I took delivery of an early production M1 carbine last week. This one is a Saginaw S'G' made gun dating from early 1943. The barrel is dated June 1943, and is made by Underwood. The stock is the original early type with the 'I' cut-out for the oil bottle. This may suggest that the stock has been modified from the 'high wood' to the 'low wood' style, as the area around the cocking handle and slide was seen as a weak spot in the woodwork.
The gun was obviously updated after the war by the addition of bayonet bar, adjustable rear sight and rotary safety. But it is essentially still a very nice original gun. I particularly liked the signs of much wear to the butt-plate. This to me indicates a very hard military life. The hole in the butt-plate isn't through rust, but through continually coming into contact with the ground. A sure sign of much service use!
When I started looking for an example of this fine weapon I wasn't after one in perfect condition. I wanted one that looked as though it had been well used. I did note though that there are several weapons being offered for sale which are supposedly in their original condition with no bayonet bar and the original flip sight. This is nothing more than a clever scam to push up prices even higher for the unwary. Most of these examples - if not all - have the rotary safety fitted. The removal of the bayonet bar does not present a serious problem, and reproduction flip sights are readily available. But once that safety is welded in place as part of the deactivation process it is a dead give away to the fact the gun has been doctored.