Thursday, April 26, 2007

Erma Werke EM1

I receive a surprising (to me) number of search hits looking for information on the Erma Werke EM1. I purchased one of these carbines for my grandson so that I could teach him to shoot with his own firearm (He has just recently matured to the point where we can pick a date to do this. May 5th is most likely going to be our first day at the range).

As there is not much in the way of information online about the EM1, I thought I might do my part in adding to the web library by documenting what little I have to offer on this firearm.

Erma Werke EM1

The Erma Werke EM1 is a .22LR version of the M1 Carbine. They were manufactured in Germany from 1966 to 1976. Iver Johnson also sold EM1's in the 1980's. An Erma Werke EM1 listed in a recent, $0.01 to start - no reserve, Gun Broker auction sold for $280.00. I have seen them listed as high as $350.00, I purchased mine for less.

Parts for an EM1 are hard to come by. A good bet would be to try Numrich Gun Parts Corporation first. Numrich also has a detailed exploded parts view here. Firing pins can occasionally be found on Gun Broker or even Ebay.


Loosen the front band screw, pull the band forward and remove the upper hand guard.

Remove Upper Hand Guard

Remove the rear guard screw that is located behind the trigger guard.

Rear Guard Screw

Remove the stock from the barreled action.

Field Strip

This is as far as is usually required for general cleaning of an EM1. An aerosol based gun cleaner with lubricant will adequately clean the action. The upper receiver is cast and can easily break, and there are small parts that can disappear. I have also read a few reports about the operating slide breaking, but I am not sure how that could happen.

Another common failure is a broken firing pin. To replace the firing pin, further dis-assembly is required:

Remove the slide spring and slide spring guide by compressing the spring and pulling the guide forward and out of the lower receiver.

Remove the receiver screw and the two trigger housing retaining pins.

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To remove the upper receiver, pivot as shown in the following images. Note the ejector and sear release assemblies. Pay attention to how they are assembled so that you can get them back together correctly. With the bolt partially retracted, you can remove the slide.


Sear Release

Raise the recoil plate from it's notch and remove the firing pin spring, firing pin and the bolt.


Your EM-1 is now disassembled with the exception of the trigger group. I have not yet had a need to disassemble the trigger group, but it appears easy enough.

One common failure on this rifle is the firing pin. Mine was broken when I purchased the gun (might be why I got such a good deal on it). I could not quickly find a firing pin, so I made one.

A New and a Home Made Firing Pin

The black firing pin is the OEM (purchased off of Ebay) and the shiny bright one is the one I made. You will notice that the length of the striking portion of the pins is different. When I made mine, I did not have one to use as a template, I made mine so it extended .030" beyond the bolt face. I used A2 drill rod and decided not to heat treat it. I have over 400 rounds on the new pin without any deformation, so it appears that heat treating is not necessary. The length of the smaller diameter of the OEM firing pin is .265". If you can not find a new pin, a machine shop should be able to knock out a new one for you in no time.

Prior to reassembly, ensure that the sear spring and the sear spring plunger are properly oriented under the sear. The plunger goes down, the spring against the sear. The following image is of an incorrectly installed spring/plunger.

Spring and Plunger Improperly Installed

To reassemble, just reverse the steps you used to disassemble the rifle. Take care to align the ejector and sear release assemblies as shown in the images above.

If you have more information on the EM-1, please mention it in the comments. If you have better images, email them to me and I will add them to this post.

I hope this information is useful.

A comment to this post prompted me to disassemble my EM-1 and take an exploded view image of the trigger group.

This should help with "Where does this spring go?" questions.


Gunny John said...

Just the image of it brings back memories. I had an Iver Johnson M1 Carbine when I was a teenager. I loved that little carbine. As long as I never expected great things at long ranges, I could hit whatever I was aiming at with great consistency. I wish we had something similar today instead of that damned Beretta M9. Even the M4 is a bit of a wimp for closeup work (given that we can only use FMJ ammo).

Unknown said...

I still have one of these. Its the Iver Johnson import. Truly a sweet little rifle. Only complaint I have is the operating spring is a bit weak and sometimes it won't fully seat a round, more often if the magazine is full. Other than that I would not trade this .22 for anything.
S from Houston

John R said...

I really enjoy the EM1 also. It feels good in the hand and will bounce soda cans left, right and sideways. Turns out the length of pull is still a bit long for my grandson, so a Savage Cub is in the works for the time being.

Anonymous said...

By any chance do you happen to know which of these 2 springs, part 11 an 19 as can be seen in the Erma m1 exploded parts diagram, is the strongest? I ask this because I disassembled the gun and now I don't know which is which. They are very alike but one is much stronger than the other. Can you help me on this one?

John R said...

#19 is the heavier spring. #11, The Trigger Bar Spring, should fit snug over the rear of the Trigger Bar Plunger.

I'll post an image after dinner.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I also thought so, because of the tight fit between parts 11 and 12. I bought the gun used and the springs 11 and 19 were swapped. The trigger was good at 3 lb pull, but sometimes it failed to cock the firing pin. Now after I reassembled the gun with the parts at the right place the trigger pull increased to 4.2 lb, but it still feels good and never misses the catch of the firing pin.

Anonymous said...

What a chance to be able to make such a part (firing pin). I broke mine and still looking to find a serviceable one.

John R said...


I can make you a firing pin. Shoot me an email (address is in my profile) and let me know if you want it OEM or a tad shorter like the one in my EM1.

Anonymous said...

Very nice rifle and thanks for showing dis-assembly pictures.

I have a Erma M1 that I need parts for but I seem to need the hardest ones to find. Rear and front sights, magazine and upper hand guard. At the prices and difficulty of finding them. That I see quoted seems I would be better of looking for another complete rifle in hopes of getting a complete one out of the entire deal.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I need an operating slide to my E M1 22 lr, where can I get it? Please reply:

Riding Aces - Motorcycle Training & Safety School said...

I have just purchased an Erma EM1 22. I intent to re-blue it and the stock will be reconditioned as well. My question is, how far do I have to take the gun apart to re-blue it?