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Thread: Carcano Rifles

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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Carcano Rifles

    I didn't see anywhere to put this as there doesn't seem to be a category for them.

    I've been seeing a lot of these lately. It had been my "goal" to purchase the major rifles from each of the major participants in WWII. But, no matter how good a condition these things are, they still feel (and look) like toys. I can't bring myself to buy one.

    I did see a nice one the other evening which not knowing a lot about them was probably of WWI vintage. It had the "feel" of a rifle and that one I would have bought if it hadn't had a continuous line of deep pitting that followed the entire length of the barrel where it met the stock on both sides. Who knows what it looked like under the stock.



    I know it is the rifle used to assassinate Kennedy and some blame the lack of interest in these on that. But they really don't feel like good guns. Did they use some sort of lightweight wood for their stocks? The metal seems thinner than most other models which could also be a contributing factor I guess. I know they are safe, I've read the "pros" of them on other sites.

    One of the rifles I looked at the other evening didn't even have adjustable sights. It appeared to be a carbine, had a folding spike bayonet and a really blocky rear sight that appeared to be made out of white metal that was painted black. (The nice rifle was the longest Carcano I've seen).

    They had five of them in the store, all were around $100. None had the clips to go with them making them very hard to load single shots. I'm sure these are available somewhere.

    This is not the last rifle I need, I still don't have a Garandicon or an Ariska so I'm in no rush.

    What exactly should I be looking for here?

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    Something that appeals to your eye!

    I've grown to like them, but haven't found a good WWI infantry rifle yet. They were everywhere back when I didn't like 'em.

    The fixed sight models do well by putting the top of the front sight in the very bottom of the rear sight notch at 100yd/m. "Normal" sight alignment works at roughly 300m.

    Placed side by side its easy to see that the metalwork is about 3/4 to 7/8 scale of most other rifles. Makes them relatively light - which is good if you're having to lug it about all day.

    Good bores are esp. important in the 6.5mm versions if you intend on shooting them.

    Most 7.35mm M38s went to Finlandicon and will be "SA" in a box marked.

    Just picked up 5 boxes (one never opened!) of 7.35 ammo on clips a couple of days ago. It turns up- you just never know when!

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    Really Senior Member ireload2's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with a Carcano in good condition. They can be one of the smoothest surest feeding designs around.
    The 1941 long rifle is as substantial as any other and a better rifle and as far as I care a better rifle than what the Ruskies, Frenchicon and Japaneseicon used.

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    Member albert's Avatar
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    The Collector Grade Book "Desperate Measures" about the end of WWII speaks quite a bit about them as one of the major arms of the Volksstrum.

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    Really Senior Member bearhunter's Avatar
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    PO Ackley, tested the Carcano actions and found them to be much stronger than most people realised. Steyr of Austriaicon built them in 8x57 and many were issued late in WWII to the Volksturm.

    Ackley couldn't blow one up. He felt the only reason the Italians used such an anemic load, was because they chose to. They felt, and rightfully so, that the round was potent enough for the ranges it would be used at. The rest is history. It will be ok with a normal .264 diameter bullet but the Italians used a .268 diameter, 160 grain bullet. Hornady makes these bullets.

    They also came in a 7.35mm version. That stuff is really hard to find.

    With the proper bullets, they shoot very well. They are very mild recoiling with the original load. I have one of the Steyr built 8x57 carbines. It is beat to hell on the outside, with a pristine bore. Very accurate but kicks like the proverbial mule. It is basically just a conversation piece as it's just to rude to shoot. It also has some Hebrew markings on the butt.

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    Oddly, I can't find much surplus 6.5, only the 7.35 seems to turn up.

    The 7.35 seems to be an early intermediate range/"assault" rifle round in concept, just done on the cheap by retaining the old "big" case size. It seems that the search for the perfectly "balanced" combat round has been going on for a while...

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    Really Senior Member bearhunter's Avatar
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    In Canadaicon, we get the odd trickle of Federal white box in 6.5. The only 7.35 I've come across has been odd rounds at gun shows.

    The 7.35 was actually going to be the next cartridge for Italyicon. They just ended up in a war time position faster than they realised and retained the 6.5.

    The UKicon did the same thing with the 303Brit and the P13 rifles just before WWI. They got into a large shooting war and just didn't have time to revamp their entire system.

    There really isn't a lot of difference in power between the 6.5 and 7.35, just bullet diameter and a bit less weight.

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  11. #8
    Advisory Panel smellie's Avatar
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    Yes, big problems with Carcanos and most of them not the fault of the basic design. Love it or hate it, the Carcano actually is a well-designed rifle for the period, well-made of good materials, strong enough to handle almost anything you could cram into it, fast-handling and fast-loading and fast-reloading. With the right ammunition, it was about as accurate as anything else out there, with the possible exception of the Ross. Italianicon tests through the 1960s against US, Breda and Beretta Garands showed the old Carcanos always at the top in the accuracy trials. The WORST thing you can say about a Carcano is that they are not finished as pretty as the others.

    I have been shooting Carcanos off and on since about 1963 and generally have found it to be a positive experience. The biggest problem with Carcano ACCURACY is that the original ammo is older than most of US... and the handloading manuals tell you to load with a standard 6.5mm bullet, which can be anything from .262 to .264. Original Italian ammunition had bullets of .266 and .267 diameter. Shooting a .262 or .263 through a rifle designed for .267 is somewhat akin to shooting .270 slugs through a 7mm: accuracy WILL be bad.

    But that is no problem these days: proper brass is available from the lovely people at Hornady, Partizan and Norma, the correct bullets are a standard item from Hornady, the brass available takes standard Boxer .210" primers instead of the special .204" Berdan type. You select your powder by your barrel length, of course. The little short Carbines are very good with IMR-4198. I have a Model 1941 and it is excellent with IMR-4895. Hey! Any time I can get a genuine 1-MOA rifle for $56, I'll take it: that's what I am getting from the 41, using standard Remington bulk-pack .264s.

    The basic Carcano came out in the 1891 pattern, a Rifle, a Carbine and a Special Troops rifle. Original Rifles had the long barrel standard in the 1890s: 30.75", throwing a .266" bullet of 163 grains at 2395 ft/sec @ only 38,300PSI pressure. The Carbine barrel was only just over 17 inches and had that long hinged bayonet, while the Special Troops rifle was intermediate in all respects: 21" tube, detachable knife bayonet. Of course, they all had adjustable sights.

    These were replaced by the Model 38 series in 7.35mm, using a .300" bullet of 128 grains: an effort to update the old design. Just after the adoption of the 38 series, Italy adopted the semi-auto Armaguerra Model 39, which had been developed and tested in 6.5mm, then started trying to re-engineer it for the new cartridge. Actual production of the Armaguerra at the Cremona plant is unknown, but it certainly was no more than 100 before the plant was turned over to parts production for other rifles.

    The 38 series had the standard array of sizes: short and medium, both with the 'block' non-adjustable sights. Not a huge number had been made when Italy became involved in the Second World War so, to ease ammunition-supply problems, the 38 series were converted to 6.5mm and the fine Model 41 developed as a substitute for the old 91, which was 4 inches longer and a pound heavier.

    So there are a whole heap of Carcanos to be collected: 3 Carbines, 3 Special Troops rifles, a Long rifle, a Medium rifle and, of course, the midget: the Balilla, a miniature Carbine, bayonet and all, made for the Fascist youth corps.

    They are entirely a valid field of collecting and they are one which is so neglected. And if you like a reasonably-lightweight, low-recoiling rifle which is far more accurate than its outward appearance would indicate, then this is where you look for a real deal, likely the single BEST deal in Milsurps today.

    One point always to remember: the Italians did not have a lot of money to waste, so they spent what they had on a decent design and on excellent barrels.

    And a point of interest: all Carcanos, with the single exception of the Model 41, used Gain-Twist rifling; the rifling started with a slow pitch and increased in rate toward the muzzle. This was popular among the very best Match rifles of the late Black-powder period, but the lowly Carcano was to be the ONLY military rifle to continue it into the smokeless-powder era. It works, too.

    BTW, the rifle used on JFK (who was not one of my favourite people) was a TS-38 in 6.5mm.

    Carcanos are FUN! Time to get one... or two... or three...
    Last edited by smellie; 07-01-2010 at 07:49 AM. Reason: speling misteak

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    Really Senior Member bearhunter's Avatar
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    I have another carcano related question. Does anyone have a pic of a Carcano sniper rifle that they can post? I don't recall seeing one.

    Weaver used to make a side mount for one. The actions are smooth, tough and rigid. As mentioned above, with the right ammunition, very accurate. The Terni built M91 I have will hold its own against the Breda M1icon Garand and that shoots into 1 1/2inches.

    It's to bad the Italianicon military was so rife with poor leadership. The troops and rifles were fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bearhunter View Post
    I have another carcano related question. Does anyone have a pic of a Carcano sniper rifle that they can post? I don't recall seeing one.

    .
    I've an "Oswald special" built on a rifle pretty close in S/N to the infamous weapon, and using the same scope and bracket (purchased from the folks that built them back in the '60s!- All gone now, I think).
    It shoots very well. A friend (the one who collected the parts and built it) killed a deer with it. It handles well and contrary to popular opinion, cycles and comes back on target VERY quickly. It changed his mind about the rifle's capabilities.

    There's an old photo (not a close-up) in the ammo forum. OR just click on either the carcano or carcano ammunition tags below- they ought to get you there- I think the thread's titled "More Carcano Fun Coming" or something close. If i get time, I'll try some new pics, but it may be a week or three!

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