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View Full Version : what's the deal with carcano rifles?


tahunua001
April 19, 2012, 07:25 PM
hello all.
a couple days ago I was at fairchild air force base wrapping up my obligations to uncle sam when I decided that since I was only 20 miles from the nearest cabelas(which I never have had the chance to go to) I would go check it out. well cabelas was it's usual, seemingly overpriced plethora of junk I really "need" but stopping by their used gun racks I was surprised that they had an entire rack(about 2 dozen guns) devoted entirely to carcano rifles. I had never batted 2 eyelashes at them when I saw them at gunshows but I am quite curious as to the sudden availibility of them. the prices were nothing to call home about being about the same as the yugo mausers and norico SKS's sitting behind the new gun counter.

so why is everyone and their dogs suddenly selling their carcanos?

Big Shrek
April 19, 2012, 07:39 PM
Mostly because...they're pretty sad excuses of a rifle, dang near anything is better,
and it has a black mark of notoriety for being the rifle that killed John F. Kennedy...
For the same money & a FFL03 (C&R), you can get a wide variety of really NICE WW1/WW2/Korean-era rifles sent to your home...

Yes, I'm old...
Yes, I still hold a grudge...
Yes, I still hate Jane Fonda...and wouldn't mind if Kalifornia quaked off the map & took all the current movie stars with it ;)

44 AMP
April 19, 2012, 08:27 PM
Agreed they are a poor excuse for a rifle, even the Russians built better, overall. Also, there is no surplus ammo market for them (and never was much of one).

For a long time they were dirt cheap, and, other than French, the least desirable of the collectible milsurplus bolt guns. This was long before the fall of communism let the Russians sell their surplus in the US, at dirt cheap prices, which stimulated the whole collector market.

The most common caliber, the 6.5mm Carcano is by itself, not a bad round. BUT, its modest velocity, (2200fps) and the fact that it is only found in Carcano rifles kept it from being very popular in the US, and finding ammo was a real problem for many years. Today, nearly all the old rounds are being loaded by somebody, but niche rounds like the Carcano are expensive, for what you get.

The 7.35mm Italian is even more scarce and while you might be able to find some, good luck.

There were also some Carcanos (the bigger caliber ones, although it might have been a different Italian rifle, I no longer recall, and am too lazy to look it up :D) the Germans converted to 8mm Mauser. Most folks I know would be real hesitant about shooting one of them.

My old Lyman manual warns about the wide variations of groove diameter found in these rifles, with many being well over the proper .264" bore, and to beware of gas blow by if using .264 bullets in one of them. Always wear safety glasses and they recommend using cast bullets sized to the bore of the individual gun.

My guess about why there are so many Carcanos on the rack is that as our "Greatest Generation" passes, the guns they brought back as war prizes, and the guns they bought cheap during the 50s-60s are being sold by their decendants. Another thing about a rack full of Carcanos, that tells you that no one is buying them, much. And for good reason.

They are awkward, in rare calibers, not noted for accuracy, not easily converted to anything else, or sporterized. Also there is the whole "Oswald's gun" thing, which still makes a difference, to some people.

tahunua001
April 19, 2012, 09:10 PM
I kindof got the vibe that they were probably being sold with good reason. they are fairly small and a lot of them seemed like they had the stocks cut down at least a little so I guess you would call them semi-sporters. I'm not 100% but I think there may have been one of those 8mm conversions on the rack but again, can't remember.

I was kindof tinkering with the idea of converting one to 308 which if the bores were that badly done, would have to be bored out to a nominal diameter anyway, the only problem would be shooting a roughly 51mm case out of a 52mm chamber.

Gunplummer
April 19, 2012, 09:38 PM
Whole lot of rumor flying here. I am not a fan of Carcanos, but I still take "Lee Harvey" out for a doe now and then. My sister found it in a barn when she bought her farm and it looks pretty scarey. I put a scope on and did not bother to clean it up. Rough weather gun. Shoots as good @ 100 yards as most surplus guns I have shot, and a lot better than some. "Oswald stigma?" What about Mr. Schickilgruber's rifles?

gyvel
April 19, 2012, 10:15 PM
There is no deal with Carcanos.

Salvatore Carcano designed that gun using innovations from some of the best rifles of the day, ca. 1890. The rifle was officially adopted in 1891 and served well until 1945 as a military rifle, and for some decades after WWII as a police weapon in Italy.

Probably the rifles you saw in Cabela's were surplus rifles from Finland who used them with good effect against the Russians in the Winter and Continuation Wars. Did they have the letters "SA" inside a rectangular box with rounded corners?

It's also possible, since you say they looked to have "cut down" stocks, that they were 1891 "Moschetto" models that used a half stock and a folding spike bayonet ala SKS. These were used by Italian police well into the 1960s, at least.

Interestingly enough, it is stated that many privately held weapons used in the recent Libyan Civil War were Carcanos.

Granted, they aren't the smoothest operating rifle in the world, but they are made of good steels and were suitably adequate for the purpose intended.

TX Hunter
April 19, 2012, 10:17 PM
I alwayse thought they were a neat looking rifle, I looked at a nice one today, guy wanted $300 and it wasnt import marked.
Most of the Young People I know that shoot like the AR 15s and all that Jazz, Let um. It frees up the kind of guns I like.

Scimmia
April 19, 2012, 10:20 PM
My old Lyman manual warns about the wide variations of groove diameter found in these rifles, with many being well over the proper .264" bore, and to beware of gas blow by if using .264 bullets in one of them. Always wear safety glasses and they recommend using cast bullets sized to the bore of the individual gun.

I really think this misunderstanding (along with the JFK stigma) shows where so much of the Carcano hate comes from. They tend to shoot like crap with standard 6.5mm bullets (.264") because the standard groove diameter for them was .268"!

gunsmokeTPF
April 19, 2012, 10:29 PM
I was given a Carcano for nothing in the 1970's. It's stock looked like dried up driftwood. That was the most forgetable gun I ever owned. I gave it away within 24hrs from my locker, without ever bringing it home. The only place they belong, except of course the one that's in the Smithsonian, is in a crusher.

SIGSHR
April 19, 2012, 11:35 PM
There seems to be no "cachet" or mystique attached to Carcanos or Italian military firearms or militaria in general. I don't understand the "Lee Harvey Oswald Stigma", how many war surplus P-38s and 98ks were used against GI Joes, how do you know that 32 ACP bringback wasn't used by some SS type to execute partisans or innocent civilians?

tahunua001
April 20, 2012, 12:08 AM
I also do not understand weapon stigma. funny how with carcanos everyone seems to dislike them because oswald used one while everyone loves the FN fiveseven because the fort hood shooting prooved the lethality of the round.

I dont care if a rifle was shot by sergeant Alvin York, Vasiele Zaitsev, or Kim Jung Il, if it works and I can afford the ammo, I like it. if it was a load of horse manure that was molded and baked until crusty and costs 2 dollars every tim eI squeeze the trigger...not so much.

Scimmia
April 20, 2012, 12:08 AM
I don't understand the "Lee Harvey Oswald Stigma", how many war surplus P-38s and 98ks were used against GI Joes, how do you know that 32 ACP bringback wasn't used by some SS type to execute partisans or innocent civilians?

You're trying to attach logic to a purely emotional issue. The execution of a random innocent German civilian didn't exactly provoke the same emotional response as the assassination of a popular sitting US President. You have to remember the mantra of the gun grabbers, it was the guns fault!

TX Hunter
April 20, 2012, 07:53 AM
The Carcano is on my list of Guns to Own Sooner or later I will add one to my collection. I think its a neat looking little carbine, but thats just me.

deadcoyote
April 20, 2012, 12:47 PM
My local shop has a couple of these for $175 each. I've been thinking about grabbing one up. PRVI makes commercial reloadable ammo at $15 a box.

James K
April 20, 2012, 01:12 PM
A lot of the "stigma" of the Carcano comes from the same anti-gun gang that promoted the "Saturday Night Special" and "assault rifle" names in an effort to ban military surplus, inexpensive handguns and semi-automatics. They were, of course, aided and abetted by folks like gunsmokePTF ("the only place they belong is in a crusher") not realizing that if the gun grabbers can put Carcanos in a crusher, their own "good" guns will soon follow.

I have some personal experience in that area. A local author, who wrote on the JFK assassination (one of the many conspiracy nuts) asked a retired colonel, a military target shooter, about the Carcano. The colonel, who thought the only good gun was a National Match Springfield, told the writer that a Carcano couldn't shoot 100 yards and didn't have the accuracy or the power to hurt anyone. Naturally, the writer, anxious to find anything that would point the finger of blame away from his hero, Fidel Castro, lapped it up, and such nonsense has continued to dog any discussion of the Carcano ever since.

In fact, the Carcano is not junk, it was quite a decent rifle in 1891 (the U.S. was still using the trapdoor Springfield), pretty much in line with what other nations were adopting at the time. At that time, the 6.5 was considered state of the art, with light recoil and light ammo, but with sufficient power and accuracy for lethality at normal battle ranges. In fact, the same justifications given for the adoption of the 5.56mm by the U.S. some 70 years later. It was obsolete by WWII, but so were other rifles, including the much loved Swedish 6.5x55.

Jim

Slamfire
April 20, 2012, 01:28 PM
Wish I picked up a Carcano. The WW2 generation hated them, so they were cheap for a very long time.

Handled them, I guess I let other people's opinions sway me too much and I did not buy.

It would be interesting to compare to other 1890 designs.

Basically all bolt gun actions became obsolescent once the M1898 action was perfected. There were service rifle actions developed later, but the 98 action was still the best. At least in my opinion.

The other variations, including the Carcano, they worked well enough that they were kept in service.

gunsmokeTPF
April 20, 2012, 02:31 PM
James K, I'm sorry you took my quote about the Carcano litterally. Could we get back to reality for just one moment? Please don't put words into my mouth, because of your interpretation. It's only my opinion that that rifle is garbage. They weren't dependable and couldn't even be counted on to assist in a suicide. Remember now, I actually owned one for almost a full day.

That's not to say that the cartridge was bad, or good, cause I don't know. I've been around guns for over 50 years, but even back then I was practically forced to take it. That particular one was frightening and there was no way I'd ever put my cheek on that stock and fire it. I even had trouble giving it away. I hate cheap pen guns too, but guess they have their place, though I'd never own one.

I have no problem with people wanting to own one for whatever their reason may be. I don't believe in gun confiscation. The Philidelphia derringer was used to assassinate Lincoln and I like that gun a lot. I don't hate it with it's connection to JFK. I'm not completely convinced that that dog Oswald was able to do what's claimed he did with that weapon and I didn't mean to insult dogs.

I love italian guns. I have 2 beautiful italian shotguns and my 1st gun ever, which I still have since I was 8 is an 1875 Vetterli, that was brought back from France after the war. People should collect whatever they like. No one should get their panties in a bunch just because a particular gun is called crap and that's even if it's true. Only the one who designed it should be insulted, but won't be cause he's dead a long time. Also, I don't like being put into the category of acting in concert with the gun grabbers. Anyone who knows me personally would laugh at that. Your accusation towards me would be like me saying you wrote your post in a mental ward. That's also rediculous, cause I don't know you , or where you actually are. By the way Jim I'm gunsmokeTPF and not PTF.

gyvel
April 20, 2012, 05:49 PM
They weren't dependable and couldn't even be counted on to assist in a suicide.

And were did you pick up this little gem of information?

giaquir
April 20, 2012, 06:15 PM
I can remember reading F&S or outdoor life when I was a kid
and Carcanos were $7 shipped to your house.
Things change.

Shotgun693
April 20, 2012, 06:21 PM
My first gun was a Carcano, just like the JFK gun. My Father went with me to the Army Surplus Store because I was about 11 when I bought it. It was about $14. I killed my first deer with it. The sights stank, ammo had to be loaded into a clip, and you could only get ammo at that Surplus store. It was serviceable and like I said, I killed my first deer with it. It I could get another one for $14 I’d just keep it in my truck as my ‘better than a sharp stick’ gun. BTW, I remember it as being very loud and hard kicking.

tahunua001
April 20, 2012, 06:27 PM
well I don't know much bout the reliability of the gun but I will say that depictions of a stock made from drift wood pretty closely describes the quality of the stocks I was seeing at cabelas.

the action didn't look half bad but the magazine/trigger assemblies all looked like they were made of cheap tin with a number of the rifles sporting serious dents and dings that other battle rifles of the time were not prone to.

they are all short barreled carbine types which when pared to a round that would be comparable to a heavy grained 308 would have probably kicked like a mule and sported a muzzle flash that would have given away your position if you were shooting with the sun at your back.

these are just a few design characteristics that would lead me to believe that they aren't the greatest rifle ever invented at the time. just try comparing to a mosin nagant 1891 which is believed by many to be one of the worst guns you can get right now.

the mosin nagant fired a more potent round and was a heavier design, meaning it was easier to stabilize, had longer sight radius and absorbed recoil all of these features would have made the shooter more prone to higher accuracy and greater chance of a kill shot(not that the Russians were the best trained conscripts in the world) but in the hands of a well trained and experienced shooter the carcano when compared to other weapons of it's day was probably not the greatest.

gunsmokeTPF
April 20, 2012, 06:45 PM
Gyvel, I can't remember at this time where my information came from, cause it was many years ago and frankly that's one of the last guns I'd even think about. But in my case since I actually had it in my hands and had a little experience with a few guns I was able to determine it belonged in Sanford and Son's junkyard. That show was on TV at that time.

I and I just mean I wouldn't want anyone to know if I owned one. My taste in guns is far better than that, which is just my humble opinion. Does one have to be an Elmer Keith, or a Skeeter Skelton to give one's opinion on this forum? If your so knowledgeable regarding this rifle then fill us in with your pearls of wisdom. I'd be willing to listen, cause I don't take personally what others like, or don't like.

I will continue to criticize that gun, but never personally put down anyone else for wanting one, or having one.

amd6547
April 20, 2012, 07:02 PM
I consider a Carcano to be one of the best fighting bolt actions made.
Certainly a better fighting carbine than the Mosin.
I have owned just about all the great military bolt actions...Mauser, Mosin, Enfield, Springfield...
My Carcano cavalry carbine is short, and it's action is very slick. It has a 100yd battle sight setting. The enbloc clip someone complained about makes it very fast to load, and contribute to the quick feeding action.
The 6.5 Carcano cartridge offers excellent power and penetration at normal battle ranges. The steel used in the receiver was a special formulation which is high quality and strong, as is the design. The safety, which many describe as slow and awkward is actually positive and quick to disengage.
I too had my doubts about Oswald using the Carcano in November 1963... Until I shot my own Carcano. I now have no doubt at all that the weapon was capable of making the shot.
http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h61/amd6547/P1000671.jpg

gyvel
April 21, 2012, 10:33 AM
GunsmokeTPF, I question your unfounded statement as to Carcanos being not dependable, etc. Carcanos, as I stated earlier, utilized some of the best innovations available in 1890.

Carcanos were certainly dependable as they kicked some Austrian butt during WWI, and were used to good advantage in Ethiopia in 1935,

Maybe you don't like the odd design or the color of the wood, but Carcanos were made from very good steel, and exhibited no significant problems other than the undersized calibre as evidenced by field reports from the Italian Army.

Much like the Nagant, they are judged by hearsay and their appearance, most of which is simply not true.

I am no great fan of the Carcano, but unfounded negative comments based solely on subjectivity do little to solidify your position.

Its use by Oswald is certainly of no concern to me. He just happened to elect (or was told) to purchase one of the cheapest guns available on the market from Klein's Sporting Goods. While I don't condone assassination of a president, Kennedy was no favorite of mine anyway.

gyvel
April 21, 2012, 11:00 AM
well I don't know much bout the reliability of the gun but I will say that depictions of a stock made from drift wood pretty closely describes the quality of the stocks I was seeing at cabelas.

Tahunua, what you are seeing at Cabela's is well-used junk. These are the dregs of some some third world country's arsenal, put away and finally sold off after years of hard use and abuse. I would like to know the origin of those guns you looked at as they sound like the came out of some North African country where Italy had a large presence

I have collected military rifles for many years, and some (naturally) of these are Carcanos, but in near new condition. They are well made, well finished and very reliable guns, and fun to shoot, but definitely not my favorite.

Badmouthing of the Carcano is based mainly on hearsay or that someone "once read somewhere" that they are junk. They're not junk, they work well, and they are made from good materials.

Having said that, I will state that they are definitely not up to later standards, technologically speaking, but, much like the Russians with their Moisin Nagants, the Italians found that they worked, and adopted the old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Too often, guns are clasified as "junk" simply because they are sold here as surplus long after their useful (and abused) life has ended.

gunsmokeTPF
April 21, 2012, 01:05 PM
I love many of the old surplus guns. I loved my grandpa's 1912 Austrian 9mm Steyr and that I wish I had today. I have a love affair with a Colt 1911 black army. I think a 1937 s/42 Luger is real nice and I regret ever selling my 1953 dated mint Springfield M1 Garand.

As far as the advantage of the carcano by the italians in 1935 at the battle at Wal-Wal Oasis is concerned, they didn't win and a couple hundred got killed. There were probably many spears chucked by the other side, which served them equally as well.

I don't think the italian experience in Ethiopia serves as a good example of the carcano's dependability. I'm not familiar with what went on during any battle between the italians and austrians during WW1, but maybe grandpa's gun was used back then. Other than having to use stripper clips it was a very high quality and dependable gun, though for many years the 9mm steyr cartridge was considered obsolete, but did make a comeback around the 1970's. The germans during WW2 felt they were good enough to be converted to 9mm luger. Sorry for digressing.

I'll conclude by saying that I'm no carcano expert and have absolutely no interest in ever owning one again. I don't feel it's my calling to convince people whether, or not they're great rifles, or garbage. I'm happy for anyone who gets enjoyment out of whatever gun they own.

sc928porsche
April 21, 2012, 02:33 PM
I cleaned up, refinished, and reblued one for a friend about a year ago. We bought a few boxes of privi and the rifle did well on the range. I got him a set of dies (lee) and the hand held press, along with some bullets and mag clips for his birthday. He picked up some powder and primers in short order and we went through the reloading process. This past deer season produced a buck and a doe for him. Not bad for a rifle that he found in the old house he had bought and was fixing up.

SHR970
April 21, 2012, 08:05 PM
A good read on the carcano rifles and their ammo. You might also want to check out the author.

Carcano (http://personal.stevens.edu/~gliberat/carcano/emary.html)

Gunplummer
April 21, 2012, 09:31 PM
I read through it and it was interesting. I did not see anything about "Gain twist" rifling that the Italians were playing around with. Some rifles had it but I can not say if all did. As I said before, I own and use one, but am not a fan of them. It takes a little getting used to a side mount scope when you have a quick hunting shot. They definitely got a bad rap over the years and I blame a lot of that on the big gun companies in the U.S.

SHR970
April 22, 2012, 09:37 PM
Gunplummer, you missed it. Section on the rifle, paragraph 4.

And not all rifles did.

BlueTrain
April 23, 2012, 06:27 AM
There are many interesting surplus guns out there and they are getting older every day, just like all of us, and it shows.

My bit of Carcano lore is only this. I am from West Virginia and spend some time living in the "coal fields" of the southwestern part of the state. In a general store way back in the hills of the sort that had a post office in the back, I happened to notice a case of 7.35 ammunition. I have no idea whatever happened to it but I would have been surprised if anyone around there had a Carcano. I doubt I my father had even heard of one and his infantry combat experiences in WWII was in Italy.

Garands need clips to work too, don't they?

tahunua001
April 23, 2012, 11:49 AM
Garands need clips to work too, don't they?

yes they do, and luckly if I ever get one I have about 50 garand clips on hand that I got simply because they were loaded with tracers and black tip :D

Gunplummer
April 23, 2012, 01:35 PM
If you need a couple Carcano clips, "THE GUN PARTS" has them. They work for either caliber.

BlueTrain
April 23, 2012, 03:17 PM
Of course what I mean is that you need clips for them to work as repeating rifles.

TX Hunter
April 23, 2012, 06:46 PM
I dont care what anyone says negative about the Carcano, I will add one to my collection one day. It looks like a very well made firearm to me.

44 AMP
April 23, 2012, 10:56 PM
Understand a couple of things. First off, nobody equipped their armies with junk. Except for the "volksturm" guns and "last ditch" Arisakas (some of which actually are junk, as far as a good gun goes), all main issue military rifles were well made, to the extent of the origin nations arsenals.

What they aren't all equal in is design.

After WWII, and until the later 1960s was they heyday of cheap surplus rifles. And, in those days, we didn't look at them they way we do today. Instead of being desirable collectibles they were both common and cheap as dirt.

The main use of the surplus rifle was a cheap starter gun, for many, and what they could be made into by those so inclined.

Springfields, Mausers, Enfields, and even Arisakas (which are mostly mauser design), lent themselves into being made/remade as nice, even beautiful sporters. SMLE's are rugged durable, fine guns, but not as easily sporterized.

French, and Italian rifles were of less desirable "quality", not because they were junk (poorly made) but because they did not have the mauser type features, and were poor candidates for sporterizing.

Remember, this was decades before the former Soviet guns became available, creating a new market for surplus rifles, and the cheap prices made them widely available to new shooters, who typically don't have a lot of available cash.

People being what they are, there had to be some reason, beyond pure snobbery why Carcano's weren't desirable. The non-standard bore diameter, and the poor performance with "proper" 6.5mm size bullets was magnified, and became legend, kind of like the early AR problems still seem to show up in discussions today.

The whole "Oswald" thing is more an individual issue, I think. Though not everyone believes everything the Warren commission reported, even today.

BlueTrain
April 24, 2012, 09:45 AM
Well, actually some armies did equip themselves with junk and they knew it, only they couldn't get their hands on anything better. The junk guns kept circulating around until, it seems, they made it to this country.

I sometimes wonder when the best surplus years were. There was a new surplus market after WWI that in this country, even included Krags and Single Action Army revolvers. Catalogs listed surplus Mausers, Lebels, and Enfields before WWII. I don't know when surplus bolt actions started showing up after WWII, other than as war trophies. In the immediate post-war period, the bulk of surplus guns were being bought up by new countries like Israel, which ironically standardized on the German Mauser. Most contries continued to use the same bolt actions they had used since when the soldier's fathers had been in the army. The US was still making new M1 rifles and the British were still making new Lee-Enfields. Those 7.62 NATO SMLE rifles from India were made after I got out of the army in 1968. So I wonder if there were many surplus rifles for sale before the mid-1950s.

tahunua001
April 24, 2012, 12:35 PM
every time a country changes to a new design that is proven to be better than what they already have, they normally sell the surplus to a poor but up and coming country that can't afford the latest an greatest. many times it's not even junk, it's just outdated. many south american countries are using FN FALS, they aren't junk guns, many countries just switched to 5.56 rifles such as the SA80, AUG or the FAMAS, leaving a whole lot of 7.62 chambered rifles laying around, collecting dust.

one notable incidence was the Falklands incident, a single british submarine sunk about a dozen Falklandic(whatever the term is) ships in a matter of hours, where did they get these "pieces of junk" from? the good ole USA, they were using decommissioned ships that served during WWII that we sold in order to help out the postwar national budget (an act that thanks to good ole bill clinton, we are no longer legally able to perform). the falklands didn't knowingly provide their navy with junk ships, they bought the best they could afford.

BlueTrain
April 24, 2012, 12:56 PM
You mean Argentinian, of course. One ship sunk by the British, probably the first ship torpedoed since 1945, had been sunk at Pearl Harbor.

SHR970
April 24, 2012, 07:40 PM
ARA General Belgrano. Actually the second ship sunk by torpedo since WWII. A Brooklyn Class light cruiser; obsolescent but not obsolete.

This is a good analogy to the discussion. The up weaponed Belgrano posed a serious threat to the Royal Navy in that it had upgraded from WWII era anti aircraft defenses in the form of radar, and missiles. It's compliment of 15 6" guns in 5 turrets made it more than a match for any 2 of the frigates or destroyers that the Royal Navy had in the area and it had a top rated speed that was comparable to the oposition (not that it could necessarily make that speed) . If it got into range of the carrier, it posed a serious threat.

A 5 shot bolt action is not as capable of putting rounds into the area as a high cap. semi, but if it connects it drops a whole world of hurt into the equation. When you have 5 slowly you make them count; when you have 30 quickly you spray and pray. At least that is what tends to happen at the lower discipline levels.

Buzzcook
April 25, 2012, 02:34 PM
There are people who make money in part by denigrating the Carcano and Oswald's ability to shoot it.
There's also the same type of bigotry that made many people consider the Arisaka to be junk, because the nation/people that used them were considered inferior.

The Carcano I fired was reasonably accurate and easy to operate. That's pretty much the same thing I've said about comparable surplus bolt actions of the same vintage.

shurshot1
July 27, 2014, 10:13 PM
Just came upon this thread re the Carcanos. I don't know whats wrong with everyone....I have two of them a 7.35 carbine and a 6.5 long gun. The carbine does well at 50-75 yrds and I expect I can extend that out easily with some load noodling. Its very easy to handle, is reliable and a fun gun to shoot. The 6.5 was advertised as a WWII gun when I bought it but with research I found out it was built in Rome where they only built them two years 1917/18. Mine is a 1918 and is in beautiful condition. I still have to figure out pictures on this forum but hopefully will send some later. The gun is not a tack driver but it easily holds its own with my other 6.5s such as the Arisaka. Not as good as the Swede though. Again, its reliable, easy to sight and shoot and reasonably accurate. Not a piece of junk as some would say. Hey it is 96 years old what do you expect?

tahunua001
July 28, 2014, 12:13 AM
hehe, the irony, that I started this thread 2 years ago to learn about the design, to now answer the very same thread as a self proclaimed authority figure.

ShurShot,
I have come to seriously despise the Carcano, based on both the couple dozen handled in the OP, and several handled since then as well as some research.

1.biggest feature I hate is the wood. not one Carcano I've handled has had a decent stock, some were chopped, some were original, all were dried out chunks of driftwood. I've seen some pictures of carcanos with beautiful wood but I have yet to see one in person, leading me to believe that carcanos with good wood are more of a rarity than not.

2. they use non-standard bullet diameters. since what little surplus there was is now long gone, reloading for the carcano is a must and getting your hands on .268 and .299 bullets is a huge PITAx10^989879879879879, I won't get a carcano. I don't know why the Italians thought they were so special that they didn't have to standardize but when everyone else was using .264s for their 6.5s, Italy went with .268, and when everyone else was using 307-311 for their 30 calibers, Italy instead went with .299, the only rifles in history to use those diameter bullets.

3. they need an enbloc. at one time I didn't think that enblocs were such a terrible thing but now that I own two rifles that do use them(m95 mannlicher and M1 garand) I seriously hate the setup. I get that they are much faster and easier to use than stripper clips but they let dirt and dust in like crazy and it's really easy to lose them in the field. if all you're doing is shooting off a bench then that's fine, it's no big deal but I love taking my guns to the mountain and when you're moving around and shooting it's a huge pain to try and keep track of how many shots you've taken and when exactly your gun spits out the clip and in what direction.

the closest I came to ever buying a carcano, and the closest I will likely ever come, is a type I arisaka. they took a carcano action, which is one of the few features I am not adverse to, and gave it a Japanese style stock, japanese box magazine(fed from stripper clips), jap sights, and jap cartridge(complete with standard .264 bullet diameter). it's the perfect carcano, in my humble opinion.

age is no excuse for the carcano, my Swedish mauser will beat the breaks off just about any carcano and it's 114 years old. my 6.5 jap carbine is from the 30s, and is the most accurate milsurp I own. enfields, springfields, even mosin nagants, have a lot of saving graces to their designs, not one could be faulted for it's age, the carcano... least of it's worries are it's age.

gyvel
July 28, 2014, 03:35 AM
...as a self proclaimed authority figure.

Looks like you are basing your "expert" opinion on handing a whopping 20 or thirty pieces.

The fact that the Carcanos you have seen and deem all "junk" due to well-used wood, et. al. would tell me that these guns have had a long and very hard service life. Hardly the hallmark of a POS.

Perhaps if you look around at some gun shows or places other than Cabelas, you might see what a Carcano with nice wood and a decent finish looks like.

But, the bottom line is: If you don't like them, don't buy one.

Magnum Wheel Man
July 28, 2014, 06:50 AM
I have a 6.5 Berretta ( spelling ) Carcano carbine, that is in very nice shape, with a very good stock, in original finish... it's actually one of my favorite milsurps... love the rear sight...

BTW... as far as the original post, Cabela's often buys collections of guns... I bought 4 exposed hammer double barrel 12 gauges that I shortened for CAS for dirt cheap, about the time this thread was started, & they had dozens of them in the local store, most were Husquevarna's which work just fine for CAS use... a couple months ago, they had a big collection of Remington 66's literally 30 or 40 of them in every conceivable configuration... I'm betting they bought a collection or "group" of Carcanos... back then ;)

kraigwy
July 28, 2014, 08:09 AM
Shoot, I was going to buy one just because I didn't have one, was ready to close out this and go to cabalas site until I noticed the post was two years old.

So it isn't the best rifle out there, who cares, I like history and the Carcano is history as any other old military surplus rifle.

tahunua001
July 28, 2014, 01:14 PM
Looks like you are basing your "expert" opinion on handing a whopping 20 or thirty pieces.
actually I think it's closer to 40 pieces these days, but I hope you realize that I was being sarcastic when I said I was an "expert". :rolleyes:

Gunplummer
July 28, 2014, 05:16 PM
Like a lot of old military designs, the Carcano has it's faults when you want to convert it to a hunting rifle. The split bridge sucks, unless you use a tip-off mount so you can load it easily. The clip gets some getting used to. Nothing wrong with the safety. BUT, if you think you (Russian rifle owners) have finally found a rifle more worthless to hunt with, you would be wrong. I have used both to hunt and the Carcano wins hands down as an adaptable deer gun.

tahunua001
July 28, 2014, 05:49 PM
trust me... I tried adapting rusky to hunting rifle... it didn't turn out well.

Slamfire
July 31, 2014, 10:54 AM
2. they use non-standard bullet diameters. since what little surplus there was is now long gone, reloading for the carcano is a must and getting your hands on .268 and .299 bullets is a huge PITAx10^989879879879879, I won't get a carcano. I don't know why the Italians thought they were so special that they didn't have to standardize but when everyone else was using .264s for their 6.5s, Italy went with .268, and when everyone else was using 307-311 for their 30 calibers, Italy instead went with .299, the only rifles in history to use those diameter bullets.

That is an interesting issue. Obviously they did not have any concerns about the use of the rifle in civilian hands 70 years after a losing war and civilian shooter's difficulty of reloading for the thing. Troops were to be issued with military ammunition and nothing else. Italy is a nation state so they had to be thinking that they could make all their own ammunition, and I am certain, they probably did.

I expect someone sat down, looked at a ballistic chart, looked at a pressure curve chart, and came up with those goofy bullet sizes.

Our own 223 was developed, basically, by a bunch of guys at Bob Hutton's Ranch in CA. They took an existing round, necked it down, got the velocities they wanted, shot through a couple of watermelons and helmets, which was accepted as proof of lethality, and that round became US military standard.

Now, the US is trying to figure out how to shoe horn rounds that equal the 6.5 Carcano ballistically, into military M16's, because the basic 223 round makes a good poodle round, but not on the larger French poodles, as French poodles don't drop as fast as desired.

reynolds357
July 31, 2014, 09:07 PM
I saw a special where they tested the rifle in a re-creation of the Kennedy assassination. The experts were amazed at its accuracy. Guess Oswald got a bargain at $19.88 with the scope. The same catalog had the m-1 carbine in it for $79. Wish I had a few hundred of them at that price.

gyvel
July 31, 2014, 09:20 PM
Obviously they did not have any concerns about the use of the rifle in civilian hands 70 years after a losing war and civilian shooter's difficulty of reloading for the thing.

LOL!! The 6.5 Carcano was initiated ca. 1891, long before the 6.5 Swedish, 6.5 Jap, the 6.5 Mannlicher, and even the 6mm Lee Navy. In it's day, it was cutting edge technology. Why later developers chose to pursue a slightly smaller diameter bullet is lost to history, but the fact remains that the 6.5 Carcano was the pioneer of small bore smokeless cartridges.

tahunua001
July 31, 2014, 10:38 PM
um... not really...
6.5 swede was invented in 1894, 3 years after the carcano.
6.5x54 mannlicher, also invented 1894
6.5x50 japanese 1897, 6 years after the carcano.
6mm lee navy, 1895
7x57, 1892

I would hardly call that LONG before anyone else. true they were the first. however in the case of 7.35... they were far from the first.
7.62x54R was invented 1891.
30-06, obviously, 1906
303 brit, 1888
7.65x53 1889.
7.5 swiss 1889
7.5 french 1929
one would wonder why they continued to not use standardized bullet diameters.

gyvel
August 1, 2014, 01:22 AM
3 years or 6 years, the fact remains that the 6.5 Carcano was the vanguard for small bore cartridges.

And, regarding the .303 British, it was first loaded as a black powder cartridge, hardly a step forward.

barnbwt
August 1, 2014, 07:49 PM
The fact that the Carcanos you have seen and deem all "junk" due to well-used wood, et. al. would tell me that these guns have had a long and very hard service life. Hardly the hallmark of a POS.
And yet the 'cream' of the WWII-era bolt rifles, the (unissued) Swedes and K31, saw no service if I am not mistaken :D. Things that make you wonder...

I personally ponder whether or not a lot of these 'odd' gun types that are so maligned in the states are such because of poor ammo selection. By which I mean that people shot 'standard' size bullets of approximately the right size from rifles ill suited to them for lack of any other projectiles. If you have a .312 bore and nothing but .308 bullets to play with, and little to no scientific background to fall back on (which Bubba does not have), you might well conclude the cartridge is inherently inaccurate ;)

one would wonder why they continued to not use standardized bullet diameters.
Because they already had massive state-run/licensed factories producing umpteen millions of rounds. Why didn't we get with the (eventual) program and adopt 276 Pedersen, or at the very least, full power 30-06 for WWII? Logisitics.

would hardly call that LONG before anyone else. true they were the first.
A few years of nation-level ballistics development and industrial espionage is more than enough time to perfect and optimize a break-through tech as simple as a small-bore bottleneck cartridge. During that smokeless transition period, things were moving really fast, so it's not surprising that something as brilliant as 6.5x55 would be developed through refinement but a few years later.

As far as 7.5x55; I'm convinced there was alien intervention involved in its development, since it was one of the earliest cartridges of its class, and has remained for 115 years very close to an optimum design for slinging a 30cal projectile of that class. To be fair, 7.5 Swiss was not perfected until 1911 when it became fully smokeless. I suspect the Italians were as late to the game as they were because they had more recently upgraded their ammo selection with the 6.5; 40 years isn't exactly out of the ordinary for a cartridge choice that doesn't have anything inherently wrong with it (even if it might not be the 'optimum' design solution) --just look at 30-06 and 45acp

TCB

tahunua001
August 1, 2014, 09:58 PM
The fact that the Carcanos you have seen and deem all "junk" due to well-used wood, et. al. would tell me that these guns have had a long and very hard service life. Hardly the hallmark of a POS. um, Mosin nagants, Springfields, Enfields, Arisakas, Mausers... all saw long service lives and VERY hard combat use, none are as bad as the carcano, seems to me like a hallmark of bad wood to me, but that's just me. they were improperly stored, drying out either in a million hunter's closets or in italian storage warehouses, doesn't matter the wood is junk at this point, right now.

Because they already had massive state-run/licensed factories producing umpteen millions of rounds. Why didn't we get with the (eventual) program and adopt 276 Pedersen, or at the very least, full power 30-06 for WWII? Logisitics.
I was talking about when Italy decided to replace the 6.5 with a 30 caliber and went with a bullet that only italy would ever go on to use.

amd6547
August 2, 2014, 07:58 AM
Really, the "non-standard" diameter is a foolish argument. It was standard for Italy, and the Italians really couldn't care less if it makes it attractive to reloaders in 2014.
The fact is, the 6.5 Carcano is an excellent, well balanced cartridge. If it were invented today and put into a modern semiauto rifle, the combination would rock.
Really, what made me buy and shoot a Carcano cavalry carbine, was the book "Testing The War Weapons" by Timothy Mullins.
In it, mullens shoots and evaluates a multitude of firearms and discusses them from the standpoint of the soldier.
The Carcano carbine surprised Mullins with its ease of use...he concludes that the little Carcano would be his first choice in a bolt action fighting carbine.
After shooting the one I owned, I had to agree. Previously, I would have said the Enfield No.5 I owned for a while.

tahunua001
August 2, 2014, 04:25 PM
ok well since I am not an italian soldier and the year is not 1934, the fact that they once had ok wood, and the government would have supplied all my ammo is pretty irrelevant.

the wood is bad NOW.
the ammo does not exist NOW
the only maker of proper diameter bullets is not making them NOW

that is why, for my purposes, and the purposes of anyone thinking of buying them, they are JUNK NOW!!!!!!


The fact is, the 6.5 Carcano is an excellent, well balanced cartridge. If it were invented today and put into a modern semiauto rifle, the combination would rock.
no... no it is not. and no it would not.
6.5 carcano is nearly a direct twin to the 6.5 jap. I've hunted with jap and it's not in any way shape or form "a great cartridge"

with a 140gr bullet, from a 21 inch barrel, the 6.5 carcano is only able to push about 2200FPS. about the same as what I was able to get a 140gr from a 20 inch jap carbine.

looking at other 6.5mm cartridges which use easier bullets to get ahold of and use less powder than the carcano.
6.5 creedmore gets 2700FPS
6.5 swede gets 2500FPS(but can be pushed 2600 with more powder)
6.5 grendel can push about the same 2200FPS with close to half the powder. all with 20-24 inch barrels.

there are plenty of 6.5s that are much easier to load for, that are much more efficient.

amd6547
August 2, 2014, 08:48 PM
The wood on my cavalry carbine was excellent. Ammo from PRVI, both FMJ and SP, shot great.

gyvel
August 3, 2014, 02:33 AM
that is why, for my purposes, and the purposes of anyone thinking of buying them, they are JUNK NOW!!!!!!

As I said before, don't buy one.

Gunplummer
August 3, 2014, 08:10 AM
30 years ago most military rifles were junk if ammo was a problem. That is why the big re-barrel craze got moving. Because rifles with a split bridge and other weirdness were a pain to scope, most were not even considered worth reworking. Many rifles with these conditions were used for hunting until scopes became the norm. When is the last time someone you know wanted to scope a .303 Brit to hunt with? Back when iron sights were king, the deer woods was full of them. I am thinking that the wood really is meaningless. All the military guns used to hunt had the wood cut off anyway. It could not have been that important what it was made of.

Unlicensed Dremel
August 5, 2014, 11:25 AM
Every time I read this thread title, I hear it said "aloud" in my head with a voice which is a caricature of Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up routines: "What's the DEAL with.... "

tahunua001
August 5, 2014, 12:22 PM
please don't....


...just...

...don't.

Mosin-Marauder
August 5, 2014, 12:28 PM
I like K-31's.

Unlicensed Dremel
August 5, 2014, 12:28 PM
Well, I just hope that when/if we meet, your voice isn't just like Seinfeld's, ha ha.

tahunua001
August 5, 2014, 09:22 PM
it's not, you can stand at ease.