But they had tried hard to make them fit and had sort of got them on there.
The barrels weren't too bad, but the metallurgy in the investment cast gas cylinders was not right. One of them was badly split and deformed by normal working pressure after just a few rounds. And the inner part of one cheaply made gas piston nut was brittle and had broken into numerous small pieces. But the pistons looked O.K. and well made. So were the bores of the barrels.
One of the factory bolts was the flat type and seemed O.K. and well made. The other was the round M-2 style, poorly made and finished, and the metal appeared soft. After just a few rounds, it was deforming around the rear.
In the mechanism, everything was investment cast and much was poorly fitting, and barely functional or not functional. I made it work by reshaping, grinding, filing, hand fitting, etc. That's the only way one of these is going to work. And that appears to have been what they did at the factory...half way. No way could you retro fit G.I. parts to one of these losers, unless something might fit, just by accident.
I can't even describe the poorly manufactured and finished investment cast slides. Forget about blueprint dimensions.
The investment cast receivers didn't look bad and were marked Auto Ordnance. But the metallurgy was fishy. The Kahr factory rear sights had been removed and lost during scope mounting, so I obtained NOS G.I. sights and thought I would drift them on in a couple minutes. Again, silly me. Both dovetail receiver sight "cuts" appeared to not be cuts at all, but just the way the receivers were molded. The G.I. parts could not possibly fit. One groove was nearly 1/8" undersize in width. They must have ground a rear sight until they could hammer it on there. I nearly destroyed a dovetail cutter trying to clean the first slot on my milling machine. I switched to diamond cutters and files, and got the slots up to milspec...wasting the better part of an evening in the process...my love for those Kahr craftsmen growing all the time. PK knows the feeling.
Several weeks earlier, I had replaced each .30 barrel (both made by Kahr or their subcontractor) on the receiver to which it had been originally fitted and headspaced. Thread timing was O.K., but the threads on one barrel were way over spec. It required very careful jigging and lubing to get it on without marring or breaking something, like a receiver. Apparently, that had bothered nobody at the factory.
Everything was screwed up. Front sight pin holes were not right, but they fudged that dimension by using stamped metal roll pins...which are O.K., but... The sights would go on...one easily, one not so much so. But nothing was close to G.I. specs.
I'm not a big critic of investment cast parts. I think they are O.K., and the metallurgy can be O.K. if done right. But these guys made no effort to clean up the castings, to make them look presentable, fit correctly, and work right. A couple seconds on the wheel could have cleaned up parting lines, burrs, etc. Nobody bothered. Just get the crap billed and out the door.
Each carb came with a factory 15-round mag. One fit, but the other only came within about 1/8" of latching. Only friction kept it there. It could never have fed cartridges. Mr. Dremel and I fixed it. Both mags looked like black park, but the scratches and flaking convinced me it was more likely a spray finish of some sort.
Investment cast magazine latches were poorly made and way undersized for their (cast in) cuts in the receivers. And they didn't have the right clearance with the stock wood. The whole thing was just a mess.
They want around $500 or more for just the plane Jane version of this turkey. CMP has really nice rack grade ex-military M-1 carbines right now, all you want, for about $410. It's a no brainer. Wood is good, bores great, everything gauged and hand-approved by an expert armorer before they will let you have it. And the thing is safe and works 100% every time. Very nice barreled receivers (which they consider nit picky rejects) are $150. I just made two beautiful carbines from them. So now I have five. Which probably isn't enough.
So if you want an M-1 carbine, the Moonies might not be the folks to see.
Long ago, my Army issue weapon was the M-1 carbine, and I won military competitions with one right off the rack. In the reserves, I was an ad hoc armorer for these and 1911s. I just love them to pieces. After being Mooned and Kahred this month, it's such a joy just to sit and look at, and work the actions of, my former military issue carbines. Never a bad surprise.
Oh, I forgot...and to get back on topic...the front page of the manual that comes with these...uh...things says, "OWNER'S MANUAL, TO BE USED FOR AUTO-ORDNANCE M1 CARBINE, Maker of the world famous "TOMMY GUN"TM".
They didn't want us to forget that "TM". Wonder how general T would feel about it? He was born too early to have ever heard the term "Kahred again." Guess it's just as well.
*Edited 28 Jan 08 to correct original purchase date.
Edited by PhilOhio, 28 January 2008 - 11:22 AM.