Inside the Ingram SAM, at Gunlab

One of the lesser-known offspring of the M1 Carbine was designed by Gordon Ingram, ironically also the designer of the world-famous MAC-10 submachine gun. This was the SAM, sometimes also called the Ingram Police Rifle, a rifle designed in the mid-1970s with multiple calibers in mind. Like virtually all of its close relatives, the SAM was a very lightweight weapon, clocking in at just 6.1 pounds for the fixed stock variant, and Ingram planned for there to be versions in .223 Remington, 7.62×39, and 7.62x51mm NATO. Over at GunLab, Chuck has given us an uncommon look at Ingram’s rifle, some of the photos of which are embedded below:

IMG_0166cs IMG_0165cs


The receiver out of the stock, showing the cast construction, reminiscent of the Ruger 10/22 and Mini-14. The lever-type magazine catch shows this to be a 7.62x39mm version.



The classic Williams’ simplified Garand-style rotating bolt is evident in this shot, shared with the M1 Carbine, Williams Carbine, G30R, and LMR. The hallmark of this design is the round bolt body, simplified vs. the flattened bolt body of the M1 Garand, M14, and Mini-14. Oddly, the sight on this rifle has been adjusted all the way to the left.



So far as I know, the Ingram SAM utilizes the same tappet gas system as the M1 Carbine, invented by David Marshall Williams. Here, a shot at the gas block shows the operating rod sleeved by a gas tube.

Ingram’s design was ultimately unsuccessful, having been beaten to the market by several years by the Mini-14, a rifle backed by the full industrial capacity of Sturm, Ruger & Co.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Skokie

    I dig the classic look of these. The sights look nice too.

  • Joshua

    “One of the lesser-known offspring of the M1 Carbine was designed by Gordon Ingram, ironically also the designer of the world-famous MAC-10 submachine gun.”

    Whats the irony here? Is it that the Ingram is a piece of junk and the m1 is not? Or is it something else I don’t understand? Something more well known to history buffs that us common readers don’t get?

    • ostiariusalpha

      The irony is mostly that the two guns have very different design philosophies underlying them, yet the same designer.

    • The irony is that the MAC-10 is one of the most well-known firearms of all time, and the Ingram SAM is extremely obscure (despite not being that old).

  • ostiariusalpha

    Awww, yeah! Thanks, Chuck! I love the detail on the GunLab pics. Unfortunately, the SAM series of rifles have almost all the vulnerabilities of the Garand-style guns, such as the exposed op rod and bolt lugs. They weighed less than the Mini-14, but as you pointed out Nate, price point becomes the deciding factor between two equally reliable firearms.

  • Great looking old rifle. Love it.

  • Vhyrus

    So… Ruger stole their mini 14 design along with the rest of their guns?

    • Mini-14 predates the Ingram, and also is a somewhat different design.

      • ostiariusalpha

        In fact, Sullivan became slightly entangled for a short time in the development of the SAM because the financial backer of the project had lost confidence in Ingram’s ability to create a working, reliable prototype within the allotted time & budget.

        • Sullivan’s involvement in the SAM’s design was after he designed the Ultimax 100 in Singapore and the ill-fated Beretta ARMI in Italy. So the Ruger Mini-14 would have already been on the market for several years by that point.

          • kzrkp

            is there another name for the Beretta ARMI? I can’t find information on it

          • Beretta abandoned the project and never completed its development. The only thing that survived was Sullivan’s design for what became the Beta C-Mag.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Jim Sullivan didn’t steal anything from Gordon Ingram, the Mini-14 is (as the name implies) an adaption of the M14.

  • Kelly Jackson

    I wish people still made guns like this, I’d love to have the 308

    • Marcus D.

      I’ve always thought that a modern M1 chambered in .223 (and now I think 7.62 x 39 would be even better for reliability if not ballistics compared to heavier .223 bullets) would be great as a deer rifle. Light weight, less likely to scare the soccer moms, etc. I have always hated the looks of the Ruger Minis with the large bulge on the side that carries the op rod and the ugly end cap. This is so much more…svelte. I have an M1 on my wish list for this year, just in case California passes a bill that would outlaw them and any other semi-auto rifle with a detachable mag.

      • Kivaari

        There were conversions to a shortened 7.62mm NATO ( I don’t remember how short) but the .30 Kurz (Kurtz to some) only required bolt face opening and chambering. Had they use the smaller diameter .30 Remington case the bolt and extractor would have worked better.

        • Marcus D.

          If a gun could be built, as this one was with a longer action, no need to downsize the cartridge. With a SP (or polymer tipped HP) boat tail bullet, you could double the effective range of the M1.

          • Kivaari

            My remarks were on the conversion of the M1 carbine. At the time the designers used the larger .308 head size. I suggested that a conversion would likely have been better had they used the smaller diameter case. It likely would have worked much better, since the .308 diameter created a very thin extractor. The SAM used a larger action, which was great. I’d still like to have seen a conversion – with new production on the handy and very light weight M1.

          • Marcus D.

            Ah. I’d still like to see a conversion–in a rifle caliber, not 9mm or .22. The .30 Carbine is not bad, but a bit underpowered for game. A heavier round would make a great hog gun out to 300 yards or more.

      • politicallyincorrectshooter

        There was, iirc, a 5.56 “m1 carbine” but I read about in Small Arms review. Not sure how heavy it was what I was just thinking the other day that it might be interesting.

        • Marcus D.

          I thought about a .300 also, especially since the M1 starts with a .30 cal barrel, but as with the SAM, you would have to build a custom receiver to handle the extra inch, plus redesign the tappet lengths, just like the SAM did. But the .300 doesn’t offer any real advantages over the .30 Carbine except bullet selection (the Carbine is rated at 1990 fps muzzle velocity with a 110 gr FMJ bullet, and can be loaded with SP rounds at higher weights).

    • Kivaari

      Look at the discontinued Winchester M100 or the Remington 740-series. The M100 often has a major issue with rusted gas systems under the wood. New pistons were available. The Remington semi-auto rifles like wise had issues with gas systems and rusted-pitted chambers. At one time there were 10 round magazines available for the Remington. Around 30 years ago a high school kid in Kittitas County (WA) made an extended magazine for the Remington in shop class. That and a SMG made with the teachers thumbs up, were then used by him to take over the KCSO-substation. He shot one deputy, held hostages and was shot by a WSP trooper using a Remington M700 in .243. I don’t know what happened to the shop teacher for allowing machinegun making in class. It’s not like today. Show up with an empty case and you get a record.

      • Jaybus

        Kids today sure lack that good ol’ can-do attitude. 😉

  • Big Daddy

    I really do not like the AK47, I like SKS better. But the ergonomics on the SKS doesn’t work for me well. I wanted a Mini 30 but they do not fire Russian ammo and are not designed to fire Bredan primed ammo. So that’s out. This would be perfect, so of course nobody makes anything like that.

    • Ryfyle

      So a short stroke tilting bolt rifle for our pistol grip and stock age? I’m down for that! Hell I say the Tilting bolt deserves another shot.

      • Joshua Gardner

        Isn’t that what a VZ-58 is?

        • Postal Observer

          No, the vz uses a bolt with a locking piece similar to a Beretta 92. The SKS uses a tilting bolt but it tilts in a different direction than the Lee Navy. BTW I’ve seen several pictures of the Lee rifle before but this is the first time I’ve seen it’s operation demonstrated.

        • Ryfyle

          I think it is. whats the going price on those?

    • Kelly Jackson

      Ruger makes a Mini in 300blk now which may be more your speed.

      The real problem with the Mini 30 and Russian ammo is that Russians tended to use .311 bullets like US ammo makers used .308

      • Big Daddy

        The whole idea is to use CHEAP ammo!!! .300 is expensive as hell unless you reload. I have a bunch of AR15s, the reason for the 7.62×39 is the cheap ammo, it’s even so compared to .223. I had an AR with the .300AC barrel, no reason to have it unless you run suppressed and hunt Hogs or deer at close range. I do not hunt.

        I wanted something more like the SKS that fires 7.62×39 ammo, I do not like the AK47, it’s a very overrated gun IMO unless you use it as it was meant, spray and pray in FA. It is not that accurate unless you get a good one like an arsenal. I do not want to spend $1200 on an AK and have to start changing stuff for the ergonomics,

        The Mini 30 is about $800, nothing to change but it don’t fire Russian stuff. Unless you mod the bolt face.

        I do like the older style wood stocks. I have and had a bunch of ARs in 9mm, 5.56,.300 both rifle and pistols.

        I would just like a rifle that shoots the cheap ammo, I go to the range a lot and ammo is expensive. I do not like the AK very much I had one and sold it.

        I’m waiting to see how the RRA LAR 47 and CMMG MK 47 Mutant does and see what aftermarket parts come out for it if any.

        • You could get a Saiga in 7.62×39, or alternately a 7.62×39 upper for your AR.

          • Suppressed

            What mags do people use for 7.62×39 uppers? Or do they use a modified lower?

          • 7.62×39 mags, which look funny, but the newer ones work quite a bit better than the older varieties.

          • Jeffrey

            I used ASC 10 round mags for my AR. They are perfect.

        • pbla4024

          Does Sa vz. 58 fit the bill?

        • Kelly Jackson

          To be honest your entire post sounds like it was written by a screaming 14 year old on Xbox live.
          I’ve got an old WASR I picked up for $290 at a gun show and a 4x Burris and it easily makes headshots on targets at 400 yards.

          • Big Daddy

            This is why I very rarely post here anymore.

        • gunsandrockets

          Supposedly the Ruger Mini-30 Tactical works fine with russian ammo. See this review of the tactical model which seems to favor the Tula 154 grain soft points.

          • Jeffrey

            My AR love 154 grain SP. It has about 1500 rounds though it without a burp.

        • Suppressed


    • Big Daddy

      These responses are exactly why I do not comment here much. Sorry guys.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Right, not very helpful. What would you have against an ARES SCR with a 7.62×39 chambered upper receiver, perhaps? The ergos are there and they shoot the cheap bimetal surplus just fine even if they aren’t generally all that pretty of guns.

        (Though some people have made some passably attractive custom wood furniture for a few of them.)

      • Beaumont

        I’m curious — why do you feel the need to comment that you don’t comment very much?

        • Big Daddy

          Look in the mirror.

    • Evaris

      Step 1: Buy SKS
      Step 2: Buy more ergonomic stock whether some nice wood from Luckyshots or a eccentric CBRPS bullpup.
      Step 3: Put stock on SKS
      Step 4: Profit?

      Well, it’s what I did, at least. I do like my luckyshots thumbhole stock. Though I’ve been thinking of replacing it with an CBRPS SKSAR stock on account of the… well I just love bullpups and it’s the cheapest route I can go for one that’s not a .22LR.

      • Kivaari

        Had the SKS been first made with a detachable magazine of 20-30 rounds, I think it would still be in service. The SKSs I had were all better performers than any of the AKs I had. In particular the Yugoslav SKSs were very accurate compared to all the others I used.

    • What’s wrong with a Saiga?

      • Kivaari

        Nothing. Years ago I built a “sniper” rifle out of one using an improved butt stock, high grade mount and a Burris scope. It was a pretty nice set up. But, as usual as I get bored I sell ’em for a loss. My friends have the best gun collection I ever owned.

      • Kivaari

        Not much is wrong with them. I liked them just based on the higher quality of workmanship compared to most AK-based rifles.


    Makes me think of the .308 XGI Mini 14 that Ruger never made.

    • ZEBRA-wit-RABIES


      • JSmath

        Not really a “Mini”-14. 😉

        • FCUK ChierDuChien!

          FCUK ChierDuChien!

    • Kivaari

      We all wanted to see the .308 XGI. Ruger built up expectations for 3 years and then dropped the project. The reason cited was it could not show the needed accuracy. Perhaps it had the same issues as the Mini-30, where 100 yard groups were “good” if they were around 4 inches. Over the years I shot only a few Mini-14s in .223 that actually held quite good groups of just over 1 inch at 100 yards. They were the exception. I have never fired the newer models, that are said to perform well.

  • Kivaari

    It looks like a longer stroke system than found on the M1 carbine. The longer gas tube/cylinder leaves me thinking it takes a lot longer shoving compared to the very short tap on the M1 carbine.

    • Marcus D.

      You are correct, it is longer and far further forward towards the muzzle end than the M1, at the end of the top handguard v. just past the chamber. Plus the M1 did not have a tube like this at all, more like a box like affair, and double springs also. It may have something to do with the fact that the .223 cartridge is just under an inch longer (notably, the 7.62 by 39 is only 4 mm longer), or in the alternative that these other two rounds are more powerful and would need a longer delay to allow chamber pressures to drop. It also looks (a WAG) that the gas block may be adjustable.

  • weasle94

    I could use the 308 also but any caliber would still be great. I would like to know what a fair price would be ?

  • gunsandrockets

    Interesting. Nice and trim.

    But it looks like it acquired some dubious changes. Like a receiver gap similar to a Mini-14. And a switch to a long stroke gas piston.

  • UCSPanther

    Such a shame these never left the prototype stage.