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Thread: The Italian Vetterli Rifle: Development, Variants and History in Service

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    The Italian Vetterli Rifle: Development, Variants and History in Service

    I picked this up at the antique arms show yesterday and it is an excellent book on the subject. Quality gloss paper, plenty of photos. I wasn't aware there were that many variants of the rifle. Covers the conversions to 6.5 and dispells one common misconception that the barrels can overheat and be shot out. They are staged liners and it is impossible for them to move forward. Outlines how these were used still in WWII with many captured by the Britishicon in North Africa and in Italiy's East Africa. Authors definitely do not recommend these be fired with full strength loadings. As with other books of this type, it has chapters on markings, accessories and on the plus side also discusses and shows the factories where they were built and the military campaigns where they were used. Photos of Gold plated presentation models are also included. I generally don't like paying $50 for a book but I think this one is worth it.

    The Italian Vetterli Rifle: Development, Variants and History in Service: Robert Wilsey: 9781931464727: Amazon.com: Books

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    Contributing Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    C&Rsenal just covered the Vetterlis with two very interesting episodes. They also suggest not to shoot the 6,5 mm versions.
    That matches the very few info I ever heard over here.
    Nice to keep in collection, but nothing to take to the range.
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3^ rgt. Alpini

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    Contributing Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn243 View Post
    I picked this up at the antique arms show yesterday and it is an excellent book on the subject. Quality gloss paper, plenty of photos. I wasn't aware there were that many variants of the rifle. Covers the conversions to 6.5 and dispells one common misconception that the barrels can overheat and be shot out.
    Recently purchased the book as well though haven't had a chance to go through it yet (same with the C&R episodes). However I do believe it is possible to shoot out the barrels from the front mainly because it is such a common statement. The reason I believe it is possible is to do with the way the rifles are designed. I think it is likely the new chamber area is a weak spot, coupled with the weak flexible action of the Vetterli, I think makes it possible for it to snap the barrel insert off just at the end of the chamber allowing the barrel to come forward well the rest stays in place. This is speculation, however I believe it is possible as so many people have claimed to have had it happen to them, including people I have a ton of respect for.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I had one in single shot years ago, in the mid '80s... Made ammo from .348 Winchester brass cut at the shoulder and turned down at the base. Made a black powder blank with a wax plug and used a .44 semi wadcutter bullet. I could keep them on an 18" box at 200 yd from the shoulder...lots of fun.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Impossible for the sleeve to come out. It's stepped in two places and inserted from the breech. The process is described in the book, see page 71. Supposedly, they are not soldiered in either but expanded with hardened steel rods. I guess in theory it could back out into the breech but seems unlikely as all the pressure is pushing it forward.

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    Senior Member bob q's Avatar
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    The ones I have are also cross pinned at the breech . Just because the internet says it happens , does not mean it does . I could list 50 things about guns that are " known as fact " on the internet , printed in books , that are not true . There was an article in a major gun magazine written about 6.5mm Vetterli's by a guy with no idea how they were made or worked . It included " black powder steel " , " small locking lugs " , " liners falling out " , " not meant to be fired " , "guns blowing up " . Where in the real world : the Italians used the same steel in Carcano's - the lugs have more surface area than a 98 - he had no proof of the liners - there are many photos of the rifles at the front lines and they are dug up from WWI battle sights - again no blown up photo .

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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Probably not wise to even fire the Vetterli Carcano with reduced loads unless very careful. In the filming below video detailing the rifles, two out of four failed. The first at 85% loading after about 18 rounds, the second at 70%. 50% was considered safe although concerns with squib rounds exist at that level. First was a cracked bolt, the second was a case head separation. So not one but two blown up photos, 50% failure rate and this at reduced loads. This video was released just a few weeks ago. This is the only rifle this team has ever fired which blew up and two of them did so.

    Excellent video which also recommends the book which is the subject of this thread:

    If you want to get directly to the failures, they are outlined at roughly 22 minutes. Excellent descriptions of the barrel sleeving process also.

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    Contributing Member WarPig1976's Avatar
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    A companion video to the one above.


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    Contributing Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    Exactly the video I was writing about.
    There is a previous one about the 10,4mm oroginal model which is also very interesting.

    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3^ rgt. Alpini

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