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  1. #1
    Senior Member mac1911's Avatar
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    M38 feeding issues

    Recently picked up a M38 beretta made in 1940. All numbered parts match and all other parts are either marked PB or no marks. Took it out for the first time today. Previous owner said its probably never been shot since it came state side. Hes had it 50 years and never fired it.
    Anyway I picked up some reproduction clips and some PPU 139fmj. It fired and functioned except on the last round it liked to jam the clip forward and jam up the works.

    Is there something I should be looking. Is it a clip problem or a rifle problem.

    Other than that it shot ok. Trigger was a surprise other than the LONG 1st stage

    The stock is to small for me and I cant really shoot the thing with out being on top of my thumb. I also could not see the rear notch well enough to hold the front sight low in the notch. I just held the front sight post centered and leveled with the rear. It shot 16" high at 50 yards




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    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Probably the clips. Original clips don't always work so well from being worn. I've heard the reproduction clips are worse but have no personal experience with them.

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    Really Senior Member Sunray's Avatar
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    "...stock is to small..." By how much? The Pachmayr slip on recoil pad will add about an inch without doing any damage. The pad works well too.
    As I recall, the Carcano was intended to be loaded and fired with the clip still in the rifle. I'd be guessing it's the clip since the rifle works for all but one shot(that should be a total of 6). However, I'm seeing a clip latch and a spring on Gunparts site. $3.15 for the later and $9.70 for the latch. Gotta be over $75 order for free shipping, but it might be an idea to replace 'em. I'd change the 78 year old spring first.
    Spelling and Grammar count!

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    Contributing Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    I’d bet it’s the clips. I have the same issues on some. Take note of the way you put them in when you have the problem, then try reversing them.
    They’ll most probably have trouble with the first shot or nothing at all.
    Depending on the damage they have.
    Last edited by Ovidio; 06-09-2018 at 07:01 AM. Reason: Typo
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3° rgt. Alpini

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    Member Ced1942's Avatar
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    Same thing in my M38. Same clip with same ammo in my M91 and 91/24 and it feed perfectly. Kinda stopped looking for an issue, those are italian rifle after all lol

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    Mac1911, if it's any consolation, my M38 Carcano shoots about 6-8" high at 50 yds as well. I believe it has something to do with the sights being zeroed to 200 meters, but I'm sure someone else knows more.

    I have the same issue with reloading also, and it is usually the clips. I have about ten clips, and the ones that never have that problem are black reproductions that say "SMI *39" on them. I have three of those; the rest are all brass clips that I believe are original production. They have various markings on them with the number (year) typically being 30, 32, 33, or 39. The brass clips cause the same problem that you describe, but it can be on any of the cartridges, not just the last.

    Another thing to look at could be the follower spring inside the magazine guard. The follower on one of my Cavalry Carbines was skewed or damaged, and it wouldn't feed the cartridges properly into the receiver area. One time it abruptly popped out four rounds and the clip through the top of the receiver after attempting to reload. I agree with Ovidio, the way you align the clip and push it down can also be an issue with some fickle Carcanos.

    As for the stock issue, I use a limbsaver (small) on my 38 and it is the perfect distance/fit for me. Also prevents the unnecessary bruising on my shoulder.

  12. #7
    Contributing Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    Mac, I did not fully read your post earlier, otherwise I would have answered concerning the elevation issue.
    With the Carcanos you are not supposed to align the top of the front sight with the top of the rear sight.
    You need to set it so that you only see the tip of the front sight showing up at the bottom of the V notch of the rear sight.
    That should bring you and Tiewaz much lower, where the rifle would be supposed to hit at 50 yards.
    Concerning the stock, these rifles were made for the Italianicon soldier of over 120 years ago, then a bit upgraded, but I doubt the stock was ever made longer.
    I’m 6-2” and need a limb saver in order to have the right length of pull.
    I actually use it on all my milsurps from WWI and WWII.
    Half an inch that makes me shoot much more comfortably.
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3° rgt. Alpini

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    Member Tiewaz's Avatar
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    Thanks Ovidio,
    That explains a lot! I was aiming by lining up the front and rear sights on all three of my Carcanos, which explains the high shots. I figured it had something to do with the short length of the barrels. My Mosin M44 carbine does the same, but it's barrel is corroded near the muzzle, the others are fairly shiny and clean.
    As for limbsavers, I'm tall as well (6'3") and that little piece of rubber does wonders for not just my shoulder, but the overall feel when shouldering certain rifles (Carcano M38, Mosin carbines, Jap carbines).


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