View Full Version : Ammo for Carcano mod. 91/41
11-28-2010, 08:49 AM
Hello to you all!
I'm here with 2 "easy" questions. My buddy for shooting wants to buy a Carcano mod. 91/41, but he said to be afraid 'cause he heared something "unpleasant" about ammo for such a rifle. Well, to be short his first fear is: which bullets use with a Carcano 91/41 in 6.5mm caliber, bore uniform-twist rifling ? The second point is: someone advised him to not use powder Vihtavuori N120 -absolutely NO- while someone said N140 is not the right powder for such a caliber. So, which powder to use?
I hope among you all there is anybody keen in Carcano 91/41 and I (my buddy) hope in his help.
In advance many thanks!
11-28-2010, 11:04 PM
Marco, I think you will find that most armies tried to use a fairly fast-burning powder: less weight to transport, less dollars, pounds, lira, marks to spend, being that it all costs about the same to produce.
I have a Carcano Model 41 and it is just wonderfully accurate. I am using the cheap (bulk-pack) Remington 140-grain flat-base pointed bullet in my rifle. This is actually a .264" diameter bullet, but the rifle likes it, so that is what I feed it; the correct Carcano bullet should be about .268", so my bullets are 1/10 of a millimetre too small. All I can say is that the rifle likes them.... and the rifle is the boss. I seat my bullets as closely as I can to the length of a factory Carcano round; I think this is important because these rifles all had very long throats.
On this side of the Atlantic, the only maker to offer a correct Carcano bullet is Hornady. You are in Europe, though, and your neighbours in Serbia make proper Carcano bullets at the Prvi Partizan factory in Uzice.
I do not know the Vihtavuori powders at all. We don't see them very much here and, when we do, they are very expensive. For a very mild load, I have used 28 grains of IMR-4198.
I hope this is a bit of help.
11-29-2010, 04:41 AM
You don't mention which bullet weight you are planning on using. Smellie just gave you a good load. He's also very lucky that the .264in diameter bullets shoot well in his Carcano. They don't shoot well in mine and the bore is almost mint. It does however like the bulk Prive bullets I managed to pick up at a gun show.
Personally, I don't like to use the faster powders. I like to use N-160 and H4831, for all weights. The bullets I have are 140 grain spitzer type. I use 35.0 grains of N160 over a standard primer. I get about 2150 fps (680M) per second with that load. 39 grains of H4831, gives almost identical performance. These loads are safe in my FAT 42 that was FTRed in 1947. My rifle, also has the gain twist barrel. Not that it makes any difference. Bullet diameter in mine makes all the difference in accuracy. These rifles can be amazingly accurate. They are also a lot stronger than most realise. Google P.O. Ackley's report on action strength tests. The mild loads used in the Carcano rifles was through choice, nothing to do with the strength or weakness of the actions.
I like to shoot my Carcano. Bullet availability is the real problem. Reloadable brass can be a problem as well. I like the low recoil and sight picture as well.
11-29-2010, 05:12 AM
There's some similar threads that have been started previously and some seem to be fairly long running. Do a tag search using "Carcano Ammuntion" or "Carcano". Also see the links to "Similar Threads" at the bottom of this page.
One of the threads I started some time back is as follows:
More 6.5 Carcano fun coming! (http://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=15002&highlight=6.5+Carcano)
11-29-2010, 10:38 AM
In the behalf of my buddy I thank you all for all what above.
What is common between on side of the pond and the other is: very difficult to find the bullets for such a rifle.
Again many thanks to you all! :cheers:
11-30-2010, 02:18 AM
One thing I should mention is that, even though the thing is very accurate (1 inch at 100 yards: very, very good for a $56 rifle!), I have not shot my '41 all that much. I had proper Carcano bullets on order through a local shop for 4 years, but nothing ever arrived. Many Carcanos really NEED the .268" bullet; I was just very lucky that my rifle has a very tight bore, allowing me to use an undersize bullet and still obtain good results. Also, I think it likely that the flat base of the Remington bullet helps, as does the very quick powder which I was using: a fast pressure rise will give the bullet a solid "kick" on its base, forcing it to upset and fill the barrel, making for more accurate shooting.
In Canada, our best source for Carcano brass and bullets seems to be Trade-Ex in Montreal. This is 2000km away from where I live, about 3500km from where friend Bearhunter lives. This is a BIG country! The good part is that, for the first time in many years, we CAN get what we need for our rifles. Carcano values here have been held down for many years by the ammunition problem. I suspect that as more people discover that you CAN make ammunition for them, prices will rise..... and so will respect for this fine rifle.
Our border with the USA is much harder to get things across, thanks to all the recent "security" laws. This means that our American friends will have, as their best source for Carcano brass and bullets, Graf's in Mexico, Missouri. They will ALSO enjoy prices not very much over half of what we pay for the same items. (I cry!)
My rifle, as your friend's, has a constant-twist barrel. I was surprised to learn that there are some around which have gain-twist barrels - the specification called for a constant-twist barrel.
I do agree with friend Bearhunter that the rifles are light, easy to use and the recoil is very mild. I have a female friend of the quite small variety who wants to learn to shoot. She will be learning with 2 revolvers and 3 rifles. The revolvers are a 1933 Enfield Number 2 Mark 1 and Smith & Wesson 10/200, both taking the .38 S&W cartridge, and the rifles she will be using will be a Cooey 39 and a Winchester 69A (both .22RF) and..... you guessed it....... a Carcano Model 41. My reasoning is simple: she is not very big, these are five VERY accurate guns..... and none of them kick hard enough to hurt her. I think that knocking over a few 200-metre falling plates will be a good confidence-builder for her.... and the Carcano 41 is definitely accurate enough to do that.
I now HAVE a bag of the Serbian "Prvi Partizan" bullets. My Carcanos are due for a LOT of range time in the coming season!
11-30-2010, 06:49 PM
I have also been using Prvi Partizan. Surprisingly good. :thup:
12-01-2010, 02:00 AM
smellie, I realise my carcano is unique. It's the only one I've seen with a gain twist barrel on a long rifle. Seeing as it was it has an FTR date of 1947, makes it even more improbable. It's actually the main reason I picked the rifle. I bought it out of Harkley and Haywood, back in the day. I still remember that day, one of the hot and muggy spring days in 1070. I went in with $150 to spend. I had been to Lever Arms but didn' see anything that called to me. I walked out of H&H with the Carcano, an M1 Carbine and a crate of 38/200 UK surplus. I also had an all matching Byf 43 P-08 on hold until I could get to a bank and get them some money. That was an expensive day. I spent close to $300 all told, very close to a month's wages. Considering how things have changed, that was quite expensive. Especially by todays prices. Considering their condition, the same firearms can easily be picked up for half that amount when converted to todays wages. Today, those firearms could easily be had for $1500, give or take. The ammunition, is now non existent in case lots. I still have that small wooden box and a couple of the paper cartridge boxes that held a dozen rounds that it was packed with.
Getting back to the twist rate, I was under the impression that gain twist barrels were reserved for carbines.
One thing I have been having a problem with from day one is finding clips. I have two and wouldn't mind picking up another half dozen or so.
12-01-2010, 07:54 AM
Early rifles had the gain twist rifling, too. Actually, I don't think it was dropped until the 1941 model was introduced. Possibly some 1941s had barrels made on older equipment?:dunno:
12-02-2010, 04:18 AM
Thanks jmoore. That's what makes my rifle unique IMHO. It has FAT42 on the barrel and a 1947 FTR date.
Back in the day, when I bought it, Carcanos were thought of as junk by most. This one was in perfecte condition and had a gain twist barrel. I didn't know that by 1941, they weren't making gain twist barrels any more. That's whats so interesting about milsurps. There are so many possibilities. Seeing as the rifle was rebuilt in 1947, it was probably done with existing spares. That is the only reason I can think of that a rifle would have an early barrel as a replacement.
To tell the truth, I was under the impression that only the little carbines had gain twist barrels.
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