90th IDPG Weapons


M3A4 Handcart Reproduction Drawbar

Date Written: 2/15/2008
Author: Chris Guska


One of the commonly missing items from WW2 US Army handcarts is the draw bar.  The draw bar assembly is simply two pieces of pipe riveted to a slotted aluminum casting that fits onto the lunette eye of the cart and is retained with a pin so that the cart can be towed by hand or steered more easily.  My 1943 John Woods M3A4 was missing the draw bar, but was otherwise complete (as detailed elsewhere on 90thidpg.us)

The reproduction draw bar that I purchased was made by Ed Snyder of Perkasie Pennsylvania.  I purchased the draw bar from Hayes Otoupalek who had it listed in his militaria catalog.  The listing in the catalog is rather ambiguous, neither stating the item to be original or reproduction.  I can’t remember the exact price that was listed, but it was around $200.00.

Ordering from Hayes was easy. He simply took my pertinent info as customary and I paid via credit card.  Several weeks later, I received a package from Pennsylvania and not Montana (Hayes lives in Montana).  I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was the draw bar, but disappointed to see that it was reproduction and being drop shipped from the manufacturer in Pennsylvania. Buyer beware on the “draw bar” in Hayes’ catalog – it is a reproduction (a fine one at that) from Ed Snyder.

I later contacted Ed Snyder to find out if he made any other handcart parts.  He has drawbar brackets, lunettes, and brackets to mount the 1917 machinegun.


The Draw Bar:


Unfortunately, I do not own an original draw bar to compare this reproduction to.  My comments will be only based off of my perception of quality, the ORD-9 SNL A42 available on this site and Craig Johnson’s outstanding www.handcartz.com

Out of the box, I was impressed with the draw bar.  The bar appears nicely finished, with a pleasant “happy reenactor fantasy” OD Green finish applied.  The draw bar was deburred and all the edges were crisp yet smooth. The rivets appeared well formed and the pipe sections were tight to the center aluminum casting.

The center casting is well done – there are no air bubbles, blemishes or pits apparent.  The finish is a sand casting that has been machined on some surfaces.  The pin assembly fits in well, holding in securely via the ball detent.


View of the milled slot for the lunette eye.  The drawbar fits on my lunette without excess play in each axis.


Detail of the top, showing casting detail and part number.  From the photos on handcartz.com – the finish and casting quality of the center section appears to be commensurate with original examples.


Side view of the slot for the lunette.  Notice the casting seam that is nicely ground down – but still left without cutting into the body.  Additionally  - notice the well formed rivet heads top and bottom.


Bottom detail


Pin Assembly detail – the pin is nicely machined, fitting well into the slot without excess force, with the ball detent working as it should.  The pin is securely attached to the bar via the chain – which appears to be of the correct style of the original examples.


Detail view of the ends of the drawbar – notice that the ends are chamfered and deburred both on the outside and inside – matching the detail of the original examples on handcartz.com.


Aesthetically the drawbar is very pleasing.  I do not own an original example to compare it to – but based on the photos I have been able to examine on Craig Johnson’s handcartz.com – I feel that this is an excellent reproduction.  The color out of the box is nice – it may not match the RAPCO OD 33070 that I plan to paint my cart – but, it would be an easy repaint if needed.

The technical construction appears to be well done – time and use will indicate the ultimate quality of construction.  Rivets are well formed, and the handles are tight to the center casting.  The pin assembly was carefully machined, with few tool marks and no chatter.  The chain assembly is securely attached and well within the period style. 

For the money – you get what you pay for.  Hand cart parts and accessories are limited as the market is small.  The technique and skill required for casting aluminum isn’t easy to find in combination with original examples to use as patterns.  Hand carts and parts command a premium for a multitude of factors – and even this reproduction is no different.

If you need a draw bar – Ed Snyder is the man to talk to.


M3A4 Handcart Restoration Intro

M3A4 Handcart Restoration Log - Part 2

M3A4 Handcart Restoration Log - Tires

M3A4 Handcart Restoration Log - Part 3

M3A4 Handcart Restoration Log - Part 4



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