My Little Carbine
My newest carbine is a Chiappa takedown clone of the Winchester Model 1892 in .357 Magnum. Carbines are short barreled, rifled, arms intended for use and loading on horseback, in helicopters, by paratroops or in urban terrain (inside buildings). Our .30 Krag rifle had a thirty-inch barrel while the carbine version shot the same smokeless powder cartridge from a 22-inch barrel. Advancing to the spitzer (pointed) bullet cartridges of the .30-06, 7.92X57ISmm (8mm Mauser) and smokeless powder British .303 revealed problems with that concept.
All experiments with short barreled, full-power, carbines resulted in blinding muzzle flash and deafening blast. The British experienced poor accuracy with the black powder designed Lee-Metford carbines against the South African Boers armed with 30-inch barreled 7X57 Mauser 1895 rifles. These experiences convinced the United States, Great Britain and Germany to field 24-inch barrel short rifles for both infantry and cavalry in the Great War (World War One).
The United States introduced the reduced power M1 Carbine for World War Two. This 5.5-pound rifle was intended to replace the Colt 1911A1 semi-automatic pistol in .45 Automatic Colt Pistol for cooks, clerks, truck drivers and heavy weapon crewmen. Six million M1 Carbines were made, making it the most issued American long arm in WWII. The Carbine was popular with airborne troops, jungle fighters and the French Resistance to name a few. The main complaint was the cartridge propelling a 110-grain bullet at 1975 feet-per-second for a little less than 1000 foot pounds. In comparison, the .30-06 fired a 150-grain bullet at 2,700 fps with roughly three times the energy to punch through jungle and other barriers.
The Chiappa is chambered in .357 Magnum which can shoot a 110-grain bullet at 2,439 fps. A bit more power than the M1 Carbine but no competition for the .30-06. The .357 Magnum has a reputation as a fight stopper from revolvers and many have taken deer with it from both revolvers and carbines. I expect the effective range from the carbine to be longer due to the 200-300 fps greater velocity and longer sight radius. Stability is enhanced by both the greater weight and contact with both hands, cheek and shoulder.
While I have taken full-length long arms on hunting expeditions, only the takedown carbine and similar size Springfield M-6 have accompanied me on vacations with my wife, Nancy. The M-6 was very comforting when our camp garbage cans were inspected by a bear after nightfall. The .410 barrel was loaded with a 000 buckshot load.
I have become an advocate of takedown long guns for camp and hotel room defense from reading of two incidents. A trustworthy and considerate hunter borrowed a shotgun in Sacramento and carried it a few blocks to his apartment. At the apartment he donned stereo headphones so as not to disturb the neighbors. Nonetheless, some phoned the police about a 'man with a gun'. Our headphoned hunter did not hear the knocks on his door until they became quite violent. Fearing tumultuous entry, he answered with revolver in hand. Our understanding public servants arrested the considerate hunter for attempted murder of the responding officers, though no shots were fired (Thank God!). So the the considerate hunter spent some time in jail before released by trial jury and the 'crime' weapon was likely destroyed.
During the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, police confiscated obvious longarms from folks they observed evacuating. Police did not keep records for return and damp storage meant many firearms eventually returned were no longer usable.
Longarms are visible on the journey from home to auto and from auto to motel room or tent. When transporting non-takedown rifles or shotguns, I disguise the shape with folding camp chair covers.
The semi-automatic action has supplanted all others in the world's militaries. I live in California, which makes the semi-automatic onerous to own and transport. The lever action is fairly fast to operate as long as the user has two hands. The top ejection models are a good option for left-handers, which I have in the family. Your situation and vision of the future surely differ from mine. Good luck.
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Rick Kester is a Viet Nam era veteran living in Northern California with his wife Nancy.