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Thread: 1870/87/15 Vetterli Carcano

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  1. #11
    Legacy Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    These rifles were made when metallurgy and understanding of pressures were in its infancy. They did a lot of things which would be considered very sketchy today at this time period. Generally, a lot of things operated at the bare minimum margins of safety. Many nations converted their older black powder designs to smokeless (or attempted to). Many had issues due to the fact some of the rifles were not up to snuff for the higher pressures smokeless powder generated. Even some dedicated smokeless powder rifles had issues in this time period (best example being the Gewehr 88).

    Trapdoor Springfield conversions to .30-40 Kragicon (not a good idea). Frenchicon Gras conversions (I have one personally in 8mm Lebel, fun rifle to shoot but I stick to the low end of the pressure scale due to the limitations of the design). The Vetterli 70/87/15 rifles, which wasn't even that good a conversion as many had feeding issues excluding the obvious pressure issues. Martini-Henrys to .303 (not actually a bad conversion). etc.

    I personally would approach shooting one with extreme caution myself, no point in getting hurt or destroying a 150 year old rifle just because you want to push it to the limits.

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  4. #12
    Legacy Member bob q's Avatar
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    Lets see I have a custom rifle making shop , develop wildcat rounds and have a ballistic lab with pressure measuring equipment , the video guy has a fat chick . A friend and I have test fired over 5000 military rifles with many different loads , in the 100,000 range of rounds fired . I am sure we have more experience with that than anyone in the county . His info was based on one of the bad articles I stated . I know one of the guys that wrote one of the articles , he can't work a screw driver well ., The rifles were used in WWI . Look at the rifles being dug up in the latest alpine front area , at the front line . They have been found with ammo in them , empties around them , they were used . Also none have been found blow up . They used Carcano barrel blanks and other resources to make them , which would have taken AWAY from Carcano production . Use common sense , if they were not meant to be used , WHY even spend the time to convert them to front line usability ? Of course top rate units got the best weapons , but there were many secondary units at the front lines fighting . How is the metal different in my 1892 Carcano and my 1892 Vetterli made at the same plant different ? Since your car motor could blow up the next time you start it does that mean it is unsafe to use ? Other than a bad lot of ammo , how was the Gew-88 unsafe? It fired 100's of 1000's of S ammo in it's service life . Many of the 1889 rifles are still in firing condition with their original barrels .

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  6. #13
    Contributing Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    I do use common sense; I believe reputable authors over a random dude on the internet that has nothing but his opinion which to me is meaningless. Where's your book? Have you published anything? Has any of it been duplicated?

    With my common sense, all I have to do is pick up mine, work the bolt a couple of times which is one of the loosest bolts if not THE loosest bolt on any rifle I own and there is no way in hell I'm firing a modern load out of it. I understand metallurgy, understand that the metal in these is NOT up to modern standards, it is thin, it is designed for pressures under the 6.5 Carcano. It stretches with prolonged use. They WERE NOT converted to front line usability; they were NEVER intended for front line use. That's where you are 100% WRONG.

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    Legacy Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob q View Post
    The rifles were used in WWI . Look at the rifles being dug up in the latest alpine front area , at the front line . They have been found with ammo in them , empties around them , they were used . Also none have been found blow up . They used Carcano barrel blanks and other resources to make them , which would have taken AWAY from Carcano production . Use common sense , if they were not meant to be used , WHY even spend the time to convert them to front line usability ? Of course top rate units got the best weapons , but there were many secondary units at the front lines fighting . How is the metal different in my 1892 Carcano and my 1892 Vetterli made at the same plant different ? Since your car motor could blow up the next time you start it does that mean it is unsafe to use ? Other than a bad lot of ammo , how was the Gew-88 unsafe? It fired 100's of 1000's of S ammo in it's service life . Many of the 1889 rifles are still in firing condition with their original barrels .
    Yes they were used in WWI, as were Gewehr 88s, etc. The issue isn't the barrels, I personally am pretty confident in the method they used to line them based off what I have seen a 1/2 thou fit over a long length hold (plus they had a lot of experience with their Salerno method). It is the action itself. The action is weak for that cartridge. There is a reason it is a M70/87/15, because it is a 1870s design modified over the years. Could later examples have used better steel than earlier examples? Yes, it is possible. That being said like many things manufactured in that era, standardization of materials, processes, and engineering was questionable. There is also a thing where sometimes when you have a adopted standard they possibly use lower grade materials than what is available because it is already accepted/you have the materials on hand. Like your 1892 Carcano and 1892 Vetterli example, they might just be made with two completely different grades of steel because the specifications allow for different grades.

    I don't have exact numbers for the pressures involved with the 10.4mm cartridge but based on what average black powder cartridges generate it would most likely be in the 20k-30k psi range. 6.5 Carcano runs around 41k psi. Thats a minimum of 30% more powerful than the 10.4mm and at maximum double the pressure. So basically, much more than a proof round with each shot of 6.5 through it. That doesn't give me a lot of confidence considering it isn't the beefiest of actions to make up for the potential lack of steel quality (guns like the Martini-Henry or Remington Rolling Blocks benefited from this when converted to smokeless powder).

    Just because a rifle was acceptable as a substitute standard doesn't mean it is a good substitute. The reason why they converted them was logistics based. Basically, they didn't want to restart 10.4mm ammo production and instead wished to focus on 6.5mm production. Logistically it was easier to convert the rifles which they didn't intend to really use much than to reopen production lines on ammo they didn't need. Taking away from the production of ammo they certainly were using. It doesn't mean it was a extremely safe conversion, it means it generally worked and could be reliably counted on to fire a few rounds down range if needed.

    My point mentioning Gewehr 88s was more to do with how there was a severe lack of understanding of smokeless powder and how to properly build firearms when it first came out, which lead to some unsafe conversions. There was many modifications done to the Gewehr 88s to make them safe.

  8. #15
    Legacy Member bob q's Avatar
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    As far as books go I do have 1000's of military related books . Some good , some bad . Just because it is in a book does not mean it is correct . All it takes is some one who is uninformed to write something and then many people use it as a source and just keep repeating it without checking . Examples . For years "everyone" knew late war Type-99's were unsafe to shoot because it was written , I fought that one for 30 years . Everyone knew the Gew-88 had a .318 bore and that still gets repeated even though the Germanicon military documents say not and there has never been a rifle found with one . Also many original 1889 Gew-88 rifles with the original barrels , bolts and receivers , unmodified were used in WWI with S ammo with no problems . The Japaneseicon long lance torpedo is another one , many books , then Youtubers say how the long lance sunk battle ships at Pear harbor , how Japanese Subs used them to great effect . No battleships at Pearl where hit with long lances , nor were any US ships sunk with them by Subs . How the MG-42 wiped them out at Omaha beach , not so as the main MG's used there were CZ made tripod guns . They did not need to "restart" 10.4mm ammo has they hade millions of rounds still in stock which would have been enough for rifles never meant to be fired . Also the Video guy used the big Carcano bullets for his reloads which are made wrong and are known to break Carcano rifles . Plus they come with a big warning from the maker NOT to use reduced loads . I got some of the first 1000 of those and after finding there problems after much testing I did post warnings about them . So he broke the rifles with bad reloads .

  9. #16
    Legacy Member mattgunguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob q View Post
    Also the Video guy used the big Carcano bullets for his reloads which are made wrong and are known to break Carcano rifles .
    Please elaborate. First I've heard of this & would explain a few things for me.

    They "looked" like the Hornady .268" RN Carcano only bullets. Which I have & have reloaded with. I've had nothing but problems with those .268 bullets. Everything from sticking in the barrel, to having no clue where they've gone down range. I pretty much refuse to use them at this point.
    I'm more than happy reloading with the run of the mill .264" bullets for my Carcano. Shoots just about as well as my 1938 Swedishicon Mauser when using the same .264" Hornady 140gr eld bullet. Dose good with factory PPU ammo as well.

  10. #17
    Legacy Member mattgunguy's Avatar
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    Never mind, found it. We'll some of it at least. I only care about the bits related to the 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridge right now. Being that is what I'm dealing with at the moment.

    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=3587

    That really chaps my behind. Figured it was just my reloads. There's no warning on any of the boxes of .268" bullets I have, granted I've had em a long time. Also annoyed with myself for having never found this information before.

    Glad I switched to the .264" bullets before something worse happened than a stuck bullet in the bore. I know that my my M91 has a tight bore (.266"-.267" last l slugged it) & figured that was why I was having my good luck with the smaller bullet. I haven't yet slugged the bore of her Vetterli Carcano.
    Last edited by mattgunguy; 11-17-2022 at 08:01 PM.

  11. #18
    Legacy Member bob q's Avatar
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    I did a big report on the problems with those bullets years ago when they first came out . The guy at Hornady did not understand how those early military rifles where meant to shoot . The early rifles were " bore riders ' , meaning the bullets were smaller than the groove of the barrel and just rode the lands . They had hollow or open bases to seal just at the rear and slick jackets . This allowed for more velocity with less pressure as a lot less of the bullet was in full contact with the barrel . Also the deep rifling lasted longer . The Hornady bullet just kept chasing it's tail . First it was about groove dia , it tore up jackets , so he made the jacket thicker and harder which caused pressure problems because it was the opposite of what the original was . Also he did not know the Italians slowly changed bore sizes . Since I had about 60 different Carcanos from all the years , I knew this , he only had a few to test . He was blowing up rifles and did not know why . His last test rifle seems to had a large bore and he thought he had fixed it . To make it short , the problem is with rifles with tighter bores and gain twist rifling the bullet will try and stick in the bore no matter what load you use [ lighter is worse as it can not just force the bullet out ] . Also the gain twist makes it worse as the rifling is trying to reengrave the thick bullet jacket as the twist changes . During our testing we ran into these problems , one time we even got the jacket to stick close to the muzzle and the lead core [ which is semi molten from friction ] squirted out like a frozen icicle . I will stick with the .264 Hornadys , also testing with the .266 ish PPU bullets has shown no problems . The .268 Hornadys to kick butt in my early .270 groove Type 38 rifles though .

    ---------- Post added at 08:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:11 PM ----------

    I wish you would have found it before I typed all of that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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